Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tough Trucks and Tuesday Afternoons

Today my teammate Matt Miller and I were up in the Kabiye mountain region, an area that has several paths on which to drive, but few that actually qualify as roads. Thank God that He has provided us with big, strong trucks to carry the Gospel into hard to reach areas...

Matt heading back to his truck after scoping out the road ahead. We had to turn back because the road was so bad!

Matt and I are doing research in the Kabiye mountain region each Tuesday, trying to figure out where new evangelism might be needed. We have found that there are very few churches, and most of those are Catholic, and most of those Catholic buildings don't have people in them. We had a good conversation with some Kabiye men by the side of the road during our research trip today. One man said that there was no church in their village, and that he and few others had been meeting occasionally to sing some songs, but that they needed some guidance and direction. They asked us to come back and teach them, and how can we refuse an invitation like that? Matt will be heading back to that same village next Tuesday to meet with these men again and further build a relationship. I will unfortunately be in Accra picking up our new teammates, Matt and Grace Hangen, who will be with us here in Togo for a month-long stay. I will be back with Matt the following Tuesday though, and I can already see God working through these Tuesdays to spread His Kingdom among the Kabiye. I can also see that Tuesday afternoon is fast becoming one of my favorite times during the week...

Pray with us! Pray that God will show us the way to go, that He will provide everything that we need, that He will open the hearts of the Kabiye people in this unreached mountain region, that He will speak through us and that He will bless us with the gift of language (this last one is especially important to me!). I will keep you updated on the progress we are making in the weeks and months ahead...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pray For Our New Teammates

God has blessed our team in recent months with the additions of 3 new families to join us in our work here in Togo among the Kabiye. From the left, the are Matt & Grace Hangen, Tom Moore (who has done extensive counseling and team dynamics work with us, but does not actually live in Togo), Ryan & Melissa Head and Mark, Nicole, Michal and Madeline Kennell.

With the Ries family set to return to the States in May 2008, it is good to know that reinforcements are coming. We as a team believe that each of these 3 couples have been led by God's hand to work among the Kabiye. Please join us as we lift them up in prayer as they plan, prepare and work diligently to make their way to Togo and the place on our team that God has called them too. Praise God for providing further workers for this harvest!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sudan Survey

Praise God! We have had an amazing last few weeks working for the Kingdom here in Africa. Notice we said Africa, not just Togo. While we have been busy in ministry here at our home in Kara, God gave Brett the opportunity to minister on the other side of the continent, in Sudan. As you probably know, Sudan has been in a state of war and unrest for the better part of the last 20 years. Fighting still continues in the northwestern region of Darfur, but the south of Sudan has been living in peace for the last 2 years. Brett, along with his teammate Matt Miller and several other missionaries, are interested in bringing the Gospel to this recovering region, just as the door is opening up because of the end of the civil war.

This picture is of two of the college students that Brett and Matt took with them. They were one of two couples on the trip who are seriously considering southern Sudan as long-term mission field. They were able to gather information and "scout out the land" in preparation for possibly moving to this region in the next few years. Also pictured are William Deng, Johnson Mading, and Jacob Deng. They are 3 Sudanese Christians from the Dinka tribe who accompanied us on our journeys and served as translators for our interviews with locals. Please pray for these 3 men as labor to bring their people into fellowship with our Lord. Pray also for the young people that God is raising up to harvest the spiritual fields of southern Sudan!

Back to School Time!

While we do have a responsibility to work to bring others to the mission field and to serve Africa at large, our main focus is, of course, back here in Togo among the Kabiye. Just like back in the States, it's "Back to School" time! It isn't exactly the same feel, but the young people in our neighborhood are all gearing up for the new year just the same. We recently were blessed by a meeting with a young man named Haro who needed some help to continue his studies. Let us tell you a little about him. Haro is 16 years old and has 2 years of "lycee" left, what we would consider high school. He comes from a large family, of which he is the last child. His parents are very old, and they are not able to work very much to provide for their family, the burden of which falls on their children. Haro, however, wants an education. His parents will not pay for him to go to school anymore, and he came to our home to ask if we would help. He is a sweet young man, and after talking with him for a few minutes, Brett asked him to come back the next morning. When he arrived, we let him know that we wanted to help him with his school supplies and school fees, and he was very grateful. All four of us hopped in the car and headed to the market for Back to School shopping! New notebooks, paper, pens and pencils, rulers, the whole 9 yards, even fabric to make school clothes (the Togolese school system requires khaki uniforms). Caden got his first taste of Back to School time, and we enjoyed our time with Haro immensely. He is such a humble and kind young man, and we feel blessed to be able to help him continue with his education, something that we so often take for granted in our own lives. Haro is so thoughtful that he even offered to come by a couple of times a week and help Brett in his Kabiye language studies. Another language partner never hurts!

Thank you to all of our faithful supporters for allowing us to minister in this way! God will surely continue to put more people, young and old, in our path so that we can love them in the way that Christ would have us love them. We want only to glorify Him in our daily lives and our interactions with the Kabiye people. Thank you for your communication and your prayers on our behalf and on behalf of the people here. We couldn't ask for better partners in the Gospel that all of you!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Brett Surveys Southern Sudan

One of the wonderful opportunities we have here in Africa is being a part of exploring un-churched areas. Often there are people who are willing to be missionaries but don't know where there's a need. Brett, Matt, and 6 other students from Harding University are currently in the middle of a survey trip of Southern Sudan. You can read more information about the country of Sudan by clicking here. Now before anyone starts asking, "Isn't there a lot of unrest in Sudan?" I'll put your minds to rest. Yes, there is unrest in parts of Sudan...Northern Sudan, and as you can see from the map of North Africa, Sudan is HUGE. Brett and Matt assured their wives they would be no where near the areas of unrest.

I have been able to talk to Brett a few short times. The only things I know are that everyone is doing well (praise God), he is ready to come home and see his family while at the same time really enjoying the trip, God is guiding their steps and opening doors for them to find lots of information about the people there, and the Africans there are really tall (6 ft.).

They will return to Kara on August 11th. Please be praying for their safety and that God would continue to guide their steps so that His Word can be spread to another part of the world.