Making plans for year 2019 has proved to be harder than we thought! Coming back to West Africa, we anticipated more village ministry in the region where we worked previously, more opportunities to mentor pastors, participate in discipleship seminars, and organize leadership training events. But, the deteriorating situation of security in this county has thwarted some of those plans. We find ourselves in a situation where we want to be involved in village work, but we are obligated to stay closer to the city to be more prudent and less conspicuous. Although this reality is difficult and we do not like the restrictions we feel under the current security protocols, we want to do what is safe and be wise in our actions.
So, we have limited village travel, for the time being. Our national church partners are working diligently , though, even in their remote locations. This month, already, we have been able to facilitate the construction of 10 church shelters in another region, and organize a leadership seminar for a zone of churches. Although we were disappointed to not personally participate in either thing, we are still involved as we distribute funds from our Work Special account and serve as a catalyst to motivate pastors and leaders to realize plans for leadership training and discipleship.
During this time we will focus more on ministries nearer the city. The Saturday English Club, weekly visits to a local detention center, and mentoring young city pastors are a few ways we are getting more involved here. Keep praying that the Lord will clearly show us how to best invest our time, energy, and resources during this year.
Whether we work in the villages, or stay more in the city, the need is great. There are people everywhere who need to hear the Gospel and those who want to grow in their faith. The other way we were walking with our dogs and we noticed a small pot with leaves and salt on top which was placed in the middle of the road by someone seeking protection from evil spirits.
On New Year’s Eve, we went to a waterfall with some friends for a day of swimming and hiking. While we were there, a delegation of people came with a witch doctor, offering their sacrifice of two chickens, and repeated some chants by the water’s edge. The witch doctor offered Toby his business card, in case we would ever need his services. Of course, Toby took the opportunity to tell him about Jesus. But, these are everyday occurrences here in a country where so many people are still bound by animism and false religion.
Pray for wisdom as we work in both the city and country this year!