Then said David,
"Ye shall not do so, my brethren,
with that which the Lord hath given us,
who hath preserved us, and delivered the company
that came against us into our hand.
For who will hearken unto you in this matter?
but as his part is that goeth down to the battle,
so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff:
they shall part alike.
And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute
and an ordinance for Israel unto this day."
1 Sam 30:23-25
It is Sunday night… we are home after visiting one of our supporting churches, the house is somewhat picked up, kitchen ready for the attack by breakfast hordes in the morning, piano is practiced, homework mostly done (a few touches need to be finished in the morning), the kids are all clean and in bed (except for the energizer bunny baby) and in the quiet, we've a few moments to reflect and catch our breaths. It seems like almost every time we come home from a meeting, we are completely stunned, overwhelmed by the love lavished upon us by the many partners with whom God has privileged us to work as we seek to glorify His name in Niger.
This Sunday, we were at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Bay City, MI. While there, Pastor Wood reminded his congregation, and us, of something very important… the principle (laid out in 1 Samuel 30 above) applied not only to Old Testament battles and warfare, but also pertains to missions today. God has called our family to a front line battle ministry; those of you who remain here, vibrant and active in your local churches, faithfully praying, encouraging, remembering and giving… guarding the supplies (or "tarrying by the stuff") on the home front, your part is just as great as that of those on the front lines. Please don't ever think that we don't need or value these, your faithful contributions to the fight for souls in Niger.
We thank each one who has been praying specifically for our family. We are enjoying a wonderful time of home assignment here in the States. As we come to the end of February, we are reminded that our furlough year is 2/3 gone: "Hmm, what are those things left yet to do? A couple of doctors' appointments remain as to a few more trips to the dentist, some vaccinations (the kids love those), one more trip up North… think we could fit in a swing through Québec City?" Seriously, we have certainly accomplished much of what we needed to do, including some much needed rest and relaxation. We even have been able to enjoy watching the Winter Olympics. ;-)
Our thoughts, however have been returning often enough though to Niger. To say we left a lot of "irons in the fire" would be an understatement! We are excited to return to the ministry of the Niger Radio Project, the churches, and to so many of our friends and neighbors. Many of you have already heard that on February 18, there was a coup d'état. The president was overthrown and the military has placed a civilian prime minister in office to help the country transition back to complete democratically elected civilian rule under the jurisdiction of a new constitution. We are trusting that this has diffused much of the political tension in the country and trusting that the new government will be as open to our presence as previously. We are keeping as up-to-date as possible regarding this situation through the news as well as via information communicated by our many friends and colleagues still ministering in Niger. We are also hearing that many parts of the country will be struggling to meet food needs as last year's harvest was a lean one.
We are still in the process of visiting our many supporting churches and friends. We thoroughly enjoy this part of our ministry! Many that we have spoken to are facing significant budgetary challenges. We are still looking for 20 new supporters at $100 per month. This additional support is key as we return to Niger. These funds allow us to live and conduct our ministry effectively. We are trusting God to provide for these needs and our presently planning on a departure date in mid-July. We know we still have a long way to go, but we also know that our Almighty God is well capable of providing our every need, as well as those of all the other ongoing ministries here and overseas. We serve the God of the Remarkable.
Because of this firm belief, We are going to go one extra step and provide you with information on 3 special needs.
- Our Passage account has roughly half the money needed to pay for our return plane tickets to Niger. We need to raise approximately $5,000 for our one-way tickets. We do fly economy on the most economical routes we can, but the need is what it is.
- A second need is new tires for the 4x4 we use for family and ministry. Niger roads take their toll. We have not replaced the tires since we purchased the vehicle almost 3 years ago, and those tires were not new when we bought it. One even has a large chunk out of its side. All tires in Niger are imported and must have customs paid on them, so our purchase price will probably be close to $1,000. Any gifts for tires can be designated specifically to our "Vehicle" subaccount.
- A final need we would ask you to consider is the studio. Over the last 9 years, we have been producing a large volume and variety of quality radio programs, evangelistic cassettes, music, scripture recordings, and audio film tracks – working from a studio control room that is about the size of a small bedroom in the States. With trained Nigerien technicians, we have often been working simultaneously on multiple projects (i.e. 3 or 4) in this small space. We have asked and been approved by our mission board to raise funds for an addition that would provide us with a second control room and small recording booth. If you would consider giving towards this special need. Please send any designated gifts to the Niger Radio Studio Expansion (account number – 043312).
- Excellent meetings with our supporting churches and prayer partners! Y'all are AWESOME!
- Several small increases in support. Now, instead of hanging just under 80%, we are a little bit above!
- A couple of very positive contacts with churches new to this ministry and who are considering having us visit for a meeting.
- A few individuals/families who have indicated that they are interested in and are praying about taking on our monthly support.
- Several consecutive weeks of relatively good health for our family.
- Safety on the road.
- Daily provision – even when we aren't sure the night before exactly where it is going to come from.
- Please pray for Niger at this time of political and economic difficulty. We are praying specifically that God's will be done in the heart of the Nigeriens and the missionaries working there, that God's peace would spread out over the country, and that His name would be glorified.
- Pray as well for those new churches and folks that are currently considering monthly support.
- Pray for diligence and a good focus as we are starting to make plans to return to Niger.
- Pray for church meetings: *In already scheduled meetings, pray that God alone is glorified and that we accurately represent "His"-story as it is taking place in Niger. *Also pray that we'd be able to schedule visits with churches who are seriously interested in considering partnering with us in this ministry.
Two final thoughts (the first one is a repeat because it is so true… and we find it funny!):
"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try spending the night in a closed room with a mosquito."
"…or we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."
Thankful to be serving the Savior together with you,
Tim, Richelle, Brendan,
Rebekah Joy, Nadia, Anna, Victoria,
Jonathan, Elsie Mae and Mary Michelle Wright