As we draw closer to celebrate Thanksgiving soon here in the USA, our thoughts often turn to consider our blessings and give thanks to God for his love, protection and provision for us. However at times the events that we are caught up in make it particularly difficult for us to be thankful – they may even make us question God or be angry with Him! I am busy preparing for our new missionary friends, the Pettit family from Haiti, to visit our church for the week before Thanksgiving. Thankfully, I tend to prepare everything well in advance, because we just learned that our 46 year old son-in-law Rocky suffered a massive heart attack on Friday evening and passed away. He and our daughter, Melissa, have been married for about 15 years and have a blended family, most of whom are grown now, but it came as a terrible shock.
Gerald and I flew back to Texas for the funeral and to be with everyone. I returned to Maryland on Saturday for the missionary visit, but Gerald will stay on another week in Texas. I have realized the great benefit of texting these past few days – it is so much easier than trying to overcome our emotions as we talk! Rocky was a wonderful, kind-hearted man; a loving father and always eager to help others. He will be greatly missed, but our consolation is that he has gone on to be with Jesus and we will be able to enjoy his company again in Heaven one day forever. At such times, we cannot understand “why?” but we know that God is a loving father who understands our sorrow and will guide us through each day until we one day get to know ALL the answers. I pray that even in difficult times we will all be able to look through the dark clouds and find the light and love of Jesus reaching down to help and encourage us. Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving! Shirley.
Pastor Sika in Togo sent us the news almost a month ago about the terrible flooding especially around Sika-Kondji. Many of you may have already seen some of the photos. The Mono River is only a couple of miles from the Joseph Project orphanage and torrential downpours caused it to break its banks and flood a huge area. It completely washed away two villages, and flooded the JP fields to a depth of about 6 feet! However prayers were answered and the floodwater never actually entered the JP compound. These photos show homes affected very near the orphanage.
The villages were cut off for several weeks and Pastor Sika has not been able to visit yet himself, although finally was able to send food and supplies to the orphanage. The Red Cross has set up camps for the many people who have lost everything. This picture was taken right behind one of the JP dorms. Our prayers go out to everyone affected and we pray that God will somehow use this tragedy to draw many more to accept Jesus.
Pastor Honore in C.A.R. wrote to say that he had been sick again, but the work continues with the church construction, the school, training seminars and more. We look forward to hearing more news soon but can see from this photo that the kids are really enjoying school there.
Mike in Kenya reports that he and the family are now living in their new home – although the windows lack glass and so it gets very cold at night. He went recently to Tanzania to help with ministry to the disabled, and shared this photo of him with a young boy without arms or legs – such pictures make us realize how blessed we really are and how much worse our life could be (and probably would be if we lived in Africa!).
He then visited Rongo again in southern Kenya and did some great kids and youth ministry, as seen in these pictures. The final photo shows his children who are now also helping a lot in the ministry and recently sang and shared on a local radio station! What a joy to see how Mike’s gifts and talents are passing on to the next generation!