Prayer Letter/Ministry Update
John 15:16a “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.”
Rokia, a young woman in her twenties, came to our hospital in 2008. She was fighting cancer, and it seemed to be a losing battle. During one of her hospitalizations, for several days her life hung in the balance. Rokia’s heart beat at a rapid rate of 140 to 160, and she struggled to breathe and maintain adequate oxygenation, as her cancer had seemingly spread to her lungs. She had multiple operations and 15 blood transfusions. Above her hospital bed was a sign that read: “Keneyali be soro Yesu fe” – “Healing is found in Jesus”. During those days we prayed for Rokia, and told her about Jesus. Her husband gave her permission to accept Christ (women usually only make such a weighty decision with approval from their husband or father). So during those days where she just barely hung on to life, she prayed to accept Christ. A few days later, her husband also put his trust in Christ.
God brought not only spiritual healing to Rokia, but also physical healing. She made it through those precarious days and received chemotherapy. She followed up with us regularly for several months afterwards, and it seemed as if the cancer was beat. We connected Rokia and Adama to a church in a village not far from them, since there was no church in their village. Once Rokia was well, she didn’t have reason to make the long trip from her village to our hospital. I kept Rokia on my prayer list, praying for her and Adama, and as I prayed, I often wondered how they were doing. Had their lives really changed as a result of their decision for Christ? Was Rokia still alive and well?
Fastforward 4 years. A man comes to the hospital from a village, bringing with him a friend whose young daughter is ill. This little girl, Adjara, was diagnosed with cancer and began a long hospital stay to receive chemotherapy. The man continues to visit from time to time, checking in on Adjara. I see him on one of these visits; he looks very familiar to me, but I struggle to place him. He comes to my office, and begins to talk about Rokia. It’s Adama, Rokia’s husband! He says she is doing very well. Now there is a group of believers meeting in their own village. They don’t have a pastor or a church building, but their group has grown. Adama is helping the leader of that fellowship of believers with plans to build a building where they can meet.
A few months later (in April 2013), Adama comes again, but this time not with Adjara’s family, but with his wife! Rokia and Adama come with arms full of gifts (bananas and onions) to thank us. Rokia has a broad smile. She sits in my office, and I tell her it is a miracle she is alive. But the blessing that is even greater than her health is that she continues to follow Jesus. She and her husband are actively involved in their church. Their joy in Jesus is evident. They testify to others in their village about Christ, and what He has done in their lives.
We plant many seeds at the hospital. Everyday, our chaplain shares the gospel. Patients and families watch the Jesus film. Our missionary and Malian staff interact with patients, often taking opportunities to pray with a patient or to share Christ. Relationships have been built, and Christ is being proclaimed, but fruit doesn’t come quickly. But God IS growing those seeds, and those seeds are growing and bearing fruit to plant more seeds.
Thank you for helping me plant seeds in Mali! Pray that those seeds will continue to grow and bear fruit, fruit that will last.
A personal update
Many of you have prayed for my dad over the past few months…THANK YOU! God has been answering your prayers. I was privileged to have 2 months at home. Shortly after my April update letter, the oncologist told my family that he thought my dad didn’t have much time left here on earth and not to expect any improvement, so I quickly made arrangements and arrived in the US in mid-April. At that point, my dad was wheelchair bound, incredibly weak, and could speak very little. Over these past 2 months, after stopping chemo, he has begun to regain strength and now gets around with a walker, he can speak again, and his sense of humor has returned! It seems that the cancer has regressed, but it is a kind of lymphoma that frequently recurs. We don’t know what the future holds, but our hope is in Christ. I thank God for special times with family! I head back to Mali tomorrow.
Planting seeds in Mali with your help,
Prayer Requests/Answers to Prayer
1. Pray for Rokia and Adama, that God will continue to use them in their village, including in the lives of Adjara’s family who don’t yet know Christ. Adjara was recently discharged after several months of treatment, and she is doing well.
2. Praise God for 16 new believers at our April prison outreach. Pray that these men will grow in their faith.
3. Pray for a good rainy season. Pray for peace in Mali; elections take place in late July.
4. Pray for wisdom to work well through some challenges among staff at the hospital.
5. Praise God for wonderful time with my family, and especially my dad. Pray for continued strength and healing for him.
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