Monday, April 02, 2007

RETREAT TIME (and party for J!)

Today we head to our retreat with several other West Africa missionaries. We are thrilled to share these few days with such good friends and colleagues. We'll be there 3 nights. We'll be out of Blog-touch for a few days!
Since Jonathan's BD is January 3rd, we're going to celebrate his party TODAY with our friends. Didn't seem right to us to do it so close to the holidays. We're still trying to figure out what to do in the future. Perhaps we'll combine it with Lael's in the summer, or Timo's in May, or his cousins' in July. Or will continue to do it in late March, corresponding with Kelly's BD. Anyway, today, it's a CARS's the cake topper that sits upon a cake shaped like Lightning McQueen's tires! Pictures to come later.....
Yesterday was a great day in the Kingdom. First of all, for the first time in over 6+ years, there was an assembly of people praising the name of Christ in the village of Djoumahou. Some of the old faces as well as several new. I heard it was an encouraging weekend for them! A group of leaders from around the area all came together at Djoumahou (joo-mah-hoo), assisting the efforts of those faithful believers at Ainahoue (yee-nah-way) who have been so instrumental in seeing Djoumahoue return to worshipping God. Continue to pray for this new beginning!
Also, there were 6 young adults (probably all in their early 20's) baptized into Christ yesterday from the village of Aflantan (ah-flah-tahn). I do ask you to pray for the Spirit of God to do a mighty work in Fidele (fee-dell). When she was in the water ready to be immersed, as the name of Jesus was pronounced, suddenly she began to violently shake and speak incoherently. A battle was at hand! I was impressed with the onlooking body of Christ who immediately cried out to God for this young girl's soul. As she rose from the water, she was visibly wrestling with the opposing forces of evil. After 10 minutes of intense prayer (some crying out, some in silence), a peaceful calm came over her. I believe the Spirit of God now inhabits her heart and will be present to combat the flesh that wants to cling to ungodly forces. Pray that Fidele will experience a mighty work of God this week as a testimony of His Great Glory! This church is a stale church in many ways - I have been praying for years that God would show them His power. I pray that they rally to her side and cover her in prayer as she begins her journey with Christ Jesus. May the Glory of God be evident in that village!
On a personal note, it was 12 years ago yesterday that I proposed to my wife. Yes, it was on April Fool's Day! But I was no fool and it was certainly no joke! I still remember fondly the special day and the many surprises that awaited Kelly throughout that day back in 1995. I'll always remember the day we got engaged (from being pulled over by the police for "stalking"....that's a story for another time...from the long journey alongside Donny and George as we tailed Kelly in a clandestined rental car.....and the long journey all the way from Fort Worth to Jefferson in East Texas where I proposed in the gazebo in the middle of town). I love my wife and I thank God for all the wonderfully fun years we've shared together!


Greg Bailey said...

I am so encouraged by the renewed worship of God in the village of Djoumahou! Like so many of our own families, the family of God in Djouahou has had several struggles. Still, I have such fond memories of worshipping with them, and strong feelings for them as friends and brethren in Christ.

May God be praised in Djoumahou and everywhere. If we fail, the rocks will cry out!

I am also encouraged by the baptisms at Aflanton. We are in a spiritual war. The great thing is that we are assured of victory! May the Christians in Aflanton and elsewhere feel the spiritual confidence that comes from serving the Lord of Hosts! He is the loving, all powerful creator of the world.

Greet the Aja CHristians for me. Blessings to all.

Kendra said...

Happy "proposal anniversary" guys! I love that story - it's ALMOST as good as my proposal story! he!

I'll be praying for the new Christians there and especially for Fidele. Thanks for sharing that news.

Love you guys!Happy Birthday again to sweet Jonathan!! Hope he has a blast celebrating!!

laura said...

How funny that Gary proposed to me on April Fool's as well! Can I even tell you how hard it was to convince my mom on the phone that night that yes, we were really and truly engaged, and no mom... this is not a joke :) We're always so encouraged to hear news about the work there and it encourages us for the day that things will be moving a little faster in the work here. We know God will move, we're just waiting on His timing. God bless!