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As the rain and snow come down...


People in their "Sunday best," elated about the free Bibles placed in their hands. Copies of any books are hard for locals to afford--even schools don't keep them stocked.

*05/26/23 UPDATE* Yesterday, our nurse friend Dr. Kristen received all the supplies she needs to use as demonstrations and donations in her "Helping Babies Breathe" classes at the Togolese clinics next month. This is in spite of the fact that the supplier said there was a system glitch and the items would be delayed. Praise God! Also, shoutout to South Main's Missions Committee, who graciously elected to give $1,500 towards her plane tickets! I'm so grateful for my church.

Additionally, the beginning of next month is the window for us to hear the official decisions on both well No.1, and $8,000 of tuition for the 60 orphans. I will be adding the latter to the prayer requests below, as this grant would allow Pastor Denis a little more room to develop an agricultural system that will help set Sentinels Baptist School on track for sustainability.


A photo from Dr. Kristen's porch :-)

Praise Reports:

1. The Lord has continued to provide opportunities to disciple and evangelize.

2. Send Relief (the IMB's entity for disaster relief grants) is very enthusiastic about the 17 wells.

3. I have enjoyed safe and refreshing travels for ministry (and a little vacation).


Prayer Requests:

1. Please pray for our dear friend Ayawa, who finds herself in a troubling situation.

2. Pray for our local friend, Mabelle, as she is the primary care provider for her mother, whose health is failing.

3. Pray that the Lord would bless the time Christianna and I spend with her new friend.

4. Pray for less crime in Togo, as prisons are filling up much faster than what is humanely sustainable.

5. Pray for Pastor Denis to receive the orphan tuition grant and find a way to make Sentinels Baptist School financially sustainable.

 

Shalom, everyone! I hope all goes well with you. It’s time for another update.


The sobering news first: Our new sister in the Lord whom Mr. Samuel and I were discipling, Ayawa, has disappeared. All the clues in her situation point to this being beyond her control…and not good. Therefore, to our dismay, we haven’t been able to continue visiting with her on Wednesdays. Please pray that wherever Ayawa is, she holds fast to the truth we were able to share with her, and that there are people there who care about her.


A time of prayer with Ayawa from a few months back.

Additionally, my first application for a well has been submitted, and is looking like it will soon be approved by Send Relief (in addition to other wells). I was able to visit one of GAiN’s well drilling sites in the South of Togo to provide inspiration for this application, and was able to see that they really do have a robust drilling and evangelism process. And it was great to observe the villagers’ enthusiasm about finally not worrying about water for the first time in their whole lives.


This collected rainwater is supposedly used for bathing and making palm oil. The villagers walk 5 kilometers to a different well for their regular drinking water.

GAiN's drilling rig, and one of the women we saw bringing a bucket of water for the workers to wash the mud off.

Last March, I went on a week-long trip to central Togo to work with a single missionary named Jane. This area is predominantly Folk Islamic (meaning they choose what feels right to them from the Quran and mix it with animism [you may know this as voodoo]) and Ramadan began while we were there. We were able to share the gospel with numerous people, and also encourage Christian women whose husbands don’t allow them to practice the faith. I was especially touched by one woman who keeps her Bible hidden under her clothes. While in central Togo, I also had the opportunity to teach English (and read a French story) to two different groups, incorporating the Easter message. This was a fulfilling ministry adventure.


One of the ladies and her two daughters that we were able to visit in central Togo.

Me discussing "Le berger perseverant (The Perseverant Shepherd)" with the library group. It's about Jesus going after the one "sheep" that has strayed.

Jane sharing the gospel in the hospital's room for new mothers.

Not long after returning to Lomé, I headed off for 11 days in Kenya! I went for another conference to see fellow IMB missionaries, minister with a local church, and have a refreshing on missionary strategy. I was also able to tack on some vacation time to climb Elephant Hill with two friends…it was a little wet and scary, but I’m glad we can say we did it.


Due to ominous storm clouds, we only made 10.5 out of 11.3 miles of the Elephant Hill hike.

After these things, my team and I were able to participate in a Restoring Vision Project. On Saturday, we brought 200 reading glasses to Pastor Dabla’s church and invited the community in for a consultation on which glasses would be best for their personal eyesight. While each of the three groups waited for their consultations, Trevor shared a clear gospel message (which was translated into Ewe). For part two on the next day, Mr. Samuel (remember, our trustworthy local evangelist) gave out IMB-donated Bibles so that they could put those reading glasses to good use! It was a heartwarming thing to see.


Here, Mr. Samuel and his wife, Mrs. Louise, are helping a woman choose her reading glasses.

I’m still holding a thrice-weekly Bible study with Christianna (we're in Titus now--a short read, and a definite recommend), and there's hope that the Lord may cause that thirst for His word to spread! She has been befriending an 11-year-old girl from East Asia, and I’ll be helping Christianna to witness the faith to her on a weekly basis. Her friend's teacher at the French international school told her class that all scientific evidence proves that God doesn’t exist…it doesn’t take much research to see the illegitimacy of that claim (here’s a relevant resource I found and enjoyed as a child, if you’re interested: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Eternal_Productions:_101_Scientific_Facts_and_Foreknowledge).


Weekly evangelism has been going well—I praise God for allowing me to have sufficient French ability. The biggest hurdle for most people I share with is still explaining that salvation is a gracious gift from God—we cannot work to earn it (see Isaiah 64:6 and Ephesians 2:8-10).


The English class also seems to be thriving. I love seeing the unique personality that each student has, and having fun with them as we learn together. They excel in their English Bible verse memory work, and also enjoy energetic, educational games. The system of learning that Togo employs can be a little stiff (But don't get me wrong, there are some enthusiastic teachers out there), so I’ve been able to bring the students something new.


Our latest memory work has been Matthew 28:19-20, the Great Commission. With a bit of help from his classmates, Antoine got it.

I altered our somewhat sadistic, American "Hangman" to "Sleeping Man" for this context. They love it!


That’s my update for you all. As always, thank you for joining me in spirit through prayer and words of encouragement. May the Lord grant you abundant joy in Him!


"As the rain and the snow

come down from heaven,

and do not return to it

without watering the earth

and making it bud and flourish,

so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

so is my word that goes out from my mouth:

It will not return to me empty,

but will accomplish what I desire

and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

- Isaiah 55:10-11


Just for fun:

1- It be like that sometimes.

2- A friend and I have this joke. When I hear him call himself lucky, I say, "No, you are blé-yussed (blessed with two syllables). When I was in Kenya, I couldn't help but love this sticker that says "I don't believe in luck, I believe Jesus!"

3- We had the unexpected pleasure of spending a weekend with two international guys that work with Global Aid Network. They were the ones who took me to see the well, and here we are at the beach.

4- Our GAiN friends also provided me with my first "escargot" experience. I never thought I'd be able to do it, but when the plate was brought out, it looked tame enough.

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