PREPARED TO PERSEVERE
PRECEPTS & PLANNING (see Heroes in Disguise)
During February, Verlin felt privileged to participate in the Community Health Evangelism (CHE) Internship in Ghana. Leaders gathered from eight (8) or more nations to hone their skills for their varied ministries. “God appointments” were evident as various students and trainers, including Verlin, exchanged. Two Ivoirians who attended the Internship returned home to practice what they learned in vigorous activity that now brings results. Others do the same in Mali, Guinea, Ghana, and other nations.
When training others, one never knows who among the trained will genuinely grasp the truths presented and use them effectively. Sometimes, it surprises trainers who, of the newly qualified, are used by God to share Jesus’ living transformation with individuals, families, communities, and even nations via Holy Spirit empowerment and guidance. The bi-lingual Ghanaian Internship program participants interacted with a local CHE champion, a 26-year-old man the Lord chose. The Honorable Derrik showed the interns a village of more than 3,000 people invigorated as he used CHE strategies. He coordinates ministries with other believers in five towns overseen by three community committees. When he began using CHE strategies, he walked to the sites targeted. Later, he rode a bicycle donated to facilitate the work. Because of his effective leadership and hard work, he was elected to represent the government district where he lives, despite his youth. He continues touching base with Verlin.
PRIMED & PUMPED (see Ferry Fees)
In March, Verlin traveled to and from southwestern Cote d’Ivoire upon new roads to celebrate the life of a deceased pastor. While there, he learned more details regarding how ferry fees bless a community using CHE. In south-central Cote d’Ivoire exists a village that can only be reached by ferry. Pastor S. began a CHE ministry there while planting a church in the past two years. The villagers were aware of many things that needed to change. For example, they had no electricity, school, medical clinic, or latrines. Most importantly, and in addition, the population lacked social cohesion.
The Lord gave them the wisdom to use the resources within their hands! After unifying to build latrines, a new sense of “common-unity” emerged. (Common-unity is a simple CHE definition of ‘community.’) In their newly found union, they decided to use the ferry crossing fee income to address their joint needs. So far, they have built a clinic, placed solar panels on homes, and continue constructing latrines. The church built a school with three classrooms with their own funds. Best of all, around 80% of the villagers now profess to be Christian. Beforehand, only about 20% of those living there claimed Christ as Savior.
Praise God with us for this remarkable transformation accomplished in such a short time! Having heard the marvelous results in this relatively isolated location, the leaders of this Baptist denomination are committed to training many more pastors in CHE. So may this village continue to flourish and help other communities experience a similar touch from the Lord!
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT (see Time Crunch)
It usually takes several years for CHE concepts to be understood and implemented after training an individual or group. However, one denomination we helped prepare in three key moments over sixteen years sees exciting growth for their persistent labor. They now have CHE ministries on the ground in over 60 villages. Twenty of those sixty already have new church starts using CHE approaches. Their missionaries using CHE now go two by two to announce the Gospel in animist and Muslim villages.
Discovery Bible Studies (DBS) now play an integral part in most CHE ministries within the nation. We continue to train people in DBS and follow up with those who remain active. Debbie had the privilege of starting one study the week before we traveled from Bondoukou. The high school teens were open and excited to begin, including the two young men of the other predominant faith in our area. They would never be permitted to attend a church but feel safe studying the claims of Jesus in a home setting.
PATIENT PAUSES (see B-b-b-blessings)
You have faithfully prayed over Verlin’s ear and hernia for nine months. What a relief it was to begin closure on the process of his healing this past May 13 with his hernia surgery in Plano, Texas! The procedure transpired with no complications. His recovery thus far has been excellent. Continue praying for his upcoming oral surgery in early June back in Tennessee and his verification that healing is complete for his left ear. We know these pauses play a role in the Father’s plan.
Before our return to the States, our Ivoirian partner, who provided thirty hectares for the agricultural project, suffered an accident requiring surgery the week we left. The timing could not have been worse from an earthly perspective considering his health, finances, or the progress of the Farming God’s Way fields. As a result, he needs patience and provision on several fronts. In recent months, this same brother facilitated over 80 people in Discovery Bible Study used in conjunction with an effort to train local Ivoirians how to raise mushrooms for sale.
PROVISION EVEN IN PAUCITY
What a trying time we endure as a nation, including financial stressors for so many families. The stress seems to be reflected in the supporting donations made to our mission account during the 1Q of 2022. Unfortunately, the recent quarterly income is the lowest we have received since 2017. While monitoring the situation, we will let you know if things drop near the callback zone. Thankfully, due to abundant December 2021 giving and the incredible faithfulness of ministry partners, our needs remain covered for those three months, and work continues. We keep alert for ways to reduce expenses while pursuing opportunities. Praise the Lord for using you to provide despite difficult circumstances! How grateful we are to Him and you!
PRAYER AND PRAISE
- 🙏 Thank the Lord with us for Verlin’s uneventful hernia surgery on May 13. Pray that his upcoming oral surgery in June goes well and that his recurring ear infections are done due to prior, effective treatments.
- 🙏 Pray for CHE trainers and communities all over Cote d’Ivoire where transformation is in progress. Some situations are challenging. Others experience changes more quickly, like Pastor S. Ask our Father to give wisdom, stamina, and follow-through during the discouraging moments that will be lived. Pray that the strongholds of Satan get demolished in Jesus’ name.
- 🙏 Ask for complete healing for our Ivoirian co-worker in the agricultural project. The hit by a motorcycle taxi and the subsequent surgery also affects his capacity to progress in the fields and provide for his own financial stability. Pray he finds suitable helpers with family.
- 🙏 Debbie’s mother, another missionary nurse, pursues some health concerns with a cardiologist in late May. Pray that the issue will be correctly identified and addressed successfully in the coming weeks.
- 🙏 Our nation seems to continue on a trajectory of increased hardship economically, politically, and spiritually. Standing for Biblical worldview ideals grows more complex. Let us pray for each other that we will be prepared to persevere and faithfully share the hope of Christ despite the increasing hardness of hearts and persecution.
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).