Coming Home To Mali
The doors of the plane opened, and the heat and smell of Bamako "by night" hit us, as we stepped off the plane one by one, walking down the staircase to the bus. I was finally home again, after 4 months on the road in the US and Austria. The Lord had answered prayer and granted me a good journey – no fever, only my ear and throat were still hurting. And my beloved Bridegroom King had arranged for me to be upgraded to business class on the flight from Atlanta to Paris. Thank you, Jesus!
I walked inside the hall, and started counting my bags – six in total; they were all there. The guy at the x-ray machine singled out one of them – the portable sound system, and I had to leave it there because I didn't have the money to pay the customs of 50% of its value. Two days later I picked it up – and it survived the trip just fine!
I finally stepped out of the building, with carriers taking care of my bags, and saw Mamy and Simeon. A friend had sent a car with Mamy to have me picked up. Thank you, Jesus! And so we drove off, home to my apartment.
I had stayed in touch with Simeon by email all summer. For those who don't know, Simeon was one of my neighbors last year and dedicated his life to the Lord last November. He's been growing ever since. Having been gone four months, I noticed how much more he had grown and matured. And the Lord keeps speaking to him in dreams and visions, especially about ministry. At the end of July, he lost his job (contract not renewed), and so spent days in prayer and fasting to know what God had for him. From the very beginning, all he wanted was to serve God, to preach the gospel and bring others to him. While little Claudia wasn't so sure if it was already time for Simeon to be "full-time", the Lord spoke to him saying that he should simply trust HIM for everything, and commissioning him for the ministry, with Jesus Himself actually laying hands on Simeon in the dream/vision.
When I came back, he had already been without a job for two months, and Simeon started telling me how God has been providing for him financially. Once, he needed to pay the rent, and opening his door, there was an envelope with quite a lot of money in it. He started asking around in his whole building, as well as the neighboring building, to find out who had lost the money. Until the Lord spoke to him in a dream, telling him to quit looking because the money was his.
Having no job, Simeon asked the Lord about how to go out and share the gospel. So he got some tracts and started talking to people on the street, as well as going into offices, sharing the gospel and handing out tracts. He started relationships with people, and was invited by some, who were also asking where he went to church. And every morning, Simeon would go to the river or up the hill to spend hours with God in prayer.
I told Simeon to keep his eyes open for a possible location for the church, and he told me he had found a place he had fallen in love with. I went with him to look at it: It's a nice house on a property with garden and a wall around. When I saw it, I immediately fell in love with it as well. The garden is perfect for having church services, showing movies, and people would be drawn by the sound of music and the gospel. It's not very big, but it's perfect for the beginning. We both feel it's the right place. Now all we need is the necessary funds; the rent is 380 euros (480$) a month. Anyone out there who'd like to enable us start the church? I have some pictures by the way; I'll email them to anyone who'd like to see it.
We went to Toyota, and looked at the kind of car we'd need in Mali – a pick-up truck with four-wheel drive. I was shocked by the price; and at the same time amazed to realize that the 30000$ check the lady wanted to give me for a car would have exactly covered the costs (see the email EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY ABOVE from June 16, 2004 in the NEWS section on my website). Buying a car in Bamako is more costly than importing it. The one we looked at is 30000 euros (= 37000$). While that amount seems impossible in the natural, we are believing for the Lord to provide a car, and are already thanking Him for it! He has given us a task to do, so He will also provide the means to do it!
I took two American cellphones with me, but had to find out they don't work here. If anyone in Europe has an old cellphone you don't need anymore, it would be a blessing if you could mail it to me.
I have now got my own mailbox, instead of using the school's. Please note the address change in the signature below!
School was supposed to start on Sep 27, but when I got here they told me it starts on Oct 4. Yesterday I went to the school, and my supervisor told me I couldn't continue teaching the classes I had last year (except for one). Instead I will take a beginners' class – but one that has focus on languages, so they have 4 hours of German a week. I'll therefore teach 6 hours per week. But so far, they haven't made the schedule yet. I guess I'll start teaching next Monday – maybe :-)
I have nearly all new neighbors. The greatest surprise was to find out Aisha and her Mom had moved into our apartment complex. Now I get to see much more of Aisha!
I'm very excited to be back in Mali, and to step into what the Lord has prepared. This summer was an important time of preparing, refocusing and equipping. And the voice of the Lord kept speaking through prophets of what is to come in Mali, to encourage me and assure me all He has laid on my heart is truly from Him and will come to pass. And my licensing to the ministry on my last Sunday in Kansas City was an awe-some time of commissioning and being sent out. I can tell that I'm not the same as when I left Mali four months ago. THIS is the time for Mali! THIS is the time for God's kingdom to come, for His glory to cover Mali, for signs, wonders and miracles to be done to draw all men to HIM!
Let it be!
Thank you for partnering with me!
Tel. (+223) 220 0311
IMPORTANT: Don't write my name on the check, but add
a note that it's for me.