over a year ago I first met Jessica, a Nigerian
lady who went to nursing school in the US. She told me her horrific
story, stirring my heart to compassion. She had basically ended
up in Mali involuntarily at the end of her journey.
She offered to help us with her medical knowledge, which we gratefully
accepted. Last Christmas she nearly moved in with us; obviously
it was God who prevented that.
past year, she's been helping us out medically,
and we've been helping her financially. Though planned, it just
never worked out to work together more closely.
few months ago she rented a place at the bus station
for the street kids to hang out at and spend the night. I remember
rejoicing with her about how many kids were helped that way.
of our street kids would also know Jessica and/or had spent the
night there, and sometimes we would even take them there if they
needed medical help. And they would tell us how things were going
heard a lot more stories than I did, and some things
we knew from her directly. If she finds drugs on the kids, or if
there are any other problems, she takes them to the police
station. Obviously the kids don't like that. When we do,
we simply kick them out for that one night, but they can come back
another night - without drugs. Only those abusing other boys sexually
in our place cannot sleep here any more (but still come to the weekly
last time I had seen Jessica before this week, we were at her house
and talking about how to work together more closely so we could
be more effective. All the more was I surprised about the events
of this week that completely took me off guard (once again).
TO THE POLICE STATION
Thursday Jessica came to our property with a stony face, putting
a paper from the police into my hands that summoned me to
the police station immediately. I was totally puzzled and
kept asking her what's going on and what happened. She wouldn't
reply but simply told me to come there, and I'd see her there.
Paul and I went there and found her there with the police officer.
We were both very curious what all that was about, speculating in
the car. Jessica started saying that she has papers from
the government and we don't, and the kids are coming to
our place, when they should be going to her place. The police officer
asked me, and I told him that we do have papers for our church.
she said that I had written on my website that she was beating
the kids. I was very surprised because I had never done
so. I told her that I had always only written good things about
her, and that I had even given a great reference
to some people a few weeks ago who came to ask me about her, because
they wanted to help her financially.
conversation went on for a while, and finally the officer said we
should come back the following morning with
our papers to prove we have the right to do our activities,
and we'd talk with the head of the police station.
heart was full of surprise and only love
for Jessica, and I really wanted to talk to her. So when
we left the station, I tried to talk to her. She was upset,
and Paul was also very upset. He asked me why I was even talking
to her, while Jessica insulted Paul, calling him names. Paul left
angry, while I tried to talk to her alone. She rambled on, not making
much sense. She actually started telling me that in Africa beating
kids is normal - that's what parents do, and that's what she does.
I was stunned. I had not known she was doing that. She also said
that it was Paul who had told the kids to come and destroy
her place, and other stuff not worth repeating. I was unable
to reason with her and went away sad. In the car I tried to calm
down Paul who could only think of vengence and making her pay for
the afternoon I went to see our lawyer to explain
the situation, and he told me there was nothing to fear. I so appreciate
this wise man, and older Christian Malian, who has lived through
much in his life. I asked him to talk to Paul also, and Paul went
there later. When he came back, his thoughts of vengence were gone.
the morning, we were both full of peace and confidence as
we drove to the police station. Jessica was already there. We sat
down with the same officer who asked for our papers. We both gave
him our papers, and he left with them to go see the head of the
station. So we just sat there waiting until he came back.
officer started saying that we both have papers to do the same kind
of work and that we should be working together.
Then Jessica said that we had told the kids to go destroy her place.
It was amazing how the officer totally saw what it was all about.
He talked about the kids being on drugs and doing whatever, and
even said that we as Christians would never do such a thing.
Then she said that I had written bad things about her. Again, the
officer said I would not do such a thing.
I had copied out all my mentions of Jessica from my blog and put
them on one paper, and I gave that paper to Jessica so she could
see that I had always only written good things. She took it, but
refused to show me the alleged printout of my writings.
tried to bring up a few more ridiculous things,
but each time the officer told her it was ridiculous. Paul and I
didn't have to say a thing! The officer repeated she should be working
hand in hand with us since we're doing the same work. Then he said
the conversation was over. Jessica left without another word, and
we went home.
heart was hurting for Jessica as we went home. I was sad
about this whole situation, and for her.
number of street children sleeping at our place has gone up; we
now have over 30 each night. It's amazing to me
how I've come to love those children, and how even
those children are changing! Several of them are seriously following
Jesus - though they are still on the street - and they truly love
us. They are going to get baptized next week. I simply cannot understand
how Jessica and the police officer both agreed that they
are good for nothing and that they all do only bad things.
Not the kids I see!
of them now already walk to our place, and of course
they would like to stay, and go to school, but that's not possible
at this stage of construction. At 7 pm we drive to the bus
station to pick them up, and after they've arrived, we
give them their name badges. Then I read them a short story
out of "Jesus Freaks" - all true stories of people who've
suffered or died for Christ. It's amazing what impact those stories
they eat dinner, and then they go to bed,
sleeping on mattresses in the dining hall. Since their numbers have
increased, we don't have enough mattresses any more. Could you help
us buy some? One costs €27 or $34.
the morning, we have a time of worship and Bible study
at 7 am. Because of sickness and travels, I had missed quite a few
of those. Being restored and back, I was totally amazed as I watched
them praise God and dance! Are these the same kids?
Paul does little teachings, and I go through the gospel of Mark
with them, doing an interactive Bible study.
it's time for breakfast, and after that,
they play soccer, basketball or cards until our driver
returns from dropping our kids off at school, and takes
the street kids back to the bus station until that same
cannot tell you how fulfilling and rewarding it
is to be with those children! It's as if you're with Jesus
Himself! I wished you could be here and see for yourself!
Night Guard - Two days ago Jean-Marie
started as our new night guard. He's from Congo and unfortunately
doesn't speak Bambara. However, I hope it's gonna work out with
- So obviously my formerly prodigal first street kid Sekouba is
not the night guard any more; it wasn't the right thing for him.
He's gonna start night school soon, and is now
helping with whatever needs to be done during
- The more children come to spend the night, the more food we
have to cook. Expenses for food and gas
have gone up, and we're praying for more financial support to
make ends meet. Thank you for considering helping us according
to your means.
- The two rooms on top of the dining hall are
done, and 6 of the kids have moved up there. With the money we
have we can plaster the walls, but it's not enough to lay the
tiles or put light into the
building. The street children sleep in there, and we also do our
meetings in there.
Children - We still need sponsors for Dramane,
Moise, Bakary, Guédiouma and Madou. Please consider
"adopting" one of those children for €40
or $50 per month (thanks to the dollar
gaining value, the $ amount has gone down). Pictures and their
stories are on my website.
Health - I'm doing very well health-wise.
The shingles are healing off, and I have energy and strength.
It's amazing what a difference those few days away made. Thank
you for praying, and keep it up!
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)