Tuesday, January 15

*We've been without internet access for a couple of days, so here is the lowdown from Tuesday...*

What an awesome day! God continues to surprise and amaze us...

Emmanuel picked us up this morning (on time!) shortly after 8:30. We headed to the orphanage and enjoyed morning hugs and kisses from all the kids. Julie settled down with Sarah, our new nurse, while Carol and Nicole hauled suitcases of teaching supplies to the school for our two-day teachers’ conference. Allan, Brian and Jana accompanied Emmanuel to Harbel, a sister congregation on the Firestone plantation. A brief rundown...

According to the Harbel team, they had an amazing day. Abraham, the pastor of the church, is a brilliant, committed man who is passionate about his community. They have a small school that currently meets in the church, and a makeshift foster-care system of families in the church who have taken in eighteen orphans. However, the need is much greater than the congregation can support and the families who have taken in children are stretched very thin. Abraham is also a farmer, and he desperately wants to make his small plot of land fruitful and sustainable. Lots of brainstorming took place, and Brian and Allan (both midwestern farmers at different points in their lives) loved the ensuing dialogue.

Julie reports that Nurse Sarah is AH-MAZE-ING. A wonderful woman with a solid understanding of health care and a deep love for the kids, she is the perfect fit for our Christ Our Hope nurse. Julie was also thrilled that they seem to have much in common and shared a vision for the children’s medical files and long-term care. They were able to check the vision of all the girls at the orphanage, and tomorrow Jana will take over the role of recorder as Sarah tests the boys while Julie attends an embassy appointment. Apparently the children loved having their vision tested and were great “helpers” for Julie and Sarah. Wonderful stuff!

As for the teachers’ conference, thank you so much for the prayers! It so far exceeded my hopes and expectations! The twelve teachers at Vine School System of Christ are every synonym for fantastic you could possibly imagine. Funny and sensitive, compassionate and dedicated to their craft, they are an absolute dream team. Carol and I have no doubt that the children are receiving an excellent education, and we thoroughly enjoyed sharing with them today. We covered ethics and learning styles, and also learned much about the teachers individually. I can’t tell you how much I love these people. So looking forward to spending more time with them tomorrow!

After a long day we took an hour and a half break and escaped to the Golden Key for some air-conditioning and food we recognize (i.e. burgers and pizza and shwarmas, oh my!). Then it was back to the compound for the evangelism service where we were blown away by the worship and Emmanuel’s heart-stopping sermon. The man can bring it. Goosebumps in 90 degree weather, people.

Thanks for praying! I’ll close with a few lines of encouragement that Emmanuel kept coming back to in his message this evening. I wish you could have heard it all, but I hope even this small portion translates: You were created for a purpose. You know the One who has sent you and you know what He is asking you to do. Do not allow yourself to be tempted by food, money, power, anything! Be steadfast in your resolve, and focus your eyes on the Sender. Do not compromise your mission.

I think that might be my personal motto this year: Do not compromise your mission.

Grace and peace,