31 August 2012

Five Minute Friday ~ Change

"It’s the fastest, funnest, free write on the web - Five Minute Friday!

Where a beautiful crowd spends five minutes all writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.

Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on..."


I remember so clearly traipsing down the stairs, thinking I was dressed to kill and lookin' pretty chic... and hopin' I wouldn't make eye contact with Mom? 'Cause I knew if I did, I'd be plodding back up those stairs and trudging down the hallway, probably slightly  slamming (if I really did, I'd be back downstairs, practicing it again while demonstrating the "right" attitude) the door, sequestered until I removed some make-up, changed my clothes, "did something normal" with my hair or some combination of all three. I was usually rolling my eyes and muttering as I trudged.

Now? Years have gone by and how the times have changed!

Now I'm the one with teenage daughters (and a niece on loan for a year). 

Now I'm the one frequently wishing,

sometimes suggesting,
 and occasionally?

Matter-of-factly mandating

that they return to their room and change something about their appearance - before they'll be allowed to leave the house. I'm sure they're sure that I'm just an old fuddy-duddy with no clue about fashion... that I'm over-protective and worrying about ridiculous things... that I'm micro-managing and not letting them learn what it means to be a young woman... that I'm mean because I have the power to do so.

Yes, it's my turn now. I've got teenagers roaming around my house and they may not understand now, but times will change again and way-too-soon that someday will become their now...

But this all started me to thinking ~

Recently, God's brought be back to some verses He had me camped on for many months a few years back:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-16)

I wonder how often my Lord looks at me as I ready myself to head out the door for another day and wishes, "If she'd only remove that critical spirit and clothe herself with gentleness instead."

Many days I hear His Spirit whisper, quietly suggesting deep within my heart right after I few off the handle and yelled at my girl because once again she can't find her shoes, "Dear, you've slipped patience on wrong-side out. Let's adjust that quick-temperedness... Turn it right-side out so that you are wrapped in patience."

Why must He still regularly remind me, "I love you, my child, with an everlasting love. You've forgotten to clothe yourself with my love, and you are ready to turn the key in that ignition.." before He mandates, "Go back and change out of that tacky, immodest and cheap sentiment. You've got my love hanging in your closet. Why won't you wear that?"

Lord, keep changing me until each day I happily traipse before You, modeling how I've clothed myself in the beautiful, infinitely expensive garments You've bought for me.

(Please note... this was a 9-10 Minute Friday... OOPS!)

30 August 2012

How many ways can you say it?

After 1 and 1/2 weeks of nearly frantic activity,
first trying to protect the Sahel campus
and then trying to rescue what we could off the campus...

After being told by the local health department that it was not safe
for us to continue bringing school materials and supplies out of those flooded buildings
and reaching the compromise of rubber boots and gloves...

After hours and hours of loading and unloading,
sorting and rearranging,
searching and searching...

Many in our Sahel community are exhausted.

washed up

totally beat

tuckered out



worn down



played out






totally consumed

used up



run through the wringer

wiped out




played out


Moving an entire school and several homes, etc. into storage,

finding a new place to have school,

fixing that place up,

moving the school necessaries into the new buiding,

revising lesson plans to incorporate 4 weeks of missed classes...

We're well into the first two on that list... the rest still remain...

...and our goal is to be ready to start school in 2.5 weeks.

Please pray for perserverance,
for strength,
for good health,
for kind, gentle and gracious words and attitudes,
and for an amazing awareness of God's with us presence!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,
and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Romans 12:1

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run,
but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.
They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim;
I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
but I discipline my body and make it my slave,
so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

29 August 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Such Serious Reflection

Walk with Him Wednesday ~ What are YOU Wearing Today?

For the next few weeks, Ann has challenged the Walk with Him Wednesday participaters to write on the the practice of habits... and when I first read that, this - one of the very first Bible studies I taught to the ladies at our Harobanda church - immediately popped into mind. And when I say pop, I don't mean it in a cliché-ish sort of  way. Instead, picture kernels of popcorn in an air popper that blow around and around until all of the sudden they explode and transform from a hard kernel into a fluffy, air-filled burst of "corn-y" goodness, especially when dressed up a bit with salt and butter...

That Bible study was on Colossians 3:12 - 14.

According to dictionary.com, a habit is:
  1. an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.
  2. customary practice or use.
  3. a particular practice, custom, or usage.
  4. a dominant or regular disposition or tendency; prevailing character or quality.
  5. addiction, especially to narcotics
  6. mental character or disposition.
  7. characteristic bodily or physical condition.
  8. the characteristic form, aspect, mode of growth, etc., of an organism.
  9. the characteristic crystalline form of a mineral.
  10. garb of a particular rank, profession, religious order, etc.
  11. the attire worn by a rider of a saddle horse.
Now, read the verses referenced above:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

So... what about those words  "pops" so dramatically?

Three words - "clothe" and "put on."
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

In other words... "GET DRESSED!"

What could be more habit-ish than getting dressed? Everyone I know gets up in the morning and changes into something s/he considers acceptable to wear out in public. I don't know anyone who regularly spends every day in his/her jammies or undergarments only.

God gives us a dress code! And what are we supposed to wear?

patience (or long-suffering-ness)

This attire proclaims: "This gal? She's a Jesus-follower."

As women, we generally care about what we wear; we devote significant time and attention to how we clothe ourselves when we go out (especially if we are out on a date with our guy, going to church, or attending some sort of important function, etc.) Just as we pay much attention to our physical clothing and our physical appearance when we are out in public, God directs us to make spiritual "clothing" a top priority.

Want to see an interesting truth about the command to "clothe yourself?"

In the original Greek, it implies this context: In the beginning, just like an infant, we need someone to first clothe us; as we grow, it is something we learn to do ourselves. First we need help physically/mechanically. Then we need help learning how to match individual items together in a pleasing combinations. Finally, we need help selecting what is appropriate for differing occasions. I wonder if Paul, when he wrote these words, also thought of that same progression?
I wonder how my relationship with the Lord might grow if each day I specifically asked - and then allowed - Him to clothe me with compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and above all, love? I wonder how my relationships with others might improve if I spent as much time and attention each morning on preparing to exhibit Christ through these qualities as I do arranging my actual physical appearance?

Initial judgments and first impressions form, often based on that first view. In that first view, what we immediately notice is how someone is dressed... sometimes even before we can distinctly see facial features or clearly hear words.

What if these were the first and most lasting "clothing" people noticed about me?

patience (or long-suffering-ness)

(Edited from the archives,
original post 21 June 2007)

28 August 2012

Ever heard of Isabel Crawford?

Six young Kiowa braves sat on their horses, calmly watching her. All were naked to the waist. Their heavy black hair hung in thick braids, interwoven with rawhide and strips of ermine. All wore bone chestplates and copper bracelets.

Isabel pulled her team to a halt. Moving slowly to hide her racing heart, she raised her riht hand, palm forward in greeting.

One by one, the Indians guided their horses down the slope toward her and formed a semicircle, blockng her path.

"You come here all alone and you no scared? Maybe we scalp you." The leader's face was solemn.

The banks of the dry wash screened Isabel and the six Indian men from the outside world. She was truly at their mercy.

"I think maybe we scalp you now." the leader signed. He prodded his horse forward. A knife appeared in his left hand. He snatched the Winchester from his lap and placed the end of the barrel against Isabel's head. She heard the click of the hammer as it was cocked.

Isabel went completely numb. Every thought went out of her brain. The roarin in her ears rew into a crescendo as she awaited the fatal bullet. Cold chills shot up her spine. She closed her eyes and prepared to die...
A few weeks ago, Rebekah handed me a book. The cover of Light on the Mountain, by Leonard Sanders, shows the picture of a beautiful young woman and several Native Americans in the background behind her. Those words above formed the teaser paragraph on the front pages, designed to hook prospective readers. Rebekah had already emphatically announced it was one of her favorite books ever... as she handed it to me. At this point, I figured it was nothing more one of those formula-pioneer-western-romance-sort of novels. But? I'd promised Rebekah I'd read it, had the gift of some unexpected time available, and so I opened the pages to "do my duty."

Picture from the cover of
Isabel Crawford's autiobiography -
KIOWA: A Woman Missionary
in Indian Territory 
Boy, was I wrong!

The book tells the story of Isabel Crawford, a single lady missionary who moved onto the Kiowa Indian reservation on Oklahoma Territory, against the recommendation of her colleagues. Mostly deaf, she communicated through sign language, reading lips and a Kiowa man who agreed to serve as her interpreter. She encouraged the Kiowas to "walk the Jesus-road" while never forgetting that God had created them Kiowa, and that that fact was "very good." By God's grace and with His strength, her life, her words, her service and her consistent, persistent, gracious yet meticulous application of Scripture to daily life  penetrated Kiowa society with the light of the Gospel message. She did what no "Jesus-man" had been able to accomplish.

At the beginning of the book, she defines her approach to one of her colleagues: "I'm confident that if you approach a savage in a womanly way, he will respond with respect." Thus, it was never her goal to "preach the Gospel" or "shepherd a church," but rather to help the Kiowa learn to live and walk a new path and point him to Scripture to determine what that meant. She wanted to live in community with the Kiowa as a godly woman, and to disciple them through Bible study so that her community would also desire to walk the Jesus-road with her. After several unbelievably hard years (she experienced first hand the white man's cruelty and ignorance towards Native Americans as well as the total lack of integrity by the United States government), the impact of this approach that God had impressed on her heart was unmistakeable; several of the Kiowas had organized into a church and were determined to find (or disciple) their own Indian pastor.

I was in tears as I read the final chapter of this book. Isabel held fast to the authority of Scripture, regardless of the accepted traditions of the church. She valued immensely the cultural fingerprint of how God had created the Kiowas and recognized the many aspects of their way of life where God had already revealed Himself to them. She discovered that she had much more to learn from them than she had to teach them, once she had introduced them to the Jesus-road. She truly guided them to a salvation by faith, given by grace. For example, the greater church at that time flat out stated that an Indian who had more than one wife could not become a Christian. Several Kiowa men said that they would not become Christians because they could not abandon the women who were their wives. Isabel helped them see that even though the church might never recognize them as "Christian," they could still choose to walk the Jesus-road, believe that Jesus died for them and ask Jesus to live within them and guide them.

Because of church politics, after nearly 11 years, she was asked by her sending agency to leave the reservation. She felt obliged to resign her position because their stand was contrary to the authority of the Bible: a man-created mission organization was trying to dictate and interfere with the autonomy of a local church seeking to obey Scripture. Her final words to this godly congregation of Kiowa believers?

"For ten years, eight months, and three days I have been a white missionary to the Indians. I have thought hard and I have prayed hard and now I know what I must do. This I promise you. From this moment on, I will spend the rest of my life as a missionary from the Kiowas to the white people. I will write books and magazine articles. I will make speeches. I will do anything and everything I can to tell the world about the most wonderful people I have ever known - the Kiowa Indians.... If I said good-bye to each and every one of you, there would be nothing left of me to put aboard that train this afternoon. I know that. So I want to ask of you one last favor. Heenkey has agreed to take me to the railroad in his new surrey. My trunk and bags are already in it. He is waiting at the door of the church. I want you now to bow your heads in silent prayer. I want you to keep on praying until I am out that door and gone. It is the way I want to remember you -- praying in the church that we built together." For one heart-stopping moment, Isabel feared they would not comply. But they were only taking one last lingering look at her. The heads went down...
I cried as I read those words...

I don't often do that...

I'm certainly going to do what I can to find out more about this incredible woman. I'd encourage you to do the same. I know that I've been challenged once again to consider what it means to minister to others and share what it means to walk the Jesus-road in a foreign-to-me cultural context.

27 August 2012

Multitude Monday - 1000 Gifts ~ Rain or no rain, God still reigns!

Catchy quote, isn't it?

"Rain or no rain, God still reigns"

I didn't come up with it. I wish I could claim those pithy, powerful and properly "spot-on" words as my own.

But they aren't.

They're hers... as is this picture that was my fb banner for a week. (And you should go check out her site sometime. I've appreciated everything I've seen there so far.)

Photo by Jennifer Dukes Lee, used with permission.

Because I know many, myself included, clinging to that truth.

Some of you might already know why...

When Jennifer created this, she and her farmer husband had been praying for rain... It hasn't, and crops are failing. But they still choose thankfulness, contentment and trust.

We are used to pleading with, begging the Lord to send rain. That, in fact, is our normal.

We live on the backside of the desert, the Sahel region of W. Africa. We've lived here for 12 years now. We desperately need rain so that this nation of mostly subsistence farmers can gather a large enough harvest to continue subsisting for one more year.

Here? This year? The rains inundate... literally.

Our city is flooded. People have died - especially the very young and the very old. Tens of thousands are without homes - several of our African friends and neighbors are homeless as mud brick house after mud brick house collapsed, essentially melting in all of this water. Over 50 fellow missionaries and their families are also presently in temporary housing - and they have no idea of what they will be able to salvage from their homes, but are thankful to have someplace safe and dry to live temporarily. According to local authorities, occurrences of malaria, cholera, typhoid and other diseases will rise rapidly. When do authorities think the river will recede and they'll be able to access affected areas? Next March or April...

It is a privilege to be a part of this community, also choose thankfulness, contentment and trust.

Yesterday, the River Basin Authority informed Sahel/SIM leadership that two significant dams upstream had broken: one in Burkina Faso and another in Mali. That water should reach us in three to four days...

There for efforts have been redoubled and renewed. This community's goals? :
  1. supporting and providing relief for those who've lost - Nigerien as well as expat;
  2. encouraging those feeling weary, faint, purposeless or abandonned;
  3. stewarding well - saving and salvaging what can be;
  4. searching for a place where we can continue educating the 150+ students entrusted to Sahel Academy;
  5. offering continuous intercessory prayer, sacrifices of praise, and thankfulness for God's abundant care; and
  6. anticipating eagerly God's glory washing over this land through these events.
And so, just like last week, this week's gratitude list consists primarily of pictures (for which I cannot take credit), reminding me of many things for which I need to thank and praise the Lord - as first our community worked to protect and prevent. Then when God, in His love and providence, chose a different answer than we'd hoped for, people have rolled up their sleeves and dove right back into the battle, murk and muck to serve our God through loving and very practical, hands on, dirty, dangerous, soggy risky ministry.

Even in the midst of all this... I love the smiles, the attitudes, the resilience, the very confidence that "Rain or no rain, God still reigns!"

this week's gratitude list

(#s 3010 - 3055)

Pont Kennedy, for it remains, and is one of only two ways to access the campus.
Waters have risen 5 meters - so thankful for the men who, 24/7 kept and eye
on this situation, protecting the many who lived in these areas.

indomitable, resilient people

the dike that has protected these properties successfully for so long

the authorities who've invested to build and keep this dike repaired,
against all odds and with minimal resources

Measures take to repair the breach in the dike and stem the flow of water from the river

sandbags - lots of them, not only reinforcing dikes, but walls as
this community worked almost unceasingly to stem the flow of water

Sahel Academy's wonderful director - always right out
in the midst of first the protect and now the recovery efforts

this wonderful, beautiful inside and out woman. Anna's teacher last year, Elsie Mae's this year -
she certainly didn't sign up for this, but we always find her chipping in
and serving others in some way. Pray for her - she just left to fly home for
her grandmother's funeral...
Hard working, enthusiastic kids who remind the bigger people that
even the hard stuff can be a God-adventure

Hard working friends, most of them not even in any of these photos
A tiny picture of what compromises this community

Nigeriens and other Africans rolling up their sleeves and working as hard as anyone else, even in the midst of their loss

families who've spent most of their time and lives in Africa

new families here for just a short time, who never dreamed it would be like this, but who are holding fast and working hard, right there in the middle of everything

As the waters continued to rise... singing the words to this song:

Don't know where to begin
Its like my world's caving in
And I try but I can't control my fear
Where do I go from here?

Sometimes its so hard to pray
When You feel so far away
But I am willing to go
Where you want me to
God, I trust You

There's a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If You want them to
I will follow You

I will swim in the deep
Cause You'll be next to me
You're in the eye of the storm
And the calm of the sea
You're never out of reach

God, You know where I've been
You were there with me then
You were faithful before
You'll be faithful again
I'm holding Your hand

There's a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If You want them to
I will follow You
4 wheelers


seeing my boy in a photo while he's out there working

great sports of all ages

big, beautiful smiles

big beautiful smiles even when covered in mud!

knowing you've done all you can do

learning to accept that "your all you could do" wasn't right in the midst of things, in the thick of the crisis, but was rather much more quiet and a lot less exciting... time in prayer and trying to quietly encourage

learning to accept that "all you could do" wasn't enough because God had something different, something better in mind... and beginning to spend even more time in prayer

this road is still usable, even with the river raging below...

and even with the river sometimes raging over

safety so far
trying to strengthen and protect the gate

that friends and neighbors weren't hurt when their homes completely collapsed...

very big trucks that can carry things out, even through very deep water
people with canoes... who are good at canoeing
praising God for His awesome power demonstrated by His creation... As one of the men from our church said, "We can put out fire with water... but what can stop the water when God decides it needs to come?"

unloading rescued science materials and lab equipment when it arrived at our compound for storage
watching and hearing my kids' reaction as they saw this photo... even Mary Michelle: "Mama,
we need to pray even more, much more!"

computer lab equipment leaving campus via canoe... and then arriving safely for us to unload on the other side of town

seeing friends working so hard... because even when it isn't necessarily your ministry, we are to come alongside our brothers and sisters

this picture just blows my mind... imagining a world where students actually canoed to class every day 

dead snakes... even though my oldest girl might not agree

although many snakes have been seen, so far no encounter has been too close -
well, except maybe for this snake

we lost one piano... but this one made it safely out

that they even had the vision and the courage to TRY and rescue a PIANO in a CANOE
this truth

the author/creator's willingness to share this with me today

this photo and how is so completely captures the spirit of our community right now... Lord, may they see us shine... for YOU!


Thanks to many - Lisa Rohrick, Ray Chamberlain, Shannon Maxwell, John and Nancy Devalve, Cathy Bliss, Steve Schmidt - for sharing these photos with the Sahel community

26 August 2012

August 2012 Prayer Update

Edited (Sat. evening, our time) to add: This prayer letter went out last week and with the craziness of this last week, I'm just now posting on our blog. Since this was written, the Niger River Basin Authority has told school administration that Sahel Academy is now considered part of the Niger River. Until the waters recede (March/April 2013), we will not be able to use the campus. Lots of work is happening to preserve school supplies and materials and to resume the school year in an alternate location. If you've already read this... still scroll to the bottom for some pictures of recovery operations going on @ Sahel Academy.

"There's fullness in every hunger and hunger in every fullness."

Kazakh proverb

Sometimes, life in a place like Niger breaks your heart. People, including Jesus-followers, do literally starve to death; they go without many basic needs our family easily takes for granted. And then we read verses like:
  • O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. (Psalm 34.9-11)
  • …for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.... But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God…. my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (selected verses from Philippians 4.11-19)
  • The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)

How do you reconcile the truth of Scripture with the glaring reality of life evident everywhere we look?

Pastor Tim Challies recently wrote an article, “Can a Christian Starve to Death?” addressing those questions in the context of verses like the ones above, particularly Psalm 23. He concludes:
…The shepherd is leading his sheep through the dark valley because the sheep need to get to some place better than the place they have been. There’s no reason to go through a dark valley unless there is something better on the other side of it. You don’t leave green fields and go through a dark and dangerous valley so your sheep can pick over dried up tufts of grass and waste and wither away. You lead through the valley to take them to something beautiful beyond. It’s not the valley we need to look at, but the destination beyond it. That destination may be death, or that destination may be greater holiness. But whatever it is, that destination is not nothing, it is not meaningless. What this tells me is that any suffering we experience in this life is in some way under the sovereignty of God, in some way under the banner of “I shall not want…”

That idea challenges. Can we look at our apparent lack and recognize that we need exactly such lack? How do we support our believing brothers and sisters (and others) whose lack is immediate, life-threatening and overwhelming? Do we keep on trusting God to provide when we can’t humanly comprehend how another’s situation falls under that “I shall not want” banner? Philosophical belief that “not enough” opens hearts to God’s message while sufficiency stifles portending a greater danger is different than embracing those real and daily wants.

PICTURE CREDIT: www.actuniger.com

Photo by dorm parents, Andy and Nikki Gray:  the road & remains of a house right on the other side of the wall from the dorm.

The needs, physical and spiritual, in Niger are great. We are gearing up for a second grain distribution just as we mentioned in our last prayer letter, this year’s food insecurity a result of drought last year. This year, we are having an overabundance of rain, so much so that the dikes have burst, the low neighborhoods along the river have flooded, homes are crumbling, people who’ve escaped are seeking refuge in school buildings, unfinished constructions, even some mosques. As of Saturday (8/18) morning, local news agencies were reporting 94,000 people affected by flooding, 12,000 homes destroyed and at least 20 deaths as a result. And the rains are forecasted to continue, both locally and upstream. Please join with us in praying for this land and these people we’ve come to love and appreciate. We don’t understand how this magnitude of suffering can fall under the banner of “I shall not want…” but we cling to trust and pray that He uses us to minister grace and help encourage those suffering and losing so much… all around us.

Richelle and the children started back at Sahel Academy on August 8th. However, due to flooding in all of the neighborhoods surrounding the school campus, the campus has been evacuated and classes canceled this week. Flood waters have not actually entered the campus, except where they’ve leached up in the soccer field and around the walls, but continued rains, broken dikes and already saturated earth make us wonder if it is only a matter of time. We did see a catchy phrase, though: “Rain or no rain, God still reigns.” We trust in that truth and are enjoying some extra, unexpected time at home after a way-too-short summer. (Check here for the latest updates on the flooding in Niamey that is threatening the lives and homes of so many, including the Sahel campus and SIM Bible school properties, or here for UNICEF’s assessment of the food/refugee crisis playing out across the Sahel region.) Brendan is beginning his senior year! Rebekah is a sophomore; Nadia is an 8th grader while Anna has entered junior high – attending Sahel part-time and also home schooling. Tori is the “biggest of the littles,” or a 5th grader, Jonathan is delighted to be in second grade and Elsie Mae is finding the full days of school if first grade quite exhausting! Even Mary Michelle starts preschool work this year. Richelle continues with her work in Sahel’s Center for Academic Progress; everyone anticipates a great school year, so we hope school resumes soon.

Other news? Thanks once again to our "radio preachers" Rabo Godi and Pastor Soumaila Laabo! These men diligently prepare programs week after week to air in the capital city and throughout Niger. They wonderfully touch on many themes and subjects, clearly demonstrating how the Bible addresses a rich wealth of subjects. Sometimes they ask a simple question such as "What does God's Word say about unemployment? or “Does God give specific instruction regarding the family?” Other times, they present Q&A roundtable discussions. Each theme is carefully chosen, prayed over and then prepared to present the Gospel, to advance God's kingdom here in Niger, and to edify the church. Please keep them in your prayers. This past month they presented a series on fasting, and true Christianity as a relationship with Jesus Christ instead of just another religion where man is seeking to please God.

In other activities, we have been recording the Gospel of Matthew in West Niger Fulfulde. One missionary friend shared that these scriptures will be used immediately to help disciple 19 new Jesus-followers out in one of the villages. Recordings are placed on SD cards or chips and then loaded into "Proclaimer" mp3-type players. Some of these players are powered by solar energy, which is usually quite abundant here in Niger. We also have been recording the book of Psalms in the Zarma language.

We have a number of film audio tracks in the works for this autumn. Please pray for a project to record a French language track for a film addressing the use of child soldiers (according to
recent news reports, personal stories such as this one as well as this UNICEF publication, a now growing problem in our part of the world)…

Photo: H.Caux/UNHCR

Since January, the fighting has displaced some 95,000 people within Mali and has forced more than 100,000 to flee.
…as well as the testimony of how one young man came to make a commitment to Christ. Investigation and research (into the recording of a Tamajeq version of the film The Godman as well as a Tamajeq version of the More than Dreams short story on the life an Egyptian man named Khalil who came to know the Lord as a result of his study of the Bible) also continue. Thank you for your faithful prayers for wisdom, direction and God’s will to be done through this ministry and in this land.

All because of Jesus,
Tim, Richelle,
Brendan, Rebekah Joy, Nadia, Anna, Victoria, Jonathan, Elsie Mae and Mary Michelle Wright

Edited (Sat. evening, our time) to add: This prayer letter went out last week and I'm just today posting on our blog. Since this was written, the Niger River Basin Authority has told school administration that Sahel Academy is now considered part of the Niger River. Until the waters recede (March/April 2013), we will not be able to use the campus. Lots of work is happening to preserve school supplies and materials and to resume the school year in an alternate location. Below are a few pictures of those recovery efforts:

Photo - Lisa Rohrick
Only very large construction/military trucks can drive into the campus.

Photo - Lisa Rohrick
Computer equipment was one of the first "rescued" loads.
Photo - Nancy Devalve

Not many get to "canoe" down the halls of their high school.
Photo - Lisa Rohrick

Photo - Lisa Rohrick
"Ichabod" was rescued from the science lab. Last photo I saw of him, he was missing his lower jaw and his knee cap was cracked... but still mostly intact.
How many of you have ever moved a piano by canoe?
Photo - Lisa Rohrick

Photo - Nancy Devalve
Lunch break?

Photo - Lisa Rohrick
Since "rescued" materials are coming to our mission compound for either long or short-term storage, we can't be @ Sahel, helping there. When I hear there are lots of snakes swimming around (among unimaginable floaties), I'm thankful that our part is here, but I also pray nonstop for those who are sacrificing to be there. 

Photo - Lisa Rohrick
Wonder when the water will start obeying the traffic signs...???

Join with us in praying that the Lord give wisdom, health and stamina
as well as protection during these recovery efforts.
To see some "Before and After" photos, as well as a slide show with many pictures of Sahel Academy students (You can see if you can spot any Wrightlings!) doing what they do, click on over to my friend's blog, The Bee in Beth's Bonnet.


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