Coming to the end of another busy year!
Thank you for praying for us as we travelled to various countries in Africa, North America and the UK, and as we continued to work with the Loron people in Ivory Coast.
The year started off with a short visit with some of our missionaries who work in Burkina Faso, and then a bumpy road trip around Senegal. I always find it so encouraging to see how God is using Christians from so many different countries to bring the Gospel to the unreached peoples of Africa. The travel team consisted of NTM missionaries from the US, Ivory Coast, Germany and Northern Ireland. We visited several areas where our missionaries are engaged with various people groups and local churches. It was heartening to see how the Lord continues to build His church across West Africa in the some of the most difficult and out-of-the-way places.
Marina and I then travelled to Ivory Coast (via Burkina Faso) to spend a couple of months with the Loron people. During March and April we found the heat and humidity pretty hard to cope with – it seemed warmer than last year, but maybe it’s just because we are getting older! We were thankful though for our little 12 volt fans which helped us, most of the time, to get an adequate night’s sleep.
The Loron believers continue to grow (in number and maturity) as they serve the Lord in evangelism, Bible teaching, literacy classes and developing Bible translation drafts. Over 500 Loron Christians now gather each week in more than 20 locations for fellowship, Bible teaching and prayer.
In May and early June Marina was in South Africa & Mozambique participating in a seminar and workshop, and helping missionaries to develop literacy materials for three people groups in Mozambique. They had a very profitable time. Marina may be going back there sometime during 2016 to assist with launching a literacy programme in a village setting.
During June we had a series of meetings, seminars, workshops, and our first-ever NTM West Africa field conference in Senegal. Over one hundred missionaries and mission leaders from various countries, along with several local Senegalese pastors, gathered for an encouraging and challenging week of reports and teaching from the Word.
Our oldest son, Peter, and his wife Claire and their girls, Stephanie and Rebecca, came to Ivory Coast for two weeks to visit our village and also Yamoussoukro, where Peter had spent several years attending boarding school. We had a wonderful time with them.
At the end of July we returned to Northern Ireland for a six-month furlough/Home Assignment. We have enjoyed so much being able to spend time with family and friends. We have also been visiting some local churches to bring them up to date on what the Lord has been doing among the Loron people and in other parts of West Africa.
In September we travelled to the US and Canada to present the work in West Africa to students attending the NTM missionary training centres in Missouri and Ontario. We also visited a number of friends and churches. Africa gets such a negative press, so it was good to be able to give a little different perspective on what God is doing there. We also visited the NTM UK training centre in North Cotes, England during November.
We are now planning our return to West Africa. We have been checking into flights and accommodation and hope to go back sometime around mid-January.
We want to thank you for your prayers, support and encouragement as we served the Lord in Africa for the past 30 years (we went to Ivory Coast on Jan 28, 1986). We thank God for His faithfulness, and for the privilege it has been to serve Him among the people of West Africa.