Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy 13th Birthday Caleb!!!!!

Well, it is official, we now have a teenager and that means we are getting old.  Caleb turn 13 on May 27th, which just happens to be MACFIE Day.  Caleb had a great day as he opened his presents and went swimming.  He thought he would be able to fish, but they did not let him fish.  I am not sure he wanted those fish out of the Lagoon anyway!!!!  Caleb loved all the presents sent by Grandparents and friends and he wanted us to thank everyone for wishing him a Happy Birthday.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Day Off

It has been a busy month with very little time off, so we decided to take a day to go to the beach.  Ben asks at least 500 times every day of his life to go to the beach.  Right now, it is POURING water from the sky and he just asked to go!  Anyway, we decided we should take a day and enjoy the beauty of God's creation and try to regroup a little before going at it again full tilt.  We have a few hotels outside the city in a touristy area that have a pool and allow people to swim and use their beach as long as they buy a meal.  Of course the food is expensive and not all that great, but sometimes you just need a day off even if it means you have to pay for it. 

The kids are wrapping up school this week.  There are a few things left to finish, but the bulk of it is done.  We are all glad for the upcoming break. 

We'd love for you to visit us some time.  We might even take a day off and take you to the beach.  It doesn't matter whether it is summer or winter, the beach here is always nice!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Time with the Team

This is the gang at Seidou's house eating lunch.

Here the gang are being great sports and eating a famous national food, even though they didn't like it!  Thanks for having a good attitude guys!

Ooooo, looky, I got in a photo!  Hee hee!  I'm sitting with a couple of people that we prayed for this day.

Yum yum!  Eggplant Sauce on Rice

We try to get our teams into homes of those that believe differently than we do for one meal each visit.  It gives them a chance to see the culture of those they will be sharing with all week. 

We were very blessed to host our annual Parkwood team.  They were very faithful to share the gospel alongside national brothers and sisters in two neighborhoods.  One of the neighborhoods is the home of a decent sized church here in Abidjan.  As these guys shared their faith with help of translators, they were also training said translators to share their faith.  Hee hee!  Sneaky, huh! ;)  In this neighborhood they had several ask to accept Christ and many more agree to come to church.  We hope this will be a boost to this local church and that they will catch the vision of sharing.  The translators have asked Mike to return on Monday to equip them to continue sharing in homes.  He'll be training them to teach the evangelism set of stories so that they can share a big picture of the word and God's plan of salvation.

Our guys were really influential in helping these translators gain confidence in sharing with those of another faith.  Many of our brothers and sisters here are afraid to share their faith or feel like that sharing with Muslims is useless.  They often feel they can't or won't change and so they don't share.  With so many from that faith in our midst, we can't allow our brothers to keep holding the knowledge of Christ to themselves.  As the translators watched our guys step in without fear and without arguing and share their faith, we hope they too gained confidence and understood the purpose.

In another neighborhood, the guys helped one of our groups work in their area.  Again, many doors were open and they did a great job.  We hope to help this particular group move towards church and maybe this is the evangelism push that will help them move that direction.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers.  In response to your prayers, God opened doors, gave bold words, allowed for those to respond and protected the team all week.  The team estimates that 200 heard the gospel proclaimed and 10 accepted Christ.  To Him be the glory now and forever!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Friends came to visit
This is what happens when Ben gets left alone with the syrup bottle.

This is the son of my friend in Vridi that has Down's Syndrome.  He is Ben's age.

Parkwood team visiting with Bamba's group

We've been very blessed this week to have a visit from a team from Gastonia, NC.  Parkwood is a church that is very special to us and they have been faithful to send a volunteer team once a year since we arrived on the field.  They always bring us stuff we need from home and a real joy to have serving here with us for a week.  They inspire our nationals to work hard for the gospel.  They encourage us in a job that can get lonely.  We'll be taking them with us to Seidou's house for lunch tomorrow.  Many of you have been praying that Seidou's family will accept this gospel message.  Hopefully tomorrow will be another great time of sharing and Jesus being revealed by His work in our lives to our friends.

I've been visiting in a new neighborhood the last couple of weeks.  After the pastors' wives retreat, one of the ladies contacted me and asked me to come show her how I reach out to those of other faiths.  We've been visiting her friends, so that she can see what I do when I talk to people.  She is already faithful to share her faith, but she's been reticent to talk to those from certain faith backgrounds.  She is already becoming a dear friend.  If we lived closer, we'd probably be fast friends by now.  It takes me around an hour to get to her house, though, so right now I can only go once a week.

Things seem to be heating up more as the summer comes our way and I don't mean the temperatures.  Because of the prayers many of you pray on our behalf, God is bringing open doors to His message.  All of a sudden, Mike has more opportunities for speaking engagements than he knows what to do with.  Our team has been finding key people we are looking forward to a continued relationship and chances to further share the gospel.  We hope that we can keep up the momentum and began to see the results of God's work in our city. 

Our Caleb is about to head off on his summer schedule of spending time with other MK's.  He is so excited to reunite with old friends and have a chance to make new ones.  Throughout June and July he'll be spending time in three other countries.  He'll get to go to a couple of retreats while traveling around.

Karis has a ballet recital in a couple of weeks, so she's getting ready for that!  Ben is into everything all of the time, so no change there.

With love,

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I am re-posting this picture as an update:  Seidou is the gentleman to my left.  His brother Isaka, is on the right. Here is a quick update and URGENT Prayer Request.  God is working in this household.

Seidou Update:  Some of you have been praying for a friend of mine named Seidou who is Muslim.  2 weeks ago I visited Seidou with my boss.  Seidou's brother, Isaka,  was there and he explained to us that has had back pain for around 12 years.  I told him the creation to Christ story and also the story of the woman who just touched the hem of Jesus' robe and was healed.  We prayed for him.  The next week he came to me and said he was mostly healed and wanted me to pray again.  We prayed again.  This week when we arrived he ran up to us and told us he was TOTALLY healed.  He also told me that he explained what happen to his friend, Mamuodou, who is also a Muslim and who also is sick.  Mamoudou came in and explained what his problem was.  He was very fatigued and he just didn't have any strength.  I explained to him that I only pray in Jesus name and if he is healed he would have to give all the glory to Jesus.  I also told him the story of Creation to Christ.  Then we prayed for him.  God is doing something in this household, so I ask you my facebook friends to pray for Mamoudou and that he would be healed and that he would see that Christ is the only way.  Before he left, he asked me if he could come back and ask me questions.  Please pray that Christ would work through us and receive all the Glory.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Busy Days

Here's what Ben thinks about picture day!!

Ben's Vridi Canal fan club

The days of April flew by in a blur.  I was looking at the date in number form yesterday and trying to figure out how I was reading it wrong.  The African way of writing the date is day first then month, so I am often puzzling out the date, but this time that 5 at the first really did mean the fifth month.  WHEW!  How did that happen?

I owe a big thank you to all of those that prayed for me during the pastors' wives retreat last month.  It went off fairly well.  Getting used to how some things are done will take time.  The very first night we ate supper at 9:30 PM!  I was getting a little hungry by then.  At every gathering here in Abidjan, a prayer session is held where a leader guides the prayers for things like confession of sin, prayers for the country, prayers of praise and thanksgiving.  The morning of day 2 rise and shine was at 5 AM, so after quickly taking my cold shower, I was wandering around trying to find a quiet spot to read my Bible (and possibly catch a nap Sshh!!) I got pulled into an impromptu prayer meeting.  At 7:30 was an official prayer meeting before breakfast, 9:00 for one after breakfast and by 9:30 I found myself led in a confession of sins for the fourth time that morning!!!  To be honest, the fourth was probably a bit worthwhile as I needed to confess my bad attitude about all of this confession! ;)  If I kept count correctly, we confessed our sin a total of 6 times corporately!!  I needed the sixth most of all as it was just before the second night of eating dinner after 9PM!!  My stomach was growling out loud and I really had a headache and my attitude was neither gentle nor kind at that point.    Note to all, the white missionary needs food at regular intervals. ;)

After dinner, or midnight snack that is, I got a call that one of my Vridi friends had lost her little sister.  She was quite distraught and I wanted to get back right away.  The retreat was out of town and finding transportation at that hour wouldn't have been safe.  I decided to wait until the next morning's 5 AM wake up call to look for a ride.  I was really a little disappointed at that time with how the time had gone.  I didn't feel like we were connected.  As we all should have been getting ready for bed, one of the women started calling us all back for a debate.  She was playing it off very silly, but when we all got together it was clear that she was honestly broaching a very serious woman's issue.  Through silliness for the next two hours we talked and were real with one another.  It was my favorite part of our time together.

I missed the last few hours of the retreat, but I needed to get back to town to be with my friend.  I helped her walk through the legalities of death in a couple of hours and stood by her side as she bid her sister farewell.  Death isn't pretty anywhere, but here, they make no attempt to hide its ugliness.  It was very hard for me to stand with her as she viewed her sister one last time.  To add to that, crying is not permitted.  Many people here believe that crying hinders the departed ones ability to pass on to heaven.   Too many tears could block their route entirely.  One of the saddest parts to me is that to the best of my knowledge, this woman died without Christ.  No amount of crying or not crying was going to help her.  As tears silently rolled down my friend's face, I comforted her as best I could.  Others were quick to demand she stop.  This is something that will never be easy for me.  I've learned new things about cemeteries here, most of them I didn't want to know.  I'll spare you the details!

As the next week played out we did some strategizing for our team.  We've been busy writing up requests and trying to get the man power to accomplish some work in the next few years.  We have some exciting things on the horizon.  Hopefully we'll be very sensitive to the Lord's work and follow well his plan for this city.

We are looking forward to a team that is coming next week.  We will be happy to have 3 guys from Parkwood BC in North Carolina.  The kids are looking forward to the end of school.  Looks like we'll stay busy for the summer too.

Let us know if you are looking to come our way!
With Love,