futur workshops & businesses will serve as dorms and classrooms
for our elementary school until the main building is built.
With $94,000 or 83.000€
we can build it. If you'd like to contribute, please mark your
donation with "building fund". Details
on the DONATION and CONSTRUCTION
left his earthly body on September 11. He had already
spent the whole month of August in the hospital
in Bamako, and we were working on getting him back to Austria for
another heart operation. When he received a new
heart valve in Austria 3.5 years ago, we certainly thought
his life had been saved and would be long. In September his health
continued deteriorating, and the hospital just
tried to stabilize him. When he once again returned to the hospital
after a few days at home, they refused to take
him back in, saying they could not help him anymore. Flo decided
he wanted to go to his Mother's house which is
only about half an hour away from our center. That is where
he died Sunday night around 10 pm.
arrived in Mali exactly 13 years ago, a little
girl with a big God and big vision. I'm blown away at how one laid-down
life was able to make a difference in so many other
lives. I'm so thankful that because I took that step of faith, today
Florentin gets to be in eternal bliss with Father, Son and
the spring of 2006 I took in the first 3 street children.
In 2008 we moved to the land we were given by the
government. In September of that year the second building's roof
was finally finished so that we could start opening our
gates every night and let the street children come in to
sleep in a safe place, receive food and hear about Jesus. On September
12, 2008, we went to the bus station where all the street
children gathered at the time, distributed food, and invited them
to come sleep in our center. Many hopped on to the back
of our pickup truck to give it a try. Florentin was one
of them. In November of that year we baptized him,
and in April of 2009 he moved in and became a member
of our family. This is his life story as written back then:
was born in Bamako (Nyamakoro). He attended school and stuck out
as a very smart kid. While in third grade, his Dad died. So his
mother took her three kids and moved to Sadiola (Bougouni) where
her husband had built a home. Florentin did not return to school
there but was watching his little brother while her mother went
to the market as a seller to support the family. Sometime later
they left and moved to Kayes where a friend of Florentin's father
lived. They didn't stay for long but returned to Bamako. Once in
Bamako, Florentin's mother got remarried - she's her husband's third
wife. Instead of going to school, Florentin started an apprenticeship
at a mechanic's. He didn't get along with his step-father who he
describes as mean since he was encouraging his three big sons to
beat Florentin up all the time. So in spring of 2008 Florentin left
and went begging on the street. He was on the street for half a
year before hearing of us, and then spent another half year on the
street but sleeping at our place.
the summer of 2012 - when he was 16 years old - he was doing a YWAM
summer outreach with a few of our other older boys. He
got really sick and was sent home. We took him to the hospital,
and after some tests in better clinics, they finally figured out
that he had a deteriorated heart valve (probably
from an untreated sickness he had as a child). He needed an operation,
but that operation could not be done in Mali.
April of 2013 I took him with me to Austria
where he would receive his life-saving operation
- all paid for by the government of Upper Austria. I wanted him
to have the best time of his life, so I showed
him around Vienna and took him with me on preaching tours, even
all the way to Paris - before and after his heart operation. We
had so much fun.... like when he got to play in
snow, or when we went to the amusement park together. It was like
watching a little kid, and Flo had always been the clown
in our family, acting younger
than his age, but cheering everyone up. School was not his thing,
and this would have been his 9th and last year in school. But he
loved God and credited Him with showing him the designs
of the little vehicles made of sardine cans and bottle
caps that I would take with me on my preaching tours and sell. If
you have own one of them, it is one of only a few on this earth.
year and a half ago our last working vehicle died
for good, and so the children had to start walking to the main street
and then take two public transportation buses to go to school -
and that twice a day. Our hot season is March through
May, and it was during that time that Flo started having
issues with his health. He had been doing so well, finally
able to play soccer with the other children which he had not been
able to do before! But the long walk in the intense heat was seemingly
taking its toll. After weeks of tests and not being told anything,
his cardiologist finally told us in August that his heart
was enlarged because two of his heart valves were not closing properly.
Even then she had little hope for Flo to live, but we refused that
diagnosis and chose to believe in our all-powerful, all-loving God!
Even after Flo had breathed his last breath, we all continued praying
for him to come back to life - Paul doing so in
the morgue. But Flo chose to stay in heavenly bliss and glory.
days after his death he was buried in Bamako with
rain pouring down from heaven, and all our children, team members
and his family got to be there (except for us as we're in Europe).
Different people spoke a few words, and I was told how very thankful
Flo's family was for everything we had done to help him.
have asked different people who knew Flo to write a few words about
him to be included in this email dedicated to him.
our Malian director Paul who was like a Dad for
Florentin and was with him to the end, including praying for his
was one of the most disciplined children, the most respectful at
our center, with a very special good heart. It is rare to see a
heart like his was, loving God, and he was also very attached to
me. He told me before his death that he was ready to meet the Lord
his creator, ready to die.
the children loved him because he was mean with no one. Every day
I cry because of him, even though I know exactly where he is. May
God comfort us.
a volunteer who was in Mali with us for a year:
I think about Florentin the first thing that always comes to my
mind is the word “humor” for the way how he made people
laugh. He carried a unique kind of joy in him that would often find
expression in a smile both a little cheeky but yet drenched in a
God given good heartedness that often had me spontaneously smile
back at him and give him biiig bear hugs (not always to his pleasure
??). Flo knew how to make up funny stories and also showed a lot
of talent in sharing them with us while we were all sitting around
big bowls of food for lunch or dinner. He had all of us laughing
when he would list all the infinite numbers of foods he could easily
eat in one go if he only got his hands on them and quite often these
stories were accompanied by the most hilarious facial expressions.
As long as I live his special sense of humor surely won't be forgotten.
word I see over his life is “creativity”. This boy often
struck me with his ability, not only to make up stories out of the
blue, but also to create the coolest toys out of the most random
trash. Often he came up to me asking if I could increase my consumption
of sardines because he loved to make little toy cars out of the
cans. His farewell gift to me - one of his “trash-toy-car”-masterpieces
- will always have its place of honor on our living room shelf.
aspect of Flo’s nature, I felt God was reminding me of, was
how whenever I asked him to help out with things, he could always
be counted on. One thing I will always be especially grateful for
are the many occasions when he would sacrifice a significant amount
of his free time just to prepare some special Mali-style tea for
me, a drink that turned out to be quintessential in order for me
to keep up my energy level in the African heat...
are still so many more of these little moments that kept popping
up in my memory this past week and of course not all of these moments
were as easy and positive as the few I picked out here - after all
one year is a long time, especially if you live as close to each
other as we did. But in the end all these many moments are the puzzle
pieces of a beautiful picture and deep down in my heart there is
a wall of honor where his picture will always have its special place
framed in gold. The picture of Florentin, a great young man and
beloved child of God that I had the privilege to walk with on a
little part of his earthly journey. I know that we will meet again
and laugh together even more than we ever could have on this earth,
because with Jesus, death is not the end but the real beginning.
K'an bè, Flo!
Florentin stayed with in Austria for a few weeks to recover
from his heart operation:
Florentin had his heart operation in Linz over three years ago,
we became his host family thanks to the Holy Spirit speaking to
us. After his release from the hospital Claudia brought him to us
so he could recover for a few weeks before returning to Mali. Even
though we did not speak the same language, it did not take long
before we understood each other well - we communicated with hands
and feet and a Bambara dictionary (his mother tongue). Since he
was doing better really fast, he opened up more and more and was
having more and more fun with our three children - especially with
our son Samuel who was then nearly 8 years old. They loved watching
Asterix movies, played soccer on the Wii and just played around
having fun. Florentin would have loved to play soccer with Samuel,
but at that time he was not allowed to do so yet. Instead we loved
playing UNO together, which he enjoyed.
were no issues whatsoever with food. He ate pretty much everything
set before him. What he loved most was homemade smoothies that I
made for him using fresh fruit and herbs.
course he missed his home, his friends and brothers & sisters
in Mali, Claudia (who was traveling in Europe at that time) and
Paul. He was able to talk on the phone with Claudia, and he had
a regular Skype call with Paul, which certainly was the highlight
of Flo's stay with us. When he was skyping with Paul, you could
tell how his heart was overflowing and how much he valued that man
and how much he loved his home.
he also enjoyed being in Europe very much. He enjoyed riding along
in the car when we ran errands. He was even allowed to visit our
children's school, and he loved it! You could easily read his face
to know how he was doing at any given time, whether he was happy
or sad, whether he was in pain or doing well. Florentin loved to
laugh and was a very warm-hearted young man.
us as a family it was a huge enrichment and a privilege to have
known Flo and have had him in our home for a few weeks. It was not
easy to say good-bye, when it was time for him to return to Mali.
So the news of his early death hit us very hard. But as we know
that he went to be with Jesus, who he loved, we know that he is
doing better now and that we will see him again!
& Elfriede Egger
Florentin's sponsor, who lives in the town where
Flo was operated:
thankful that I got to know Florentin personally. After his heart
operation he also spent one week with me and one week with my daughter
to recover. I remember his joyful manner and his bright smile. He
was always in a good mood. He was also very good with his hands.
He designed and built a little car for my grand-daughter. My husband
Reinhard taught him to drive in a big carpark. He enjoyed it so
very much. Every morning he read his Bible and prayed. I remember
the spicy Chili sauce that he even had for breakfast. My family
and I will always have Florentin in our hearts.
Health - Six months after the fire, we're still healing.
Claudia still has pain on her arm, but the dermatologist
said it's gonna get better. However, her dentist
told her that she needs work that costs 3000€ ($3400)
- money we don't have.
To School - We have had a lot of medical expenses for
Flo, and then for his funeral. Not only that, it's also the most
challenging time of year for us financially as we have
to pay school fees, school uniforms and school supplies for our
40 children we send to school. Please pray for
provision, and consider helping us out.
- David ended up returning to work for us every
morning during the week. It's challenging for him to
have to be at our base at 5 am, without having
a vehicle. Paul is also about to start interviewing people
who can live and work for us full-time. Please pray we find the
Papers - Paul is visiting government offices nearly every
day to try to speed up the papers for our three entities.
Our church papers burned in the fire, and we'll need them to get
the tax exemption for the car. Please pray for favor, and for
us to get all papers soon.
Car - Our new 13-seat Toyota Landcruiser
has arrived in Mali and been taken off the container. We have
had to hire a professional to deal with customs,
and things are getting more and more complicated,
threatening to take lots of time and cost a lot of money. Please
pray for favor so that we can take possession
of our car soon.
leader Paul - Please pray for our Malian leader Paul!
He's an amazing young man, and he has a lot on his shoulders.
This past half year has been really intense for
him, and he's dealing with so many things, keeping him very busy,
trying to get it all done. He needs prayer!
#4 - We'd like to start building our next building that
will service as dorms and classrooms for our
elementary school in the beginning, and will be our business and
workshop section later. Cost: $94,000 or 84.000€.
Tour - We've just returned from an amazing three
weeks traveling and ministering in France, and our next
email newsletter will be all about it. We thank God for all the
new connections we've made, and are excited about
what God is going to do in the future! Let's pray for a bridge
to be built between the colonist and the former colony, for the
glory of God! And let's pray for the French believers to be compelled
to come to 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.
devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous
are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly
enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death. (Isa 57:1b-2)