16 July 2012

Multitude Monday - 1000 Gifts ~ "But she, of her want..."

And Jesus sat over against the treasury,
and beheld
how the people cast money
into the treasury:
and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites,
which make a farthing.
And he called unto him his disciples,
and saith unto them,
Verily I say unto you,
That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast
into the treasury:
For all they did cast in of their abundance;

but she of her want
did cast in
all that she had,
even all her living.

~ Mark 12:42-44 ~

Tim, Nadia and Anna had the privilege of seeing this play out this past week in real life, a modern day version, only it was no mere re-enactment. As most of you probably recall, our last prayer letter included a plea for funding to help the Gourmantché churches in the SW corner of Niger distribute grain to their church members. Niger, the whole Sahel region of W. Africa in fact, is in the midst of a food crisis. And while rains have started and the fields of millet are starting to green, there is still not sufficient food remaining in storage to nourish the population until this year’s harvest. (Please keep praying that the rains continue, too!)

We want to shout a huge THANK YOU to all of you who’ve participated in this project. Frankly, we entered into this project never really thinking the amount we set ($9000 in less than 2 months) would actually be achieved. We know things are difficult for many in the States right now; we’ve even lost some support due to the continuing financial strain… We felt guilty simply asking. People probably think that asking comes as second nature for missionaries, but for us it remains a humbling and hard thing to do… EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. And then to have to live knowing everything we have is the result of someone else’s sacrifice, literally? Yes, this is surely one of the ways God keeps working on us.

Needless to say, we were delighted when in early June we totaled up the gifts received – and realized that over $7000 USD had been donated. Those funds were wired out and we knew that more would still be arriving, so we decided we could actually help with two grain distributions: one in July and a second one in August.

Last Monday, Tim, a friend and the girls headed to the bank, cashed a check, walked out with a lot of cash and then headed for the bush.

Nadia standing in front of the 160X50 kg bags of grain purchased for this initial distribution.
Tim was pleased to see that the pastor’s association had already figured out a plan to divide the grain among 11 different congregations in 11 different villages polka dotting that region of the Sahelien countryside.

Once the pastors shared their plan, the different representatives began stacking sacks of grain on their wagons-attached-to-donkeys for their return to their respective villages. Anna and Nadia had a brief moment of panic when one of the heavily loaded wheelbarrow-ish carts tipped backwards, lifting the donkey off the ground… Thankfully the guys quickly rushed to the poor animal’s rescue! And soon ten carts headed out in 10 different directions, carrying sustenance and tangibly showing God’s love for His people as demonstrated by one group of His people sharing their resources to care for another group of His people they’d never even met.

As Tim continued to speak with the pastor’s association, working out the details for the August distribution, he mentioned to one of the pastors that they might want to consider sharing with some of the Fulani villages and nomadic herders scattered about, living in this countryside with them. He was delighted to hear that this already was the plan, and that each local church already had their own individual plans of how they were seeking to bless, not just the members of their own congregation, but all the members of their communities.

As we’ve reflected on that, we’ve been humbled. We give a lot, living here, surrounded by so much need. But like in the passage quoted at the beginning of this letter, we always give out of our abundance – generously, perhaps, but still, it flows out of our abundance. We may give away most of the food left in the fridge… but there is always enough for the next day’s meal. We may distribute a sack of shoes and clothing to our friends living down by the Grand Marché… but we’ve never lacked for something to wear. We may help someone purchase baby Tylenol and a malaria treatment to help their sick child… but we’ve got health insurance to help when one of our own falls sick. Yes, like the rich in Mark 12, we may give much, but we’ve always given out of our abundance.

These churches are desperately poor! No electricity… No running water… Many don’t even have a village well. This intention to share? When one sack won’t even feed one family for an entire month? In their want, they are recklessly (in a good way) casting in their all, willing to contribute to others, even when they don’t know... from where any subsequent provision might come. We’ve never experience the true pangs of hunger. These people have. Yet they are willing to risk going there, to that desperate and starving place once again, all for the glory of their God and to sacrificially love their neighbors.

It continually seems like those we think we’ve come to help and teach... well, they usually end up helping and teaching us.

  • A more-than-we-ever-dreamed- possible-generously-abundant- response to our request for funds.
  • An excellent first distribution.
  • Safety for Tim and the girls as they traveled.
  • We are here, at this time, in this place.
  • Preparations for the subsequent distribution.
  • Safety and stability with all of the unrest in this region of the world.
  • Continued bountiful rains and a plentiful harvest.
Thankful to be serving our Lord together with you,
Tim, Richelle,
Brendan, Rebekah Joy, Nadia, Anna, Victoria, Jonathan, Elsie Mae & Mary Michelle Wright

(Keep reading!
There's more after the picture, including this week's gratitude list.)

OOPS! Almost forgot… Over $11,000.00 has been collected in famine relief, through YOUR generosity!
This FBM project is FINISHED!

If you still wish to contribute to famine relief in this part of the world, contact us. We will put you in touch with reputable sister organizations engaging in these types of relief efforts.

this week's gratitude list
(#s 2313 - 2341)

those we think we’ve come to help and teach end up helping and teaching us

seeing Mamata tear up as she read, all by herself, with no clues or help from me: "Logo mo i ga te i boobo," and the sense of those black lines dawned on her

having Zakari, Abigail, Odette and Emmanuel over for dinner, TWICE, this past week

enjoying The Princess Bride, in French!

hanging out with becoming-young-women

emails from Michigan and North Carolina that bring smiles and wishing-I-was-there-thoughts

finally initiating one of my summer projects

tootsie rolls that came in the mail

sleeping to the sound of rain on a metal roof...

and realizing that a sound that once yanked me from sleep now lulls me back to sleep with the promise of a cooler day

listening to "But I'm big, I'm not sleepy, I don't need a nap!" change to soft restful breathing as she sleeps... and then laughing at the corollary complaints of "I'm tired. I don't wanna wake 'em up!" when it is time to head to the pool

birthday packages from Gampy and Gammie

trying a new donut recipe on Saturday... and having a very special friend come join us for donuts

brownies from scratch with homemade marshmallow creme swirled through the batter and a chocolate fudgey glaze on top

fried taters with dinner

Tim being home nights after having worked most of the last 2 weeks

finally getting all those crazy questionnaires from churches filled out, AGAIN... at least until the next batch arrives

little girls with only minimal tan lines

sitting on the front terrace and staring in awe at just how much the tree has grown in 9 months

finally having the filtered water system fixed again... no more hauling water up from the office or the studio

finding boxed mac and cheese just up the hill... seriously... even though I didn't buy any

the departure of my 3-day-long migraine

savoring my favorite book ever... crying AGAIN as the story ends...

seeing big smiles when treating friends to those 50 franc ice cream cones sold from the ice cream cart guys with the noisy horns to announce their presence

a nest of margouillat eggs

being all caught up on summer grading

skype finally working again

funny videos about writing the perfect country music song

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