Hanneke Cost Budde January 22
We (including the doctor and nurses) are amazed at mom's progress. She eats better, is more often sitting in the living room of the care center and is more coherent although she still forgets anything you say after a minute.
I hope to get back to Tanzania on February 6th.
Nabeel Qureshi Health Update January 21
Scott and Beth Hurd January 21
Although we've been sending fairly regular EMAIL updates over the past few months, it has been a while since we sent a more complete prayer letter -- Pleaser click here for our latest letter with updates from Christmas and New Year's, and have included our latest update on Anne as well.
Please accept our deepest thanks for your continuing prayers for our family, and your partnership with us.
Elizabeth Matthias January 20
I am enjoying life and ministry in Munich, but perhaps I've been moving too much for the wrist to heal well
Nabeel Qureshi January 18
Click photo above for Nabeel's latest blog
Hanneke Cost Budde January 18
My mom is now improving. Every one is surprised, especially the nurses. Yesterday my mom ate a normal meal for the first time!
We surely did not expect this after the family having been called twice in the middle of the night to come as the staff of the care center felt that she was dying. .I know that God has His timing for each of us. In he mean time we are enjoying our visits with her as she has softened and she still recognizes us most of the time. She is very confused and yesterday she asked if she could pay for the meal and coffee so we could go home. She did not remember where she was.
I am in touch with Tabora: They have found water for the well!!!! Praise the Lord! As I used $3000/-for the first dig about 3 years ago which failed to produce water I now am short this amount to finish this well to install the pump. However God is good and I know He will provide.
The work on the building continues and I hope that the roofing will be done when I get back.
Meanwhile back in Dar es Salaam with Mahona!
Meanwhile back in Dar es Salaam with Mahona!
Chez Mission Hub January 17
Every morning this week, students from many campus groups and missions are gathering to pray and have breakfast together in preparation for a day of outreach. (You can see the kinds of talks that they are having at RELEVANTSeries.com, if you are interested.) There were 300 people in our sanctuary last night for a dialogue on the rationality of God. Praise God! Another 100 watched the live stream. God is at work. Listening to the stories of people engaging this morning was so encouraging. It makes me want to pray without ceasing.
It also makes me want to thank YOU. One young man exuberantly expressed last night (i.e. Yelled it across the sanctuary as he was leaving) how grateful he is that Knox is where we are, doing what we are doing, and I have to agree. This is church. All
Ruth Thomson January 17
It’s been a while since I have written! At the moment I am in Alta Floresta in the State of Mato Grosso, Brazil, waiting for a ride to 3 Kayapó villages. That should happen the day after tomorrow. I have some copies of the JESUS film and the audio version of the New Testament, all in Kayapó of course, to distribute. I am going in with a Presbyterian minister who has taken the Kayapó to his missionary heart. He will be doing baptisms of those who have decided to follow the Lord. Then I hope the Lord will open the way to other Kayapó villages. They are all very widely scattered over the States of Mato Grosso and Pará. Then I am also planning to do some taping for the other tribe that is closed, hopefully Jonah and Genesis. Please pray that the Lord will make all this possible.
Well, on the other side of the world, in Kenya, I have just received word from my adopted son David, that the orphanage is facing another crisis. This past school year, the orphans have been able to go to school without paying anything. The orphanage just couldn’t afford schooling, so the school waived the school fees. But this year, the school says they cannot go to school until last year’s fees are covered. [$16,000 USD covers the 53 children.] David is heart broken. He has such a tender heart and he wants these children to go to school. If the Lord lays the situation of these orphans on your heart, perhaps you could donate through LAM Canada or KWM, marked for Ruth Thomson, Kenya Orphanage. Soon I hope to establish a trust/foundation for the orphanage, but it is not in place yet. So in the meantime, it will have to be this way. At least you will get a tax receipt this way.
Luke and Yuko Elliot January 17
Thank you so much for praying with us as we made our final dash to the finish line of this experimental yet very significant winter camp season at ACC. The KGK student retreat went very well. There were one or two blizzards, temperatures plummeted to about -10C, and our little Yamaha snow blower was rendered inoperable due to impurities in the fuel line freezing and blocking the flow of gasoline. We were able to make do, nonetheless, by parking the vehicles at the front entrance and incorporating a little extra "hiking" into the program. We are currently enjoying (mostly) blue skies and indoor admin work while we wait for a new fuel filter and a replacement for the carburetor drain bolt that got lost in the snow. Hopefully these will arrive in time for us to have at least our driveway and staff house parking lot clear by the weekend when some families from our sons' daycare plan to visit.
Our focus is now shifted to preparing for our home assignment in Ontario which is scheduled from May 2017 to February 2018. However, we do still have number important dates ahead of us before we leave (and perhaps others will pop up along the way, as well).
January 21 - We host a tubing/sledding party for some families from our sons' daycare
February 3 - We host King of Grace Kindergarten (connected to Aomori Baptist Church) for their outdoor winter activities outing
February 14 - ACC board meeting (many important decisions to be made, including whether considerations for safety and responsible stewardship require them to close down ACC completely during the time we are away on home assignment)
February 26 - Luke preaches at Hirosaki Nozomi Church
Beth Huddleston January 14 Health Update
Beth was found walking unsteadily on another floor of her apartment on Monday and taken to Medford hospital. She was transferred to Owen Sound Hospital. She has ad a stroke.
We saw Beth on Thursday. She was sitting up in a chair, no noticeable droop in her face , however, when she eats food does slip out a bit on the right side .
She has no movement of her right side of body, and is not uttering a sound. You felt like she wanted to , but it was not happening..
She fed herself a "soft" lunch with a spoon in her left hand, clumsily, but well.
She nodded yes and no to questions asked.
She is able to lift her right arm up with her left arm, which is what they have her doing now.
Plan is to move her to the rehab unit which is in a building located on the hospital grounds, and from how she progresses there the future will be determined.
Xerggyo and Hil January 13
We are very well, enjoying winter time, today is the second sunny day,
A couple days ago, we received the gas ticket, was expensive 140 US, Today we spend the day fixing the house, install new lamps, Hil, close every small orifice in the house with bandage. I am so happy to see Hil, enjoying the snow, because is the first time in her life.
Hil will attend her last appointment with the dentist on 20 of Jan, for the last extraction.
Rosemary Walker January 13
I trust that you have all been blessed and refreshed once again through Advent, Christmas and dedicating a new year to our dear Lord’s glad service!
Nabeel Qureshi January 12
Click here for Nabeel's latest health update and discussion on miracles.
Beth Huddleston January 12
Please pray for Beth who served the Lord in Ecuador with her long time colleague, Eleanor Boyes. Beth had a stroke on Monday which has affected her right side. She is unable to speak and is In hospital in Owen Sound.
Hanneke Cost Budde January 12
Just back from Kahama where I left Baraka, Kiri and Faraja at Rocken Hill and took Jacky to her new High school: Underlake, run by the same people.
I am exhausted. The car was filled to the brim with all their boxes, back packs, suitcases and a mattress. I praise the Lord for this car! I am also grateful to have returned safely.
Last night I received a message from poor Thomas: He was at the site in Malumba and then Manoleo to receive the building supplies. This came late and it was dark by the time he left. They had send the wrong Corrugated Iron sheets for the roof so he contacted me and send it back. He then was on his way home when his motor cycle gave out...A police car from Nzega helped him out and transported him and the bike to Tabora. We d need to buy him a new bike and will use Knox support for this. THANKS TO ALL THE SUPPORTERS!!
Tomorrow I am off to Dar and then on to Holland. Yesterday my mom did not recognize Bix for the first time. That was hard for her.
Ngassa failed his year and we are working on a way to get him into another school This is very complicated here. So please pray for him that he will not get discouraged but that he will get into the right education. I am looking into Vocational training for him as he is very good with his hands and seems to have a gift for solving electrical problems.
These are the latest
Luke and Yuko Elliot January 11
Thank you so much for praying for our second English snow camp on January 4-6. It was truly blessed on every level, and we have now had a few days to catch our breath as a family. Yuko managed to feed 28 people 6 meals all by herself, which is a first for her. We transformed the downstairs of our residence (the "staff house") into a dining room and as a base for the afternoon program of tubing and sledding. The weather was mild and snow-less to an unprecedented degree that has surprised locals and belied our (alleged) status as the world's snowiest city. However, we had a crust of hard-packed snow that was just thick enough to tube and sled on and even enough left-over snow in a nearby field with which to make a snowman.
After a couple of cancellations we ultimately had 18 campers at this Kid's Living English Snow Camp, which is the exact number for what we consider a "full" camp (i.e. all "official" bed spaces filled). Two of these were non-church kids who also attended summer Bible camp. Another 4 (including our niece) were church kids from Asahikawa in the northern island of Hokkaido. We are truly grateful for Pastor Yamanaka from that city who brought the campers and served as an honorary counselor. There were also 4 children from local Aomori churches (including our 2 daughters) and 8 children with no known previous contact with church or Christians.
Most of the time was spent in English as a foreign language activities and in outdoor fun but our camp theme was the Twelve Days of Christmas and Luke did a 4 part "Christmas Story" that took the kids from creation to the ascension of Jesus with an emphasis on the "promised seed" or "descendant" of the Woman, Abraham, and David who would crush the serpents head and redeem humankind from sin and death. The campers were very attentive and we pray that the seed planted will bear fruit in God's time. Some of the children are interested in attending church but have parents who are extremely wary of their children becoming involved in "doing religion." For example, the girl next door who is in Grace's class was allowed to attend several church Christmas events with us, as well as summer Bible camp and snow camp, but has been told she needs to stop going to church now that Christmas is over.
Tomorrow (January 12) we welcome a KGK Christian student group who are doing a three day retreat at ACC. We will not be involved in the program or meal preparation but it has finally started blizzarding and the forecast says it will continue to snow daily for at least a week, so please pray for Luke as he tries to keep our two parking lots and about 200 meters of road clear of snow.
Bill and Sheila January 11
Praise that the compound wall has been completed and that the wall dispute in the neighboring Christian colony has been settled as well! Thanks for praying! Sheila will be traveling to Quetta for a SYIS workshop from 13 - 19 February and then to Wana Area in Northern Areas to visit partners working at a hospital there. Bill will be traveling to Thailand for a medical conference from 12 - 24 February. Pray for safety in travel and for wisdom for Sheila to speak into situations as she makes pastoral visits.
Kevin Livingston January 9
Click here for our new year's letter to all of you.
Hanneke Cost Budde January 8
This evening Baraka had another one of his tantrums. Later Faraja complained about stomach pains. It became severe so I took him to the hospital. He is on a drip and was given antibiotics. Mahona will stay with him and I will get back to the hospital early in the morning.
Please pray it is not serious. Also pray that Baraka will settle down.
Ngassa failed his school year and has to get into another school to redo Form 3 in the hope he will succeed. I hope we can get permission to get him into the new school.
Please pray for this.
On Wednesday we will go to Kahama and stay overnight at our favorite hotel! then in the morning I will take the kids to their schools. Friday I will get on the plane to Kigoma, then Dar. That night I will get on the plane to Zurich. Then on to Amsterdam. My mom had a good day today. Everyone feels she is waiting for me to come.
3Fold Ministries January 6
We're reaching out to you in an appeal to help us fulfill a specific request. We have some eager medical students, and other medical professionals, that are ready, willing and able to travel to Nicaragua this spring. We have a gap on the team in that we're looking for Doctors who are willing to act as leaders.
Do you know a doctor - of any specialty - that might be interested in this opportunity? Are YOU that person?! If the word "leader" in this capacity might seem daunting, know that we are here to do a lot of the heavy lifting, and that one or more of us would be accompanying the team on the ground.
This presents a chance for doctors to not only mentor a group of young up-and-comers, but of course, allows them to do so in benefit of the people of an impoverished community. Another bonus is the proximity to the equator as we emerge from the winter of 2016-2017!
We're pushing the limits as far as the time that it takes to pull a team together and fulfill the requirements of Nicaragua's ministry of health. Our prayer and wish for a belated Christmas present is for a doctor or two (or more!) willing to provide medical services where it is much-needed. Please contact us via return email or via phone (see below) at your very earliest convenience with any recommendations or introductions, or if you are interested in exploring the opportunity for yourself in another capacity.
Ruth Thomson January 5
Read the excellent report of Ruth's life, Debutante in the Jungle, as reported in the National Post. [Ruth is second on left] Click here. Available in print in Saturday, January 7 National Post.
Consider joining this 7 day intensive Course on Missions to our world
Friday Feb 17 through Friday Feb 24
Scholarships available/University credit
Jim Mason January 4
Click here for the Challenge prayer sheet.
Elizabeth Matthias January 2, 2017
As we come out of the wonderful season of Advent and Christmas—remembering God’s awesome plan of salvation powerfully and gently unfolding in the center of history—to enter into this new year of our Lord, I wish you God’s richest blessing: rejoicing greatly, as we yet groan, pressing on to take hold of all for which we have been taken hold, until He comes again finally in absolute power and glory and joy...
Sanctifying grace until He comes...
While we are all called to evangelism, the greater focus of my call and passion is for God’s people to know and love Christ more, and follow Him more closely in the Spirit’s power—even as I endeavour to do the same! In this post-post-modern day it is disturbing how many individuals are desperately entangled in their own sins and suffering grievously from the sins of others against them, though it is also remarkable to see the numbers seeking out our church—and other churches—sensing that life can only be lived well with God’s help. Every week we hear of people seeking counsel—and it is my great privilege to meet with many to hear their life stories, challenges, longings and groanings, and to work with them to know our Lord, the great Savior and Shepherd of our souls. Over the last several months I have been working with about 30 individuals in varying degrees of intensity—twice weekly, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly—and in varying degrees of distress. Often I am left to marvel at the Spirit’s quick intervention in deeply personal ways! I am so very grateful for your prayer support! Nevertheless, the issues with which some of these dear souls wrestle will take more time and counsel—please continue to bring C, D&E, C&P and F&S before the Lord. The pastors of Gospel Church Munich (GCM) and I are wrestling together intensely on behalf of two couples in particular—and seeing the Lord’s hand, though we pray for and work toward a full and joyful capitulation to Christ. Were it not for so great a Savior, there could be cause for despair; there being a great Savior, we take heart! So, the counselees and the counsellors all draw nearer to the Shepherd and Redeemer by faith, and we work to understand, trust, and live disciplined lives by the Spirit, to honor God and enjoy the fullness of fellowship in Christ. Prayers for wisdom and the applied victory of Christ in holiness are so appreciated.
The people I meet with are not only connected with the GCM, but increasingly I’m supporting two other churches, the leadership with which our pastor Steffen Müller prays: the Munich International Community Church (MICC is English-speaking) and the Freie evangelikale Gemeinde (FeG) München-Mitte. Also in the FeG is a group of eight lay counsellors who have been meeting together for two years(!!!) to read and discuss CCEF books—and support one another in counselling others! The pastor has asked me to meet with these lay counsellors to regularly teach and coach them. Four students at the Martin Bucer Seminary in Munich who are majoring in counselling have also asked for practical support from me. May the Lord bless the meetings beginning in January to advance lay counselling!
Looking for saving grace...
Though my sphere of influence is usually limited to believers, among relatives, neighbours and the family of church members I come in contact with unbelievers
As last year during Advent, I invited the seven others living in my building for seasonal reflections and baking. Unfortunately two households declined, but two came: the retired priest and his female companion, and Doris, who also came to our Christmas Day service—as did the unsaved husband of one of the women in my Bible study; the Spirit moved deeply!
In October, during my mother’s visit for her 80th birthday and my cousin’s 50th, I was able to travel north to Bremen twice to visit relatives. They live in the “Teufelsmoor”/devil’s moor, which aptly describes the spiritual climate—political and religious discussions were intense!
My DMin project...
From July through September I planned to reduce my counselling load by 70% to complete my DMin work. The first two months progressed very well, but in September, in addition to a minimal counselling load—a first for me—three individuals dealing with suicide (two themselves suicidal and a third dealing with the suicide of a 35 year-old daughter) so interrupted my studies, that I was not able to complete the work to submit it. WTS has graciously granted another extension. Two months of focused work strengthened the project significantly and I plan to complete it in 2017. Prayers to that end are so appreciated.
Personal challenges and praises
During the last three months, naming only the most important, the Lord has wonderfully provided a new washing machine when my 20-year-old machine expired; wonderfully provided a brilliant IT person to revive my eight-year-old refurbished laptop for 239€ (cheap—and no learning curve!); and wonderfully provided a new cell phone (iPhone SE) including a new contract for half of what the old iPhone that died was costing me! (Funds for the washing machine and laptop were generously provided—you know who you are—I’m so grateful for that timely help!) The virus I’d been fighting since early October, and two rashes on my face seem to have been resolved by adjusting the medication I’m on for liver disease. Bunion surgery hasn’t yet fully relieved my pain; I’m still hoping and praying for greater relief. The broken (left not right!) wrist of Dec. 20th is healing very well—though I won’t be typing quickly or driving for a couple more weeks. Laying on the sidewalk, stunned and in pain before Christmas, I did ask the Lord the rhetorical question (to strengthen myself), if this too was a necessary part of His plan... Later, during my three day stay in the clinic, I met a wonderful woman, Sabina, who asked me how I became a Christian—and was interested in the long version, also asking me for my cell number... Our lives are not our own, bought with a price, to live His great Plan!
Looking toward the future...
Who of us does not have questions regarding the political, financial and social stability of our world? Haven’t the American elections surprised and unsettled us—globally? How will Trump and Merkel work together, or Trump and Putin? How are we to understand Erdogan’s mass arrests in Turkey? On what is the peace treaty in Syria based, and will it hold? Next year there will be federal elections in Germany—and Chancellor Angela Merkel is hard up against the political right which threatens to polarize Germany. In Merkel’s new year’s address she mentioned that many have a sense that the world is becoming unhinged, including democracy, claiming democracy is no longer used to address the interests of all its’ citizens, but rather only an elite few. She countered that “distorted” view, maintaining that parliamentary democracy is functioning well here, and will continue to do so—as also in the EU generally. Some respected politicians in her own party disagree, as also some leaders of neighboring countries. A significant number ask if Merkel’s vision for Germany is different from that of many of her citizens: does she want to be at the forefront of unstoppable globalization in which nationalism is abrogated, replaced with cultural enrichment? What does nationalism mean in a global context? Not a few also wonder if Merkel isn’t withholding information, so as not to unsettle the population, as she maintains that refugees should be seen as a cultural and financial strength, not a threat—notwithstanding terrorist exceptions. How many jihadists can a democracy bear? The recent dreadful attack on the Christmas market in Berlin is surely an attack on Western values. Can the theocracy of Islam integrate with the democracy of Germany/Europe? Will Islam embrace religious and political pluralism, or at least tolerate it? What does the historical record show regarding Islam—even the more recent history since the sixties in Germany? How do we see Islam working now in other countries with minority views? In July, after the failed coup against him, Erdogan announced that “Democracy is only the train on which we will ascend until we arrive at our goal.” What is his goal? Do other Muslims share it? How do we in Germany find the balance between racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and loving our neighbours, especially the weakest, such as war refugees? How do we discern between war refugees and jihadists—especially among those who have already come into Germany without passports or documentation? Is the open border policy to accommodate refuges to be continued? In her address Merkel maintained German democracy to be stronger than terrorism, that Germany is stronger, and she will continue to strengthen the national security agency, as well the EU for corporate strength, in spite of Brexit. Further she is confident that our resolute humanitarianism and solidarity will counter and overcome the hate of the terrorists. Is this the base of Western democracy—or is there not something more fundamental and greater? Do atheists truly have sufficient strength for these times—or are they not going to be challenged much more deeply themselves? In a post-Christian culture are the voices of Christians not needed more than ever?
Hasn’t globalization fostered a greater intensity in worldview interactions, shaking us up, so that increasingly fundamental questions are being asked corporately—and surely our God is at work even in those questions—as well as in bringing the answers and His purposes! We hear of the powerful work of the Spirit among refugees throughout Germany. Certainly the Lord is drawing many to Himself! We also see and hear German nationals reflecting deeply regarding the current cultural climate. Certainly the Lord is working among them too!
Though truly challenging, are these not times of unusual openness to discern and discuss what is important? Especially in this context I am profoundly grateful to personally know the King of Kings, to know that He is sovereign over history, all politicians, and religious movements—and He is guiding everything to His own glorious ends—there is a “happy end” of transcendent proportions! As God’s Gospel goes forth in this new year of our Lord through us in Munich, and through each of you, may revival come globally and may many join us to embrace—and celebrate—the astonishingly wonderful news of God’s love and peace to profoundly impact many lives personally, even already here and now!
Nabeel Qureshi Christmas health update December 31
Click the photo above for his Christmas health update
Queen Elizabeth's 2016 Christmas message
Click photo to watch Queen Elizabeth's encouraging message.
Mary Jane Fandrich December 31
Here I sit in total comfort, I mean TOTAL comfort, feet up in a beautiful living room, beside the fire, nursing a mug of Asako made hot chocolate, comfortably full of a ham and tomato sandwich, and reading the hilariously written Shoe Dog , a tale of foolishly entrepreneurial empire building.
And tonight, the last night of the year, I, here, and hopefully a bunch of new friends in Toronto will be watching a Warner Bros.
release of a totally improbable tale of invasion into the human arena of an itinerant universe owner named Jesus.
It’s the closest production to true life in situ of the Middle East I know.
Which brings me to the most imminent reality: seventy odd stranded street boys and girls that God has placed within our reach and to whom I will return February 2 Assad, Putin, Trump or none of the above not withstanding.
His Kingdom come...watch out American democracy...King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Good grief, that’s what’s next. We’ll all get to see it, either before or after leaving this life.
Did I say 70 odd stranded youth? Think a million, give, not take, youths age 5 to 15 stranded in camps on the edges of Syria. That’s a large demographic going school-less, and Gospel-less.
But our opportunity is only about 70, and we made a good start last Fall. Now we need to figure out how to underwrite the School ACCESS, so that they can engulf as many as possible. “Cast your net on the other side of the boat”. Right, mister non-fisherman, but we’ll do what you say….So let me know that you’re on board as I try to understand how to get this enormous project done.
Hanneke Cost Budde December 31
Please pray for Naomi, Hanneke's friend and home worker for over fifteen years. She has severe pain in her lower leg and the origin is unknown. She has been a mother to all Hanneke's kids and has allowed Hanneke to be free of so many home duties so she can give herself completely to her daily ministry.
Luke and Yuko Elliot December 30
Thank you so much for praying for Winter Living English Camp. We were blessed with just the right amount of snow, and the weather was beautiful. With six staff and sixteen campers (plus our family for a total of 29) it was a bit of a squeeze to get everyone in the staff house dining room, but comfy nonetheless. Fun night was fun, with creative skits, energetic songs, and make your own ice cream sundaes. It was especially encouraging to see deep and meaningful conversations on matters of eternal importance develop around this camp's Lord of the Rings theme. Most campers for this camp were already believers (including pastors' families and a missionary from Mongolia). We pray that the one or two long-time attendees of this program who have heard the gospel many times are a little closer to believing. Our next camp will be made up almost entirely of children who have no previous connection to church or the Christian faith.
We are also giving thanks for a small truck load of old lumber from a demolished building that a lumber mill worker set aside for Luke. It should take us through the New Year holiday until the lumber mill reopens. We do have quite a bit of firewood from the ACC property that we cut and split last summer and autumn, but it is still too raw to burn well.
Xerggyo and Hil Happy Anniversary December 29
We had wonderful time here. Also we are in our second anniversary! we praise the Lord for that. [December 31]
Before Christmas Hil had a surgery with the dentist, because of two extraction,
tomorrow will go again by train, for the last appointment; then she will need one more extraction; and finally will have peace for the back tooth.
Carluci and Christina dos Santos December 29
We are thankful for the LAM new office location, our staff in Canada, and for the recent work done on the Mission’s strategic planning. Pray for continued discernment and energy as we work on the Mission’s established priorities for the next years. We continue to work together as a family at Celebration and are very grateful for the growth and renewal in congregational life.
Luke and Yuko Elliot December 28
Thank you so much for your continuing prayer for our winter camps. There has been a thorough thaw since our last update a week ago, and we have lost almost all our snow. On the one hand, that has been nice as it has freed us to do some much needed catching up on our backlog of (non-snow removal related) work. On the other hand, our winter camp programs are rather heavily dependent on the presence of snow. We once had a boss who encouraged us to be specific and detailed in our prayers of petition. In that spirit, we ask that you join us in praying for a sufficient drop in temperature to freeze the mud and for a beautiful blanket of delightfully powdery snow that is deep enough for tubing and sledding but not too deep to manage with our snow blower, all before our first day of camp on Dec 27th.
But above all, please pray for the Lord's Name to be made known and glorified in and through and following these camps. And please continue to pray for the health and safety all campers and staff.
Gord and Brenda Nickerson December 27
Nabeel Qureshi December 27
Click above for Nabeel's latest blog.
Hanneke Cost Budde December 27
Isaiah 9:6:"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace."
Dear family and friends,
With this letter I send you greetings from my kids and from my co-worker Thomas Kulwa. We all wish you a very happy and blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
This year again there will be millions of people celebrating "X-mas"...celebration where Christ is not even mentioned. People decorate, bake goodies, have family get-togethers, etc. It makes me feel sad as it sounds all so superficial. Most people miss the amazing truth that: God gave himself for us. Each person is responsible to search for the truth regarding Jesus Christ but most people just listen to what others say and there is a lot of pressure on our society to ridicule and ignore the facts about Jesus. My prayer is that many people will do some real research and find the truth and thereby the true meaning of Christmas!
Life in Tabora continues to be anything but boring:
1. We are working in Manoleo to help those who are in need: Orphans, widows and the poor. Some cases are quite sad. One of our clients living with HIV lost her husband due to AIDS. She also has the virus and is mentally challenged. She has been left with 9 kids. The two older ones are also mentally challenged and the youngest of just one has also got HIV. She lives in absolute poverty and up till now she has not received much support. As Tanzania is going through many changes, one of the positive changes is that the very poor can now receive some monthly support through the government. Since a few months, the dispensaries have been getting many of the medicines that are needed, but even this week there were no medicines for Malaria treatment.
Many clients live too far away and cannot afford to walk the many hours to get to the dispensary and only come when things are desperate. Even this week I had to take a mother and little boy to a hospital as his neck had been burned two weeks ago and it had gotten infected. After treatment from a local witch doctor his head had started to swell and he was very sick. Both families live in the Kilino/Malumba area where we are building a first Aid post and community educational center.
2. The building at Malumba is progressing. Transport of the materials to this village is quite a challenge due to the bad road condition. We had to wait 3 months before the road was fixed so we could proceed. All the labor is done by hand. There is no electricity in order to install the gate we had to get the gate made in town and then bring it up to the village together with a powerful generator to finish the welding and to have it installed. Now the wall has been finished, the gate has been installed, the toilets only need roofing and the foundations for the main building and the little guard's office has been done. We hope to finish the building in the next few months and move our outreach to this village. The people are very excited and we hope that people will come sooner for medical help and we are eager to start teaching the villagers about nutrition, healthcare, safe drinking water, etc. and about our wonderful Savior. The builders are local people and we are getting along great. One of them often gives us a bucket full of wonderful sweet juicy Mangoes.
3. My mom's health has been failing and in October she had a fall and broke her leg. She was having a difficult time and I am happy that I had the opportunity to go to Holland for a visit. It was quite amazing to see how mom picked up and we celebrated her 93rd birthday. However at this time she is not doing well and she is so tired. Then there are a few days that she surprises us by picking up again but she is not eating well and often finds it hard to talk on the phone. I am hoping to get to Holland in January but I am not sure if she will still be alive at that time. I have all the kids home and I cannot go until I have taken them back to school.
4. Nov. 21rd Mahona, Jacky and I went to Dar to attend Mahona's graduation. Our friends, Don Nicol and Ruth Tompson and her son David showed up and we had a wonderful time together. After the graduation we went to the beach and had a wonderful time. We had to wait a day for the train to get us back to Tabora. We spend that day in Bagamoyo, a very interesting to visit. On the 25th Don, Mahona , Jacky and I got on the train to Tabora and arrived a day later. I had two days to show Don the progress on the Malumba project as we had to drive to Kahama to pick up Kiri, Baraka and Faraja. They were thrilled to see us. Then we got back to Tabora only to get back on the road to Mwanza. Jacky went with us as she wanted to see the family she had stayed with some years ago. Thomas, my co-worker also had joined us. He needed to see the specialist as another ganglion had come up in his wrist which was quite painful. I had spoken with his specialist who had agreed to see him that Saturday. When he examined Thomas he suggested doing the surgery right away. So that night Thomas was taken care of and Don and I picked him up later that evening from the hospital. The next morning I had to take Don to the airport and after that I went to Ngassa's school as I also had to pick up Ngassa and our new girl, Kashinje from their school on the Sunday. We made it back to Tabora that day. God is so good!!! After returning I noticed my tire getting low so I took it in the next day. I had 2 nails and 4 other small holes!
5. The kids are doing great and it is a blessing to see them grow and mature. Mfaume is very happy at his school and is studying hard. He cannot come home during the Christmas holidays but he keeps in touch by phone on a regular basis. Faraja and Kiri are in the top of their classes, Ngassa past his Form 3 exam and will start Form 4.
Baraka is very smart but he seems to get in with some friends who like playing better then studying. He dropped from being on the top to the bottom but I think he will pick up once he gets back to school. He is doing better at home behavior wise so that makes it a bit easier for me.
It is great to see the kids grow spiritually and the kids have started to think about getting baptized.
Kashinje seems to fit in and the girls are getting along well and giggling like regular teenagers. Ngassa and Mahona like helping in the kitchen and today the whole crew participated in making our annual Christmas cookies. Kashinje was the best in decorating them.
This year we will be celebrating our Christmas day with some of our good friends: The Maganga family and The Bucheye's, another family who have become good friends of our family. I am to make the deserts.
Monday we are invited by another family to join in the celebration of the conformation of their twin daughters. It will be a big party at one of the hotels. The girls are good friends of Jacky and they finished their standard 7 at the same school.
Now for something very different: During the past years I have been thinking as to how to ensure that my kids will always have a home even if something happens to me. I am getting older and I have prayerfully considered what I should do. Well, this week I have bought some land in Tabora in the name of Faraja and Baraka. It was quite funny how the process was done. We had to get pictures of both the kids and the people who were selling their plot. Then we had to see the chairperson of the village and get him to write the official document. This process had to be repeated by the village elder that we had to see at his stand in the market. He had his official stamp with him. As we sat between his second hand shoes we got all the documents stamped and now the plot belongs to the kids. With my other retirement funds I hope to build a home for my kids. Building here is still quite cheap.
Have a blessed Christmas from all of us!
Have a blessed Christmas from all of us!
Our annual Christmas cookies decorating
Our annual Christmas cookies decorating
Faraja and Baraka are now landowners
THE BUILDING OF THE MALUMBA PROJECT
THE BUILDING OF THE MALUMBA PROJECT