In God We Trust
” Jesus answered, it is written Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word from the mouth of God”
Trusting as 2011 comes closer to the end that you have had a great year with your family and friends. We have been very busy this year and had the pleasure of having Pastor Michel and his wife Lydia from Burkina Faso visit the United States for a month. Just before the Pastor arrived Julie and I were in Alabama visiting Allie our daughter. Our timing was not exactly great as we arrived the day that 25 tornadoes crossed the state causing great destruction. We hid in a basement as two tornadoes went right over the house but did not touchdown.The next day we received a call from a member of our church that knew we were visiting Alabama and long story made short, 15 people from our church headed to Pell City, Al to help with the cleanup. When Pastor Michel heard of the destruction, he asked if he could go and help. He said that we always help him and his people when there was a problem, and he wanted to help. He also called his son-in law in Burkina Faso and asked him to go out to the village that we had helped in the past. This village was very remote and the people lived in mud huts with virtually no service. They basically lived day to day. The pastor wanted them to raise $50 to give to a community in Alabama.
Several days later we headed to Alabama with Pastor Michel to hook up with our friends and also with Allison’s church New Hope Baptist Church in Pell City, Al who graciously welcomed us with open arms and hosted us at their church where we slept and were fed every evening.
Pastor Paul & Pastor Michel
We arrived on Wednesday afternoon and that evening Pastor Michel was asked to address the congregation along with senior Pastor of New Hope Paul Brasher. That evening Pastor Michel presented the$50 from Village Bankan in Burkina Faso. As I am sure you can appreciate that was a very moving moment on many levels. The following morning we headed out early to help with cleanup. Our friends had been working on small ranch in Shoal Creek Valley that had been hit very hard. The destruction is hard to explain but the 20 acres were pretty much wiped out. They were lucky to be alive. This is very hard physical work and it was very hot. The owner of the property was John Russell and he was amazed that we were there from Colorado and also the pastor was from West Africa. John was not a man of great means and lived on the property with his wife and mother and father in-law. Her mother and fathers home was totally destroyed along with several other structures. A tree fell through the back of the main house.
John Russell's Property
“The Kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation nor will people say here it is or there it is, because the kingdom of God is within you”
John’s wife was somewhat in shock and did not come out of the house, for more than a week. One morning several days later she came out and asked if the Pastor was really from Africa.
We explained that the village Bankan had sent $50 and that it was a very poor village. She was very overcome with emotion and went back in the house. Later that day when we stopped for water and she appeared on the porch with her 80 year old mother and presented the pastor with $200. She also explained that they had stopped going to church and that they would now be going to church again and that they would be sending more money to the pastor and telling everyone at church what had happened for them.
Neil Holsteen, John Russell & Pastor Michel
We headed back to Colorado to get back to visiting with as many people in the community as possible with Pastor Michel to solicit support for The Light of Hope University. Several weeks later Calvin Hemphill the founder of the Gemach Project and I headed off to Joplin, Missouri to help with cleanup after the horrible tornado that totally destroyed over 4000 homes. It looked like an Atomic bomb went off. Our church is now working on gathering a team to be disaster trained and ready to more formally respond in the future.
Joplin, Missouri - Total destruction
” Rise up o’God judge the earth, for all nations are your inheritance”
Linda Ellis in Burkina Faso
In June, Dave and Eileen Bidwell of African Hope Initiative (AHI) escorted Linda Ellis a AHI Advocate to Ouagadougou where she has committed to living for at least a year.Linda is deaf and went on the missions trip to Ouagadougou last November to work at the Ephphatha school for the deaf and was overwhelmed by the warmth of the people and the deaf children. She decided she wanted to do more and totally turned her life upside down and moved. Linda is getting acclimated and is working at the deaf school. She also recently announced she was buying a scooter to get around. Those of you who have traveled to West Africa know what that means….Total chaos on the road. Please put Linda on your prayer list for safe travels on her scooter. Eileen and Dave continued on for several more weeks with a trip to Niger and Benin, visiting partners of AHI.
Deaf School Classroom
This week there are 10 men from Grace Chapel who are visiting Burkina Faso . They have raised the money to finish an all purpose room at Ephphatha school for the deaf and will spend most of their time on construction. There is also group within this group who have been trained to fix water well pumps and a several men who will work at the Pastors church updating and fixing their sound system.
In addition, plans have been approved for the addition of a maternity ward at the Source of Life medical clinic and efforts are being made now to begin fundraising.
Our partnership with Community Bible Study International (CSBI) continues to flourish and more than 2000 pastors have already been trained. Discussions have begun to introduce a children’s program and also to start planning on training pastors in Niger. Also members of Grace Chapel Lisa and Jason Bye have joined with CSBI and have recently returned from a trip to Burkina.
2011 planning has begun and planning for Christian Leadership training has also begun with the hope an exploratory team will advance the program by January.
“May the whole earth be filled with his glory”
We will also begin a monthly fundraising effort for Ephphatha school for the deaf and The Village of Hope in the first quarter to help offset the constant disruption that takes place very day trying to pay bills.
As always your prayers, support and well wishes are greatly appreciated.
God Bless You…