A Time For Growing Roots
In our time we hear many reports of thousands saved here, and thousands saved there, which is great but I sometimes wonder where all those people are a month or two later. Jesus commissioned us to make disciples, not converts. Yes, I believe there are many sincere conversions, but if we leave the newborn baby to itself We need to water the little plant, take care of it, allow it to grow roots that go deep until it can survive by itself and eventually bring fruit and reproduce itself. We love seeing the little plants come up as a result of our sowing, yet too often we then leave them to themselves to either make it or die.
I've just planted some vegetable seeds here in my garden. As a city girl, I have no clue whatsoever how to grow vegetables even less than I thought. I did not know how many seeds to sow, how deep to see them, how often to water, and what to do next. But I sowed them, expecting to see little plants come up and eventually fruit. And lo and behold, little plants did come up. However, I had sown to many seeds so I had to act if I wanted "my vegetables" to survive. Another patch of grass had to be cleared in my garden so the little plants could be transplanted and spread out. Now they have room to grow above the ground as well as roots if I keep looking after them and watering them.
Right now, we are exactly in that season of root-growing for the little plants. Yes, there are numbers of how many "prayed the prayer", yet some of them have never come back (and this is a country without phones or addresses). I've come to realize how little worth that prayer has, because it's only a beginning, only a birth, and the little plants cannot survive by themselves yet. Plants need roots. And growing roots takes time; and sometimes you need to water one plant more, or you need to transplant it, or fertilize it especially, or protect it.
Right now CAM (Centre Apostolique Malien) is not growing in numbers, but we are growing roots. We now have a few people that come regularly to the services and are growing in their faith. For example:
Sekou has grown the most. He is my "grand-son" and now best friend of Simeon. Through their friendship and Sekou's involvement and commitment to CAM, he has grown considerably and is now ready to be baptized at the next opportunity. It is a joy to see that little plant grow up.
Elisabeth is an Albino lady, married with many kids. Being an Albino, her eyes are very bad, so we keep praying for her. Once we prayed for her baby that was sick and it was healed. Because of her husband being unemployed, she is now one of the ladies who receives rice every Sunday to help them survive.
Aramata's case is very similar. She is a lovely Malian lady who doesn't speak a word of French (like Elisabeth). Her husband is also unemployed, and they're trying to survive with their many kids from the little Aramata earns washing clothes. Because of that job she is unable to be in the service from the beginning, but she comes over when she is done. We also help her out with rice and pray for a job for her husband, as well as that he joins her at church and with Jesus.
Both Aramata and Elisabeth have signed up to learn to read and write. Starting this Wednesday I will teach 18 people (who don't speak any French) how to read and write in Bambara. I've got some wonderful Christian materials for that, so that the gospel will be sown at the same time (most of them are Moslems).
OTHER CAM ACTIVITIES
We now have activities nearly every day, and I need to be careful not to become too busy. After all, it's all about our relationship with Jesus, about BEing not DOing.
MONDAY English class. Most Malians are
eager to learn English, so I'm constantly approached by people wanting to
join the class.
A week ago we dedicated one little room here as a prayer room we call it "Holy of Holies" where anyone can come pray. It has maps and verses on the wall, always worship music running, some bread and wine for communion, and blankets to be on the floor. We are planning on using it once a week as a healing room. With one word, it's our own little IHOP ;-)
Last Sunday, we started the distribution of rice to the widow and poor. Blessing the street kids with rice is a bigger challenge, because it has to be cooked and we don't have the facilities for that (I just have a propane gas bottle I cook directly on).
We have not yet picked up on ministering to the street kids again because of several slight hindrances. One is a car; without one it's nearly impossible to go where the kids are and you can certainly not take anything with you (like food or clothing). So right now we're planning another "party" for them at Easter.
A few weeks ago I was walking from school to a friend's house, passing through the neighborhood where "our" kids spend the night. As I was walking along, somebody called me. I turned around and saw two of our kids. They were so happy to see me, as was I, and then they said to me that they were hungry. The "spokesperson", maybe 14 years old, seemed to be on drugs. I told them I wouldn't give them money but buy them food at the next opportunity. So we got to one of the many little places where you can buy breakfast and I bought them bread and an omelet each. At that same time two more of my kids came by, this time two of my students, who joined us there, helping interpreting and watching what was going on. One of those two students was Birama.
The other week, Birama came and watched the "John" movie (word-by-word that gospel). The other day, he asked me for a Bible. He came on Sunday (two hours late) and I gave it to him, talked to him and prayed for him. Simon-Pierre who is in the same class said he was serious about becoming a Christian.
After leaving the two street kids to continue on my way, it didn't take long before two more kids "found" me. This time maybe an 8-year old with a 5-year old; I didn't recognize them, but they recognized me apparently. They started smiling those huge smiles, and that's all they did. Unfortunately there was nothing anywhere to buy them anything and I had arrived at my destiny. My heart was breaking, as I just wanted to take them home with me and take care of them. Interestingly enough, I saw the two again some days later on my way home from school. I was just buying some grilled meat when they saw me and started smiling again. I took the meat and gave them each some. Again, I just longed to take them with me!
I wished we could do more for all these lonely, unloved kids on the street that are unprotected, exploited and who just try to survive.
We are right now praying that the Lord would give us a property, that He would lead us to it even before the summer, where we could not only build a church but a home for these kids. Please join us in that prayer! Properties in Bamako are expensive, but we are absolutely convinced the Lord will provide! These kids are His chosen army! Let's love them into the kingdom and equip them to go do the same!
We've taken steps towards legal recognition as a church, by the government and by the association of churches in Mali, which is all not that easy, yet important. Your prayers are very much desired.
SIMEON GOING TO MOZAMBIQUE
I have the great joy to announce to you that Simeon will do a three-month school with Heidi Baker in Mozambique this summer. Heidi is doing her first missions school, with well-known speakers from all over the world, where the students won't only get great teaching but they will go into the bush to evangelize, as well as live with the orphans. They accepted 120 students, and Simeon was the very first one who was accepted AND received a scholarship (it looks like he is the only African student). Simeon had already seen himself there in visions before I ever told him about the school, and he's very excited about this life-changing opportunity, now working hard to improve his English. I'm also very excited for him, a proud Mom, knowing he won't be the same coming back.
The only costs involved for Simeon are his flight. Flights within Africa are very expensive, so that he will need about 1700$ just for the flight. Simeon doesn't have a single dollar yet (and I'm already helping out with passport, visa and his monthly needs), so people of God, if God calls you to enable Simeon to do this school, please mark your donations clearly with "Simeon", and they will go directly to him.
What excites me so about this is that Heidi's ministry in Mozambique is a model and example to us in Mali; we want to and will see the same things here! So may Simeon bring back a huge impartation for our country to be changed for His glory!
By the way, with Simeon gone for three months, I'm planning on going to Kansas City and Austria during that time. I will let you know more details as I know them.
* New believers like
Sekou, Elisabeth and Aramata growing roots.
While in Austria I discovered some of you thought I'd prefer you DON'T write the opposite is true; I WANT to hear from you every email is precious.
May our lovely, glorious, Bridegroom King of kings, almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, Lord of all things including Mali, Savior, Brother and Friend, draw close to you and overwhelm you with His abundant, overflowing love and glory!
Loving HIM & living for HIM,
Talk to me online with msn messenger - I'm
IMPORTANT: Don't write my name on the check, but add
a note that it's for me.