Dairy Farmer (??)

My kids like to joke with me that I have had so many different kinds of jobs (Mushroom farmer, security guard, golf course greens-keeper, talent agent for film and television, and so on). I have not added a new position yet, but I now have a very small bit of dairy farming experience, courtesy of some friends from our home church.

When Sonya and I returned from our training in Colorado, after our meetings in our head office in Roseville, we still had some work to do cleaning out the garage of the parsonage where we had been living. Our Dairy friends live close to there, so we have been staying with them since we got back to Alberta on Wednesday and –happily for me – they let me help out in the milking parlour.IMG_5530

They work in the parlour from 5-8 each morning, and then again from 5-8 each evening, milking over 100 cows . We did not do it the old fashioned way, sitting on a stool and aiming it into a bucket (not sure anyone does that anymore), but it is still a fascinating process.

The cows are called in from the pasture, and gathered together into the barn; then they are let into the parlour where their feed has been measured out for them (each cow has her own specific allotment of grain and barley given to her), and they are cleaned and prepped to be milked. Then the actual ‘milkers’ are attached, and they are able to hold on because there is a vacuum suction in them (simulating a calf’s sucking motion).

And so on. (I’m guessing you don’t need a blow-by-blow report).IMG_5564

The coolest thing was carrying buckets back and forth from one of the sheds there to the parlour. To me, nothing says “Farmer” more than some guy carrying a bucket or two across the yard. To the layman what is in the bucket is a total mystery – it could be milk, or feed for the chickens, or just-picked apples for a pie, anything! (in my case it was barley) – but you know it is important stuff.

Sonya and I are among the mission homeless right now; we do not have a home of our own anymore, but are counting on the kindness and grace of friends and family. So I am thankful for my dairy farmer friends – and now for my in-laws, whose home we will be in until we are able to leave for West Africa.

We are pretty much ready to depart I think. We have a good number of folks who have committed to praying for us; our training phase is finished; we have packed a whack-load of stuff and sent it over on a sea container with White Cross.

The main thing we are waiting on now is our financial funding. We are at 57%, which is very good, but of course we are still aiming for 100%. If you or your church are among those who have indicated your wish to support us, but have not yet filled out an Intent to Give form, you can log onto the “Give” link at the top of this webpage and go through the motions (BIG Thanks for that!).

We are so grateful for the many who are praying for us and who have already begun to give towards this mission. We know we are very blessed to be partnered with folks who are so generous with their time, energy, and resources. May God continue to bless.

MTI

As so often happens with communications with our friends in Africa, I have been unable to contact my friends by telephone for the past few days, so I do not have any update to give on the situation there. In lieu of that I will share some of the things that have been happening here at MTI (Mission Training Institute) in Palmer Lake, Colorado.

I wrote about our LAPs (Language Acquisition Projects) a little while back. During the first half of our training we were focussing on how to learn the language of the people we will be working with – which for us means Fulfulde, which is the language of the Fulbe people.

We have now transitioned to learning how to be handle the unsettling process of entering a new culture, how to navigate stress and conflict, and – today – how to keep the Sabbath. Yesterday was by far our most stressful day here, so it was wonderful to have a Sabbath rest today.20170518_094450

Yesterday began with a May snowstorm outside and a hostage-taking simulation inside. Yes – you read that right: we simulated a scenario where a group of missionaries were gathered for a convention in a place that was thought to be safe, but was overrun by rebels. I don’t want to give everything away, since some of you may someday come here for this training, but I will say that for an activity that was only make-believe, it was surprisingly intense and lifelike. (Note the picture of me relieving the stress afterwards.)

The simulation is designed to help you see your ‘true colours’ under stress; to figure out what your coping mechanisms are; and to see how you generally handle it. Being overseas can sometimes cause long-term, unrelieved, stress to mount up, and it is good to know up front whether you have the requisite peace and trust in God that will be needed (it is not a bad thing to learn about for normal life here in North America either).

None of this is an exact science, of course. Only time will tell whether a person will be able to handle all the stressors successfully. This, for me, is just another reason why I am celebrating today that we have 150 Prayer Partners on our Prayer Support Team. Wow! I praise God for each and every one of them. We will be leaning on them heavily as time goes by I am sure.

For now, please pray for us with respect to our training here at MTI. We are doing well so far, but it is not easy by a long stretch. Continue to pray also for our Fulbe brothers and sisters who are enduring far more hardships than we will normally face. Thanks and God bless.

Report on the Black Days

My friend Aminu got back from Cameroon yesterday to find some very distressing things “on the ground” in Gembu among the refugees who came from Tamnviya after their village was burned out (I wrote about this at Black Day on the Plateau and Black Day Update).  He sent a report out late last night, so I have been trying to process it a bit from my vantage point here in Palmer Lake.16244741_1159557590764635_159148927_o

Here is what we understand to be the case thus far. There are twelve family units who have taken refuge in Gembu, comprising just over 100 people. Of immediate concern is the fact that they are not able to properly feed themselves. Food prices have sky-rocketed all over Nigeria, so there are others in this situation as well, but our friends are facing buying a bag of rice for 15,500 naira, where it used to be 8,000 naira; and a bag of maize for 14,500 naira when it used to be 5,000 naira. 5,000 naira is about CAD $21, so any way you do the math, we know that is an enormous hike – especially for people who have just lost everything.

They are mostly sleeping on cold floors with no mattresses and inadequate bedding. It is the beginning of rainy season there, and while the people are very glad for the rain because the lengthy dry season has been the source of many problems, it is getting very cold for them now. This is one of those issues where, if a solution does not present itself soon, it will lead to yet more dire consequences.IMG_2509

Other things, like having no school fees or educational materials, are also all problems for these people – many of whom have just recently come to the understanding that educating their children ought to be a high priority in their lives.

There are yet other issues looming in the future. Let me quote my friend Aminu here for a bit.

“What makes it even [more] scary is that, it starts raining since March but up till now many people have not started planting because the raining season is not in full gear. It seems like most people would find it hard to get necessary farm equipment like fertilizer, seeds, pesticides and the like. Not because they are expensive but they do not have money. The money they have is mostly spent on food stuffs .   .   .   . “Furthermore, I am not looking at only the current situation but also next year. Without taking serious action now or this year, next year the situation will be worse.
“There are individuals and families who bought cows with the intention of selling them now in order to use the money in their farms but because of the long dry season we experienced this year they lost most those cows or they sold them less than the price the initial bought them. In a nutshell, this year comes with different challenges.”16196586_1159559594097768_1379496389_o

Our friends have already written to their own government and other humanitarian agencies for help, but have received no response from them to this point. Some of the people among the Fulbe to whom they would normally look for help were also affected by the attack on the village. For instance, Aminu’s own father would normally be someone to whom they could turn to help for food and other things, but he and others like him lost their granaries in the attack.

There are funds that can be drawn from out of our Friends of the Fulbe Society account, and we have already released N150,000 (about CAD $650) for the Fulbe elders to distribute as best as they can. While this will undoubtedly help, more is certainly needed.

I invite you to pray for these poor people and their situation, that our God will provide for them.

As well, knowing that often the way God chooses to provide is through his people, if you wish to help in a more material way, here is where you may direct your funds.

Make cheques out to Wiesenthal Baptist Church, with a memo/note directing the funds to the Fulbe Ministry.  Mail them to:

Wiesenthal Baptist Church

c/o Jan deKlerk

RR 2, Millet, AB

T0C 1Z0

The church will then direct 100% of your money to aid these people (i.e., there will be no overhead deductions or anything of that nature from the church).

Thanks so much for your prayers and help in this urgent need. May God continue to bless through you.

PS – if you choose to help out through giving, you may wish to give me a note and let me know. This may help as we plan into the future. Thanks.

LAPs

Sonya and I are in Palmer Lake, Colorado learning about LAPs.

No – not the lap that suddenly appears when you sit down; the LAPs we are learning about are “Language Acquisition Projects.” That is – projects designed to help a person (all missionaries in this case) learn any given language. So we are not being taught to hear or speak Fulfulde right now (the language of the Fulbe people), but we are being taught how we can learn it when we finally get to Cameroon and Nigeria.

It is a fascinating thing, really. One day with our language helper (learning how to speak Russian!) the “light” suddenly went on for me and I realized – “I am not here to learn Russian [which I was finding pretty hard], but I am ‘catching’ the method of how to learn Fulfulde,” and it was a great moment for me.

Of course, I have been among the Fulbe people before, and I have picked up enough Fulfulde to greet in basic terms, and so on – but learning the language was such a daunting thing for me, I could never figure out how to really ‘get hold’ of it. Now I believe I have been given the tools to do that, and it is very exciting.

I chatted a little bit with my friend Aminu via Facebook yesterday, and told him about what we were doing here. He too got very excited and raced off speaking in Fulfulde, until I had to him remind that, “Wait – I don’t know it yet!” But our Fulbe friends there know how important it is to have the language, and I know they will be great encouragers and helpers in this area.

Of course, we are still a ways away from being there. We invite your partnership with us in this to help us reach our goal – to be prayer-partners with us; to advocate for us (e.g. share our info with other individuals and churches who may also wish to partner with us); and to give towards the ministry. We are so thankful for all of those who have partnered with us thus far. God bless you much!

“Timely” Prayer

Knowing as we do the power of prayer, it is encouraging in the utmost to have so many people willing to be a part of our Prayer Team. In our time in Cameroon and Nigeria we have seen many instances of answered prayer, and many examples of what sustained prayer can do over time.

Speaking of time – when I returned for my first visit in 2010 I was very conscious of the short time I had there (three weeks) and asked my church, Elim Baptist, to pray for the timing of everything. I had discovered that my Nigerian friends were willing to plan for some things, but because of the vagaries of life there they would often wait to see what transpired before making firm commitments (often a wise course to take).

So the church prayed, and on that trip so many (literally) last second things occurred that I knew God was working in answer to their prayers. I have never had such a jam-packed, well-organized, “coincidence”-filled, miraculous three weeks in my life. Some broad strategies were laid out, but nothing definite was set in place until I was actually on the ground – yet I could not have made more efficient minute-by-minute arrangements for my time.

I would give details of it all, but it would be impossible, since that trip is for me a blur of activity; of running into people unexpectedly, of happening upon a place at just the right moment, of making last-minute travel connections. This happened every day with unyielding regularity. The only thing I remember not having much time for was sleep – after a few days I think I was sleep-deprived for the rest of the trip. I remember telling my church, though, that I would rest when I got back; while I was there I really did want to burn the candle at both ends. (In fact, I did make a journal of that trip, but it is safely packed up with all our other belongings.)

Some folks, I know, would say that it was because I was in God’s perfect will/plan that it all turned out so well. That thought is sometimes inviting, but I don’t find it in that form in scripture. Worse yet, it tends to negate the need for prayer, something I would hate to do. I believe, as my old youth pastor used to say, “Things happen when you pray that would not have happened had you not prayed.” That trip I asked for prayer that the timing would be well-worked out, and God answered in far more creative ways than I could have imagined.

A very different blog was planned for this spot today, but I got sidetracked with this story. Lord willing, more on “Prayer Passages” shortly. Meanwhile, thanks for your prayers.

Praying Mothers-in-Law

One of the main reasons Sonya and I moved our family west from Manitoba in 2011 was to be closer to our parents (here in Alberta and in B.C.) and our extended families. It certainly has been good to be much closer to them the past several years. I know we’ll miss them when we go, but our parents are in good siblings’ hands.

So, as I am thinking about parents, I will tell a story about my prayer mother-in-law.

One week on the Mambilla Plateau I was asked to teach at a small Bible school about 30 minutes away from where we lived. The first day I was guided there by my friend Pastor Timothy; the next day I was on my machine alone.

As I was heading down one rather steep grade three young women were walking up the narrow trail. When they saw me they all went to their right, and I also headed to my right. At the last moment, however, one of the girls decided to switch course, and ran to the other side.

This meant that I had to switch quickly too, but as I swerved my motorcycle went from being upright, to sliding on its side down the hill!

So there I was, sliding down with my bike, looking at the steep grade I was going down, contemplating the cliff I was quickly approaching, thinking quite calmly to myself, “Yup, its gonna hurt when I fly over that.”

Before I could fly over the cliff, however, the bike suddenly righted itself – so suddenly that my back was given a bit of a wrench. I remember looking back over my shoulder to where I had been sliding down seconds before, asking myself, “What in the world just happened?”

I got to the school more or less on time, with a sore back, but happy that nothing more serious had happened. The whole episode happened at around 10:15 am Nigeria time.

Several days later we received an email from Sonya’s mother, Marie. She said she had woken up around 3:15 am a few days earlier, and felt led to pray for us. She did not know why she needed to pray, but began to pray for us anyway. Now she was wondering what it was that happened that day.

I checked the date and the time – yes, it was the very day and time that I was skidding down the hillside to a catastrophic (for me) end. Thank God for his Holy Spirit who impresses on us desires for goodness and acts prompted by our faith (2 Thess 1.11) . . . and for mothers-in-law who heed him.

Our Easter Faith

[This is an article I wrote for our local newspaper here, which was published this week.]

In a time of great political turmoil, when there are huge divides in the political fabric of our society, is it a provocation to say that Jesus died as a political criminal? That it was because of the fearfulness of the political “Tru-s” of his day that he died? That his death on the cross was due to the political claims that he made for himself? And that his resurrection from the dead was proof that those claims were legitimate?

On Palm Sunday, falling this year on April 9th, Christians remember Jesus riding on a donkey into the city of Jerusalem – then, as now, a treacherous political hotbed. As Jesus rode along, the crowds proclaimed him to be the king who comes in the name of the Lord. The Jewish political elite were horrified at such a claim – they knew if the Romans caught wind of it, it could be the ruin of them all. Jesus, however, encouraged the crowd, and did not try to stop them.

When Jesus was arrested and tried, it was for political crimes against the Roman state. They said he had claimed to be the King of the Jews, and that was an extremely dangerous thing in those days. There were many Jewish rebels around, and it was worried that Jesus might be the match that set everything aflame.

Certainly Jesus’ claims made it clear that he had political ambitions. He said a whole new kingdom had come; he argued that the empire’s rule over peoples’ lives was not absolute; he claimed an allegiance over the people which the state could not allow to go unchallenged. In short, when Christians say that “Jesus is Lord,” they are defying the political system of the day – both then and now.

Easter Sunday is that day when Christians remember and celebrate Jesus being raised from the dead. For God to bring him to life was a vindication of everything he said and taught about himself. To be sure, the kingdom of God is actually not political in a worldly sense.  While it is as real as real can be, it is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

But the presence of God’s kingdom does mean that Christians do not owe their first allegiance to the “Tru-s” of the world. They have come to believe and follow the one who said that he was “the Truth.” Because Jesus is truly Lord, we know he is able to forgive us, bless us with new life, and allow us to walk with peace and joy even in a time of injustice, violence, and incivility.

The divine power that brought him back from the dead is now available to change people from the inside out – this is truly good news for people like me who desperately needed that second chance. So we say to all who will listen, that if you declare that “Jesus is Lord,” and believe that God has raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. This is our Easter faith.

Walking with the Fulbe

(This is an article I wrote that was published in the “MissionFest Manitoba” magazine in 2010, after we came back from our first time in Nigeria. Thought it was worth a reprint.)

1982, a young Christian is confronted by the shameful statistics regarding resources among Christians around the world. 1998, convicted by the Spirit to somehow be a statistic on the right side of the ledger, the now wanna-be pastor asks for time off from the church he is candidating at, even before he lands the job. After seven years of ministry there, he tells them, he would like to take a sabbatical year off to take his family “somewhere in Africa.” Amazingly, they agree.

It took a little longer than seven years, but in 2008 the Kilmartins were finally on their way. By this time we had settled on a specific context for our sabbatical mission. The Mambilla Plateau, in Taraba State, Nigeria, was to be the setting for whatever God had in store for us in the coming year.

Nigeria is a tough place to get a Visa for from Canada, but we managed to receive ours in plenty of time. Then, like the proverbial soldier who has hurried up, we ‘patiently’ waited for the situation “on the ground” to settle down. Local Nigerian church politics delayed us for a month or so, but the departure date of August 18, 2008 finally saw us embark on the experience of a lifetime.

Nigeria has over 140 million people, and I am pretty sure we saw most of them on the road out of the capital city, Abuja, after we deplaned. Crowds of people washing over the paved road was to be a common sight in the Nigerian cities we saw, while on the highway there was never more than a one minute stretch where we did not see one or more souls hiking along. Our destination was Gembu, the de facto capital of the Mambilla Plateau; a town of about 20,000, equally divided between Christian and Muslim.

I was coming in as the Acting Field Director for the Mambilla Baptist Mission (an arm of the North American Baptist Conference). I had a minimal job description which included teaching at the Seminary, working with the local Baptist Convention’s evangelism department, and liaising with the Home Office. Within those broad parameters I could pretty well write my own ticket, which I proceeded to do.

My goal for our time there was quite simple: to establish relationships that could continue to be built upon in the coming years by both myself and our church. Our small church, and my own finances, could not afford this simply to be a one-time junket for my own curiosity and amusement. We wanted to build a foundation for future mission operations. Going into Nigeria we had no idea what that might look like, but that was what we were searching for.

Our four children were past their prime for this kind of trip. Robert was 17 when we set out; John was 15; Cari 12; and Daniel 11. I had been warned that this would be very tough on the family, especially if the teenagers were not cooperative. In fact, it was tough at times, and the kids did struggle. Mostly they suffered from friend-loneliness. Leaving your BFF for a whole year can seem like an eternity when you are 12, and email access alone really doesn’t cut it.

Part of the problem was there was not always lots for them to do. All of them taught at the local grade school (in subjects like English, math, French, phys ed., and fine arts), volunteered at the local HIV/AIDS clinic, made new friends, played sports, and so on – but they still had too much time on their hands. Even though we home-schooled the two younger ones and the two older ones took distance education, it still felt like “The Endless Summer” to them – only not in the great way we’d like to think.

To my kids’ great credit, however, they all managed not just to survive, but to thrive while we were there. This mission did not have the same kind of glamour and intensity that a short-term trip might have, but it enabled them to enter more fully into the lives and situations of the people among whom we were ministering. I saw my kids grow and mature in their characters more clearly in that year that I would have ever thought possible. Today, back home, they are different kids than when they left, and all for the better.

My wife, Sonya, swimmer that she is, dove headfirst into the culture there. She started a women’s Bible study for the ladies in our neighbourhood, joined the local school board, taught on a host of issues in multiple settings. The level of freedom she enjoyed in this very traditional town was a little surprising, but pleasantly so. Shopping in the market was a challenge to be relished, and she enjoyed being able to get around on a motorcycle again. Sonya could be easily found most Sunday mornings as the only white face in the English-singing black choir at First Baptist, Gembu.

As for me, the acting FD, I did not get to First Baptist very much at all. In keeping with my goal, I sought to see as much of the country and its people as possible, and this meant traveling most weekends to villages both on and off the Plateau. (Our family bought two motorcycles to facilitate our travel. Going by “machine,” as the Nigerians call them, is the cheapest and easiest way to get around, and they were nice gifts to give away when we left.)

About eight months into our stay I had an “Aha” moment. I had been getting to know a small group of Fulbe believers in the village of Maisamari – living in their compounds, traveling with the leaders, getting to know and love them – and one day I realized, “This is it; this is who we have been searching for.” Our church had been praying us through all of this, of course. Talking with them via email and with the Fulbe, seeing and hearing the mutual excitement they shared, confirmed for me that this was definitely a “God thing.”

Our time there took on a different colour after that. We were once again planning for the future, but now it was not just about one family going on a sabbatical mission, it was about bringing two communities of Christ-followers together. What would Elim and Maisamari be doing in this partnership? How would we communicate together? What were the high priority needs? How could both communities really benefit from our working together? What would all this look like!!? We simply didn’t know.

It was great to get back home in mid-July of 2009. Preaching has been easy – the first three months I spent bringing the church up to speed on our time in Nigeria, talking about the Fulbe and developing our relationship with them. We have hammered out some answers to our questions: we have a good communications system; we know what the priority needs are, and how best to help. For the rest, we are enjoying the adventure of being explorers. The exciting thing is we accomplished our modest goal: in Christ, we are now “Walking with the Fulbe.”

Quick Updates

There are a lot of times when it is difficult to reach people in Cameroon or Nigeria by phone. This is because they are outside the normal coverage areas, or because their server is down. This past week I had been trying to reach my friend Aminu, with no success until Saturday when he finally called me.

Pastor Aminu had been travelling on the Mambilla Plateau, visiting the Fulbe communities there and seeing how things stand with all of our brothers and sisters there. This will be a brief update of what is going on there – with the caveat that our line was very fuzzy and cut in and out at times, so while I am thinking I have all my facts straight, there have been times when things have gotten lost in translation.

Some people for whom I and others have been praying are feeling much better. This includes my friend Gogo (who is recovering from a stroke), and little Umayyatu (who is better after suffering from malaria). I found that another man, a Salihu, is now ill – but I must confess I am not quite sure who this Salihu is (I do know one Salihu, but this is a different person). Aminu tried to explain it, but without a picture my memory can be faulty at times. But I am praying for him anyway, because the Lord knows who he is.

The widows of the Alhaji Guni are now past the 40 day mourning period, so they are able to go outside their compound and resume a more normal life after his passing.

Aminu’s wife Bilkisu has finished writing her Law exams, and is now in Gembu doing her practicum. That means she is going to the court house every day to see how the lawyers and judges conduct themselves there. That really would be an education!

They are struggling at the moment, because they are supporting one of Aminu’s elder brothers and his family. They are part of the refugees whose homes were burned out last month. In a place where employment is at a premium, this will be a long-term struggle no doubt.

The major concern on the Plateau right now is the weather. They should be entering into the rainy season, but the rains have yet to come. The dryness is beginning to affect the cows, as at least four have died due to a lack of grass for them. This is turn will cause suffering for the people at large, plus possible conflict between herders and farmers, and the former will need to bring their cows down from the hills and closer to the sources of water, where the farms are.

Thanks for your prayers on behalf of our Christian brothers and sisters on the Plateau.

Praying for the Sick

Having written about Umayyatu, and prayer for her parents, I should say a few words about that first visit to our partners’ village.

I had been told that the Fulbe were cattle herdsmen, so I preached a sermon on John 10, talking about Jesus the Good Shepherd. This was my first experience preaching through a translator, as well as the first time I have ever preached “in the round.” That is to say, the people were all sitting down in a semi-circle, with me more or less in the middle. Not knowing the custom, I stood to speak, and Aminu, my translator stood beside me. (These days I know better, and will remain seated when I wish to speak there.)

Anyway, as I recall, the sermon was not great (or even that good, if the truth be told). Nothing really new there.

But I did have the thought (thinking here along the lines of 2 Thessalonians 1.11-12), before I left our house in Gembu, that the folks in this village were a long way from any medical services, and that it might be good to take along a little bit of cooking oil just in case there were a need to use it there.

So after speaking in the service I asked Pastor Aminu if he thought it would be a good thing to offer prayer for the sick with the anointing of oil. He said it would be a good idea, and he translated my offer to the people.

As it turns out, there were many sick people in the little hamlet, hidden away in multiple compounds. The Wakili – the spiritual leader who, along with Aminu, had invited me there – asked me to come to his own compound first; one of his wives and his youngest daughter were both ill and had not attended the service.

With Pastor Aminu translating, I explained that what I was about to do was not a kind of magic; there was nothing special about the cooking oil. The power to heal rested in God himself; we were simply obeying him when we prayed and anointed people in his name (cf. James 5.13-16). Having said that I put a little dab of oil on my thumb and made the sign of the cross on Fadima’s forehead, praying in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for her healing. I was then taken to Jamilatu’s room and did the same for her.

While there was no visible result from these prayers, the effect on the people was striking. Suddenly we were beset by requests from many of the other folks there, asking us to come and pray for sick loved ones. Others simply wanted us to come and pray for God’s blessing on their compounds. So we trekked from compound to compound, anointing with oil, praying for healing and well-being. We must have gone into about a dozen or homes in that space of time – there were not many that we missed.

At one point two little boys were brought to us, and I asked my son Robert if he would anoint and pray for them, which he did. I must confess, that was a proud moment for me.

The ride home after all that was terrible. Feeling an emotion that Elijah would probably identify with, all I wished to do was crawl under the nearest rock big enough to hide me. All I could think of was those poor people behind us, suffering from all manner of disease, and who knew what would happen to them now. If God did not hear and answer our prayers, what would become of them – and their faith?

When we arrived home I found myself a solitary place and prayed long and hard once more, for God to hear our prayers, glorify himself, and have mercy on these poor people.

It was another two weeks or so before I had any word from Pastor Aminu. I tentatively asked him how things were in the village (“Lord, I believe, but help Thou my unbelief!”), along with those for whom we had prayed. He reported that all was well in the village, and – to my great relief – said those we had prayed were all doing well.

I had no great faith in myself or my prayers during that trip; but am happy to say that God once more proved himself faithful. He is a loving and powerful God, and I am glad to serve him.