Dear Friends & Partners,
I just returned last night from two weeks of travel and ministry in Sudan and Ethiopia. I hope to get a report with some pictures out in the next few days before I blast off again a week from today to India and Nepal. I have returned a bit fatigued with a cold and cough that I need your prayers for a quick recovery for my Asia trip. So thanks for your prayers for some rest, recovery and recuperation time.
As I write this quick email, it is Halloween Day. Tonight the ghosts, goblins and creatures from the dark world come out in force to do their "trick-or-treating!" As many of you know, I have had a life-long battle with this annual event -- especially with Christians who participate in it with naive ignorance about its Satanic roots! It is not a battle I expect to win in my lifetime since it has become such an important part of our economy -- secondly only to Christmas in sales! And the forecasts are that this will be the BIGGEST sales year to date for Halloween-related merchandise! If I had only a tithe of the amount that people spend on Halloween, I could fund all of the projects around the world I am involved with! But alas, I know that will not happen. So hungry children will not be fed…orphans will not be supported…pastors will not be empowered…churches will
Dear Friends & Partners…Just a quick email to remind you to be praying for me as I fly to Sudan via Ethiopia today (Friday, Oct. 21st). I will be there for 4 days and then go to Ethiopia for ministry. This picture was taken on the farm we are developing in our partnership with 'Double Harvest' and the VanWingerden family. It is on the banks of the historic Nile River just outside of the city of Juba -- so a strategic location to develop a farm…grow fresh vegetables…provide jobs -- and see both physical and spiritual harvest for the Kingdom of God.
South Sudan just recently became the newest nation in the global family of nations. After nearly 3 decades of war and genocide from the Islamic north -- resulting in over 2 million deaths, Sudan is ripe for spiritual and physical harvest! Thanks for your prayers while I am there. More soon…JL
The first time I ever went to Ghana, I had the usual excitement and anxiety of entering a new country. It helped a lot that one of the primary languages, after the national language of Trii, was/is English. That was great because then I didn’t always have to find an interpreter. I was most surprised that a lot of the Ghanaians have as their middle name the day of the week on which they were born. So one of my first conversations with the women was their interest in my birth “day”. When I told them Saturday, I became Ama Patt and joined a sorority of sorts with other Amas. How lovely to be included almost immediately into a culture.
The trip, the last of August and the first of September, was my 4th trip there and I found the Ghanaians just as friendly and inclusive of me as ever. J.L. and I are so grateful to the Oduros who, with their great staff, consistently sought to be of assistance, anticipating very possible need.
Juggling jetlag and adjustments to the heat and humidity, we joined several hundred students and their spouses for a BTCP (Bible Training Centre for Pastors) leadership conference. It is such an honor to be among such attentive Christian leaders who have such a strong hunger for the Lord. J.L.’s messages were wonderfully received.
Dear Friends and Partners,
Thanks for joining me for Part 3 of my report on my recent 5 weeks of travel and ministry in Africa. I hope you have seen the earlier reports on Zimbabwe and Kenya. In this report we move from East Africa to West Africa -- to the remote and mystical City of Timbuktu, Mali!
Many people in both ancient times and modern times think that Timbuktu does not really exist. That's because in ancient times most of the people who set out by camel caravan to find this desert city in the Sahara never made it there alive. And of those who did make it, most never lived to tell about it. So Timbuktu became synonymous with remote...unreachable...nonexistent...mythological. And if there is an end of the earth -- Timbuktu is it! If not, it is in the same area code or zip code!
But Timbuktu does exist. I've been there a number of times and lived to return and tell about it! It is the 4th holiest city to islam with many ancient and newly built mosques. A decade ago there were only about 10 mosques in the city. Now there are over 40 -- most funded by other Arab countries. By contrast there are only 2 churches.
Today Arabs are moving into the city and building large homes and mosques -- mostly funded by drug money. Radical Islamists are also increasing their presence and influence in the City As a result, the Christians there are in the cross hairs of Islamist extremists.
So I am especially thankful for the unique opportunity the Lord gave me to once again return to this mystical Muslim City to preach, teach and encourage the believers -- but especially the pastors and leaders.
I think you will be blessed, encouraged and challenged by the following pictures. And some of them might make your stomach turn a bit! But most of all, I hope they will cause your heart to burn with love for our brothers and sisters there!
Now tighten the cinch on your camel saddle and let's tour Timbuktu...JL