June news with exciting reports from our partners in Africa
Living now in Maryland where we are so much closer to the capital and also many different military bases, we’ve found that celebrating Memorial Day is quite different from East Texas. Our church (Real Life Wesleyan) held a big celebration and I helped organize a fundraiser for missions in Haiti – a home-made bake sale featuring goodies from about 10 different countries around the world! Although the planned mission trip had to be rescheduled (possibly November) one of our group, Tom (who has visited the ministry there three times before) decided to go with another friend so that they could take many of the kids shoes and backpacks that we had collected. They left last Wednesday and plan to return next week.
He has sent us texts telling of some of the challenges they’ve already encountered – including plane trouble causing several hours delay at DC airport that resulted in them missing the connection in Miami and having to stay overnight! The multiple suitcases got on the wrong plane, and while trying to get them back later, Tom and the missionaries were blocked from going to the airport by huge crowds protesting the government! Thankfully the bags were all retrieved safely the following day and everyone is safe, although we continue to keep them in our prayers. To some it may seem to mean that he was not supposed to go, but the reality is that even the most well organized mission trips run into unforeseen obstacles, scary challenges, and intense faith-testing ordeals!
Jesus gave all his followers the Great Commission, which is quite simple and clear. But he never said it would be easy, and in fact in Luke 10 we read that as he sent out the 70 to take the Gospel into other towns and villages, he warned in verse 3 that they would actually be “like lambs amongst wolves”. Yet he still commanded them to go – and in fact, they returned “with joy” (v.17) and the following verses speak of the joy Jesus experienced because of what God was accomplishing through them all. Mission trips are NOT vacations but spiritual battles – but ones we are not fighting alone because the Holy Spirit is with us and great things can be accomplished for God! We remember that as we read the news from our friends in Africa. Be blessed and please keep them all in your prayers. Shirley.
Pastor Sika has been ill over the past month with lung infections that the doctors attribute to constant exposure to the dust. The car he had has been out of commission for the past 18 months due to needing a new engine and so he has had to travel everywhere by motorcycle again. Since most of the roads are dirt, travel involves either going through slick mud or clouds of dust – both with serious consequences! We pray God will both heal him and also provide a means of better transportation soon. However he was able to share the Gospel with a group of motorcycle “taxi drivers” (1st photo) – and reports the miracle of ALL of them confessing Jesus Christ as Savior! Immediately after, a woman approached him asking prayer for her daughter who had unbearable leg pain that doctors could not help. Pastor Sika preached the Gospel to the girl and she confessed that she had lived a rebellious life and had an abortion. She had been abandoned by her boyfriend who cast demonic spells on her, resulting in the leg pain. She asked the Lord’s forgiveness, accepted Christ and was both saved and instantly healed! Now she and her parents are attending the church (2nd photo).
Pastor Sika continues to visit the orphans when he can, and thankfully the crops are growing well so far this year – which is a blessing, as since we had to dissolve IMOF Inc. financial support has dropped considerably. He sincerely thanks those who continue to send funds directly via Wells Fargo bank or Western Union/Moneygram, but the reality is that the orphans now basically have just one main meal per day. We pray that God will somehow raise up other ways for them to be provided with what is needed on a daily basis. The 1st photo below shows the staff and orphans (now mostly teenagers) at the JP, and the 2nd shows Pastor Sika with one of the boys in the cassava field. There are also some fruit trees that provide fruit in season, such as guavas, pears, mangos and bananas.
Pastor Honoré reported three weeks ago that his wife Clarisse, young daughter Divine, and baby Brian were also involved in a motorcycle accident. Thankfully the baby suffered no serious injury, but Divine suffered a broken leg and Clarisse had a serious shoulder injury. Honoré still had his leg in a cast from his accident, so they were all at home suffering for several weeks! However, thankfully the work of the church and school continued well and he sent us several photos of the school graduation. The photos below show the Kindergarten graduation. The primary school and adult literacy graduations will follow later this month. Considering the fact that Pastor Honoré has been unable to preach or administer in the schools for the past couple of months, it is truly amazing how God has blessed the work of all who continue so faithfully there, with both the schools and feeding programs that were only started a few months ago! Some government officials came to visit again to see the progress, and the elementary school ceremony next week will apparently be on Vision 4 TV and the National Radio there!
Mike took a team of children’s ministers that he had trained (some from when they were children themselves!) to Tanzania a few weeks ago. Mike let them do most of the ministry in schools and churches, and was really blessed by how well they did.
He was able to be home to celebrate the birthday of his twins Joy and Anna, now 11, but he is once again on a ministry trip with Wheels for the World. He has shared some awesome videos and photos on his Facebook page as he brings the Gospel and encouragement and joy to so many children and adults with disabilities there using his puppet, Davis. With the visiting team from the UK, he ministered in the Palorinya refugee camp near Moyo in Northern Uganda near the Sudanese border. These photos show him with his puppet as they shared the Gospel and God’s love to some 1,638 pupils at a school, as well as many delighted people of all ages in the camp.
If you are prepared to be reduced to tears, look him up on Facebook to see dozens of amazing photos as wheelchairs and other aids were given to hundreds of desperately disabled people there. Just imagine living with a disability (and shunned by all as many believe it’s the result of a curse!) in a place such as this pictured below: