Let your door stand open to receive Him, unlock your soul to Him, offer Him a welcome in your mind, and then you will see the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the joy of grace. Throw wide the gate of your heart, stand before the sun of the everlasting light.
In Scripture, the symbol of a door is used in several places to help us better visualize the Lord’s salvation, authority, and desire to commune with us. The crowning example is Jesus, the Door Himself. If any of us enter by Him, we will be saved to find sustained sustenance while going about (John 10:9). Also, Jesus reminds us in Rev. 3:7-8 that when He opens a door, no one can shut it. Likewise, when He closes a door, as done on the ark, none can open it. We cannot frantically pry at doors with screwdrivers to move the ministry forward. Instead, we must trustfully knock in prayer (Luke 11:9-13), faithfully work in obedience, and walk through the doorway(s) after the Lord opens the door(s). All believers can work in abiding trust rather than striving because of His absolute authoritative presence as revealed in His Word. Finally, in Rev. 3:20, we see, as did Ambrose, the matchless, humble authority of Jesus Who knocks at OUR door. He seeks to enter and interact with us once we zealously repent.
In this report, we pursue the imagery of ‘doors’ to share wide-open ministry and personal opportunities, others that seem slightly ajar, and a few that seem squeaky or a little stuck.
On September 2-3 the second Scientific Congress occurred at UFHB (Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny). Realizing that CHE initiatives sustained 27 of 48 presentations moved us! That number is up from 19 of 52 presentations in 2019. Thus, CHE approaches that give witness to God’s glory become mainstreamed through public and private health endeavors. The progress surpasses that what we previously thought possible.
September 6-10, the UFHB center for scientific research hosted the week-long CHE training. Eight trainers from the Ivorian CHE network joined university personnel to train forty-five participants in two Training of Trainers 1 (TOT1) classes and another eighteen in a Training of Trainers 2 (TOT2) class.
2021 UFHB Scientific Congress Team
Photo credit – Joseph Kouadio
Several attendees mentioned they had received theoretical training for community development with few or no tools for practical application. However, the hands-on approach of CHE training assuaged their thirst. The university’s vice-president and the director of INFAS, which trains all licensed nurses and midwives in the nation, lauded the week’s organizers. These two influential leaders encouraged using CHE nationwide as they distributed completion certificates.
In follow-up meetings after the 2021 training, the university team decided to designate 10 staff members to regularly assist in CHE training. In this way, they can integrate research into areas beyond the coastal regions. This impacts CHE efforts and projects in all of Cote d’Ivoire. The university’s involvement grants reciprocal credibility. We expect this decision to reinforce growing church outreaches. That number has grown from 20+ locations to over 60 in the last 22 months!
How great will this become? We do not know. Reflect with us. In just two weeks, one affiliated UFHB group saw 8 villagers saved, 800 community health workers of one region were trained in CHE approaches to collaborate with many groups, and the nation’s training authority for nurses and mid-wives announced that every worker is to be trained in CHE. The Lord opens excellent doors with opportunities to witness!
On a joyous family note, hats off to our daughter Cara for completing her Master of Management in Health Care degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville with honors. This degree will open doors of opportunity for Cara to positively impact patient care in nursing. Debbie was ecstatic to be at her graduation.
Grassroots CHE TOT1 near Monrovia, Liberia
Verlin spent half of October preparing for travel and helping train a group of Liberians in CHE. So may they walk through the doors that the Lord opens because of their new skill set and understandings!
Other doors ajar but not yet traversed include around ten groups of which we are aware who await CHE training on location around Cote d’Ivoire. Pray with us that various CHE trainers can coordinate their full-time work schedules to meet this exciting, growing need. It is a marvelous problem to have!
DOORS SQUEAKY OR STUCK (see Reboot Life)
Ministry is never all sunshine and roses. We regularly accentuate the positive by choice, but please know that difficult situations and decisions abound. Case in point, after the university training, Verlin helped confront a young CHE trainer about some personal habits and past choices. Thankfully, he received the correction and instruction with grace. We ate supper with him recently. We were encouraged by his testimony and recent decisions. Pray for this brother as he renews his habits of dependency on the Lord. We also give thanks that he has new CHE possibilities in schools.
Another area with a “squeaky door” situation is the agricultural project site near Bondoukou. You may recall we have waited two years for legal possession of the land to be clarified. When Verlin had not had the time to pursue developments earlier this year, we were informed that all was done. Soon, we expect to see if this long-awaited door has indeed fully swung open.
This past quarter also provided pauses because of our aging bodies. Verlin continues to deal with the hernia produced after his appendectomy, two broken teeth, and ear drainage that lingers. Debbie experienced a bout with malaria, high blood pressure, and a case of cellulitis. Thankfully, the above-known ills are regulated or believed not in need of immediate care.
In July, we gladly learned that a local restaurant actually offers home delivery! We have never made the call, but knowing the possibility exists nearby astounds us.
That feeling pales in comparison to the gratitude we experience with you, our treasured ministry partners. Your faithful prayers and giving keep us working without pause or distraction to seek funds. This is the time of year when we specifically trust the Lord to touch many hearts, so end-of-year giving provides abundantly for the coming year. He knows the amount required for ministries and fixing supports like house repairs, broken equipment, or appliances. Thank you for continuing to generously follow His lead. We know all will be well because of His work in each of us. The ministry’s financial status confirmed by CHSC numbers is shown on page 3 of this report’s print version (PDF).
DOORS OF UTTERANCE
- 🙏 Since our last mailing, Debbie’s parents sold their home and moved into a separate apartment at her sister’s apartment complex. In addition, our daughter Cara’s condo was sold. She moves to her new home soon. She also graduated with honors from Vanderbilt with a Master of Management in Health Care. Thank you for helping us pray through these recent family events. We also praise the Lord for arranging Debbie’s time in the U.S. so that she could help her parents during the last phases of moving.
- 🙏 Thank the Lord with us for a very encouraging second Scientific Congress and eighth year of teaching CHE at the university. Pray for those newly trained to find the best uses revealed for CHE in their ministries and work milieus. Ask the Lord to grant the university team wisdom to expand their reach in Cote d’Ivoire and provide more CHE trainers during yearly university sessions.
- 🙏 Pray for the CHE trainer in a nearby town who has new CHE opportunities in public schools. This trainer anticipates marrying within the year, despite many perceived obstacles.
- 🙏 Ask the Lord to validate for us that another has properly completed the legal paperwork so that the local agricultural project can progress this dry season.
- 🙏 Ivorian CHE ministry partners continue laboring all over the country. Some live in challenging circumstances. Pray their zeal does not falter and that their labors bear much fruit. Your prayers demolish strongholds and encourage boldness as they share the transforming power of Christ through CHE. Paul worded it for us this way in Col. 4:3: pray that God will open a door of utterance for us all to speak the mystery of Christ. We pray the same for you!!
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).
Something to ask? Write [email protected]
Andersons Witness in Africa.
It is also a brand of bottled water in Cote d’Ivoire, where we serve.