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Handy-work

I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Psalm 16:8

It is an encouraging study to see what the “right hand” of the Lord accomplishes in the Bible. During His earthly ministry, Jesus extended his hand over and over again to bring healing and blessings to many lives. Then, after His death and resurrection, He ascended back to heaven where He sat down at the right hand of the Father, a place of honor, authority, and power. From that position, He extends His hand to help us, His children. Now we, in turn, reach out to bring comfort, healing, and blessing to people around us. Thank you for joining with us hand in hand to offer salvation and transformation in Jesus’ name!

HOLDING HANDS
For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
Isaiah 41:13

After months of separation because of Debbie’s surgery and lengthy recovery, we were finally reunited in Cote d’Ivoire on January 9, as hoped and prayed. We took a week to rest, reconnect, and renew one of her residency papers before returning home. We praise the Lord that she is now pain-free and able to handle regular activities. It is a joy to be close enough to hold hands again in life and ministry!

HURTING HANDS
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me…and thy right hand shall save me.
Psalm 138:7

The Lord continues to open doors to help people in need or to prevent future catastrophe:  a man hurt by corruption in the church now follows a false religion, but is willing to talk regularly; a young woman died in childbirth when a WCL (Women’s Cycle of Life) CHE ministry would probably have helped preserve her life; polluted water in a stream threatens the health of villagers just beginning to be exposed to the Gospel. All of these people, and many more, need the saving health that Jesus offers, and He has placed them within the touch of our hands.

HOPEFUL HANDS
O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvelous things; his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.
Psalm 98:1

On February 20, Verlin and an Ivorian pastor returned to the village of Bougou in central Cote d’Ivoire to complete the first level CHE training with 17 leaders. Verlin was impressed at the end of the sessions with their understanding and application of what they learned.  Verlin noted that one of the men is physically handicapped. It speaks volumes in this culture that he is considered worthy to be a trainer. It speaks even louder of the change wrought by Christ that others cite him as an encouraging example. Perhaps the Lord will use this brother to help start a “can do” ministry here among those that our societies call “handicapped.” (There exists a Community Health Evangelism program dedicated to those considered “disabled” becoming agents who enable the transformation of communities.)

Another great opportunity has opened up in an unevangelized village not far from Bondoukou. The entire village is uniting to undertake a large agricultural project and has agreed that they need to better know the Creator through regular spiritual teaching, as well.

HELPING HANDS
And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life.
Philippians 4:3

None of this is possible without your faithful prayers and some of you in financial partnership. We are so grateful for both. The generosity of several end-of-year donors during the last quarter helped us “catch up” monthly needs. On average, those donors diminished by half our average monthly shortfall that limited our development of Ivorian support efforts.

In summary, the 2016 4Q giving overcame the $1,200 per month shortfall anticipated, but not the entire shortfall of the year. Having evaded the expansion of commitments here during Debbie’s absence, we begin 2017 as well funded as 2016 began, less the planned purchase of the small pickup that we now use. The addition of several new donors, along with the increased generosity of others, replaced a couple of large annual donors who could not participate with us this year and returned us to a good starting point. This is yet another evidence that Jehovah-Jireh (our God will provide) remains faithful. To increase follow-up with regional teams in western Cote d’Ivoire while still mentoring others in the south and east to do the same, will require the financial resources dedicated to this ministry to increase the same $1,200 per month on average that we left the U.S. needing in March 2016.

Our quarterly financial report is available in the linked PDF version at start of this article, or you can view the simple numbers without any accompanying explanation here:170318_Anderson_CHSC_Donation_Report.jpg

PRAYING HANDS

  • Praise:  the Lord DID restore Debbie’s health and remove the “mystery” pain. He DID provide us reasonable health insurance for 2017. He gave safe travels and excellent training sessions to Verlin. He continues to open doors every month for outreach.
  • Ask the Lord to help believers just trained in CHE, as they work and organize in their villages to develop ministries to reach their regions for Christ.
  • Pray for a new CHE outreach in planning stages for a couple of Bible Institutes in central Cote d’Ivoire.
  • Pray for travel mercies during the month of April, and perhaps May, as we plan to connect with CHE trainers in western Cote d’Ivoire that were displaced or hindered during the later years of the political crisis for which a practical truce has been real since 2012.
  • Ask for grace as we travel and help receives guests in late March and early April. Pray for a FWB national pastor’s retreat on April 25-29.

Your partners in the Gospel,
Verlin and Debbie

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