You’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.