Yes, I have seen His power and His glory, I have
gazed into the eyes of my lovely Bridegroom King, I have seen His
love, His compassion and His great desire to draw all men to Himself,
to draw the nation of Mali to Himself, to manifest His kingdom in
this nation, display His mighty works and establish His rulership,
flood the nation with the knowledge of God, to bring in the harvest
with mercy and justice.
And yet, his heart is still breaking at the millions in Mali who
have never heard the good news, the millions who do not know Him,
the multitudes that won't have anything to do with Him but rather
bow to the spirits and to Allah. As of now, they can still defy
and blaspheme the living God and despise His people without consequences,
for the day of judgment has not come yet.
Yes, I have seen His power and His glory, and my heart is breaking
to see it here in this dark nation! Our God is the same in Mali
as in the US, yesterday, today and tomorrow, yet it is also true
that He acts in response to His people's cries – cries that
seem to get drowned out by the millions seeking help from other
Yet, the same God who raised Jesus from the dead lives in US, in
every believer, and since He is God and cannot change, He cannot
help but do the work of the Kingdom. If we, indwelt by God, do not
do the works Jesus did, we're actually not normal. To NOT do the
works of God means we have successfully stopped the indwelling God
from doing what He does. We have silenced Him, suppressed Him, disobeyed
Him, and grieved Holy Spirit. How come we are not MORE concerned
about NOT seeing signs, wonders and miracles flow out of our innermost
being? How come we have convinced ourselves we're living a wonderful,
moral life, when nobody gets healed, nobody gets saved around us?
What is the Kingdom? What kind of life are we supposed to live according
Yes, I have seen His power and His glory. And yes, I'm seeing so
little of it here in Mali that it breaks my heart. We do not war
against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities in
the heavenly places. Those powers have been empowered by the people
of this country. For centuries the blood of animal and human sacrifices
has soaked the land and given power to those principalities. Every
year the country bows to Allah for thirty days, unified in prayer
and fasting – oh what great power there is in unity!
The blood of sacrifices that has given power to the principalities
has also drained the all life from the ground. Once the "breadbasket"
of West Africa, once fertile, green, with rich wildlife, the wild
animals have long since disappeared, the Sahara is expanding, one
drought after the other causes famines for humans and animals, and
little grounds in the dry, sandy soil. Remember that I planted some
vegetables a while back – they started growing, seemed fine,
but then they all turned yellow and died. No harvest.
With the psalmist I can say, this is a dry and weary land. Men
are weary. Men are hopeless, without future. Men leave their villages,
where drought and locusts or other hardships menace or destroy their
livelihoods, and they come to the capital in hopes of finding a
job, earning money and sending some back to their wives and children
so they survive.
the young man guarding my house at night, is one of those men. He
was "lucky" to get this job – but in reality it
was God's on his life. He's now been here for half a year. He has
a little house of his own behind the main house, and every night
he sits in front of the compound to guard the house, as well as
taking care of the garden. In the past two months, he has also learned
to read. Nearly every day I do another lesson with him, sitting
in front of the house at night, and I'm amazed at how quickly he
learns. He is so excited to be able to read now (in Bambara), and
my gift to him before my departure will be a Bambara Bible. He already
knows and is full of excitement and anticipation. When I get back
after my 3-month-summer break, he'll be no doubt reading fluently.
And just maybe, he will be a Christian by then.
When Seybou came here, he was a Muslim like everybody else in this
country, yet not a good one; I have never once seen him pray, or
even seen a prayer mat. Every Sunday he listens to the Word of God
in the service, every Friday he sees a Christian movie, and the
more he is able to read the more the texts are Christian.
As I told you a few days ago, this past Sunday was the GLOBAL DAY
OF PRAYER. The Christians of all of the African nations, as well
as many others, came together to pray for their countries, their
continents and the world. Here in Bamako, we came together in a
kind of congress center that has room for a few thousands. I was
grieved that we Christians cannot have the unity the Muslims have
in this country; I had to find out that because "the evangelicals"
organized the event, many "charismatics" stayed away,
without ever telling their congregations about the event.
I've told Seybou that I'd like him to be in our services, I told
him he didn't need to come along to the prayer event – after
all, three hours of praying for an unbeliever…. but to my
surprise he said he wanted to come. And with joy I saw that all
our faithful ones showed up – Christians, those in the process,
and non-Christians. We were 8 adults and 5 children gathered at
the House when it was time to go (unfortunately neither Emmanuel
nor Simon-Pierre joined us). I'm still walking everywhere, taking
the little green buses when possible, and taxis when necessary (and
I have glued my shoes twice already, bearing the marks of long marches
on my "beautiful feet"), while we're still praying for
a car. We're now praying and believing that the Lord would send
the means to buy a car when I get back to Mali end of August (it
costs about 20000USD). So, not having a car, Seybou left to find
two taxis for us. Then we all crammed into the two taxis and went
into the congress center, I was proud of my little sheep with me.
There was Simeon, mighty man of God, who is getting ready to leave
for Mozambique in 10 days; Elisabeth, the Albino lady, who also
reads well by now. I went to an eye-doctor with her recently because
her eyes are so bad – she needs glasses (one eye –5,
the other –7). I have given away all my money – would
anyone give Elisabether her "eyesight"? The doctor said
the glasses would have to be ordered from France and would be very
expensive, so I'm having them made when I leave here and sent to
Mali by mail. Elisabeth had her little son with her on her back
– who also has very bad eyes. Then there was Paul, Elisabeth's
step-son. He's been coming more and more and I've only just found
out that he wants to be a messenger of the Kingdom, that he also
needs glasses (also Albino) and that he will join our Bible School
next year. Then there was Elisabeth's good friend Aramata with her
little boy on the back and an older one at her side. Aramata is
very slowly growing in her faith, while she's failed learning how
to read and write. Then there was Hawa – the unbeliever of
the trio, a recent widow, with her three kids. When I look at her
kids, my heart breaks – there is only sadness, darkness and
hopelessness in their eyes. And finally there was Seybou.
During the first 3 hours of the event, all the prayers were prayed
from the stage, and we simply agreed with them. In between, they
sang songs in Bambara and French. After three hours, we split into
groups of 20 people to pray for other African nations and the world,
and my sheep were half the group. After nearly four hours, it was
over; I had been somewhat concerned about the length, also because
of the little ones, but they all wanted to stay to the very end
– only Aramata was in a hurry to get back and cook for her
husband. We again crammed into two taxis and went home.
Back home, there was a power outage. With the sun going down around
7 p.m., there is really nothing you can do without electricity.
Though tired, I sat down in front of the house with Seybou and we
just talked – maybe we should have more power outages in the
western world! ;-) I asked him what he thought about the prayer
event. To my surprise he was totally ecstatic about it. He said
he had loved it! He had loved the Bambara songs, saying many more
people would join our church if we had those, and he enjoyed the
prayers. He was amazed at how many people had gathered (2000 maybe?)
and was excited that he had been able to read the Bambara handout.
Then he made an astonishing statement that it takes time, that slowly
step by step he was moving towards the Lord. I have already been
amazed at his obedience; once he knows something is against the
will of God, he quits doing it right away.
And my heart grieves for his wife and two kids (one a newborn)
that are so far away from their husband/dad. When somebody asked
me about bringing them to Bamako, my immediate response was "impossible".
But the more I think and pray about it, the more I'm convinced we
will bring them to Bamako when I get back. They can all live on
this property and come to know the Lord together. They will be the
firstfruit; the first children to live with me.
The vision has always been to give those street kids we minister
to a home and to make them champions for Christ. Recently, my desire
to move forward, to find that piece of land to build on, has increased
significantly. As always, it will take God to do it, God to provide,
the finances, the strength and people.
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts
for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there
is no water. It is God Himself who is the source of water.
And this water flows out of us to the dry and weary who have never
tasted of this water. Yes, the rivers will flow MORE. Yes, the glory
will come MORE. Yes, His power will be manifest MORE. How? By continually
pouring ourselves out to Him and to others, by only caring about
HIM and nothing else, and those HE loves.
REMAINING TWO WEEKS
This Friday we're having a party. Friday is our movie night, and
for this last Friday night, the movies will be worship videos. We
are inviting the neighbors as well as our street kids (and some
of my students) to come at 6 p.m. and have dinner with us. Then,
when the sun sets an hour later, I will get out my flags and we
will dance together before the Lord while the worship videos are
playing. It seems that the rainy season has started, so please pray
it won't rain, and that many would come and be touched by the Spirit
This Sunday we will have our last service, as I will take my sheep
to another church the week after – one they could attend during
our absence. We are also buying a sack of coal for each of our three
women, so they can make some money selling it and survive the summer.
We'll also divide the remaining rice between them (we give them
rice every Sunday).
Today was my last day at school, and though I will miss my students,
I'm not gonna miss it. The situation there is absolutely deplorable,
so that I even wonder how I was able to stay for two years. I handed
in my students' grades without feeling any joy or relief because
most of them failed the class (which is just the way it is here
– they don't work for school; most of them).
With High School done, Bible school nearly done, English class
nearly done, I'm turning to the necessary preparations for Simeon's
and my departure. I've been teaching Simeon nearly daily, so that
his English improves for his school in Mozambique, as well as reading
the required (English) books to him (in French). I'm also in the
middle of preparations for Cliff Pash's visit in November, as well
as our process of government recognition.
Well, soon I will see many of you again, and I'll be able to give
you a firsthand report of what God is doing in Mali. While I don't
really want to leave Mali and my people, I'm looking forward to
seeing all of you again and making new contacts. Honestly, we very
much need God's people to catch the vision and sow into Mali by
May His hand be upon you, His glory cover you and His light shine
forth from you!
NEEDS TO BE MET:
* Simeon's flight to Mozambique – $3000 of $3600 (2400EUR
* Glasses for Elisabeth – ca. $150
* Food for Worship Party Friday – $50 (40EUR)
* House/Church rent June-August – $1300 (1000EUR)
* Claudia's flight to Austria – $2000 (1600EUR)
* Toyota 4x4 – ca. $20,000 (16.000EUR)