Special Easter news update
Dear Friends and Partners,
As we approach another Easter celebration with Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, we pray that each and every one of you will experience a reviving of your spirit as you focus once again on what Jesus did because of his love for YOU!! No matter how often we read the account of Jesus’ suffering, nor how many “good” films we see where Jesus’ final days on earth are portrayed clearly and candidly, the truth is that we CANNOT truly grasp how much he suffered in our place. In fact, not only did he suffer here on earth, but he also suffered in Hell where he confronted Satan before finally defeating him and breaking loose from death’s power to rise to eternal life. It is beyond our comprehension – yet we can accept it by faith and with the utmost gratitude expressed by our daily devotion and commitment to serve him.
I am reminded of times when I experienced a really “close call” in the past – perhaps I just made a decision and didn’t recognize the significance of it until later when I realized how “lucky” I was that I hadn’t chosen another path which could have led to disaster! Or maybe I was just going about my day, blissfully unaware of events that came uncomfortably close to turning my life upside down! I think of that moment of sudden realization and the feeling of alarm that overwhelms me as I contemplate what might have been if it were not for God’s loving grace and mercy! It is a reminder that I am human and oh so fallible! THANK GOD for Jesus who is looking out for me! Salvation is not just something we accept one day and are reminded of in religious terms at Easter and in church. Salvation brings a new personal relationship with Jesus and our Heavenly Father and includes gifts of love, protection, guidance, provision….How can we NOT be eager to share that with everyone we meet? May you be able to share this gift with many who need it over this wonderful holiday season! Happy Easter! Gerald and Shirley.
2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (NLT): “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.”
Pastor Honoré in Central African Republic wrote to say that he has been ill with malaria, heart pains and severe mouth sores preventing him from eating. He spent two days in hospital and several days recovering at home, but is finally getting better, praise God. The church congregation continues to grow in maturity and a baptism service is planned this Saturday, followed by a special Easter service on Sunday. This photo shows him and Clarisse enjoying a meal with some friends from church a couple of months ago. They continue to hope to start construction of the walls of a permanent church building on the ministry site, where they presently meet in a more temporary structure.
Michael in Kenya is presently on a special ministry trip with a couple of his team in Taveta, about 200 miles south of Nairobi, on the Tanzania border. He has just posted some pictures on his Facebook page and we ask for your prayers during the coming week as he ministers with a busy schedule there including to children, youth and also training for children’s ministers. Here are a couple of his photos:
Pastor Sika in Togo sent us the long and detailed report of his ministry a month ago and so we want to continue to share more of his news and pictures. The first months of each year he is particularly busy organizing the distribution of the OCC shoe boxes across the southern part of Togo. This year he was responsible for 13 of the 36 container loads sent to Togo!! The photo below shows some of the boxes being unloaded and opened. He reports that several pastors are using them for church planting and he personally has used them to plant two churches in two different areas. The church in Fiokondji is still struggling due to opposition from pagan villagers who fear their beliefs in witchcraft and ancestry worship are being challenged (and rightly so!). The photo below shows Pastor Sika with the church members – consisting at present of 30 kids, 5 teenagers and 3 adults! The other photo shows him visiting with the 80 year old village chief there as he wants to share the Gospel with him.
Pastor Sika and his team have also been sharing the Gospel in several other small remote villages and in one a whole family accepted Christ (see first photo below). A total of 45 people in 4 villages recently accepted Christ, and so Pastor Sika is praying for more native missionaries to visit them and do discipleship ministry. He distributes bibles to new believers in the villages and also in schools and prisons whenever he is able to get them. His team gives bible lessons such as the one being shared in this school (center photo) and the Bible Society of Togo helps his ministry by donating bibles (of which of course there are never enough!) and also some basic food stuffs to be distributed to prisoners. He recently visited a newly built prison in Kpalime, about 110 miles from Lomé (see final photo).
You can read Pastor Sika’s full report on our website and the full list of his prayer requests which include:
“We pray that the Lord provides my family and my co-workers with financial means as we minister.
We request a faithful prayer for the pressing need of financial means for the building of churches in the villages of Fiokondji, Djagble, and Sika Kondji, and so on.
We pray that the Lord provides us with two motorcycles for our activities.
We pray that the Lord implements the project of the two seamstresses.
We mostly need your prayers so that the Lord provides more financial means to support our orphans.
Let’s also pray for the Lord to provide financial means for the social reinsertion of the freed prisoners…”
If you would like to support Pastor Sika’s ministry (or that of our other African partners) contact us or donate via PayPal with the button on the side bar. Thank you!