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


Soaking The Land

Dr. Claudia R. Wintoch

17 May 2005




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Centre Apostolique Malien
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Bamako, Mali
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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. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. (Ps 63:1-2)


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 gods.

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 to Jesus?

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.

Seybou, 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.

While 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 downtown.

Walking 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.


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 of God.

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 giving.

May His hand be upon you, His glory cover you and His light shine forth from you!




* Simeon's flight to Mozambique – $3000 of $3600 (2400EUR of 2850EUR)
* 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)