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
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
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
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
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
TABASKI & VISITORS
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
Tel. (+223) 220 0311
Cell (+223) 636 6727
Talk to me online with msn messenger - I'm "healing2thenations"
In the US/Canada:
Make checks payable to Catch The Wind Ministries
IMPORTANT: Don't write my name on the check, but add
a note that it's for me.
Catch The Wind Ministries
P.O. Box 11962
Kansas City, MO 64138
Bank name: BA/CA
Bank number: 12000
Account number: 509.101.468.00
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