Our town was recently stunned by the tragic murder of a local three-year-old girl. She was abducted and mutilated by a man who had a vendetta against her father. Everyone was shocked at the brutality and disconcerted about the safety of other children. Is there no safe space? When will all the murders, shootings, ambushes, racism, sexual scandals, and political pandering in our world end? Maybe like King David we need to pour our hearts out in lament as he did in the psalms. “How long, O Lord?” Thankfully his laments were not the “let’s wring our hands because there is nothing that can be done” kind. Instead, after detailing the terrible conditions in his life and country, he would turn his thoughts and trust to the Lord of justice (and yes, even of vengeance) Who sets things right. Then David would do right as best he knew how. Reading some of the lament poems like Psalm 94, or the “fret not” passages like Psalm 37, help us to move on, and no doubt probably help some of you.
In living out such a reborn hope, we find two habits help keep our hearts and minds from being overwhelmed. First, we strive to not fixate on the media that repeats the same terrible news for hours on end; and, secondly, we stay busy sharing about the Kingdom of Light! It was really a joy this week to offer encouragement and counsel for a brother who was maligned without cause; help another friend with some issues of marital discord; see women excited about studying and applying God’s Word in their lives; and make good progress in preparing for upcoming CHE trainings. This picture is of Konan Emmanuel, the president of the Ivorian CHE network. He and Verlin spent hours together in Abengourou jointly step-planning for a conference scheduled in 2018, and finalizing details for a TOT1 training in western Cote d’Ivoire close to the Liberian border.
The Lord threw in some unexpected blessings along the way, as He always does. Verlin had to travel south by public transport to meet with Konan and others in Abengourou because maintenance was being done to our truck. He got a later start than intended, and just “happened” to get on the bus with a pastor with whom he needed to connect. They discussed for over an hour how Community Health Evangelism (CHE) and Disciple Making Movement (DMM) instruction is advancing the pastor’s outreach in villages. Secondly, the Lord gave a clear response to some dizziness that Debbie experienced. It turned out that she just needed to clean out the wax in her ears to regain her equilibrium! We had begun to think some testing in Abidjan might be necessary, but our Father had a much simpler solution.
Prayer and Praise:
Praise the Lord with us for His constant care and provision in our lives. We are so grateful for recent responses to health problems and clear direction for other ministry issues. Thank Him for Ivorian friends and co-workers who keep watch on us, too. Daily life in Africa can be challenging, but your faithful partnership in prayer and in giving fortifies us.Ask the Lord to help you and us not to fret about the evildoers who surround us. May our abiding trust in Jesus and His justice shine as a beacon for many who have no hope.Pray for safe travels in upcoming weeks as follow-up trainings from the Million Village Challenge (MVC) get under way and other contacts begin.
Your partners in the Gospel,
Verlin and Debbie