“For they got not the land in possession by their own sword,
neither did their own arm save them:
but thy right hand, and thine arm,
and the light of thy countenance,
because thou hadst a favour unto them.”
~ Psalm 44:3
The Psalms are an interesting collection of writings – some beautiful and lyrical, some prophetical, some raw and emotional and others a combination of any or all of the above. Reading through them recently, something about this particular psalm struck a chord. The psalmist first boasts in the Lord, recognizing some of the many ways God had been good to Israel in the past, ways He had cared for His chosen. But then he admits feeling forsaken and perplexed, not understanding why, when he and his people were serving God, the Lord had not given them victory in a very present trouble, their current battle. Finally, he returns to the fact that even when he doesn’t understand, he can trust in the fact that God will help… and that sometimes true victory emerges from those initial depths of defeat.
This psalm really resonates right now. We are so thankful to be back in Niger. Home… once again immersed in ministries we love with people we’ve grown to love, catching up with those our hearts have ached to see during the past year of home assignment, knowing we are exactly where God wants us to be and doing what He has called us to do. NOTHING could be better. Yet at the same time, we’ve experienced some discouraging defeats, small and large battles where we thought the victory was sure, areas where we thought we’d done all we’d could, all the right things with hearts and attitudes pure before the Lord… yet… there are some things about this transition back to the field that have left us feeling “trounced.” Nevertheless, by His grace, we continue to place our hope in the Lord and we know that He has guaranteed triumph in the end!
A Whole Lot of Hammerin’ Goin’ On!
One huge victory we’ve experienced is watching the addition to the studio move forward every day! After a year of wondering whether we’d have the funds to return to the field, it overwhelms to see that our amazing God provided not only those, but also the monies necessary to build this addition and with very little effort on our part - as we were concentrating on monthly support.
The walls are up, the roof is on… soon the floor will be poured. Tim’s busy making plans and thinking through how everything will be set up… he’s been doing research on how to get the best acoustics out of the building. It is exciting to think about all of the potential and the way that God will use this building to proclaim His salvation and His glory throughout W. Africa!
Thank you, so very much, to all of you who’ve given to this project, and to Chris Marine, our regional coordinator, for all his work and on-going supervision!
And FYI… just in case you were curious… here are a few of the radio program topics slotted for the upcoming weeks and months – all focusing on the Miracles of Jesus:
~Changing the water into wine (Jn 2)~
~Healing the Capernaum nobleman’s girl (Jn 4)~
~Raising the widow’s daughter (Lk 7)~
~Calming the storm (Matt 8)~
~Healing the woman with an issue of blood (Matt 9)~
~Raising Lazarus from the dead (Jn 11)~
~Walking on water (Matt 14)~
The Center for Academic Progress
Richelle has stepped into a new role this year... well, sort of... actually, it is an old role (teacher of students with special needs) that had been put aside for awhile while she was busy being wife and mama to this fabulous crew the Lord has given.
For several reasons, last spring we started praying about her involvement with Sahel Academy. She’d helped teach and coordinate their swimming/water polo phys ed program for 4 years and loved that. She’s also consulted on particular cases where the administration felt her background in special education would benefit. But the Lord slowly impressed upon her heart - and then confirmed through the support of Tim, our regional coordinators and an amazing congruence of vision with the school administrative team - that now was the time for her to become more directly involved with Sahel.
One of the huge challenges at a mission school like Sahel is meeting the needs of an incredibly diverse student population consisting primarily of TCKs (or third culture kids) with limited resources, people and material - all the while living in a place where just the daily demands of life that had seemed so easy to meet just a few short months ago living in Michigan, are now exhausting...
- These kids come from many different language and cultural backgrounds - fitting the description of "English language learners:" the school has stopped referring to ESL (students learning English as a second language) because reality is that for many of the students, English is a third... fourth... fifth language.
- Expat children often move every 2-3 years, changing schools, school systems and curriculum with different scopes and sequences, still trying to meet differing graduation/college entrance requirements from universities all across the globe. This often leaves gaps and holes in their education that need to be addressed... or juniors and seniors scrambling for the credits they need to move into post-secondary life.
- Kids learn in so many different ways; no one questions that some do not best benefit from the traditional classroom experience the way they would learn, grow and advance given hands on opportunities. Yet with limited personnel, how do you best attend to those needs?
- And, of course, children have other unique learning needs, strengths and challenges, all of which need to be addressed if we want to fulfill the biblical command to "train up a child in the way that he should go.
Knowing this and contemplating the fact that we have at least two of our own children seem to learn best outside the norm of what schools traditionally offer… and who will potentially attend Sahel Academy at some point in the future… now seemed the perfect time for her to get involved, helping the team of staff at Sahel build a program to best try and address the special (and wonderful) needs of their beautifully varied student population.
- We are finally feeling settled in our house, finally starting to find some sort of weekly routine.
- All of the kids are back in school and now seem to be doing well. Anna had a rough transition (getting sick with malaria didn’t help), but things seem to be going well. Jonathan is doing fabulously with the French!
- Nadia and Elsie Mae have started home schooling with Richelle; Nadia is a delightful big sis as she learns more about caring for kids and home while Elsie Mae and Mary Michelle make every day interesting and mostly fun.
- Studio construction moving right along!
- Although it is a lot of hard and exhausting work, Richelle is thoroughly enjoying not having house help and being the one to take care of her family.
- Continued safety and progress on studio construction.
- Eternal fruit from the current radio series on the Miracles of Jesus.
- The people of Niger – between floods and famine, the people of this country are facing overwhelming difficulty in the struggle to survive. Pray that God uses this and those serving here for His honor, His glory, the demonstration of His grace and the salvation of souls.
- Tim’s made his first trip out to the Baneira group of churches – they actually have a couple of Gourmantche pastors working out there, now. Pray as they determine how to best continue to work together.
- Continue to remember our children, especially Anna, as they head off to school each morning.
Thankful to be serving our Lord together with you,
Brendan, Rebekah Joy, Nadia, Anna, Victoria, Jonathan,
Elsie Mae & Mary Michelle Wright