and weeks pass, and another Christmas is just ahead of us. What an eventful
year 2003 has been! 5+ months in Kansas City, 2 months in Vienna, 3+ in Mali,
a few weeks in Canada, and not to forget Malawi & South Africa. And every
time my life was very different. How different it is now compared to just a
year ago! And so much has happened in this time. As we come to the close of
this year, I look forward to 2004 with much anticipation, to see the
fulfillment of promises from the Lord, to see His kingdom come here in Mali.
Simeon is growing quickly in the Lord. He is hungry to learn, and grabs every
teaching he can get. I was blessed to have a Swiss friend send some tapes and
booklets, which greatly blessed him, and he is following a daily Bible
reading plan with commentary. He is also sharing his faith with his friends
and colleagues - two of which are coming to tonight's meeting (our Friday
meetings). So is Emmanuel, a Christian I have been friends with since my last
time in Mali in 1999.
So, there is much to praise the Lord for. What has been hardest for myself is
the feeling of not being able to handle the huge task and responsibility. And
two things keep me from moving forward (besides the Lord's timing) - people
and money (in particular a car). With those two, the doors are wide open to
advance the Kingdom in Mali. People are READY! They are hungry for the truth!
How many more Simeons are out there?!?!
I've been very blessed to have 35 people on my Prayer Cover e-mail list, who
pray for me regularly, encourage me and write emails, and it's often as if
they were here with me. I also have had three faithful financial supporters
in Austria for the past two or so years. However, after three months in Mali,
I've been able to get an idea of what my budget should look like. And if I
want to stay in Mali, I will need an increase of several hundred dollar/Euros
a month, just to cover the basics. Would you consider sowing into the Kingdom
by sowing into Mali?
Christmas In Vienna
Just one more week and I'm leaving to go to Vienna. And since yesterday I
finally have a place to stay there. It has been hard for me, as well as for
my Mom, that her boyfriend doesn't allow me to stay with them (though I grew
up there). Last summer I stayed with three different friends while in Vienna,
and I'm so grateful that I will be staying with one of them again. I'm hoping
to see snow, enjoying the cold weather after the heat here, can't wait to
have real food (still no fridge here in Mali, and still very difficult to
find food), and I can't wait to go to a grocery store, and electronics store,
and all the other stores, hopefully I can go to a movie theater, to the
beautiful Christmas markets, maybe skating - with one word, I wanna enjoy my
time in Vienna. And you, my friends in that city, I would love to have you
join me in those ventures. I do want to see as many friends as possible.
Please take note of my phone number in Vienna below.
But before I can leave Bamako, it's time for finals as this is the end of the
first trimester. All the finals for my 4 classes are prepared; unfortunately
the teachers cannot be with their classes for the finals, but I have to
supervise other classes' finals. The rest of my time next week will be spent
correcting those exams - about 160 altogether - and giving them all their
final grades. I have to get it all done before leaving for Vienna on
Saturday, Dec 20.
Late Night Adventure
Last night's events are worth passing on to you. My French colleague Alice
(25) and I went to the closing evening of the one-week African film festival
here in Bamako. They showed one last film, this time in the big Culture
Center which a huge auditorium. It's been nice breaking out of the routine
and going there a few times, especially the night where they showed the
Malian short films was very interesting. So, since it was the last time, they
had quite a program, and it was nearly midnight when we left the Center.
Thankfully you need only one little green bus (public transportation) to get
from the center to our home. We didn't have to wait long, and soon arrived at
the bus station, from where it's another 10-15 minute walk. You can either
walk to the paved road and take it, or take the shortcut through the little
dark streets. We did the latter, since we're used to walking on dark roads
with our flashlights. We had nearly reached our home, when a guy behind us
suddenly shouted to us to stop. What was going on? By now it was half past
midnight. He said, he was a police man, and asked for our ID cards.
Thankfully I had grabbed mine before leaving. I had heard before that you are
not allowed to be outside at night unless you have your ID card. Well, Alice
didn't. So he said, she would have to accompany him to the police station. We
asked him for his ID, which he refused to show us. How would we know he was
really who he claimed to be? Go with a man in the middle of the night? We
told him, we lived in the house just down the road, but he didn't want to go
there with us, so she could get her card. Instead, he wanted us both to
follow him. Ibrahim recently spent a whole night in a prison cell because he
didn't have his ID, and then you have to pay a fine. Alice lost her temper,
so that he tried using force to get her to come, which made her even more
furious. All this time I stayed totall calm and tried to simple talk to the
man. In the end, he didn't allow her to speak another word, but listened to
me and spoke respectfully to me. Finally, he allowed me to go get my French
colleague - if we need to follow a stranger in the middle of the night,
better have another guy with us. I ran to our house, woke up Jean-Louis,
quickly grabbed Alice's ID, and together we ran back. The police man looked
at the ID, and said it was okay, and she could go. As she turned, he asked if
he didn't get anything for his kindness. That just enraged Alice again. So we
ended up giving the police man about 15$, otherwise he would still have taken
her to the police station. He told us, that the dark little streets were
extremely dangerous at night, and we shouldn't use them at night.
Well, I thought it was a really interesting experience/adventure. :-)
Send me a note when you have time. And may the Lord bless you abundantly this
Christmas season! Here in Mali it's hot and there are no signs whatsoever of
Christmas, so it's hard to imagine it's so close.
Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your inheritance. (Ps 2:8)
Dr. Claudia R. Wintoch
s/c Ecole Biya
Tel. (+223) 220 0311
Talk to me online with msn messenger - I'm "healing2thenations"
In the US/Canada:
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Catch The Wind Ministries
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Bank name: BA/CA
Bank number: 12000
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