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