futur workshops & businesses will serve as dorms and classrooms
for our elementary school until the main building is built.
We're waiting for a quote from our new builder to know how much
these will cost. If you'd like to contribute, please mark your
donation with "building fund". Details
on the DONATION and CONSTRUCTION
(15) SAVED FROM BEING BURNED ALIVE
have three different groups of kids. The street children
who just spend the night on our base, get fed physically
and spiritually and return to the street during the day; the former
street children we have taken into our home, who are like our
children, and the non-resident children who
have one or two parents they live with who are poor and can't afford
to send them to school and provide for all their needs.
since we opened our gates at night for the street children eight
years ago, we've had problems with our neighbors who
accused us of bringing those kids into the area who then steal from
them. Every time there is an incident in the neighborhood, we get
blamed, and the police has been here countless
times because of it. A few years ago the neighbors decided to attack
us, saying that calling the police makes no difference
at all, but thankfully, Paul was able to diffuse the situation.
For our neighbors, the street kids that only spend the night on
our base are also our kids we are responsible for.
week one of the street kids who sleeps often in our center
stole money and fabric from a neighbor and got
caught later. The neighbors beat him up until that
kid Adama claimed that he gave a third of the money to one of our
resident children, Adou (15). So the whole neighborhood
marched to our gate to question Adou. Randy and
I were not at home (which happens only about every 10 days) - God's
providence, we believe - and Paul was in town with us. Adou came
to the gate and told them he knows nothing about it all (which was
true). However, the neighbors didn't believe him, grabbed
him and took him to the guy's house where the money was
stolen. That man then started beating Adou up,
demanding to know where the money was. When he said he'd stop beating
him if he confessed, Adou said he did it.
big crowd had gathered by now, as the neighbors tied up
both Adou and the real thief Adama to burn them alive.
Something that is not uncommon these days in Mali and that people
even get away with. One of our neighbors who is our friend
tried to intervene and talk to the men, asking them to
wait for Paul's arrival to sort things out.
returned by taxi, oblivious to what had transpired. Paul was informed,
and went to the police station where they had taken
the boys. While he was there talking to the police, he got a phone
call from that friendly neighbor informing him that the
neighbors were banding together to attack our center. So
Paul had policemen sent (which you have to pay for) to have the
neighbors who beat the boys up summoned. When police
showed up in our neighborhood, the neighbors got scared and abandoned
their attack plans. Later that day Paul had those neighbors released,
telling them he was not pressing charges, and telling the neighbors
he forgave them, which amazed them.
police informed Paul that the boys' case was not in their jurisdiction
but that they had to go to the government office for children's
affairs downtown. That office deals with anything children
related. The inspector in charge of children's
centers questioned the boys alone. She told Paul
that as soon as the boys entered she could tell Adou was
innocent (I believe she saw Jesus in him) and Adama guilty.
Adama admitted to the theft and to having blamed Adou for no reason.
the inspector heard that we do not have legal papers
for our children's center, she told Paul that he was going
to prison. But then several inspectors
that have known us for years intervened and told
her about us and about the great work we do. Paul also let her know
that the papers have been going in circles at the
government office as we've been working for years on making our
center legal. However, when you're Christian, and you don't line
the pockets of every official...
returned home with Paul, while Adama went to children's
prison for what he had done. Paul was required to bring
proof that our papers were in fact being worked
on, which is as time- and money-consuming as everything government-related.
The inspector was impressed with what we do and
wanted to help, letting us know that very soon
the government was going to start cracking down
on illegal children's centers. So a few days later she went to the
government office with Paul who was amazed as door after
door just opened and they breezed through them, and he
was assured that we'd hold our papers in hand in no time at all.
an amazing God! Adou has been through a nightmare, but
he was counted worthy to suffer for Christ. And
now what the enemy meant for death and harm and loss, God has turned
around for His glory. We praise Him for His love and protection
and guidance! He is good!
here to see all the June pictures.
200 SAVED & COUNTLESS HEALED
the church in our center, we have two village churches. Goro
is a two-hour drive away, and we have not been
able to go there since we lost our last vehicle as it is too remote.
is a 45-minute drive away, and Paul moved pretty
close to it last fall, so he continues ministering there
while back a believer from a remote village called Sebela
came to the church in Dara and pleaded with Paul to bring
the gospel to his village. He said the village chief himself
wanted him to come. So a few weeks ago Paul got on that believer's
motorbike with him for the long 2-hour journey to the remote village
that cannot be reached by car. Paul healed the
sick, one after another being healed, and then preached the gospel.
About 500 were present, and over 200 decided to follow Jesus
- including the village chief. Awesome God! A new church was born!
weeks had passed when Paul returned to Sebela this week. Already
the rain had made it hard to get there, and he knew it was his
last time going there until rainy season was over. Arriving
he found out that the Imam and Muslim community
was not happy that suddenly 200+ of their people had become Christians.
A council meeting was called where Paul had to
appear. To his amazement, not only the village chief had become
a believer but most if not all of the elders and council
members, so they all were on Paul's side, defending their
freedom to choose what God they follow. It was a resounding
defeat for the Muslims! They cooked a special meal
in honor of Paul and gave him a goat to give to us as a gift.
pray for this new church and the new believers.
here to see all the pictures from Sebela.
(just turned 11) is the only girl among our resident
children and has lived with us since she was 6 months old
(except for a 9-month period when her Dad took her away).
She has a very special place in my heart. For many years she was
indifferent to God, certainly spiritually affected
by her Dad who had renounced Christianity again and left the family
with us, only visiting from time to time.
that changed a year ago when Patricia King spent
two days with us and called her out twice to prophesy
over her. Sarata has never been the same, now loving God
with all her heart, which is so exciting to see.
few weeks ago a classmate of hers had stomach problems and went
to the school infirmary, but she wasn't better. Sarata told
her about Jesus and asked if she wanted to accept him as
her Lord and Savior. She said yes, and so Sarata prayed
a prayer of dedication with her. Then she prayed for her
stomach, and she was healed. She then asked whether
Sarata would be her best friend, and she said yes.
That little girl has already taken some heat from
friends and family for being a Christian now. Please pray
for her as school is now on summer break for four months
and that girl is the only Christian with her family, having no contact
April 10th we woke up to our house standing in
flames and caught inside. Thankfully we were heard and our boys
tore the bars off the window so we could get out. We spent 12
days in the hospital with burns before staying at a friend's
house for another 3 weeks to heal more in a cool and clean environment,
and returned home on my birthday, May 14.
had started repairing and restoring our home immediately,
but those things take time. We returned home as soon as our
bedroom was done - but that was the extent of it. Work
continued for a few more weeks, and today we're just waiting on
our carpenter to finish his work.
and a half years ago I moved into this third building
on our base to make room for Paul and his new wife. Our builder
hurried, did not put a breaker box in, and the money wasn't there
to finish it all the way, so it was never painted.
The enemy tried to kill us and destroy our possessions. With the
fire put out, neighbors were still smashing in windows
and tearing out bars and stealing valuables
like our brand-new photo printer and video camera.
the thief comes to kill, steal and destroy, and he did all that.
We will be wearing scars on our body the rest of
our lives. BUT GOD! Jesus came to bring us abundance,
and God turns everything around for good! Today
I'm wearing scars of honor, having had the privilege
of suffering for Christ. Today we live in a house that is so much
more beautiful than it was before. It now has a breaker
box, hot water, and everything is painted. The
carpenter has put our wardrobe in and will eventually finish the
rest to complete the house.
our neighbors could have rejoiced in another opportunity for us
to be defeated and leave (we think it was a spark in a faulty adapter
that caused the fire but who knows), expecting to see smoldering
ruins and empty houses falling apart over time, they see our center
today in more glory than it has ever been. All
our buildings have been painted afresh, the gates and property walls
painted for the first time, and a gardener has
just planted 64 coconut palm trees along our property
walls. While they'll need some time to become tall, majestic trees,
we are now closer to looking like the oasis in the desert
we are called to be than ever! All because the enemy decided
to strike - I'm sure he really regrets it.
it is all God's doing, but we couldn't have done it without
YOU, God's people, responding with love, compassion and
concern to the situation we were in, not just with words but with
deeds. Thanks to you all this has been possible! We pray
that we will go on from glory to glory instead
of going back to not having enough. Our hearts are stirred, full
of hope, and full of anticipation as we are looking
to continue construction work and build the next
building on our base.
here to see all the renovation pictures.
next building phase consists of our workshop
& business section - a carpenter, tailor, basic shop,
bakery, internet café and basic Malian restaurant. Those
will serve a threefold purpose, 1. serve
our community, 2. train our children, 3. create
income for the ministry. Also, having those rooms would
allow us to use them for dorms and our elementary school
until the main building is done.
found a new Christian builder that we are very
happy with who is currently working on drawing up professional
plans and calculating how much this next building will
cost. After 4.5 years of not building it feels so great to move
forward again! May all of the dreams and plans in
God's heart come true!
Health - We haven't hardly had any physical pain in a
while, but the wounds haven't really changed any. We're now in
the phase of trying to minimize the scars as
much as possible, with mine being more severe and visible than
Randy's. However Randy has been having heart issues
since his botched infusion; please pray for him.
School - We recently started our second trimester
of Bible School. Unfortunately six of our eight boys failed the
first trimester, so there is only two of them
left this trimester, but even for one it is worth it!
Prayer - The fire started right where we had all been
praying together every morning for an hour. As
soon as the living room was done and we had a TV again, we started
our morning hour of prayer again and are having a great time starting
our day together early every day like this.
Papers - We should have papers for three entities.
Our church papers burned in the fire, and it
takes time and money to get them again. Our mission
papers (the first ones we got) need to be renewed every year,
and they just would not do it. And thirdly, the children's
center's papers could only be deposited after we got
our church papers, and as you read above, we should soon get those.
In fact, we're hopeful to have all three papers soon. Please pray
to that end!
School - We're starting our elementary school on July
11, and much has yet to be done in preparation. Please
pray for me in particular, as I'll be their teacher to start with.
Pray also for God to call teachers in France
to come to Mali to teach our children.
Car - After a lot of research and several offers, we
decided to buy a 13-seat Toyota Landcruiser going
through an Austrian organization helping missionaries and whose
representative I've known for years. However, we will have to
wait till October or November before the car
will be in our possession. While we have the money for the car
and shipping, customs costs $12,750 or 11.250€ and we still
need $9,850 or 8.750€ to be able to pay
for that. However, a Christian at the government office said he's
gonna try to get us a tax exemption. Please pray
for this miracle to happen!
- Flo got a new heart valve in Europe three years
ago and has recently been having issues including water
in his lungs. He's now taking a good number of medications
and feeling okay again. Please pray for him.
- Randy's youngest daughter is getting married
in July, and Randy is going to be in the US for that occasion
for over two weeks, while I teach our new school. It will be our
first time apart. Also, several of our kids will leave on a two-week
YWAM outreach, while others go on a YWAM dance
camp at the same time.
- While our US schedule is full (see on the left) we still have
some openings in Europe (also on the left). We're
looking forward to seeing many of you again and making new friends
and connections. Please pray for open doors and divine
appointments, and especially for God to send French
teachers to our school in Mali.
- We were so amazed by all your generosity after the fire. Thank
you so much! Unfortunately it seems that now we are seeing
the other extreme of hardly any money coming
in. We're still praying that God would put it on people's hearts
to support us on a monthly basis so that we have
more than the current 41% of our budget met.
- We're looking for volunteers to come to watch and play
and spend time with our children. No language skills needed, but
French skills are helpful.
[morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s
goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and
falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your
association with] Me. Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward
in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible].(Mat