We have appreciated your prayers over the past week. Another week of activities, meetings and decisions for ourselves and our workers in Kenya and Uganda; another week of having the privilege to serve God.
Speaking with Joyce from Uganda can sometimes be challenging as the network isn't great in the area where she lives. This past week she has been travelling in Western Kenya and so we managed to speak with her for quite a while. Joyce is so faithful to the Lord and dedicated to the work of Feed my Lambs. When we first met her she was so shy and quiet. Now she is totally fearless and committed in her ministry. She has spent these past days travelling with her two children. Her husband remained at home in Uganda. I was very excited to be able to speak briefly with her little girl as well!!
Joyce was able to visit 8 centres in Western who are already using our lessons with their children. These are a mixture of Churches and Schools. New centres have also enrolled. She spent the weekend in another area sharing the Gospel with children and introducing the work of FML. We thank God for the opportunities she has had and the blessing she has been. We Praise God for the new contacts made and those who have decided to use our lessons with the children in their vicinity. Below are some photos of the weekend. You may be able to spot Joyce in the purple suit....second from left in the second photo and far right in the third photo.
For the area visited over the weekend, more lessons were needed. These had to come from our Nairobi office. I'm thankful for the contacts we have made over the years which allowed me to contact someone who works for the bus company and arrange for the transportation of the lessons from our Nairobi office to Joyce further up country. Eunice was able to sort the lessons needed as well as application forms and make sure they were ready for the journey. We have a great team!
Pray on for Eunice as she looks after the office, keeps records, marks lessons, distributes lessons, looks after the library etc. She is getting on well on her computer course and we trust this will be of help in the work.
Please pray on for the office situation. I have today called the Landlord in Kenya and managed to speak with him. There is some reassurance and also still a lot of uncertainty with the situation. Please pray on that God will sort everything out for us. Pray also that the funds needed will be provided by God right on time.
Also last week the Lord helped us as we shared in a mid-week missionary prayer meeting. I shared some aspects of the ministry with a powerpoint presentation and William then shared the remainder of the presentation and brought a message from God's Word. It was encouraging to hear people pray for us personally and to remember the work in general.
William returned to his course. He has just two weeks left now, so the countdown is on. Please pray for him as he completes his final assignment over the next few days. Pray for him also as he continues with manual work throughout the day. We thank God for how he has worked everything together for good. William has more opportunities of service in meetings over the next few months, so please pray that he will know the Lord's help in this.
I enjoyed being in the office over the past week. As well as the normal admin and other ministries of FML, I had the privilege of beginning a project which I was asked to assist in by a full time children's worker in Kenya. I will share more about this in the future when I'm permitted to do so by those who are overseeing the project, but for now I would ask you to continue to pray regarding it. I was so blessed, encouraged and challenged as I began my part.
On Friday I travelled to a town around an hour and a half from home to take part in a craft morning which is held for ladies. This was so enjoyable and I was blessed to join with them. The ladies meet together and, amongst other craft activities; they knit items of clothing and blankets etc. These are then given to various missionaries and organisations. We are delighted that they chose to give some of these items to Feed my Lambs. I was privileged to receive them. I was also given numerous Bibles and some little notebooks. All will be so useful for the work in Africa. (The photo shows just a few items received.) I was able to share with the ladies about the work of Feed my Lambs and to show them where some of their items would finally end up. They enjoyed seeing photos of previously donated items being distributed. I have included some of these photos below. It was also a privilege to bring a Gospel message using "Knitting" as a theme. God really helped.
A number of opportunities for service are in the pipeline for William and myself at the minute. For some we are waiting on further information and confirmation and for some we are simply praying and asking God for His will. Please pray that God opens the doors of His choosing and firmly shuts those which are not for us.
Please pray on that we and our team in Africa will continue to be faithful in doing God's work and sharing the Gospel with the lost.
Yesterday, Churches across the world sang the famous hymn "Facing a task unfinished." This is a favourite of mine and William's. We sang it at the recent missionary convention we were involved in and, like many across the world, we sang it yesterday in two different services. It reminds us of the great need there is to bring the Gospel to those who are still lost in sin. The task is not yet complete.
Thank you for praying for us as we endeavour to do our part. We thank God for His help this past week in meetings. We were blessed to share in a Church in Belfast and thank God for the continued prayers of His people.
This incoming week we have two more meetings. We will both share at the prayer meeting and I will share at a ladies' craft morning. Quite a variety this week.
Please pray for these opportunities and ask that God will help us and guide us in preparation.
Pray for William at his course. He has just 3 weeks and 1 assignment left... 3 years almost complete.
Please also pray that we will have continued discernment in all we do. Over the years we have been conscious of the devil fighting against us. From time to time we are contacted by people who have an unhealthy interest in the work and whose motives are questionable. The Lord always shows us and reveals the truth of these situations. However, we know that we always need to be on our guard and continually seeking Him for wisdom and protection. Please pray to this end.
Finally we would ask you to pray very much for our ongoing office situation in Kenya. This is now quite an urgent matter for prayer. Substantial funds are needed in a very short space of time and also we need clarity on the situation. Please make this a priority for prayer. We are trusting God and asking Him to work everything out for good.
As long as the task is unfinished, the devil will continue to fight.... but the Lord will continue to have victory. Whilst we prefer the original hymn, without the new chorus, we know that most important is the challenge brought to us to work for the Lord while it is day. We hope you too will be burdened for souls as you view the video and listen to these great words.
Last week was quite a long post. Today, it's the opposite. Just a little post.
Pray for Eunice who has begun a computer course which we feel will be of great benefit to the ministry. Pray that the Lord will help her with the additional work for the duration of the course.
Pray for Joyce as she has visited new centres. We are communicating via text message but having trouble with the network there when we try calling.
Pray for William and myself as we have a few more meetings over the course of the next week. We appreciate prayer for preparation and help during the actual meetings.
Please keep on praying.
Thank you so much for praying for us. We have had a great weekend and have been really blessed. For those of you who receive our email updates, you will know that we had a stand at a missionary convention from Thursday through until yesterday; Monday. This was another new opening for us and we are so grateful to the Lord for allowing us this new opportunity.
It was such a privilege for us to be able to man the stand at each meeting. We met many new people who were interested in the work of Feed my Lambs and it was so encouraging to be able to share prayer cards and literature with them and answer their questions. We also appreciate those who signed up for our prayer letter and those who assured us they would be praying for us.
We laughed, cried, remembered and pondered on many issues throughout the weekend. We laughed with other missionaries and enjoyed their company. We enjoyed meeting again others who were representing their missions. We often don't see these dear friends between these events, yet we continue on as we left off and of course we met new missionary friends. It's also lovely for us to have opportunity to talk with those who understand the joys and challenges of missionary life.
We had tears in our eyes when once again memories of dad came flooding back. He would have been there in his FML uniform and we missed him as some spoke to us of him. It also meant so much to both of us; but especially for William; to meet people who knew his Uncle Bobby and also his Granda Aiken... a man whom William never knew but carries on his name. Such a blessing to be told by a man of 89 years old who knew them that he would pray for us.
There were also many things to think about, to talk about and pray about. God's Word over the weekend was challenging. A message on the closing night was particularly relevant to us (William and myself) in so many ways and certainly gave us much to think about. It was actually a ladies meeting on the closing night and as I sat amongst the ladies in the main sanctuary, William sat in the gallery with other men from some of the mission organisations. Although we were apart, we couldn't even see each other, or see each other's reactions.... yet we knew what the other would be thinking. It's amazing how God sees the need and speaks in the same way to a married couple. Such a blessing.
We were encouraged in our hearts throughout the weekend to continue in the work. Various songs and Bible verses quoted reminded us of how God had spoken in the past. Yet we were also challenged to do more and somehow, whilst FML has grown in the various ministries and outreaches it offers and we seem to be always busy, yet, in the light of eternity, we felt that really we are doing so little. Pray for us as we seek to serve the Lord and pray about various issues and outreach ideas and burdens which were put on our hearts over the weekend.
As we travelled backwards and forwards to the meetings we talked much and reflected on what we had seen, heard and experienced. As we talked more with the missionaries we found they were thinking just like us. As we all looked back over the past year and the various meetings, conventions and events we have attended; the same story was there that very few young people attend mission events. People in their thirties are few; People in their twenties are low; younger almost non-existent. Not even just in mission events, but ladies meetings too.... so many meetings and we have been the youngest or certainly amongst the youngest there. We spoke with many missionaries and we looked around the stands. With the exception of just a couple of people, again we were amongst the youngest. So many stands being represented by people in their fifties, sixties and older. Certainly there are many young people who love the Lord and are seeking His will and who have a desire to serve Him; but it has to be said that even we see a decline since we began representing FML. We spoke to more than one missionary over the weekend who said they were tired. Not tired with doing God's work, but tired physically. Tired because of the travelling to meetings. Tired to the point of ill health. Unable to do what they want to do because of illness.
As I write I have our mailing list beside me. Just those who receive our prayer letter by post. There are over 100 addresses. Now some of these people receive a quantity of letters for their Churches, groups etc. We also have many more who receive our prayer news by email and those who follow us on facebook. No doubt facebook and email is more appealing to younger people than a printed prayer letter and we certainly do have younger contacts via these ways. However, this list still tells a story. Forgive me if I am wrong... but as far as I can see, no-one of those named on our printed list is under 30 years old. Those in their thirties are just a handful. We are very rarely contacted by people under 30 in regard to the work, to say they are praying for us. We could probably list quite easily the number of people under 30 who have given financial gifts over the years. In fact, the majority of younger people who do contact us, who do show a real interest in the work are actually people from Africa! The very place we are trying to reach.
This post is not meant to discourage anyone of any age. It is just to relay the picture that so many missionaries are seeing as they attend meetings across the country. It is just to encourage the younger people to see the benefit of missions and of serving God. Of course this may be locally and that is just as important. It is to encourage us to pray much.
Noel Grant was a faithful servant of God. We were very privileged to have known him and privileged that he was on our mailing list. Hymns and verses he wrote were quoted over the weekend and we remembered him fondly. Noel has now gone to be with the Lord. His name was removed from our mailing list.... but he was not replaced by a young person. Yes we have added to our list, but not young people in their teens and twenties. He just represents a number of faithful people who prayed for us, who have gone to be with the Lord and the gap has not been filled. So many people in recent days have also commented to us about little mission halls dotted around our country. In so many cases they are being run by people who have attended maybe 30, 50 and even 60 or more years. It has been said to us in numerous places recently that the older people have died and they haven't been replaced.
Let us really pray that God will burden both young and old. There is a job for all to do for God. Each age group can learn from the other. We shouldn't always have to have separate meetings for young and old. One of the greatest blessings to me in FML was that I had the privilege of having my dad alongside me. He was 73 when he was last in Africa. A real privilege.
We have been challenged in so many ways. The message last night reminded us to be servants of God. So today, apart from this blog and updating our mailing list with new contacts from the weekend, what have I been doing? Well, there has been a challenge to serve and our heads have many thoughts spinning around.... but today, I have had a mop in my hand, I have washing in the machine and I have potatoes to peel. Because as well as being a missionary, I am a wife. That is also a privilege and we can serve God even in being a good spouse.
You may be 15, you may be 90. You may be a full time worker, a worker in your Church or you may be a mum who stays home to look after the house and the needs of her husband and children. It doesn't matter which you are. God has a plan for you. God has a way for you to serve. There is no position higher than another. The mother has a ministry to her children in the same way as a Pastor has a ministry to his congregation. One is not better than the other. Yes, we long for more young people holding the ropes in meetings and at mission events.... but the most important thing is that you know God's plan just for you and you follow it. That is the best way to serve Him.
A later than usual update this week. Things have been pretty busy, and, whilst we do see the importance of keeping our prayer partners updated; the blog had to move down slightly in the priorities this week. Glad to finally be able to take a few minutes to write.
Thank you for praying for us throughout the past week. Last Monday evening William and I travelled to Bangor to speak at a ladies' meeting. We used a powerpoint presentation. I shared part of the presentation telling about some aspects of the work including some opportunities we have had to share the Gospel direction with children and William then spoke about our lessons, Bible distribution and Library. He then finished with a closing message from God's Word. It was an encouraging meeting and a date was set for us to return to collect items for our clothes collection. We appreciate this support very much.
On Thursday night William returned to his Bible College Course. Not many weeks left now. I was able to share in a Ladies' meeting in Dungannon. This was only the second meeting I took on my own since we married. I missed my husband! We thank God for this opportunity.
On Friday evening we travelled to Moneymore to update some prayer partners there. We used a new presentation for the first time to bring some specific matters for prayer. We thank God for their interest.
Preparation for meetings takes time, especially when preparing new presentations, but we enjoy these opportunities and are thankful for them.
Last week I mentioned that we were preparing new literature. This turned into a bigger and more detailed task than we originally thought. Many hours were spent this past week finalising content and designing the leaflets. It involved late nights and at times a little panic that it wouldn't be completed on time. William found himself repeating the words my dad often said to me.... "You work better under pressure!" It brought back memories of my dad.... but it's a true statement. I certainly felt the pressure at times. William and I had worked together on the ideas and overall content. It was my job to put it in words and then William sorted the layout and design.
Thankfully we got there and today I collected a supply of 7 new leaflets from our printer, along with 500 more copies of our prayer card. The leaflets are very specifically for different ministries within FML. In response to the many questions we are asked; they include information, cost involved and prayer requests for individual outreaches that we have. Please pray much for us as we have opportunity to distribute these over the coming week. We appreciate very much your prayers for us and look forward to sharing more next week of how this literature was used.
We've also been encouraged this week by a detailed report from Joyce in Uganda; email contact with children's workers who have been in touch regarding our lessons; and the opportunity to be asked to be involved in a very exciting project which is being led by a Children's Evangelist with whom we work closely.
Thank you for your prayers.
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regular updates and thoughts from Northern Ireland and Africa...