We trust that you are doing well and busy about the Lord’s work! Time is certainly flying by here in Sierra Leone!
Highlights since our last update:
Skills development – we had 112 applicants for skills training from Jui and surrounding communities, so we started each of the four areas with larger numbers than expected knowing that some would drop out, or in the case of the men, they would not be able to read or write, which was a requirement for safety reasons. The women’s classes are going great and have settled in with 15 to 17 ladies in each group learning the arts of tie-dying and hairdressing. The men are in classes for either basic plumbing or electrical and are getting lots of practical experience, 13 to 15 per class.
Mohamed – this special little street kid is now living at the St George Foundation for Street Kids. He is well taken care of and will continue treatment indefinitely for his skin condition. We’ve stopped by several times and have been greeted with smiles from Mohamed and the other 25 or so kids living there, ranging from 6 months to 17 years.
Margaret’s Orphans - we have simply fallen in love with Margaret’s kiddos. She is the founder of War Widows for Christ, and also has 26 orphans in her home. You would be shocked at the living conditions, but they are all so happy, and all are attending school. A group from the US called Youth for Christ recently donated 3 mattresses for the kids, but one bed frame was needed. We asked our welder friend to fix them up, and this very day we will deliver an extra wide frame that will sleep 3 boys in the bed. They have been on a mat on the crumbling concrete floor until now.
Interns from the Bible College – we continue to be amazed at the level of commitment of our 10 interns from the Social Work Department of The Evangelical College of Theology. They are working closely with the orphans and widows we serve, 226 orphans with their caretaker families and 85 war widow families.
Street Kids Ministry in Waterloo – we were able to meet with the Board of Directors of this ministry. We have such high hopes for a Drop-In Centre at some time in the future. Until then there are a dozen or so hands-on volunteers giving selflessly of their time to reach out to over 1000 kids.
Food distributions – families express such thankfulness each month as they receive their parcels. Agricultural sites are in various stages of preparation for planting in early May. High yield seeds have been purchased, and we are praying for record crops this year!
Hosetta School for Children with Mental Challenges – our first team from back home will arrive on May 3rd!!! I, Becky, have threatened to “hug the daylights out of them!” We will focus on construction at Hosetta.
Dallas Baptist University – we were thrilled to have a representative from DBU here at the Hope Centre for a week. He plans to bring a group of business students in October to help our skills development students set up marketing/businesses, etc…
Mercy Ships – what a wonderful work the volunteers of Mercy Ships are doing! We were especially blessed this past weekend to have a physician’s assistant and nurse from TX and KY in our home. We realize more every day what a small world it is. Through a friend at our home church we were able to connect with Olivia Roberts and her bunkmate, Jana. We had such fun getting to know each other!
Praises and prayer requests:
• We are thrilled to see God working in the hearts of three Muslim men in particular (Mohamed, Alhaji and Ishmael) as we and partner missionaries build relationships.
• The weather has been surprisingly cooler than expected for this time of year. It’s still plenty hot, but manageable. We’ve even had several nighttime showers. A real blessing!
• Water shortage – since we are nearing the peak of the dry season we are experiencing water shortages at the Hope Centre. The well and under-ground reservoir are dry. Recently, we’ve had water tankers deliver water, but this is quite costly for GCPN. We pray for some early rains. We are blessed at our apartment with a deep well, and we’ve been told that our water supply should hold out through the rest of the dry season.
• Our FBC McKinney team is preparing to depart the USA on May 2nd! Please pray for the 10 of them as they work out final details.
• Internet connections have been quite inconsistent lately to the point that work is being hindered at the Centre, not to mention that we’ve had less opportunity to keep in contact with family.
We thank each of you for giving us the chance to live and work in this wonderful place! We only wish we could see you face-to-face to express our appreciation for your prayers and support!
We love you and praise the Lord for you!
Tom and Becky