Category Archives: West Africa

The summer is ending!

Time flies by as we continue our schooling here in France. We are constantly surprised by the beauty we stumble upon. Each day is like a canvas God has painted; from the skin tones of the hundreds of people we pass, to the different French accents we hear, or the delicious tastes of different foods we try we are constantly aware of His profound creativity.

The last 2 months have flown by. On July 23 my (Andi) mom came with my younger brother Christopher and they stayed a week to visit us. From the moment they arrived we experienced craziness unlike anything we have experienced thus far in France. Within the hour of their arrival we had missed our train to Paris and been yelled at by a homeless woman who proceeded to let her bulldog nearly eat our food. Now, I know what you are thinking…”Surely the week couldn’t have been that bad! Your mom was visiting!”  It wasn’t. The week was wonderful! We spent time with my mom and brother and those moments are irreplaceable. We ate French ice cream, walked all over Paris, and Lyon. We took them to some of our favorite spots, including stumbling upon a delicious new restaurant. We had a date night with my younger brother, and the kids were completely in love with Meemaw. Because of our amazing friends, we even had a car for the week as they were on vacation and let us borrow it. Yet it was obvious that the enemy was trying to destroy the refreshment we were receiving from the visit. We appreciate the prayers constantly friends and family, because truly, what we are doing is changing our lives and preparing us for even bigger changes in our future. The power of prayer is more than just a phrase we talk about in church. For us, your prayers are often what get us through the week, and we are praying for you too! Would you please email us how we can be praying for you?

Only a day after my mom departed for America we were packing our things for a weekend trip in the French Alps. In our time here we are constantly making new acquaintances and friends. Last year when we moved in we very quickly became acquainted to our neighbors Lucy and Clementine. They both spoke English and so understood when we struggled through a sentence in French. As of the middle of June they both had finished school and begun to move out and job search. This meant we were completely alone on our floor (We aren’t sure anyone lives in the other 2 apartments!) Lucy was able to keep in touch with us and had suggested we come and visit her at her parent’s house in a little ville….called “Ville”. The town was tiny and made Converse look rather big. That weekend we drove between the mountains of the French Alps, made a stop in the Swiss side of Geneva, and went hiking. Seeing those mountains made the Smokies look like foothills and had us constantly in awe of the power of God. We spent the entire weekend speaking in French and watching a kind and generous French family and how they interact. Lucy’s Mom and Dad, Dominique and Pascal, were patient with our stumbles in French, and forthcoming with information about pronunciation and French culture. Dominique made the best French food we have ever tasted. They loved on our kiddos and led us around their town as well as to a Fireworks display on the Swiss Independence day. It was an incredible weekend and we were blessed by this family.

As for French learning, we will be straightforward and say that God is working miracles. Somehow, I have made it into the B1 class. In truth, I was only in A2 for 2 weeks (maybe!) before our visit with my mom and the time in the Alps. Yet when I returned to class I noticed that it was not just the couple of people from my A2 class, and that we were discussing “subjunctive” verbs. Bart and I have the same teacher in different classes now and she suggested that I ask him to continue helping me with subjunctive while we were home. Bart’s response was “Hmmm…Subjunctive?? That’s B1 stuff!” and when he asked our teacher about it she simply said “Well! That’s the class I teach!” and thus…I have moved up. I still feel drastically behind on my verbs, but I do feel like practicing in conversation has helped immensely. Bart is less than 1 week from finishing with class and participating in language exchanges from here on! He will be regularly exchanging English for French time with French people. I couldn’t be more proud, or in love with him, and yet every day my pride and love for him grows. Bart and I have been able to Skype with the West Africa Branch Director, Stevanie Wilcos, and she has encouraged us in our French language learning. She has also given us an email in which we will forward upon request to inform those concerned with the Ebola virus (NOT the same as Eboli, for those still wondering). This is from a person living in West Africa about the risks involved in living there. This is something that should not be published on social media, or forwarded to other parties.

Last paragraph of info! I promise! Bart and I were pleasantly surprised to receive and email from some of our friends in West Africa explaining that a huge shipment of medical supplies will be shipping out from Detroit, Michigan in August. The crate that is shipping still has quite a bit of space available, and the shipping itself is free because the church making the shipment has already paid. We and our teammates have been offered this awesome space. Our only cost is the customs, and the mass amount of time that Bruce and Pamie and several others have spent hunting the things we are having shipped. To give you an idea, we are shipping everything from basic medical supplies to tools, clothing, our baby crib, replacement tires for our truck in WA, and a new solar deep freezer and fridge. The past week has been spent on line, and making contacts in the States to have these things driven to Detroit and packed into this container. We are so blessed that our families have been agreeing to do so much of this packing, driving, and organizing that we are speechless by their service.

We continue to covet your prayers and your support never goes without praise to God. We are beginning to hunt online for return tickets to the States for 8 weeks from the middle of January to the beginning of March prior to our departure to West Africa. We are planning a little bit of time in several places, with a large intent of rest and reorganizing before we leave.

Have questions? Email us!

Andi.cameron@pbti.org

Or

Bart.cameron@pbti.org

Thank you again!

 

Feels Like Home

I have mentioned in past blogs that one of the incredible blessings about the many times we have moved, is that every place we have gone we have invested ourselves in people. What’s so cool about that?  Well, people have returned the favor. It’s one of the biggest reasons we felt such a powerful peace about going to West Africa. We have people that we love from all around the U.S. and at least 3 other countries, and to us, those people are as close as family. West Africa has missionaries from several different denominations, and organizations that all love Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They work side by side as much more than co-workers, rather, family. They look out for one another, cover each other in prayer and share resources. The Third Culture Kids (Missionary kids) from each different part of West Africa gather together to play and hang out. They grieve each other’s losses, and when someone has to leave unexpectedly, everyone feels it. They offer forgiveness, mercy and love. It’s like what I wrote about in the “Definition of Team” blog.  I’m telling you this to give you some background.

If you’re a regular reader you might remember that earlier this year we were super blessed by an overnight with our teammates, and another family from West Africa. A few weeks later we were able to meet  another family who has been working in West Africa for 15 years. We were so blessed to soak up their knowledge. This family and the Litsey family have truly gone above and beyond to bless us with their knowledge and resources. The family stayed connected with us after the visit. Then we got a very exciting email from them. In short, they are supported by a donor who was interested in the ministry that Bart and I are beginning.  They wanted more information about Pioneer Bible Translators, our family and our finances.  Bart and I quickly pulled together all that we had and sent it. Then we prayed. We knew that the support of this donor could change our timeframe radically. We also knew that God had shown us through the support of the donors we’ve had for the last 2 years that He is faithful in fulfilling His promise. We couldn’t be doing this without that support, the support of our family and the providence of our God.

About 2 weeks after the information had been sent we received a phone call from a secretary who was seeking more specific information about what we needed. “She asked me how much money we needed up front to get to West Africa,” Bart said. “So what did you tell her??” I asked impatiently. “Well, after the math that we’ve done for the monthly donations we have, I added together all of the onetime expenses we have including French Language School, and the purchase of the car in Africa, as well as the resources the Litsey’s are selling us from their house…” “AND?” I pushed. “The sum of all of these expenses is $30,400”.  The next few minutes were quiet. If you added the amount of money Bart and I have made together since we were married 6 years ago, it most likely wouldn’t add up to $30,000. I felt like a college student all over again when they tell you how much you owe and it feels unreachable. Yet there is no doubt in my mind where God is calling us. I also know that the churches provided for Paul as he travelled from place to place, and that he even mentions churches promises to support him and holding them to that. I have no doubts about what we are doing.

Let me take a second to explain that Bart and I have been praying about outright asking supporters to help us cover the cost of French Language School.  The thought of asking a small group of people to cover the $20,000 school costs was a little unnerving.  I am still adapting to having to ask people to support us for our monthly expenses. I don’t think it ever becomes easy.

Then God blew us away.

The donor (whom requests to be anonymous), came on board with a onetime gift of $30,400. This gift means that French School will be paid off, the house full of resources will be paid, and the car we bought from previous missionaries will be paid (it is in WA right now). It means that if we can find an apartment to rent while we are in France, and get the connections made for Visas we will be leaving in January.

We. Are. Stunned.

We are humbly reminded of His sufficiency.

So, again I come humbly before you friends. Please pray for this journey. Pray for our teammates who are in France taking class. Pray for our families as they begin to say goodbye to their children and grandchildren.  Pray for our hearts as we pack up our 9th house and move to France to fall in love with more people. Pray that we, as well as our teammates would find apartments to rent in France. They are living with a French family right now and hunting down a place to stay.

Thank you! For supporting us through your prayers and financial support. Thank you for investing in our lives through your encouraging words, accountability and patience. Thank you.

Andi

Thank you for being part of the vital support system of our family as we journey with God on our way to West Africa. If you have any questions please feel free to write to bart.cameron@pbti.org or call us at (765) 506-4413.

If you are interested in supporting us please email us @

Andi.cameron@pbti.org

Or

Bart.cameron@pbti.org

Currently our monthly support is at 62% of our budget.

And the definition of Team is…

The world is a huge place, created by God for His glory. It is full of people of different races, creeds, and languages. It is a beautiful, overwhelming masterpiece of Grace. We have so many special opportunities to meet people all around the world. Some of our dearest friends live in places we have never been too! These include: China, Papua New Guinea, Zimbabwe, Much of Latin America, Solomon Islands, and Siberia. My mind was turning the other day with joy and apprehension at the many more people God is leading us to.

I looked online at m-w.com to see what the definition of the word team is. It was pretty humorous…Team can mean: “two or more draft animals harnessed to the same vehicle or implement; also : these with their harness and attached vehicle” Team has another definition to it, that we are more familiar with : : a number of persons associated together in work or activity: as (a) : a group on one side (as in football or a debate). (b) : crewgang. I’m going out on a limb here. In God’s intent, we are all supposed to work together for one common purpose, as in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to say that, as individuals, we all work together as a second-definition team? (No….really, I didn’t criticize her ministry, or get jealous of his abilities, or become angry at that leadership).Yet in reality, I think we have to BE a second definition team with a first definition mindset. I mean, really….how often in the scriptures are we compared to sheep? Sheep are mentioned 500 times. And we are compared for good reason. We scatter. Our minds need to be harnessed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our bodies, in their weaknesses and strengths are to be used to glorify Christ. According to Romans 16:18 we are “Slaves to righteousness”.  WE have to be fully ready and eager to work as a team with one common goal, with the understanding that when our sin nature comes to play, when OUR desires rule our hearts and cause division, we are only sheep, or at best, oxen, harnessed to Christ, letting HIM lead us and use us how He sees fit.

SO why am I writing about this? What on earth does it have to do with our call to West Africa?

Last week was through God’s planning, we were able to host The Blessing family and The Davis family at our house for an overnight. The Blessings have completed their 2nd 3 year term in West Africa, and were full of resources and encouragement for us to draw from. Check them out at http://www.blessingafrica.org/blog/ .They shared some of their experiences and we laughed together and prayed together. They are a part of our team, though they work with a different organization, and have been there years ahead of us. Their children and our children laughed together, we shared a meal, and hopefully the next time we will see them is overseas. Tuesday-Thursday of last week we had our first team retreat at Rainbow Christian Camp. We did team building exercises, and encouraged one another in the Word. Yesterday, the Hoffland family came to share a meal with us. They spent 17 years in West Africa with their 3 kids. They hope to return later this year, or the beginning of next year. They are with Christian Reform World Mission. They are our teammates.

You see…our teammates are everywhere! We draw together with people from different churches, young and old, who want support us through prayer and financial giving, these are our teammates. We have family scattered throughout Indiana who are trepidatious about our departure, they are our teammates. We are all working together, trying to get the Bible into the hands of a Bible-less people group.

We are so excited to announce that our teammates, Eric and Melissa Davis and their beautiful baby girl Sophia will be leaving for Language School in France in late September. Check them out at davispbt.wordpress.com . This is a bittersweet moment for us. We have, this whole year, been awaiting the moment when we board the planes and fly out of country for our first ex-pat experiences as a team. Yet, for a few different reasons, it isn’t happening how we expected it to.

At this point, our support is at 24%. We need your help. We have been hearing lately, that this is the hardest financial place for a missionary to be in. Some have said “We will support you after your first term…when you have a little bit more experience under your belt”. We don’t have the experiences to share with you to let you know that we can do this, but we have the faith in God. We also have the commitment to our teammates, and the West Africa Branch of Pioneer Bible Translators. We have stories of transformation from people who have gone before us. We have training, and the Great Commission, and prayer, and an eager family, all we need now is for you to join our team. Will you pray about supporting us? Will you search your heart and see if God could be calling you to join us in West Africa? We need you on our team!!

Andi Cameron <><