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 March - April 2008

Exciting

Exciting, great, satisfying, fulfilling, anxious, anticipating, planning - all of these words describe the thoughts and feelings running through our minds as we reflect on our just concluded outreach to Nigeria. From the pulpit to the bush we were blessed with the greatness and faithfulness of God as He ministered through us and to us. Our 23 day journey saw us treat over 800 patients in 5 villages in and around Yale and be privileged to share in 7 pulpits about our work as well as teaching and encouraging the body of Christ. Among the 5 villages where we conducted clinics was a new village, Damshi. We were introduced to this village by 2 brethren who had come to Yauiri to hear us minister to the fellowship there. Damshi is a small village, but we were well received and blessed to be able to minister to them.

Switching Tentacles

The first Sunday in-country we were able to be with the fellowship in Yauiri and even though we were several hours late in arriving they had stayed and waited patiently for us under the "AC Tree" as Robert called it. That was because the sun was so hot as to be almost unbearable, yet under the tree where they hold their meetings it was cool and pleasant. The entire team took time off from their churches to make this journey and the villagers were so appreciative of our efforts. They shared with us some of their struggles and trials including being burned out of a previous place of worship. I along with several of the team members tried to exhort and encourage them to remain steadfast in their faith and witness. This is why we are so anxious with excited anticipation to return and, as one of our team said, "switch our tentacles from Yale to Yauiri."

Clean Water

Though these villagers are not of the Kanuri tribe, they are a Christian foothold in the midst of the Kanuri village. We are looking to come along side them not only to encourage and strengthen their faith but also to help them improve their quality of life. The one thing that God keeps impressing on me as to how we can accomplish the latter goal is as I have mentioned before - to bring clean water to the bush. That is why I am looking to return to Nigeria in late May or early June to set up meetings with the team and villagers to plan how this project can become a reality. I know this from my years of being in Nigeria, that what we think is important to us is often not seen with the same priority by our Nigerian brethren. Therefore, because our mandate from the Lord is to be more of a catalyst for achievement than the actual doers, I need to determine the teams' and more importantly the villagers' goals and priorities. Though I believe this is the direction that God is leading, I will not force the issue, for I know that in God's perfect time His plan will come together. However, we must be ready and prepared to move when the time is now.

Partners In the Kingdom

The most important part of being prepared is to be sure that the villagers know that we are partnering with them not doing for them. Ownership not entitlements! As well, we will need to find out the necessary bureaucratic requirements, what equipment is available, the cost of course and most assuredly if and where there is water that can be drilled. Sarah and I are excited about this new phase that the Lord has opened to us and believe that He is reemphasizing our ministry as a humanitarian outreach in accordance with (Matt. 25: 31-46) to show His love by meeting the needs of the people. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (1 John 3:17). Does this change our goal of building the Clinic of Refuge as a Lighthouse for the villagers that come to the knowledge of God's salvation for their souls through our witness and ministry? No! Absolutely not! If anything, it brings it that much closer to reality. As I said, we will now shift our center of operations from Yale to Yauiri working with the Christians there. This not only gives us a foothold in the bush but also gives us people with whom we can hopefully entrust the care and upkeep of the facilities too when we are absent. That is why I feel that it is so important that we enter into agreement with them as partners not benefactors.

Mobilize the People

Our role as catalysts was reinforced to me ever so humbly as I spoke with the pharmacist at Yale, a man who has been there and helped us since our very first outreach 12 years ago. He was taking me on a tour of the new hospital that WHO has built there along with a staff quarters duplex, outside kitchen and generator all inside a wall enclosed compound. They were waiting on the Governor of Borno State to come and commission it so it was not yet in operation when we were there conducting our clinic. As we walked around the grounds, he said to me that we deserved credit for the facility because our "coming all these years had showed his people what was needed and mobilized them to action." I have heard this theme repeated to us in many of the churches that we are privileged to minister in consistently on our visits. Where they first honored us for leaving America to come and minister to the needy of their country, now they tell us of their own mission outreaches. Many of these are back in their home villages that are much like what we see in Yale, Bazamri, Yauiri and the others. PRAISE GOD!! No ONE individual or group is called to do everything, but we are all called to do something. Be faithful in the field where God has planted you and in due season you shall reap the harvest.

Kids' Excerpts

There are so many other things to write and relate but I will wait on those in other months. However, I want to leave you with a few excerpts from the kids' reports of their journey. More will follow in coming months as well.

Kristen

I have been in Nigeria four times now. We were in Maiduguri for 8 days after a 7 hour drive from Jos. We went out to a different village in the bush everyday to do clinics. My job was to hand out candy and Vaseline. I had a great trip, except the fact that we had eggs and toast almost every single day.

Lauren

This past trip to Nigeria would be my fourth trip to Nigeria. I am always very excited to get to go to Nigeria and I am always very sad to have to leave to come home. We meet our Nigerian team in Maiduguri from where we drive 2 hours to the bush everyday to different villages so that we may show the people God's love through medicine. Probably my favorite part about being in Nigeria is going to the conference in Jos. I love listening to the different missionaries talk about what they are doing in other countries. Even though we were in Nigeria for a little over 3 weeks it felt like it was too soon to return home. I can't wait to go back next year.

 Robert

On February 17th I set off with my family on my fourth trip to Nigeria. We do our mission work in Maiduguri, a city in Borno State, which is about 11 hours away from Abuja where we land. Maiduguri is a hot city and it's even been said that Maiduguri is where "hell leaks". Everyday we would travel outside of the city and off the main road to one of the villages in the bush where we do our medical missions. Here we would pass out medicine, candy, Vaseline and flip-flops. I helped with registration. It was a long, hard trip, but I can't wait to go back again.

Thank You

You, our partners have been faithful to us in blessing us with financial aid, prayers, supplies and encouraging support and love and we thank you for it. While I am desiring to return in just a few short months to Nigeria, to strike while the iron is hot, there is still an outstanding balance from this just finished mission. We pray that you too can feel the excitement and anticipation of this new door that God has opened for us and continue to join with us in helping to send us forth into God's field of labor for our lives.

February Balance $ 6300
May Trip Expenses 4000

Your Servants In Christ,
                             Larry - Sarah

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