Two years ago
we had our first church service, with 80 people, baptizing two young
men. Last year we celebrated our first anniversary, baptizing four
people, one of them Paul, another Sekouba, my first street child
turned son. This year I asked the Lord to double it again, and he
did. I had the joy of baptizing eight people, who all came to the
Lord this year:
three children Abdias (brown), Fousseni (blue left) (both former
street children) and Saloum (blue middle), as well as Souleymane,
one of the children from the village where we minister. There were
also three adults: Fanta, Seybou's wife and Hama's mother, who cooks
for us, and who came to the Lord in January, as well as Firmin who's
lived with us since Sep, helping with the kids, and Mathias (far
left), Firmin's cousin, who also attends our Bible School and is
growing in the Lord. Kassim is the eighth; he unexpectedly missed
the service, so that we baptized him a few days later.
was a time of great joy. We had a lot of first time visitors, who
sang with us, heard the story of how CAM came to be, and listened
to the sermon on Elisha and the Elisha generation. Each baptism
candidate gave a short testimony of how he came to the Lord and
how he's changed, and it's always touching to hear their stories,
and see the little role you've played in it. It's those times that
make me say: It's worth it!
After the baptism,
each newly baptized believer received a certificate and prophetic
picture and was prayed and prohesied over. Three hours had passed,
and it was time for our banquet. We also set up the screen and showed
the movie NARNIA, which they loved.
OUR FIRST SCHOOL TEACHER
several months I was looking for a teacher for our kids. Three came
by, but I never felt God's green light to employ any of them. I
gave up the search and continued teaching our kids myself. One day
I received a phone call from Issa, who had heard that I was looking
for a teacher; he didn't even know who told him. Today I know it
was God who sent him. This is the second week of him teaching our
Issa is 26 years
old and has been a believer for a year - the first in his family.
Because of that he's suffering from the hands of his Muslim family,
and we allowed him to move in with us already, even before the end
of the trial month. He is hungry to grow in the Lord, to learn,
to have fellowship with other believers, and is so happy to now
be a part of our growing family. Issa is currently writing his university
thesis to receive his diploma; his topic is education for street
children. Issa has a clear call to minister to street children,
and he's just wonderful with them. The children respect and love
him. Issa has done a short training on education from a Christian
viewpoint, which was a qualification he had, but he still has much
to learn. I'm going to take him under my wings, helping him become
the best teacher he can be.
Marie just got
married and was planning to also come teach the kids. We will actually
need two teachers for the following reason:
OF SPONSORSHIPS FOR NEEDY KIDS
with CCARA - the German organization managing the sponsorhips -
we have decided to also help children that do not live with us,
but come to us for help. We have at least two families in our church,
where the children cannot go to school because they have no money,
and where the kids have to go find food in other people's trash.
We are now looking for sponsors for those children, so that we can
teach them, treat them medically, provide them with clothes, and
we're also gonna feed them on a daily basis. Once they all have
sponsors, we're starting a first grade class with them all.
All the children
alread sponsored, and looking for sponsors, are on my website, with
their stories and pictures. Have a look, and contact me if you'd
like to save one of them. Please understand that you can probably
not pick a specific child but that we're gonna assign you one prioritizing
according to need and other factors.
Once a month
we go to the village of Dio, where we are partnering with pastor
Enoch to reach the region with the gospel, and now also to save
children from hunger and hopelessness. Just a few days ago Enoch
shared with me very honestly about his situation.
by his organization and other people who promised help, he couldn't
even feed his own family any more. Selling his ducks, chicken and
pigs was barely sufficient, and then a sickness killed the remaining
piglets. Besides his own family, many children show up every day,
hoping to find not only spiritual food. And even that had become
scarce. Prayer had become a deadly exercise, and few things ever
happened any more in the church.
That was Enoch's
situation when we first met nearly 3 months ago. We've been giving
them rice so that they don't have to hunger any more, and he and
his wife are attending our Bible School every Tuesday. They have
started praying every morning, like we do, and thanks to the fresh
manna from heaven, the remaining spark has become a flame again.
Enoch shared how they have started to revive again. Praise God!
time we were in the village, we prayed for a 3-year-old boy who
could neither walk nor talk, and his parents had tried every witchcraft
possible on him. We prayed for him, and this time when we returned,
we received the report that he had started walking three days after
we had prayed for him. Awesome God! This time we prayed again, that
he would start talking. I asked Enoch whether he wouldn't want to
grab the opportunity to preach the gospel, and as he didn't, I was
ready to start when he urged us to go on to the next family. Let's
pray for that family to start following the One that could do what
nobody else could do.
Dio has 4000
inhabitants, and Enoch is the pastor of the only (tiny) church in
town, that has mainly children show up on Sunday. We gave him a
bike so he can now preach the gospel also in the surrounding villages,
and we are going to help him with this big and difficult task. On
December 26 we are going to have a big Christmas
service, showing the Jesus-film, and preaching the gospel, praying
for the sick... may many more be healed and come to know the Savior.
Two thirds of
the popluation of Mali lives under the poverty line, and so there
is also much need in Dio. We have decided to start sponsoring those
needy children there who have often been abandoned, passed around,
rejected, and now have nothing to do but kill time from morning
till evening, and hope not to be too hungry to not sleep. Last time,
I took picture after picture, writing down story after story, and
at times my heart was so very heavy with the pain those little ones
have gone through. Their stories are also on the website to be read.
We now have 19 kids in the village that are all waiting to find
a sponsor. Once they have one, they can eat - pastor Enoch was shocked
when I proposed 3 meals a day - go to school, be treated medically,
and have clothes that are not torn. Please help us provide the most
basic needs for those children.
a few more weeks and the first trimester of this year is gonna be
over. We have 5 students - two pastors (one of them Enoch), two
new believers (Mathias and Firmin who were also baptized), and Marie.
Simon-Pierre started, but left to go to Algeria
to study for three years. It came as a shock, a sudden surprise,
when he showed up saying he was leaving that very night. When I
taught German at High School here in Bamako, he was one of my top
students. Because he is such a good student, he got a scholarship
to study near Algier. We layed hands on him, blessing him, and committing
him to the Lord. Simon-Pierre had tears in his eyes when he got
up, and I was also very disappointed to lose this promising young
man who has a call to be a pastor (but he doesn't know it yet).
He is a very young believer, weak in faith, and I'm very concerned
for him, being in such a Muslim country alone. If any of you has
any contacts in Algeria, I would love to pass it on to Simon-Pierre
so he can have fellowship with Christians.
There has finally
been some movement, thank God. The long wait is pretty challenging,
when you can't do anything but pray.
We are now planning
on starting construction in April. We had a good conversation with
the mayor's assistant, who told us that the preliminary work is
in progress and will be completed in March. If there weren't still
people on our property, they could let us start right now, but now
those families first have to be moved, and for that they have to
wait for the final papers being released in March.
manager Kossi has already done much work so that construction can
start immediately when the papers are through. Our Amerian architect
Peter has also put much work in drawing the plans for phase 1, so
that they should be done soon.
We are still
looking for investors who'd like to partner with us, since this
is a costly project. If any of you has any contacts or ideas, please
let me know.
The first building
phase will start in April and be completed by July. We're moving
onto our property by the end of July. Costs are about $180,000 for
that first phase. So far, the well is paid for, but you can still
finance the following:
$20,000 - Wall
surrounding the property (250 m)
$36,000 - house for team members
$45,000 - my house
$50,000 - electricity supply (several hundred meters)
on my website.
continue going on our property every Friday, teaching our neighbors'
kids about Jesus and having fun with them. We all squeeze into our
little car, and usually make it all there at once. I've finally
taken a picture of the car with us, so that you can see its size
Paul, Emmanuel, Simeon
TO ACCRA, GHANA Nov 24-Dec 2
unthinkable has happened: I'm really going to Ghana, my first West
African country after Mali! And the even more unthinkable is that
Paul is coming with me. Finally no visa hindrances (in contrast
to trips to Europe or the US).
are leaving this Friday to fly to Accra, where we are staying for
one week before returning to Mali on Saturday. We are spending the
weekend with pastor Daniel, who contacted me by email, inviting
me, because they'd like to start a work among orphans and street
children. I'm preaching in his church on Sunday. From Monday till
Thursday we are attending an inner healing seminar, where the founder
of a certain widely-used approach is teaching how to effectively
facilitate inner healing when praying for people. I've used this
approach somewhat, but really know too little. The inner healing
ministry is absolutely essential for the (former) street children,
so that they can be set free and whole. We've prayed for them somewhat
before, but will do so more when we get back. I've asked myself
more than once whether Sekouba would still be here, had we been
able to pray for the healing of his heart. Since Paul assists me
in that, he's accompanying me to Ghana. Please pray for a supernatural
gift of understanding and speaking English. Paul is VERY excited
about this trip - his first flight, and on Sunday he wore a suit
for the first time (that he borrowed for the trip). Pray that this
will be a life-changing experience for him.
In the summer
the Lord spoke about new nations opening up; could this be one?
Please pray also for both of us during the trip, for protection,
divine appointments, wisdom, ears to hear, and much fruit.
Pray also for
the rest of the team and the kids that remain. Paul normally takes
my place when I'm traveling and now he's not gonna be here either.
Pray for much grace on Firmin, as well as Issa, and Seybou, Fanta
pray for my health. I've had a cold for nearly
two weeks now. The short nights of 4-5 hours have taken their
toll. Not only physically, but also spiritually and emotionally.
I find myself irritable because of the tiredness, which doesn't
help at all. I'm hoping to catch more sleep while in Ghana next
joined our team, but still, monthly supporters
are lacking. Please pray for much needed provision. Every party
costs much money - the anniversary of last Sunday, and the Christmas
have several visitors coming in the next few
months. On Dec 12 two Christian Austrian men are coming for a
month to stay with us, doing muscial studies. And the first week
of January a friend from Vienna is coming for a week. We are also
expecting some Germans in the beginning of February. Any visitors
are always welcome!
passed his driving test, but he is still waiting
to receive his permit. Paul was denied a permit because of his
bad eyesight that can only be corrected by an operation in Europe.
However, they changed their mind and are gonna let him do the
exam anyway. So, I'm still driving Anatloe and Etienne to kindergarten
and back every morning.
time I told you about Kassim, the university
student, who has come to know the Lord. It turned out not to be
true. He is close, but still hasn't given his life to Him.
has left Bamako to go to another town in Mali where he has family.
I often think of him, like a mother of her son, wondering how
he is doing. Keep praying for him. One day I will see him again.
was able to take a special walker for Hama back
to Mali with me. He's now doing exercises ever day and is making
progress. Should the Lord wait with healing him, he should be
able to walk one day anyway. What concerns me is that I've recently
noticed that Hama is stuttering. Please pray for his complete
have two beds left in our house to take in new kids.
We now have more kids again that come to our weekly program, and
also younger ones. Please pray that the Lord would show us the
ones He has chosen to stay with us.
Well, this was
short summary of the events of the past two months. Please don't
hesitate to give me feedback, as I'm always happy to receive email.
May the Lord
bless you abundantly!
team and seven sponsored kids.