Saturday, February 23, 2013


Ever since we arrived the girls have been dying to learn French. They are both rather social creatures and have been frustrated that they can't carry on coversations with the Togolese. They have even asked, "If WE can't speak French, how can WE tell the Togolese about Jesus?".  There are a few Togolese and several Ghanaians who speak English here at the hospital and the girls just love being able to talk with them, but have really expressed a desire to learn French.

One day, while John and I were discussing our schedule with our French tutor Eliza asked, "When do we start French classes?".  John and I just kind of looked at each other and said, "Sure!"  We talked with our tutor and he was more than willing to work with the girls. He is a wonderful Christian man who was a teacher for over 30 years. Now, he works with alot of the missionaries who want to continue language learning and often works with the missionary kids.
Mr. Tukpo teaching the girls French greetings. 

Listening intently as Mr. Tukpo teaches.

It is so neat to watch them have their class.  Mr. Tukpo, who is an older man, will get down on the ground with them and play dolls or color using that to teach French.  He also helps them tie the babies on their backs like the Togolese women!

Olivia, Eliza & Mr. Tukpo reviewing colors in French while coloring.

The girls were just giddy on the day of their first lesson and have really enjoyed it so far. And they really are learning!  Now when people greet them in French and ask them their names they are able to answer in French! I am so proud of them and thankful that they have a desire to get to know the Togolese people.  And as Olivia always reminds me, a desire to learn French so they can tell the Togolese about Jesus too!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tsavie Church

This past Sunday we had planned to visit a newer church here in Togo.  It is not exactly new, but was just starting when we lived here before. We attended this church some when they met in a small courtyard where the chicken and goats roamed,  so we were excited to see their new building.  Well, we were all dressed and ready to go when Olivia said, "Mommy, I don't feel good.  I don't think I can go."  Remember, out here the churches don't have bathrooms or running water, so you really don't want to be far from home if someone is sick.  So, John and I decided that I would stay home with Livi and he would take the other two to Tsavie.

This is the kids Sunday School.  They meet outside under a
thatch roof.  At least there is good air circulation because there
aren't any walls!
I was hoping to get a bunch a pictures of the church building, so I sent the camera with him and asked him to get a few pictures and he got a couple really good ones of the kids!  It's kind of like playing "Where's Waldo?"  but instead, it's "Where's the Yovos??"

Zinatou teaching the Sunday School lesson.  Liza said it was about Mary & Joseph.....but it was all in Ewe (since the small children don't speak French) so I am not sure what the lesson was really about.  Nonetheless, she enjoyed the story time!
 Liza and Aiden were up front with their good friends Sam and Lizzie who recently arrived here in Togo.  The really exciting thing is the teacher in this picture, Zinatou, is a nurse now, but was one of my nursing students during our last term.  It's hard to tell because the story card is in front of her, but she is expecting a baby and our due dates are very close to each other.  It is such am amazing experience seeing so many of the nursing students serving the Lord in their churches, working in the hospital and many of them working as clinical instructors for the new group of Togolese nursing students!

Hopefully, the next time we head to Tsavie everyone will be feeling well!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The newest Groeneveld is here!!!

When I woke up this morning, I never thought that today would be the day when our newest family member arrived. It was mid morning when she made her grand arrival. It all began with a knock at the screen door and three Togolese men standing there......then, and I saw her face and fell in love.  Ok, maybe not in love, but the kids were definitely in love and THRILLED at the idea of having a monkey.  And honestly,  it just wouldn't be right for a kid to grow up in Africa and not have a pet monkey!  What kind of mother would I be if I deprived them of that!!??

Now don't you think she is pretty cute??  How could I turn her away??

Poor little thing was so thirsty when she got here.

I love Livi & Aiden's expressions here.  They are so excited about having a monkey.  At lunch, Liza prayed and thanked God for "our new baby monkey".

Trying to help her warm up to everyone.
The girls are worried about her having enough to eat.  So they constantly offer her palm nuts.

These 2 are quickly becoming friends!  Aiden spent most of the morning sitting right next to her.  At nap time he cried saying, "I want the monkey to sleep with me in my bed!" I quickly assured him that the monkey would NOT be coming into the house!

At first the men wanted 15,000 CFA(which is $30) for her but they finally agreed to 7,000 CFA, which is about $14. We are trying to find a harness or collar for her and then she will live in the trees right by the house. Little monkeys like her will eat mainly fruits, veggies, and bugs, and lizards.

The men told us they got her in the bush, which probably means they shot her mother (for the meat) and then brought her to the yovo's (white people) because they know we will buy the babies. And they were right. I just couldn't send her back into the bush to fend for herself without a mommy....blame it on the pregancy hormones!

So now, not only am I living in Africa.....but I have a monkey!!

Nothing but the BLOOD

This morning I went over to the OB clinic for my check up.  While I was there waiting in the little waiting area with the other expectant mothers one of the nurses, Pidenam (who was one of my nursing students from our last term) came in and started talking to all the women.  She began with a prayer and then was speaking in Ewe and just a little French but I figured out that she was doing some prenatal teaching about things like nutrition in pregancy and HIV issues.  She proceeded to talk about blood types and went around and asked all of us what our blood type was....then she went into a full blown Gospel presentation about the blood of Jesus with these 15 pregnant women, several of whom appeared to be Muslim.  I wished I could have taken a picture, but it was such a special moment that I didn't want anything to distract from her message of the blood of Jesus Christ!

As I sat there watching her and seeing her passion in sharing the Gospel with these women, I was so proud of her and thankful that I had the chance to witness such a sweet moment!

My family

My family