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May 31, 2008
other day I spent a few hours in prayer, and one big reason
was the situation with Firmin. And the Lord answered my prayers
and showed me what to do. Thank God!
moved in with us nearly two years ago because he needed food
more than anything, and we needed someone to help with our
boys. We soon realized that things weren't working out very
well, but after half a year, we changed his tasks and responsabilities,
hoping it would make a difference. It helped, but wasn't a
past few months and especially the last few weeks he did several
major things that just showed it was time action was taken.
Today Firmin finally approached me to talk - he knew his deadline
was the end of the month, and today is the last day of this
month. As always, he didn't clarify anything or give answers.
So I shared with him what the Lord had given me, and he accepted
he is moving out. He's moving back in with his relatives that
don't live far from us. Since he's good at working with Hama,
I have asked him to come one hour a day to work with Hama,
and he'll be paid for that. We've established a time-table
for that. He'll also still come for services and prayer meetings
etc., so we'll still see him every day.
Firmin was not here for Lora's explications and demonstrations,
we took an hour to work with Hama this afternoon. I explained
everything to Firmin. Since you always need two people to
work with Hama, that was a good time.
is moving out, and Djelika in, one week from now. Paul is
moving back into the room with the boys, so that Djelika
will have her own little room (where Paul and Firmin now
been looking for someone who knows how to clean for some
time. Those that are trained by missionaries usually do
a great job, and when missionaries leave the country, they
look for new employers for those helpers.
is how I was made aware of Djelika. Several other people
had been interested, but our compound is so far out of town,
that no one wants to work here. Djelika is different because
she also needs to live at her work place. So that's another
big plus for her.
is a nominal, non-practising, Muslim. I told her she could
not practise her religion on our property, and she was fine
with it. Of course, my hope is that she'll find Jesus. She's
going to clean, but also take on other tasks. With Fanta's
baby coming any time now, that should relieve her somewhat.
Djelika has never gone to school, is 22 years old, and doesn't
know how to read and write. She's married with a 2-year-old,
but husband and child are in her village. They need more
money to finalize their marriage, and then she'll return
issue is our 5 teenagers between 14 and 18 years of age,
with high hormons and some of them serious sexual problems.
We'll see if it's even possible to have a girl that age
in our house. We'll have two weeks to find out whether it's
working, before I leave the country.
have my tickets for my 9 weeks away this summer, with a
busy itinerary. On one hand I'm looking forward to it, on
the other the time between the last and next trip is not
excited, though, how the summer program here in Mali while
I'm away is coming together.
is doing a three week evangelistic outreach, for ages 16
and upwards, and my three oldest boys qualify to participate.
Their reactions spoke volumes - only Saloum was really excited.
the two younger ones, I found at least an activity for one
week. The Christian school for mostly missionary kids does
a program for children, and English is not required. I hope
they won't feel uncomfortable because of their age, since
most will be younger than them.
those programs, all 5 will go to the village of Dio for
3 weeks, which also gives Paul a break of 3 weeks, and he
intends to travel. They'll all come back just before I return.
September, they have one whole month to catch up on school,
and work hard to reach a certain grade to jump into in October,
when they start going to school in a private school. Then,
we'll have 11 kids in school, and only Hama will be home.
Poor little guy. But he'll have two people work with him
for an hour in the morning and afternoon each.
A Tough Decision
thought I had finished today's blog, when I went to our
nightly family meeting. However, since it was announced
that Firmin is leaving tomorrow, there was shock and pain.
They knew it was on the horizon, but probably thought
it wouldn't happen. So they all took it pretty hard. Seybou
left the room, and so did Paul. Paul then came back, and
later Seybou as well.
the kids started all kinds of things to me, accusing me,
and I had to explain to them that sometimes the hard decisions
are the right decisions. I told them that I had prayed
many hours, and this solution is what God had given me.
I told them I had peace and absolute certainty to do the
right thing. None of that made any sense to that. I told
them they'd understand one day, but will they? All they
see now is that they are losing a brother - even though
he'll be back here everyday. They are much closer than
I am with Firmin, since they spend many more hours together
hope my kids and team members won't revolt against me.
Paul did not agree with my decision either. Please pray
for me and us.
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May 30, 2008
- a speech therapist - showed us a lot of exercises we could
do with Hama, to help him grow and develop, and today we got
started working with him. It takes two people to do it, and
I asked Saloum - my oldest boy - to help me. Saloum is turning
19 in January, and so he needs to become a team member then,
since he won't be a child any more. I was also hoping Seybou
could help out, since that would force him to spend some time
with his son, but today he was out on errands, so we'll see.
In any case, we had a good time with Hama, and he has much
are good news and bad news. The bad news first. We took
our car into the repair shop today, and the guy said he'd
fix it right away. Seybou sat down to wait - and kept waiting
until the guy said he wouldn't get it done tonight but tomorrow.
Seybou was understandably angry. Couldn't he tell in advance
he wouldn't get done? We could have brought the car in on
Monday, when we don't need it at night. So the consequences:
no going to the bus station tonight, and no street kid program
tomorrow. Since we had already prepared the food for tonight,
Paul and Firmin went to the bus station anyway, by public
transportation, which is difficult since we're so far out.
But there won't be a kids' program tomorrow.
good news - somebody promised to send money to fix up our
old car. And today I had an email that a church would like
to finance a minibus for us (see picture). Let's pray that
both will come to pass.
been emailing back and forth with Anco, who did our power
installation. I checked all the figures for him, and he
simply doesn't understand why we don't have more power coming
from the solar panels. He said that our 18 panels give the
energy 12 panels normally give.
problem was that the plugs connecting the generator to the
system to recharge our batteries have half-melted in the
heat. We were able to change the female plug only, and therefore
the generator could only give us direct energy, but not
charge up the system. Today, a missionary friend of Anco's
came by to change the male plug, and now are batteries are
charging again, thank God. Hopefully it will make a difference
and give us more energy in the future. We still pay $25
a day just for gas to run the generator.
was time for our weekly prayer meeting. I put up the keyboard,
but discovered that the power adapter had fallen to the
ground one time to often. It was broken. No more keyboard.
Hopefully we can find a replacement in town.
I got the computer out, and thanks to the SEARCH option,
I was able to find the songs that my kids know in French,
so they could sing along, even though the original is
started praising God, and then worshipping, and as so
many times before, I was grieving as I looked at my teenagers,
the boredom in their eyes, the indifference, the inability
to worship or draw close to God. How many of them have
really encountered God?
after another they'd leave the room (supposedly to go
to the bathroom), until kid #4 wanted to leave the room
and join the others. The prayer meeting wasn't over! I
called them back and voiced my sadness. I also told them
that next week they'd have to go to the bathroom before
the meeting and bring water with them. Please pray for
prayed a quick prayer, and the meeting was over. It was
far from what our usual prayer meetings are like.
few days ago our night guard and Seybou caught a guy
who had jumped across the wall to steal stuff during
the night. Tonight another person came over the wall.
One problem is that all four lights on each side of
the house are not working. I asked Kossi to take care
of it, and he told me that the problem is that they
were on around the clock, and so they are fried. The
problem I see is that the switches for those lights
are so hard to find somewhere in the house, that you
don't even know how to switch the light off. He promised
the lights would be repaired tomorrow - another expense.
And then it's our responsiblity to make sure they're
off during the day.
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May 29, 2008
didn't feel that great when I got up, and so I took it easy.
It sure was a tough night without electricity at all; very
hot. After a few hours I lay back down, and enjoyed reading
a book; it had been a while.
the afternoon, I spent several hours before the Lord which
was wonderful. I also prayed for the situation with Firmin,
for wisdom and guidance, and the Lord answered my prayer.
the evening, Hyacinthe came by to offer his insight and
advice. He's spent some time talking to Firmin in the afternoon,
and wanted to hear what I had to say. We had a good conversation.
In any case, Firmin will leave our house this Sunday and
move in with his uncle who doesn't even live far from here.
He'll stay a part of our church, and I will offer him a
job working with Hama. I believe that's gonna be better
for all of us. So far Firmin has not come to me to talk
yet, which I asked him to do a few weeks ago. He simply
stays silent. Please pray for him and us.
would say, it will be down to Paul and myself, but that
might not be true. A young lady is coming for an interview
to help clean, and she would move in with us, and she might
very well be able to learn and help in other ways as well.
sure need your prayers!
still need $16,000 to finish the house, and need some money
to come in within the week to continue.
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May 28, 2008
a day! I woke up feeling pretty miserable, and still having
diarrhea. I could barely stay on my feet. I didn't have to
wait long, before person after person knocked at my door for
something, while I tried to spend time with God. Finally it
was time to work with Hama.
is a speech therapist, and she started showing me (and Paul
joined us later) what exercises we can do with Hama. It was
great! I learned a lot, and Hama enjoyed the attention. The
challenge is that we need at least two people to work with
Hama, and who should those people be? Send the workers, Lord!
came, and we took a break. I felt so miserable I had to lie
down, hot or not. It felt even hotter in the house today,
and I measured 37°C (99°F). Even with the fan, the
sheet was wet where my body touched it.
I did get some rest, until a knock on my door. It was time
to leave. Since I was constantly running to the bathroom,
I wasn't sure if it was wise to leave the house, but I took
the risk. Lora wanted to get some money, and have lunch at
the restaurant that's by the bank. I knew I couldn't eat anything,
but went anyway.
dropped off Elisabeth and her kids at her home, where I took
this picture of her family, together with Lora. Then we took
Souleymane to his school, before continuing on to the restaurant.
Seybou, Lora, and I got a table, and I had some fresh fruit
juice that tastes wonderful there. We enjoyed talking, and
then Lora got some cookies for our kids, before we drove back
home, it was time to sit down with Hama and his parents, as
well as Paul, so that Lora could explain some things to them.
She did an awesome job, and I hope they got it. She also explained
how important those exercises were, and that Hama could advance
dramatically if they are done faithfully. She gave us a lot
of useful tips, and I'm looking forward to implementing them.
90 minutes we were done, and Seybou went to pick up Souleymane
from school. Then it hit me - what I have is malaria! How
could I not have recognized it earlier! I immediately took
the medication, and a few hours later I felt considerably
lay down again, and got some sleep again. I then got up and
tried to do some work, but it was truly hard. Another hour
later, though, the medication had kicked in and I was able
to start working. Thank God, because there is so much to do!
had enjoyed her two days with us, gotten some rest, and read
a great book. However, understandably, she was looking forward
to going back to the west, and cooler weather. I told her
to remember me when she is in the airconditioned airplane.
pm came, and it was time to leave for the airport. I asked
Paul to turn off the generator that had been running since
noon; the noise is so deafening that you can't actually talk
with someone on my side of the house. As he switched it off,
suddenly it kept running for a while and then it made "boom".
When he switched the system to batteries - that had been charged
all day - the power didn't come on. Oh great! Had that boom
fried our system? Where was the power?
we had to leave for the airport, and leave the worrying for
later. We dropped Lora off at the airport, and said good-bye
and "see you next time". The police was already
with us, as you are not allowed to stop there, only drop people
off, and so we quickly moved on, driving home.
the short time I've known Lora, she's become really precious
to me. She's been a great blessing.
the way home, I was honestly worried that "boom"
had caused greater damage, and I couldn't wait to have a closer
look. Back home, I saw that the batteries had not been charged
all day. Great. That's why there was no power. To my great
relief, the generator still worked. What a miracle! However,
we have to turn off the generator over night, which will leave
us without power all night. I honestly don't know how I'm
gonna sleep with this heat tonight, without fans.
think more and more I should do what I thought of a few days
ago, and several people have told me to do it - spend the
night at an air-conditioned guest house, to get some sleep
and rest. We'll see.
it's 11 pm, and time to turn off the generator and face the
heat. Please pray for us; pray also for finances as we pay
over $25 per day now for gas for the generator.
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May 27, 2008
had to get up at 6:30 am and leave the house at 7:15 am. It
was very tough. I had slept little, and the power went out
in the middle of the night, leaving me soaking wet on the
mattress, at 35°C (95°F). I got some tea and took
it with me; Seybou did the driving. We had everyone with us,
to accompany the Americans to the airport and say good-bye.
we go to their house, they were already packing up the bus.
Wonderful! We were able to leave the house on time at about
8 am. All the luggage was on top of the bus, and as many Americans
as possible inside, the rest of them being on the back of
our truck. It was tight, but we succeeded.
at the airport, I grabbed the two Americans whose luggage
had arrived a day later, to go pick it up, since we still
hadn't done that. It didn't take long.
it was time to say good-bye - at least to 14 of them we wouldn't
see again. Lora had another day and a half with us, and the
other 7 are coming back to Bamako next week.
got back on our truck and drove home, where several of us
were ready to crash. I started getting some work done, while
Lora rested, and enjoyed a day of quiet and rest. After lunch,
I lay down because I just couldn't keep going, and ended up
sleeping for two hours, in spite of the heat.
Emma came over, with Abdias's new glasses, since he had broken
the frame. They are not as nice, but at least it didn't cost
much to find a new one and adjust the lenses.
went back to work in the afternoon, until our family meeting
at 9 pm. I announced to them the plans for this summer.
of them are joining a YWAM team for an outreach for 3 weeks,
where they get training, as well as doing evangelism. 16 is
the minimum age, so only Saloum, Fousseni and Daouda can go.
And tonight I found out that Daouda is 2 years older than
I thought; namely turning 18 this year. It was interesting
to watch them at the announcement - only Saloum was truly
is gonna stay home with Abdias and Souleymane during that
time, and when the others come back, all five of them are
going to Dio for three weeks. That will give Paul three weeks
off, and he's already making plans to travel.
returned in the middle of our family meeting. We have talked
with each other today, but our relationship is very strained
right now. We finished the family meeting by just praying
one prayer over everyone.
the meantime Hyacinthe had arrived. He knows that Lora is
leaving tomorrow and came to see her before that. We ended
up sitting and talking for nearly 2 hours. It was nice for
all of us to be talking with people our age for a change.
has come again, and I for one am hoping that we have enough
electricity to last us through the night, and that I'm going
to be able to get some sleep and sleep in a little.
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May 26, 2008
it has become a tradition that we go swimming every time we
have a team come in. Swimming is my kids' favorite thing to
do, and since it's expensive with so many kids, we can't usually
invaded the hotel and took over the swimming pool - there
was only one hotel guest there. We had never gone there as
early as 10 am like today. Everyone jumped into the water
right away, which was pretty warm, and we all had much fun.
I brought a few more gimmicks with me from Austria, including
this "motorbike". Hama immediately claimed it for
himself, and would not come down any more. He just loved it!
Hama loves the water and never wants to get out.
didn't spend as much time in the water, but tried to get some
rest and do a little reading. Two hours passed pretty quickly,
and it was time to go to the restaurant to eat. The buses
were held up somewhere, and so we had to wait for them for
half an hour, which got us off schedule.
reached my favorite restaurant, which opened only for us,
since they are usually closed at noon on Mondays. However,
it was pretty chaotic, and it took two hours for some of us
to receive our food, while they got a lot of things wrong
as well. That threw us off schedule even more. But everyone
enjoyed the food - our kids their chicken and fries, and the
Americans to finally have a cheeseburger again. We had much
fun, and I enjoyed talking to a few people.
Kid Dance Party
I was to take two girls and Hama back to the house with
me, while the rest go back to the swimming pool for a little
while. Fanta and Elisabeth were cooking dinner for our party,
for 80 people, and they needed help. With us running so
late at the restaurant, we only got home at 4 pm. And the
others were not able to go back to the swimming pool; they
only picked up the stuff we had left there.
Lora immediately got to work, helping to peel potatoes.
We only had two hours left, at the max. I tried to get some
rest, but again, it was very hot, and time passed quickly.
6 pm came and the food wasn't ready. By now, the street
kids and the team were already at the mission house where
we had rented a conference room, and they were not only
waiting for the food and drinks, but for the sound system
to play music. So finally, we ready to leave, but we were
a lot of people - Fanta, Seybou, the two little ones, Lora,
and I, and Elisabeth and her 5 kids, plus food for 80 people
(it really was for nearly two times that amount of people),
and all the other equipment, and we still had to pick up
a hundred bottles of soda.
I went as fast as I could. We picked up the bottles, and
finally arrived at the mission house. It was nearly 7:30
pm, halfway through the party. The kids cheered as I arrived
with the food. It looked like they were already having much
fun. Now it was time to eat. We had to do that in an organized
way, so they wouldn't stampede us.
they put the food on plates in the kitchen and passed it
through the opening into the conference room. In the meantime
the kids lined up outside and came in one by one. Each kid
received a plate, and was able to choose one of four different
kind of drinks. Everything worked out very smoothly.
everyone had been served, including Americans and my kids,
I also took a plate and sat down with the street children.
I noticed that many of them were very young. The average
age was quite a few years lower than at our weekly program.
My heart went out to them. I wished I could take these children
home with us, love on them, and give them a future. That's
one reason I don't want to spend more time at the bus station
right now - we cannot take in any more kids yet.
I ate among them and talked to a few around me. They looked
so happy with their food and drink! Most could not finish
their plates, so they started asking me for plastic bags
to take the rest with them. When I went to the kitchen,
I discovered that we had only eaten half the food. So I
sent someone to buy plastic bags down at the corner, and
then we started filling bag after bag with the remaining
food. We had 43 bags, and there were 39 children.
kids were still having fun, dancing with the Americans, and
it was a joy to watch them. Everyone was soaking wet because
of the heat. There were two AC's at the side of the room,
and people kept going there for a little cool air; it just
wasn't enough to cool the whole room with 80 people dancing
passed so quickly, and 8:45 arrived - time to leave. We said
good-bye to the kids, had them line up, and gave them each
a bag of food and a hug on the way out. The two buses were
waiting for them outside, and took them back to the bus station
where they live.
the buses were gone, it was time for us to clean up. Everything
was pretty dirty, but with a good number of us getting down
to work, it did not take that long. It sure had been worth
we were done, we gathered in the courtyard, because Ryan,
the team leader, wanted to pray over us before they'd leave
tomorrow morning. So went into the middle, and they started
praying. Then I thanked them, and asked them to send me some
personal testimonies of what their time in Mali has meant
all got into the buses and into our car and drove home. It
was pretty late by the time we got home. Hama was fast asleep
in the car. It would be another short night, since we'd have
to get up at 6:30 am.
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May 25, 2008
Americans were invited to visit and preach at Hyacinthe's
church; Hyacinthe did our Bible school and is assistant pastor
at another church. They all went, and their leader Ryan preached.
I heard it was a good service.
stayed home to get some much-needed rest. I got up early anyway
and felt the tiredness in my whole body. I was glad one of
the Americans was preaching in the afternoon, so all I had
to do was lead worship with 3 songs, and then interpret.
and Firmin were both dressed in their best clothes; in fact,
Firmin borrowed them from Paul since he was in jeans and an
old T-Shirt, while Paul had his new clothes on, so I told
him to get changed.
people came to our service today, which was surprising, especially
since we had done door-to-door yesterday and seen about 10
healed and a few give their lives to Christ.
had a special visitor, the assistant of the CBN director of
French-speaking Africa. I talked to him before the service
for a few minutes, and he said he'd stay in touch.
and Firmin did the Bambara part of worship, and then I did
the French songs. To our greatest surprise, our old sound
system suddenly worked again! That really helped.
declared the goodness of God in song, and then I had one of
the Americans give a testimony about our time in the villages.
We have so much reason to thank God! After that I continued
with two more songs to simply gaze upon the beauty of our
did the offering, and then John came up to preach. He talked
about us, making a difference, and also spoke in a way non-believers
would get the basics. After he was done, I took a few more
minutes to clarify one issue that Muslims needed to have clarifed
to understand what John was saying. Then I asked Lora up to
share two healing testimonies from the villages, before we
got into our usual groups to pray for the sick and pray for
those who wanted to know Jesus. There were a few of both,
I was told.
interpreting John, I got very tired and couldn't wait to
be done and lie down a little. It's been so very hot, that
sleep has been scarce. The Americans left after the service
to head back to their house, and we still had about two
hours before having to leave for the concert. I put my mattress
on the floor, turned the fan on, and crashed. However, it
was still so very hot, I simply couldn't sleep, though I
was tired. I was soaked where my clothes touched the hot
mattress. I finally got up and did some other stuff, and
before I knew it, it was time to leave.
of the two buses came to our property to pick us up, and
then we joined the Americans at their house to get on the
way to the campus. I was so tired I couldn't keep my eyes
open during our drive there. We got there by about 8:30
pm, and the sound system we had rented was already set up.
Emmanuel - who had organized this whole thing - had gone
home and came back half an hour later.
guy approached Ryan, the band leader, and asked if their
band could also play tonight. We wanted to make sure they
wouldn't play anything unclean, and he said okay. So they
did 20 minutes before Ryan's band came up, and we soon discovered
they were actually Christians. They were playing worship
they were playing, I walked outside and stood by the wall,
looking over the lights of the city and enjoying the breeze.
I've always loved standing outside at night and watching
nature. I wished I could go on our roof, but there are lots
of people up there all the time.
looked out over the city, feeling good, but also feeling
the weight of the challenges with my own team right now,
with Paul and Firmin primarily, especially Firmin. It felt
good to just stand there. Emma came out and joined me, asking
if I was okay. I didn't say much, except that I wished he'd
stop running from his call and God. He's been running for
years now, and he knows it. He's so gifted, and God has
so much for him, but he is bound and needs healing, but
is not ready for it. It just added to my sadness to see
Hyacinthe came out to talk to me a little bit and encourage
me, and it did help a little. I know that some time in the
future, Hyactine is gonna work with us. He spent a little
time teaching the kids while I was gone, since he's also
a teacher. It would be nice to have a mature Christian like
him on board.
and his band played for an hour. At one point they opened
the mic up for anyone to come rap, and several people actually
sang awful lyrics full of sex and foul language in French
and Bambara, which they don't understand. Someone told me,
and I passed it on to Ryan, who then closed the mic.
the Americans were dancing, and they kept trying to get
the Malians who were watching to join in with them, but
only few did. I was actually surprised how few were even
there, and we found out that once again, there was an important
soccer game on television.
an hour, the concert was over. Our kids kept playing the
drums, and there was one Malian guy who seemed a little
drugged or drunk who danced in a very obscene way to their
playing. I was very uncomfortable and ready to stop him,
but in a conversation. When I saw Fousseni starting to copy
his style of dancing, I ran over there and told them to
stop. I was so disgusted. The guy had a hard time taking
it in his drunk state, but he got the message in the end.
packed up, and put everything on our two buses. We still
had to take the borrowed sound system and tech guy back
to their place, and so we did a detour on our way home.
We dropped off the Americans, and continued on to our house.
It was after midnight when we arrived back home, and we
were all dead tired.
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May 24, 2008
Claudia with Hama this morning; Hama is our nearly 7-year-old
was after 9:30 am when the two buses with the Americans arrived,
and some street children were already with them. Shortly afterwards
Seybou arrived with the remaining children.
had about 50 kids with us this morning, a sizeable group,
and thankfully we also had a big team of helpers with the
Americans. We sure needed that, especially since our sound
system broke down, and the megaphone's batteries are used
up. I had slept very little last night, and the power went
off in the middle of the night leaving me without fan in a
very hot room (34°C/93°F), and so I was very exhausted.
Plus, a lot of things had not worked out this morning the
way they should have, and so I really did not know how to
make it through the next few hours. Then Lora came and prayed
for me, and I was supernaturally strengthened. I was amazed
how easy it was to do the program after that!
praying for the program, we started off by playing a game
that the Americans taught them. It was a great game, and they
had lots of fun. It was followed by another game that also
worked out well.
we had a time of praise. Paul led a few songs, and then the
Americans did two songs with actions that they enjoyed a lot.
I did a little video that you can watch by clicking here.
Lora did a great teaching on Jesus being the light of the
world. I was amazed at how carefully the kids were listening,
which is really rare. At the end of her teaching, she asked
who wanted to know that light and follow Jesus, and many stood
up. We then prayed a prayer of salvation with them.
Americans had brought some gospel bracelets with them, and
it was time to hand them out. The only way to do that in an
organized fashion was to have them go outside the gate and
then come in one by one. Still, they were pushing and shoving
to be first, but it worked out, and everyone who wanted to
got a bracelet.
had asked one of the Americans to give a testimony about the
Father's love, and Victor came up, sharing how he grew up
without a father, and how he found his heavenly father. After
he was done, he prayed over everyone. Then Lora came back
and gave another short teaching.
her teaching, our teams got into position to pray for the
sick and whatever else they needed prayer for, and our medical
student, nursing student, and local nurse Jessica treated
those kids that had wounds. Few actually asked for prayer.
Americans then got ready to leave, since they have their own
(army) food, and our kids wouldn't really understand why they
don't eat with them. After they had left, the food was ready
and we got into groups, gathering around the bowls to eat
together. I ate out of one bowl with Lora and Paul. As soon
as we were done eating, the kids jumped on the back of our
truck to be taken back to the bus station. Seybou had to go
two times to take them.
5 pm the Americans came back to do door-to-door evangelism
in our neighborhood. We had 7 teams - the same as in the
villages - who spread out to find sick people to pray for,
people to share the gospel with, and invite everyone to
our service tomorrow. In the evening I talked with my kids
to get some feedback, since each one of them led a group
of Americans. We counted about 10 people healed, and maybe
half that that prayed to receive Jesus.
there was an incident with the guys who were filming. It's
very sensitive to do filming here, and one guy got very
upset and insisted they'd go to the police station. At the
police station, the policemen were on our side and even
locked the trouble maker into a prison cell for a few minutes!
Thank God. That's the second time they have gotten into
trouble for filming.
they all came back, we set up our new sound system we
purchased and that the team had brought over. Thank God
we had at least that, since our old portable one finally
died all the way on Friday. We set it up in our unfinished
dining hall, therefore using it for the first time. We
hung up our sheet for the screen, and everyone was ready.
One of the guys showed me how to operate the new system.
We turned it on, and suddenly smoke came out of every
opening! The smell even stayed in my nearby living room
for quite some time. We immediately turned it off, but
the system was fried. I looked on the back, and what did
it say? 120V. Great. No wonder it was fried at 220V.
we have two sound systems, and both are broken. We won't
have one for the service tomorrow, nor for the concert
tomorrow night, nor to take to the villages. Not a good
how would we watch the movie? We only had one choice -
use our TV set. So we put it on top of a barrel, and everyone
sat down on the benches.
even watch a movie? Well, I really had it on my heart
to show this documentary, and I believe it must have affected
them, some of them big time. It's called THE FINGER OF
GOD and shows what God is doing today through people like
you and me. It was 1 hour and 45 minutes, and people must
have been tired, because they were ready to go home afterwards.
They left our compound at 9:30 pm to go home.
kids and team had - for the most part - not watched the
movie to the end. We have only watched the first half
together so far, since it takes more time to translate
everything. After the Americans had left, they had dinner,
before we sat down to discuss a few things. One was the
problems I've been having with them not doing their tasks,
and not answering my questions. I can only hope that our
conversation tonight made a difference, and I have reason
to believe so. At this point, Firmin is still leaving
us by the end of this month, if no solution can be found.
Paul acted very immature again today, while our oldest
kid Saloum (who is 18 now) showed a lot of maturity that
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May 23, 2008
night I enjoyed being back in town and taking a wonderful
shower. And I was looking forward to a long restful night,
not setting my alarm at all. I expected to wake up early anyway.
was wrong. I woke up and fell asleep again, and only woke
up at 9:40 am! Have I ever done that in Mali before? I was
shocked. I still had to correct and print out the invitations
to be handed out on campus, and the bus was scheduled to leave
our house at 9:30. I jumped up, and went over to the kids,
only to find out that Firmin had gone to the market and missed
the bus. The kids left all alone with the bus! I was shocked.
Firmin was to be the only adult Malian with the Americans
quickly printed out the invitations and gave them to Firmin,
and Seybou had to take him to the Americans' house where the
bus was waiting for him, after we had called the driver. One
bus with Americans (not all - some needed to rest) then drove
to campus, where they made 200 photocopies - that is 800 invitations
- to hand them out to students. My kids then walked around
with the Americans, handing out those invitations.
they were done, they went to the nearby restaurant, where
the rest of the team joined up with them. That is the second
time in a week my boys get to eat at a restaurant! I hope
they don't get used to it ;-).
there they went back home, and then our boys continued on
to our compound.
spent the day catching up on work and blogging about the
last few days. I sure needed a day like this! At 5:30 we
all left the house to do our prayer meeting with the Americans.
took our sound system and the keyboard with us, and I was
looking forward to enter into God's presence, leading worship
with my keyboard.
got there, and set everything up, only to discover that
the sound system was working any more. Maybe the after-effects
of the sandstorm? In any case, our portable sound system
has finally reached the end of its life, after 4 years.
That's pretty long anyway, in this climat and under these
circumstances. However, it's quite a disaster for us not
to have a sound system. How are we gonna go to the villages
now? On Monday, Seybou will take it to be repaired; hopefully
a sound system, there was no way I could lead worship and
be heard by over 30 people in the room. So I handed the
meeting over to Ryan, who is a gifted musician and worship
leader, and decided to enjoy the meeting myself. We worshiped
for about 40 minutes, and knelt and lay on the floor in
His sweet presence. Then Ryan told everyone to pray for
me and my leaders, and so I got up and sat down, before
several people prayed for each one of us. I then spoke up,
telling them about the bus station, and what we were gonna
do there tonight, before we got into groups to pray.
having prayed, I gave them the schedule for the next two
days, including some details. Then it was time to leave.
Children At Bus Station
got into the buses, and they followed our car to the bus
station, where we first stopped to talk to the policement.
We had cameras with us, and wanted to make sure they gave
us permission to film. Normally you need a permit to film
in Bamako, and even more so when filming street children.
Paul talked for a long time, asking all kinds of questions,
and having to give his phone number, before they said yes.
We continued to the bus station and parked at our usual
spot. We've now been coming weekly to feed the children
for about 7 months.
hadn't gone there since coming back from my last trip, and
was warmly received by all the children. It was so great
to see them again! I got onto the back of the truck, and
started handing out sandwiches to them. I loved it! I had
missed it. Then I heard them calling me by a new name they
had never used before - they called me "mother of street
children". Wow! What an honor!
hadn't brought enough food at all, and some kids had to
go hungry. We told them to be there in the morning, to come
to our weekly kids' program, and they said they'd come.
I talked to some kids, and then Paul had the glorious idea
to ask them if they would show us where they sleep. They
said yes, and a group took us there, together with our cameraman.
They showed us where they sleep on cardboard - but there
wasn't any right now - right in front of the shops. They
said the shop keepers don't mind, on the contrary, they
are glad to have free guards for their shops. They told
us that when it rains, they cannot sleep but have to stand
against the wall so they get as little wet as possible.
then I made the announcement of what we had not told them
yet; I told them that once the house we're building now
is done, they can spend the night in there, protected from
the rain. At those news, they started clapping and cheering.
It was a touching moment that was captured on camera, I
Kossi told me that the money we have will run out in about
two weeks, and that it's not sufficient to put up the roof.
Pray with us that the money comes in within the next two
returned to our car, talking with the kids, and everyone
was so excited now. They all said they'd come tomorrow,
so we should have a lot of kids at our program tomorrow.
had Jessica with us, who is a Nigerian who went to nursing
school in the US, and she loosely works with us, treating
street children as well as our own children. She spends
a lot of time on the streets ministering to those children,
though she speaks neither French nor Bambara. She shared
a little more tonight, and I wished we could work more closely
together. Hopefully some time in the future. In any case,
she continued on to visit some street children, and three
of the Americans went with her.
returned home, where my starving kids devoured the food
that was waiting for them :-), while I went back to work,
but not before hugging my boys - those that are now my kids,
saved from the street, no longer like those boys I had seen
heart was very much stirred tonight at the bus station,
and I wished I could spend more time there, like Jessica
does. However, doing the work of several people, I simply
do not have the capacity at this time to add any more. As
one of the Americans prayed for me tonight, LORD, SEND THE
again it is 1 am before I stop working to go to sleep. Tomorrow,
we have a long day ahead of us.
This ONE time we were allowed to take pictures, and my camera
refused to work! I couldn't believe it!!! So that's why
there are no pictures today; and nobody else had a camera
with them either - just the video camera.
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May 22, 2008
I got up this morning, I felt a lot more rested than yesterday
morning, though it had been hot and humid during the night.
This morning we'd go to a new village called Diago. Diago
is well known because it has a water factory, and so their
bottles can be found all over Mali. The 1000 bottles of water
we purchased for the Americans were all from Diago. Diago
- a big village of 7000 people that is pretty spread out -
had never had anyone bring them the gospel before. However,
some people had gone to a meeting not too far away that a
Malian healing evangelist did - a guy that is pretty controversial
among Malian churches - where several of them were healed.
So many expected this meeting to be just like that, and people
came from all over expecting to be healed. So the faith level
was high already.
prayed together before leaving home, and I knew that I would
give a clear, simple gospel presentation this morning, to
see this village come to know the Lord.
we got there, a good number was already gathered, and in the
course of the morning more and more came. Hundreds were gathered,
though I cannot estimate how many. We set everything up, and
the village chief as well as the mayor came to greet me and
welcome me. In fact, the village chief took the mic and greeted
everyone. He told people that he knows that we are here to
heal people by the power of God. He said he knows that that's
what Christians like us do.
and Firmin then started leading praise, and a couple of ladies
started dancing, as well as some of the Americans. It was
wonderful! I made a little video clip to watch - just click
the village elders and important people had come with their
chairs and sat down all around us. They also gave us chairs,
which was really nice. Enoch was sitting right next to me
for some time, as you can see on the picture.
some time of praising God and dancing, I took the mic and
gave my healing message. It was great, as I felt people's
faith and expectation. They were so ready! I then told the
teams to get into place, and start praying for the sick. Each
team was surrounded by many people who waited to be healed,
while I did the testimonies of those healed.
and more started crowding around me, wanting to testify, and
it was somewhat overwhelming me. I finally called Paul over
to help me, which made a big difference. We had several older
people who had not been able to stand upright who were completely
healed. People who could not see well had their eyesight improved.
A deaf-mute girl could hear and said "amen" twice.
A lady had several tumors who disappeared.
Another could not lift her arm and was healed. Many were healed
of Malaria and stomach pains (often worms). And there were
so many more testimonies - I don't even know what all they
were healed of. We counted 611 healings this morning - and
I make an effort to not exaggerate but rather stay low when
for all those people took quite some time - good thing we
were so many to pray. We finally called them back to sit down
and listen, promising them we'd pray again in the end if they
hadn't received prayer yet.
had an American give a testimony, and then it was my turn
to preach. I was born for this! I can't tell you how it feels
to preach to all these people! I love it, though it's extremely
exhausting in every way. I told them a story, a parable for
the gospel the Lord gave me last year. People love stories
in Mali. I then explained the plain gospel to them, and invited
them to know this wonderful God, and this wonderful Savior,
and to live for Him from now on. I also prophesied over them
how the Lord would do a great work in this village, if they
served Him. Before the meeting, Lora had told me that the
Lord had shown her that pastors would come out of this village
that are gonna help us disciple this region. Praise God!
finished my presentation, I challenged them start serving
Him today and to raise their hands, and many did. Then I asked
them to come forward, and we'd pray together. About 200 came
forward, crowding around Paul and me (see picture). I led
them in a prayer of salvation, and they repeated after Paul.
For a change, there were a lot of adults and older people,
including the elders and the village chief. After our prayer,
I told them to go to our ministry teams, and that they would
pray for them to be filled with the Spirit and blessed.
the teams kept praying for everyone, in spite of heat and
fatigue. As more and more people were done, we started packing
up. The village chief gave us the gift of 3 chickens, and
the water factory director some water. Both asked us to pray
for them, and for the village/factory. The village chief asked
us to pass by his house on the way back to Dio, and so we
did. His house is where Enoch is gonna teach the new believers
every Wed morning starting next week. I had challenged all
the new believers to go there and grow in their faith.
the village chief's house, he asked us to pray for him and
his wife, as well as his son. Those two were sick, and so
we gathered around and prayed for them. I prophesied over
him and his village, after asking him whether he and his house
would serve Jesus, and he said yes. Then we took a group picture
with them - the first we've taken at all!
returned to Dio praising God, and ready for some rest. However,
things wouldn't be as planned. Enoch told me that some people
were still showing up as we were packing up in Diago, and
he had sent them to Goro, where we'd be that night, having
rescheduled the Tue morning meeting. He said that doing the
meeting at night, it would be too far for those people who've
traveled great distancest to come to go home. He suggested
we'd do the meeting at 4 pm.
was so very exhausted - as was Paul - that another meeting
like this morning without any rest seemed totally impossible.
However, the Americans being young, they didn't mind. Discussing
it, we realized we could already drive home to Bamako tonight
if we did the meeting early, and everyone was ready for "civilization"
- a bathroom and shower etc., and so the decision fell to
was also glad to return home tonight, but concerned as to
how to do a meeting. I could not think clearly or make any
basic decisions, just go along, while I was praying for strength.
We only had lunch at Enoch's compound, and then started packing
up so we'd only have to grab our stuff after the meeting.
I lay down for 15 minutes, but that didn't make any difference
- Reached Since Last Year
was after 4 pm when we arrived in Goro, and I didn't know
what to preach yet. Few people were gathered, and we found
out that the people that had come on Tuesday had not come
back. A year ago, we first came, being the first to preach
the gospel here, and a church was established. In the whole
region, this is our biggest church, and it was only the
believers who were gathered to hear us, which included the
village chief and several elders.
church in Goro had itself taken the initiative to build
a church - without ever asking my opinion. However, they
expect me to pay for the metal roof, and they want it now,
before rainy season starts. I don't know why, but I don't
feel released to pay them the roof. Already this church
building is too small, and I find doing church outside much
more effective, rather than spending money on a building,
but it's true that it's a challenge during rainy season.
Maybe God has called someone else to pay for their roof;
maybe someone reading this. When we left the village, I
was stopped by the village chief who asked for the money.
I explained to him that his trust should be in God, and
not in me, and that if God put it in their heart to build
this building, He's also gonna provide for the roof - whether
through someone else, or whether by Him giving it to me
to give to them. I had to explain to him that we also have
to trust God for everything, and that we also have to pray
for God to provide for our needs like food. So far, he had
not given us money for their roof. Unfortunately, people
in Mali think every white person is rich, and they can pay
for everything. They don't understand that that is not true.
set everything up and got started. Paul was tired too, but
he did a great job. I was so exhausted, I just had to take
that half hour while he was doing praise to lie down. So
I lay down in the bus, while the drums and music were going
on behind me. To my greatest amazement - though it was loud
and uncomfortable - I did fall asleep. That just shows how
exhausted I was. I woke up at the right time, and was amazed
again at how refreshed I was. It truly was a power nap,
a supernatural nap. The strength stayed for the rest of
got up, and took the mic, greeting the people, and starting
my healing message. Everyone was listening very carefully.
Then the teams spread out again and had people come for
them for healing prayer. I was amazed at how money came
to be healed, compared to how many were there, and how many
were healed. We counted 96 healings.
the beginning I asked who knew Jesus as their Lord and Savior
and nearly everyone raised their hands. It's wonderful to
see how many believers there are today, where a year ago
there was none. Still, we asked who wanted to start a life
with Jesus, and 40 made that decision.
took the testimonies of the people healed, and when they
were done praying, I called them back to listen to what
we had to share. One of the Americans gave a testimony,
and then I only took little more time to share, since we
were already behind schedule. I challenged them to serve
Jesus only, and get rid of their idols and magic objects.
I challenged them to live for Jesus at all time, to talk
to Him and listen to Him, to listen to His word, and to
come and listen to pastor Enoch when he comes every Sunday.
I also told them these miracles we were doing in Jesus'
name, they could do them too. I challenged them to pray
for the sick, and to tell others about Jesus.
ended with praying for them and the village, and then we
started packing right away. They then proudly showed me
their little church building - we couldn't even have done
this meeting inside, that's how small it was. But of course
it was great to see their fervor.
all got back into the buses and made our way back to Dio.
We stopped at Alou's shop who told us he'd send someone
else with us to show us the way to his family in Kati, where
his injured 6-year-old son was. We continued on to Enoch's
compound, where we packed everything up and loaded up the
buses. All this took a lot longer than expected, and so
it was 8 pm before we left there.
picked up the guy at Alou's shop, and started the normally
90 minute trip home. 15 kilometers later we arrived at the
check point, where the drivers parked their buses on the
left side of the road and then went inside to take care
of formalities. We waited, and waited, and waited, wondering
what was happening. After 40 minutes he came back, saying
that they had seized their papers because they parked on
the left instead of the right, and now we all had to go
to the police station. Great! Maybe spending a night at
the local prison, would be an interesting experience for
our American visitors?
it only took a few minutes, and probably paying a fine,
before we were back on the road. A few minutes later we
arrived at Alou's house. We went inside, where the little
boy was lying on a mat, next to his Mom, one of Alou's wives.
God had already healed one of Alou's wives, and now it was
his son's turn. He had a cast on his left leg. He was a
little intimidated by so many white people, and started
crying when we picked him up to pray for him. However, we
were able to calm him. I asked him whether he'd like to
be able to walk and run, and he nodded. We all layed hands
on his knee and started praying. After some time, we put
him down, and wanted to see him walk. However, the cast
prevented him from walking. When we asked him about the
pain he had before, he said it was gone. No more pain! Praise
God! I told his Mom to go to the hospital tomorrow and have
an x-ray done to confirm the healing. Then they could take
the cast off. Hopefully they are gonna do it, since an x-ray
costs money, and I don't know if they have faith he's healed.
Hopefully we'll find out in a few days.
hopped back into the buses, hoping we'd be home soon now.
It was already 10 pm. Normally it would have been another
hour. We unexpectedly were slowed down by a series of trucks
before Bamako, but as we riched the city, we got rid of
them. Home was close! And then one of the tires we had been
pumping up continuously finally blew entirely. So we stopped
on the side of the road, and the driver changed the tire.
The kids were tired, but more hungry than tired, and I told
them food was waiting at home, since I had called Seybou
earlier in the day to tell him to tell Fanta to prepare
food for them at night.
tire repaired, we made it home without further incident.
At the Americans' house, we had to unload everything, and
move all our stuff into one bus, since it would take us
home. That again took quite some time. We were all tired
and glad to finally get going. We unloaded at home, and
sent the bus on its way. The kids devoured the food that
was waiting for them, before going to bed, while I stayed
up until 1 am. The power nap was still in effect!
past two days, we counted the following number of healings
- 65 healed, 79 saved
Dio - 10 healed, 20 saved
Diago - 611 healed, 200 saved
Goro - 96 healed, 40 saved
- 782 healed, 339 saved
- PRAISE GOD!!!!
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May 21, 2008
- Ministry In Sotoly
the sun had come up, the buses left to pick up the Americans
who had spent the night on the ground of a little one-room
building in Bamabougou. Lora and I were woken up by Paul's
alarm on his phone that was set for 5:30 am. Great! It went
off every few minutes after that, robbing us of much needed
sleep. It was hidden somewhere in the pile of bags in the
room with us.
finally got up, and I was extremely tired. We had some breakfast,
and I had some tea, but it didn't make any difference. To
my amazement, the Americans looked very rested - I guess they're
still young. In fact, they are between 17 and 25 years old,
the youngest being half my age!
gathered together to pray - would we finally minister this
morning? We were expected in Sotoly - a village we first went
to a year ago, where hundreds were healed and saved, and where
Enoch goes regularly to teach people, though their number
prayed for me and Paul, who do most of the talking, which
was much appreciated. God gave me the message to pass on to
Sotoly, as he had done the day before, when I was never able
to deliver them.
hopped into the buses and drove through the bush to Sotoly.
Nobody was there to welcome us. We got out and set everything
up, and slowly people started coming. In the end, we had half
the people we had a year ago, at the max! Enoch told me the
reason was the abundance of rain the night before; the conditions
for field work were perfect because the ground was soft now,
and so people stayed on the field instead of coming to the
meeting at 10 am, which they had planned originally.
village chief and elders came, and finally all the children
from the local primary school came together from school, singing
the national anthem of Mali while walking in a circle around
us. Paul started leading us in Bambara praise songs, and then
I gave a healing message the Lord had put afresh on my mind
for those days in the villages. I shared it three times, and
I could feel the anointing on it. After my short message,
the ministry teams got into place. We had 7 teams - 3 Americans
and 1 Malian each - and they were spread out in a circle around
everywhere. People went up to the teams to receive healing
prayer, and those that were healed, came over to me to give
a testimony. We counted 65 healings that morning, and 29 who
gave their lives to the Lord after having been healed.
I had an American give a testimony, before I preached. I preached
on the story of the prodigal son, giving it a slightly different
twist, as the Lord was calling this village to come back to
Him, and honor their commitment they made to Him a year ago.
I asked who would come back to their heavenly Father and serve
Him, and make a commitment in front of everyone, and stay
faithful, and come to listen to Enoch when he comes every
week to teach the Word. About 50 people responded, and we
prayed for them. Then we got back together in prayer teams,
praying for the new believers.
also started praying, and it was all kids that came to me.
I prayed for them in Bambara, and felt so much love for each
one of those children, realizing what great plans God had
for them. If only they'll really get to know God and grow
the two days, many of the Americans enjoyed interacting with
the children and adults, and it was great to see them having
fun with kids and holding babies.
was after 2 pm when we got back to Dio, where we had lunch.
I was so exhausted, I just needed to sleep - and without drums
playing all afternoon this time! I was hoping not to have
a headache again like yesterday when I got back up, and lay
down for a nap. It was very hot, but I got a little rest,
and then spent some time praying for the evening meeting.
were scheduled to go to Tilenabougou tonight, but the village
chief approached our pastor yesterday, telling him we could
not come. The reason was that they were doing their pre-rainy
season magic rituals and could not have any interference
with that. I was grieved that the enemy had once again kept
a village to himself.
desire was to go to Bamabougou again, and doing the meeting
that the storm made impossible last night, but Enoch wanted
to do a meeting in his own village. Dio is tough ground,
and with the meeting not being announced, plus our past
experience, I didn't expect many to come or much to happen.
My heart was in Bamabougou, where I had felt the Lord being
up to something big.
up after my nap, I felt fine this time - thank God - but
I just did not have a message for Dio. Maybe I should have
insisted on going to Bamabougou. We prayed together, and
then traveled the short distance to the soccer field, where
we sat up before the sun went down. We had to get a third
little generator, hoping this time it would work, and it
did - for a while. We had also borrowed a big generator
for the sound system that had already proven itself in the
sat down in the bus, watching the scene. Kids had gathered,
and the Americans were having fun with them, which was great.
It got later and later, and many kids had left, but no other
people come. Paul started the praise time, while I was watching
and praying and asking God what to speak. Then Alou came
by - the local shop owner - and told me he's now a secret
believer, and that he has to go slowly with his family.
I rejoiced at those news! Enoch was actually surprised to
hear it. Alou told me that his 6-year-old son had had a
car accident and was in hospital for 40 days because he
broke his knee. He said he still couldn't walk and was in
Kati, a town we came through. I told him we'd go and pray
for him on our way home on Friday, and he was very happy
the meantime it had gotten very late, and still no people.
And then we were told the reason - tonight was the final
game of the European soccer championship, and everyone was
in front of the few TV sets to watch it. Soccer is the national
religion in Mali! Even schools give their students a day
off when there are important games on TV! There is no electricity
in Dio and surrounding villages, but people pay to charge
their batteries with a generator, and then watch TV at night.
Big crowds gather around the few TV sets to watch. No wonder
no one came to our meeting. I was wondering whether people
had TVs in Bamabougou as well - a remoter village - or would
have shown up for lack of them.
was not at all inspired to preach. We prayed for healing
first, and there were few testimonies. Then I asked my boys
whether they could give a testimony, and all 3 of the ones
I asked said no. I was shocked! In fact, there were quite
a few things that happened during these days that shocked
two Americans gave a testimony, and then Paul. I then added
a few (uninspired?) words before asking who wanted to follow
Jesus and praying for those people. I told them to go to
church on Sunday, so they can grow in God. I don't know
how many were serious to follow Jesus - time will show.
Maybe 20 raised their hands. And we counted 10 people healed.
But then, there weren't many people gathered at all.
closed the meeting early, at around 9 pm, and packed back
up to go home. So far, things weren't going the way they've
been in the past. Back at Enoch's compound, everyone filled
up their air mattresses and spread out in the courtyard
to sleep. Maybe I wasn't the only one tired, as we all went
to bed rather early.
the humidity and lack of wind made it hard to sleep in the
heat. Last night's rain had evaporated during the day, increasing
the humidity dramatically. That's the way it is just before
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May 20, 2008
one bus was supposed to be at our property at 8 am to pick
us up. First, I found out that Paul wasn't here - he had gone
to get something done, and then lead the bus to our compound.
So he wasn't there to get everything ready. We were ready
and waiting. It had been hard for me to get up that early
anyway, and now I was sitting around waiting. I got my Bible
out to read, with Hama and Sarata sitting next to me.
at 8:30 am, the bus arrived with Paul. We loaded everything
up onto the roof, and finally left at 8:45. It was 9 before
we arrived at the American's house, and nearly 10 before we
left there! So we were already nearly 2 hours late! They were
expecting us in the village of Goro at 10 am.
bus drivers weren't even helping us putting the stuff on the
roof, and then we had to stop for gas. Then they took a different
route, and then we discovered the sound system and lamps weren't
with us. We had no choice but to turn around. I called Seybou
who brought the sound system and lamps part of the way, so
we didn't have to go all the way back.
it was 11 as we left - delayed by 3 hours. Now the bus driver
went the way he should at first, but then took a "wrong"
road. He corrected his mistake, but later turned right when
he should have gone straight. In shock I asked him why, and
he said something about a check point he wanted to avoid.
However, there was only one check point, and there was no
way around. So what was he talking about? So he took this
huge detour, and then we were stopped by the police at one
intersection, who controlled the buses' paperwork. Paul was
pretty angry by then, and I was frustrated at another delay.
We finally continued on, and reached the check point which
is 15 kilometers before Dio. When we go through there, we
just drive through. However, we stopped, and the drivers wanted
money to give to the policemen so they don't check us. Paul
told them we had nothing to hide, and so they had to pay with
their own money. But still, we waited there for over half
an hour, wondering what was going on! Finally we continued
was 1 pm when we finally reached Dio. I had already called
Enoch to tell him we had to cancel this morning's meeting
because we wouldn't make it. I was annoyed, he was, and hundreds
of people that had gathered to hear the gospel had to be sent
away. We rescheduled the meeting for Thu night - but most
of the people that had come for nothing did not return that
night. The enemy had succeeded in keeping them from hearing
at Enoch's compound, the children we feed three times a week
were just eating, and so I took a new picture of them. We
then had lunch, and then I laid down to rest in the afternoon,
since I was pretty tired. The Lord had given me a message
for Goro in the morning, and as I took a nap and then prayed,
he gave me one for Bamabougou at night.
saw the village of Bamabougou saved in November, and the
Lord gave me some specific words for them of how he would
bless the village. However, few people would come to Enoch's
weekly meetings, and he finally stopped them all the way.
God gave me a message of returning to Him, and I knew it
would be a powerful evening.
the enemy had succeeded in canceling one meeting. We tried
our two generators, and neither one worked! Both had worked
back in Bamako! Somehow I wasn't surprised. We need our
small generator for the light, and the big one for the sound
getting up from my nap, and watching the American team having
fun and talking, I felt such an urgency in my spirit that
we needed to pray. The enemy had been coming against us
all day already, and succeeding. It was time we united and
prayed and stood against those attacks. So I called them
to prayer, and together, we prayed for the evening meeting.
We had a good time of prayer.
tried out the generators again, but they still didn't work,
and so they went off to find other generators. A little
late, though! We needed to be in the village before night
fall to see anything at all and set up everything. However,
more and more time passed. We had a small generator for
light, and a big one was promised to be brought to us by
8 pm, as we left for Bamabougou around 7.
Bamabougou, nobody was there to welcome us. What difference
to November, when we came the first time, and a few hundred
people were gathered! We were told that people had come
at 4 pm, and left again when we didn't show up. Now they
were home to eat, and would come back later.
asked the two buses to turn their lights on, which was a
great help in setting up the system. When we tried to turn
on the borrowed little generator for light, a part was missing
which made it impossible for it to be used. So - no light.
Everything was set up, it was 8 pm, a few people had showed
up, but the big generator still wasn't there. We tried calling
the guy, but the cellphone reception was so weak, we'd lose
it again after seconds. It looked like we'd have to do the
meeting in the dark and without sound system. Thankfully
the Americans had brought a megaphone, so Paul would be
able to use that to lead worship and be heard.
took the mic, the kids took their drums, and one sat down
at the drum sat to play. I had pastor Enoch greet everyone,
and then Paul said HALLELUJAH and was just about to start
singing, when suddenly a sandstorm came totally out of the
blue - no warning. Usually a little wind comes up first,
and then the sandstorm hits - not this time. The sandstorm
(not our picture) was so fierce, that everybody started
running into the small house we had set up next to. W needed
to save the equipment, and got it inside as quickly as possible.
We all had sand in every opening of our body. The cars'
headlights were still on, and I looked with amazement at
the intensity of the sandstorm outside. A righteous anger
at the enemy started rising inside of me. I knew God had
been up to some big stuff tonight, and just as we get started,
the enemy succeeds again in canceling our meeting? I grabbed
Paul and told him we needed to command this storm to stop
in Jesus' name. We went outside into the storm and walked
a little away. We extended our arms in the direction the
wind was blowing from, and started commanding it to stop.
By now, it had also started to rain. We prayed and commanded,
and two Americans joined us. Finally we stopped and went
back inside. We were soaking wet and covered in dust.
American started celebrating inside, with drums and all,
but my head was aching too much to handle that. Getting
up after my nap, I had quite a bad headache and didn't feel
too well, and it had not subsided - just another attack.
Paul, by the way, had diarrhea to deal with. So I went back
outside again to walk over to the buses and get in. By now
the sandstorm had stopped, and the rain was pouring down.
ground was already deep mud, as I tried to run to the bus
without slipping. When I got in, I found Enoch (our local
pastor) in there having sought refuge. We talked about what
was going on, and he told me that in 17 years living here,
he has never seen a sandstorm as fierce as this. And the
intensity of the rain was also "impossible" for
this time of year. Rainy season hasn't started yet! How
much more obvious can it get?
watched some Americans get out of the house and dance and
have fun in the rain, and our spirits were grieved. The
enemy had just succeeded again - no miracles in Bamabougou,
no one saved in Bamabougou. So I simply started praying
out loud, and Enoch joined in. We prayed for quite some
time. Then we talked about what to do next. The rain was
not letting up - another unusual thing - and so we decided
it was best to go back to Dio.
went back inside to let the others know. Because of the
rain, we had to load the equipment into one bus, then put
half the people on the other bus, and come back for the
second half of people to take them back. The bus drove up
to the house, and we loaded everything up. I stood at the
door, the rain pounding on the side of my body that was
outside. Two people were able to get on as well. The bus
moved over for the second bus to be filled with people.
Then I got on, sitting next to Enoch in the front. The bus
tried to move forward, but had a hard time because of the
deep mud. He was gonna go straight ahead, crossing a field
to get to the path, but it was a little uphill too. I told
him to just turn left and take the path right away instead,
when Ryan - the team leader - opened my door and shouted
above the noise of the storm that he wants to stay here
and spend the night in the empty house, without mattresses
or anything. I told him that wasn't wise, and we should
all go back, but he said he was afraid we wouldn't make
it back but get stuck somewhere. I told him that there was
nothing to fear - he was not gonna cross the field anyway,
and the main (paved) road wasn't that far. However, he insisted,
and I had no choice. I told him that my team would not stay,
however, and so my kids got onto the bus, while the Americans
got off. Only Lora - who is a new friend I met in Holland
who did not know the others before - decided to go with
bus turned towards the path, and made it to the main road
without any problems at all. It didn't take long before
we were back at Enoch's compound, where it was also raining
hard. Someone suggested, we'd just send the buses back to
get them anyway - so they could see it's not a problem -
and somebody else that we'd bring them their bags and mattresses
so they don't have to sleep on the floor. However, the rain
was pouring down, and it was decided it was better not to.
got ready to go to bed, putting up our mattresses inside
the few rooms that they have. Lora and I lay down next to
each other. Thankfully she had some pain killer to help
with my headache, that then subsided after a while. I was
glad to change my clothes and be dry again, hoping I hadn't
caught a cold.
talked for some time before going to bed. Day 1 of 3 of
ministering in the villages, and both meetings cancelled.
One third of our ministry here had already been boycotted.
What would tomorrow bring? It was time for the enemy to
pay back what he had stolen! Never before have we seen such
opposition when advancing His kingdom in the villages! That
was a good sign that God was up to something big!
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May 19, 2008
only 10 pm, and it feels like 2 am, as I'm having a hard time
keeping my eyes open. Everyone's tired in fact - and we haven't
even left for the village yet!
day was full of organizing, planning, preparing, packing,
baking a cake, making phone calls, directing, etc.
10:30 am, the American team came over to our property, following
Seybou. The 4 that came last year hadn't seen anything built
yet - we started a month after they left. So they loved seeing
it today, especially since they've also contributed financially.
I showed them around, and they went up on the hill. At 11:30
they left to go downtown to eat, first of all, before touring
around town. All my teenagers and Paul went with them - they
had much fun. After 5 pm they were back at their house, and
Seybou brought my kids back to our property.
Party & Impartation Time
6:30 we all got ready to drive over to the Americans' house
- including Fanta and the little ones. They were dressed
up, and so was I. Paul's family also joined us there, since
we also celebrated Marie-Madeleine's (10) birthday, as well
as Paul's (20) and Fousseni's (17).
first, Seybou had to go with Ryan to pick up the remaining
900 bottles of water. It took them 90 minutes. We waited
nearly an hour, but finally we decided to just get started.
Jessica, our nurse who helps us out when we need her, was
also present. She told me the GREAT news that she's found
her long-lost daughter and had talked to her for the first
time today. Praise God!
started the birthday party, and I lit the candles on the
cake I had made. Since there were 3 birthday kids, we sang
HAPPY BIRTHDAY three times. By the time we were done, only
one of the candles was still burning!! Then we handed out
our gifts - first Paul, then Fousseni, then Marie-Madeleine.
As always, Paul was dancing around for joy with each gift
he received. It was so fun to watch! Unfortunately I didn't
take a picture at that time.
birthday party was over, and Seybou and Ryan still weren't
back with the water, so I gave everyone some information
regarding the villages we're gonna be at these next few
days. While we continued waiting, I felt like we should
go ahead with the original plan of praying together for
our time in the villages. Just then they returned, and we
carried box after box of water inside. Seybou actually had
to drive back there to get the remaining boxes, and one
guy went with him.
the meantime, we prayed in groups. A while back I had left
I should pray over everyone for the imparation of the Florida
Healing Revival, as I was prayed for for that twice. But
I kind of thought that would hardly work out since I don't
know most of these people, plus I don't even know their
denominational background, if impartation is part of their
doctrines. But as we directed everyone to pray in groups,
I so strongly felt God telling me to do it! So I spoke up,
telling them. After everyone had prayed in groups, I asked
Ryan to do a few worship songs, before I'd pray for people.
We did, and it was a precious time. I could feel God's presence.
After 3 songs, I told them I'd pray for my team first, and
then for anyone who'd like to receive prayer. I didn't think
many would come.
went outside into the courtyard where it was darker and
quieter. My boys were all there, and after asking who was
hungry for God, they started pushing each other to be first
in line for prayer! One after another, I prayed for them,
prayed for impartation, and God showed me for each one what
He would heal through them this week. I realized that after
the 3rd person or so, and so I told them to remember what
I said, and go for it when a person with that condition
shows up. The anointing was strong - stronger with some
kids than others.
then the first American came, and another one, and another
one, and I was amazed at their hunger. I prayed for so many
that I'd be surprised if somone did NOT come. There definitely
was a reason God wanted me to impart the healing anointing,
and pray over them. He showed me things for each one of
them, which was awesome. A good number of them are gonna
return to the US totally changed.
this took quite some time, but I was very excited, and all
pumped up. I believe we're gonna see greater miracles than
ever before this week!
leaving for the villages tomorrow morning, so obviously
you won't hear from me before Friday. Please remember us
in your prayers! Pray for protection, and for God's kingdom
to come in power. This is our schedule:
morning Goro (church established a year ago)
Tue evening Bamabougou (church established in Nov)
Wed morning Sotoly (church established a year ago)
Wed evening Tilenabougou (never heard the gospel yet)
Thu morning Diago (never heard the gospel yet)
Thu evening Dio (our pastor's village)
they started working on the wall again - you can see two
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May 18, 2008
Service Since My Return
in my office turned out to be a good idea - it seems to be
a few degrees "colder" here.
Sundays, I always spend the day alone with God, until our
service at 3 pm. This morning, I saw our visitor a few times,
and she spent the day with our kids. She said she had fun.
was the first service since my return, since last Sunday was
the Day of Prayer with all churches gathering for a joint
service. I was curious to see what the church would look like.
I had had the topic for the sermon in my mind since yesterday,
and developed it. We always fast lunch on Sunday, and everyone
spends an hour alone with God instead of eating, and I always
give them the sermon's main passage to read for that. I had
two passages today, but in the end I only preached on one,
doing a short sermon for a change, but which was good.
set everything up for the service, and it was great to see
our new benches - it was high time for that, though it was
quite an expense. I also like the straw roofing they put up
while I was gone; it was necessary because the wind had destroyed
our plastic tarp.
service started at 3 pm. Seybou always drives to our old neighborhood
to bring Paul's family and any street kids over to the service,
driving them back afterwards.
and Firmin led Bambara worship, with three of our boys playing
the drums. Then it was my turn to do three songs on the keyboard,
in French. Then came the offering, and then it was my turn
to preach. Truly, this was not my typical way to preach, to
preach on a passage, that was more like a story (end of Luke
11), with the Jewish perspective and context you just need
to know to understand the passage. In the end I gave an altar
call, and nearly everyone came forward to be those that restore
God's honor. I then prayed over them.
our service was over pretty early. I went and talket to a
few people - I really have it on my heart to know them better.
I'd also like for people to come to our weekly prayer meeting,
and so we're gonna do it outside in the future.
our dining hall, and Seybou with our car in front of the dining
More Americans Arrive
midnight, and we just returned home, being very tired and
checked online and saw that they had a half-hour delay -
so that helped us to not be there too early. We got to the
airport at 9 pm, which was perfect. We - that is everybody
except Fanta and the little ones. Everyone was excited to
see the Americans again. Four of the 23 already visited
us last year.
- the team leader - was the first one out, just to find
us, say hello. Police is now strict at the airport as to
how far you can approach the building and so people were
crowed as far as they would let them. I talked to a police
man and asked whether we could use the free space closer
to the building to gather the 22 people plus all their belongings,
and he finally reluctantly said yes.
it took a long time, and the heap of boxes, bags and suitcases
got bigger and bigger. I wished I'd have taken my camera
with me! By the time everthing and everyone was out, most
people had left.
two of the 50 or so bags hadn't made it to Mali. So we went
to the Air France customer service to reclaim them. We did
the paperwork, and they said they'd deliver them tomorrow
night. Of course, only to a point on the main road where
we'll have to come to get them.
was great to see the four people I knew again. What a reunion!
All my boys were radiating with joy!
back from the reclaim counter, they had nearly finished
packing the bags onto the two little buses or rather big
vans. Everyone got in, and Ryan and Sally came with me,
so we could discuss some details. Arriving at the just about
finished house we rented for the Americans, all the bags
were unloaded and the house inspected. People everywhere
:-); I don't know how I'm gonna learn 17 more names!
discussed a few more details, and then it was high time
to go home. Several of us were pretty tired, plus you're
not supposed to be out on the road without an ID after midnight,
or you're gonna get into trouble.
Problems With Firmin
things came to the point that I had to tell Firmin that
enough is enough. He never talks to me, or answers me
when I ask him why he does (not) do something, but just
keeps his mouth shut, and never takes anything to heart,
or even asks forgiveness. I had to tell him today that
if he does not start to talk to me, I want him to move
out by the end of the month. He's done so many serious
things these past two weeks, that him staying has become
a liability. I already gave him less pocket money for
this past week, but I'm reluctant to pay him anything
at all for what he's doing. Please pray for the right
decisions to be made.
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May 17, 2008
Day Of Preparations
let Paul do the street kid program another Saturday, so I
could continue my preparations for the arrival of the team.
The guestroom was ready, but there was still more work to
be done for the house to look nice. One of the bookcases was
still in chaos and very dirty, with pieces of wall everywhere,
and so I tackled that, and then continued making my office
nice and organized.
the afternoon, Paul and the kids went over to the house we
rented for the Americans to clean it. In my opinion, it would
have been the landlord's job to do that, since he's gonna
get paid, but he didn't. While they were there, I continued
working at home.
they came back, it was time for me to go over there. Our freezer
was already over there. It will keep their water cool, and
we don't use it anyway right now, to save energy. We also
needed to pick up the 20 benches Caleb made for us. While
Paul and I looked at the house, Seybou hopped over there to
get the benches.
house is not quite finished, but in process. Electricity and
water are on, fans are installed, and bathrooms operable.
That's about it. No furniture, no kitchen. Tomorrow I'm gonna
take my electric kettle over there - I can't use it now anyway,
because it needs too much energy for our system. We're also
gonna leave them a few benches.
came back with the benches, and since we still had to go to
the supermarket, we left the benches there for now. Tomorrow
we're gonna pick them up.
continued on towards downtown, and stopped at an ATM before
going to the big supermarket. I got some cleaning materials
- those missing was the kids' excuse for not cleaning their
bathroom - as well as some food. I looked at my watch and
saw that time was running. So we quickly made our way back
home - which is pretty far.
Very First Visitor
home I checked online and found out that the Air France
flight to Bamako was delayed - that really helped. We even
had a little more time before having to leave. But then
the generator ran out of gas - of course, they know to always
buy more when we are down to the last canister. But there
wasn't any more, and so Seybou had to go buy gas. He said
it would take 10 min - which is all the time we had to spare.
it took him 20 min, and I was getting nervous. It wouldn't
be fun for the girl to arrive with noone being there to
pick her up! When he arrived, he got out, we got in, and
off we were.
turned out that we were in a rush for nothing. We waited
for quite some time before Jessica came out. We immediately
recognized each other. The poor girl had been travelling
for two and a half days, coming from India, where she spent
10 days helping out at a medical center. She looked pretty
drove back home, where I showed her to our little guest
room, and explained some basics, and what tomorrow would
look like. Then she went to her room right away. I pity
her somewhat, being in that hot little room (without window).
I had offered her to sleep in the living room, but she didn't
think I'm gonna try to sleep in my office tonight. I've
found that it's cooler than the other rooms because it's
a south window, and that's where the wind comes from, even
if it's only a slight breeze. I could sure do with a good
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May 16, 2008
open mouth I'm watching everyone going crazy, acting weird,
broken down communication, to the point that we're practically
inoperable. Everyone's upset, and I'm so fed up with it all,
I don't even want to tackle anything. Paul avoids me, doesn't
talk to me, and Seybou just left my office upset for nothing.
going on??? The only explanation is that the enemy is doing
everything he can to keep us from advancing God's kingdom
next week by destroying our unity and peace. He's scared because
he knows of the exploits we're gonna do.So far he is winning.
need your prayers!!!
morning I found myself alone at home with all the kids -
I didn't even know both Firmin and Paul were gone. Great!
there was no electricity, I exercised with Hama a little,
walking with him to the swing, and then we had fun on the
swing, both Hama and Sarata.
also gave Elisabeth a gift - the only one who hadn't received
anything yet - and she loved the necklace and earrings.
I took a picture of her and Fanta doing the cooking.
afternoon I called Paul in to talk, since the situation
had become unbearable, and it was time to have it end.
We talked for over an hour, and it was good time. I believe
everything is taken care of now. He'd held some grudges
since my return to Mali 8 days ago. Thank God our relationship
is restored - that's a first step.
stopped talking because the time for our weekly prayer
meeting had come. I had no clue how I should lead a prayer
meeting, the way I was feeling. But I knew that's when
it's best to come to God; that's when you bring a sacrifice
of praise, and He always comes and surprises you.
gathered, and I sat down at the keyboard and started praising
God, with everyone joining in. I sang from all my heart,
and we had a precious time. I had missed those times of
worship with my family here.
we went into a deep place with God - not for tonight -
I stopped. I felt we had some declarations to do. Just
before the meeting I received an email from our friend
and prophetic intercessor in CA who gave me some things
to declare. So I translated them, and Paul translated,
and everyone repeated them, declaring them into the heavenlies.
It was a powerful time. Then we did some praying for the
American team arriving on Sunday, and all the ministry
that's gonna happen next week, plus a few other things.
in the meeting, I also asked forgiveness for my behavior
from everyone present (after already having asked Paul
in our conversation). Thank God peace and unity are restored!
they are doing the floor in the dining hall, putting in
sand. Then they will rent a machine that will compress
he's gonna continue the walls. They have been making bricks
and laying them out in the sun to burn. They have to pour
water over them every day, which is why we're without
power every night. It's our water pump that consumes all
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May 14, 2008
the 3rd, another the 35th - Sarata and I are 32 years apart!
We only knew Sarata's birth month - not the day - so I simply
picked the same as mine.
made two cakes - with bake mixes from the US - and had just
bought a "3" candle in Austria for this occasion.
The room was all dark when I came in with the cake and lit
candles. We were all singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY, and Sarata had
the honor of blowing out the candles.
one after the other started giving Sarata her gifts, and she
loved them. I then cut the cake into 12 little pieces - which
is why I made another one - and they all loved it. The only
time we ever have cake is for birthdays - but we are enough
people to have a birthday every couple of weeks.
I was collecting everything again - our parties are very short
- someone finally gave me my first gift, with more following.
They know I love peanuts, and so I got a lot of peanuts. One
gave me a diet cloke - something else I love. Abdias gave
me a drawn picture. And Paul gave me a note that on Sunday,
he'll give me pork meat. He knows I love pork, and he knows
I'm fasting all week. He said there'll also be another gift
that's coming in the weeks to come.
I also finally passed on the gifts I brought with me from
my trip to Paul's siblings - caps, T-shirts, sunglasses, and
a gift from one sponsor. They were very happy. I'm looking
forward to the day the five of them will also live with us.
That will happen once my own house is built by the end of
next birthdays are fast approaching - Paul is turning 20 on
Sunday, and then Fousseni and Marie-Madeleine both have their
birthdays on Monday. We're gonna celebrate with the Americans
Monday night, I hope.
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May 13, 2008
days without a blog - that's quite a record for me :-). I
guess I'm still dealing with the heat, all the work to do,
from housework to paperwork, to preparations for the team,
to people to talk to, and construction input to give.
Car, Rice, Gas
starting to see the prophetic words fulfilled that finances
are coming. First BE A HERO, now I had an email today telling
me a substantial donation was coming for rice, gas, and
to make our old car operable again! Wow! I haven't asked
for money, but that organization approached ME to help us.
Weeks Of Fasting & Prayer
is our third week of fasting and prayer, leading up to the
arrival of our American visitors on Sunday. We're getting
together each night this week to worship and pray and however
God leads. Last night we had a time of worship, and then
I put on a preaching CD I felt they needed to hear. Tonight
I put on an AWESOME DVD called "The Finger of God"
that shows God at work in our world today.
spent some time with Kossi today, talking details concerning
our dining hall - like how many plugs and where to put
them. Also, we are gonna put two sinks in so that the
kids can wash their hands before eating. He gave me some
numbers of how prices have gone up. A bag of cement now
costs $20 instead of $11.8 just two months ago. And a
set of thin steal bars now costs $11.8 instead of $7.8
just two months ago.
recalculated the cost for the dining hall, and even though
I had already revised the numbers, it went up further
a few thousand dollars. That is why the amount of money
needed to finish it has increased again.
after 9 pm the power went out again. Usually it's only
during the night, and then it comes back on around noon.
However, the workers need a lot of water right now, making
bricks for our dining hall, and so the water pump has
been running a lot, consuming all our power.
I would turn on the generator, but both our generators
have just broken down today, so there is nothing we can
pray for a resolution! Pray we can get the generators
fixed quickly and easily and for little money tomorrow
then of course, I can't even send this blog until we have
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May 10, 2008
Water, No Power
a short night with little sleep because of the heat, I was
very tired when I got up. I was sweaty all over and looking
forward to a shower, but when I turned the water on, nothing
came out. Great. It's Saloum's task to make sure the water
tower is always filled with water. However, it also takes
electricity to have the water pumped up.
power had also gone out in the middle of the night. No shower,
no fan, no internet. I grabbed my Bible and did the only thing
I could do - spend time with God.
team and kids went to a Pentecost event, but I just wanted
to stay home and get work done. In the end, I didn't get much
done without power. When they came back, they turned on the
generator creating power, but that only lasted for some time
as well. I was in the middle of doing accounting when the
power went out again. Now it's been two hours, and I'm sitting
in the dark, writing my blog on my computer's battery power.
When that power is gone too, I will be in the dark altogether,
not able to do anything at all. Good reason to go to bed early
- if only sleep would come in a 35°C house.
for now there is still some hope; Firmin is on his way back.
Right now he is the only one who knows how to change some
settings in our delicate system - generator only, solar only,
or both together - since I've forgotten all that while being
away for weeks. So possibly, he can make the power come back
the missionary who installed our solar power system and knows
it in and out won't be back in Mali until August. So, NOT
being in Mali seems the best option right now, until those
problems are taken care of. Maybe I should start my summer
trip sooner than planned.
only have one week to go before a team of 23 young Americans
arrive. May God help us and do a miracle this week for everything
and everyone to be ready then.
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May 9, 2008
woke up early - after all, it was two hours later for my body
clock. I woke up to a dirty house in chaos. Already, I had
so much work to do, and now this additional, not expected
work, to put my house in order. It was nearly too much - I
didn't even know where to start.
decided to just take one little step at the time. I had an
important email to write so we can have some money soon, but
there was no electricity. The hours passed, and still nothing.
It was nearly 1 pm before it came back on, having been charged
by the sun. Anco raised the settings on purpose, at what level
the power goes off, so that the batteries don't get totally
discharged and last longer. But what is the point of taking
good care of the batteries, if we never have electricity?
had power for about three hours. I turned on a machine needing
much power, which made the power go off altogether. Great
job, Claudia! We were without power for a few hours, before
we had gas to make the generator work again, getting power
directly from it now.
all did I do today? I started unpacking, which meant lots
of presents for our kids coming out. One by one, I gave them
to the kids, and they loved them! I had met with a good number
of our children's sponsors, who had all given me gifts for
myself had also bought some gifts - the most exciting one
definitely being this swing I got for our little ones. I put
it together, and we figured out a way to put it up on our
metal construction where we do our services. Both children
just LOVED it! Hama was shouting for joy! I made a little
clip you can watch by clicking here.
the way, when Hama (6) and Sarata (3) saw me this morning
for the first time, they started smiling all over their faces
and running into my arms. I just love those little ones! I
was as happy to see them as they were to see me.
else did we do? Some cleaning! When Kossi came he got some
strong stuff and started removing the paint from furniture
- it did not come off all the way. But I was glad he was helping.
was actually eagerly waiting for him to show up because
of all the issues to discuss, like more mistakes he's
made. He used an old blueprint to make the dining hall,
instead of using the updated version. Now the rooms are
not the way they should me. He wanted to correct his mistake,
but I told him to leave it. It's not that big of an issue
to lose money over it.
finally went on the hill to take a picture - by the way,
there weren't any explosions all day, so I don't know
what his problem was.
you can see, the dining hall now blocks the view of our
house from the hill. Two thirds of the walls have come
up. Kossi told me today, how prices for construction materials
have just exploded. He's writing up a new line-by-line
budget for the dining hall (and the other buildings),
so we can ammend the amounts.
picture is a close up. The metal construction in the front
is where we have our services. Then you see the dining
hall, and behind that, our white-yellow house, and the
watertower in the very back.
picture shows the dining hall on the inside. There'll
be four pillars in the middle, since the ceiling has to
hold a second floor some time in the future.
asked Kossi, if the money came next week, how long it
would take just for the roof to be up. He said one month.
They have to do the floor first, then the remaining wall,
and then the ceiling. Since money should be arriving from
Canada in a few days, he's gonna already get the cement
and start making bricks, since they have to dry in the
sun a few days before using them.
was so much to get done, and talking with Paul was on
the list. The tension was tangible all day. Paul would
not talk to me, and just move around as if he wasn't
there. We can't work together that way.
in the afternoon I interrupted what I was doing and
went outside for some reason. Hama saw me and immediately
came running to me - or rather dragging himself across
the ground. His crutches were the first things I gave
out today, and he used them right away. He's doing pretty
good for the first day, and I can tell he'll be able
to use them well soon. So when he saw me, we did some
walking with them - about the third time today.
was also sitting there, and so I sat down asking if
we could talk. We started talking - without emotions
or voices rising - and were able to clarify a lot. I
know that I reacted pretty strongly to his announcement
- more than necessary - and he counterattacked. He told
me he only said he's getting married this year to get
back at me, to counterattack; he said it on purpose
knowing I would not like it.
apologized for my strong reaction to his announcement,
and he told me he's gonna wait another 3-4 years before
getting married. Relief! He said I should have known
him better than to think he would get married now. I
replied that I've seen people who fall in love who lose
their mind, so I know anything's possible in that state.
more, he said he'd never get married without my consent
as a pastor and Mom. And he said he'd do the marriage
preparation course together with her.
heavy load fell of my chest, listening to him! Thank
more things I've learned: The girl is 18 years old and
her name is Martha. She's moved around within Mali a
lot with her family, and so she's hardly been to school.
Paul couldn't tell me whether she knows how to read
or write. She comes from a Christian family, and her
grandfather actually was a pastor. Martha is extremely
timid, which I noticed the one time I met her.
asked Paul if he could NOT marry her if it turns out
they are not meant for each other some time in the future.
I asked since the parents have been making arrangements,
and Paul said, yes, he would break up in that case.
He said he doesn't live according to culture any more,
and I should know that. Okay!
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May 8, 2008
expected, it was a very short night, and then I got up before
my alarm rang, and I was very tired. But at least it gave
me more time to get ready for the guy from Austrian state
television who had announced himself for 9:30 am to film my
wanted to film me as I put stuff in my suitcases, and he was
lucky because I had so much I just couldn't get it into my
two suitcases. I always have much, but it's never been as
extreme. So I started a third suitcase with stuff of lower
priority, just in case I can't take it along. I didn't know
whether I could take a third baggage or not.
that third suitcase wasn't enough. I had another, little suitcase,
and put more stuff into that, having another big bag left
over. Those will have to wait until our next visitor comes
and can take it along.
Mom arrived at 9:15 - half an hour early, which was good.
A few minutes later the journalist arrived. He got his camera
out and filmed me as I finished packing my bags. I had two
very heavy suitcases, and a third light one. My carry-on backbag
was 16 kilos, and very heavy on my shoulder, and then I had
my leather jacket, plus my winter jacket where I put more
heavy stuff into the pockets. I also had my big winter scarf.
And then I had the two special canes for Hama in my hands
loaded everything into the car - with the journalist filming
- and then said good-bye to my good friend and once again
host Renate. Before he shot us driving away, I said good-bye
to the journalist. He's a kind, young man. He said he'd come
to Mali in September to do a few days of filming.
arrived at the airport just on time, and unloaded all my
many bags. I headed for the check-in counter, while my Mom
parked my car. I did not know whether I could take the third
suitcase, especially with my first two bags being so heavy.
I knew I'd have to pay quite an amount.
listen to this. I weighed the first two suitcases at home
- they were both 32 kilos (71 pounds), so very heavy. We
had to carry them downstairs at Renate's house, and then
into the car, so I lifted them, as well as Renate, my Mom
and the journalist, who helped as well. The third one was
lighter, but not that much.
was allowed 23 kilos each, plus a few over because of my
frequent flyer status, so I knew I'd have to pay for the
I got to the counter, I immediately told the lady I had
a lot of luggage. With much effort, I put the first 32 kilo
suitcase on the scale - and that's the weight it showed.
She said, let's see how heavy the other one is, after asking
her whether I could take a third one. I put the second 32
kilo suitcase on - and the scale showed 25 kilos!!! Seven
kilos less! I was speechless, knowing how heavy it really
was. Then I put the third one up, and it also showed less
than the actual, namely 16 kilos. Wow!
miracle saved me 100 Euros. I "only" had to pay
150 Euros for the third bag - she waived the 50 EUR for
the first bag, and the second one was not that heavy anyway
- at least on her scale - so that saved another 50 EUR.
I told my Mom, she had a hard time believing it - she had
lifted the bag and knew how heavy it was. But I guess though
she doesn't believe in God, she had no choice but acknowledge
this was a miracle. Since it showed the right weight for
the first suitcase, it couldn't be the scale.
had another half hour with my Mom, before it was time
to get going. I put on my two heavy jackets, and the heavy
backpack on my shoulder, Hama's crutches in hand. Too
bad I didn't take a picture.
the time I had flown to Paris, and taken my connecting
flight to Bamako, my shoulders, back and arms hurt. Putting
it twice up into the storage bin, and carrying it around...
But I was "lucky", because both flights weren't
actually felt some excitement to go back home, looking
forward to seeing my family and kids again. I was aware
that it would not be easy, with all the challenges to
deal with, but honestly, I was shocked by what I found.
first - everything worked out fine at the airport, no
problems, and as I left the hall, there were four of my
teenagers, as well as Paul and Seybou. They were all happy
to see me - except for Paul who hardly spoke, didn't smile,
and whose face spoke volumes.
expected, the way to get to our property has changed again,
with people building everywhere, and then I was finally
back home. For the first time, I saw our finished house
with my own eyes, as well as the dining hall under constructions.
We carried my bags inside, and as I switched the light
on, the electricity went off. Now I was in a "new"
house, with my bags, seeing nothing. I borrowed a torch
and started looking around. I just wanted to find my mattress
and bedding. We'd been nearly an hour late, and my body
clock was two hours ahead anyway.
boys tried to get the generator running, so we'd have
electricity, but though it ran and ran, it didn't come
on. Finally it did - and I as I looked around my house,
I was in shock at what I saw. Of course I knew that they
had moved the furniture to the middle to pain the walls,
and then put them back, but I wasn't prepared for the
extent of the chaos and dirt. Especially the visitor's
room / storage room. All the boxes I had arranged in there
- they were all just thrown back in there, with stuff
having fallen out and being on the floor. All the furniture
was covered with paint, spattered all over them, and mixed
in with it all lots of dust and dirt. The shower was unusable,
with stuff thrown in there, and I could not find anything.
I sat down in shock, with tears welling up. How could
they've done such an aweful job? Couldn't they at least
have cleaned up before my arrival?
was sitting there for quite some time, before I finally
got up to search for my pillow and comforter. I looked
at the thermometer, and it only read 35°C (95°F).
I found them and put my mattress under the ceiling fan
in the living room. For now the generator was running
- and making A LOT OF noise - though it was going on midnight
local time. There was nothing I could do tonight, so I
just went to bed. The generator kept running for some
time, keeping me from sleeping, as well as the heat. My
cat was so happy to see me, and kept making a certain
sound she makes when I get back after a trip, because
she has "Claudia withdrawal symptoms" and "glad
you're back, now I'll stick to you" behavior. She
tried to lied down on the bed with me, but it was too
hot, and so she kept leaving, and coming back, leaving,
and coming back. She had her mouth open like a dog because
of the heat. In fact, I was wet where my body touched
the really hot mattress.
was really late when I finally did fall asleep, but my
cat kept waking me up. And with the generator off and
the electricity gone - and fan gone - I felt like in a
baking oven, and slept little.
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May 7, 2008
I went to bed late, I got up late. When I turned on the computer
to check my mails, I had a friend request from skype pop up
on my screen - my pastor friend from Bulgaria. He told me
that they're in Vienna, on the way to England, and would like
to see me if at all possible. It had to be right away, so
half an hour later they were here.
known Zhoro & Mariana from Sofia since 2002, when one
of my Bible School professors went there for the first time,
starting a new ministry. I was very involved and felt like
I had gone there myself. In fact, I had learned some Bulgarian
and taught the team who then went there. Zhoro once came to
Kansas City, and so I met him. Another time he came to Vienna
with his whole family, just at the time I was there, so I
got to see them again, and today for the third time. What
timing! The only day I'm Vienna this week, and that's exactly
when they come through!
so enjoyed reconnecting with them. I hadn't heard from them
in a while. They had changed their email address, and so they
were not up-to-date on what's happening in Mali either. Our
time was short, but precious. The picture has three more people
on it. Zhoro & Mariana on the left, and a couple who works
with them on the right, together with a lady who lives here
in Vienna they'd been witnessing to.
they left, my friend and host Renate and I went out to run
my last errands for Mali. We had a fun time together. Then
we had lunch together in one of the places we always go to
to eat and hadn't been to yet. It was after 5 pm before we
were back home.
it was time to start packing. There was so much stuff in
my little room, and only two suitcases! I laid everything
out, with little space for me left, and started packing
methodically. It was pretty time-intensive. I took a break,
joining Renate downstairs, and then talked on the phone
with a friend for a long time. Then I continued packing.
It was getting later and later, and I finally had to realize
that I could not even take everything I had labeled "first
priority". Unfortunately, as far as I know, you can't
take a third suitcase from Europe to Africa - only from
the US. From Europe, it can be overweight (not from the
US), and you pay the extra weight. Both my suitcases are
VERY overweight, but nothing more fits in there.
finally Renate went to look whether she has a spare suitcase,
and I started packing that. Who knows, maybe there is a
way to take it after all. And if not, my next visitor from
Austria can take it. I put in all the stuff I won't need
it's 1 am, and most is packed. I'd better go to bed now.
We have to go to the bank at 9 am, and the TV journalist
is coming at 9:30 am to film me finishing packing, and then
accompany me to the airport to film my departure.
PRAY FOR FAVOR AT THE AIRPORT, and for a smooth journey
home, no complications, and especially for my arrival. It's
always hard to arrive (as it is hard to leave), but tomorrow
will be harder than in the past.
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May 6, 2008
Friends In Holland
got up earlier than intended, but was glad about the additional
time - it was gone faster than wanted anyway. I enjoyed all
the time online, being able to catch up on emails and the
like. Thank You, Lord!
11 am my new friends were gonna pick me up. I was ready when
they came. I had briefly met Betsy at the meeting yesterday,
but now I had a chance to really meet her. Betsy and her husband
are friends with our architect and his family.
went straight to their house, where I met the rest of the
people living there - Betsy's husband and two more ladies
I had not met before. We had lunch, and I enjoyed the fellowship
with them. They are all American.
we went into downtown Delft, walking around on this beautiful
spring day. It was a gorgious little old town, and I took
lots of pictures. We finally sat down at one of the famous
coffee shops, where we had coffee/hot chocolate and the famous
Dutch apple pie (I had not heard of).
a nice walk through town, we returned to their house, where
we had a little more time to talk and share. All of them are
really wonderful people. One of the ladies really wants to
come to Mali, and is praying about coming in 10 days, when
we have the team of 22 Americans come.
it was time to say good-bye to Betsy & Hermann. I've found
new friends, and was invited to come back for longer. It was
the other three ladies who drove me to the airport, and we
had much fun in the car. Somehow a humorous streak inside
of me came to the surface, and so we had much reason to laugh.
I said good-bye to them, knowing I'd hear from them again.
flight was at 6 pm, and I still had time. I bought my Mom
some Dutch tulips for Mother's Day on Sunday, which she
was very, very tired, having slept little all last week,
and really just wanted to sleep on the plane, which didn't
really work out. My Mom picked me up from the airport, and
we went to an icecream shop, where my Mom's husband and
my brother joined us. Originally the reason for this last
meeting had been to celebrate my 35th birthday, which is
next week, but we never even mentioned it. My nephew Max
is really the only topic now, understandably.
he's doing well. He was transferred out of intensive care
this morning, but is not in a regular room yet. They're
hoping for him to be transferred to Vienna next week. Starting
today, other people may visit him. Please keep praying for
him and the parents. My sister-in-law had a breakdown today,
because it's all too much for her.
was 10 pm, and I was extremely tired, but I still had my
brother's birthday present at my house (his was 10 days
ago), and I still had not seen his house and Max's room
and the other changes. Since it wasn't far, we transferred
my luggage to his car and drove to their house. He showed
me around their beautiful house, and truly, much has changed
since last year. Then he drove me home, and I gave him my
special birthday gift - a bag from Mali. He really liked
it. I kept talking with him for a little while longer, which
was great, before he left. The relationship with my brother
hasn't ever been better since I became a believer 15 years
was gonna go to bed earlier, but as usual, it wasn't as
early as I would have liked.
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May 5, 2008
I Had To Go To Holland
had worked late into the night, and so I got up late. I was
happy about a free morning, and got working on my computer
again. I did something pretty time-intensive, and so time
just passed. Today, the conference was over, but they had
an 8-hour prayer meeting for Holland from 2-10 pm. Because
of the emphasis on Holland, I wasn't that keen on going, and
could have imagined staying at the hotel - a scary thought,
now, after what happened there today. I would have missed
reason I went was that Jill's assistant wrote me that Jill
would be there for some time today, and she would be able
to spend a few minutes with me. So as I finally left the hotel
at 4:30 pm, I went hoping this was gonna happen, but by now
being rather pessimistic.
what happened? I got there at 5 pm, and went straight to the
front to see if Jill was there - she was. I said hello, and
she told me to take a seat next to here. Worship was going
on at that time. She said to stay a little, and then we could
little while later, we walked out of the hall to the speakers'
lounge, where I had not had permission to go. We started talking,
though we were interrupted a lot.
also talked to Shara for a few minutes; she is Heidi Baker's
personal assistant. I knew Shara when we were both in Jill's
class in Kansas City, and then we both went on the trip with
Todd Bentley, when he worked together with Heidi in Malawi.
That was five years ago, and four years ago she became Heidi's
assistant, after having been Jill's.
had emailed Shara after getting her email address, telling
her I'm trying to connect with Heidi, and she only got it
late, after Heidi was gone. So she was very apologetic and
said that next time, she'll set up a meeting. It looks like
that won't be until January, at Todd's conference. Unless
I make it to Mozambique first, which I'd very much like to
do. Hopefully it works out before Shara moves on, because
she told me she's gonna go back to Kansas City.
after ten o'clock the conference was over, and it was time
to say good-bye again - to Shara, Jill, and Wesley. I was
standing around with them, until their bus took them away
to their hotel. I made my way out of the other side of the
building and to the subway station. I got home to the hotel
at 11:30 pm, amazed at what God had done these last few hours.
Imagine if I had stayed in my hotel!
thank the Lord for his faithfulness, and since He's taking
care of all these things, He will also take care of the rest.
I've had a lot of responses to the situation with Paul, some
good, some bad, so thank you for caring. May God's will be
done in all things!
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May 4, 2008
On Earth Conference
this conference was to be a world congress with a representative
from every nation of the earth. Over time, that changed; maybe
because they couldn't find national leaders from every nation.
In any case, I was an invited guest, but not informed that
this conference now is all about Holland. I feel somewhat
out of place.
was there at 9 am this morning, an hour before the beginning.
The doors weren't even open yet, and I was very thankful for
my special guest tag to get in and get a good seat, just 2
minutes before the doors opened for everyone.
went upstairs to the refreshment room, hoping to make some
new friends. I did talk to two people.
service started, with Dutch worship, and after different things,
today's speaker came up - a Dutch evangelist. When it became
clear right away, that his message was about reaching Holland,
I decided to return to the hotel. I left a paper with my name
on the seat to reserve it. Yesterday I had left my Christian
novel, and it's gone; it's not in the LOST AND FOUND, so somebody
must enjoy reading it.
picked up some fast food on the way home, and was happy to
be in my hotel room again. I was gonna lie down, since I was
so tired, but when I did, so much was going through my mind
that I got back up. I ended up having a fruitful afternoon
of writing important emails.
watched some of the Lakeland Florida Healing Revival online,
I logged on again to watch. However, something else was on
- a black preacher in Australia. I didn't know who it was,
and I only listened to a few minutes, but the Lord spoke to
me through his words. He was right in the middle of it. He
talked about being a 10 on a lower level or a 1 on a higher
level. We don't like being a 1 again, after having been a
10, even though it's on a higher level, and so most of us
prefer staying a 10 on the lower level. Wow! I feel like that's
for me. I know I've gone up a level, but I sure am a 1 there.
A great chance to realize afresh that I'm nothing and no one
- Jesus in me is everything.
got back to the conference center half an hour before
the beginning of the meeting. To my greatest surprise,
the paper on my chair was still there. I then went into
the guest lounge for a cup of orange juice and to meet
new people. However, this time I was the only one there,
and they were already packing up the room.
worship, I was thinking of the words of the preacher in
Australia (who turned out to be TD Jakes) and was encouraged.
I looked back on the last few weeks in Austria, and remembered
all the awesome things He's done. It's definitely a new
level! And it's okay to be a 1 there!
I enjoyed fellowship with God during worship, I really
felt "conferenced out". I'm at the point that
I just want to go home to Mali and get back to work. I'm
just tired of listening to others. I don't want to see
another great offering of money for elsewhere, or hear
more stories of Mozambique. It's time for Mali now! And
even if others get much money and many people to come
work, I have Jesus with me, and He's enough!
I left during the offering, before Heidi came up to preach.
walked over to the subway station, as I'm used to doing
by now. When I arrived on the platform, there were policemen
everywhere, and a group of passengers all herded to
the back of the platform, in a huddle. One came right
up to me and said something in Dutch. I asked them to
speak English and they told me to join the others. They
told me that something very serious was happening in
the train that was arriving momentarily, and we had
to stand back. More police arrived, and finally they
decided to make us leave the platform altogether. So
we went downstairs to wait.
I was totally alert, and even excited. Finally some
action, some excitement! In my mind's eye, with my vivid
imagination, I saw shots, and then imagined praying
for the shot person to come back to life. How cool would
that be! While people were waiting fearfully for the
situation to be resolved, I was raising the dead in
my mind. :-)
train arrived, and the situation was resolved, without
any shots. We were allowed back on the platform, and
then into the train. I asked someone on there what had
happened, and he said that a fight had broken out. He
said that happens about once a week (he was working
for the subway).
in my hotel room, it was time for emails, and to write
an email newsletter. I wrote the following paragraph
about Paul earlier:
Wedding This Year
just talked to Paul in Mali. I couldn't help but had
to ask a few more questions. I'm still under shock concerning
this whole situation. I asked and found out, it's Firmin's
girl-friend who is 16, and Paul's girl is 18. They are
getting married this year. I asked him whether he would
leave us. He said he doesn't know yet.
whole situation is causing me much pain - another son
I invested EVERYTHING in, another son I've raised up,
another son I trusted completely... first Simeon, now
Paul. (Of course, there were also Sekouba, and Issa.)
If Paul leaves, we'll have to cease our activities.
I can't believe I was gonna put Paul in charge over
everything, make him the local pastor! Firmin wants
to get married too, so he can leave as well. That leaves
me alone with the kids. I guess we'll just stop everything,
and just be a family. How will I deal with 8 children
in the house by mself?
where are the workers? Aren't there any mature ones?
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May 3, 2008
On Earth Conference
short night, as I wanted to be there at the time the doors
opened to get a good seat. I arrived exactly at 8:30 am, but
the doors were still closed. I ended up standing in line for
half an hour - not much fun. At 9 o'clock they opened the
doors, and some people were actually running to the hall.
I got a good seat.
still had an hour, and so I decided to try once again to find
the guy I'd been emailing with, and who had sent me the official
invitation to represent Mali at this conference. This time,
I was lucky, and finally he was called over on the radio.
made the introductions, and then I asked whether there was
a name tag for me, as a special guest. So he led me to the
guest lounge, where I received a tag. Then he showed me around
everywhere, before he went off to do other things. I was very
thankful to now have a special guest tag!
Ahn did the first session, and he gave a strong holiness message.
I was absolutely shocked how many people responded - I guess
that's why God changed his message.
his session there was still about 40 minutes until the pastors'
meeting at 1 pm. I went upstairs, and reserved a seat, before
going into the guest lounge. I was looking forward to meeting
some new people, and I did talk to a few.
o'clock came quickly, and I went into the smaller hall
that could only hold 500 people. I had a very good seat
in the second row - a little two prominent for my taste,
local pastor organizing the conference started speaking,
and then 6 more speakers followed that each had half an
hour. Every one was different. The one before the last
one was Ralph Bromley, and every word he said echoed my
heart. He's a long-time friend of Wesley Campbell's, and
also has an organization helping children at risk and
widows. I was so glad to hear all he said. Amongst others,
he mentioned the exploding food prices and the crisis
ahead. My heart was breaking inside. I was thinking of
the challenges ahead. I knew I had to talk to this man.
the last speaker, people lined up to be prayed for. As
they moved the chairs, I went straight to Wesley Campbell,
asking whether there'd be a chance to talk a little more
with him. Instead of replying, he took me right over to
Ralph, introducing me. So I quickly shared my heart with
Ralph and his wife, who left after a few minutes. I felt
so desperate, in the light of the needs in Mali and the
lack of money, as well as the lacking workers and challenges
to overcome. Ralph listened, and gave me some advice.
Then he asked whether he could pray for me. As he prayed,
tears started to flow. Here was someone who understood.
He encouraged me to pray over the food to multiply, and
to expect dreams at night of things to do to help us economically.
He gave me his card, and I gave him my materials. He said
he could possibly email me from time to time to encourage
for some reason, I asked whether he has contacts in French-speaking
Canada, where I've felt God's pull, but nothing has opened
up so far. He said he knew someone there. So I've already
emailed him to see what's gonna happen there.
missed the time of being prayed for, but God had ministered
to me through Ralph. It was 5 pm, and I went back to the
hotel. A book was on my seat in the big hall to keep me
had 90 minutes at home that flew by, though no nap included.
I arrived at the conference center just in time, but
a bad surprise waited for me - my book was gone, as
was my seat. The ushers told me that those rows were
reserved for guests of the organization. For some reason
I didn't count as that, even with my name tag. Great!
About 7000 people were in the hall, which was pretty
full. I'd have to go to the very back.
I just stood there, wondering what to do. I really just
wanted to go home and spend time with God in my hotel
room. Already earlier, I had thought about skipping
tonight's session. It looked like I should have done
that. I put down my bag for the time of worship and
just stayed there in the aisle, where lots of other
people were as well. I was shocked that with a special
guest name tag, there was no seat for me. After all,
the organization had invited me to come and represent
Mali! However, all that hadn't worked out the way they
had originally planned, and so there really weren't
any delegates from the nations there. Most people are
I stood there during worship, I thanked the Lord for
an opportunity to be humbled again, and realize that
I am nothing, a nobody. Hallelujah! He was all I needed!
I still wondered what to do - stay or go home. After
half an hour or more, a lady working for the conference
who had witnessed my exchange with the ushers talked
to a head usher or so, telling him about me. A few minutes
later he showed me to a free seat. I was very thankful.
Still, a lot was going through my mind while I was worshipping.
I realized once again, how far I was from being like
Jesus. I realized also how much I wanted people who
love me and care for me. I had to remind myself that
Jesus is the only one I really need - He is enough.
Wesley Campbell came up to do an offering - but it was
something different. His goal was to raise €750,000
- that's over a million dollars - in this one offering,
and he had a well-planned strategy. One person who gives
25,000, five people giving 15,000, etc. He explained
it all, and then asked people to come forward and sign
up for those amounts. Many came; it all took quite some
time and I couldn't help but have an aching heart, thinking
of all this money being given, and the financial needs
was 9:30 pm before Heidi came up. I was still contemplating
going home. The nights have been so short, and how nice
would it be to sleep a little longer for once. I listened
to Heidi preach and realized I've heard all that before.
Finally I got up and left. It was 10 pm.
I've been asking myself what I'm doing here in Holland.
Why am I here? Probably just another piece of the puzzle
of my life. Maybe the meeting with Ralph today. Maybe
reconnecting with Wesley. Maybe that young Austrian
man. Maybe something that's coming the two days ahead.
Tonight, Jill and Linda were back; they had gone to
do a meeting elsewhere. I slipped a note to Linda, asking
when I could meet with Jill, since she had said a few
weeks ago that we'd spend some time together here. So
exactly midnight right now, and it would be a good idea
to go to bed and get some sleep. Tomorrow is another
long day of meetings.
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May 2, 2008
On Earth Conference
a rather short night I got up early, had some breakfast, and
left to walk to the conference venue. I was planning on taking
the straight road there this morning. However, I took a little
detour, and so it took me 25 minutes to get there. I still
got there an hour before the beginning of the meeting, and
did get a good seat in the leaders section. During the one
hour I still had, I talked to my neighbors, and went around
the stands. I talked to a ministry that helps missionaries,
and was encouraged, that they would potentially help us as
well, with computers for example, or a car for me to use while
first meeting started with Kevin Prosch leading worship; he's
a radical worshipper, with a whole new style. He told us to
go around talking to people and fellowshipping with each other.
I saw Bill Johnson a few rows further to the front, by himself,
and went over to say hello. I reminded him that I had been
in his weekly pastors meeting in his church last summer, and
he remembered. I gave him a short update, and then returned
to my seat.
Heidenreich - one of the best-known revivalists of Germany
- was the speaker of the morning session. He spoke about the
poor, and reaching out to them with love. Just after my heart!
morning session lasted until after 1 pm, and the afternoon
session started at 2 pm. I had a snack with me. While sitting
on my seat and watching, I saw this guy I had noticed earlier,
knowing he was from Austria by the way he responded to the
Austrian Hip Hop band in the morning. I walked over to him
and started talking to him. The more we talked, the more he
opened up, and the more I saw the hunger in this young believer.
Finally he asked me to pray for him, and I did. The Lord really
touched him. I hope I'll hear from him again.
afternoon session started, with Bill Johnson doing the first
part. Three speakers were scheduled. After Bill, Che Ahn came
up. He shared about the Lakeland Florida Healing Revival he's
just been to, and how it's already changed his ministry, and
he said he wanted more than anything to impart this to everyone
present. The third speaker had given up his session, so Che
could lay hands on every person. Speaker after speaker speaks
about the Florida revival - something extraordinary is happening
there. God used Todd Bentley to start it, and as I (try to)
write my blog, I'm watching it live online for the first time.
It makes you hungry to go there!
all lined up, and Che quickly went down the lines. Most people
went down under the power of God, including myself. I didn't
stay down for long because I wanted to go back to the hotel
before the evening session. I was very thankful that we could
leave our stuff on the chairs, and so keep our seats.
the building, I was decided to take the subway back to the
hotel this time, as my feet were already aching. I asked someone
how the tickets worked, and the guy at the subway station
was very helpful to explain me how it all works. I easily
found the right tram, and went the one stop. It's sure a lot
Home In Mali
had nearly two hours before having to go back to the conference.
For once, my guys in Mali were online, as well as Emma.
I talked to both Emma and Firmin, and the longer we talked,
the more discouraged I became. So many challenges, so many
issues, so much immatury, so much not going the way it should
- that's what I'm returning to in a few days. Lots of work
waiting for me, a serious situation with Paul, other challenges,
heat and no AC, and preparations for the arrival of the
American team in two weeks. I was close to tears as I felt
overwhelmed by it all.
took the subway again to return to the conference center;
with a heavy heart, crying to God for help, for workers,
for His intervention. I found my good seat, and the meeting
started. The conference organizer asked all the people
who weren't from Holland to come forward, and he was surprised
at how many there were - about 500-600. He then prayed
over us, and asked the speakers and ministry team to pray
for us. I was still close to tears, and finally let them
flow, as we were worshipping God. I threw myself into
His arms, asking for His help, His strength, His wisdom,
and for workers, workers, workers. Several people came
by and briefly prayed for me, but it was either not making
a difference or even unpleasant.
I was just looking around, when I looked straight at Wesley,
who also looked at me, and called me over. He was standing
there with one of Todd Bentley's right-hand guys who is
here for the conference, and asked the guy to pray for
me. He prayed for an impartation of the revival spirit,
and down I went. On the floor, I let my tears flow again.
How can we have a revival, see all those people come into
the kingdom, if I don't have any people to teach them,
train them, take care of them? We already HAVE the revival,
what we need are WORKERS. I don't want more revival, more
miracles, I want people to bring in the harvest!
when I got up, I felt peace again; the heavy weight had
lifted. I remembered that people have been prophesying
that an army of helpers is coming. May it be so, and may
it be soon!
the worship time, Che Ahn did the offering. Che is the
leader of the network I'm a part of. Earlier in the day
he was walking right by me, and so I stopped him and said
hello. I was surprised he actually recognized me, and
asked whether I'd be at the leaders meeting tomorrow,
so we could talk more. Praise God!
Johnson was the speaker of the evening, and as was the
case most of the day, I just couldn't keep my eyes open
because I was so tired. I knew most of the stories he
shared, and he didn't bring any great new revelations,
the way I've heard it in the past. After all, these people
here hadn't known him before. When he was done preaching,
he had us stand up, and prayed for an impartation of the
healing anointing from the front. As they were starting
to pray for healing, I packed up and left to go home.
I was just too tired, and wanted to get to bed a little
took the subway home, where I started writing this blog.
However, watching the Lakeland Revival online distracted
me, and so it's late once again as I go to bed.
for tomorrow, as I'm expecting some divine connections/conversations.
They have a leaders meeting in the afternoon.
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May 1, 2008
4 hours of sleep, my alarm and cellphone woke me at 4:25 am.
I had packed everything possible the night before, now I just
had to add the last few things. The sun wasn't even up yet,
as I quietly moved about getting ready. We left the house
at 4:40 am, and were nearly alone on the streets of Vienna.
so thankful for a friend like Renate, who drove me to the
airport. She's one of the most giving and generous people
I know. She dropped me off, and went back home to lie down
again, while I checked in and went to my gate. My flight was
at 6:45 am. We left a little late, but arrived in Amsterdam
A new country to discover! New territories... I've never been
to the Netherlands, and it's always exciting to go somewhere
for the first time. The view from the plane was absolutely
fascinating - water channels everywhere, and then seas of
color in the middle of the green. Holland is known for its
tulips, and right now is the tulip season.
got off the plane, and soon had my suitcase. I exited and
looked around for my ride - a lady I had never met before.
She's a friend of friends of friends of mine, and also attending
slept 4 hours last night, and 5 the night before, I was very
tired. I had barely kept my eyes open on the plane, and now
I had to wait. There were no seats at all, and so I leaned
on my suitcase, my eyes falling shut. I ended up waiting for
45 minutes, before the lady came with two friends.
got into the car, and on the way to their home, we stopped
a few times to see the tulip fields close up. It was absolutely
beautiful! I took a lot of pictures, and it was hard to choose
just a few to show you.
continued on until we arrived at their house - a place where
several people live. We had a little snack, and then she offered
me a bed to lie down. I was so thankful! I lay down, and three
hours later I woke up, surprised it was so late. I can't tell
you what difference that nap made!
On Earth Conference
had lunch at 3 pm, and then we left to go to the conference.
Nearly 7000 people had already registered for the conference,
and more would come without pre-registration. The conference
was in a big event hall in Rotterdam. We found it and went
in to get our stuff. The lines weren't too long, and it
all worked out. We went into the hall, where lots of people
had already taken their seats - and it was still 90 minutes
until the start of the first session!
a leader, I was able to get a good seat in the leaders section
- my new friends wanted to sit elsewhere - and then we left
the place again to go to my hotel. I had looked around on
the internet for a long time before choosing this hotel;
one reason was its proximity to the conference grounds.
found it alright, and I checked in. I'm on the 9th floor,
and liked everything I saw. It's an "art hotel",
which means there is a lot of artsy decoration. It's pretty.
An extra bonus is a little kitchen in the room - fridge,
microwave; especially with breakfast costing $27. I brought
some food with me from Vienna, and so I can have my own
took 20 minutes to unpack and change, and then it was time
to go back to the conference. We arrived exactly at 7 pm,
and they had already started. I said good-bye to my new
friends, since they were gonna leave a little earlier. Then
I saw Jill's assistant, and said hello.
was an interesting first evening. The whole conference is
bilingual, Dutch and English. Different people spoke tonight,
and different things were done. I also enjoyed the worship
time, and had God speak to me during it. I also wondered
why I was here. I think there'll be some divine connections
kind of knew how to get to my hotel, and knew it was a 20
minute walk or so. I put my backpack on my back, and stepped
into the cold air. I had asked at the reception desk, and
they told me it's safe at night.
I took one wrong turn that cost me a big detour and much
time. In the end it took me about 30 minutes before I reached
the hotel. I wasn't cold any more, and glad to be home.
It was 11:30 pm.
and now it's 1 am. I turned on my computer, connected to
the internet, watched the news, had dinner, and wrote my
blog. Now it's time to go to bed, since I have to get up
early if I want a good seat at the conference. Looks like
another short night.