Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Liebster Award

So, I was nominated by The Glorious Mundane for a Liebster Award. The Liebster Award is a fun way for bloggers to get to know each other by answer some questions and nominating others. I have been nominated to answer 11 questions about myself and my blog and then I will need to nominate some other bloggers.









1. How did you decide on the title for your blog?

Well for starters, I'm an MK (missionary kid) from and living in West Africa - where I've practically been my whole life. Niger, the country that my family is serving in, is just a stone's throw away from the Sahara Desert, hence, the name for the blog. I was born in and adopted from Benin and then moved to Niger when I was 2 with parents and younger brother. Now I'm 18 years old and my life in Africa is quickly coming to an end.

The second thing you should know is that I love purple. It doesn't matter what shade but I am just infatuated by the color. When I was little, I used to think that I had purple skin instead of brown. And as I grew up, I never got tired of the color. I guess you can say that's where the "Violet" part came from. But it could also be because violets aren't very common in the Sahara Desert, or any desert for that matter. In a desert, they're unique. They're just as unique as an introverted, adopted African/American girl currently living on her home continent infatuated with the color purple and wanting to be a light for Christ in a world that has grown tired of hearing about him. Yep, pretty unique I'd suppose.

(Taken directly from my About Me page)

2. What are some of your favorite pastimes? 

Reading ~ I especially like realistic fiction or the Bible
Movies ~ I'm a big fan of dramas and romantic comedies and can watch the same movie over and over and over. . .
Games~ My favorite card game is definitely Dutch Blitz
Music~ I listen to all sorts of genres but what I mostly have on my iPod is pop
Journaling~ I use my journal for prayer so as I write out all my thoughts and feelings, I'm also discussing them with God!

3. Describe a typical day in your life?

6:02am  -  I wake up and get ready for school/work at Sahel. This includes doing my devotions, checking Facebook/Twitter/email, getting dressed and eating breakfast. I'm out the door by 7am.

7:30am-2:30pm  -  I'm at school helping out in the Kindergarten classroom. Even though it's a blast working with the kids, I leave at the end of the school day exhausted. My duties as the Kindergarten teacher's assistant include teaching the kids Bible, helping a few of the kids stay on task and keep up with the rest of the students, supervising the elementary kids at recess, learning from Mrs. S (the Kindergarten teacher), eating lunch with my high school/middle school friends and keeping the kids quiet at nap time. Fun, fun, fun!

3:00pm-11pm  -   I get home and do any extra lesson planning that I wasn't able to do at school. Then I usually crash in front of the TV (or my computer), chat with friends online, write my sponsored kids or listen to music. I have dinner, play games (board games and Wii MarioKart) and watch a movie or TV show with my mom and dad.

Of course, there are certain days when I have after school activities like Baby Home, Youth Group or Bible Study but this is the typical schedule for me.

4. What is one thing you are sentimental about?

I get pretty emotional when I hear about kids who have been neglected, abused or "forgotten". I hope to one day work with special needs kids and also adopt kids who have been abused. God has really laid hurting kids on my heart.

5. What is your most popular/most read/favorite blog post?

Surprisingly, my most popular and most read blog post is "20 Facts About My Best Friend". I originally had each fact posted as a tweet on Twitter a few years ago but then decided to turn it into a blog post. I had no idea that it'd be so popular! To read about this best friend of mine, click on the link above!

6. What is one goal you have for 2015?

I don't know if this is much of a goal but I truly want to know more and to really accept how much God loves me. I know that he does but I'm often forgetting. This year, as I say hello to a lot of new changes and beginnings (leaving Niger, going to Honduras???, starting college and moving back to the U.S.) I want to be able to trust God and to really understand how much he loves me.

7. What is your favorite blog post that I wrote?

I don't really have a favorite post but I love all that has been written about Tera. Obviously, I'm not married or have children but I love hearing about what it's like to be a young mommy. I file away all those helpful tips that have to do with cloth diapers and schedules and keep in the back of my mind for later!

8. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

I love being able to communicate my thoughts and feelings. As an introvert, I really do struggle with getting my emotions across when talking to someone face to face. Being able to chat online or blog helps me to think clearly and to have my say. I also love being able to use my voice to speak out about bullying, suicide, poverty, children, racism and God.

9. What is the meaning behind YOUR name? Are you named after someone?

I actually just asked my mom today if she knew what my name meant (and she didn't) and she told me that I was named after a family friend name Alice. Alice is a very dear friend to my mom but even so, my mom didn't think that Alice Ruth sounded very nice. So, she changed it a bit and named me Alicia. My birth name is actually a name in Bariba (a language spoken in Benin) which means "third daughter". I like to use it once in a while.

10. What is your favorite season and why?

My favorite season is probably winter. It's a bit random because I really dislike being cold but I love the beauty of snow and being able to sit inside all toasty and warm. Winter also brings Christmas in December and my birthday in February.

11. Tell me 10 random things about yourself

1. I was adopted from Benin, West Africa and have grown up in Niger, West Africa

2. I have two financially sponsored children from Honduras and two correspondent sponsored kids from Ghana and Haiti. I love them as if they were my little brother and sisters and am looking forward to meeting some of them face to face. You can read more about them HERE.

3. I LOVE spicy food and basically have to eat it every day. My favorite spicy dish is sauteed onions and hot peppers. I eat it almost every day!

4. I don't have a favorite movie but I really like the sad, dark and dramatic ones like The Great Gatsby, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Fault in Our Stars to name a few.

5. I'm a missionary kid and have spent my whole life living in West Africa

6. I LOVE little kids!

7. I consider myself very introverted. I prefer being by myself in my room thinking about life and all its wonders ;)

8. I attended the same school almost all the way from Kindergarten to 12th grade and now I work there!

9. I have a fascination and appreciation for ASL and the deaf culture. I'd love to adopt (or work with) deaf kids

10. Jesus is the love of my life and my best friend (*cough* I may have just given away the answer to the facts in my most popular blog post. . .)


I nominate these blogs for the Liebster Award -->

Love is an Action

You're Not Invisible

Watt's Happenings

Our Compassion Adventure


Please answer the following questions and nominate some of your favorite blogs for a Liebster Award:

1. How did you decide on the title for your blog?

2. Who/What is your inspiration?

3. How many countries have you traveled to in your lifetime?

4. What is your favorite blog post that I have written?

5. What is your favorite blog post that YOU have written?

6. What is your favorite Bible verse and why?

7. If you could spend a day with any person (living or dead) who would you choose?

8. Name a quirk of yours

9. Why did you decide to start a blog?

10. If you knew that today was your last day on earth how would you spend it?

11. Name 12 random facts about yourself

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wild About Kindergarten: A Wild Week!

Being back with the Kindergarten class has been great and it's been nice seeing all their adorable faces and hearing their sweet stories. We also have a new student in the class - another little girl! We're up to 2 girls and 5 boys.

This semester, Mrs. S asked me to teach Bible to the kids. I thought that this would be perfect because at the beginning of the year, I was praying about ways that I could encourage the kids in their faith. And this is it!

Last week, I continued where Mrs. S had left on and that was with the story of Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego (The Fiery Furnance). Even after Day 1 of teaching, the kids remembered key details in the story and most of the names. Very exciting!

Then things got even more exciting outside of the classroom but not exactly in a positive way.

On Friday we heard about the churches and shops that had been burned in Zinder (which is east of us here). All of a sudden on Saturday morning, churches and bars were being burned here in Niamey. Very, very scary.

I spent the day at a friend's house (along with my brother's senior class because they just returned from a camping trip). At first, we tried to just have fun by catching up with each other, snacking and watching a silly Barbie movie. But all of a sudden, we hear that the mob that's been burning churches around town are heading to our side of town.

We turned off the TV and the lights as the mob came right by the house. We could hear them yelling as they came by. Behind the house is a church where my school attended a few years back when our old school campus flooded. I don't think the church was burned but I think things were destroyed inside.

Throughout all of this, my mom was over at Sahel with most of the senior parents so it was a bit frightening being separated from her.

What was really comforting was knowing that I was surrounded by my friends, most of whom are strong Christians. We spent time praying together and talking. So even though we were terrified, we felt a lot of peace. John and I were able to head back home around 5 and the rest of the day was calm.

School was cancelled on Monday due to some protests in town so I worked on Bible lesson planning for the next week.

~ Highlights ~
1. Seeing all my friends at school again

2. Teaching the Kindergarten class Bible

3. Realizing that even though there were scary circumstances going on all around me, God was with with me through it all

4. The week before in school, I had taught the class about "The Fiery Furnace" and had taught the kids Joshua 1:9b. The themes really got me through the weekend with all that had happened

5. One of the boys in our class who was struggling to learn English can now read simple words and speaks a lot better.

~ Tough Moments ~
1. The burning of the churches around Niamey on Saturday

2. Struggling to keep the Kindergarten class motivated when helping them with certain assignments. If one student got antsy, so did everyone else

3. Learning the best ways to teach the kids about Bible. I'm not a trained teaching so sometimes, I really have no idea what I'm doing.

~ Prayer Requests ~
1. Please pray for the people affected by the events that took place on Friday and Saturday. Many pastors and their families lost homes and all their belongings. 10 people died so you can also pray for their families

2. Please pray for the building of the church buildings. Over 40 were destroyed on Saturday. Our own church wasn't completely destroyed but a few things were burned.

3. Please pray for all the Christians not to feel hatred or anger towards those who burned down the churches. Pray that we were would respond with love and even joy. God is with us no matter what!

4. Please help me this week as I continue to teach the Kindergarten class Bible. It's been a blast but I really pray that they're understanding how wonderful God is

5. Continue to pray for safety for Niger



Also. . . I need some help funding my upcoming trip to Honduras. I will be going to see two of my sponsored kids: Ali and Fadi. Please consider helping me. Click HERE to learn more. Thank you!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

January Update

Well hello and happy new year, everyone!!

I'm sorry that I haven't been blogging lately. The last few weeks have been very, very busy with the Galmi trip, Christmas, New Years Eve, our mission's annual conference and heading back to school. But I've finally found time to write!!!


Galmi
Galmi was a blast! I had a ton of fun living with Amy (my friend who taught with me for the 3 weeks) and hanging out with the kids.  Amy and I mainly worked with the two younger kids in Kindergarten and 1st grade. We rotated, teaching them Math, Spelling and Reading. We then worked with the older kids teaching them P.E., Reading, Math and Drama (they were working on their Christmas play).

The Galmi families were incredibly sweet and welcoming. We were invited over for dinner several times in the first week and the kids always expected our boundaries on when we wanted them over at our house. Almost every afternoon, the kids came over in small groups (there were 13 kids in all) to play games and watch videos. We ended up waiting A LOT of Ryan Higa and Pentatonix videos. We also had the kids over for a Christmas cookie making party and a movie night. Lots.Of.Fun!

Check out some of my pictures:






You can go to my Facebook Page to see the rest of the pictures. 


Christmas & Conference
This year's Christmas was very special for me because it was my last one in Niger. Our family didn't really do anything out of the ordinary but we had a blast. Christmas Eve, we all came out to the living room to eat dinner and watch It's A Wonderful Life. Afterward, we continued with our traditions and open our stockings. We then watched the Garfield and Charlie Brown Christmas videos before going to bed. Christmas Day, we had a special breakfast, opened presents and went to church. The best gift that I got was a sweet card from my brother and $10 towards my Honduras. He's the best brother ever! 

At our mission's annual conference, Amy and I met up again and basically spent 24/7 together. We worked on childcare, were on the worship teams, sat in on the secondary student's program, and went with the youth to the sand dunes. We made new friends, caught up with some Sahel alumni and learned a lot about the Holy Spirit. Now, Amy is back in her home country about to start university. I am now the last from my senior class left in Niger. 

Park W
Amy and I went to Park W for two nights with our families right after the conference. We were very lucky because this was Amy's first time and my last trip and we saw LIONS for the first time!! Super, duper exciting!! I'll try to put some pictures up on Facebook pretty soon because it was such an exciting trip. We also saw monkeys, elephants, a warthog, gazelles, DLTs ("Deer Like Things"), crocodiles, birds and baboons. Seriously, make sure to check Facebook this coming week to see the pictures. 

Wild About Kindergarten: 2nd Semester
I'm SO glad to be back in school with my cute little Kindergarten students. This semester, I'm also teaching the class Bible which has been very interesting. Mind you, I just graduated from high school and really have no teaching experience. However, so far it's been going pretty well. This week we talked about Shadrach Meshach and Abed-nego and throughout the week, the kids remember the character names, the storyline AND the lesson about God. Amazing! I'm so thankful for how God has been using me. We also have a new student in our class so you can pray that she'd catch up with the rest of the class and learn to fit in with the routine and rules. 

What You Can Look Forward To This Year . . .
~ Sponsorship Saturdays: Yep, I will be continuing with my "Sponsorship Saturday" posts at least up until I start university this fall. And then, I'll probably be giving updates on how my kids are doing. It all depends on how much time I'll have

~ God-filled Posts: As I prepare for some drastic changes and transitions in my life, I'll be posting a lot about how God's been working in me and through me


Honduras Trip Update
I'm not going to lie, I had no idea that fundraising would be this tough. I'm halfway to my $2,600 goal which is awesome but I've only got about a month left. It's exciting and scary at the same time. I'm worried that I won't be able to go and I'm excited about all that God has in store for me.

If you'd like to donate, please click HERE. Even $5 or $10 will help A LOT. Thank you!

Next week, I'll be starting back with my "Wild About Kindergarten" posts and the "Sponsorship Saturdays". Check the blog Wednesday and Saturday!

God bless you all!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sponsorship Saturday: My Christmas Wishlist

The older I get, the less Christmas gifts I want for myself. And this year is no different. To all my friends who are thinking of getting me a gift this year, how about buying a special gift for a child in need?

Have you checked out the Compassion International Gift Catalog yet? You can buy gifts for children or families in need like mosquito nets, safe drinking water, livestock and bicycles. Compassion will tell you how much each item will cost and you just have to buy it. Click on the link above to check out the various items that you can buy. 

Just think of how special this Christmas will be for these families when they receive a new goat so that they can sell its milk to earn a living? Or a bicycle that will get the children to school each day? Or how about just sponsoring a child for $38 a month and providing medical checkups, healthy meals, annual Christmas gifts, and the chance to build a long-lasting relationship? Just know that whether you decide to send a one-time gift or sponsor a child, you are making a HUGE difference in their life. Compassion focuses on raising a child out of poverty in Jesus' name. Even though you are providing food and education for them, you are giving them a way to eternal life with our Savoir too. And that is what Christmas is all about.

Would you like to do that? Would you like to make an impact in a child's life? 


There's one more thing that I'd like for Christmas this year. I've already mentioned it several times on my blog and also on my Facebook page. 

I signed up for the June 2015 trip to Honduras to finally meet Fadi and Ali. Right now, I'm in the process of raising the money to go. The trip will cost $2,600 for the plane travels, hotel stay, meals, translator and transportation for the sponsored kids. I'm trying to raise an extra $900 to pay for my flights to Florida and also to buy special goodies for my kids. 

If you'd like to donate to my trip, please click HERE



I hope all of you have a very merry Christmas this year! Don't forget the reason for the season! 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sponsorship Saturday: My Sponsorship Video

Since I'm in Galmi right now, I haven't had a lot of time to write my "Sponsorship Saturday" posts. So, I want to post this video again.  I made it last year while in the States. Please watch it and I pray that it would encourage you to sponsor a child:





Feel free to share the video with your friends and family.

Check out last week's "Sponsorship Saturday" post:


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sponsorship Saturday: Honduras Trip Update #1

If you look to the left at the link to my GoFundMe page, you'll see that I have moved up to 24% on my donations. And that pretty much happened in a day. I am very blessed to have friends and family who are willing to support me on this trip.

So far,  I have been able to raise $825. I need to get to $2,600 by March so that I can officially be registered for the trip. Getting the remaining $900 isn't as important because if I need to, I can use some of the money that I've been making this year.

I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to those who have been praying for me and also to those who have donated. I just know that this trip is going to be very, very special for me and for my sponsored kids.

I think about going to Honduras a lot. In fact, I'm sure that I daydream about it at least once a day. I love Fadi and Ali as if they really were my little sister and brother. And in a way they are because we are all in the family of Christ.

If you would like to donate to my trip or learn more, you can click on the link to the left of this post or click HERE. Or, click above on the Honduras 2015 tab.

Thank you again for supporting me!




Check out last week's "Sponsorship Saturday" post:





Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wild About Kindergarten: Week Thirteen

Whew! It's been a really long time since I've done these. While I won't go into a lot of detail, here are my Highlights, Tough Moments and Prayer requests. Then I'll talk about this new opportunity that will be happening next week!

~ Highlights ~
1. The kids can read now!! Well, the books are short and simple but they are recognizing their sight words and sounding out words. It's really exciting!

2. Our two non-English speakers are doing really well. One still isn't making conversation in English but he understands quite a bit.

3. Praying every morning for each other and people around the world. It's nice seeing answers to prayer too.

4. We celebrated a birthday today! The student's mom and dad brought in cake, balloons, juice boxes and gift bags for everyone. The most annoying thing though was the noisemakers. Need I explain more? They made a lot of noise . . .

5. The kids get really excited when they earn rewards for behaving well and being kind to one another. I love seeing the joy on their faces!

~ Tough Moments ~
1. I went a few days without my voice (laryngitis) and had to miss work. Although I was grateful for some days to rest, I missed the class and also missed out on a few other obligations. It was nice coming back though because the kids had been praying for me.

2. Sometimes, the kids really forget to be kind to each other and end up fighting. I never know what exactly to do.

3. We have days where all the kids are energetic and easily distracted. It's sometimes tough to teach them and keep them focused.

4. Sometimes, it's still hard to communicate with the kids who struggle with English.

~ Prayer Requests ~
1. I'm still trying to get rid of a cough and a cold due to my laryngitis. Please pray that I would fully recover before I have to leave for 3 weeks.

2. The kids have been sick. Please pray that they would be healthy.

3. We're getting ready for our annual Track & Field day. Please pray that all of us would stay safe and that we'd focus on having fun and not on winning (I'm especially excited for this year because I won't have to participate in any of the races or events. YAY!!).




And now, on to my exciting announcement!!

A friend and I have been given the opportunity to help teach at a school a few hours outside of Niamey for a few weeks. It's going to be quite the experience because we're both straight out of high school with not a lot of teaching experience. However, we both LOVE kids and LOVE serving Christ.

During this time, we'll be living together which will be a different thing for me. It will also be the longest that I've ever been away from my family. However, this whole trip is going to be good for me because college is coming up and I'll be even more independent.


I'm very thankful that Mrs. S and the school has allowed me to do this because I need as much experience as I can get with teaching. I still don't know if I want to be a full time teacher but I love working with kids and have been learning a lot this year.

I'm also very grateful and thankful for how God has been working in my life this year. He has given me so many amazing opportunities to do what I love:

- I spent the summer working at a camp where I had kids from 1 to 12 years old. The majority of the kids didn't speak English and I was also in charge of a lot of kids. While I don't think I'd ever do it again, it was a good learning experience

- I've been working this year at my old school which has been nice. I'm able to bond with my brother's class and build closer relationships with some of the younger students (I lead a small group at the middle school Bible study)

- The Kindergarten teacher went to John Brown University and majored in Early Childhood Education. It's been so cool learning from her and helping her out this year

- I'm still doing childcare at our church service. I love getting to know the toddlers. A few of them are the younger brothers and sisters of the Kindergarten class

- I've had a few times where I've been able to "teach" the Kindergarten class and work one on one with some of the students. I prefer the one on one part but it's all helpful

- And now, I get this amazing opportunity to live for a few weeks away from my family to help teach a class. God is good!!

Please pray that my friend and I would stay healthy and work well together. Also, please pray that this experience would help us to rely on God and point in the right career path.


Also. . . I need some help funding my upcoming trip to Honduras. I will be going to see two of my sponsored kids: Ali and Fadi. Please consider helping me. Click HERE to learn more. Thank you!

**My parents will also match any donations (up to $500) that come in TODAY for my trip! Click on the link above to donate and to learn more.