Thank you for praying for us since we wrote a week ago. We flew back into the village on Monday and were warmly greeted by our friends here. After sweeping up the dirt and grime, and the graveyard of critters that visited the Roach Motel while we were gone, we had a good night’s sleep and have continued to stay busy putting away food supplies and getting our lives back in order. Our kids have already gotten in a full week of school already including a little bit this weekend – much to their dismay!
Up until about an hour ago, we were anticipating starting our bible teaching tomorrow (Monday). This morning as we were beginning to think about the day and the community feast of sweet potato, greens, etc. from the people’s gardens, plus some extra fun things that we brought from town, like rice, ramen noodles, and canned tuna – that we would enjoy together to mark the beginning of the teaching. Word was quickly spreading though, that one of the men of our village had died – he was on the list of the list of the ‘old and fail’ from our last newsletter. He has dealt with chronic lung problems for quite some time now. Our friends here live from birth throughout their whole life, breathing in smoke from their fire pits in their houses with little ventilation – some people deal with lung issues more than others. He was one of them and it seems as though he just breathed his last breath in his sleep last night. Of course, we are very saddened by this as this dear man was so close to hearing God’s story. It just intensifies our desire to get started so many can hear before it’s too late for them.
So, because of this death and needing to properly bury him, the teaching will be postponed until Tuesday. The community has decided to go on with the bible school opening party today, then to bury the body tomorrow rather than waiting some days, and that the teaching will still start – just a day late.
Some things you can be praying for and also thanking God for, with us:
* We found out a couple days ago that some of our key guys who hiked a few days to a nearby mining town – ones that were especially looking forward to the teaching – won’t be back until maybe a week or so from now. That means they would miss the first couple weeks of teaching. Can you pray that they would come back sooner than planned. If we don’t start teaching now until the day after tomorrow, maybe they could even make it back this week or at least next week. There are other folks too who are gone from our village that we are praying God will just bring back.
* We have seen so many things that the Lord is doing to encourage us as this teaching is about to begin. The day after we arrived back from conference, a guy from another village showed up and was willing to help Benjamin get the final touches of some of his lessons ready. This guys is very bright and very interested. He has been a huge help and we pray that he will decide to stay in our village for the teaching.
* We have a government school here and we need them to begin their school day just a bit later than normal so that we can fit in our bible teaching in before them – early in the morning. The headmaster and another teacher just “happened” to come to our house to talk with us about different things and we were able to bring up the topic with them – it saved Benjamin some time too, so he didn’t have to squeeze in that extra time to go find them and initiate the conversation.
* We are looking to God so much these days for wisdom, strength, good health, encouragement, etc., as what we are about to do seems very big and more than we are able to accomplish in ourselves. Benjamin was reading the other day and was encouraged with I Corinthians 1:17 “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” This is our desire – that HE does this through us so that the power of the Gospel is communicated very simply and clearly to our friends here. Pray especially for Benjamin and Bart who will be carrying the teaching load – in a difficult language – for these next four months or so.
Thank you so much for praying with us. We are praying much for you all these days too as things are a bit crazy and uncertain in our world. God is the same though, and we are taking comfort in that!
Missy, for Benjamin and the kiddos