In the news and through our own various friends and contacts, we all continually hear of sad or tragic stories that make us wish we could help. The photos of suffering and loss after a hurricane and the seemingly endless statistics of people in desperate need all over the world can sometimes tempt us to lose hope or even doubt our faith. Sadly there is still so much darkness on the earth, yet Jesus calls us to “let our light shine” – to not be overcome by the darkness, shrinking back to hide, but instead to be strong in our faith and always be eager to share with others the hope and joy that our salvation brings. This month we want to highlight how our African partners continue to do just that. Be blessed! Shirley and Gerald.
Mike in Kenya has spent the past week or so helping once again with a visiting team from “Wheels for the World” who come annually to the Kimilili area to distribute many dozens of wheelchairs that change the lives of children and adults who would otherwise be literally imprisoned in their homes as they cannot walk. Here in the West it is hard to grasp just how terrible life can be in a third world country for someone who is disabled or “handicapped”. Whether the cause is cerebral palsy, a stroke, polio, or some other crippling condition, the sufferer is often kept hidden and viewed as an outcast to be shunned and rejected, even at times considered to be the result of a curse!
To receive a wheelchair that enables them to actually go outside of their home is something maybe they never even dreamed of. To meet up with dozens of other fellow sufferers; be shown love and affection from total strangers; and receive a toy and play games with other children literally changes their lives – especially when they also learn of Jesus’ love and the message of hope! Just see the joy of such children as they play with balloons in this video clip on Mike’s Facebook page.
As Mike says: “The terrible disability is not believing in Jesus Christ as Lord!” But thanks to literally months of hard work from a very special supporter (who herself suffers from some very debilitating conditions), Mike will soon be joined by a very unique team member, as seen in this photo. This amazing puppet is actually 6-in-1 with interchangeable hair and clothes – all knitted!! We pray she reaches Mike safely and will bring joy and blessing to hundreds of children.
Pastor Honoré in C.A.R. continues to plan teaching and outreach events, despite the very unstable situation in that nation. For years now there have been violent deadly outbursts and attacks from rival rebel groups, and very poor government leadership. The Central African Republic is truly a nation in darkness. Recent reports tell of millions still displaced, and chronic malnutrition affecting 40% of children there! It apparently has the second highest newborn fatality rate in the world – so many problems and little chance of improvement for years to come. Yet the Gospel continues to be spread there. Pastor Honoré just completed a week-long seminar to train children’s ministers, and this was followed by a “practical session” – a week-long Vacation Bible School at the CEERCA site! This was a huge success (as seen in these pictures) and was attended by 118 children, who heard the Gospel, enjoyed many games, stories and singing, and received a special meal. We pray many will begin to attend the weekly church services there, bringing their parents and other family members.
Pastor Sika in Togo just sent us another report along with many photos, and once again it shares some of the sadness and despair caused by the darkness in that country. The chaotic political situation is doing nothing to reduce the rising prices or ease the situation for the majority of people who live in poverty. After about half a century of rule by one powerful family, the leaders and their devoted followers are loath to give up their comfortable positions and luxurious lifestyles for a truly democratic style of government. This photo shows a rich family burying their father using his car as the coffin, while the people living nearby are ill-fed and very poor. Apparently such practices are becoming more and more common in Togo.
Pastor Sika writes about the woman pictured below: “During our evangelism session, we came across this woman and her child who have been hopelessly fighting for a living. I preached to this woman who accepted Christ but confesses that her husband would not allow the child to be brought to church since this child has already been devoted to Voodoo. Prayers are needed. Seeing her situation, I was obliged to help her financially. This is to avoid her as a married woman having to continue begging for a living.” Like her, the majority of the population is still in bondage and spiritual darkness putting their hopes and trust in witchcraft, idols and ancestor worship.
But Pastor Sika and his team continue to preach in pagan villages, such as the one seen here below, where he recently baptized new believers. He writes: “It is a village in which people place their confidence wholly in idolatry. We even had to negotiate with the people before being allowed to baptize people in the river of the village. We have previously been chased away twice while trying to baptize in other rivers of this village. There about twenty other newly converted souls who are attending Baptism class and are also waiting for their baptism in due time….”
In his church in Lomé, Bethany Baptist, there was great sadness at the death of a young girl, a faithful church member, who died after kidney failure. This girl could have been saved if she had been given appropriate health care, but since neither her family nor the church could afford the costs of dialysis which would have kept her alive, she lost her fight for life. Pastor Siki and his wife visited the young girl in hospital at the beginning and during critical times of her sickness, and praise God she had peace knowing she was going to be with Jesus, but such lack of medical treatment is a sad challenge there in Africa still today.
But Pastor Sika thanks us for our prayers and says they are an essential help as they continue to spread the Gospel in all of Togo, which is bringing the Light into many areas of darkness there. These photos show him sharing the Gospel with soldiers, and showing Jesus movies in the open air at night. Please pray for many souls to come to the Lord through his ministry. Children return to school in Togo at the end of September. Please pray for the Lord to provide for both the Joseph Project Orphans and Pastor Sika’s own children to start their different studies: primary school, secondary education and university (where three of Pastor Sika’s sons are now attending as students).