Friday, April 30, 2010

Keep On Truckin’

First YWAM Team Crossing the Sahara We are deep in the throes of preparing for our YWAM 50th Anniversary celebration next week.  One of John’s responsibilities is creating a timeline presentation outlining YWAM’s history in West Africa.  He is really enjoying reviewing archive photos and learning about our history.  For many, YWAM conjures up visions of young, hippie “Jesus people”.  One of interesting items John has discovered is the story of the first YWAM team who came to Mali in 1975.  This was one hearty team.  They drove all the way from Switzerland – including traversing the Sahara Desert in, you guessed it, VW vans. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ticket to Ride

It’s now official!  We are traveling to California this summer to visit family, friends, and churches.  (With an occasional stop at In-N-Out Burger of course!)  We purchased our tickets last weekend.  Because they’re non-refundable, we’re pretty much committed to going.  We are really looking forward to seeing everyone.  Please get in touch with us ASAP so we can schedule a time and place to get together with you.

We currently don’t have housing or transportation arrangements in California.  If you know of a house and/or car that is available even for a week or two, please let us know.  We’ll be arriving on June 10th and staying until August 10th.  Hope to see you soon!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fill ‘er Up

We’ve been thrilled by the popularity of the terracotta water pot we’ve placed outside our home.  We’re finding we now need to refill it several times a day as we’re currently going through about 15-20 gallons of water daily.  We don’t know how many people are using it, but it must be a lot.  We are very happy to be presenting this service and sharing hospitality with our Malian neighbors.  We’re now going to make a sign in French and Bambara quoting John 4:13-14 and inviting people to knock on our door for more information.  We’re finding sometimes the simplest gestures can have the greatest impact.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Reunited

Patrick and John Before we left Mali in 2005, John had been working with a man named Patrick Smith.  Patrick is a refugee from Liberia.  He has had a very troubled life including experiencing indescribable atrocities during the Liberian war.  He doesn’t have a job and he survives on the streets by lying, cheating, and stealing.  He has gained a very bad reputation and most people have shunned him.  Despite these problems, John became good friends with Patrick.

When we arrived back in 2007, John began looking for Patrick without success.  He asked all around and even searched the jails.  We had been fearing that Patrick was dead.  But then a couple of weeks ago, a warning message went out through the expatriate community that Patrick had resurfaced in Bamako.  John was overjoyed and immediately put the word out that he has been looking for Patrick and asked that he be directed to our house if anyone came in contact with him.  He soon showed up at our door and has visited a few times the past couple of weeks.

John has been focusing on sharing about God’s desire to see Patrick turn his life around and experience His love and grace.  Patrick is beginning to listen, but he still has a way to go.  He’s also suffering from a recurring medical condition.  Please hold Patrick up in prayer:  that he would experience God’s miraculous healing touch and that he would turn his life over to the Lord. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

We’ve Got Spirit Yes We Do – We’ve Got Spirit How ‘Bout You

The Alpha for ESOL Course has been going very well.   We have 12-15 people attending regularly.  They are learning a lot about Jesus and Christianity.  A special part of the Alpha Course is a retreat called the Holy Spirit Weekend.  This is a weekend getaway where the teaching and discussions focus on who the Holy Spirit is, what the Holy Spirit does, and how to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  We were limited in our ability to have a weekend retreat, so we compacted everything into a special Holy Spirit Day which took place yesterday.  We rented an air conditioned meeting room and enjoyed an entire day from 8am to 8pm together complete with all of our meals.

It was a long but very productive day.  People were really open to learning about the Holy Spirit and the discussion times were very active.  At the end of the evening, several people asked to be prayed for and to receive the Holy Spirit.  There were no earthquakes or smoke filled rooms, like in the book of Acts, however the Holy Spirit was among us and filled new people and began influencing their lives.

We still have 3 weeks remaining in this Alpha Course.  Please keep our Alpha guests in prayer as they discover many new and exciting things.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Land Ho!

New Land Our YWAM Base in Bamako is currently in a rented apartment building.  We recently received the opportunity to purchase an acre of land in Bamako.  The property is within walking distance of our house which is really cool!  The new land will allow us to build base facilities to accommodate our current and future ministries while saving a lot of money on monthly rent.

Today our team met for prayer and praise on the new property.  It was exciting to see the area and begin to visualize our new base.  Please be praying with us as we raise the money for the land purchase and building projects.  If you would like to contribute, please drop us a line and we’ll provide details for making a tax deductable donation.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Long Time No See

Whoa!

Remember us?  Yes, we’ve been doing a really good job of playing hide and seek.  But as you can see from our picture, we’re all alive and well and doing fine.

We are now officially in hot season and doing our best to survive each day.  Today our high was 113° (not the hottest it gets) and the low last night dropped all the way down to 84°.  It’s a challenge especially with the frequent power cuts we’ve been experiencing.  On select days, we’ve also lost water for several hours.  Oh, the joys of living in Africa!

Our silence has not been due to a lack of activities….including John’s birthday.  We won’t try to fill in all the details here, but we have back-filled a couple of bigger events the last week or so.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Blown Out of Proportion

BlowoutWe just returned from our annual YWAM General Assembly meeting which was held over Easter weekend at our base in Koutiala.  The meetings went well and were uneventful for the most part.  Unfortunately both Cole and Julie were sick and had to stay in bed for a few of the meeting sessions.  They have both since fully recovered.

We drove our car to Koutiala which is 275 miles from our home in Bamako.  Julie is always nervous about the trip as this is where we had our serious car accident in 2003.  John was also a little apprehensive this time too as this is the first long trip our car has taken since the motor was rebuilt last year.

The section of road between Bamako and the halfway point is not in very good condition and is usually a challenge to drive.  The road for the second half of the journey is in much better condition.

Our car performed perfectly…well, until our return trip.  When we were about 2 hours from home, we had a high speed tire blowout.  Fortunately, John was able to avoid other vehicles and various other obstacles and safely pull our car off to the side of the road.  John and Clement, one of our Malian colleagues who was riding with us, quickly changed the tire.  (Thankfully, we had just bought a new jack the week before…irony or God?!)  We then discovered our spare tire was flat!  There we were, stuck out in the bush in 120° heat with no spare tire.  We flagged down a passing truck who agreed to take Clement and our tire to the next village for repair.  Ironically enough, the next village was Fana, the village we were taken to after our accident.  Fana has now come to our rescue twice!

After about an hour, our tire was repaired and we were back on the road.  The rough damaged road took an additional toll on our car as one of the brackets on our roof rack broke and we needed to stop and fix it too.  Thankfully, we made it home -- two hours later than we had planned, but safe and sound none the less.