Wednesday, September 10, 2014

August 2014

    First, the bad news: anything you hear in the world, the world seems to be falling apart. Jesus is coming so soon—any day now. The GREAT news: God is in control. He is winning this war, and we are on His team!!!  By the way, Ebola has not reached Ivory Coast. Please pray for our health and safety.
    One of the many highlights of the summer was that Seth and Hannah organized and carried out a Bible memory competition. (Stephen won.)  It was great to see Stephen and Isaiah reciting Bible passages (58 passages memorized in all, including the other young men who participated).  I love putting money in the Bank of Heaven, helping kids learn verses, getting them to camp, etc.
    Again, we had lots of rain and mud, and a part of our retaining wall fell down.  I did not tell you about the process—same story, second verse—but it was discouraging to see money going out to rebuild a wall.  It was necessary, but I just had to keep thinking of Nehemiah, who worked night and day until it was finished.
    Everyone participated in a basketball camp that was organized by our co-workers, the Kings, and two coaches from Bob Jones University.  It was fun and profitable, and the Gospel went out daily, loud and clear to youths from all over San Pedro.
    We had a great time with Ruth, Hannah, Seth and Kenny. In the first week of August, they went back to Ambassador Baptist College and were joined by Lydia (five adults—leaving this place quiet). Were they the ones making all the work, noise and mess around here? 
    That same week, Susanna, Isaiah and Stephen went to camp.  This is African camp, with mosquito nets, African food all week, no fruits or vegetables. lots of oil, getting up at 4:30 a.m. and getting to bed at 11:30 p.m., basketball, singing, and lots of preaching.  They had fun, enjoyed the preaching, and were VERY happy to get home. Isaiah was given the "Camper of the Week" award.  Pray that God keeps His hand on our kids!!!  Four are in college, but our work at home is not finished; there are still eight here to teach and disciple.  Back to camp, though...Isaiah was so great doing dishes that someone said to him, "You must have a very spoiled mother." Ha!
    So, we were finally ready to relax. Everyone was home and doing fine, when I heard that Esther had fallen down.  This was 7:30 on a Saturday night.  One look at the arm, and I knew this was out of my realm (broken arm).  "Dan, the bad news is that we have to go to the doctor right now." (Just that thought is not a good one here in San Pedro, let alone on a Saturday night when there is no staff.) The X-ray showed both bones in the arm were broken. It was interesting to watch him, an orthopedic nurse, set the arm and put on a cast. Of course, Dan had to first go buy all the materials needed.  Another X-ray showed that the bones were indeed straight.  Her fingers started swelling, so we went back so they could cut some of the cast back. Then, we went back again, so they could cut the cast lengthwise to loosen it up a bit.  She is in no pain and is now just carrying around a cast.  We pray it all heals well.  Thanks for praying for the kids, even in their simple play. She had just tripped over something and landed wrong (on her left arm, since she is a lefty).  This has put a crimp in doing schoolwork.
    I almost forgot that we did another delivery. Susanna delivered the baby this time.  I guess she might as well get some practice and know how.  It was a long labor and delivery, but praise God, all went well.
    Being faithful in the trenches—that is what the Christian life is all about.  Just do right no matter what...persevering is godliness under pressure.  Don't quit. Besides continuing the church and the village works, starting school again (that is saying a lot), Dan and I were able to do a seminar on the book of Daniel at an all-day Saturday preaching time in the village.  (Thank you, Linda Helm for letting us use your booklet.)  Dan taught the men, and I taught the ladies.  We had a good turnout, with about 45 in each group.  We started at 8:30 a.m. and went until 5 p.m.  It was fun.  At least with all the teaching we do, God is always working on US, growing us and bringing us closer to Himself. 
    We do get tired.  Thanks for praying for us.  Our water (ten days) AND electricity (four days) were just off. Stinky toilets are the worst, and there was no cold water to drink.  Try complaining to the people in the village, where that is a way of life. You won't get much sympathy.  Everything is back on, and laundry is caught up now.  (The water went back off, but at least we got all the reservoirs filled up.)
    While we were all together, we were able to have a family picture. That took some work, especially on the part of Ruth.  Ruth and Hannah are also putting together our ministry presentation. It is great to have big kids who are so talented.  We are planning, Lord willing, to come to the States in March 2015 and will be calling to find a good time to visit you.
    Thanks for your prayers! We do so appreciate you. 
Servants of the Most High God—what could be better than that?

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

June 2014

    Ruth is here and has started working at the hospital.  The more time she spends over there, the more she sees the need to have a Christian-run maternity clinic.  These people do not know what they are missing or what they are getting themselves into by walking through the hospital doors.  Ruth has seen many medical treatments (how things are done here), and it is not so good.

    The month started with a baptism of 12— two in our church in Lac and ten in the village.  This is always an exciting way to start the month.  In the village, we have to use a ladder for the candidates to get in and out of the tank.  This time, we forgot the ladder, so were using a chair.  The funny thing was that one lady got into the tank and sat down on the chair ready to be baptized. It was funny.

    Then, Hannah, Seth, and Kenny Hafner, a friend from Bible college, came to help with the ministry this summer. Seth and Hannah have been helping with visitation, which has to be done in French, so we are so happy to have them. Kenny has taken over the youth class, with Hannah or Lydia interpreting, and also will preach next Sunday, since Dan will be getting back from Abidjan. Lydia and Susanna are going to take the SAT. Lydia is planning, Lord willing, to go to Ambassador Baptist College this fall. Seth has been preaching in the village and doing visitation there. He also helps Dan grade papers for his class.

    Dan continues to teach the men's Bible school (How to Preach) three hours every Sunday afternoon, while Ruth is teaching the ladies' class (How to Teach). Sundays are very full with Sunday school, church, women and youth classes, afternoon Bible school, youth activities, and anyone left over—that would be Hannah and Seth—out for visitation.  There is always a lot to be done; we are only limited by our time and energy.  Wednesday and Friday meetings continue as well.  All that to say, pray for us all the time. All these services are every week and take time to prepare for. We do get tired.   

    A woman's finger was terribly infected (a thorn left under the fingernail), almost to the point of gangrene. This is about four days into treatment of soaking and antibiotics.  It is doing better now.

    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.  

    Hannah, Ruth and I performed another delivery at home.  It was fun with everyone helping and knowing what to do, and no one got too tired.  God blessed and all went well. After all the clean up, the African civet got into the trash and scattered that everywhere. It was a mess to clean.

    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.

    Love in Christ,

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