July news update
After more than a year living in Maryland, Gerald and I got to spend a week back in Texas recently visiting with family and friends. It was a lovely and relaxing week during which I spent lots of time playing with Bekah (6) and Thomas (4), and doing plenty of talking! Gerald helped our son Mark with some of the chores like moving hay, and enjoyed catching catfish in the pond there! It was a real blessing to see loved ones again. It is sad that we have to be separated by such long distances, but we were able to make some lovely new memories. One thing I learned some 40 years ago when I left home and family in England to come to the USA – we never know what the future holds so must do our best to appreciate every day!
Gerald and I have been watching several documentary series on television about traveling in many different countries around the world. I continue to be amazed at just how difficult life is for the majority of people on earth, whose daily lives consist of hours of backbreaking work such as planting rice or breaking huge rocks into gravel; or walking miles every day to fill heavy pots with contaminated water. It truly is incredible how so many manage to survive such terrible conditions. But the amazing thing is that so many children all over the world somehow manage to enjoy playing in the dirt and have eager, beaming smiles! There are still SO MANY people who need to hear about Jesus! I am thankful that we can actually make life a little better for some by our support and prayers for our African partners and their ministries. Blessings, Shirley
Pastor Honoré sent us photos of the several graduating classes at the newly formed CEERCA ministry school there in Central African Republic. In addition to several hundred children completing various stages of schooling, 34 adults recently graduated from the adult literacy program there (see below left). What a difference made to so many lives, bringing new hope for a brighter future after years of chaos and civil strife!!He reports that they plan to hold a two-week training seminar for children’s ministry next week, before holding Vacation Bible School in August. You may recall the many difficult trials and setbacks he and his ministry have experienced over the years, and even in recent months. We praise God for Pastor Honoré’s faithfulness, and continue to pray that as the Gospel goes forth there, it will impact and change not only the area, but the whole country! We also pray that God will enable them to complete construction of the roof on the church very soon.
Mike continues very busy in Kenya, especially with ministry opportunities in a variety of schools. Over the past few weeks (among other events) he spoke to many high school boys at a mission weekend; ministered at Namawanga girls high school; and even spoke at Kaimosi teachers training college. His strongly evangelical messages continue to lead many to accept Jesus Christ – with the need to find suitable places for water baptism nearby! He has also become well-known as a “go to” person for bible teaching resources, thereby helping other ministers in both churches and schools. He is currently helping prepare again for the upcoming 3rd annual children’s ministry training conference with Children Worldwide in Kitale August 22-24. He just sent us this picture of his son Trevor helping with the puppet ministry – great hopes for even more children’s ministry in the future!
Pastor Sika recently visited the Joseph Project Orphanage again and reports that all there are doing well. We pray for continued good harvests in the fields and for the fruit trees there to produce abundantly to help reduce the basic monthly food bill, which averages around $900 total and has been severely lacking in recent months. In the next month or so it will be time once more to prepare for the coming school year. Clothes, tuition and school supplies for the 17 JP kids total $400. We pray for special provision for this extra need. The photo below shows the 5 orphans who are currently in high school, but would have to be found apprenticeships before graduating if there continue to be insufficient funds and support. The 2nd photo shows the new cocoyam patch planted next to the JP church.
The final photo shows a woman who is a relative of one of the JP orphans and recently gave her life to Jesus after confessing to years of being a witch in the village. There is no doubt that the witness and testimony of the orphans and other church members is gradually having an impact on the lives of local villagers, in spite of the many setbacks. We join with the prayers of all at the JP that God will touch the lives of new people to become regular supporters so that the work and ministry done through the orphanage can continue to bless many. Special thanks and appreciation to all of you who continue to send financial support directly to Pastor Sika for the JP orphanage. Please contact me if you would like details on how to send funds to him.