future workshops & businesses will serve as dorms and classrooms
for our elementary school until the main building is built.
With another $88,500 or 75.500€
we can build it. If you'd like to contribute, please mark your
donation with "building fund". Details
on the DONATION and CONSTRUCTION
CHRISTMAS IN MALI
year I'm really looking forward to the Christmas season
- the advent calendars with daily gifts for our
children, baking Christmas cookies together, the
gifts gathering in our living room and our kids
eagerly checking to see whether their names are there and how many
presents there are for them. There is nothing like seeing the joy
on these little faces, especially on those kids that have
never celebrated Christmas in their lives! How special it is for
year the joy was marred a little as Paul and I sat in the restaurant
noticing how we were only just a little more than half the number
of people that we were last year. It made us painfully aware
of the 13 children that left this year and I was wondering
where they were and how they were doing and longing to be able to
see them and hug them and love on them.
we had a great time with the kids and adults that WERE present,
eating Western chicken and a soda, and I especially
enjoyed catching up with the non-resident kids that were there.
After the meal, 21 of us crammed into our Landcruiser
to return home to celebrate in our living room. In the car, I got
talking to our driver Saloum, an ex-kid of ours who became our driver
after Joseph left and who had never heard the story of why Joseph
left. The more we talked about Joseph, the more I felt the pain
of missing my son who we were raising up as a pastor and
leader. When we got home, I broke into tears and sobbed as soon
as I was alone, but I knew everyone was waiting to start the celebration,
so I had to pull myself together.
soon turned into joy as we had such a wonderful time together. Everyone
was eating the Christmas cookies the kids had made
while we talked about the meaning of Christmas, sang HAPPY
BIRTHDAY to Jesus and prayed. Finally
the time had come for what they were waiting for - the gifts!
One after another the kids came up to receive their gift and pick
another gift to give to the next person. Then everyone was watching
curiously as they opened their gift, often reacting with
great joy which was beautiful to watch. Each member of our family
had picked one person's name to give a gift to, and I added an additional
gift for every member of our family. We also put together bags
full of goodies for all our 33 sponsored children that
we gave them in the name of their sponsors.
was nearly 10 pm before the last gift was given and half the chocolates
were gone off the Christmas tree as each child got to pick
one off the tree. A whole bunch of happy kids and adults
left our living room, the non-resident ones to go home, and the
resident ones to go to bed. What a wonderful time we had of remembering
Jesus's birth and loving on each other!
at all our Family Christmas pictures here.
KID CHRISTMAS PARTY
year we might have had the biggest group of kids ever as we handed
out about 105 papers with numbers to the kids coming
onto our base. Those numbered papers help us hand out the gifts
in an organized way at the end. We had picked 3 games to
play to narrow it down to one winner, and I was a proud
Mama watching our oldest teenager Amadou taking
charge of that part of the program.
first game was musical chairs in two groups. The
five people standing in each group then had a balloon
tied to their one leg that they had to hop on one-legged, trying
to destroy the other kids' balloon and be the last man standing.
In fact the last three standing went on to the third game, trying
to make cans fall off with a ball. This young man
was the proud winner and received the prize of a soccer ball.
the games, Paul led them in a time of Bambara praise
with lots of dancing and loud voices singing. Then he taught the
whole gospel from beginning to end, illustrating
the cross very tangibly with Bakary playing Jesus,
and he was amazed at how attentively they were listening, causing
no disruptions at all. Paul then asked questions to
see whether they had really listened and was amazed at how many
knew the answers to the questions. Then he asked them who
wanted to follow Jesus, and most hands went up. Together
everyone prayed a prayer of commitment.
the meantime we had laid out 200 pairs of shoes by
size - 100 for boys and 100 for girls - and one by one, the children
came into our living room and tried on shoes to find the right size.
Then we handed them a drink and a chocolate and
wished them Merry Christmas. Over a 100 children came into our living
room, and by the time we were done, lunch was ready for them.
a wonderful time it had been, showing Jesus's love
to these children who don't know what love or joy is. May many of
them grow in their relationship with Jesus and become light-bearers
to this dark nation!
you'd like to help us cover the costs of our Christmas
activities, we'd be very thankful.
at all our Children's Party pictures here.
Team Members - We are looking forward to the arrival
of our two new Romanian team members in a matter
of weeks/days. Crisstina is coming to do a 2-month
internship as part of her missions school training, while
Magda is coming to stay long-term.
Please pray for their and our preparation and for the transitional
Movement - From January 24-26 we have
a 3-day training for all our DMM groups on our
base. The Australian pastor who taught us is
coming for those days with another pastor friend, and we're very
much looking forward to those days. We are bringing in all our
leaders, housing and feeding them, so we'd be
thankful for any financial support if God lays it on your heart.
Needed - Randy has just started walking without
a crutch, after he sprained his ankle 6 weeks ago, but
his arm has been in a lot of pain because of using the one crutch.
He thinks he pulled a muscle. Please pray for
his complete restoration. We are very much aware of the need for
carpenter - Caleb had a motorcycle accident
the day of our celebration and has been unable to walk.
That also means he is unable to work and he was
not able to join us for Christmas. Please pray for his restoration.
As for his apprentice our 14-year-old Bakary,
I've been working with him daily to teach him
reading, writing and math.
#4 - We're getting ready to start construction on our
next much-need building which will serve as dorms and
classrooms for our elementary school in the beginning,
and will be our business and workshop section later. We're believing
for it to be finished by fall so that our elementary school
can start in it then. Total cost: $99,000 or
Teacher - We are still looking for a French-speaking
first grade teacher to join our team next September.
There is such a need for a good, Christian school where the children
are treated with dignity and learn something.
Many of our Muslim neighbors would send their children to our
school. Please pray we'll find a teacher by next fall!
Needed - We're looking for a half-sponsor for Patrice
(10), our cook's son. If you'd like to enable Patrice
to go to school and be taken care off, a half-sponsorship is $30
or 25€ per month.
Situation - The presidential elections are planned for
next July. They just delayed local elections
for security reasons. Mali is becoming more and more radicalized
by jihadists. Please pray for peace, and for
protection from jihadists.
Leader Paul - Please continue praying for Paul who really
needs to move back onto our base but his wife
does not want to. He's looking for housing that is closer than
where they live now. Pray also for his wife to
fall in love with Jesus and support him in ministry. This was
the first year she did not join us for Christmas.
Baby - Please keep praying for our promised child.
We will have an intervention at a fertility clinic in March. Please
pray for success.
Learning - Randy has been learning French
for the past few months but will join our new team member Magda
in my Bambara class.
book in French - My book has already been out in English
and German for years, and now it's only a matter of a few more
weeks and the French translation will be out.
Praise God! Please pray for the final stretch.
- 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.
in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah,
the Lord. (Luke 2:11)