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     December 2006

Seasons Greetings

We extend to you and yours our wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. We trust that your Thanksgiving was a time of reflection and gratitude for all the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us. I spent the major part of my Thanksgiving traveling back from Nigeria and was truly grateful to be back home with Sarah and the kids after a very successful outreach.

New Villages

We began extending the ministry into villages along the way to Yale with great success. The two new villages that we were able to minister in were Kuramari and Mallam Silmiri. When we stopped at Mallam Silmiri all the men were out in the fields and the women would not come out to be treated without them. So a young man was sent to get the chief. When he arrived back at the village, he insisted that we stay and conduct a clinic there. At both of the villages the people came out slowly until they saw what we were about and especially when they saw that we were giving out "slippers"(flip-flops) and vaseline lotion along with treating them for their aches and pains. The word went out from the villages that we were there and patients came to us from surrounding villages to be treated. At Mallam Silmiri, there was a group of women of the Fulani tribe that came to be seen and actually thanked me afterward for our being there. These are women who will not speak their husbands name in reverence to him therefore they had to have a friend tell us what their last name was during registration. Coming back from Yale we passed 2 women working in the field who flagged us down to be treated because they had heard we were in Mallam Silmiri.

60% Mortality

I have told you many times as you may recall that the infant mortality rate from 0-5 years is 60%. This means that 2 out of every 3 children born in Nigeria do not live to see their 5th birthday. There are many causes of this of course but one of the most obvious in the villages is the lack of potable water. This was brought home to us at Mallam Silmiri very graphically when they brought us a pitcher of water to drink being hospitable hosts. The water was literally dirtier looking then mop water after cleaning the floors and yet this is the best they had to offer us. They were not being funny or hateful, that is what they drink. It is what they cook with, clean with, wash with. It is all they have to give to their children when they are young and thirsty aside from nursing. Is it any wonder that the children become sick with nausea and vomiting and diarrhea becoming dehydrated and failing to thrive? Do we truly know how blessed we are to be able to go to the sink and turn on the tap and get clean, clear water for all of our daily needs? What would you do if the only water you had to drink was from mud holes filled with germs and bacteria? What can we do to help change this one factor that is such a major cause of death and sickness among the villagers that we treat? God has been speaking to my heart about this and I am asking you our partners to share with us your ideas as you pray about this matter. Let us forge a plan to make a difference in the lives of these we are attempting to reach with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Dry Wells - Heavy Water

At Mallam Silmiri, the well in the center of the village has been dry for over 12 years. When the chief saw me with my video camera he thought it was a device that could help find water or cure the well!! He told us that they have to buy water from people coming through the village or go to neighboring villages or out to wells in the bush to get their water. I am told that a gallon of water weighs 7lbs. How many gallons can you carry on your head and shoulders to bring back to your family to meet all the needs for water that you have in the course of one day? The pictures here depict the literal water that we were offered as well as showing women walking back to the village about a 1/4-1/2 mile carrying water in 5-10 gallon containers that they have drawn from a well in the bush. We are Blessed!

Join Us In February

We are celebrating Christmas but February will be here very soon and we are already planning and preparing for our outreach set for Feb. 20 - Mar 12, 2007. As we did on this mission, we will again be buying many of our meds that we will need in-country and ask your help with this project. This helps us not only by saving on shipping costs but also on targeting more diseases that we encounter with more specific drugs for them. We welcome any and all who would care to join us on this annual mission. Just return the enclosed Prayer Request by January 10th and we will get you more information. This of course is the time of year when we also participate in the annual Pastors & Ministers Conference in Jos with our host Rev. Maiwa'azi Dandaura. You are welcome to come for all or part of this trip and I promise you that you will be forever changed.

                                        Merry Christmas,

                                     Larry - Sarah

                                                Robert, Lauren, Kristen