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


Precious Family Time

Dr. Claudia R. Wintoch

2 January 2006




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Advancing The Kingdom

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Advancing The Kingdom
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Lawrence, KS 66046

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Bank number: 12000
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Dr. Claudia R. Wintoch
Centre Apostolique Malien
BPE 1654
Bamako, Mali
West Africa




(+223) 220 0311
(+223) 696 0050




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On the BLOG page (link on the left) of my website you will find more pictures as well as more details on the events described in this email. Check back often since I put updates and pictures on there nearly every day.


A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families. (Ps 68:5-6a)

This past week I've taken a good like at the family the Lord has given me here in Mali, and I was overcome with gratitude and pride. I'm a blessed person. The Lord is not only building a HOUSE in Mali, but a BODY. We are a unity, living and working and sharing together. We're now 5 adults living on our property (including Sekouba) and two children. Two more live just around the corner and come over nearly every day. It was only natural to celebrate Christmas together as a family, and since my childhood I haven't looked forward to Christmas like I did this year!


Our first celebration was on the 21st - with over 100 street children and neighbors' children, and it was an awesome team celebrating Jesus (read the report and look at the pictures). Then the 24th came and I invited our close family over to celebrate together. I wanted to do something special with them, and so I invited them to go swimming. There are a few hotels in town where you can do that, and so we squeezed into two taxis, full of anticipation. We were 8 adults and two kids.

Paul and Simeon having fun, even though they don't know how to swim.

Hassim and Seybou, who both know how to swim, had the time of their lives.

Sekouba is from the ethnic group of the Bozo who are fishers, and he therefore knows well how to swim. I've seldom seen him have so much fun, laughing and taking full advantage of the pool. I was so happy to see him like that!

Little Hama also GREATLY loved the pool! He wanted to be in there all the time, and so I went into the kids' pool with him, throwing him and pulling him and having fun with him, while the adults stayed in the big pool.

Everybody had such a good time - I have rarely seen them smile and laugh so much. How blessed it is to give! Read more about our time at the pool on my blog page, including how Hama nearly drowned.

We finally got into two taxis again and drove back home, where Emma (in spite of having a bad cold) and Elisabeth joined us. The part I had most been looking forward to had finally come! For many days I had already wrapped one gift after the other, imagining with excitement their faces at the moment they'd open them. Each person had drawn the name of another person to give a gift to. But I had reserved for myself the right to give gifts to several people, wrapping all the gifts for everybody.

I wanted to make this celebration very special to all of us. For four of them it was the first Christmas as a Christian! So I decided to cook for them the best I could do (and I'm not at all a cooking person). Since we were 9 people, I prepared three courses of basically Austrian dishes. When we got back from the swimming pool, I went inside the house alone, lighting the little candles all around the room, switching on the lights around the gifts and turned on Christmas music. Then Sekouba was the first one coming in and being stunned like a little boy in the West.

We all had a great time eating - them asking what it was - and talking, and finally the time for the gifts had come. But before that, I said a few words and we spent some time in prayer, honoring the "birthday child". Then I called up Sekouba to distribute the gifts. He only just started learning reading, so I had to help him with the names, but he enjoyed it anyway. I felt like a real Mom, proudly watching her son distributing the gifts to the other kids. I told them we'd open them one after the other, watching the others do it.I just couldn't wait sharing in their joy!

17-year-old Paul (left) was like a little kid, not able to wait for his turn. And Sekouba (right) was totally into it, opening all his gifts with joy. But most fun of all - for all of us - was watching Emma, who was totally stunned receiving the guitar he has been wishing for for so long. Praise God!


The following day, Christmas Day, we had a church service remembering the birth of Christ. We all put on our best clothes and welcomed our guests as well as our guest of honor Jesus. After the service we all had a meal together. During that time I learned that the mother of some kids (neighbors) gave her life to the Lord at the Street Kid Party a few days earlier. Praise God! I asked Aissata to meet with Elisabeth, her neighbor, every day to pray and read the Bible Elisabeth received at Christmas since she now knows how to read (she's in our literacy class).

Claudia with little Hama and his new toy, a Christmas present.

With Marie out of town, Sekouba took her place at the tam-tam during worship, greatly enjoying it.


At 10 pm we gathered in the garden to start the New Year together, with each other and with the Lord. Emma and Marie were unfortunately out of town, but we had a few visitors - Muslims - that joined us, even as we started to worship the Lord together. I will admit here that I'm a technology freak, and I use that technology for the kingdom of God, so I set up my computer with the projector, for us to have the lyrics for the songs (for those who are literate), to know the time (when it's midnight) and to look at pictures taken in 2005. We worshiped the Lord for over an hour, before we had a precious time of cleansing, forgiving and taking communion, just before midnight. We entered into the new year being in an intimate place with Jesus. After midnight, we remembered all God did last year with the pictures, those taken in Mali and those taken on trips (mine as well as Simeon's to Mozambique). We were all overwhelmed with gratitude and expressed our hearts to Him in prayer. Then we spent some time looking ahead and praying for the upcoming year. We set some goals for CAM (the church), and then I asked them to set personal goals for themselves, which they wrote down and put into envelopes to receive back one year from now. I also challenged them to step up prayer for a few people who regularly come but have not given their lives to the Lord yet. We are now committed to interceding for Hassan (Seybou's cousin, healed a year ago, English class), Kassim (comes to children's program, English class) and Hawa (Elisabeth's neighbor, comes to services) intensively until they become His disciples.

At 4 pm we closed out our first prayer night - though I wasn't at all tired yet and could have kept going. By then it was only the core team that was left - Simeon, Paul, Seybou and I. I was a little grieved that Sekouba had chosen to go to the parties in the neighborhood instead of praying with us - please keep praying for him, for his healing and relationship with God.


* CAR/TRUCK - Emma left for his home town before we were able to go look at it. He's coming back to town tomorrow, and if everything works out, we'll go look at it on Thursday. We've got the money now for this old car that is a special deal, so soon our prayer for a car might be answered.

* PROPERTY - The pastor helping me with this has been busy with all the end of the year events, but I hope that we will soon take the next step in acquiring our (free) land.

* SCHOOLING - I'm getting ready to teach reading/writing Bambara, maths and French three times a week in the morning, 2 hours each. The need is very big for these couple of children as well as some adults. Right now I'm in the process of looking for good materials to use (there's not much in Bambara).

* HIGH SCHOOL - Paul's High School fees for the second trimester are due now. If any one of you would like to sponsor him, please earmark your donation FOR PAUL'S SCHOOLING. The fees are $90, that is 76€.

Other than that, our weekly street kid program continues, as well as our English class and literacy class, movie nights, prayer meetings and services. Our Bible School starts its second trimester in February. The reason for that is that I'm traveling for 10 days in January (see the event list on the left).

I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your support in 2005 - whether in prayer, giving or encouraging emails - and am looking forward to partnering with you again in 2006. The Lord has done many mighty things, totally beyond what any human could do or imagine, and yet, we've ONLY JUST BEGUN! I'm praying for MULTIPLICATION and ACCELERATION this year - for you and me - for the GLORY of HIS name and the advancement of HIS KINGDOM!

In my Beloved's service,