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
OWN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
weeks ago we finally started our elementary school that
had been part of my vision for many years, and very much on
Randy's heart from day one. Fire or not, challenges or
not, the enemy could not keep us from this huge step forward, and
so we started our school on July 11th.
bought a whiteboard and hung in on the freshly
painted wall in our renovated living room where
the fire had started. We moved some old school desks
out of storage, Randy repaired them, and moved them into our living
room in front of the board. We bought school books, and were able
to acquire the curriculum for grades 1-6 in Mali,
which is considered elementary school here.
decided to not start with first grade, but with fifth grade.
One of our boys - Bakary (12) - lost his parents
when he was 3 years old and then lived on the street because there
was nobody to take care of him. We took him in when he was 5, and
he's always struggled in school. He did first grade
as well as fourth grade twice, and still knew very little. I knew
that he would profit greatly from being in our school.
wanted to open up our school to families from our
church and neighborhood. Four children joined us
from the outside bringing our total number to ten. Unfortunately
all four had to drop out sooner or later as they literally knew
little to nothing and would have had to start with second grade
Malian school system is in very bad shape. Classes
are huge and children don't speak or understand French. However
their mother tongue Bambara is prohibited and they
get punished for using it. All the children do
is copy from the board and memorize, without knowing
what they're saying or writing. As you can imagine, they're not
learning much. As they get older, the predominantly male teachers
students to have sex with them, and also demand
money to pass students. When I taught in a little Muslim High School
in Mali my first two years here, I was shocked
at how little the students knew in 12th grade.
school is supposed to change all that. We use their mother
tongue, we make sure that they understand,
and we treat them with the dignity they deserve.
Jesus is in the middle of our school, and we want to raise up children
to love Him and be educated beyond what a Malian school can offer.
I helped our children write emails to our sponsors,
and I was touched again and again as the children
in our school wrote that now that they are in our school, they actually
understand what is being taught. And Adou sharing with
me that he does not want to go back to the Malian school (he's the
weakest student now) because his teacher always makes fun
of him for being older than the others. That's the challenge
with taking in street children when they are 12, 13, 14, and need
to start first grade at that advanced age.
here to see all the June-July pictures.
start at 7:30 - and that includes ALL the children
in our center - with a devotional time of worship
and Bible study in our living room. For an hour we worship and listen
to the Bible teaching of the day.
8:30 the school kids move over to the desks, while
the rest leaves to be on vacation or do certain tasks, as their
school year only starts in October. The primary
focus of their education is French as well as Math,
but I also teach music, science, English, and Malian culture. There
are now six students left, and they are all our
resident children. Normally, Adou would be in 4th
grade, and Sarata in 6th grade, but I teach them
all 5th grade. Even though they all attended the
second best school in Mali before ours, their level is still not
up to 5th grade, and I sometimes have to go way back to
bring up their levels. It may seem that we're actually a second
or third grade class, but grasping and understanding what is being
taught is invaluable and will allow us to move
on faster later.
semester is only 6 weeks long, and we're in week
3 right now. I feel like we've already covered a lot
of ground, though it might take us longer than a year to cover the
whole 5th grade material. When Randy and I leave on our trip end
of August, I will leave them a lot of work to do
during our absence that will hopefully cement all they've learned
so far further.
usually end class around noon or 12:30. At 4 pm
the first three kids come back to work on the three computers
we have, and then at 5:30 the other three come to work
for 90 minutes, doing educational games to improve
their Math and French skills in a fun way.
like to bring three more computers to Mali so they
can all work on one at the same time. If you have a laptop
computer that works well and that you don't need, please
consider donating it to our school.
currently their teacher, and honestly, I love teaching with
a passion, more than anything else, and give my all to do it. However,
I have many other responsibilities as well, so
that I have my days are very long and tiring right now.
my heart's desire is for our school to be able to start a first
grade class, so that the kids don't bring in the baggage
from their previous schools but get an equal start. I want to continue
with our fifth grade, but I'm praying God sends us an elementary
teacher from France so we could start that first grade
as soon as possible. That's one of the reasons why we'll spend three
weeks in France in September, and if you know anyone in
France that we should meet, or any church that we should connect
with, please let me know.
over two weeks ago we added Arouna to our family.
This is his story:
was born somewhere in Côte d'Ivoire, he doesn't know where.
When he is six years old, his parents send him and his younger brother
to an uncle in Bamako where they both start going to school. In
sixth grade - around April or May 2015 - they get kicked out of
school because of missing payments. Instead, his uncle signs him
up as a apprentice to a motorbike mechanic. However, his aunt sends
him out every morning to sell her merchandise, so that he can't
go to the mechanic's. Every night when his uncle gets back home,
he beats him up for not having shown up, not knowing that his wife
was sending him out to do her business. After two weeks Arouna has
enough and runs away. He ends up at the bus station, where he begs
for money to survive. He hears about us, but decides to make his
way north to Mopti where he ends up working for a fisherman. After
a couple months, he wants to return to Bamako, and the fisherman
pays his bus ticket to do so. Arriving in Bamako, he decides to
find us as he had heard that we treat children well. All he knows
is that we are near the hill and that we have a water tower. So
he asks around until he shows up at our base on March 29 of 2016.
His faithfulness and sweet spirit gets him noticed, and so two days
before our primary school started he became part of our family,
just in time to also be in our school.
are still trying to get a hold of a family member of
his to get their permission for him to stay with us.
already has a sponsor, but 6-year-old Casimir (Paul's
youngest half-brother) is looking for a half-sponsor
for $30 or 20€ per month. Please contact me
if you'd like to sponsor him.
TEAM MEMBER DAVID
was over four years ago that Mali had a military
coup that threw the country into turmoil and that it still
has not recovered from. And that's how long it's been since we had
volunteers with us that stay for longer than just a few weeks.
having volunteers has made a big difference for
the worse, as our children spend much time unsupervised, which has
dire consequences in many ways. It has bothered me all those years,
but now we've decided it simply can't go on like this.
made our need known and voilà, David just
joined our family to be the one watching the kids. David is from
Guinea, university-educated, Bible School trained, and from a non-charismatic
background. Last night he moved into a room on
our base, and today it's his first day making sure
the kids follow the schedule and supervising them to do what they
need to do and not do what they're not supposed to do.
prayed for weeks before employing him, and it feels very good and
right to have him here. I liked him from the first moment I saw
him. Please pray for him, and pray also for
us in this new season, that we'll be able to adjust to this
new situation in our family, and that it all works out
for the best and His glory.
Health - Please pray for Randy's heart
that has not been the same since his botched infusion. We're looking
into getting him checked out while in Austria.
School - We've recently finished our second trimester,
and both Boubacar and Joseph passed. The third
trimester will start after we return from our next trip.
- We're still waiting for the estimate
of how much the next building will cost that
our new construction manager is working on. We need those rooms
as dorms as well as for our elementary school.
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 they're also being processed right now.
Please pray that we'll have all three papers soon, as they said
Programs - Four of our boys are currently across the
border in Burkina Faso with Youth With A Mission. Two
of them joined their outreach team, while the
other two are part of their dance team.
Car - Our new 13-seat Toyota Landcruiser
is leaving Austria any day now to make its long way to the port
of Dakar, and from there in a container to Bamako. It is supposed
to arrive some time in September, just in time
before school starts in October. Through favor and connections
we've just received word that the government will exempt
us from having to pay the $12,750 or 11.250€ customs
normally due. PRAISE GOD!
- Flo got a new heart valve in Europe three years
ago and has recently been having issues including water
in his lungs. These last few days his condition has worsened
again to the point that he had to be taken to hospital today.
Trip - Randy has been gone for the past two weeks,
traveling to the US for his youngest daugther's wedding. I'm very
much looking forward to his return Wednesday
night. Please pray for safe travels and no issues
upon arrival in Bamako.
- 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
apppointments, and especially for God to send teachers
to our school in Mali.
- We're looking for monthly financial partners as we only have
41% of our budget covered by regular monthly
- Do you want to come change an orphan's
life? Do you want to heal the sick? Preach
the gospel to those who've never heard? Come to Mali
for a season and let God change your life. No language skills
needed, but French skills are helpful.
up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s
wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], even when he is
old he will not depart from it. (Prov 22:6, AMP)