We are missionaries with Baptist World Mission in Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa in a church planting ministry. God has blessed us with 12 beautiful children. Each of the kids has a heart for missions and is involved in ministry. We all speak French and work with the French speaking people.
Finally, I can get on the computer to write a letter. We had a super time with Ruth and Hannah.(They were just here from the Philippines for their one-month break.) It sure did fly by. There we were trying to get the tickets and visas, and now the break is over. We did some health stuff, a delivery, baby check-ups, a health class, ate lots of yummy food, visited a clinic to see how theirs was set up, went through the water off and then on again, went on lots of walks, did projects—sewing cushion covers for the living room throw pillows and other clothes projects. Hannah made a verse pack organizer like Ruth's. They made a composter out of a drum—very nice to make black dirt to use among all this red clay. Also, we went to the beach every Monday—one time which we had a picnic and made yummy Lebanese food, potato salad, and s'mores with a bonfire. The next Monday, we had another bonfire and s'mores, but this time took rice and sauce and did fireworks for July 4th. It was all fun. Andy wanted to do the fireworks at the beach, so the city would not think we were starting a war or something. Then the time was over. We did not get to do our camping trip because this is rainy season, so the kids dragged all the mattresses to the patio, and we all slept out there two nights. The kids continued for another night—lots of fun. With all that, the normal stuff went on—church, ladies' meetings, kids classes, preaching, visitation, etc. The more you pack into your days, the more they fly by. "The days are long, but the years are fast." This is a quote by Dr. Stephen Davey. He is a really good preacher to whom we listen on the Internet.
That was another great thing we did together—listen to messages for Bible class. Dan downloads messages to an MP-3, and we listen to one every day. There are so many great things available to English-speaking people. Growth takes time; time goes fast, so you just have to program it into your day. I can give you names of some really great preachers.
And what came of all that?? Ruth wants to BE HERE. She and Hannah would love to start a maternity clinic. They would like to use their skills and French for the Lord; the clinics here do some bad things. Ruth went to agricultural class and learned how to raise goats. I saw again how much medical missions draws people to us, and therefore, to Christ as we get the opportunity to witness to them and help them in their physical needs. We are looking for land to do all this—house, clinic, farm, church, garden. So, that is what we have been doing over the past month. We also did lots of puzzles while we watched Daniel Boone and played lots of games.
We've been hearing that it is hot in the US—enjoy. It is actually cold here—so nice as well. African cold is refreshing, not bone freezing. The ocean water is quite chilly for our African blood.
The country is returning to normal after the war. We now have gas for the stove, water, and electricity. There is a rumor that a company has been given the contract to fix the road between here and Abidjan. If they fix that, my vote will be all for them. I wish they would fix the road between my house and Lac. Okay, we cannot have everything. I'll just keep enjoying the water. There have been quite a lot of armed robberies. But "the new forces do not play with robbers." That is the new statement. If you are caught stealing, it does not go easy with you.
Calie, the girl who helped me with school this year, left on the same flight with our girls. It was nice that they were able to fly together for the first part of their trip. I will be very busy with school next year—two in Algebra I, all the way down to first grade. I thank the Lord that two courses (science and health) I read on a recorder, so I can use that this year. If you are interested in learning lots of patience - smile - just come over and help me teach.
We are encouraged with the church. Not only are the numbers going up, but the people seem to be growing as well. We were having ladies' class every other week, and THEY have requested that we do it every week - super. Also the youth have class every week, and we are helping the teacher to teach. People continue to get saved every week, and we DON'T preach, "Get saved, God has an easy plan for your life." No, "You are lost in sin, the law condemns you; and you are on your way to hell. Jesus is the only help you can get. Come to Him, repent of your sin, and ask Him to save you." Sometimes I get discouraged that the numbers do not go up faster; God is in charge of the increase. He wants us to be faithful, plant and water, and He will give the increase.
Ruth and Hannah are starting their second year of training as midwives. They want to be here already. I told Ruth, "You can't start and be a missionary until you have finished the training. God wants you where you are - you have to finish." They are both so talented—missionary kids, easily adapt, know the language. They are planning to go to Ambassador Baptist College after they are finished in the Philippines. They are anxious to get on the field.
The town is growing out toward the check point. There are lots of villages and people—no clinics, no churches at all, land is CHEAP - $60 per lot. Our house is about three lots worth. Imagine if we could get six lots and plan for the future—church, clinic, house, farm, goats, garden, etc. Actually, we are trying to get a cell group going there right now, which is why Dan has been investigating the land. Wow, it sure sounds super; we pray a lot for God's direction and will in it all as we wait on Him. We can buy the land with the vision in mind, start the cell group, and see what God has for our kids. We know lots can change.
Seth continues to preach every Sunday and goes out witnessing about every day. So many have gotten saved—my evangelist son. I love him so much. It is hard when you are in such a hurry, to stop and talk to the crowds of people who are everywhere and WILLING TO LISTEN. I had said, "We need a young man who can go out full-time, who knows the language, to go out witnessing for 2-3 hours every day. That would be YOU, Seth." He plays the piano, guitar, and accordion so well. As of now, he is planning to go to Ambassador Baptist College when he leaves here—not for a year at least; he is only 18. I would say, "He is such a great help in the ministry." He has a ministry of his own—a missionary still in school.
We know the story about Elijah and the widow lady—give me the cake first. It is hard scraping the barrel and having faith that God will put some there for you when you need it. My dad was my super example of faith. He never worried at all. "Be anxious for nothing but in everything…" (Phil 4:4-9). I hear that four times a day as the little kids say their verses to me. They have learned that one well now. Most times kids can find jobs while in school. Since Ruth and Hannah are in the Philippines, they can't do that, and we are scraping the barrel over and over. God continues to take care of us by meeting all our needs.
Pray for us all—health and safety. Pray for our girls to be wise in the Philippines and for God to bless them. Pray for us to find land. Pray for the churches to grow—both spiritually and numerically. Pray with thanksgiving for all His wonderful blessings given to us daily. May God bless you as you serve Him.
With lots of love,
Dan and Joan
Ruth and Hannah (in the Philippines), Seth, Lydia, Susanna, Isaiah, Stephen, Rebekah, Josiah, Joseph, Esther, and Gideon