Tuesday, January 29, 2013

War is Hell

Mali Airstrike RemainsYou’ve likely seen Mali appearing in the news again the past several days.  The French military has moved in to help the Malian military reclaim territory taken over by rebel extremists.  UN forces and teams from other African nations are now on their way to help the French effort.  Although we are grateful progress is being made and the rebels are being pushed back, it has come at a price.  It is difficult to see images of places we know that have suffered the ravages of war.  We have always known Mali as a peaceful and calm country.  It breaks our hearts to be witnessing such tragic circumstances.  We pray that things will come to a quick and peaceful end.

Many embassies, including the American embassy, have notified their citizens to leave Mali.  Several mission agencies have once again evacuated their personnel.  Although our original intention was to return to Mali in February if the situation stabilized, it’s obvious that our decision to remain in the US for an extended time period was a wise decision.

A majority of our Malian YWAM staff are from Mali and other West African nations.  Most are unable to leave and have chosen to continue the ministry in Mali despite the war.  In all, about 50 adults remain and are continuing to staff 5 YWAM bases in Mali.  We recently received exciting news of the things they have been accomplishing in recent months:

  • 35,000 Bibles have been distributed since May, and a container with 65,000 has been ordered for February 2013.
  • 130 children from 23 villages took part of in a camp just before Christmas. 80% were Muslim and learned about the great things Jesus is doing.
  • All the schools in the town of Kayes were visited and every teacher received a Bible. The children were challenged to focus on their school studies instead of the troubles in the country.
  • 500 children in the elementary school operated by YWAM have seen God answering prayer and learned about God’s provision.

We are thankful for our faithful brothers and sisters who are continuing the work in Mali.  Please join us in holding them up in prayer.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Nip and Tuck

John’s surgery went well yesterday.  It lasted about 2-1/2 hours.  He was awake and conscious the entire time watching and talking with the doctor throughout the procedure.  It involved cutting off and removing a couple of damaged veins in his leg to allow blood flow to be rerouted to healthy veins.  He is a bit sore, but he is following doctor’s orders and is up and walking and returning to normal routines – although in slow motion.  The swelling has gone down considerably and will hopefully continue shrinking in time.

Friday, January 18, 2013

You’re So Vein

For the past several years, John has been dealing with discoloration and swelling in his right ankle and leg as a result of our accident in Africa 9 years ago.  When we returned to the States last April, he began seeking treatment as the swelling doubled the size of his ankle and leg.  After initial consultations, treatment was delayed as we relocated to Northern California.

We have since found a vascular surgeon in Chico who has diagnosed John’s condition as valves in his leg veins not functioning properly.  The solution is shut down these veins and reroute blood to adjacent veins.  On Friday, John will be having vascular surgery to correct the issue.  It is an out-patient procedure that is minimally invasive.  The recovery time is very quick and John is supposed to be able to return to normal activity within a day.  Please be praying with us that the surgery will go as planned and John’s leg and ankle will return to normal.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A New Year – A New Start

A new year has begun and with it, we will restart our communication.  Although our blog has been inactive since August, we have not.  In fact, just the opposite.  In the last five months, we have relocated to YWAM Chico in Northern California, helped lead a YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS) to raise up new missionaries, built a house in Mexico, and celebrated Christmas in the US with family for the first time in 7 years.  Cole has acclimated well to his new school and is flourishing both academically and socially.

Last night was graduation for our DTS that began in August.  We had twelve students complete the 5 month program which included a 10 week mission trip to Guatemala.  It was exciting to see the growth in our students and we are looking forward to seeing how God is going to continue using them.  We chose not to accompany our students on the Guatemala trip to minimize disruption in Cole’s schooling.  Instead, our family took a one week trip to Mexico with a team from YWAM Chico in November where we built a house from start to finish in just three and half days.

With the new year, we are experiencing a shift in our responsibilities at the YWAM Chico base.  We’re still learning what a lot of that means, but in a nutshell, John will continue working with a new DTS that begins next week.  He is also donning several new hats including working in the base operations department and heading up the IT computer department.  Julie is working in the hospitality department and is responsible for taking care of visitors to our base.  This is definitely a new season for us as we continue to adjust to life in a small town in Northern California.  Currently the temps are ranging from the mid 20s to the high 40s.  This is a huge change from the 100 degree weather we’re used to in Africa.

We are continuing to monitor the situation in Mali which is looking bleak at the present time.  As we write this, it appears the official war has begun.  Yesterday French air raids started and troops from many countries including the US, France, UK, and several West African nations embark on a campaign to retake much of Mali’s territory from extreme rebel groups.  The interim Malian president has declared a state of emergency throughout the country as the battles begin.  Please continue to keep Mali in your prayers during these desperate times.