Friday, January 31, 2014

new challenges

This week has taken several unexpected turns. On Monday, my father was following his usual routine of getting up at 5 AM to go to the exercise room in their condo when a cable broke on the exercise equipment while he was weight lifting. He`s still not quite sure what happened next but he woke up on the floor covered in blood and realized that at five in the morning no one was coming to look for him. He struggled back up stairs to the apartment dripping all the way and got my mother to call an ambulance. After an extended wait the ambulance finally arrived even though the hospital is a couple of blocks away. The paramedics were rather apologetic saying they`d been sent four times to get my dad but were called off for a more urgent call while en route. They think he`ll be fine but for now he has a concussion and over a dozen stitches. Please pray for his recovery.

Tuesday our pastor here in Niamey was informed by the UN officials in charge of refugees that Niger had signed off on the UN protocol ending his refugee status here. As a result he has until the end of March to either be integrated into Niger as a citizen or be repatriated to Rwanda and face three months military training. What will happen to the business school that he owns and the church that is meeting on his property? He could potentially go elsewhere if an official invitation were given from another country. Please pray for this family and the church that God would oversee their situation.

On a more positive note I met with a man from the church this week who has been travelling around villages an hour or so out of town. He  says that in the last couple of months he`s baptised over a dozen people. We discussed what might be the next steps in moving from making converts to making disciples and planting churches in villages where there is no church. He faces real challenges in that he doesn`t read in French, but instead has been listening to audio versions of the bible in some of the local languages. Please pray that we would be able to find or put together some useful tools in the Arabic script that he can read.

The roof has been put on our building (well all but the cooling tower) and the electrician has installed some of the basic wiring. We praise God that we have been able to come this far with that. Please pray that we would be able to finish the rest of the building in a timely manner and that the wiring would be done well with the appropriate types of wire (as this is a major issue in many buildings here in Niger). Thanks so much for being there for us in prayer, may you see God’s hand at work in your lives and ministry this week.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Reunions and Other Happenings

Just before we left for Christmas we had someone new show up at our church. She looked like someone that we thought maybe we should know but we couldn't figure it out until the time in our service where they have introductions. It turns out that she is the sister of Pennine, the pastor’s wife. When they were fleeing their homeland she was two years old and had been separated from them in the confusion and she hadn’t seen her mom until that week –18 years later! Pennine fled with her mother, sister and two younger brothers. This sister who was the youngest was somehow separated but has been kept by another older brother since then. Isaac, one of the brothers who is here, said to me, “All these years, whenever Mama has been sick it’s been because of her—it just made her sick all the time because she had lost our baby sister.”

Although our separation from our homeland wasn’t nearly so long ago, we were richly blessed to be able to go home for Christmas and see our family as well. We thought that we were leaving behind difficulties with internet and electricity only to arrive in time for ice storms that incapacitated much of the electrical lines in Toronto and to a house with no internet or phone. Jennifer had hoped to get progressive lenses for eyes as reading has increasingly become a problem. Our doctor had suggested it might help with the headaches she had been experiencing. We had our own “series of unfortunate events” that in the end we were not able to get glasses that worked before getting back on the plane. We were however fortunate to get on the plane before they shut down the Toronto Airport.