construction has made much progress as you can
see on the picture. You can easily identify the water tower, and
the wall on the left. You see the rainwater channel on the right
side, just outside the wall. And you see the 3 buildings still on
our property that will be torn down once the wall is done and the
(left) and his workers (right) (in front of the water tower) are
doing a great job building. The wall has been getting higher and
longer over these past weeks, and it's wonderful to see the progress.
He just informed me that he needs to have money this week if they
are to continue building the wall. No money has come in in July,
and we still need $16,000 or 11.600€
to finish the wall, and then of course, we need to build the first
house. I told Kossi nothing was impossible for God, and He was able
to send money these next few days.
the past couple of weeks I've felt more and more that we should
move by the end of October instead of September, and the rental
agency permitted us to stay one month longer in our current rented
house. So we're moving by October 31st. On November
6 we have a girl from Austria coming to join us for just over two
months, and on November 23 a team of Austrians is coming for 10
days to do ministry. I was told they could be up to 20 people, so
we sure need to be on our property by then, even if it's in tents!
God from the bottom of your heart;
don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he's the one who will keep you on track.
Don't assume that you know it all.
Run to God!
(Prov 3:5-7, MESSAGE)
this huge construction project only God could have imagined is moving
along, I look to Him and His direction every day, and He still surprises
me. Our construction manager Kossi said that solar energy was not
an option, but then I talked to a missionary who is now installing
solar systems in different places in Mali, and who knows the current
state of development in this area. He told me that much has happened
these past few years, and today, it's worth going solar,
especially with the high installation costs of city electricity,
the monthly high bills (most expensive electrcity in the world,
some say), and the frequent power cuts. This missionary is able
to do the installation for us, and get the equipment coming from
Europe and the US tax-free/customs-free. That way we now pay $35,000
or 25.500€ for the original solar system we
need from the beginning, and the same amount later once everything
is built and the power needs much higher.
have updated our construction flyer with this new information (see
above for download).
TRIP TURNED NIGHTMARE
had four visitors in July, three French girls and one student from
Austria. The girls in the back row came two weeks before the other
girls, and greatly enjoyed themselves, being a blessing to us and
is a French teacher, and after our kids final exams, she did a 3-week
intensive French course to improve their French skills. It was often
challenging to teach 5 teenage boys, most of them former street
children, and Frédérique was stretched to the max.
But they were able to work it out and had a good, fruitful time
together. They all fell in love with each other.
helped us by translating our teaching materials for the street children
- that way somebody other than me could do the teaching in the future.
July arrived, she had a week of doing creative stuff with the little
kids, who enjoyed it greatly.
our Austrian visitor Carina helped out anywhere needed, just having
fun with the kids, and trying out her Bambara skills.
two and a half weeks, everything was alright, going greatly, except
for the kids' unacceptable behavior. It was shocking and saddening,
and the only thing I knew to do was soak them in prayer. So we did
several soaking sessions, praying for them silently for an hour.
suddenly, after two and a half weeks, one girl after another got
ill, including myself. One night, they woke me up at 2 am because
Carina was crying because of intense stomach pains. I called our
local doctor who came over right away. He gave her pain killers,
and checked her out, including doing a malaria test. He talked to
us, and since Rilla had had all malaria symptoms, and I was wondering
myself if I had it, we had the test done as well.
next day I was told both Carina and I had malaria.
I was surprised, since the symptoms were so much weaker than when
I'd first had malaria two years ago. I started taking the treatment
immediately, and for 5 days I was incapacitated because of the heavy
side-effects of the medication. I was worse off than with the malaria!
had IV's done at the house for several days, with the doctor coming
twice a day, and then she felt fine.
Friday, July 27, we all went to the swimming pool together with
the kids, having fun, most of us feeling more or less okay. But
on Saturday, we had our second emergency night. Carina was reaching
41°C fever - a dangerous point - and the other girls also had
a fever. I myself was still on the malaria medication and not functioning
properly. I tried to reach our doctor, but to no avail. I later
learned that he was abroad.
amazed at God's providence, because that afternoon we had finally
received the car! I had taken three long weeks of waiting, but now
we were mobile again. And now we were able to drive the sick girls
to a clinic missionaries recommended to me.
"night doctor" examined three of the girls and decided
that two had to stay, one because of high fever and one because
of low blood pressure. The third girl wanted herself to be in the
clinic and moved in two days later.
turned out that at least one had malaria (even having taken the
prophylaxis), and three had an intestinal infection
caused by food or water. Most of them then didn't dare eating any
more local food, which weakened them additionally. Two girls had
their insurance take steps to repatriate them. The last one just
left on Saturday, together with a doctor from Austria who had come
to accompany her home, even though she was fully restablished already.
She had spent the last three days with us again, enjoying herself
even after all that had happened. I was amazed because the Austrian
doctor was very interested in our ministry and project, and wants
to write an article about it in the insurance's monthly magazine
(ÖAMTC) that would reach millions of Austrians.
The founder and head doctor of the clinic - a Malian who studied
medecine in the West - together with Carina and myself. Unfortunately
the other doctors in the clinic studied in Mali, and the girls had
some horrible stories to tell.
of the four girls have fond memories of their time with us anyway
and want to come back to visit. They've all regained their health
now, and have stories to tell - stories you don't want to necessarily
have of course. Even though things turned out that way, we have
still all been blessed mutually, and I'm thankful for that.
A TRIP TO DIO
were under some pressure to get to Dio to take care of a few things.
First the car wouldn't come, and then everyone was sick, but finally
we went for a few hours, just Paul and me, knowing no better time
wrote down family stories, often tragic, of all
these ladies who try to provide for their many kids. We also gave
them a 50 kilo sack of rice each, which will help them greatly in
the weeks to come. We looked at the completed new house the pastor
built, so he could take in more children, which he will do soon.
And we also looked at the church sign that had been put up next
to the road - it had been our gift to him when we officially accepted
him into our network.
also talked to Alou again, the local merchant,
who's been moving closer and closer to the Lord, and who considers
me his pastor. He always wants me to come more often and for longer,
and to talk with me more. His wife was healed, and now the Lord
healed him as well. He wants to run for the local elections for
mayor, and would like our support. Please pray for his salvation.
had been raining all day - praise God - and when it was time to
leave, the car would not start. It was raining really hard at that
moment, and we were stuck in the village, the night fast approaching.
It took an hour, and getting soaked in the rain, before we were
finally able to get the car started and drive home. We needed to
replace a fuse once we got back to Bamako.
- Our Malian teacher Issa left us July 10 to
finish his Master's thesis he had been unable to work on while
with us. I believe he'd like to come back after a few months.
- Our 6-year-old handicapped Hama has been making much progress,
with Firmin working with him every day. He is now able to hold
on to the walker with his twisted left hand, which allows him
to walk on his own for a few meters. Please continue praying for
his complete healing. Pray also for the healing of his heart,
as I frequently have to comfort him because of his parents' unacceptable
behavior towards him.
- Solomani (13) has now been with us for 8 months, and he's been
good at copying the "Christian ways", without seriously
following God for himself. For that reason we've not seen any
change in him, and his behavior and language is shocking and infecting
the others. We came to the conclusion that he had to leave,
that nothing more could be done, but ended up giving him another
chance. Please pray for him.
- Souleymane moved in with us in the beginning
of July to spend the summer months with us. He lived with our
pastor in the village his past year, but would like to stay with
us. He would be attending the same Christian school as the Albino
kids, since he has completed 6th grade. His old grandmother has
to give her consent for that. Please pray for favor.
Trip - I'm leaving for the USA on Thursday,
returning to Mali Sep 18. My path will lead me
to California, Georgia, Virginia, Missouri, Kansas and Ohio, visiting
friends, sharing and preaching, and attending one of my best friend's
wedding. Please pray for much needed spiritual refreshing
for me. Details - including where I preach when - on
the left and always up-to-date on my CALENDAR
page on the website. My cellphone number while in the US is (I
have to look at my own website myself...): (714)
in Mali - While I'm in the US, our kids are going to
the village for 16 days, staying with our pastor, while Paul is
taking a vacation, and Firmin has classes at university all summer.
When the kids come back in the beginning of September, they will
help Kossi build our house for two weeks, until I get back. School
starts on Oct 1.
you have a SMALL idea why July has been crazy, though you
don't know half of it. You can always check out my blog if you want
more details. The following verse is comforting:
not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are
mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and
when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames
will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One
of Israel, your Savior. (Isa 43:1-3)