Today the sun is shining and the temperature finally climbed to 70°F (20°C) for the 1st time in months! I could actually take our 6 year-old grandson, Levi, outside to run around and use up some energy before his online school lessons began. He caught sight of a butterfly in the front yard and immediately let out a happy scream: “Spring is here!”. Of course the weather is forecast to turn cold again in a few days, but even a young child could recognize that the season is changing – the dark days are behind us and brighter days lie ahead!
It has been a long, difficult winter season – lots of bitter cold, icy days; very limited social contact; and frustrating challenges to test everyone’s patience…. Yet with just a few key signs (the butterfly, warm sunshine, the first daffodils budding) our hearts are lifted, we feel hope rising, and we start making plans for the better days ahead that we are certain are coming! As I enjoy the warm sunshine, I can’t help thinking that if our spirits are stirred so much by just a few signs of Spring, just IMAGINE how our spirits will be stirred beyond measure when we see Jesus coming back!
As we read Jesus’ words about His Second Coming (in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21) he paints a very gloomy picture. They will be very dark times when we are surrounded by helplessness, fear and evil; but he tells us clearly to stand firm, being faithful to continue the work God has given us and always being alert to recognize the signs of His return. One day we will get up and suddenly recognize those final signs when the very powers of the heavens will be shaken and we look up to see the light of His glory as Jesus returns for us! Surely our hearts will LEAP as we realize that Jesus’ return is imminent!!….. knowing for certain that the dark days are behind us and better, brighter days lie ahead! Blessings, Shirley.
Pastor Sika in Togo – We learned recently that Pastor Sika has had some wonderful answers to several prayers that have been ongoing for many months. You may recall that he suffers so much with hip and back pain that he was advised not to travel any more by motorcycle. His car has needed a major engine repair for many months and finally he was able to report with great joy that the funds had come in and the repair was underway (see photo)!! Also, his son Gilles needed $1,100 US for his tuition fees to complete studying for his master’s degree. PTL these funds have also come in, so Gilles can continue with his studies while also helping with children’s ministry (as seen in the second photo).
Pastor Sika has taught several training sessions to church leaders to help them reorganize and plan their ministries during this time when the government there is still severely limiting church services. He also was recently able to visit the Joseph Project Orphanage again, where he has arranged for the new 4 year old twin orphans to live with a local village family. (See 1st photo below) He asks special prayer for that arrangement as sadly the foster family is not Christian, so we pray for God to help develop and strengthen the friendship between the family and the JP so they may be drawn to accept Jesus.
Pastor Tomety preaches in the church there every Sunday, which is attended by quite a number of villagers and there are always small children coming to the JP compound who are considered “friends” (2nd photo below). Every donation to the JP is greatly valued as there are always many needs. Prayer is still needed to find good families and apprenticeships for the two girls, Afi and Chantal, who have finished their schooling. Pastor Sika also shared his vision to open a Christian bookstore in Lomé, which would be a great benefit to the Christian community and also provide some financial income for his family. He is praying for $6,000 specifically for this project.
Pastor Honoré in Central African Republic – He sent an urgent prayer request a couple of weeks ago because of a sudden situation in the CEERCA ministry compound. Two men with long knives came at night (despite the curfew) to threaten and insult him. They reported him to the police and accused him of taking a large sum of money from them!!! Consequently he and Clarisse were told to report to the police station and the matter was sent to the court. Because (in the French judicial system there) the accused is GUILTY until proven innocent, the burden was on Honoré!!! Thankfully, after much prayer and testimony from others at the CEERCA site, along with examination of all Honoré’s building permits and legal papers, the prosecutor reversed it and exonerated Honoré. He was asked if he wanted to press charges against the two men, but at the urging of his church congregation, he decided not to. The two men (one is a policeman!) have since come to Honoré to ask his forgiveness. Praise God for turning a terrifying and very traumatic situation around so quickly. We pray these men will truly repent and experience changed lives.
In Kenya – Please keep Mike’s beautiful widow and family in your prayers as they keep up the great Sunday home videos of children’s ministry which they post on YouTube and Facebook. Here are Irene, Trevor, twins Joy and Anna, and “little” Jayne.