Tuesday, August 5, 2008

May letter

May 2008

So much has happened this past month and a half that it is hard to know where to begin. We have been keeping you up to date on some of the more in-depth events, so maybe I can keep this short. I feel sometimes like when I go to teach—there is so much to teach that it is hard to focus. The ladies have so much to learn and so far to go, it is hard to know where to begin. I have to remember that growth takes time.

I just thought it was time to start out with a big THANK YOU. Another missionary wrote so well about the rising costs (there have even been demonstrations in Abidjan because of all the rising prices) along with the falling value of the dollar. I wanted to copy what he had written, but I am sure you have already heard it, so I will just say “ditto” and thank you for your faithfulness in praying for us. Thank you for letting God use you and for your interest in us and the ministry here. We greatly appreciate you.

I wrote about a terrible hospital experience with a lady friend of ours––she almost died. If you didn’t hear about that incident, please write and ask. I went and talked to the administration of the hospital with all the points of malpractice and offered to teach a class to the midwives. So far nothing has come of that, but I do plan to go again and see if they are doing anything about the problem. The administration and the doctors are very knowledgeable and professional. It is carrying that information down to the hands-on people that is not being done.

I have not gotten back to the hospital because the very next week our neighbor (46 years old) died of a possible brain aneurysm. She had high blood pressure, got a headache, and was dead within ten minutes. I am so happy I had the opportunity to clearly present the Gospel to her, but still feel that I could have done more. She was very nice and Catholic. We were to be “neighbors for life” she had said. Dan and I were busy going to the “wake.” They set up a big tent in their yard and people came all day until 11 p.m. and just sit there. The difference here than in America: In America, friends bring food and do not stay long; in the Ivory Coast, people come empty handed, stay a LONG time, and expect to be fed. It is a huge strain on a family––worse than a wedding. This goes on for a whole week. Dan and I were able to witness to the uncle who was very interested, asked many questions, and I think will be saved when he’s alone. We also invited the nephew home for lunch, and he DID GET SAVED. I was so excited. We have known him for a while—nice man (24 years old). He also asked many questions, had been reading the Bible that Dan gave him a long time ago, and had already tried Catholicism, the Moslem religion, the Celeste Church of Christ (a group out here), and the Pentecostals. He was saved on a Tuesday and came to church with us on Wednesday!

This brings us to the next bit of news. The electric cable going to the church was stolen again, so we are without electricity. Dan wanted them to put in street lights on the electric poles, but they would not do it. Now they are saying they will not replace the cable and that we just have to buy it again. (It is not even on our property). This is 210 meters of heavy electric cable coming from the main road up to our church property. Dan has to call the main boss who will not be in his office till next week.

Meanwhile we are taking a little generator back and forth, and Ruth is ready to do chalk art that we have been announcing for a while. The generator acted up, and we were not able to have the chalk art. That was sad because our neighbor came Wednesday night to see it. Anyway, it was nice that he could experience a normal, God-honoring service. Ruth will be doing chalk art every Tuesday and Wednesday of this month and into next month, since we are getting a late start. They will start at the other church on Tuesday that has a larger, more reliable generator, and then bring that one to our church for the Wednesday night service. They will also go to the village where we are trying to get a church started. That group is going well, and last time there were six baptized.

A short update on David: He is doing super and is completely back to normal. The doctor truly did get saved and is growing––but very slowly. He is in Abidjan, and there is not a good church near him. He is so very busy, yet we can see the change in his lifestyle. We continue to pray for these who are newly saved and without the support system that we are used to. There is the doctor, Laurence (our neighbor) and Landry and Audrey (Seth and Hannah’s friends). These are all saved and living where there aren’t any good churches nearby.

During all of this, we had two dogs have their puppies on the same day, and now they are six weeks old. Not only is this a lot of work but also a super-sad time. The puppies got some sort of virus and have been dying one and two at a time. We have had five die so far, and some of the others do not eat well. It has been so sad and depressing on our spirits—you know how we love our pets. It seems to be something that attacks the nervous system. They slow down eating and then fall over–– fading puppy. I am thinking about the people who lived during the bubonic plague. At least these are dogs and not people, and we can thank God for that!

On a lighter note, Josiah asked Ruth on his fifth birthday, “Do you wish you were me?” Ruth: “Why?” Josiah: “I have lots of candy you know, and I can color real good.” The kids are a constant joy and such fun to be with.

Thanks again for your prayers. If you want a summary of our prayer requests, it would be for the newly saved to grow and others to be saved; that we will get electricity back at church (either find the thief, buy more cable, or have the electric company replace it); that no more puppies will die; and that the chalk-art conference would go well and people will be saved and grow in the Lord.




Dan, Joan, Ruth Marie, Hannah, Seth, Lydia, Susanna, Isaiah, Stephen, Rebekah, Josiah, Joseph, and Esther


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