Happy Easter! I hope that many of you are able to enjoy the lovely Spring weather that has finally arrived here in the US. The trees have just burst into new leaf here, and there are the first wildflowers appearing. I know that for some of you (especially those in other countries) the concept of winter and spring is new to experience, as where you live there are dry and rainy seasons instead. But for us, the signs of new life so aptly fit into the Easter season with the exciting message that Jesus Christ is risen and in Him we can also experience new life! Gerald is busy planting raised vegetable beds and flower beds – the latter being something of a new experience as we had to focus on growing food for the family for so many years! Our twin grandchildren here are both so happy to be able to play outside again at last and we have already begun to enjoy visits to pretty gardens and lovely beaches.
I have been busy with preparations to take a small group from our church on a short mission trip to Haiti in early May – although sadly this has just had to be postponed until the fall because of a no travel advisory. It was a great blessing a few months ago when our pastor asked me to help develop the mission program here at Real Life Wesleyan church, and we became connected with an exciting children’s ministry in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, called Lift Kids Haiti. For the past 7 years they have been developing fast-growing kids churches in several villages, as well as starting two free schools. They have at last been able to build a church and Real Life is helping construct three classrooms above the sanctuary to be used as Sunday school classes and school during the week.
With our small team we will also be doing some children’s ministry, and I am translating the new Promise Book for Kids into Haitian Creole (with the help of the Internet!) so we can hand out printed copies to many of the kids there. Since Haitian Creole is a form of pidgin French, I am drawing on my distant memories of studying French for 5 years in school (some 50 years ago!!). We have a challenge between kids and youth groups at church to collect shoes and backpacks to take with us, so there’s a lot going on – not to mention our ongoing correspondence and prayers for our partners in Africa.
Mike returned home safely to Kimilili a few weeks ago after a very busy time traveling and ministering in many parts of the UK. He had his first experience of real wintry weather and even built his first ever snowman! He spoke for over an hour at a children’s ministry conference about his ministry in Kenya, and was also very encouraged and refreshed by the messages from other speakers. He visited and spoke with many different church groups and was even able to speak in some schools (though wasn’t allowed to give an altar call). He also was interviewed on the radio in the Isle of Mann! He has shared many photos and comments on his Facebook page, and is already back hard at work in Kenya. We praise God for his safe and blessed trip, and continue to keep him in our prayers.
Pastor Sika reports that the crops are planted and growing well at the Joseph Project orphanage in Togo this year, and the children are all doing well. Unfortunately he has a major prayer request regarding the village leaders in Sika-Kondji. As you may recall his uncle, the chief there, is old and must step down. The village elders recently came and insisted that Pastor Sika take over as chief even though the village is about 4 hours from Lomé and Pastor Sika has no desire to take over the position. It involves working with other political leaders in the region, and of course he is already so busy pastoring and working with Operation Christmas Child etc. But the elders insisted, and after the ceremony said that Pastor Sika must reduce his Christian activities, and instead promote the tribal religion and customs as the ancestors have always done. Of course, Pastor Sika refuses to do so! Please pray as there was a lot of tension and the elders are planning to return in early May with a large delegation to persuade him!
Pastor Honoré in CAR recently had a nasty motorcycle accident resulting in a badly broken leg and a lot of pain and nerve damage. He had to have surgery and now has a cast for 6 weeks. Please pray for his pain to ease and that the leg will heal completely without further problems. Thankfully he has a good team working with the CEERCA church and school now.