Beginning in January, we had great times with our visitors (Laurel and Matthew, Misty and Pedro). I hope you will be able to see all the pictures they took; we are trying to get them onto our website. The heat was very bad. We were just walking, slippery with sweat (how is that for a word picture?). The fridge and freezer were hard put to keep up with cold drinks. February has come with some rain, which is a relief from the dust and heat.
The guys DID go work at the church in the heat. They helped dig foundations for two new rooms and also helped patch the roof. I made sure they drank lots of water to prevent heatstroke.
We all walked around a lot giving out tracts and witnessing. We want everyone to experience the openness of this country. We are living on perpetual visitation. Maybe you have seen a sign over a door, "You are now entering the mission field." We are assaulted with the burden for the lost every time we leave the house.
The schools were supposed to start school on January 5. (A great quote: "Make your plans in pencil and let God write them in ink." We Americans who like schedules especially have to learn to be flexible in this country. God's timing is always right on time.) The teachers, doctors, and other government workers were on strike the whole month and into February. We were finally able to do our big "pass out tracts day" at the public school. Our American helpers were gone, but nine of us went to help, even Gideon and Esther. We split up for both exits. Each one had a stack to pass out and boxes to replenish from—just keep giving them out: Gospel tracts, John and Romans pamphlets, a Romans Road tract translated from Little Red Book Ministry, an invitation to church, and lollipops. Dan estimated that we distributed to 3,600 or more people. We were only there from 10:45 until noon. Quite a few prayed with me to get saved. I guess I should have written decision cards—God knows. Our church is not so far from the school. Follow up is hard in this country. The road system is about non-existent, and people don't have addresses. We witness, pray for, and disciple everywhere we go. Pray for the tract ministry. It IS a ministry —here and in America. It takes time and effort and the Holy Spirit to work in their lives. You have to get prepared, praying as you go.
Also since the strike ended, I have started teaching Bible in our church school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There are about 60 kids, and I love teaching them. Our school did not have the strike, but the schools that were on strike would threaten and harass those who tried to go to school. Pray that this country stays open and in peace. When people are poor, don't get paid, and jobs are threatened, there tends to be an undercurrent of dissatisfaction.
Dan has started building a church building at Petit Pedro. We have been meeting there in a small building that is supposed to be knocked down when the city puts in its power lines. The kids have been meeting outside on mats. When the church building gets built, we can use that other building; we'll take it apart and rebuild it on our property (way easier said than done) for the kids.
Right before Christmas, a little five-year-old girl came to live with us. Her name is Naomi, and this is not a permanent thing. We are letting her live with us while her mother works as a live-in nanny. They give her two Sundays off each month, and she gets paid $80 per month. Jestina is looking for a different job, but in the meantime, we are taking care of Naomi. I am teaching her kindergarten, and everyone is learning patience and kindness. In one of our times together, Jestina got saved. It seemed like a genuine prayer. I thank God for that. Not only do we want to continually be going out, we want to take all the opportunities to witness to those who come to our house. Meanwhile, we are praying for Naomi to get saved. She is thinking and asking a lot of questions. Many of the kids are involved with an intentional outlook for her salvation.
Cute Gideon lost his two front teeth (so cute). He turned 7 on Feb. 16. The moms get to birth the babies and then make the birthday cakes every year. I have started telling our kids, this is OUR day (smile).
The pets are fine. Our visitors enjoyed the monkeys. Matthew was getting quite loosened up, even letting the monkey sit on him with no diaper. You are going to be sweaty and dirty anyway—how bad can a monkey be?
Keep praying for us for health and safety and that we would be found faithful to the end.
In His grip,
Dan, Joan and family
Sent from: Serving with: Serving in:
Evangel Baptist Church Baptist World Mission 01 BP 125, San Pédro 01
16994 Telegraph Rd. P.O. Box 2149 Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa
Taylor, MI 48180-5108 Decatur, AL 35602-2149 225-4147-0070
734-946-5680 256-353-2221 336-446-9997