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.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
So, what has been occupying our time? First, I had three deliveries that were fairly unexpected. The first lady was a stranger, who came to church to see if I would do the delivery. She had no pre-natal visits—just popped in. About two weeks later, she delivered a healthy baby boy on a rice sack on the dirt floor. This was probably the poorest place I have delivered a baby. Most times the women come to my house to deliver, but with the roads this bad, they sometimes have a hard time finding a taxi to bring them. Also, coming to my house throws the whole family out of order (mom is occupied, school is in chaos, doors are closed for privacy, etc.). The other lady came to my house and had a healthy baby girl. Praise the Lord, the water was ON. The lady in the picture just delivered on the 12th at my house. That little sentence cannot cover the night without sleep; the patience, stress and prayer during the delivery; and the next morning gone getting a birth certificate. Praise the Lord for His continual blessing in each of these deliveries.
Dan baptized four last month. We have a property in Petit Pedro, and they have started building a new church building. The plan is to have a mud-brick building plastered over with cement. This keeps the cost down and is something they can work on themselves.
Dan's Bible school class on Sunday afternoons is going well. He has about 25 men in that class. They are now reaching out to their own villages with the Gospel and correct Bible doctrine. Animism, superstition, speaking in tongues, and casting out demons are all strong and alive in this culture. Dan just got back from a three-day trip to a village seven hours from here. He preached salvation messages, taught a seminar on the end times (thank you Pastor Elwart), and finished by attending the baptism of the believers from the two church-plant works. The people call this the "frontier." Some of these villages are still on the pavement, but seem to be at the end of civilization. Many of these are even still afraid of white people. The goal is to have solid churches in each of these villages.
The trip went well. Dan was given a traditional robe. Pastor Konan, the faithful man Dan has been working closely with, attends Dan's Sunday afternoon classes. Pastor Konan has stated many times how much he appreciates the solid Bible teaching that cuts through their superstitious and traditional beliefs. Pastor Konan baptized the 28 believers. The work of the missionary is to equip the nationals to carry on the ministry—to commit these things to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. Do not be weary; you shall reap in due season if you faint not. You SHALL reap. You shall reap MORE than you planted. You shall reap in a DIFFERENT season than when you planted. Growth takes time. I really use that verse for our family (growing kids God's way). Just don't give up; keep doing right, and wait on the Lord for the fruit.
This week I taught an "English" class in the high school here. It was Claudia's class of over 80 kids from 14-years-old to seniors. What an opportunity to share the Gospel! The teacher is a Moslem, who was very nice. He just gave me the whole hour, and of course, I took it. I did speak more French than English; I would speak slowly in English and then translate what I had said into French to make sure they understood. All the prophets prophesy of Who? Of course, Jesus. I said, "Pick a prophet, and I will tell you about him and the one he is presenting." The Moslems picked Abraham, and what a wonderful time it was to show them Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God, the only begotten of the Father, slain for you. They want me to come back, and we will do that after the vacation.
Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year! I am not much in a "Christmas spirit," just sort of "doing the day," but I do have some great books I am giving to some of our Moslem friends we have been witnessing to. I am trying to finish highlighting them and taking notes on them before I give them away. I know, you might think that is strange. The older I get, or the wiser I get, the more intentional I am in my child rearing. Leaders are readers. I want our kids to read and read—the Bible and great books.
Thank you for your faithful financial support. And thanks for praying for us and helping us in so many ways.
Servants of the Most High God,
Dan and Joan, Ruth, Hannah, Seth, Lydia, Susanna, Isaiah, Stephen, Rebekah, Josiah, Joseph, Esther, and Gideon
Blog: www.cuthbertsons.org email: email@example.com
Evangel Baptist Church
16994 Telegraph Rd.
Taylor, MI 48180-5108
Baptist World Mission
P.O. Box 2149
Decatur, AL 35602-2149
01 BP 125, San Pédro 01
Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa
336-608-6833 (US #)
(Note: For those of you who might use our mailing address, please note that it has changed. Please update your records.)
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Horse/Victoria Rescue - Praise the Lord
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Also all of the kids have piano lessons. I have loved turning some of these lessons over to Hannah and Seth for the summer. They have learned a lot in college and are passing some of it along to their siblings.
All those cases happened the same week as the big Mother's Day celebration that our church was in charge of. Praise the Lord, that went so smoothly with lots of fun, food and a great message.
Now, we are regrouping and planning the next outreach. Our goal is to encourage them to WANT to reach their friends and neighbors and equip the saints, so they can do it. Pray for God to increase His church.
Dan, Joan, Ruth Marie, Hannah, Seth, Lydia, Susanna, Isaiah, Stephen, Rebekah, Josiah, Joseph, Esther and Gideon.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Rain, rain and Mud
Just a few pictures. Not only do we have to keep going, we have to keep going over terrible roads and through lots of mud. Using the 4WD might be fun for a while, but it does get old.
Last Sunday Dan let Ruth off in Petite Pedro for the ladies' class at 1 PM and continued on to Blahou for his class. On the return trip at 4:30 PM they had started road repair. He was stuck there until 9:30 PM ---5 hours!! Out here they don't just leave one lane open ---you are all stuck in both directions while they work ---and there is only one road and you can't go through the jungle. Ruth and Seth were each able to hitchhike home ---out here it is called "auto stop." Times like that we are thankful for cell phones.
All those water pot-holes are terrible to ride over, and where that blue car is stuck in the mud is impassible now.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
We wish you a great day to remember - without the workout there are no muscles, without the suffering there is no glory, without the cross there is no crown --But what a glory there will be!!
Have a very great day. May God bless you!!!
Love in Christ,
Dan and Joan
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Letter from Hannah and Seth
Below is a letter that Seth and Hannah wrote last month. It is great to serve God, and is such a blessing to see our children want to serve Him too! Hannah and I have been praying about what God would have us do this summer. We have prayed both about camp ministries and also about going back to Africa to spend the summer with our family - helping out in the ministry and being all together again in Africa. It would possibly be the last time we could be together there for a long time. Our problem is the transportation. Travel is expensive, and if we do go, we won't be making money for next year's school. Also, if we order the tickets soon, we will be more likely to find cheaper flights. Please pray about it. We do feel that God wants us to go out, and know that He will supply, but want to let you know of the need, so that if God lays it on your heart, you can also be a blessing. Please pray for us that God would use us in a great way! Thank you for what you have already given for my family! If we do go, we won't be sitting on our hands doing nothing. There is plenty of work to be done and far too few laborers out in the fields of our Master. We plan on orchestrating a Bible memorization competition, helping with the teaching and preaching, and helping with the visitation and witnessing. My dad was telling me about some construction in the village that will likely be going on while we are there, so I will be able to help in that as well. Thank you for your prayers, support, and the support you have given to my family. What a great God we have, and what a great privilege it is to serve Him! If you do want to help financially with the needs for this summer, the gifts can be sent to our home church. Evangel Baptist Church has graciously allowed any help to be sent directly to them. The address is: Evangel Baptist Church 16994 Telegraph Rd. Taylor, MI 48180-5108 Love,
Below is a letter that Seth and Hannah wrote last month. It is great to serve God, and is such a blessing to see our children want to serve Him too!
Hannah and I have been praying about what God would have us do this summer. We have prayed both about camp ministries and also about going back to Africa to spend the summer with our family - helping out in the ministry and being all together again in Africa. It would possibly be the last time we could be together there for a long time. Our problem is the transportation. Travel is expensive, and if we do go, we won't be making money for next year's school. Also, if we order the tickets soon, we will be more likely to find cheaper flights.
Please pray about it. We do feel that God wants us to go out, and know that He will supply, but want to let you know of the need, so that if God lays it on your heart, you can also be a blessing. Please pray for us that God would use us in a great way! Thank you for what you have already given for my family! If we do go, we won't be sitting on our hands doing nothing. There is plenty of work to be done and far too few laborers out in the fields of our Master. We plan on orchestrating a Bible memorization competition, helping with the teaching and preaching, and helping with the visitation and witnessing. My dad was telling me about some construction in the village that will likely be going on while we are there, so I will be able to help in that as well. Thank you for your prayers, support, and the support you have given to my family. What a great God we have, and what a great privilege it is to serve Him!
If you do want to help financially with the needs for this summer, the gifts can be sent to our home church. Evangel Baptist Church has graciously allowed any help to be sent directly to them. The address is:
Evangel Baptist Church
16994 Telegraph Rd.
Taylor, MI 48180-5108
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Ruth had a surgery on her thyroid --the right lobe was taken out - had a tumor in it. We went on Monday, having stressed that we were from SP. He didn't do the surgery until Thursday!!! and she had two nights in the hospital so we didn't get out until Saturday. Anyway, all went well other than we didn't want to stay in Abidjan that long. The overnights in the hospital were only 30,000 cfa per night - $60.00 ---maybe the whole family could stay?? Ha - nice air conditioned room coming with food too. I stayed with her - they bought a mattress on the floor. There were no complications and she is doing well.
Meanwhile, we were in Abidjan to sell puppies ---which we did. We always praise the Lord when another batch of puppies gets sold ---keeps us floating for sure sometimes. Sidney's puppies are due in 2 weeks --Great Dane, and we pray for a save delivery for her.
Also in Abidjan Dan got all the passport stuff done. We can't let Momma be here on an expired passport ---maybe some of the rest of us? Anyway, if there were some emergency for her......yes, we will get the rest of us fixed up too. So we get as much done as we can on each trip.
Meanwhile, on Saturday - Steve King was coming to Abidjan. About 2 hours out, the driver of his car had an accident and their car was totaled. It is sad for them. Like I say ---the devil seems to be working overtime. I have just been studying Luke 13: 3 and 5 --same verse ---Unless you repent you will likewise perish. Well, in the context ---hard times and catastrophes come on us all ---the good and the bad; but make sure you are going to heaven, you repent - or you will perish. The Bible is so rich. Oh, so we were able to give Steve a ride back home while his car went on to be toed to Abidjan.
Meanwhile, while we were in Abidjan for a week - the kids held down the fort ---and it is a hard fort to hold down. The day before we came back, it poured ---as in lots of rain!!! The rain came in the back of our house and went all the way through to the front (I wonder if they got any pictures). They came down in the morning to 2 inches of brown, dirty water. The place stunk like rotten fish....I heard about it on the phone ---of course I was happy I wasn't here to deal with that!! Ha! I KNOW I am bad. Anyway, they cleaned it with a wet/dry vac. and did a great job.
We arrived home to the smelly rug ---the rug is out in the sun to dry ---hasn't gotten washed yet because the water is again off. Out here you can use the hose, scrub down a big living room rug, let it dry and on you go. It is outside waiting for the water to come on.
The devil wants to discourage us and get us out of ministry if he possibly can. I say that as I hear about so many moral failures --it makes my heart so sad. Keep praying for us. Life can be difficult at times. There was a really good description of an African toilet, I'll spare you that ---or you could be in an African village with no toilet paper - or you could be in the desert with no leaves. So, praise God and keep going. LIfe is really good.
So, why all this in Abidjan??? Here is the really big praise! Dr. Kamal (who took care of David so many years ago, a Muslim that is open to talk about the Bible) is still trying to ride the fence. Anyway, I have just finished reading a book on how to witness to Muslims ---so very good. I had just finished it while I was with Ruth in the hospital and Dr. Kamal came in to talk. I gave him the book and he promised to read it. Dan was there to explain a few of his questions as well. Pray for him ---I believe that God wants him in His kingdom. This is the Will of God - that men ought everywhere to repent.
This short note has gotten long again ---and sorry - no pictures. I could put pictures - but then you would have to wait a day or two to get the letter......
Have a great day!!!
Love in Christ,
Joan and Dan
Monday, March 31, 2014
A (bad or good?) day??? no pictures this time
Then Saturday was going nice enough, not so hot, planned visitation in the afternoon, piano lessons in the morning - run out and buy some potatoes. WELL, here is where the story goes in a twist. In turning left I HIT a man on a motorcycle!!! - almost straight on my front left side. It was SO BAD. WHERE did he come from?? One of my worst nightmares - accident - just messes up your day!! So, of course, we were stopped there and drawing a crowd. I was praying for sure. The man was okay --nothing broken, 3 small scrapes. I was just saying, "sorry, sorry, sorry." So, I got the motorcycle moved off the street, put the man in my car and took him home to fix his wounds. The crowd was saying --Don't worry, she will take you to the hospital, she is white, it will be okay. Right - we are trying NOT to get the hospital involved. So, off we went -I cleaned and bandaged the spots --called Dan to please come with me and check out the motorcycle. The man as well said he had never been in an accident.....It was a chance to witness ---and I was thinking, "Lord, I didn't really have to meet this man this way. What do You want here." To the man - "We are going along our way but God has a different plan. We didn't plan this meeting or this accident, but maybe and for sure, God wants you to know Him." He was maybe in his 20's and was also shook up. He was saying ---"This is a bad Saturday. Saturday is not for me." I said, "Maybe it is not so bad. You can meet Jesus and we will of course give you some money to help you along." We also gave him a John and Romans booklet.
So, the motorcycle plastic was "undone" but not broken or cracked --Dan was able to pop it back into place --I don't know anything about all of that. Dan was able to pull the fender back out into place. We gave the man $20 and all went on with our day. Praise God it was not way worse. I KNOW, God was taking me down a peg ---don't just think things are going well. Be more careful when you drive. Don't think this will never happen to you.
On we went to buy the potatoes and I saw my Moslem friend Amie who I have been witnessing to forever --the last 15 years off and on at least. She is the one who started to sell vegetables to me. There she was in the market --and I had already planned to go visit her at her home --she is pregnant and is not usually at the market. While I was in Ferke, I got some booklets - "The Way to Heaven" in their dialect (Jula)--and I especially got one for her. So, back I went to witness to her and give her that booklet. I only have 3, but the other ladies want one as well. I give to those who can read.
Then in leaving the market, there was the crazy lady walking down the street. I hadn't seen her for a while. Word is that she is pregnant ---how terrible is that??!! So, I bought her some food and gave the plan of salvation to her and prayed "over" her?? She didn't say a word - I don't think she can talk. She seemed to understand that I was going to buy her some food. I also explained the Evangicube to her. I don't know if she understood at all.....The people around were very curious to what I was talking to the crazy woman about - smile.
Okay, no pictures this time. I don't think you would appreciate a picture of the crazy lady. Dan and I did visitation in the afternoon -an elderly man who listened well, understood, a former police. I think there will be some fruit there so we are praying for him. That contact came because one of the school kids was sick and I went to visit the family. The school boy was in church today.
The electricity is off (which is why this can't be sent right now) --I really whacked my leg on a chair in the dark and it is hard to keep cold water going since the fridge is off as well. Lots of kids came home from church to play with our kids --so goes life.
Thank you for your prayers!!! We don't even know the tragedies that we miss because God keeps them from us.
Joan and Dan
Friday, March 28, 2014
Finally time for a quick letter --I type fast (smile). We started out March with Dan teaching a Bible class at the public high school and then going back in the afternoon for a panel discussion on philosophy of religion. We jump at any of these opportunities to get the gospel to the students.
Then we went to Abidjan with six puppies to sell and passports to renew. Four puppies sold!! We were so happy. We had one annoying one and a woman just walked up and bought him ---not even a prearranged contact. That was just God answering prayer. We still have two bichons to sell and a new batch of German shepherd puppies.
Also the Embassy was not open to do passport stuff, yet they took Dan and Lydia in and did it all for them. The other great thing is that they will renew my mom's passport without her having to go there. The roads here are terrible and we try to avoid them as much as possible. Rainy season seems to be starting so the roads will only get worse. Since everything happened so smoothly we were able to leave Abidjan a day earlier than planned.
Ruth and the other kids are trying to convince us and Lydia that she should go back to college with them this fall. That is a big prayer request. Lydia is 19 and is fully ready for college - no reason why not??? We are praying about that.
Did you catch that?? --Seth and Hannah want to come for a ministry trip this summer ---May to Aug. It is hard to know how to advise them. We would love to have them and can use all the help we could get. I always said, "If God is in it, He will provide." Well, our faith is constantly getting stretched for sure. When I think of the people who will get saved - that makes it all worthwhile. Of course, we love to have our kids come home - smile.
Ruth and I just got back from a wonderful trip to Ferke --a town to the very far north. We took two days to get there to break up the trip a little. We arrived in Yamo at 2:30 PM and went to see the Basilica -the largest in the world. It is very beautiful - a monument to men's work, set in the middle of a dusty, dirty, very hot African city. How sad it is to see the emptiness of vain religion. As the tour guide showed us around I had many opportunities ---and took them, to tell in the Bible how this or that was false religion. You can put money in a slot and light an electric candle under this or that statue!! (even fake burning of incense to an idol). 2 Kings 18:1-4 - Humans, religious people, take a good thing and make an image out of it to worship. Hopefully the man will think about some of the things he heard.
Here was a very funny thing that happened on the bus. On every bus a man gets on and does a health teaching. We passengers are just bouncing along in the heat and the dust. So, the man first passed out individually wrapped, little white balls - about the size and look of moth balls. Some people were eating them - like a mouth freshener. Then he asked, "Who already ate the medicine?" A few hands went up. "Was it good?" Nods. "You were NOT supposed to eat them. You should wait for instructions. They were suppositories; they weren't supposed to be eaten." Ha! We all got a great laugh. They WERE mints - he was just playing around with us.
After the health teaching I get up and witness - tell the whole plan of salvation. Like "Health can only help you during this life....." Sometimes I sit there and think, "Okay Lord, do I really need to do this?" Then I pray for strength and for my French to be clear. "I shall never pass this way again." It is always a super great joy to share the gospel!!!
We had a great time at the Baptist Hospital in Ferke. We went there to see a different way from the public hospital here that Hannah had worked in. There is so great a difference in medical care based on the Bible and the love of God, and one run for money by unsaved people. Ruth was getting ideas. Devotions with the staff were at 7:30 AM, and consultations, etc. went on all morning. We saw so many cases - C sec., hysterectomy, dressing changes on huge sores, many gory cases and many things that were left until too late. One baby had had her middle finger smashed with a mortar pencil and they brought her 3 days later. The tip was dead and just hanging there by a thread. We watched that get cut off and sewed up.
The main highlight was one patient we were witnessing to through an interpreter got saved. It was great to all join hands (the doctor, the interpreter, the man, Ruth and I) while he prayed to accept Christ. Doesn't just that make the trip worthwhile? Also there was the C sec. baby who I helped revive --and it lived. That was great too.
Ruth and I enjoyed time together. I was able to go witnessing on the ward. Back when I was working in an American hospital, I met the chaplain. I asked him what he did - seemed like it would be a great job. He prayed over the patients and consoled them, but was not allowed to witness --he wasn't saved either. What was the good of that? none. In Ferke there was a chaplain who knew many of the surrounding languages and churches in the village. He would go around witnessing to the patients and if one got saved could direct them to a good church in their area if one was available.
The other great thing was that before each surgery, before the patient was "put out, the doctors and everyone in the room bowed for prayer.
Well, I could go on a while. Coming home we were able to make bus connections and get home in one day. I know that would seem easy in America, but here there are no schedules. We left Ferke and were planning to change buses in Bouake. We were advised that we wouldn't have time to catch that bus, but if we kept going we could overtake it in Yamo since they had to stop and pick up passengers. Anyway, that is what we did and only had a 45 min. wait before the bus picked us up and took us on our way.
God went before us the whole way and also took care of the family at home. I know we always pray and He always does take care of us, but we give Him praise and glory for the wonderful way He does it.
Oh, last but not least, I read a great book while I was gone –Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I love to get ideas of how to witness to all kinds of people. It was interesting. I also read Jeremiah - with the Catholics in mind since I had just been confronted with the emptiness of the Basilica. Now who is the mother of heaven that the priests were burning incense to? Any idol of the heart trying to take the place of God will lead us down a very wrong road.
Next letter I'll tell you all the great things happening at the church and in the villages. The devil is hard at work in these latter days, but so is the great God we serve; and He is more powerful than the devil.
Thanks for praying for us.
Joan and Dan, Ruth Marie, Lydia, Susanna, Isaiah, Stephen, Rebekah, Josiah, Joseph, Esther and Gideon, and Hannah and Seth in Bible College