November news and thanksgiving
Since my last newsletter (where I shared about some of the difficulties being faced by our African partners), our family also has experienced a particularly challenging time. After 18 months of diligently taking precautions, one of our family caught Covid-19! As adults, we have all been vaccinated, but of course the twins (being only 6) could not be. Levi seems to have caught the virus at school, and as a result we were all quarantined. He only experienced mild symptoms for 3-4 days, but tested positive. Thankfully though, the rest of us tested negative, including Lily, who did not get sick PTL! The strange thing is that our daughter, Anna, WAS sick in bed for a couple of days with the symptoms, although she repeatedly tested negative! After more than 18 months of hearing MANY different stories about the Corona virus, there is no doubt that it is still not completely understood! It is a shame that it has become such a political issue and caused so much division, even within churches.
I think that there is a tendency today for us (especially here in the USA) to expect quick answers to problems, and have everything explained by the experts. It is almost as though there is some shame in admitting we don’t have the answers! If we look to the Bible, we quickly see that in fact in most difficult circumstances, even God’s people often did not understand or know what to do. Job suffered and lost so much, praying for understanding, yet finally just submitted and trusted God (at which point God brought about restoration); the youth, Joseph, must have had many questions about why so much ill fate befell him, yet he kept his faith and trust in God – only finally understanding the “bigger picture” when he was reunited with his family many years later!
Time after time we read such stories, and then of course there are all the verses that encourage us NOT to trust our own understanding, but instead trust that God is in control – something often difficult to do today! In the midst of worldly turmoil and impassioned opinions, let’s remember to take a step back, pray for wisdom to make the right choices for our own lives, and be content to let God reveal the truth and understanding in His timing. Human history is full of doctors, scientists and politicians changing opinions, so we should instead put our trust in God who remains steadfast and true! “God is faithful [He is reliable, trustworthy and ever true to His promise—He can be depended on], and through Him you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 (AMP)
Despite everything this past year, as we consider this verse, we can truly be thankful as we celebrate the Thanksgiving season, and I believe this will help us all as we move on into the “giving” season! Christmas this year will be very different for so many people around the world, so perhaps we should consider how we, as Christians, can let God’s light shine out into the darkness to brighten the lives of others. We pray especially for our partners in Africa as they steadfastly continue with their ministries, and we pray for God to send them extra funds and blessings to be able to do so during the Christmas season. Have a blessed Thanksgiving, Shirley.
Irene in Kenya – We want to congratulate Mike’s widow, Irene, as she has graduated from her classes and is now recognized by the government as a minister of the gospel. This was an important step for her as she and the children want to continue Mike’s legacy and ministry to children in the future. Without the past few months of hard work and studying, that would have been impossible legally. Thanks to a donation from a supporter, Irene was able to travel this past week across the country to Mombasa and attend the ceremony to receive her diploma. We pray that God will give her wisdom and supply the needs of the family as they move ahead into the next phase of their lives.
Pastor Sika in Togo – He wrote recently that thankfully the floodwaters have receded completely in and around the village of Sika-Kondje, but unfortunately there are reports of cholera spreading due to the contaminated water and poor sanitation. Already four people have died from cholera and so he asks for our prayers, especially for all at the Joseph Project orphanage there. Sadly, the floods did destroy much of the harvest at the JP, so we pray that God will touch hearts both locally and elsewhere to help by providing good food for the orphans over Christmas and the coming months. Contact us for details on how you can help by sending funds to Pastor Sika.
There will also be a funeral for one of the members of the Baptist church within the JP compound. A widow of 10 years died suddenly from a heart attack, leaving two children as orphans. Here is a picture of the 16 year old being cared for at the JP orphanage. It is a great testimony to the ministry at the JP over the past years, as this family had been embroiled in idolatry until the woman gave her life to Jesus just before her husband died, so she is now in Heaven. Sadly though, her husband died before doing so.
Pastor Sika reports that Afi (the young girl with HIV) has thankfully improved in her health and been able to return to her apprenticeship as a hairdresser. This photo shows her at work braiding hair – quite an accomplished art! The twins, who are cared for by a local family sponsored by a supporter and the JP, are thriving, praise God! Also, Pastor Sika continues to visit other areas outside the capital to minister in different ways. This photo shows some girls in a remote village who have successfully completed some bible study courses. They are eager to encourage other young people to study the Bible in this way. We pray God will continue to bless these efforts to spread the Gospel in so many areas.