“For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you… That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.”
Time in the States… Home Assignment… Furlough… You know, it really doesn’t matter what you call it. But regardless of its name, it is a bit of a strange time for missionaries: both bittersweet and delightful, busy and yet decidedly not. This furlough has been very different from earlier ones because it has been a full year. We actually feel like we’ve been able to catch our breath and establish relationships with many folks in our supporting churches. Unfortunately, that brings us to the hardest part of this missionary life. There is no doubt about it, when folks ask us what is the hardest thing about this life to which God has called our family it is the goodbyes. We teach our children that each sad goodbye on one side of the ocean means some wonderful hellos on the other… but it still hurts. Please pray for us. The leaving doesn’t get easier the more we do it… in fact it gets harder to hug that last time our loved ones, family and friends… each time. And, as Paul wrote, we truly feel as though He’s knitted our hearts together with some amazing and wonderful brothers and sisters in the Lord over the course of this past year. We wish we could take you all with us…
But it is worth it… We don’t often get a whole lot of feedback and wonder if God is using what we are doing to make a difference. Then a fellow missionary with whom Tim has worked in the studio writes: “I would also like to take the opportunity to tell you again what an important role you have held in our ministry to the Songhai. Because of your help in making and copying cassettes, thousands have heard the Gospel message in their heart language. You have been very professional, patient, and helpful over the years, going beyond the call of duty to edit and complete recordings for us. We are thankful to God for your faithfulness to The Task with the talents He has given you.” Hearing of people responding with openness and excitement to hearing God’s Word, His story and the truths contained in the Bible: "I want to hear more stories like this. They are sweet to me. I want to eat them until I'm full." … well, it helps motivate us to keep on making sure that we get the only sweet stories that satisfy out where they can be heard!
Pray for Niger
“The people of Niger are once again facing severe food shortages. Erratic rainfall in 2009 had a heavy impact on harvests. The first signs of a food crisis were seen in early 2010, as food stocks were depleted earlier than usual and there was an exodus of young adults leaving their villages to seek work in cities and abroad. Now there is no doubt that the country is again in the grip of a nutritional crisis… A recent nutritional survey …between May and June 2010 revealed that …The severely malnourished children account for 3.2 percent of the total number of children in this age range in the country. The youngest children are the most affected, the survey found; 4.6 percent of all children between 6 and 35 months old in Niger are suffering from severe malnutrition.”
~ “Niger: MSF Responds to a Recurring Nutritional Crisis” (Doctors without Borders)
June 20, 2010
“‘Our generation has never experienced such a situation and it is well beyond anything we anticipated. Thousands of animals… [in Dakoro, southern Niger] have already died because of the first rains and we are expecting more losses,’ said Boureima. The first heavy rains fell in the southern region on 16 June. Sudden temperature change, the physiological demands on the digestive system of changing from a fodder to a grass diet, and water-borne diseases are always taxing for the cattle. "Since the animals are already extremely weak, many are expected to die with the first rains," said NGO Action Against Hunger's (ACF) West Africa regional representative Patricia Hoorelbeke. Cattle were hit by last year's drought, which left the country with limited grazing land and caused the price of animal feed to soar, making it unaffordable for subsistence farmers. Hoorelbeke said the most at-risk animals - cows and sheep - were also the Sahel's most common. Camels andgoats are generally more resilient and more likely to survive the first rains.”
~ “NIGER: Mixed blessing of first rain” (IRIN)
June 29, 2010
- July 7 – Move out of the house
- July 11 – Speaking at CBC, Midland
- July 16-18 – Traveling to visit grandparents
- July 26 – Indianapolis
- July 27 – Fly from Indy to Casablanca, Morocco
- July 28 – Fly from Casablanca to Niamey
- July 31 –AISN Rec Center!
In our last prayer letter, we asked you to pray and to consider what you could do to help our family return to Niger and the ministry the Lord has given us there… Once again, God has done amazing things through His people. Why does that continue to surprise us? Like the father of the demon possessed boy, we cry, “Lord, we believe! Help, Thou, our unbelief!” As of the end of June, we are at 91% support, have the necessary funds for outfit and passage, a place to call home our first year back in Niamey, tuition for the kids’ education… Once again, God has lavished us with His love through the largess of His people. Thank you seems so inadequate… but we do thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.
Checking the List
Hmm… it is almost time to go:
- Hats and sandals… ✔
- Long sleeve shirts or no? Actually they do come in handy in a Niger January when the temperature plunges to a chilling 50 degrees... ✔
- Doctor appointments, hearing/vision screens and lab work… ✔
- Dental visits… ✔
- Studio stuff… ✔
- Vaccinations… almost ✔
Soon we move from Midland to Lansing, which is our usual “launch point.” We say a BIG “THANKS!!!” to Mom & Dad Stewart, who let us invade their home and spread our stuff all over the place while packing. They are also our usual airport taxi chauffeurs along with Richelle’s sister Julie. This time, Lord willing, we’ll fly out of Indianapolis on the 27th of July. They had the best deal to get all 10 of us plus our stuff back to Niamey (NIM as the airlines would call it), Niger.
- We are ready to go back. It has been a great furlough, we’ve got the best sending church ever and we’ve made lots of new friends, and enjoyed some time with our old friends and family too.
- We thank the Lord for additional supporters that have taken on part of our support. We appreciate you and your vision to see God’s Word proclaimed in West Africa.
- Health - even with the ups and down, we have had a good, restful, mostly healthy time in the States.
- Safety on the roads. I think we must have full-time guardian angels and they were definitely with us on our last trip out East.
- Support. At last check, we have around 91% of our needed support; with the blessing of our sending church and EBM, we’re headed home!
- Flights, itineraries, small children, checked bags, carry-on bags, laptops, musical instruments, diaper bags, video cameras, visas, layovers…. THAT is a long enough list. Please pray that it all goes well. We value so much that army of folks who pray for us as we travel.
- Settling into our house. God has provided us with a place to stay for our first year.
- Integration into ministry - studio, office, school, Beniera churches, ladies’ Bible studio, Sahel Academy... WE CAN’T WAIT!! Please pray for our re-entry into these areas of service.
- At the studio, we will be reorganizing and continuing our two weekly radio programs. In addition to these, we will soon begin the production of a children’s radio program called “Sheep Tales” and a ladies’ radio program.
- As funds permit, we plan to construct an additional control room and recording booth at the studio. We presently have about $2,000 of the needed $10,000 for this project. We were working at capacity a good part of last term and truly believe that with the additional space, we will produce and provide higher quality radio programs, Christian music recordings, scripture recordings, and audio film tracks. We are excited to see what God will do with this ministry.
Thankful to be serving our Lord together with you,
Brendan, Rebekah Joy, Nadia, Anna, Victoria, Jonathan,
Elsie Mae & Mary Michelle Wright