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We are in the middle of our church’s 7-week Thanksgiving Offering and Dancing time here in Mbingo. Many are farmers here, and as we have described before, each one brings the first fruits of their harvest on their neighborhood’s appointed Sunday. It’s quite a festive and special time. As you see the joy and dancing, you would never know the suffering and poverty that have struck most of these people. Many have lost loved ones, businesses, land, crops, animals, and money because of the continued war situation around us. It is such a testimony to me that most still stand strong in their faith and commitment to God and give generously from what they do have! They know how to be cheerful givers!! As usual, after the service, the produce, animals, and other goods are auctioned off to the members as they bid on each item, and of course all proceeds go to the church. We have been raising money for our new church building for a few years, and we are hoping next newsletter to show you pictures of worship there. God has been blessing and doing great things even in these times of suffering and trouble. It doesn’t stop Him.
Some have asked, “What’s it like to live here?” This is an example of a typical day:
- Going to chapel at 6:40 am and hearing a beautiful African choir special.
- Listening to a story of hardship from the cleaner who is mopping the floor while Rick works at the microscope.
- Walking home for lunch break, admiring the beautiful, green mountain in front of us, then hearing from the man who sells apples that his account was hacked and he lost 500,000 francs (about $800). He is a displaced businessman from a nearby town who has already lost his big business because of the war.
- In the afternoon, you get a visit from a friend who needs money for her child who has been driven from school because they haven’t paid their school fees.
- That night you hear crying and wailing outside (the morgue isn’t far), so that means someone has died.
There are so many needs around us, and that can be overwhelming. Praise the Lord He never gets overwhelmed, and He gives us wisdom in how to help.
One very special activity we had last week was a visit to the school on behalf of our grandson Caleb. Caleb has a heart for missions, and he raised over $200 one afternoon selling lemonade and cookies in his neighborhood for our Mbingo school here, with the help of some family members. His private “NGO” is called JOYICA (Joy in Africa). There are now over 500 students at our school in Mbingo!! I had the privilege of presenting the school with linoleum floor coverings for three of the nursery classrooms, soccer balls, hand balls, books for the library, wooden educational toys, and some stuffed animals for the younger ones. The kids know that Caleb loves them and so does Jesus!!
In His Matchless Love,