God took this
little mustard seed of my life, and planted it in Mali three and
a half years ago. The seed had to die and wait for the waters to
come, before starting to grow and bring fruit. And it's still a
tiny, little plant, that watches its Creator in amazement at what
He does, how He miraculously makes it grow to become all He's destined
it to be. He who knows no future or past already sees the end from
the beginning - a grown tree that gives refuge to birds, a tree
where birds can build their nests and raise little ones, who then
fly off into all directions.
I'm amazed as
I'm watching this little plant grow. I'm full of excitement and
anticipation, as I see (a little of) what is 10 years down the road.
I'm amazed at a 46-year-old Malian pastor wanting to come under
my covering and become the first pastor of our network. This is
unheard in this culture! I'm excited about reaching those who have
never heard the gospel with the good news. I'm excited about going
into the villages and see His kingdom come. I'm excited about strategizing
to reach the different villages, and excited as the Lord shows what
He is up to. I am entering into my destiny, entering into what He
has prepared for me since the beginning of time. If there is anything
I'm passionate about, it's taking the gospel to the last and least
of these, those who are forgotten, those nobody cares about, those
who have never heard, and those nobody goes to. And it's starting
and sound system battery repaired, the five of us piled into the
car with all the equipment to start the 80 minute-trip to Dio, outside
of Bamako. Pastor Enoch comes to Bamako every week to attend our
Bible School and then stays overnight. Today he was riding home
with us. My most faithful assistant Paul was with me as well, as
were two of the kids - Saloum and Fousseni.
in Dio, all the kids on our list for sponsorships (19) were already
assembled, waiting for the new vitamins we were bringing. HIM -
the apostolic network I'm a part of - graciously gave us a supply
of MANNATECH vitamins to distribute to those malnourished children.
The kids received their vitamins with joy, while at least as many
had to go without. We're in the process of applying to MANNARELIEF
to regularly receive a supply of those great vitamins.
After the kids
left, it was time for the baptism service. Three people were supposed
to be baptized, but it ended up being only one. Five minutes before
it started, Enoch told me I was doing the whole meeting, asking
me what way I wanted to do things.
Enoch is the
only pastor of the only church in the region. Half a year ago, he
was a dead pastor with an empty church. Today he is more alive than
ever and catching the vision to take the gospel from village to
20 people including kids gathered, as it was time to start the meeting.
We sang a few Bambara songs, and as I closed my eyes, the presence
of Holy Spirit was so tangible. I chose not to kneel on the sharp
stones, but bowed down before Him in awe of His presence.
had me come up to preach, and Holy Spirit started speaking through
me, leaving me in awe. I hadn't known I was supposed to preach,
but He did. I started prophesying over Enoch and the ministry and
the village and region, as I could see with the eyes of the spirit
what God would do. How exciting! I finally made myself read a baptism
passage, and talk about dying to live for Him, paying the price,
and living a holy life worthy of our calling.
we went over to the barrel the young man would be baptized in. He
sat down in it, and we baptized him. Awesome! After that, we all
had communion together, that I led everyone in as well. Finally
I anointed the young man with oil, and we laid hands on him. Again,
the prophetic was flowing mightily, as I prayed for him - it was
sun had set in the meantime, and it was time for the MATTHEW film
in Bambara. I
counted about 50 people that had gathered, children included, who
came to watch the movie. People were captivated by what they saw
and heard, and we learned later how much they were impacted by it.
Nobody made a decision to follow Christ, but several children came
up for healing prayer.
children all had the same issue - stomach problems, and it seemed
like they had parasites. One girl had malaria, and then they handed
me a little baby-girl. Her twin sister had died, and she herself
had a lot of health problems. I took her in my arms and started
praying. I felt led to pray for deliverance, and she started crying
loudly. Then she suddenly stopped, and actually fell asleep!!!!
She looked like she was resting in the Spirit! I was amazed! When
I handed her back to her Mom, she awoke and was all calm. Praise
reminds of the little 2-year-old boy that has so many problems -
remember him? The first time we prayed he would start walking -
and he did a few days later. Last time we prayed he'd start talking
- and now he talks all the time! Praise God! This time we didn't
have a chance to go see him and pray for him. His parents are pagans
and Muslims and have tried everything they could think of for their
boy to get better. Pray they'll come to know the one true living
following morning we had two influential visitors I had the joy
of sharing the gospel with. One of them is one of the local imams
(Muslim religious leader), who invited us to come back often and
offered to help us. The other is a businessman who wants to introduce
me to the mayor and leadership of the 4000-inhabitant-village. He
said he wanted to know more about Jesus and what we believe, and
asked us to come back as soon as possible.
next time in Dio will be on Feb 28, just for the
day, to show around the visiting NGO director from Germany.
17-18 I'll be in Dio for the weekend to preach on Sunday
morning and officially accept Enoch into our network, anointing
him and spiritually putting him in place before the visible and
invisible world. Saturday night we will go to one of the villages
in the region that has never heard the gospel to preach the kingdom
If you have
GOOGLE EARTH, you can type in "Dio, Mali"
and see where exactly we are ministering. If you zoom out a little,
you can see Bamako and should even be able to locate us towards
the east, south of the river. If you can't see Centre Apostolique
Malien, let me know and I can send you the placemark by email.
December we took in 3 new children at once - Daouda (14), Eli (11),
Solomani (12) - and that's when suddenly stuff started being stolen.
Daouda was caught more than once and had to leave because he wasn't
willing to stop, but the stealing has continued until now. Last
Sunday Eli left us. I'm not sure why, but maybe
he was the one stealing the other stuff, including money, that would
keep him going on the street for a while. It's heart-breaking to
see these children turn to the Lord and grow in every way, and then
one day they decide they want the "liberty" of the streets
rather than the rules of our home. But they are in His hands, and
I pray the seeds that were sown in their hearts will bring fruit
in the future.
hope we have conquered the scabies and lice
now. In a household of 13 people, it's not easy to make sure everyone
washes his clothes all at once and at the same time, and that everyone
does the treatment faithfully. In fact, one kid didn't and was reinfested,
and did the treatment a second time - hopefully before passing it
on to the others.
We also constantly
have sick people - right now Hama and Sarata, and Abdias hurt his
inner ear. We thank God for our doctor, and trust Him to provide
for the (often expensive) medication. We praise Him for having provided
for the scabies treatment!
The car repair
was more costly than we thought, but thank God, it's running again,
and He provided for the repair! It's 20 years old now, and too small
for all of us, so we desperately need a new car that will faithfully
take us to the villages and back, without us having to do fasting
and prayer for that ;-)
we move to our property (planned for the summer), we will also have
to go to the bus station to pick up street kids by car and then
bring them back after our program, because we'll be too far away.
That will only be possible with the Toyota pickup
we're praying for. A new one costs $40,000, and a 6-year-old one
about half that.
and believing the Lord to provide the truck by this summer. Can
you agree with us?
friends who have contacts with a prison ministry are going to
find out whether Daouda is in a local prison
for children. If he is there, I can go visit him. They told me
that they lock kids away for anything, without any trials or anything.
Once we have moved to Yirimadio and have room for more kids, they
will be sending us children that leave that prison and don't have
a place to go.
was recently called into the prinicpal's office of his private
High School (that I'm paying for him). Unsure why, the principal
started praising him. Tears were running down Paul's cheeks as
he was told that all his teachers respected him and were amazed
at his behavior and earnestness in his studies. He was told that
because of that the school was doing something unprecedented -
applying elsewhere for a grant so Paul can do his final year next
year without having to pay. Not only the teacher's have seen the
transformation in Paul, but he has many opportunities to witness
to classmates at school, and to pray for them.
been doing many Theophostic Prayer Ministry (TPM)
sessions with adults and kids alike, and seen the fruit of it,
especially with the adults. The (former street) kids have a much
harder time, not realizing the bad fruit in their present lives,
and therefore not seeing the point of remembering painful events.
They need to be willing to find truth and freedom, so please pray
teaching TPM every Saturday evening now, and the interest is great.
Especially Simeon (who turned 34 yesterday) -
who's had and caused many troubles over the past 2.5 years - has
started to HOPE again, and been more joyful than ever. Please
pray for the sessions with him that we're gonna start soon - what
great testimony his healing will be!
pray for our legal adviser Daniel who has been
extremely busy. We need his help to take care of our legal status
in the country, and start two more organizations so that all the
papers are in order with our children's center as well as church.
the director of the German NGO that manages the
sponsorhips for our kids, is coming to visit for a week. The week
after, our US architect Peter is coming to finalize
the drawings for the first building phase, meet our builder Kossi,
see the land and ministry, and start drawing the second building
phase. Please pray for a fruitful time where much can be accomplished.
is electing a new president at the end of April.
Please pray for PEACE for our country. A lot of countries surrounding
Mali are in turmoil - civil war in Ivory Coast for several years,
over 100 dead in clashes in Guinea that don't stop, some unrest
and danger of a coup in Burkina, and clashes as elections approach
been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through
the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ
and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in
abundance. (1 Peter 1:2)
Serving my BELOVED,