August news update
Summertime here in the USA is always a “different” time for many churches – with families off on vacation, groups of youngsters going off to camp, and possibly special events such as Vacation Bible School. At Real Life Wesleyan Church where we attend here in Maryland it is no different. We have VBS planned in a week or so, and there are always new children that attend. Last year, several families with special needs children attended, and as a result our daughter, Anna, felt confirmation that she should start a special needs ministry at the church. She has been developing it since then and has given it the name ACCESS. In addition to helping with Lily (4) who needs one-on-one supervision, I have been helping to develop the program, and we now have a small team trained to provide one-on-one ministry to such children during 2 of the 3 weekend services. We plan to provide such ministry during the upcoming VBS, and about a week ago we held a Respite night for the kids and their siblings, while their parents had an “evening out”. It turned out very well with several different play areas featuring sensory toys and games, and all the participants really enjoyed playing together and making new friends – as seen in these pictures.
I continue to write a short monthly kids message for the Christian magazine in India, and am in the middle of a brief series sharing the true testimonies of childhood experiences of some of my personal friends around the world. These are also posted on our website, and include Mike’s story in Kenya, and also that of a dear friend and supporter named Kathy, in Los Angeles. I have also recently combined many of the previous messages into short teaching series (such as based on bible heroes and the Sermon on the Mount) which are shared on the Resources page of our website. I encourage you to check them out if you can. Be blessed and enjoy the rest of the summer! Shirley.
Mike posted some great photos on his Facebook page recently, including this one of a huge youth conference he ministered at last week in Kipsigis in Kenya. MANY young people gave their lives to Jesus Christ – always a great hope and encouragement for the future there! The second picture shows children’s ministry in an amazing house church that he also visited recently. He continues in our prayers especially for the upcoming big annual children’s ministry conference in Kitale August 22-24.
Pastor Sika tells us that he is very thankful and appreciative of the donations sent to him recently for the Joseph Project Orphanage – including funds that will enable the orphans to attend school again this year! It’s a real answer to prayer as these young people really need to complete their education if they are to have any chance in life! He has just returned from visiting the orphanage and was able to go ahead and buy the necessary school supplies. Everyone there continues to pray and trust that God will continue to meet their regular monthly needs. The first picture below shows the orphans and staff, along with all involved with the JP there in Sika Kondji, at a recent meeting where the future of the Joseph Project was discussed and prayed for. As in many parts of Africa, the blessing of being able to pray and petition Almighty God through our Lord Jesus Christ is not taken lightly. The second picture shows local pastors gathering at a regular monthly prayer meeting at Pastor Sika’s home in Lomé. Pastor Sika also asks for our prayers for himself personally, as he is presently suffering great pain in his hip, aggravated by all the traveling he does on his motorcycle.
Pastor Honore in C.A.R. sent more pictures of the graduation celebrations recently at the CEERCA ministry site, as seen below. The ministry continues to grow and strengthen, with recent special events of teaching a children’s ministry training seminar, followed by a week of Vacation Bible School. We look forward to sharing more news and pictures in the next newsletter, and keep him and the work there all in our prayers.