Monday, October 05, 2015

Breakdown

Village ChurchYesterday we were invited by Daniel Tieh, our Liberian missionary friend, to visit one of his churches and a young pastor in a local village.  The village was about 30 miles away and took us about an hour to get to.  As visiting missionaries, it’s customary to be seated with the pastor at the front of the church looking out at the congregation.  It always feels a bit awkward, but we graciously accept the seats of honor.  It’s harvest season, so a majority of the church members were working the fields only leaving about 10 people in the service.  We sang several songs, and heard special numbers from a small women’s choir and a small men’s choir.  Daniel then introduced us to the church.  At the end of his introduction, he announced John was going to bring the sermon.  John didn’t know he would be preaching and hadn’t prepared a message.  But as he walked up to the podium, the Lord provided a full message from Matthew 6:25-34.  Although we were in a poor village, the message centered on not feeling poor because God provides for all of our needs.  We should be singing for joy all day like the birds because God is always taking care of us.

After the service, the pastor invited us to sit down for 15 minutes and share tea with others from the church.  Knowing the culture, John said it’s impossible to have tea in 15 minutes.  It’s usually closer to 2 hours.  Everyone laughed as they acknowledged this observation.  We stayed and enjoyed tea and conversation with them.  They also treated us to roast sheep.  We felt very blessed.  After a while, we excused ourselves to return home.

Car TroubleOur poor little car is close to 20 years old and has put on tens of thousands of extremely hard miles in Mali.  Every trip is an adventure, and this one was no exception.  Besides having two of our outside door handles break off the night before, we also had to stop for air in one of our tires in a village on the way to church.  Then, as we were heading home and were in the middle of the bush, the temperature gauge started rising into the red zone.  We pulled off the road and found the radiator was completely empty.  We refilled it with our water bottles and hoped for the best.  As we approached the next village, the temperature was again in the red zone.  We pulled over and upon closer inspection, John and Daniel found a crack in the radiator.  Someone from the village came to help and suggested we put epoxy glue on the crack as a temporary fix.  He went to a roadside shop and picked some up for us, then undertook the repair himself.

It was hot, and as we were waiting for the glue to dry, we sat down under the shelter of a gas station that was under construction nearby.  We shared the shade with a family consisting of a mother, 3 teenage daughters and several smaller children.  After extending pleasantries, we talked amongst ourselves for several minutes.  Then John had the idea of sharing a Bible story with the kids.  He told the story of Noah and the ark with great drama and enthusiasm.  When he finished the story, Daniel shared that after Noah, God provided Jesus to become our Savior.  As he was talking, one the girls asked how she could accept Jesus.  Daniel proceeded to pray the sinner’s prayer with her.  He then took her phone number to follow-up with her.  John went on the explain that we were on our way to the city and didn’t intend to stop.  But God stopped our car there because He wanted us to share with the family and tell them how much God loves them.

Missionary life is cool!

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Minute To Win It

MinuteToWinItLast night the Go Global Mali English center hosted a night of fun and games.  Our students participated in several activities including Charades, Have You Ever…, Scattergories, and Minute to Win It.  As a couple, we hosted the Minute to Win It game.  We had a ton of fun as the competition really heated up with games including keeping balloons in the air, unraveling toilet paper, building towers out of index cards, and assembling puzzle pieces in under one minute.

Leading up to the event, we promoted it as a night of Games and Snacks.  In John’s class on Friday, one of his students raised his hand with a bewildered look on his face.  His question was, “What are we going to do with snakes?”  Malians have a great fear of snakes and this man seemed quite scared that we were going to have games involving snakes.  It was an excellent opportunity for a vocabulary lesson on the difference between snacks and snakes.  The man was quite relieved to find out no snakes were involved.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Build It And They Will Come

Logo_full_colour_150dpiLast night we began hosting a new Alpha for ESOL Course at Go Global Mali.  It’s a special version of the Alpha Course for ESL students.  We’ve been hoping and praying for 25 students, however based on preregistration, we were realistically expecting 5-6 people to come.  We were overjoyed when exactly 25 people showed up!  Talk about an answer to prayer!  We did run short on food (each Alpha session begins with a shared meal) and materials, but we’ll be better prepared in the weeks to come.

The students were eager to participate in the small group discussions and were very active throughout the night.  Please be praying that they will all return and continue to participate during the next 11 weeks.

Alpha is an opportunity to explore life and the Christian faith in a friendly, open and informal environment.  It’s been attended by over 27 million people in 169 countries.  The Alpha Course is a life changing experience.  Click here for more information about an Alpha Course near you.