CHURCH ANNIVERSARY & FIRST SERVICE ON PROPERTY
2nd it was time to celebrate three years of CENTRE
APOSTOLIQUE MALIEN; it was our 130th service, and
our first service on our property. Time to move on, time to move
forward, time to move into greater things and greater glory!
few hundred people gathered, mostly neighbors,
over half of them children, to celebrate with us. We had all been
working hard to get everything ready, and our Austrian visitors
helped big time as well. We had a time of Bambara praise,
followed by French worship. I then greeted everyone
and proudly introduced my children. Fousseni also
gave his moving testimony. The Austrian ladies did a dance
with a few of our children, and one of them shared all God had done
in the villages the week before.
preached on the glory of God, and shared the promises
God has given us as a church and for our property. I talked about
Solomon from 2.Chr 7, when he dedicated the Temple to God, his prayer,
and God's glory filling the Temple. After the sermon, I prayed a
prayer of dedication. Then it was time for the
baptism. Most of the people that have come to the
Lord over the past 15 months of ministry among our neighbors were
too scared to openly acknowledge their new-found faith, and one
even backed out as it was his turn to get into the water. How sad.
So we ended up baptizing only 4 people, two of them neighbors, and
two of my teenagers.
the Austrians did a little skit to present the
gospel, before I shared the gospel in words and
invited people to start following Jesus. Since most people had never
been to church in their lives, they didn't know
you were supposed to be quiet and sit still. Kids were coming and
going, talking, playing, fighting, and all that right in the front,
while adults came up to me during the service to talk, or to greet
me. It was rather difficult.
happy when it was time for the banquet - some had
already left. We had prepared for 200 people, and not much was left
over. Everyone left with a full stomach and a gift - a balloon and
candy for kids, and a pen for adults. We were all tired
but very content with the way things had worked out. The following
day, we all slept in and enjoyed the Austrians' last day with us
at the swimming pool and going out to eat.
We were blessed
to have these six Austrians with us for 10
days. They came from my church in Austria, and came to
help us and bless us, and were blessed in return. I've asked them
to write a few lines to pass on to you, and maybe inspire you to
come visit as well.
10 day stay in Mali was the most challenging time in my life. It
was a spiritual and physical battle to stay faithful to the Lord's
calling and to carry out his work, despite the cultural differences,
language barrier, heat, tiredness, sickness and just beeing overwhelmed
by the fact under which circumstances people may live.
It was almost like traveling back in time, expecting Paul, Peter
or even Jesus to jump out behind the next bush. In fact: Jesus does
live and reign in Mali! We got to witness His healing and miracle
performing power and every single one of us can confirm, that God
is indeed mighty to save! With every person touched by the greatness
of the Lord, my faith, praise and thanksgiving grew.
After all the greatest miracle to me is how the lives of Claudia's
kids were changed through her work in the name of our God. It is
amazing to see their lives being filled with the abundance of God
and that it overflows and impacts the lives of others around them!
I know that God is raising up great men in Mali to reach his people!
The whole family and this country have stolen a huge piece of my
heart and it was not easy to return back home, but I will keep all
of them in my prayers and so God will, one day I will come back!
in Mali is so different from the European. When I arrived I couldn’t
imagine how this stay would be. But after this 10 day trip, all
I can say is that my life and my heart have completely changed.
The kids, Abdias, Fousseni, Souleymane, Saloum, Daouda and Solomani
have really captured my heart. Every single one of them is really
special and has a unique personality. I was so impressed by their
testimonies. Where would they be without Claudia's work? She gave
them a home, food and above all she showed them God’s love.
I also was so touched as we went to the villages outside Bamako,
where more than 500 people got saved and many more healed.
You know, normally when I arrive at home, when I come back from
a journey or holidays, normally I have a kind of feeling like “well,
it was nice to be away, but now its also nice to be at home again,
have my own bed and all my stuff”. This time, when I was landing
in Vienna, actually I felt sad and couldn’t go to bed tearless.
They’re in my thoughts all the time!!
time in Mali was a huge step of growth. When we left for Mali, I
wasn't sure what to expect. It was a teaching experience and interesting
to see how different our worlds and cultures are. But the greatest
thing for me was that God used me as his instrument, that I was
allowed to experience signs and wonders and miracles. I also hope
that we were able to be a testimony for the love and grace of God.
I admire Claudia's work, that she serves nearly all alone as a white
woman in a country, where the circumstances are really not the best,
but with God at her side it must work.
Claudia was in Vienna and told us about her ministry and the signs
and miracles that happen in Mali, and that are just normal in the
daily life of the ministry there, I got excited to come and help
her in this ministry. When I heard that a trip was organized I wanted
to be there!
When we came to Mali we entered a whole different world, different
than everything that is familiar to us. Dust, no electricity, poverty,
... But we could also see a woman's ministry that is a light in
the world of children that live on the street and have no future,
if there weren't someone who brings the gospel to them! We went
out on the streets and invited people to services, went out to the
street kids and handed out food to them and brought the love of
Jesus to the people. It was amazing to see how open they were, especially
in the countryside, where hundreds of people were waiting and welcomed
us warmly. They wanted our prayers so much,that they nearly started
pushing each other! And their expectations were for a reason: they
expected God to heal them, and He actually did! Blind people could
see, deaf people could hear, ....
It was an unforgettable missions trip, that changed my way of thinking,
that gave me new faith and gave me a new view of our life here in
Austria too. Claudia is doing a wonderfull work of Jesus (when she
left all the comfort of Austria and went to Mali) there and needs
to be supported in every possible way! I thank God and Claudia for
the time I had there!
time I spent in Mali has changed my life. My faith has grown, my
heart is filled with love. What we experienced together has made
me a different person. I thank the Lord that I was able to be a
part of the team, and to see how God uses Claudia, and how she does
His will. That encouraged me to advance in my faith. I thank Claudia
for her hospitality and the invitation to return to Mali. I'm praying
over it, and if it is God's will, I'll gladly come back to advance
God's kingdom with you and the children in Mali.
Saturday we have our big CHRISTMAS PARTY FOR STREET CHILDREN.
We usually have 100-120 children show up for that. We play a game,
sing Christian songs, I present the gospel to them, give them a
chance to start living with Jesus, and we pray for the sick, normally
seeing most of them healed. Then they get a special meal, and can
choose a piece of clothing. This year - thanks to a generous donation
to that end - we can give them each a pair of shoes, a blanket,
AND a piece of clothing. Please pray for this big day, for the chidren
that come, but also for us, as it's always very tiring, and this
year our team is rather small to keep order. Last Saturday we had
the most difficult street kid program ever since several new kids
showed up being on drugs.
later we celebrate Christmas with the children in the village
of Dio. Thanks to the same donation, we can now give them gifts
like notebooks, pens, pencils, candy and other practical stuff.
On Sunday we
have our Christmas service on our property, with
gifts for the neighbors' kids, while sharing the greatest gift given.
On Monday the
24th, we celebrate Christmas as a family. It is
our special day together. We will go out to eat at noon, then go
to the swimming pool (the kids' favorite activity), and then go
home for desserts and gifts.
On the 31st
we have a night of prayer to start the new year
Jessica - The Lord has answered my intense prayers for
medical help over these past months, and has sent us Jessica.
She's Nigerian and went to nursing school in the US. Due to some
incredible and tough circumstances, she ended up in Mali. She's
already been a great blessing to us, helping our kids medically,
as well as treating street kids. Jessica is joining our team and
moving in in the days to come. Pray for the adjustment, and that
she can quickly learn French and Bambara to faciliate communication.
Children - We have started going TO the kids on the street
on a weekly basis, which has been on my heart to do for a very
long time. We bring them food and invite them to our program for
them. I hope more can be done in the future.
Director - Unfortunately his visit didn't work out since
the airline wouldn't let him change his flight. Another time.
- The roof is done, and this week they will work on the walls
inside. The move is planned for February 1st, but we are still
thousands of dollars short to finish the house.
School - It's the last week before Christmas, and our
kids are gearing up for their exams on Thursday and Friday. Which
means even more work for me this week, as I have to prepare their
exams. It saddens me that some of them are not very motivated
at all and will certainly fail several exams. They get to review
those subjects in January, before retaking them after my US trip.
We already have 3 different levels in math, and it would be difficult
if we had to have more groups. I'm still their teacher, and their
only teacher. I'm praying the Lord will send another qualified
teacher to join our team.
& Canada - My next trip to the US is January
4-28. I'm going to Ann Arbor, MI, Abbotsford, B.C., Augusta,
GA, and Pasadena, CA. Details on the left and on my CALENDAR
The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory
of the LORD filled it. When all the Israelites saw the
fire coming down and the glory of the LORD
above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces
to the ground, and they worshiped and
gave thanks to the LORD. (2.Chr 7:2-3)