blood that counts.

"i should have known we would have no luck finding a taxi this morning." 
gloria and i chuckled with each other as we found ourselves walking ALL the way to church (which is really not that far) and admiring the numerous sheep that were being slaughtered right before our eyes on both sides of the street. no i promise thats not a typical sunday in bamako. however, today is a Muslim holiday. tabaski. 

on this day of 'sacrifice', men, women, and children are expected to dress in their finest clothing to perform prayer in a large congregation in an open field or mosque. Those Muslims who can afford, sacrifice a sheep as a symbol of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his only son. 
According to Islamic tradition, one of the main trials of Abraham's life was to face the command of God to devote his dearest possession, his only son. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to God’s will. During this preparation, Satan tempted Abraham and his family by trying to dissuade them from carrying out God's commandment, but he drove Satan away by throwing pebbles at him.
When Ishmael was about thirteen, God decided to test their faith in public. Abraham had a recurring dream, in which God was commanding him to offer his son as a sacrifice, which God had granted him after many years of deep prayer. Abraham knew that the dreams of the prophets were divinely inspired, and one of the ways in which God communicated with his prophets. When the intent of the dreams became clear to him, Abraham decided to fulfill God's command and offer Ishmael for sacrifice.
Although Abraham was ready to sacrifice his dearest for Allah's sake, he could not just go and drag his son to the place of sacrifice without his consent. Ishmael had to be consulted as to whether he was willing to give up his life as fulfillment to God's command. This consultation would be a major test of Ishmael's maturity in faith, love and commitment for Allah, willingness to obey his father and sacrifice his own life for the sake of Allah. Abraham presented the matter to his son and asked for his opinion about the dreams of slaughtering him. Ishmael did not show any hesitation or reservation even for a moment. He said, "Father, do what you have been commanded. You will find me, Insha'Allah (God willing), to be very patient." When both father and son had shown their perfect obedience to Allah and they had practically demonstrated their willingness to sacrifice their most precious possessions for His sake — Abraham by laying down his son for sacrifice and Ishmael by lying patiently under the knife – Allah called out to them stating that his sincere intentions had been accepted, and that he need not carry out the killing of Ishmael. Instead, Abraham was told to replace his son with a ram to sacrifice instead. 

According to the Biblical story, Abraham sets out to obey God's command without questioning but does not state in front of isaac that he is the intended sacrifice. After Isaac is bound to an altar, the angel of God stops Abraham at the last minute, saying, "now i know you fear God." At this point Abraham sees a ram caught in some nearby bush and sacrifices the ram in Isaac's place. 

obviously, we see the differences in the story pulled from the Qur'an and the one taken from the Bible.  

Abraham never believed God wold take a human sacrifice. It just wasn’t consistent with His nature.. And even if God let the knife touch Isaac- I truly believe God would have resurrected him. 
Our (Christian perspective) God is a God of love and compassion. Whereas in Islam they can't even gather any sort of proof that Allah even cares for them, much less love them. 
to the Muslim: Tabaski is there time for forgiveness- 
but for the Christian this story is a sign and reminder of obedience. [hebrews 9.26] 
to the Muslim- this annual event gives them 
some sort of hope that one day they will have relationship with Allah. 
for the Christian: God has already sent the only sacrifice, Jesus the only human in all history who has ever been asked to be a sacrifice and shed blood for forgiveness, that now brings us into relationship with God. 

i know this blog was long, but i felt it necessary not only to provide interesting and factual information about our muslim neighbors, but also to serve as a reminder of the One who did shed His blood for us. & in that we are free. yes, we as christians still sacrifice on a certain level our lives to God, but it is no where near or on any level of that of what Christ Jesus did for all mankind. because of his ultimate sacrifice we can now be in relationship with our Creator, just as He intended it to be from the very beginning. 
His is the only blood that brings freedom from all sins.  


Keru Yakaar.

hello all! i have made it back from Dakar safe and sound and have many many stories to share! i will put up a few posts over these next couple of days to update you on my recent adventures. :) 
& for those of who did not know. i took a short trip to Dakar, Senegal to work in a medical clinic, Keru Yakaar (house of hope). i am quite interested in working medical overseas and wanted to take a look at how different centers operate and how that may work into my future ministry. 

 Ayiwa! monday, october 24 was my first day at the clinic. i was a little nervous only for the reason that being in a different country i had no language and walking to a place i have never been to go meet people i have never met made me feel a little uneasy. nevertheless, i used the whole morning for prayer and left on this journey with confidence that God would get me there! in following the directions given to me, i was to arrive at the center at 7.40 am. i would see a large line of people lined up outside and i was to push my way through and say the name 'Beatrice' (the name of the lady who runs the place). and supposedly they would let me in and i would then get some sort of introduction and run down of the day. 
7.40 comes and i have made it to the clinic. step one complete. there are two gates. a larger one and then a much smaller one, where the people were lined up. i decide to go over to the larger one because i saw some africans standing on the inside of the gate and i assumed that they worked there. so i walked up and asked the guy for 'Beatrice', he looks at me rather strange and by hand motions and the little french i know... i make out that i must wait until they finish praying. (at this point i was thinking, well the point of me coming up to you is so i could join them for prayer, but alright i will wait). around 15 minutes pass and i all of a sudden find myself being led by this African girl, who i am pretty sure does NOT work there and probably just used me to cut in front of all of these people. but we make it in and she leads me through one waiting area to a line of benches outside in front of a separate building. it didn't take me long to realize i don't think this is where i was intending on going. so i call Becky Tarr (the west african AG area directors who we were staying with). i hand the phone over to the girl and becky explains to her that i need to see 'beatrice'. the girl gets up and leads me to another african girl (this one i was positive was a worker, but still not beatrice). she passes the phone off to her and so now i am standing in this hallway wondering if i am even allowed in this area. she finishes up on the phone and leads me to a door that reads the word 'pharmacy' in French, of course. we walk in and i am greeted by this short, spunky and quite friendly African woman. 'i am vivian' she says. alright, so still haven't found Beatrice, but hey someone who speaks some English-- i'll take it. she goes on to tell me that beatrice is sick and would not be coming in today. lol of course. 
so Vivian, who is Congolise, pulls up a chair for me and orders me to sit there. i dare not obey. about 20 minutes pass by as i am sitting there observing her walking around taking care of business. finally, she motions me to come with her and she takes me on a tour of the facility. 
-when you walk into the center: you enter facing a large waiting area with lines of benches. that is where the people get their ticket and pay for the visit (around 500 francs). they then sit down in the area according to their needs. they have with them a small blue paper book that contains their records. they will carry that with them to each place they go. 
-there is a two areas that serve the purpose for Pharmacy. the one i was in was also used for offices (administrative). 
-on both sides of the waiting area are two consultation rooms where the patients will go in and talk with the doctor to talk about their needs and what type of medicine they need. they leave their blue book with them and go outside to wait again to see the person who will give them their medication. the nurse will then take the books to the pharmacy to get the medicine. he heads back to the room and begins to call out one at a time the patients to come in and get their medications. 
-also in the main building they have room for lab work and also a separate waiting room that plays the Jesus film in Wolof (the local language). 
-outside the main building is another small building where people go to get wounds 'dressed'. 
-if  you walk through the main waiting room, on the other side is a separate building for dental work. 

After we finished up the tour we head back to the office to grab me a gown. Vivian asks me where i would like to work for the day. i did not hesitate in saying that i would love to go bandage people up! we head outside to the small room. a huge line of people was already forming. i walk in to see a happy African man by the name of Carlos (typical African name right lol). he has Christian music playing in the background (in Wolof) and gave me the hugest smile in discovering i would be working beside him for the day. 
lets get to work! patients start coming in one by one. tore up ankles, fingers, toes, lips, chins, arms... you name it. now you are probably thinking, ok chels, its bandaging- a cut toe or cut finger, i could do that... yah i am sure you could, but let me inform you that these open wounds have not been attended to in weeks and they have now reached past the infection stage. so not only do they look absolutely disgusting, but they have quite the vile smell and are going to hurt ten times worse now.  
 ok so Carlos bandages a few people (oh and carlos speaks a little bit of English....see God's looking out for me (:) and then he motions me to come over and tells me 'ok your turn'. 
let me just tell you, i love africans. first because they do things however they want and second they for some reason have this confidence in you that you know how to do something after seeing it done maybe two times. 
there i am, i find myself bandaging up these people and from time to time discover that no one else is in the room besides me and the patient. (see i am already working there)! 
this first day's experience was wonderful. now to attempt to get home. 
suppose i wil walk, its a nice ocean breezy day. 

thank you jesus for your faithfulness and being El Roi in my life.