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November – December 2014
“I will go in the strength of the LORD God. . . .” Psalm 71:16
Happy New Year to each of you from Ivory Coast! The Lord has been so good to us here. He has multiplied our efforts and accomplished more in the Bingerville village ministries than I planned for in 2014. Sometimes, the pace has been a busy one to keep up with, but the challenges have never outweighed His grace. I’d like to share with you what the Lord has done in the village ministry over the past year.
For fourteen years, Mr. Jules Séry has directed The Alpha Baptist Literacy Center which is a ministry of the Bingerville church. Through this ministry, many people have learned to read the Bible and have come to Christ as the Scriptures have been explained during the literacy classes. Toward the end of 2013, Mr. Séry expressed to me his desire to see a similar ministry founded in the village of Anan. Classes began on Jan. 11, 2014, with the stated objective “to offer teaching in reading, writing, and mathematics calculations to all who are interested and above all to carry the Gospel to this village.” Over the year, the plan of salvation has been clearly presented, and several students have expressed a desire to learn more about the Gospel. My visitation partner, Kady, and I spent quite a bit of time encouraging new Christians in prayer during our Anan visits in 2014.
From the time when the villages first opened to us in 2007, our desire has been to evangelize the lost with the goal of planting village churches. This process has been both exciting and slow at times. Finally, on Sunday, February 2, 2014, the Lord led one of our faithful church members, Mr. Judichael Kouassi, to begin preaching during Sunday afternoon services in the village of Brégbo. We sensed the Lord’s hand of blessing on the small group from the beginning. We meet outside on the edge of a lagoon surrounded by palm trees where villagers “park” their dug-out canoes. When the service began attracting a large group of children, we added a “Sunday School” ministry for them. In this village that has been so darkened by mystic practices and false religion in the past, now there is a small, core group of believers. One lady, Christine, told us, “I’ve gone to several other churches, but now I know that I’ve found the truth.” Another lady, Rosalie, surprised us by having two wooden benches built at a cost of about $30 for the services. Rosalie struggles to clothe her children. Her sincere sacrifice which was completely voluntary greatly touched and encouraged us all.
Over the years, we have had the privilege of seeing the effectiveness of medical missions both in reaching people individually and in opening new areas for evangelism. Our Ivorian people are especially receptive to this kind of ministry. In July, we hosted a fourteen-member team of medical professionals. Their help allowed us to treat 1092 villagers with 178 making decisions for salvation. It has been our joy to form new friendships with these villagers, and, in so doing, we have had additional opportunities to share the sweet message of salvation.
- Anan – Pray for an understanding and acceptance of salvation among the students during the literacy classes.
- Brégbo – Pray especially for men to begin attending the services and for new Christians to be anchored in the Word.
- village evangelism – Pray for the Lord’s leading to those with hearts of “good ground” as we have many open doors.
Thank you for being a friend of missions. I appreciate so much the Christmas gifts and greetings that you sent to me over the holidays. You all are such a blessing to me!
For the joy of serving Him,
Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa