AFRICA / MIDDLE EAST
Missions to Africa
Diane Eliason - Cote D'ivoire
November 28, 2015
So much to be Thankful for!
1. I arrived in Cote d'Ivoire on September 12th and had a great reunion with friends and colleagues. I have been healthy and able to hit the ground running into the ministry!
2. We hired a new hospital director at the end of September. Mr. Bakary Coulibaly is a mature, Christian man from the north of the country. He has had a lot of experience directing non-governmental organizations related to community health and AIDS work, which will be beneficial to stepping into the hospital leadership role. Please pray for him, as he learns the ropes and faces many challenges.
3. The presidential elections went well. The incumbent president, Alassane Ouattara, won with 83% of the votes. Pray that peace continues and that he finds more ways to improve the economy and reduce unemployment.
4. My brother called me at the end of October telling me that my mom was not doing well. She had been in bed for a week and not eating nor taking her medications. He conveyed that this was the worst condition that he had ever seen her in. She was in tears many times when I called, asking when I would be able to visit her. After much prayer and counsel from family, missionary and African friends, I came home on November 6th. I am so thankful for the opportunity to visit and encourage her.
She had been doing better the first 1 1/2 weeks after my return. She was eating better, taking her medications on most days, and I was able to get her walking in the hall with her walker. Then she had some GI virus for 3-4 days and was back to not eating, etc. The last few days she has been better....had a good Thanksgiving with her! Cousins from MN came down and we had a fun visit and Mom even initiated singing, "Trust and Obey!" Because she has been so up and down healthwise, I feel the Lord leading me to rebook my original return from Dec. 2nd to after the New Year. I would like to get a better feel for her health trend. It has been kind of an emotional rollercoaster for me, too, but am so thankful to be here. Please pray for good days together.
5. I'm thankful for my African colleagues who are taking a big load in my absence, as well as Linda Sharp, a retired nurse who is back at the hospital helping in many ways, including mentoring our new midwife graduates! Please pray for Basson, who is interim nursing director for me, and has been waiting months to hear from the government nursing administration program. Normally, they should have started classes in October or November, but haven't even published the list of students accepted into the program! Pray that he does get into the program, and that classes start by January. Hopefully, I'll be back by then. The Lord's timing is perfect, right?
I hope that you had a great Thanksgiving! I am grateful for your support and prayers!
Missions to Africa
Dan and Esther Penny - Senegal
A colleague shared with us the story of a West African man
who recently chose to follow Christ. When asked about
what had led him to his decision, he said that 20 years ago a
man from South America had shared the Truth with him.
That seed of truth had remained in his heart until finally, 20
years later, it bore fruit. Mission work is very often like that.
We often do not get the privilege of seeing the fruit of our
labors. This feeling can be even stronger for those of us in
administration, since the majority of our ministry is with our
colleagues, and not directly with the Senegalese. For any
missionary you know, and especially those in the Muslim
world, pray that we would “not grow weary and lose heart”
PERSONAL & FAMILY
! A couple months ago, Esther strained her back,
experiencing muscle spasms and severe pain. When
this did not go away in a few days as expected, we
pursued medical treatment. Eventually, she was
diagnosed with arthritis and three compressed disks.
Pray for wisdom to know how to manage this new
challenge, especially with the often less-than-ideal
health care options available here. Pray, too, for her
as she adapts her already full life to accommodate
some new necessities (added time commitments for
physical therapy and exercises at home to try to keep
the pain at bay and minimize continued deterioration).
! In our last update (at the start of the summer), we asked you to pray for Esther as she
manages summer activities for our boys. Praise the Lord for a number of interesting ideas:
snorkeling, sea kayaking, cliff hiking, fossil finding, and a visit to an island that is the world’s
smallest nature preserve.
! We had a great time as a family spending three weeks at our mission’s beach campsite of
Ngaparou. Dan spent one week of that time working as the camp’s interim maintenance
person, but the whole time was restful and refreshing (see photos below). It was the longest
time we’ve spent there, but no one thought it was too long.
! In just a few days, our Senegalese friends &
neighbors will be ending their month-long fast (called
“Ramadan”). Pray that God would speak to them
during this time of heightened spiritual awareness.
May the Lord of the universe reveal Himself to them.
! As mentioned above, it is sometimes difficult to
see—let alone measure—the impact we’re having.
So we were deeply encouraged recently when a
colleague described us as “the voices of reason in
our lives, our stability; you hold us together.” Another teammate has stated on several occasions that he
and his wife would have left Senegal by now were it
not for our encouragement and counsel. May we
continue to know how to serve our team here so that
they can reach the unreached and build the church.
! Continue to pray for the completion of the new
bookkeeping software Dan is working on for the field.
Colleagues have responded very positively to the
reports he recently began sending out, but there are
still a number of issues to iron out, and more reports
! Pray for the safety and security of our whole team
here. No, we’re not in fear for our lives; there’s not any political instability, nor the rioting that
seems to be happening in much of the Middle East these days. But we have noticed a sharp
increase in burglaries over the last few months. Our own home has experienced two
attempted break-ins in the last half a year (as compared with none at all over the previous
decade). And at least three teammates have been burglarized within the last couple months.
Also, we are aware of at least three successful burglaries in our neighborhood recently (we
probably don’t even hear about the unsuccessful ones). It certainly brings home the truth of
Psalm 127:1 – “Unless the LORD watches over the city [or the house], the watchmen stand
guard in vain.”
STORIES FROM THE FRONT LINES
We hear so many amazing stories of happenings here in Senegal, and
while we (the Penneys) usually are not directly involved in them, they are
the result of our WorldVenture team’s impact here, so we think you
should hear them, too.
One man on our team is heavily involved in the
“Timothy” training program, a curriculum by ITES1 that is
specifically geared toward helping rural pastors get the
spiritual formation, theological training, and practical
pastoral skills that they need (many have had little formal
education). These courses are typically done in week-long
all-day intensive formats, with a number of pastors gathered
at a central location for the week of 8-hour-a-day classes.
After a recent week-long session, one of the pastor’s approached our colleague to tell him that the
training he’d received at a previous session had allowed him to increase the number of evangelistic
cell groups he had developed from six to fifteen! This pastor was so excited by the obvious impact
of his learning, and so grateful to our WorldVenture colleague for having traveled so far to help him
by his teaching.
— The Penneys
Missions to Africa
Darl and Jill Powell - Senegal
Darl and Jill Powell have experienced many changes in their lives. Darl, a carpenter and professional dry-wall finisher, and Jill, a draftsperson, combined their skills to minister in Côte d’Ivoire for a year in 1993. This short-term trip led them to serve as career missionaries. They left for the field in January 2000. Two of their three children, Ashlie and Travis, joined them for language study in France while their oldest, Ericka, began college in the States.
In March 2002, the Powells arrived in Côte d’Ivoire and settled in the northern city of Korhogo. Beside renovating an old mission house, the Powells were working on several new projects. These included a girls’ school that will train young Ivorian girls that normally do not have the opportunity to attend school, assisted with an addition to a dispensary, and a new print shop both on the Torogo station. The Powells also helped with village evangelism. At the height of these projects unrest began in the usually peaceful country. On September 19, 2002, the tensions reached their peak as civil war split the country in two. The Powells evacuated safely, but were unsure about their next ministry opportunities.
After a very brief stay in the United States, Darl and Jill moved to Senegal to help at Dakar Academy, a school for missionaries’ children. Darl helped at the school in the shop and Jill began a support ministry for the former ICA students and staff. Darl also provided leadership for two weekend evangelism events. A group of boys from Dakar Academy traveled two hours to minister in a village where more than 200 villagers came to faith in Christ through their efforts.
Missions to Closed Country
Jay and Nancy
Jay and Nancy are servng the Lord in a closed country as vocational missionaries entering the country under a work visa.