Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Backyard Baptism

Greetings once again from Niamey, Niger! As I sit to write this letter, our temperatures are continually in above 100 degrees and the humidity is creeping back in to make it quite uncomfortable, unless you like high heat. But, with that we are so thankful for so much. This past week, we actually had a rainstorm.

Not a big one, not one to do much to water the land, but it was rain before May. And it was with thunder and lightning! I was reading the other day in Psalms 65 when I got to verse 9 and realized that we need not to worry about the lack of rain because it is all in God’s hand. The passage reads like this:
You care for the land and water it, you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.
What a great promise of God! We truly have so much to be thankful for in our ministry here at Sahel Academy. As we watch the drama unfold in Cote D’Ivoire, in Libya, in Burkina Faso and other places where elections and decisions have been met with war or some major protests, we were able to witness a very smooth transition of power to a newly, democratically elected president. While a bit over a year ago, if you remember, we were under lockdown because the military captured the president who had abused his power and dissolved the constitution so he could remain in power. The military leader said at that time that he would stay in power until elections and then he would step aside to the new president. As you may imagine, that fell on some very skeptical ears. Elections came and went, and this week, the country of Niger inaugurated their new president. There were no protests, no gunfire, no former president holed up in a bunker still claiming he is the president. Praise God, it was all smooth!
We were also able to witness a great event here just behind our dorm in our swimming pool.

Eleven Sahel Academy students were baptized! Three of whom were from the dorm!

We are praising God that these kids desired to make this public profession that they are followers of Jesus Christ in a land where this is a bit bizarre.


What a great testimony- not only to us, but to the African believers as well.


As we have about 8 weeks of school left before summer break, I ask that you pray for our kids. Our seniors, Elisheva and Spencer are both going to the US for university. Spencer will be going to Taylor right there in Indiana and Elisheva is still making that choice. She wants to go into medicine and she has her choice of scholarship! Now she is trying to figure out which one will give her the best education and keep the costs down for her dad! We will really miss those two kiddos. We will also be saying goodbye to three of our Australian kids who have been here almost since we have been in Niamey. Beth, Josh, and Hannah Sim will be returning to Australia to attend school there. Those five are going to have many transitions to make. The seniors, of course, welcome it because of university, but the Australians know Africa and Sahel Academy. Breaking into a high school and all that goes along with that will not be easy. So, please, if you will, be in prayer for those five especially, as they wind things down here at Sahel. The rest will be returning to be with us, along with some new faces next year!
As far as our family, we are excited to return back to Canada this summer. I don’t know if you follow us on facebook, but Jayson informed us the other day that he needs to go back to be able to know his grandma because he doesn’t really know her except for on the computer. This trip was the deal we had made with Janice’s parents because we were supposed to be on furlough this next year. The school asked if we could stay another year while another couple raises support, but Janice had already planned to attend her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary! Wow! So, we will be coming home, to Canada, for almost 6 weeks. During that time, we hope to meet with as much of our family as possible. I know many are anxious to see how much Jayson and Mikaylah have grown. As we wrote in our last letter, we will be returning back to the States for our year long home assignment starting in the summer of 2012.
Lastly, please pray for Andrew and Nikki Gray. They are a couple from Western US who desire to come to Sahel Academy to work for a couple of years. They are willing to step into the dorm for a year while we are on home assignment. Please pray for them as well as they begin the task of support raising, packing, selling, buying, and saying goodbye for a bit to their family. It is never an easy thing, but we are thankful that they have answered God’s call in their lives to serve. They have three children coming with them as well.
I don’t know if we tell all of you this enough times, but THANK YOU! The number of people who pray for us every day always humbles us. We love to hear from you back home as well. We love to keep up on the news from home when possible. I cannot even imagine how early missionaries did it without internet, email, texting, etc. How they left their country to live in another realizing that it would be a long time before they returned, if at all. Nevertheless, we do live in a much smaller world today because of technology, so we can communicate more often. We are amazed at the faithfulness of God’s people who sacrificially give to our ministry despite a recession. Thank you doesn’t seem adequate to describe just how awesome that so many people would support this ministry through finances and through prayer. Therefore, we thank you.
In His Grip,
Tim, Janice, Mikaylah and Jayson

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