the Gospel Door
with the Key
of Medicine

June 2005

Family Affairs

One of the wonderful things about the ministry in Nigeria is the inclusion of so many nationals.

We have felt all along that we are to be facilitators more than doers. To inspire and provide the means with which the Nigerians themselves can reach out and minister to their people.

During the past two years however, the nationals, who have joined with us in our vision and passion to reach the Kanuri, have gone beyond just professionals in the medical field or people with a calling on their lives to the ministry.

Our team now includes wives who have seen the passion and burden for the work in their spouses and who have joined us in our vision. They are not just supporting their spouses to minister with us, but also are going out to the villages and working along side their husbands with the rest of the team.

Two of these are Sam's wife Dorcas and Nico's wife Ruth. Although Sam and Dorcas have been married since 1998, it is just during the last two years that God has touched her heart to join us on our outreaches and now she is one of the hardest working and most dependable team members we have. Ruth, of course, is a newlywed having just been married to Nico this past November. Yet, when our February outreach came around, she did not hesitate to join us and was a surprise asset; she speaks Kanuri, so she was able to help immensely with the patients - especially in the pharmacy.

As you know, there are about 400 dialects in Nigeria, each unique to the many different tribes that make up the nation. While our team members all speak Hausa, one of the three main dialects, along with their native village or tribal dialect, only one or two speak Kanuri. Unfortunately, in the rural villages where we are, many are uneducated, especially the women, and speak only their tribal tongue. This can make for some interesting interchanges when trying to explain treatments and diagnose problems, especially when you throw Georgian-American English into the mix.

Ordination Highlight

We have briefly mentioned in the past couple of letters about our week in Jos, participating in the annual pastors and ministers conference hosted by our good friend Maiwa'azi Dandaura. One of the purposes, and I believe the highlight of the conference, is the ordination of men and women into the ministry.

This is not something that Nigerians take lightly, as each candidate must go through rigorous interviews and come highly recommended by their pastors and elders. To be ordained as full-fledged ministers of the gospel, they must go through a 3-step process of Exhorter, Licensed and, finally, Ordained.

This obviously is not done all at once but can take three years or more to accomplish. The reason of course, is that in Nigeria, just as in America, you find men and women who wish to have a title of pastor or reverend for their own gain rather than the furtherance of the Kingdom of God.

Therefore, Maiwa'azi and his fellow ministers strive to be sure that only those who are truly called into the work of the Lord are Ordained into the ministry under their auspices. So what a pleasure, privilege and true honor to be able to lay hands upon these candidates each year and pray for them and bless them as they answer the call of God on their lives. What a joy to watch from year to year as they make their progression through the process that has been set before them, not crumbling, but patiently fulfilling each step as they faithfully fulfill their call by God into the ministry.

Haiti VBS

Perhaps by the time that you receive this letter we will already be in Haiti May 27-June 3. We will be conducting a VBS there in a suburb of Port-au-Prince with a team from our home church, Hope & Life Fellowship.

Team Haiti

We will be ministering on Saturday to 3,000-4,000 children and then we will be in four different schools everyday Monday -Thursday speaking into the hearts of 1,200-2,000 children each day.

God has sovereignly brought together a team of 13, including our children, who are excited and are anticipating the great and mighty things God intends to accomplish through us and in us.

It is not without obstacles that we proceed on this outreach, as no work for the Lord ever is, so we covet your prayers of favor and protection, of wisdom and guidance, and above all, souls for the harvest.

Sowing Seed

Our heartfelt thanks to all of you who have responded to our appeal to erase the debt from our February Outreach and help with the upcoming expenses for Haiti and Nigeria August 15-29. We now have only $3,375 outstanding from February and we received blessings of $2,200 for Haiti leaving only $2,800 to be raised.

We know that there are literally hundreds of worthwhile ministries you can support and we are humbled by all who have counted us worthy of support all these years, not only with your monies, but also your prayers and encouraging words. We go because we must to fulfill Godís call on our lives.

We go because we can through your faithful, sacrificial support. God Bless You Abundantly, and Prosper All That You Do.

Your Servants In Christ, Larry & Sarah