August message and news update
Recently I had to go to our local hospital for a routine screening. Every time I go there (although infrequently PTL!) I seem to come out from a different door and can never find where I parked my vehicle, as there is parking on three sides of the complex building. This time, I made a mental note of a large building in the distance behind where I had parked. Once again, after being sent to different areas of the hospital, I emerged in front of a parking lot filled with vehicles. Not being able to see the large building I had noted, I proceeded to walk around the outside of the complex until I saw it and then was able to locate our pickup truck.
It got me thinking about the simple term of being “lost”. The Thesaurus mentions such similar words as: misplaced, disoriented, gone astray, bewildered, forlorn, vulnerable, helpless, aimless, defeated…. As I think back to the years before I came to know Jesus, I can see how each of those definitions could have aptly described me at different points in my life. Certainly, I had plans for my life; I made sensible decisions about my career; I did everything I could to “be in control of my life” and succeed… to the “outsider” I probably seemed to be doing just fine. But “inside” I wasn’t!! I still felt lost and empty, unsure, and as if “something” was missing! I didn’t know that I needed Jesus and a “reference point” to guide me through life. I was quite definitely “lost”!
Praise God, Jesus KNEW I was lost and He FOUND me! When I finally gave up my life to God, that “empty” feeling inside was immediately filled! I KNEW my life had been changed (even though I didn’t understand that it was the experience of salvation until much later!). I quickly found I had a trusted reference point in the Bible and through the daily experience of being guided by the Holy Spirit. Of course, as the years pass, we still from time-to-time experience some of those feelings that go along with being lost, but our trusted reference points remain – if we will just keep going and looking for them. I try to remember this when I see people who are going through life acting in ways that are selfish or hurtful, or just plain stupid or irresponsible. I have no doubt that inside they are feeling lost and they need to find Jesus – let’s pray that we can help direct them to Him rather than just complain about them or turn away! Blessings, Shirley.
Pastor Sika in Togo sent us an urgent prayer request at the end of last month because he had been in pain for 3 days all over his body including his heart. He was given medication, and thankfully was able to recover enough to do his weekly radio teaching the following Monday. After all the recent flooding, we can only imagine the many additional health problems that everyone faces there – with malaria from mosquitoes and spread of many diseases through contaminated water. Both Pastor Sika and his wife, Lucie, also battle high blood pressure and diabetes (among other issues), so we keep them especially in our prayers regarding health and safety. They continue to share the Gospel in many hostile pagan villages.
Also, at the approach of the new school year there, we remember the need for extra finances as the orphans at the Joseph Project prepare to get new uniforms and school supplies – contact me for information about how to send funds. Here is a picture of the JP orphans.
Pastor Honoré in Central African Republic sent us some great photos of the three-day children’s bible camp that was held in July at the CEERCA compound. It was a great experience and success, and 100 children had great fun learning about the Bible and playing games, also receiving a good meal each day. Pastor Honoré said there were many great testimonies shared. So many gave their life to Jesus and so many received healing and confessed their sins.
Sadly a few days later, he sent us this news about Sophie, one of the teachers who has been at CEERCA Christian School since the beginning. She received her salary on the Monday and the next day, her daughter, her granddaughter, and a close neighbor went to purchase some fish. On their way back, they fell from the vehicle and all three of them were killed on the spot. Sophie lost both her daughter and her young grand-daughter the same day! We pray for Sophie and her family as they cope with this tragic loss – that they will feel the comfort and love of God through the precious Holy Spirit, who Jesus called “The Comforter”.
Pastor Honoré also sent us this picture showing his family celebrating the recent birthdays of his wife, Clarisse (in pink) and his daughter, Divine (in white). We continue to pray for God to bless and protect them as they faithfully serve Him.