A few days ago William and I were reading Psalm 37 together. It is a particular favourite of mine. I remember being a leader on a children's camp many years ago and the memory verses for the week consisted of the first few verses of this precious Scripture. I remember also when we were going through some challenging times with the work in Africa and a good friend who has since gone to be with the Lord shared some verses from this Psalm with us and how the Lord had spoken to him through it regarding the situation we were in at the time. Then I remember a few days after my dad was diagnosed with cancer, our Pastor came to visit him in hospital and this was the Psalm he read. And so we found ourselves turning to it again and being encouraged by the words that are found there. We never tire of turning to it and we rejoice in how it has been a blessing to us in the past. So many encouragements even in the first few verses to TRUST in the Lord; to DELIGHT in the Lord; to COMMIT our way to the Lord; to REST in the Lord and then the promises that He will provide for us, give us the desires of our heart, bring our thoughts to pass and work all things for our good. What wonderful promises to hold on to in our personal lives and in the work and ministry of Feed my Lambs. Our God is so faithful.
We look to Him for continued help. In the past week, Joyce was able to visit 5 centres who are using our lessons and was encouraged by the progress there. Eunice has also been communicating with the School we mentioned last week and is working alongside the Teachers to get the children back on track again with the Lessons. William had a good night at his Bible College course and I was blessed at a local meeting on the same evening. We have received emails from Children's workers in Kenya who have heard of FML and we look forward to partnering with them in the coming days and encouraging them in their ministry to boys and girls.
William and I appreciate prayer as we share in a meeting this evening and then as we have another 2 meetings this week; we look to the Lord for help in final preparations.
We have prayed and talked much regarding the literature which was also mentioned in last week's blog. We have come up with some ideas and content which we feel can work. Today and tomorrow I will be working on getting these put together. There is quite a lot involved so I appreciate prayer. William will then review them again. If we're both happy with the content they will then go to the printer for designing and printing. As yet the funds are not available, so we are going ahead in faith that God will provide. Please pray concerning this.
Finally, thank you for praying for my arm injury. It has much improved and I am sleeping better, however, I still have some numbness in one finger and an ongoing niggling pain which gets quite severe in the cold, when driving, and also when using the computer for a while. I appreciate your ongoing prayers and give thanks to God for the massive improvement. God is good.
Our thoughts today are with the families of those affected by the recent terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso. An American missionary was among those who lost his life and we are saddened for his wife and family. We also remember those who have been kidnapped.
It makes us stop and thank God for His hand upon us during numerous mission trips. We realise more than ever than we need God's protection in these days.
We know that in Kenya, families are also mourning the lost of their husbands, sons, brothers who were part of the armed forces in Kenya and who were killed last week. We pray for the peace of God to be with them.
Closer to home, we know of those who have lost loved ones. Maybe the circumstances haven't been so dramatic, but the pain and loss is just the same.
As we think of these events there is much to discourage us. But today I have been thinking of the verse of scripture which says, "David encouraged himself in the Lord." David was having a pretty bad day, realising that so much of what was important to him was gone and even his own men turned against him. But he encouraged himself in the Lord.
Serving the Lord is a privilege, but it isn't all glamorous. There are challenges and sometimes very heavy burdens to carry that very often can't be shared. When speaking in meetings it can all sound very exciting, when sometimes we have heavy hearts. But we thank God that we can encourage ourselves in Him.
David didn't have many to encourage him, but we thank God for those who have encouraged us over the past few days.
We received a phone call from a lady who has heard us speak and who receives our prayer letter. She doesn't have access to the internet very much and so she isn't just as up to date as other prayer partners. However, a few days ago she phoned just to ask how we are keeping, how the work is going on and what she can pray for. She was so excited to hear that we will be speaking at a meeting in her area in a few weeks time. That was a real encouragement to us. In all honesty, we can only remember about 2 or 3 other times in the 10 years of FML that someone has phoned us to specifically ask for prayer points. There have been emails and personal contact of course, but still this call stood out.
Then we were speaking to someone whom I barely know, someone I met maybe only once before and who William has never met. Yet they could tell us that we are prayed for every month in prayer meeting they attend. That was an encouragement to us.
We shared in a meeting on Thursday evening. It was a Church we had never been to before and those gathered were certainly interested and focussed as we spoke. That was an encouragement to us.
On the way to that meeting, I received a message from a children's worker in Kenya. He had been to our office. He is so excited by our Bible Lessons that he wants to introduce them to other Churches he works with....and hopes to encourage them to enrol their children. Approximately 1000 children. That was an encouragement to us.
On Saturday I communicated with a School Principal in Nairobi. The children had been using our lessons but they stopped for a while due to some challenging circumstances. He was delighted to know that they can still continue and I have today asked Eunice to contact him and resume the lessons. That was an encouragement to us.
In all of these situations the Lord encouraged us. It brings great joy. However, whilst we often look for encouragement....what a privilege to be an encourager ourselves. To know that through us, others are encouraged. We thank God for an opportunity we had to do just that over the weekend. It gave us great joy to know that others were encouraged and excited because we did something simple.
As we continue in the work our prayer is that we will be an encouragement to many. Over the next number of weeks we will represent Feed my Lambs at 12 different meetings. It will be a busy time as William also continues with his course and we have various personal commitments also. However, it is a wonderful opportunity to work for the Lord.
Please encourage us further by praying for each and every one of these meetings. The presentation we show and the message we leave will not be the same at each meeting. We need guidance as to what the Lord would have us share and we need help in preparation. We also need some inspiration in putting together some more literature and we need God to provide for the printing of it. Through these meetings we have an opportunity to encourage others, please pray for us and be part of what we do.
This morning I have been reading an article which states that there around 3 million orphans in Kenya. According to UNICEF there are also around 2.5 million orphans in Uganda. 5.5 million orphans in the two countries we are working in. These children are in addition to the many millions of children who are not orphans. Living in Northern Ireland where the entire population (including adults) is around 1.8 million, it is very difficult for us to really grasp these figures. Isn't it amazing though that God knows each and every one of them. Every single little child is precious to Him. What a privilege we have of reaching out to some of these children with the Gospel. Over 8000 children have been enrolled on our lessons and we have reached many more through evangelism....but our efforts reach only a tiny minority of the many children in these countries. We ask you to pray that we will continue to know God's help and guidance as we move forward in our service for Him.
We desperately want and need to return to Africa and we are asking you to really pray that we will soon know guidance and provision regarding this. We have numerous issues which need sorted and we are at a standstill as to what can be done here.
Joyce will travel to Western Kenya within the next number of days to visit centres there who are completing our lessons. Pray that she will have a safe journey and will be a blessing to those she meets with.
Eunice is back in the office in Nairobi and is doing well co-ordinating the work from there.
Our clothes collection last week raised just under £280.00. Thanks to all who contributed. We are just waiting to receive the funds. Meanwhile the clothes donated will be transported to African for re-wear by local people.
This week sees our first speaking engagement of 2016. The next 6 weeks or so are especially busy with meetings. These include prayer meetings, ladies' meetings, house meeting and a missionary weekend. We thank God for these opportunities and ask you to pray that we will be well prepared and know very clearly what God would have us to share at each meeting.
Please pray for immediate financial needs which include Nairobi office rent as well as ongoing finances for ministry.
May the Lord continue to bless you for your faithfulness and as always, please accept our appreciation for your prayers.
Tomorrow it will be 9 years since this website was launched. It is a part of the ministry I have enjoyed overseeing. Many people in Africa and beyond are now using our materials or have taken our training as a result of finding us here on this website. Thousands of visitors from many countries across the world have read these pages and for this we are grateful. Thank you for being part of this part of the work.
We would like to wish you a very Happy New Year. We have enjoyed time together and also with family and friends. A break from work was good for us. We wouldn't just say we are totally refreshed as we had a very busy number of weeks in the run up to Christmas and there has been a serious lack of sleep in the Aiken household over the past few weeks as a result of quite a severe and painful arm injury which I (Pamela) sustained a week or so before Christmas. Heat and resting the arm seem to be the most effective treatment, but are in short supply unfortunately. I am turning a corner, but still limited in what I can do. Typing with two hands is painful....with one hand, difficult....but I couldn't even have attempted this blog yesterday, so that is progress.
We are grateful for those who gave Christmas gifts to Joyce and Eunice. They received £70 each and were delighted! We also appreciate gifts for FML which came in over the holidays. My injury has delayed acknowledgment letters slightly, but they will get to you as soon as possible.
We have another clothes collection tomorrow. Thanks to all who have contributed to this also. We will let you know the outcome in due course.
William spent a long time on Saturday sorting and packing some of the large quantity of knitted items which we have been given over past months. We hope to transport more to Africa quite soon.
William's achieved a Grade B in the assignment on Romans. Thank you for praying. Another assignment is due this Thursday when he begins his final term.
Next week begins a busy session of meetings. Pray that we will know the Lord's help and guidance as we prepare.
Pray very much that we can return to Africa this year. This is an important prayer request. Others things are also in the pipeline and we hope to have some definite information to share quite soon in a prayer letter. If you are not on our mailing list, please contact us to be added.
Trusting the Lord will continue to bless you.
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regular updates and thoughts from Northern Ireland and Africa...