future 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
year Christmas Eve happened to be on a Saturday,
and Saturday afternoon is when we have our service.
After Paul had preached this special service, we gathered every
one together, organized two taxis, sent the rest off using public
transportation, and were all reunited again at the restaurant
where we've been having our special Christmas meal these past few
years (the owner is a Lebanese Christian). This year we were more
people than ever - 50 children, non-resident and
resident and those who've grown up and are not in our sponsorship
program any more, as well as the adults working
for us. Each person received a plate of chicken and fries
and a drink, and the smiles on their faces said it all.
was great spending time with those kids we don't see that often,
and catching up with what is going on in their
lives. We then had to organize the arduous return back home. We
had hoped to get our license plate in time, but
as it is, we are STILL waiting for it and so our new car is still
sitting in our courtyard, waiting to be used.
finally all made it back home where everyone gathered in
our living room. We first talked about what Christmas was
all about - after handing out the cookies the kids
themselves had baked, sang "Happy Birthday"
to Jesus, prayed, lit sparklers
symbolizing the light of Jesus spreading through us, and then it
was the time the kids were waiting for - handing out the gifts.
One by one they came forward and received their gifts that they
then opened with everyone watching. It was a wonderful time.
a family, we had each drawn one person's name to
give a gift to. I had the joy of wrapping all those
gifts so that the recipient would not know who it came from. Besides
that, every child in our sponsorship program received a
bag full of goodies - from toys and candy to hygiene articles
and school supplies. Thank you, sponsors and friends,
for making this possible.
had an unforgettable time together - especially
those kids for who it was the first Christmas ever
as they only found Jesus this past year. May we continue to grow
in numbers and have even more new children next year!
at all the pictures from Christmas Eve here.
KIDS CHRISTMAS PARTY
days later we put on our party for the street children and
neighbors' kids. This year 85 children
showed up. We first played three games with them,
until we had one winner at the end. They had a great time trying
to grab apples in a bucket of water with only their
teeth and trying to make the balloons tied to other
kids' legs pop while hopping only on one leg.
Paul led them in a time of praise & worship,
followed by sharing the gospel with them, from
beginning to end. He then asked them questions
to see whether they listened and rewarded them with candy. In the
end he led them in a prayer of dedication to Jesus
that most of them seemed to pray.
we show them the MATTHEW film in Bambara, but our sound
system has finally died, and another DVD player
as well (they don't last long because of the dust).
it didn't take long before their special meal of
rice with peanut sauce was ready, and then they each received a
drink and a pair of shoes - a most valuable gift for the
street children who walk around all day long.
a great day of showing the love of Christ to these
little, abandoned children who don't know what love is!
at all the pictures from the kids' party here.
YEAR'S EVE CELEBRATION
invited any children who wanted to play games with
us over, but only the younger children still care to do so. We had
a great time, and some time later, everyone else joined us to look
at all the pictures of this past year. We became
nostalgic seeing Florentin who died in September,
and seeing those kids who do not live with us any more, but we also
enjoyed seeing pictures of fun times we've had. We then shared the
different things we are thankful for this past
year, and prayed together to thank God. We also
shared what we hoped to see this next year.
I handed out the little papers everyone wrote last
year, and gave them new papers to write down their dreams
and ambitions and resolutions for this coming year. Those
are private and are only read by the person writing them. A few
people shared what had come to pass this past year.
midnight approached, we prayed and worshiped together,
and then cheered once the new year had started,
going around hugging everyone one and wishing them
a happy new year. Having finished all the Christmas cookies and
with everyone being tired, we all headed to bed not long after.
at all the pictures from New Year's Eve here.
A WORD FROM RANDY
seems many in the USA and Europe are in Muslim phobia.
Fear especially of ISIS deserves our attention. As we see in Romans
8:28, God can turn a bad situation around for His glory.
Governments do need to be wise here. They are to
protect, defend, and keep law and order. But individual Christians
are commanded to love our enemies. If you can't
do anything else, you can pray that they find the
only God of peace, forgiveness, and love.
finding that many Muslims are dissatisfied
with their religion, have questions, and are in fear themselves.
God is putting us in awareness of millions of former Muslims
becoming disciples of Jesus.
Will you join us in prayer for Muslims worldwide
to become disciples of the one true God? To obey
Him in their families and communities (Matthew 28:20)?
Not converts to another religion. If you will specifically pray
daily for us, let us know. Perhaps in your New Year's resolution?
Report - Every year I report the financial numbers of
the past year in my first email. However, because
of the house fire and our subsequent stay in
the hospital and thanks to the generosity
of our friends all over the world (we're so thankful!), last year's
numbers are not representative and there is therefore
no value in sharing them. If you have any questions
about money matters, I'll still be happy to answer them.
Health - Claudia has finished taking antibiotics which
took care of the tooth pain. Please pray the
pain won't return before she gets a chance to go to the dentist
in March. Also, please keep praying for us to have children
(which would be a miracle given Claudia's hypothyroidism and stress
School - Our elementary school is going strong, and the
kids are studying hard. Please pray for French-speaking
teachers to come to Mali to relieve Claudia (who currently
works 17 hours a day) as well as so we can start a first
grade which is much needed.
Papers - We were disappointed not to get our license
plate in time for Christmas so we could all drive to
the restaurant. Please pray we get the car papers soon, as well
as customs exempt papers and the papers for our
leader Paul - Please pray for our Malian director Paul.
This past year has been really intense for him,
and he is tired. He'll be taking a week off this month - as soon
as we've got our license plate - and it's always hard for us when
he's not around, so please pray for us. Please pray
also for him, especially as he hurt his foot
last week and is in pain, yet needs to walk a lot (until we have
Learning - Please pray for Randy as he continues to learn
the local language Bambara.
#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€.
- We've been introduced to the "Discipleship
Making Movement" and are very excited about this
great tool to make disciples and start churches. Randy has taken
first steps to implement DMM, and we'll tell you more about it
next time. In February we're driving to neighboring
Burkina Faso for a two-day training,
taking a few of our promising future leaders with us.
- We're looking for monthly financial partners as we only have
49% 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.
to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government
will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isa 9,6)