Dying To Serve
Dr. Claudia R. Wintoch
January 30, 2004



Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God ... be transformed ... Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (Rom 12:1-3) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You haven't heard from me since my return to Mali. Reason being that I always seek to be inspired, so that you not only know what's going on in Mali, but that you yourselves will be built up and encouraged and drawn closer to the Lord.

Years ago I offered myself as a living sacrifice to the Lord, and He accepted it. But what happens to a sacrifice? It is killed, no more life, and then it is burned - and smoke rises up to heaven which is a pleasing aroma to the Lord. Once the sacrifice is burnt, there is nothing left but ashes. Truly, the sacrifice has been transformed. And ashes can be carried by the wind anywhere the wind blows, there is no more resistance. Ashes are not seen as valuable by anyone, yet they are clean. And they are building material for the Master Potter. God forms out of dust. He creates out of nothing. He chooses those who are not to shame the wise. He takes those who know what they really are and lifts them up, and brings low those who forget their Maker.

Life in Mali is surely different now than it was before Christmas. What is going on? Before Christmas, God was in the process of killing me, and He still is. Somebody once said, "God and Satan both want to kill you" - who will it be? I've spent much time thinking of where I am at right now in Mali and what lies ahead. I have made mistakes, I have failed, I've been frustrated and disappointed. And I've become guilty of thinking of myself more highly than I ought. I spent two years in a revival school, now I can change the nation. I have seen the sick healed, now the Malians will be healed. I learned so much, now I can start a church.

Truth is, I'm called to Mali. Truth is, He has shown me great things He will do in Mali. Truth is, He never told me to start a church. Truth is, I don't know what part I'm gonna play in those great things He is gonna do here. Maybe bringing Simeon to Him was all I had to do. Maybe He is the one God will use powerfully to change this nation.

Jesus was a servant. I wanna be a servant. I wanna serve the people of Mali. I wanna serve the body of Christ in Mali. I want to jump in wherever someone is needed. I wanna lay aside my dreams, my agendas, my ideas, my presuppositions, my own feelings, my judgments, my desires, and serve His people. Whether the church is alive or not, whether I enjoy the services or not.

Lord, whatever You want me to do, I'm Yours. My life is not my own. Your will be done! Let me be a blessing to this nation!


All of this said, I recently joined a team from a local church one afternoon who reaches out to kids in Bamako, including the street kids who are really slaves to Muslim teachers. I've had that on my heart all the time. I watched the kids as my heart was overflowing with love for them, and listened intently to what the team was sharing in Bambara. I'd love to invest myself there since they desperately need people to help. Unfortunately, I didn't get to talk to the leader afterwards and he doesn't have a phone. Please pray that God would prepare the way if He wants me to get involved there.


Simeon keeps growing, and it's a joy (and heartache at times) to watch him. He recently went through the "trust God in financial trouble" lesson. At first, God materialized a 5000CFA note (ca. $7) in front of his eyes, and then he unexpectedly received a large amount of money somebody still owed him. Now he keeps praising God saying he doesn't worry about money at all any more but trusts God, and that God is more real to him than ever. Simeon also devours all Christian books which leaves me without any French books left he hasn't read yet, but he rereads them, he listens to tapes over and over, and he reads a daily devotional over and over. He is so hungry to learn and grow! And God keeps speaking to him a lot through dreams and visions. In tonight's meeting, he had two visions - one of which was for me and pretty powerful.
Emmanuel also came once to the Friday meeting, but he still has classes Friday night.
Neither one of them is baptized in the Spirit. Please pray that they will receive that gift from Jesus. I'm finding it hard to lead worship and enter into God's presence in worship, when they stay behind and don't notice God's presence at all. May they get a godly jealousy to also draw closer to God!
One of these days, Simeon's Muslim colleagues Abraham and Abdoul will be coming to the meeting. Please pray that they will meet Jesus.


On Monday I started teaching a weekly English class. Especially Emmanuel and Simeon are eager to learn English (Simeon because he is frustrated all the books and tapes I have are in English), but the others are as well. I have three of my Unification (Moon) neighbors in the class, as well as Emmanuel's friend, a girl from a church, and the Muslim nephew of the school director. Please pray for deepened relationships that will eventually lead to people's salvation.


Tabaski is the biggest Muslim feast, and it starts this Sunday. They celebrate that Abraham didn't sacrifice Ismael(!) but the lamb, and so one lamb per wife is slaughtered and then eaten and given away. School is already off since Thursday noon, until Monday night. However, the African Soccer Cup is also going on, and you wonder whether the Malian match is the reason for the day off, since the soccer god is also pretty powerful in this country.
While the Muslims celebrate Tabaski, Simeon and I will go to a church which isn't too far, where I hope Simeon will find additional spiritual nourrishmént. And that night, two Austrian visitors are coming back to stay for a night. I've greatly enjoyed to have 4 Austrian visitors here - two of them journalists reporting on a music festival in Mali. I met them once during my Christmas break in Vienna, and they stayed for a short time with me on three different occasions. I've greatly enjoyed having them - wishing that more people would come visit. What about you?


School slowly started again after Christmas. Not much has changed. Those who disrupt, still disrupt; those who come late, still come late; those who don't work, still don't work; and the good students are still good students. But I love my students and it's great being back with them. I got them all some chocolate from Austria (160 students!), as well as pens and pencils. And, I brought back with me a great Austrian movie trilogy on the empress of Austria Elisabeth ("Sissi") which I'm gonna show my students. The five best students of each class (no more space) are invited to my place to watch it (in German of course). Tomorrow morning the first five are coming. Please pray that it will also be a time of deepened relationship with them, and that it will open doors to share the gospel.


As January is drawing to a close, I can't help but start thinking about this summer. I found out that school probably ends end of May (they never know right until some weeks before). That gives me four months to spend (if I have to be back for school in Oct). I know that part of the time I will be back in Kansas City, and part of the time in Vienna. But where when? I'm praying for ministry opportunities also. If you know of any special events (e.g. conferences) or possibilities to serve, let me know.


I'm humbled and blessed by the love and support I have received by many, especially while in Vienna. My church in Vienna, Vienna Christian Center, now supports me on a monthly basis which I count a privilege and great responsability. Thanks to them, my monthly needs are nearly covered now. God has been so faithful! I love giving; just a few days ago I gave extravagantly, and He immediately gave back! You cannot outgive God!
I also wouldn't know how to continue without my faithful praying friends. They receive regular - sometimes daily - updates, knowing exactly what's going on. If you would like to join that prayer army, just let me know.

These are exciting times. Not only is He killing me (which is not THAT pleasant), but He is becoming more and more my everything. He is all I need, and all I have. Seeking Him and being with Him is where I'm satisfied. I'm so hungry to know Him more, to draw closer to Him, and see into the heavens, see His beautiful face. If there is one good thing about being Mali, it's being able to spend much time with Him without any distractions. Please pray that I would continually seek Him and find Him.

By the way, I don't have a fridge yet, but should have one soon.

Which only leaves me to speak a prayer of blessing over you - may His love surround you and fill you and overwhelm you and flow through you to the hurting and dying world around you.

All for my precious Jesus,


P.S. I love hearing from you - and if it's only one line ;-)

Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your inheritance. (Ps 2:8)

Dr. Claudia R. Wintoch
  s/c Ecole Biya
  BPE 2165

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