all that happened since I last wrote you 5 weeks ago. We've started
to see what I predicted in my last email - after being torn down,
reduced, sifted so only those serious about God are left, we've
seen a tremendous growth, doubling our children,
plus another 20 children who spend the night with
us every day. Over 70 children in total have spent
the night in our unfinished dining hall over this past month, and
we now have 17 children - and need sponsors for
several of them - 8 of which live with us.
& ROOF FOR STREET CHILDREN
September 12 (see blog)
the day I had been dreaming of for month had finally come! We drove
to the bus station and put as many kids
inside and on the back of our pickup truck as possible
(that would be 20) and drove them to our compound. The roof of the
dining hall was done, and thanks to our visitor Matt, we had the
manpower to do this as well. We bought a couple of mattresses, put
sheets on, and put the benches together, then the mattresses on
top of it.
they arrived, they first received a nice meal for
dinner. Then I wrote down each kid's name and in the morning we
took their pictures. Every night when they come, they get their
"ID card" to put around the neck. We record how many nights
they sleep here, whether they attend the weekly children's program,
and whether they're trouble makers. If you'd like to see the pictures
of all the kids who have passed through, with their names, check
out this page of the website.
collect any weapons they have, and they entrust their money to us
to keep over night, so no other child takes it away. Then our night
guard Sekouba gives them the basic rules, and then I or Paul pray
for them all for a good night.
then lock the door to the building, so they can't do any harm on
the property during the night. Sekouba opens the door for them when
they need to go to the bathroom.
7 in the morning, we have a time of worship and Bible study
together, before they have breakfast and are taken back to the bus
station. It's a precious time where they learn more about Jesus,
and we see who is truly interested in following Him.
a month, I can't believe how attached I've become
to those children, and how much I care for them. When one is missing,
I try to find out where he is. And the kids told me about a secular
center that is angry with us because the kids don't go there any
more (because they get beaten) but come to us.
NEW RESIDENT CHILDREN
then interview those we notice during Bible study and who'd like
to stay, to find out more about their lives. If the child is eligible
to stay, we find some relatives to get their permission to keep
the child, send him to school and raise him.
month ago we only had 4 children, now we have 8.
These have joined us - Dramane (16 - picture),
Moise (13), Amadou (9) and a new
kid (3) on the way I don't even know the name of yet. They
have either been kicked out by their families, or been beaten all
their lives, or have no one to care for them. You can read their
stories on the KIDS INTERN page
of my website. All four of them need sponsors.
they have a loving home, and they started school
on Monday. Having these new ones show me how far my 4 "old"
kids have come. It's a joy to see my older kids taking responsibility
and showing the new ones how things work. May these also become
fine young men who love the Lord.
are the first three new kids - when they slept here for the first
time, and now that they're part of the family:
KIDS IN NEED
also have 9 children in our neighborhood whose
families are too poor to send them to school. We pay their tuition,
take care of medical treatment, and give them food.
children include Paul's 5 half-brothers and -sisters,
as well as 2 of Saloum's brothers (both need sponsors),
and Hama & Sarata. Their pictures and stories
can be found on the page KIDS EXTERN.
Hama and Sarata are back in school, and we praise
God for that! After Seybou's departure end of August (see last
email), he refused to let them continue to go to school. However,
after one month out of school, he let them return. We now drive
them the long distance to school and back every day, but it's well
worth it. It breaks my heart when I have to drop them off at their
"home" - they live in an unfinished house without windows
got a job as a driver with our old neighbor, where we lived before;
he's a rich member of parliament. We're also still praying
they'll let Hama live with us, since he's a bother to them
anyway, and he needs to do his physical exercises again to learn
to walk. It's heartbreaking how little they care about their children.
few weeks ago the day I had been dreaming about for two years came
true. Like the father in the story of the prodigal son, I had been
praying and waiting for my son's return. And not just any son, but
the very first street kid that stayed with me.
He was the only child with me the first few months.
then he was suddenly back to visit. He told what had really happened
back then, why he left, and he wanted to come back. However, he's
an adult now, and we were in desperate need of a night guard, and
so Sekouba is now our night guard.
was a tearful reunion, as I prayed for him, and
welcomed him back into the family. We also visited his village and
family, which was a precious time. We've had some problems with
Sekouba, so please pray for him. His faith has become very weak
during his two years away.
about the reunion here, and
the visit to his village here.
STREET KIDS IN A DIFFERENT WAY
stories the street children tell us are not always true. One time
a kid called Ousmane told us he'd only been on
the street for days and wanted to return home. We drove 3 hours
to take him to his home, to find out that his family was actually
in our neighborhood in Bamako, but he wanted to be with his uncle
in the other place. Read more here.
time we were set on taking in a young man who'd lost both his parents.
Yoro was such good boy, participating in the Bible
study more than anyone, and smart. Driving to his village 2 hours
away, we found out that he had been with an uncle where he had been
beaten constantly. Since they wouldn't give us permission to keep
him, and we didn't want to be reponsible for him to return to such
a situation, we let him go back to the street. He still comes every
night to sleep at our place, which is heart breaking for us. Read
the future, as all our legal papers are done, we hope to be able
to help these kind of children.
Driver - God blessed us with a new driver. Jean
has grown up in a Christian family, which makes a huge difference
in Mali. Pray he'll fit in quickly.
- Our Christian carpenter should have moved in with us a few weeks
ago. However, his wife does not want to move,
or even visit us. Please pray for her, and a resolution of this
- Hyacinthe is a teacher, assistant pastor, and
graduate of our Bible school. During the month of September
he came every morning to work with my 4 boys to raise their level
of French, so they could start in as high a grade as possible.
He's become an adviser to the ministry, and attends our services,
as well as preaching occasionally. He's probably joining us entirely
in a few months.
- After teaching the kids at home for 2+ years, they've now started
attending a Malian private school (where Hyacinthe
teaches). After one week, they are all doing great there. As you
can imagine, having 13 kids in that school, and
Hama & Sarata in the (expensive) international school, plus
the expenses for school supplies, has been quite a strain on our
finances, to say the least. Any help would be very welcome.
- Elisabeth is here every morning to cook lunch.
For several weeks Paul was the one cooking breakfast and dinner,
as nobody else was available. We now thank God for Rosalie
- a neighbor and church member - who comes in the morning and
at night to cook. Feeding 30 people three times a day is not a
little thing to do.
Uppy - The kids had been bugging me to get a dog for
a long time - as a cat person, I resisted. When they were going
to put down this dog that was on the street, though had been with
white people at one time, we rescued her. Another "street
kid" saved, and another member of the family! Her name is
Uppy, because Matt kept calling her "Puppy", and they
copied him saying "Uppy".
from Topeka - Matt is our hero! He spent one month with
us, and worked harder, served more, and made more of a
difference than any other visitor we've had (but that's
also due to the special circumstances). God sent him just at the
right time, and he'll reap an eternal reward for all he's done!
I'm hoping to pass on a testimony from him soon.
power - Anco finally returned form furlough, and installed
6 more solar panels. Also, we discovered that
our (very old) fridge consumed TWICE the amount of eletricity
ALL of Anco's house does, and so we had to buy a new fridge.
For the first time we now have power around the clock! And I can
actually use electrical appliances! I feel like in heaven! A
big thank you to all those of you who've given towards
the solar panels!
- We've had a lot of expenses - from tuition,
to school supplies, to fridge, gas, repairs, food, and the list
goes on. We'd be greatful for monthly supporters, as well as sponsors
for our kids. Also, construction came to a standstill
a few weeks ago because no money has been coming in. Thank you
for supporting us to the best of your ability!
- On Tuesday Paul and I are leaving for Mozambique
to visit Heidi Baker's ministry there and learn from them and
be inspired for our work in Mali. Paul is very excited, and he
needs that break big time. I believe it will be a life-changing
time for him. Please pray for us, and pray for everyone in Mali,
as they have to run everything without us for 17 days,
which is not an easy thing. Emma is moving in for that time, but
he really knows very little about how things are done here.
receives and accepts and welcomes
this child in My name and for My sake receives
and accepts and welcomes Me; and whoever so receives
Me so also receives Him Who sent Me. For he who is least and lowliest
among you all--he is [the one who is truly] great.
(Jesus in Luke 9:48, AMP)
love with HIM,