Monday, August 31, 2015

A Brief Moment In Time

Pastor Freddy Bible School GraduationBack in 2007, we were invited to attend a graduation ceremony at a local Bible school operated by one our missionary friends from Liberia.  John was asked to help hand out diplomas and pose for photos with each of the graduates.

A couple of days ago, John was walking down the road when he was stopped by a man on a motorcycle.  It turns out this man was one of the graduates from that Bible school eight years ago.  His name is Pastor Freddy.  He was overjoyed to see John after so many years.  He is now a pastor with his own small church in Bamako.

Pastor Freddy and JohnYesterday, we visited Pastor Freddy’s church, which is held in one of the large marketplaces near our house.  He was extremely excited to see us.  He pulled out the picture of John handing him his diploma from years ago.  He told us how important the photo is to him and how he has been keeping it close to his heart.  This was a defining moment for us.  We sometimes question how effective our ministry is and if we are really making a difference.  And here was a moment in time from many years ago that we thought was a small and insignificant gesture for a friend.  Little did we know the powerful impact it had left on a future pastor and how it would continue to provide him encouragement years after.  Never underestimate the lasting impressions you will have on others.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Birthday Suit

SONY DSCCole_AngelIt’s hard to believe it’s already been 19 years since we were blessed with the arrival of Cole.  This is the first time we’ve been away from him on his birthday.  We miss him dearly and we’re proud of the way he’s matured into a fine young man.  Happy Birthday Cole!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Safe House

Several people have expressed a concern about our safety in Mali.  We want to assure you that we feel safe and secure and don’t have any qualms about being here.  There have been some stories in the international news over the past few weeks, but they haven’t affected our personal safety.

Although there are active jihadists in the country, the Malian people and authorities have taken a firm and offensive stance to defend against this threat.  We also have multinational UN Peacekeeping forces throughout Mali.  There has been a lot of intelligence that has allowed the police and military to stop attacks before they happen and they have successfully rooted out several terrorist cells.  The Malian government and US Embassy are keeping us well informed about areas to avoid.  Unfortunately, this did prevent us from participating in an evangelism campaign in a town outside of Bamako last week, but we need to take things like this into account when planning our activities to help ensure our safety.

We appreciate your prayers for the safety of our family, our colleagues, and the nation of Mali.  We have both received multiple confirmations from the Lord that He wants us here in Mali for such a time as this.  We feel VERY safe under His protection.  He wouldn’t have called us back here if it wasn’t the best place for us to be right now.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Mi Casa Es Su Casa

We’ve been back in Mali a little over three weeks now.  Much of that time has been adjusting and re-familiarizing ourselves with Bamako and our neighborhood.  Last week we said an emotional good-bye to Jean-Patrick and Ruth Perrin who have left after 30 years of leading YWAM in Mali.  We are grateful they were able to watch over our house much of the time we were gone.  In addition, there were several other people who lived in our home, including a Malian pastor and his family who had to flee for their lives from the north in 2012 the week after we left.  We were happy our home was available to them for several months so they could begin rebuilding their lives.  As we reacquaint ourselves with old friends, we continue to bump into other people who were able to use our home in our absence.

Our house was well cared for by the many people living in our home.  Some things were changed around and we’re still discovering where things have been stored and gradually getting everything back in place.  In the process, we have found several pleasant surprises.

Over the past weeks, we’ve had a variety of YWAM Mali leaders as house guests much of the time.  It was good to have them here to help us re-acclimate and learn about some of the changes in Mali.  But alas, we’re happy to now have our house to ourselves before we prepare for more houseguests next week.  Perhaps you’d like to make a reservation too.