Thursday, July 28, 2011
Some folks lately have mentioned that they have not seen any news about Ivory Coast for a while. I've been telling people it's because there hasn't been much news to share (which is probably a good thing). Since the arrest of former President Gbagbo, politically things have turned around and are slowly improving. In parts of the country there remains a spirit of mistrust and apprehension, but the economy has restarted and overall people seem to be hopeful that the country is and will continue moving forward.
While there isn't much political news, the mission has been busy and has been moving forward. I know I have said it before, but I want to say it again, God has blessed us tremendously with great friends and ministry partners in Ivory Coast! Our Christian brothers and sisters who serve alongside us and have continued the ministry while we have been gone are incredible servants. I truly thank God for these precious friends and colleagues. This past month has seen a lot of great steps forward in God's Kingdom work in Ivory Coast.
The PIM Clinic was finally able to receive its medicine order! We have been trying to get these medicines into the country since last December, and it finally was able to make it into the country late May and get through customs (despite the political difficulties and governmental change issues) in June. Hats off to our Clinic Administrator, Konan Emmanuel, for his hard work and repeated trips to Abidjan.
We also have been blessed to partner with IDES in supplying aide to displaced families from the electoral crisis. The mission was able to provide over 150 families whom fled Abidjan, and had little to no resources, with two months worth of rice, oil, soap and bleach during this difficult time. The hope is that these gifts will help sustain them until they are able to either return home or get established in our community. It was a great testimony of the love of Christ by the mission, our church and the clinic. The mayor's office and our partners in the HIV/AIDS ministry (PEPFAR, EGPAF) heard of the aide program and decided to make a ceremony out of the distribution, including radio coverage on both the local and UN radio stations. Since then, 70 more displaced families have been identified and we are looking for resources to aid these new families as well. We thank the Lord for providing the means and partnership with IDES so that we could impact so many families and provide opportunities to follow-up with them and share more about the love of Jesus.
I'm excited to share that our teammate, Christina Skelton, recently returned to Abengourou. She left Ivory Coast with our family in March and then joined the CMF Burkina Faso team late April and stayed with our friends and former teammates in Ivory Coast, the Hauser family. Christina, the Hausers and their interns arrived last week and Brian Hauser was able to lead a spiritual retreat for our key church leaders. Our national friends and partners were excited to see the Hausers again and have Christina back. The Hausers and their interns headed back towards Burkina Faso Wednesday, but accompanied some of our pastors and Christina on a visit to Beoumi on their way home.
Beoumi is the region where the mission and the Association of Christian Churches in Ivory Coast are working together in a new church planting venture. We had planned on sending two church planters this past January to start four new churches, but were forced to delay the project due to the electoral crisis. Three leaders from Abengourou left this week to visit, teach, evangelize and encourage the contacts the have already made on previous survey trips to the region. We hope to send two church planters this coming January following our family's return this fall.
Our family continues to visit supporting churches and make new contacts in support raising. We have raised most of our Outgoing Expenses (i.e. visas, tickets, etc.), but have little new ongoing monthly commitments. We decided to try something new by asking people to provide a month's rent of $220. We are looking for 36 donors (individuals, groups, Sunday school classes, etc.) for a one-time gift of $220 to cover one month's rent during this next 3-year term in Ivory Coast. If you can't cover an entire month's rent, we can partner you with someone and you can cover half a month's rent at $110. If you are interested in helping send me an email (email@example.com) or you can even donate online via e-check (preferred) or credit card by clicking on the link: https://p2p.paperlesstrans.com/default.aspx?i=cmfms&c3=GABLE+Andy+and+Stephanie&c4=55600
Our goal is to return to Abengourou, Ivory Coast late-September and no later than the end of October. Our family is looking forward to returning and continuing the work God has set before us. The kids keep asking when we are returning to Abengourou.
Thank you all for your prayers and support. Here is a list of things to be praying about this next month:
-Our family's support raising efforts to be fruitful (both financially and spiritually).
-Our teammate Christina's re-entry into Ivory Coast as she settles back in. (Actaully, this past year has been crazy since her arrival and she has yet to really settle in well.)
-The church leaders' visit to Beoumi. That their teaching and encouragement would bear fruit and sow seeds for a great coming spiritual harvest in that region.
-Funding for an additional 70 displaced families in Abengourou (about $4,750). And a prayer of thanks to IDES for their partnership and previous funding. Also for fruitful follow-up visits with the families that have received aide.
-The relaunch of the initiation of CHE in the Cocoterrain community (primarily Muslim) in Abengourou.
Blessings and peace to you all. May God continue to lead and move in us to do great things for His Kingdom.