Sunshine and Shadow
Finding the balance of sunshine and shadow during holidays like Thanksgiving challenges many. Some bask in the joy of family and food and football, while others linger in shadows of grief, loss, and separation. Next year any individual’s situation may reverse, so learning to trust the Lord in both realities helps. Sunshine and shadow are every person’s lot in life.
On Thanksgiving Day, we enjoyed the blessing of celebrating half-a-day in the same time zone, state, city, and house with family: our three children, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, Debbie’s parents and sister, and a nephew! Because family occasions like these are so rare in our missionary life, they are more precious. We give especially grateful thanks that Corbin came back from Missouri with Verlin for the long weekend after a Greyhound trip the other way to transfer vehicle ownership. We hope to enjoy a reunion with family in Michigan soon. Sunshine is every person’s lot in life.
At the same time, we learned this week that the Ivorian government began the process of reclaiming lands designated for national forestry. For years, many villages and individuals have been informed that they had made illegal settlements. The government has issued many warnings that they would reclaim the lands. As the years passed, though, people thought that the government had made idle threats. They became complacent. The perceived threats became a reality recently for Patricekro, a village in southern Cote d’Ivoire. Government agents bulldozed the whole town.
Part of the destruction may include a church that had grown to greater than 100 members in recent years as other works were initiated. Verlin made visits there in 2010 and 2013, during which he trained the pastor in the safe performance of baptism, church growth planning, and assisted them to clarify their beliefs. The community knew then of this day of judgment to come and were advised on actions to take. We hope that they prepared. Our hearts ache for those traumatized now. We pray that their fellowship strengthens though the building is gone. Verlin knows other villages and properties of churches that have been warned, too. It is likely others will endure similar fates, barring a change of policy by the government. That is unlikely. This is part of the compromise that resulted from fourteen years of civil strife. Shadow is every person’s lot in life.
- Pray for the population of Patricekro to witness God’s provision for the needs of His own as they relocate to find new homes and jobs. Ask that Pastor Henoc share of Divine grace and direction as believers make decisions about the church. Pray that others in similar situations take action before their spots get bulldozed, or that the government develops more humane resettlement approaches.
- Debbie seems to have caught the respiratory infection with which Verlin struggled during our last weeks in Africa. Pray that antibiotics and nutrition allow her to have complete and speedy healing.
- Continue praying for Corbin. His job seems to be going well as he makes Missouri home, but making friends remains a challenge. This is one of several common TCK adjustments new to him.
Your partners in the Gospel,
Verlin and Debbie Anderson
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