Special Christmas newsletter
As Christmas approaches we are all having to adjust to not celebrating it as we have been accustomed in past years – maybe unable to travel to be with loved ones; foregoing Christmas shopping in cheerfully decorated stores for online shopping; maybe even having to watch Christmas services from home! But thankfully many churches are finding NEW ways to share the Christmas message and spirit despite all the problems. Our church, Real Life Wesleyan, has come up with some exciting new ways to reach out to the community, and one of them was the brainchild of our daughter, Anna. It is a drive through Christmas experience with life-size nativity scene, shepherds, angels, camel-riding wise men and lots of Christmas lights, complete with the Christmas message and music shared by radio that you tune in to as you drive around the property! Gerald’s talent for building using old scraps, Anna’s creative skills, and LOTS of hard work have produced a beautiful experience that will undoubtedly stir the Christmas spirit of all that see it!
Last month we asked special prayers for our dear friend and coworker in Kenya, Mike, and also for Lisa, the wife of Henderson Metro church’s pastor in Texas. As many of you already know, both of these precious believers are now rejoicing in Heaven with Jesus. Christmas will be a difficult season for many this year who have lost loved ones, but as I was preparing to write this morning, I saw the video on Youtube that Mike’s family posted. It is led by his young daughter, Joy, and as each family member shares briefly we can see how Mike has indeed left an incredible legacy in his children, which proves that we can have victory over death! Their bubbling joy and infectious excitement over sharing God’s Word (not to mention showing their Christmas decorations!) is something that surely inspires us all. I encourage you to watch their short video and see how YOU can encourage and inspire others this Christmas season.
Here are some photos of Mike’s funeral, and we certainly keep Irene and all the family in our prayers. We will of course be keeping in touch with them, and are thankful that both funds and support have flooded in to help with the medical bills and funeral expenses. As Mike’s family in Kenya continues his ministry, you can see a video of his funeral that was attended by literally hundreds of people, including dozens of pastors and church leaders. It is on his Facebook page, via this link.
Pastor Honoré in Central African Republic sends his Christmas greetings and reports that all continues going well for the CEERCA church and school, which reopened after being closed by Covid restrictions, although it will close for the Christmas break. The church ministry continues to grow, and of course, special programs are planned for Christmas. Finally after many years, Pastor Honoré has been able to build a house for his family there on the site. It is hoped they can move in by Christmas, which will be a huge blessing. We send them our prayers and Christmas greetings.
Pastor Sika in Togo is still suffering much pain in his hip and recently was forced to go to the hospital. The doctor told him not to ride a motorcycle any more due to the risk of damaging the bone at the bottom of his spine. This means he is now severely limited in his travel. He begs our prayers for healing and for the funds needed ($2,350) to fix his car engine which is desperately needed. He still manages to do local ministry, such as teaching pastors and leaders (as seen in the 1st photo). Also he is happy to announce the opening of a new church in Lomé (a 2nd Bethany Baptist Church – seen below). This started a few years ago as bible studies in houses in a swampy suburb where many poor people and Muslims live. Despite Covid, these believers have greatly increased in number, and finally a building was constructed and the church opened in Attiegou-Lome. A pastor was found who only needs $150 a month. Please pray that God will provide the financial means to support this pastor and his family. Funds are also needed for special Christmas events planned for this new church, including bible games, movies, preaching and a special meal.
At the Joseph Project Orphanage, funds have been tight, reducing the quality of the food they could provide. But thankfully the two orphaned girls eager to start apprenticeships were able to begin their sewing and hairdressing apprenticeships. Now 17 children remain at the orphanage, all attending the local school, and helping with the different aspects of the ongoing agriculture program in the compound. A Christian movie, bible games and other celebrations are also planned for Christmas at the JP orphanage and church in Sika-Kondji. We pray God will provide for these celebrations and also so that better food can be provided on a regular basis in the coming year.