September news update
As we read each month of the many different ministry accomplishments of our African partners, their struggles with sickness and disease, the obstacles and even persecution they often face, we might easily forget how different their daily lives are “at home”. Home life in Africa differs greatly from that which most of us enjoy here in the West. Meals are basically the same every day (corn mush), and usually cooked outdoors or in a tiny kitchen set apart. Bathrooms are also usually “outhouses” with a bucket of water to wash with, and homes are tiny and cramped – often with shared bedrooms and “storage” that consists of bags, clothing and other personal items all stacked in bags in a corner!
When I stayed with Mike in Kenya in 2006, I stayed in one of the three tiny rooms (not counting the little kitchen add-on!) of his house made with mud bricks. My room held a single bed, and there was a space about a foot wide as free space down one side of the bed! Since then he and Irene have had 3 more children, and also look after some of Irene’s young relatives who come from Uganda to attend school. This photo shows the room where his children have been sleeping. He was able to add an extra room or two during the years, but a couple of months ago he had to face the fact that the walls badly needed repair once again. As he prayed, he felt filled with faith to believe to build his “dream house”.
Mike had been given some funds while in the UK earlier this year, and felt it was time to take a leap of faith. He was able to share his dream with a visiting group who also quickly collected some money. Although about $2,500 will barely accomplish anything here in the West, coupled with a local builder, some helpers and LOTS of hard work, his dream house is well underway! Loads of rocks were brought to the house and this photo shows Mike transporting one of many 300lb sacks of cement on his bicycle down the long road from town.
The new walls were built outside the existing house, and then the original mud walls had to be knocked down for the remaining interior walls to be built. The family has been living in a huge mess for the past several weeks, but at last everything is ready for the roof construction which should be done this coming week. We ask for your prayers that God will quickly send in the final funds needed to put in the back door, 7 windows, water pipes and flooring. Last month Mike once again helped with a large children’s ministry training conference in addition to some big youth events, and he plans to go to Tanzania again in late October with the mission helping people with disabilities. We pray all the construction will be completed soon so that he and the family can enjoy their new home and get back to “normal” life and ministry! Thanks for your ongoing prayers and support for him and our other partners.
In Central African Republic, Pastor Honoré is also at an exciting stage with the new church construction on the CEERCA site. You may recall that the foundation for the church was laid back in 2012. Tens of thousands of bricks were handmade by him and his team – only to be stolen on multiple occasions! Civil unrest and many obstacles caused long delays in the construction, but Pastor Honoré never gave up. The temporary tent building was erected a couple of years ago, and the actual church ministry grew and strengthened until last year they finally opened the school there, both for children and adult literacy. Pastor Honoré, along with the rest of his family, have all been ill this past month with bad fevers. They held a large training seminar for children’s ministry but have postponed VBS until later as school is starting again. Thankfully, construction of the new walls is now complete and this photo shows the lovely new church built around the existing tent. We pray God will soon send in funds to complete the roof and windows.
Pastor Sika sent us a detailed update recently about the Joseph Project orphanage. This year the agricultural project brought a very successful harvest again and they continue to develop different crops and edible plants to help supplement the food for the orphans. Sadly this time of year is when malaria and other infections are very prevalent. Pastor Sika himself, was sick again with high fever, and he continues to try to improve the situation for the orphans in the hope of keeping them healthy. After our last newsletter, several supporters helped with special donations, and so in addition to buying important school supplies, Pastor Sika was able to buy more meat and fish to improve the diet at the JP. He also bought more cleaning and disinfecting supplies to do a thorough sanitizing to better guarantee hygienic conditions in the future. Two of the orphans are HIV positive, and are shown in this first photo along with the JP staff. Pastor Sika has arranged for a doctor to keep a check on these orphans, but special medications are needed that are very expensive.
The photo below shows all the 17 orphans currently at the JP, several of whom are in their final year of school. The student leader, shown in the final photo, has had a long-standing desire to learn a trade rather than continue with schooling. A place has been found for him to get an apprenticeship in a renowned welder’s workshop in Lomé, but a total of $450 is required for him to begin the 3-year contract, and another $200 to buy his own tools. It is hoped that at the end of his training he can set up his own workshop. Four of the girls are also hoping to start apprenticeships once they complete this next year’s schooling. We ask for your prayers that God will touch the hearts of those who could sponsor these young people. When we think of how expensive college is here in the USA, where so many seem to drop out, unsure of what they want to do in life, $650 seems comparatively little to help these young people move ahead into a self-supporting life.