16 April 2012

Multitude Monday - 1000 Gifts ~ Our Spring 2012 Prayer Letter

“Why have you brought this trouble on your servant?
What have I done to displease you
that you put the burden of all these people on me?
Did I conceive all these people?
Did I give them birth?
Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms,
as a nurse carries an infant,
to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers?
Where can I get meat for all these people?
They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’
I cannot carry all these people by myself;
the burden is too heavy for me.
If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now
if I have found favor in your eyes—
and do not let me face my own ruin.”
~Numbers 11:11-15~

Have you ever noticed this prayer of Moses before?

 

Harmattan winds
Photo by: Jaspreet Kindra/IRIN
It is sounding more familiar than we’d like. Crazy and nearby political events, brothers and sisters fleeing in search of safety, thousands of refugees just miles up the road, markets in town where only ashes remain, daily requests for food from friends and neighbors who have nothing, dust blowing everywhere, our little one testing positive for malaria, trying to mix medications by candlelight… and grade papers, relentless heat, still waiting for official news from EBM, sweating and praying for either sleep to come or the fan once again to move so maybe you can sleep and not feel the weight of the burden for a few blessed hours…

Needless to say, Moses’ long ago plight seems remarkably personal as these days we echo similar mental cries of “This is just too much.” And it is, without a doubt, too much - at least for us. Our heads know we need to turn to God. Please pray with and for us that our hearts don’t turn away instead. Also pray that we accept the challenge of these two truths- 
  1. Faith either grows or it atrophies; &
  2. God will not let our faith atrophy without a challenge
-while gently accepting His kindness and goodness shown by His sovereign choices for our lives. He’s challenging our faith to grow – drawing us into an ever deepening relationship with Him. How could we be anything but thankful, even in the midst of all this?

A frequent sight... people and vehicles trying to carry "just way too much!"
 

3… 2… 1… and… another recording starts

The first quarter of 2012 saw the completion of the Gourmantché version of the Godman film, and the continuation of 7 weekly radio programs including “The Hour of Gospel.” Most recently, we produced a series of programs with teaching and a question/answer round table on the theme of Easter. Thru the Bible radio program will soon have completed a 200th program aired here in Niger. Many special thanks to all of you who have helped financially to make that program possible. Please pray for regular, uninterrupted Internet service here in Niamey. This has been a consistent challenge since the beginning of the new year, as all of the Thru the Bible episodes must be downloaded as .mp3 files and then placed on disc. Pray for wisdom for our 2nd and 3rd quarter production schedule. We are looking at a couple of more films dubs one into the Tamajeq language and another, very different style of film, into French. One exciting possibility with which Tim is currently experimenting is new technology enabling us to put Bible stories and pictures in a format that can be shared by Bluetooth between people’s cell phones. This same distribution method is used by other religions to share their materials; we hope and pray it will replace cassette tape distribution in some areas of Niger.

Our part of the world

West Africa has been in the news quite a bit lately – coup d’état and rebellion in the country of Mali, our colleagues and Christian brothers and sisters fleeing from their homes as Sharia law is instituted in several regions, famine concerns all across the Sahel region of Africa, Boko Haram setting off bombs in Nigeria, even several key buildings and markets going up in flames here in Niamey…

Needless to say, it is a bit unsettling. We’d like to share excerpts from one of the emails we received regarding the present situation in Mali, written by a professor from the Bible school:
Preparing to evacuate
The situation in Gao is getting worse. No water or electricity, the market is still closed but few butchers in the streets. On Monday, the rebels looted the Assemblies of God Church. We did our best, when we were leaving the city to evacuate their pastor and family with 2 believers. The pastor of the Bible church, a brother from Nigeria is still trapped in Gao. I called him one time and the line was cut off. I think his phone battery went flat. I did not know where he was hiding so to go get him. I was told today that he is doing well and still trying to get out of Gao.

…We didn’t hear from two families from our church. They are not in their homes according to my friend who looked for them today. The Ansar Dine faction, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) started imposing Islamic sharia law in areas under their control. We are also told that that some 100 members of Nigeria’s Boko Haram sect are among Islamists controlling Gao. It is all over in the news that they slaughter one thief, shot the second and have cut [off] many hands. The population left in Gao is estimated at 40 % and 20% in Timbuktu.

We have a deep concern at the growing terrorist threat….. ECOWAS has raised the prospect of sending a force of up to 3,000 men to try to reclaim northern Mali. We don't know when this will happen. All [we] can do is to pray and hope. The situation in the three northern regions (Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu) is dramatic. There are no more hospitals and hunger is growing...

In Timbuktu area, one pastor (a missionary in Goundam), his wife and baby, are missing. Pastor Nouh was not able to contact him. The pastor in Niafunke was heard from on Sunday when they were looting the church, his house and the missionary station. We still have a few believers who are trapped in these different cities and they need your prayers. This (Easter) morning at 11 AM, we were 166 “refugees” from our different churches. This number will keep growing for we expect more people in the coming days.
Colleagues of ours from Mali have also evacuated; one family is presently here in Niamey. For those of you who feel the Lord leading you to help the N. Malian church, now centered in Bamako (the capital of Mali), help care for these refugees - men, women and children who have no idea when… or even if… they will ever go home - please write us for specific information regarding how you can help.

Dissolution

Many of you have written to ask how the EBM dissolution is moving along… and whether or not we will be required to sell the field properties (including the house in which we are living and the studio where Tim does most of his work) to help meet financial obligations. The long and the short of it is that we haven’t heard much… that has been part of our delay in writing this letter – we wanted to have something to share with you.

The most recent news we have received is that a purchase agreement on  the home office property in Indianapolis was signed early in March… and that we should be hearing something more definitive in the next 30-45 days.

And so… we wait… still… trusting that God is up to something grand and good!

Attention!

We want to draw your attention to a recently approved relief project that is hitting very close-to-home. In the wake of a terrible harvest last fall and an inundation of refugees from surrounding countries with bad political situations, our Nigerien brothers and sisters are at risk of severe famine this year. Conditions have been developing steadily since January. Therefore, in response to a specific request for help from the Gourmantché Baptist churches where we minister in SW Niger, we are setting up a famine relief project through our home office of Faith Baptist Mission. This project has a time limit as the funds needed to make critical food purchases must be available by July or earlier. We are asking people to give until we reach approximately $9,000. This amount would give each family a fifty pound bag of rice or grain, helping approximately 2000 people in villages where these churches exist and minister. This is current and critical need!

Tim and colleague from a sister mission assisting
in a baptismal service held by the Beneira churches last fall.

Would you, your church, or small group consider giving to the “Niger Famine Fund 2012.If you are interested, contact us immediately; please be prompt. At the end of June we will bring out all available funds, and then the account will be closed.

Quick Recap: Petitions & Praises
ü  Pray for peace and safety for Christian brothers and sisters in both Mali and Nigeria.
ü  Praise that so many have been successfully evacuated and that they are thanking the Lord for His care and provision, keeping their eyes on Him.
ü  Pray that needed funds to help with famine relief for families from our Baptist churches in the southwest corner of the country will be quickly given.
ü  Praise our Father that He allows us the privilege of sacrificial giving, especially at this time of year when we remember the tremendous and amazing sacrifice He made for us.
ü  Pray for our family – we are tired and battling discouragement.
ü  Pray – we know W. Africa is not the only place, nor our family the only ones, struggling. Daily reading emails and the news rapidly cures that illusion. We’ve also many dear friends back in the States and elsewhere walking hard roads right now, too.
ü  Praise that no sadness, difficult moment, injury or brokenness will remain unredeemed. He is our Redeemer!

Thankful to be serving our Lord together with you,
Tim, Richelle,
Brendan, Rebekah Joy, Nadia, Anna, Victoria, Jonathan, Elsie Mae & Mary Michelle

this week's gratitude list

(#s 2093 - 2115)

so many have been safely evacuated

those evacuees are thanking the Lord for His care and provision, keeping their eyes on Him even though they may have lost everything

the privilege of sacrificial giving


lab technician who was able to do an accurate blood test by microscope and flashlight

the little m&m has recovered from malaria and the doctor was able to diagnose a urinary tract infection quickly so hopefully this one won't last as long as some have in the past

new bookshelves and organized books

removing clutter

more consistent electricity again

the delight of air conditioning when it is so hot

gift of honey from the bush churches to our family

seeing God answer prayers through the ministry of Sahel Academy

big bill finally paid off


friends safely back from the States

new book and new movies to watch

seeing one of my favorite smiles for the first time in a long time

Mamata's reading... slowly but surely... and improving each week

looking forward to Bible study this Saturday

seeing my Gourmantché grandma friend and her granddaughter for the first time in nearly three years

delight when Salamatou came right to me and let me hold her... even though it had been three years

the testimony of that woman's perseverance even when things seemed impossible

finally able to check this prayer letter off the to-do list!



6 comments:

  1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Yes, I *love* hymns! One thing I love about our new church is that the service always ends with a hymn, which the pastor often introduces or explains beforehand. And, in most every sermon, the pastor quotes a verse from a hymn.

    Yesterday he was on fire, preaching about marriage and the cultural attack on marriage, and, as he was nearing the end, I thought, "I guess there's no hymn quote today." Just then he brought out the point that when we become believers, it doesn't mean we're done with sin; it just means we're in a battle that we can win, because we're on the winning Man's side, and quoted:

    "Were not the right Man on our side,
    the Man of God’s own choosing:
    Dost ask who that may be?
    Christ Jesus, it is He;
    Lord Sabaoth, His Name,
    from age to age the same,
    And He must win the battle."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. what a neat hymn to use as a final illustration! it fits perfectly!

      Delete
  2. Oh my, nine children! What a delight! You have quite the ministry - within the home and beyond!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. well - i wish i could claim all nine of them... but one of the gang this year is my niece who has spent the year helping us here on the field and learning a bit about what missions is. she's a gem!

      i'll keep the rest of 'em, too! the Lord has gifted us with some pretty amazing kiddos!

      Delete
  3. What incredible blessings! And thank you for the glimpse into your lives and work.

    joy and blessings to you,
    Alida

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks for popping in and saying hello!

      Delete

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