Hello everyone! Blessings in Jesus name! So, I've been thinking a bit about the first Wednesday night we had in Mali. We met with the missionaries for a time of sharing and prayer. I got really emotional and thought it was just because of the stories we were sharing. As I've reflected on that night, I've come to recognize it wasn't just the stories that were touching my heart that night. I think God was speaking to me through the time we were sharing. I think what really was getting me was how all these Christians are meeting together in a very Muslim community. I've been thinking a lot this week about the people in countries that can't publicly share or meet as Christians. There are many countries around the world that Christians are meeting "underground" because they could be arrested or worse for worshiping the one true God and His son, Jesus Christ. In Mali, they are able to share their faith without the fear of being arrested. The Christians and Muslims seem to get along well (at least what I saw while I was there).
So, that's what I've been thinking about and praying for this week. I'd encourage you to pray for Christians around the world who don't have the freedom to worship Jesus the way we do in the United States.
Tonight, as I flip through the book of Malian missionaries that our church prepared for us, I find two names that jump off the page to me. So, here's the prayers that I want to lift to our amazing God this week. For Olive Gifford, I pray primarily for rest. Olive has been in Mali for a long time, starting out with the six rural clinics and a key person in the development of the Koutiala hospital. I pray for someone to come in and help to reduce the workload on Olive and to potentially take her place as she contemplates retirement. To go right along with this, I continue to pray for more Malian nursing and medical staff at the hospital. I continue to hear stories of how hard and how much the missionaries and hospital staff are working. I know that God has a plan, so I pray that He would provide the staff that are necessary to move the hospital's work forward. As they prepare to open the pediatric wing (when stuff is moved into the warehouse), and start a new building, they will continue to need more staff.
The other missionary that I want to lift up in prayer this week is Kelly McLallen. Kelly is a teacher in Mali. She's teaching the missionary kids in Koutiala. I pray that Kelly would be able to cover all the topics the missionary kids need to learn. The note in our book says that she is being tutored in Bambara, the most common language in Koutiala. My prayer is that God will give her peace of mind to learn this language quickly so she can communicate well with the Malians around her. Also, I want to lift up the Malian schools in Koutiala. When we were there, they asked for prayer every morning for the schools because of teacher strikes and other problems. I pray that God will iron out the problems that may be keeping the schools from operating effectively and that more children would have the opportunity to attend school there.
Well, these are my thoughts for tonight. I pray that all of you will be blessed by God this week through your daily tasks.