February news update
Hearing the news from our various friends around the world, it seems life is such a struggle for so many and it is easy to feel that there is so little we can do to bring about any effective change. That is in fact the truth – but our Heavenly Father continues to answer prayers and simply just asks us to trust Him and continue to do our part. Our missionary friends to Haiti, Boss and Missy Pettit, are still here in the US awaiting in a couple of weeks the birth of their 4th child. The situation in Haiti remains extremely difficult and dangerous, with the president basically running the country by himself. People are without work, food and basic necessities. The opposition has changed tactics and now has armed gangs roaming around openly kidnapping anyone for ransom. In the past, there was an average of 5 kidnappings a month in Haiti. Now there are 15 per day!!! Schools are closing in fear of children being kidnapped. However the Lift Kids Haiti ministry there continues to flourish in spite of it all – there are now EIGHT kids churches meeting each week (only 6 a couple of months ago!), and the local team continues both strong and faithful. Please pray for their continued protection and provision during this very difficult time – and for God to soon bring about a more positive change in that country. The news from Africa this month also gives testimony to the great things God continues to do through his people in spite of very difficult circumstances. Be blessed! Shirley
Pastor Sika in Togo asks for special prayer as the presidential elections are planned for February 22nd. He reports that: “the dictatorial power and its militias beat, mistreat, imprison and burn people’s homes just if they find out you’re against them. We live in a jungle but the gospel is not forbidden…” This first photo shows a home being burned because its occupants would not support the president/dictator.
A few months ago, we shared about one of the oldest boys at the Joseph Project Orphanage, Kossi Biam. He has been at the JP for around 5 years and has been a great help as a student leader and working with the ag project. He had very little schooling before the JP and in spite of trying hard, he found school very difficult and felt out of place in the class of children much younger than him. His heart’s desire was to learn the trade of welding, and we shared that Pastor Sika had found him a place as an apprentice with a good welder in Lomé. However it would cost a total of $650 for his 4 year apprenticeship and tools. It has been a matter of prayer for several months, and then just a week ago, Pastor Sika wrote me to say that Kossi was really struggling with it and beginning to doubt God would ever work. It was a couple of hours before I could reply, and as I sat down to write an e-mail of encouragement, I received another from Pastor Sika saying the prayer had been answered!! A faithful supporter felt God telling her to use her vacation fund money to send to Togo to pay for Kossi’s apprenticeship!! Awesome!!
By the end of the week, Pastor Sika had brought Kossi to Lomé, where he started work with the welder the following day! He is provided accommodation, and several families from Bethany Baptist Church in Lomé will help provide him with meals and food. In addition, he can attend the church there where Pastor Sika can continue to mentor and help him. Kossi’s desire is to start his own welding business one day and be able to train other boys from the JP in the future. God is soooo good! This photo show Kossi on his first day of apprenticeship. His new boss reports that he is a quick and eager learner who is working hard already! A great testimony and encouragement to everyone!
Pastor Honoré in Central African Republic reports that both the church and school are going well. However he asks prayer for the teachers and especially that God will send in provision to feed the students on a regular basis as so many of the children depend on the food they receive there. Prayers also continue to be able to put a roof on the new church building as soon as possible.
Michael in Kenya gives praise for the recent special donation from a friend in Sweden, which is enabling him to move ahead with phase 4 of his house building – plastering, wiring and plumbing. (As Mike is also doing this work himself, he is rapidly growing in his ability as a construction worker!).
For the past 10 days he has been in Uganda helping a British ministry called “Through the Roof”. They supply walkers, crutches, wheelchairs and other aids to people of all ages with disabilities. His Facebook page shows lots of exciting photos and videos of this ministry trip that helped 237 people and distributed 147 wheelchairs! Mike was there to help in many ways including as interpreter, evangelist and simply to share God’s love and encouragement. His puppet friend, Davis, (seen in this photo) is always a great hit and a perfect way to break the ice and share Jesus while people wait for hours in line.
But more important than the numbers, are the stories of so many people whose lives are so greatly encouraged and changed by this event. Trucks brought in up to 50 individuals at the time who had no other means to get to the clinic due to being crippled by disease or accidents. Mike shares the story of one young mother, Margret, and her daughter Martha, who was born healthy but at 6 months of age she developed weakness in her joints and became crippled. As a result, after one year the husband sent away this poor lady and her child. (In Africa, so often handicaps and disabilities are believed to be the result of curses or sin, resulting in complete shunning and isolation). Margret went back to her parents and finally got married again; she is still struggling but she is happy that at least she is accepted there. We can only imagine the joy that comes to such individuals when they not only experience the gift of a wheelchair that opens up new freedom, but also the love of Jesus shared by kind strangers.