You never really leave a place or person you love. Part of them you take with you, leaving a part of yourself behind. — Anonymous
As missionaries, we regularly pass through airports. While departures often signal sorrowful emotions related to leaving family, friends, and country, arrivals usually engender feelings of anticipation, joy, and relief. That succinctly sums up Debbie’s experience as she finally set foot on Ivorian soil again, after passing 33 hours in airports and airplanes. When she exited the baggage and customs area of the Abidjan airport, there was a slight surprise—no Verlin to greet her! A recent change imposed by COVID-19 restricts those picking up passengers to wait outside in the muggy heat. Thankfully, the police and gendarmes let Verlin in the building briefly to help Debbie with the bags. It was a glad reunion after almost three months apart. The Lord has again kept and preserved our coming and going (Psalm 121).
Hilux support remains
Verlin did not post or email an update last week. As his dad used to remind him with respect to sharing arrival news after a trip, no news is good news! His final prep to transport and receive Debbie squeezed time to the point that he had to choose between writing and sending the update or prepping a trailer to transport replacement equipment and supplies. The trailer won. We now continue to set up together for the next 3-4 years of witnessing based out of Bondoukou, as Verlin shared in this 7-minute video report prepped May 1 for a supporting church before spraining his foot.
Reminders of other arrivals punctuated our week, as well. Laurent Gbagbo, the former president of Cote d’Ivoire, returned to this country after being exiled for almost ten years. He was accused and acquitted of war crimes at the International Criminal Court in Europe. Many people consider his arrival a test of the nation’s political peace. If polarized political parties navigate his return with fairness and non-violence, it will bode well for future progress.
On a more positive note, the university Community Health Engagement (CHE) team faces the arrival of two key meetings. They are deep in preparation for a June Round Table meeting which will segue into the second Scientific Congress to be hosted in September. These meetings purpose to implicate hundreds more workers in CHE around the nation, particularly in public health. It was our privilege to observe some of their planning session on Tuesday. One of the parallel activities or good works stimulated by their efforts is mentioned in the video.
Prayer & Praise
???? Thank the Lord with us for Debbie’s safe return to Cote d’Ivoire, productive meetings, and a Bible study started in Abidjan. Also, Verlin was able to drive, pick up Debbie, and complete many errands without re-injuring the tendons in his foot! We are grateful for the proof that his foot strengthens.
???? Pray for political stability in CI as the former president arrived this week from exile in Europe. His return could become a time of true reconciliation among political parties for the nation’s good—but we Americans realize how difficult it can be for the use of reason to emerge victorious over polarized political views. The cost could be high in CI if violence breaks out again.
???? Ask the Lord to give the university CHE team wisdom as they host a meeting later in June as they prepare for the second Scientific Congress in the fall. We pray while trusting more people will be exposed to and engaged in CHE activities around the nation due to their hard work.
Your Partners in the Gospel,
Verlin and Debbie
Christian Health Service Corps (CHSC) is a mission of dedicated medical professionals who participate in the CHE Global Network. Together, in a loose affiliation of individuals, churches, denominational, and nondenominational agencies, we share God’s Light and Truth through Community Health Evangelism (CHE). Verlin and Debbie accept donor partners to contribute as led to provide support as we maintain residential ministry in Cote d’Ivoire to expand CHE ministries under the auspices of CHSC & Ivorian partners. Tax-deductible contributions by check are to be made payable to the CHSC with Andersons #0118 written on the memo line. Mail to CHSC – PO Box 132 – Fruitvale, TX 75127. Give online via the CHSC @ www.che4a.org (3% fee) or TDF (0% fee).
AWA represents Andersons Witness in Africa.
It is also a brand of bottled water in Cote d’Ivoire, where we serve.