- or $25/week… or
Now, that is just one example of how that $2000/month can be broken down, but picturing that number as the sum of much smaller components helps us better visualize exactly what we need. When we try and figure out where we’d come up with $100/month, well… all we come up with are ???’s. On the other hand, looking at $3.29/day, that is simply a couple of cokes from the gas station or a sack lunch of leftovers instead of eating out at a cafeteria or a fast food restaurant.
We were recently challenged from Hebrews 12:1,2: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (KJV) One of our home church pastors reminded us that when we look at those verses in context (Hebrews 11) perhaps we need to recognize that the sin which so easily besets us and which we need to lay aside is the sin of unbelief. With that in mind, we are choosing to believe and trust God to take us back to Niger. We are also diligently working towards that end. If you think God might have you become a partner in this ministry with us, please let us know. Contact information is at the bottom of this first page… and thank you, in advance, for believing and joining with us in fervent prayer for God’s provision.
Brendan turned 14 in 2009… and is rapidly catching up to his dad in height. He works hard as a student at Calvary Baptist Academy, played soccer in the fall, plays flute in the orchestra, works on the janitorial staff/snow removal crew and has started fencing lessons. He helped his grandfather build a garage last summer and fall and saved enough money to purchase his own laptop. He misses his friends from Niger, but has a great attitude about meeting new people and making friends here in Michigan. We love the glimpses of the young man he will be, though it is often debatable who shows up more – that young man or the kid he still is.
Rebekah Joy, 12.5 years old, has entered the world of junior high school. She’s made a good transition from relaxed home school routines to the more rigid schedule of changing classes, living out of a locker and after school sports. She played volleyball during the first part of the year and is now a cheerleader with the varsity squad (there weren’t enough JV girls, so…) which means some late nights and the challenge to keep up with her homework. Our entire family is curious to find out if her science fair project works and her hamster will be able to generate enough electricity on his wheel to charge the night light for her bedroom.
Nadia’s class is a combined 5th /6th grade. She has tons of friends and loves the social aspects of school. She particularly enjoys the sledding hill during recess time, caring for the class fishes and returning pop cans to earn money for her class. She’s anticipating a big birthday party coming up in about 2 weeks. Before leaving Niger, she worked very hard to pass (a year ahead of time) the French exam required to move from the elementary to secondary system in the local schools – with a higher score than either of her older siblings. What does she miss most about Niger? Two of her friends, Zeina and Heidi.
God’s grace has once again been so obvious as we’ve seen how he has provided for Anna this school year. The only 4th grade teacher at the school, her teacher, is a specialist in working with students with dyslexia and we’ve seen enormous improvements in all academic areas, but most importantly in her love of school, learning and reading. She can’t wait to get out the door and, with Nadia, is participating in an extracurricular reading competition called Battle of the Books through our local library. She is working hard to save money as she desires to take horseback riding lessons when we return to Niger.
Victoria, soon to be 7 and in second grade, makes us alternately laugh or pull our hair out. She’s always got something to add to the conversation and she is way “too big for her britches!” The most common thing we hear from people who’ve met her this year is that she is so sweet and people really enjoy talking with her. It has been neat to see evidence of the Holy Spirit working in her heart, breaking her heart over her own sins and giving her a desire for righteousness and a tender servant’s heart towards others. Just this past week, she was the big girl at home and was such a wonderful, eager helper… changing diapers, fixing lunch and entertaining the two youngest girls.
Jonathan makes everyone smile. His joyful enthusiasm for life, school, friends, family, breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sunday School, Cubbies, visiting grandparents and Game Cube is contagious. He has been receiving speech and language therapy at school this year; his speech has improved some, but many still have a difficult time understanding him. Richelle will need to consult with his therapist over the next few months to learn how she can continue to help him improve in this area. Otherwise, he is a quick learner. He recently decided that he wanted to be a follower of Jesus, and prayed to make Him his Savior. We are so thankful for this choice and we covet your prayers as we disciple him in his growing understanding of the Lord.
Elsie Mae has finally started to talk and our world will never be the same. She certainly isn’t shy about expressing her opinions – our challenge is understanding what she is trying to say. She loves school and would probably go every day if we were willing to send her. Dora the Explorer is her hero, teaching her Spanish and how to do a celebration dance when she gets the right answer. It is fun to watch her engage in imaginative play with her baby dolls and little animals, but best of all – she LOVES to cuddle.
Mary Michelle has changed so much. She’s a one year old, walking, nonstop nonsense jabbering, smiling, mama milk drinking, cereal munching, passionate playing, bath time loving, naptime loathing, table climbing maniac… truly! She thinks she’s as big as the big kids and adores her siblings. Her saddest moment each day is when they leave for school, but waves goodbye to Mama with cheerful anticipation each afternoon as Mama leaves to bring the rest of the gang home.
Prayer Requests as We Begin the New Year
- That the Lord miraculously brings in the additional monthly support AND the funding to purchase plane tickets that we need to return to Niger in July, 2010.
- Integrity and stability within the Nigerien government as well as safety for expat workers and travelers throughout the Sahara and Sahel regions of Africa.
- Continued opportunities to present the Niger Radio Studio Ministry to churches and individuals that God is already preparing to join with us in His ministry to the people of Niger.
- A good response and changed hearts as a result of the Christmas and New Year programs recently broadcasted.
- Fabulous times of fellowship and fun with family and friends both at home and as we travel around Michigan and the Midwest.
- God’s faithfulness to work in the hearts and lives of our children.
- The legal situation with the Christian bookstore is finally resolved and the property is once again being used to distribute Christian literature and Bibles.
- A growing spirit of thankfulness in our family for EACH and EVERY provision of our Lord.
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank our God in all our remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in our every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For we are confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is only right for us to feel this way about you all, because we have you in our hearts…you all are partakers of grace with us.” (Phil 1:2-7)