Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Here  we are in Canada.
From the heat of Niger to the cool, frosty weather of Canada.



As you can see below I had to clear snow off the car.  First time in a number of years.


I was really excited about snow removal.

Winter can be beautiful, for a short while.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dear family and friends,

We again would like to share with you how we are being blessed by God and His people.

1. We received a vehicle for our personal use for the duration of our home assignment. This was a collaborative effort from 3 parties. One gave us use of their used vehicle, another serviced it and yet another insured it. We have had the privilege to spend time with 2 of these parties. The original owners are new immigrants to Canada for 2 years. Heard of our need and responded.

2. Surgery on Grace’s right knee. Again, we are amazed how God has navigated us through the health system and she was able to get a MRI and surgery date so rapidly. This can only happen with much prayer and hard work by our Missionary Health Team. When booking in to the hospital for surgery the intake nurse mentioned to Grace how fortunate she was to have such an excellent surgeon. After surgery, he visited us and was pleased with the surgical procedure. Currently we are in Toronto awaiting the follow-up appointment on September 26th. Our flight to Winnipeg is September 27th.

During our time in Toronto we are taking the opportunity to take an on-line course on teaching Literacy. As you may already be aware, we were doing literacy training during our last term. We did it based on the demand for this service in our area and, thankfully, with the help of colleagues we did the best we could. We were pleased with the results but think we can do better and assist the local church and individuals to continue this work.

There have been extensive studies how essential it is to bring literacy to communities because of its extensive benefits. These include better job opportunities and reduced exploitation. There is great value in the increased knowledge and education for those taking the literacy and for the children of those becoming literate. Women who can read and write see the value in having their children in school and can assist them to be successful in school. Illiterate parents are not able to help their children through school. When people read and write they can read the scriptures for themselves and discern for themselves God’s word. They can participate in the church community more fully. Dignity, respectfulness and inclusion of the personhood of the individual is elevated. The church can mature more fully and can reach out to the surrounding community, offering a valuable service. It helps build bridges and understanding between people in the shared struggle of learning to read and write.

Our past several months included a mission conference in Waldheim, Sk. We have had a blessed opportunity to visit with many of our friends and family. Upon our return west we will have one week of vacation at a National Park thanks be a generous benefactor. After Thanksgiving with family, we will continue our travels, first to the Calgary area then returning to Lloydminster before returning to Manitoba for Christmas.

3. Housing: Again, we are grateful to the individuals who have made housing available to us the past several months and through to near the end of January. We are looking for housing in the Lloydminster area for February. Any snowbirds planning to be away and need your home cared for in your absence, we would be happy to help.

We have been blessed by your sharing your stories with us as well. It is our joy to hear how God has been working in your lives as well.

Now the rest of the story!


During our first term in Galmi we became very involved in the local Junior High School, aka CEG.  Some of you partnered with us in the improvements and development of this local public CEG. For those who were not directly involved we will give a brief history. There were 540 students in the school with few operating desks.  Teachers did not have textbooks. The school had not received government funds in 11 years. Window and doors were no longer functioning, and supports for the ceiling where eaten away by termites. There was only 1-bathroom facility.

We initiated improvements such as the repair, and building of a total of 134 desks, each seating 2-3 students. A second toilet facility was built for the students as well as one for teachers. Text books were purchased for teachers, blackboard paint reapplied, flag pole and flag provided and erected. The school was visited regularly by us and teachers where invited into our home for a meal and encouragement. We saw that through this time of change at the school, that the number of students graduating to high school went from 6 to 36 in the following year.

Parents who had family and resources typically sent their children away from Galmi for their CEG and High School education. This meant children between the ages of 10, 11 or 12 years old left home to complete their education. Not all situations were ideal or healthy. We hoped the improvements would allow more parents to keep their children at home longer.

Because of our involvement, the government responded initially by putting in four new classrooms with desks along with solar panels and fans. Near the end of our term the Minister of Education had written to us and thanked us for our efforts on behalf of the people of Galmi and area. We even had the opportunity to meet him at the end of the school year for a party that the teachers had invited us to.

The four new classrooms, in fact, became six new classrooms, more teachers were supplied. Parents are now keeping their children with them in Galmi. The school population is now around 1500.

We are so pleased to be part of this initiative and wish to thank all who helped out.

God Bless,
Orest and Grace Pelech
On home assignment from Niger, Africa

 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dear Family & Friends,

We have been back in Canada since July 2nd. In our time in Ontario we have had the opportunity to visit family and friends in this region.

We are so thrilled to see how Canadians continue to fly the Canadian flag in front of their homes.

Since our return, we have obtained new phone numbers.
Orest's number is 204-963-6771, and Grace's number is 204-952-6770.
We look forward to hearing from you or receiving texts. Because we do not likely know your number, please identify yourself.

Our time has also been busy with physicals by doctors and meetings with various individuals at the SIM office.

We have seen God's hand at work already in the time we are here. As you know an MRI appointment can be challenging. However, Grace was able to get an appointment on Monday evening, the 17th. This is about determining the status of the knee injury that occurred last fall. Our flights are booked for Tuesday the 18th to Saskatoon. This is where we will be picking up a vehicle that a generous supporter has lent us to use during our home assignment. In God's special way, my brother and his family happen to be in Saskatoon participating in an agriculture trade show. It will be good to see family.

Our first travels take us to Manitoba to see family and meeting with friends and numerous churches. Please pray for us as we will be on the road a lot the next several months with speaking engagements and reconnecting with people.

* Crystal City - July 23rd
* Waldheim Mission Conference - July 30 - August 2
* Good News Mennonite Church - August 13

We hope to be in Lloydminster near the end of August.

In His Service,
Grace & Orest Pelech

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Dear Family and Friends,
In one month we will be on Canadian soil. We will spend at least 2 weeks in Ontario before going west. Our final date to go west is yet to be determined. Living in the present is our motto these days.
As we are moving into a winding down of our activities it gives us time to stop and reflect on the past several years. It has been a good several years, many things to celebrate with much fewer moments of regret.  We have endeavoured to be true to what God has called us to, putting aside those things that would distract, and being willing to adjust and embrace the unexpected. To be willing to move the boundaries of comfort for the sake of the gospel, and to move them when it is necessary to protect personal rest.  We are content with the balance we have forged, with the understanding this could change tomorrow
But we rejoice. 

Here is a peek into the windows of our ministry work.
Prison:  Recently, on one of our visits to the prison, the Spirit pressed on me to take an extra Hausa Bible for the sole purpose of giving it to someone.  When we arrived, Esther needed to visit the warden’s office, so I sat and waited for her to finish the visit.  I was approached by a man named Joseph asking me if I had a Bible.  He had attended a church in his youth but no longer attended.  His life choices ended with him in prison and now he was seeking to make positive changes. I was able to give the copy I had brought. I also requested that he find a friend in the prison to read the scriptures with every day until his release. Pray for Joseph as he seeks the Lord.
Kids Club Wednesday we had two “end of lesson celebrations”, over 60 children had showed up for Kids club. We are delighted that one of our neighbours has agreed to continue Kid’s club at her place.  She is a missionary from Nigeria and also has had a desire to do Kid’s club locally.  Our second celebration was with the literacy students.  One student testified that her Hausa marks in her tailoring program went from 50% to 90% because she was now able to read and write Hausa better. Praise God. One lady who could already read came weekly so she could hear the messages from Orest.  The time was touching and very meaningful. Pastor A. and his wife R. have been an integral part of this ministry. Huge thanks to their faithfulness and support. We will miss this brother and sister in Christ while in Canada. Pray for Lydia as she continues this ministry.


ESL Our celebration was well attended. The students are given lots of grammar in school, but have little to no experience in hearing or speaking English. It has been nice to see their progress and the opportunity to explore God’s purpose in their lives with them. We enjoyed an African themed Christian music video. Orest then challenged them to pursue Godly wisdom along with knowledge/education. He also pointed out that foreign workers in this country can assist only so much, challenging the students to be avenues of change within their society.
English Books We are delighted to have been the recipients of several more boxes full of English books for our library. So awesome. The students are being faithful at reading and returning the books. Most schools here do not have any sort of library and access to books is rare. The children don't even have text books unless their parents can afford to purchase these books which are available in the market (new and used).  Country wide about 1 in 50+ students have a text book.
Throughout the month of April there was no school for 4 weeks due to various strikes. During the protests four students were killed and police intervention was required many times in many locations.
Students: Throughout the month of April there was no school for 4 weeks due to various strikes. During the protests four students were killed and police intervention was required many times in many locations.
Our particular students are good kids and stayed home and away from the trouble.  Sadly, it may mean that overall, many students will not be able to finish their programs and be successful in their departmental exams. These exams allow them to move from junior high to high school, or graduate from high school.  Universities were also affected in a major way. Pray for students as they prepare and write their departmental exams, given their reduced academic year.

Safe House: I had been asking for prayer for A at the safe house. It was discovered that one of the other women at the safe house took a bribe to spy and report on A to her family. As you can imagine we are very distressed about the discovery.  This particular woman has tried to encourage other women to leave the safe house in the past.  She wants to be the sole occupant, and therefore, the sole beneficiary of any gifts given to the safe house.  She often presented herself as a victim of the other women when in fact she was the one causing the disruptions. She was returned to the community she came from, and the pastors in that community have been given full details as to her character so they can best help her in the event she becomes repentant. Pray for both H and A, that they would listen to God’s leading in their lives. Pray that these women would allow God to heal and redeem them.
S has found long term employment with a Christian organization. We had the opportunity to discuss what the scriptures speak about parenting.  Since then she has made more effort to develop a deeper relationship with her children. Now she is starting to look for her own place.  Pray for S as she launches out on her own as a single mom. It is beautiful to see how God has worked in S’s life and has transformed her.
International Women’s day is widely celebrated here:  Grace was invited to speak at church for women’s day.  She was given the theme of Abigail.  It was a fascinating study, and it was the first full solo message she had ever given.  Grace had done many short devotionals in the past. It was a lot of work but she felt she delivered the message God wanted for them. One that was culturally and spiritually relevant for here.  The church we attend is English and Hausa. So Grace delivered the English and it was translated.  Because of the translation the 30 minute message became an hour.
All in the family: We are trying to spend a bit of extra time with the family. Samuel has been particularly delightful.  Sani and Sara are doing well, reading God’s word together and praying together. Sara has had a particular glow about her, no announcement has been made so we await for news to arrive soon.
Blessings to You,
Grace & Orest Pelech


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Time is moving on and yet again we are seeing how powerful and gracious our Lord is. 

We continue to be blessed by the number of students who are attending the ESL classes and the relationships that form though this. We have moved the classroom to the living room to accommodate the students better.  We are pleased to have over 30 children attending the Kid’s club now.  So our days are full with class preparation!  


We were deeply moved when one of our literacy students shared with us that since we taught them about numbers she now understands how to tell the time for the first time in her 40 years.  We have been emphasizing writing skills to our literacy students so they can understand the shape of letters better and, therefore, improve their reading skills.  Each week Orest prepares a Bible lesson as part of their class.  He is focusing on information that would be taught in catechism classes.


We are grateful for one of our English students who has been helping with Kids Club.  Initially, he saw Orest doing puppets and now he does the puppet show every class.  The young son of our translator has also decided to just jump in and start helping with puppets.  He actually skipped an event with the rest of the family so he could attend Kids Club.


Last week Grace took 2 people from the safe house to the SIM Danja hospital.  One of the children had an infection and A. went to see the psychologist.   A. continues to experience many troubles.  People from her past have been continuously sending curses and conflict into her life as was the case in her past prior to coming to the safe house.  Since the beginning of this year she has had 2 significant events.  Both events were preceded with a series of threatening text messages telling Esther and A. of the impending curse, even giving a specific time when A. would experience these events.  A.’s faith is still weak and her short life has been controlled by fear.  Consequently, she becomes vulnerable to the effects of the curses placed on her.


The first event resulted in paralysis from the waist down, and in the brief time she could not walk her legs became rigid and twisted.  Along with the physical symptoms there were many emotional and mental curses placed on her.  An old family acquaintance placed this one on her, he has successfully placed many curses on her family resulting in death and insanity. Every 5 months this jealous, hateful man would rituality place a curse on specific people in A.’s family causing profound grief to the family.  Pastor and Esther have prayed over her and all of them were lifted from the curses and even A.’s father, who had been suffering insanity and whose whereabouts were unknown, he also experienced healing from the prayers and returned home after a 10 year absence. 


Several weeks later a family member happened to pass by A.’s location and saw her.  She insisted that A. come with them to visit a sick family member.  Thankfully, she managed to quickly hand off her baby to another woman at the safe house before going with them.  During this event she was forced to drink a beverage that contained a curse.  A. was prompted by her bio-mother to run when the family was distracted by the person who was ill.  She managed to elude them and return to the safe house. This time they told us that the curse would transpire on Monday evening.  This time she became catatonic and she had to be examined to see if she was breathing.  Again, the power of prayer and a loving Heavenly Father lifted the curse and on the prompting of pastor, God sent the curse back to the sender.  That night A’s father-in -law died. 


Her estranged husband’s family are seeing the power of God and becoming scared.  It, however, hasn’t stopped the threats.  Last week Pastor and A. visited the police about all these matter and they were directed to UNICEF to seek assistance in this case to try to protect A. and her human rights.  The husband is now willing to divorce A. but continues to demand money that he is not entitled to by any law, he is trying to avoid the court system.  With UNICEF on the case we hope this matter will be settled shortly after the time of mourning for her father in law.  A. was forced into an unloving marriage as a young girl.  She was treated poorly as third wife and essentially was required to do the bidding of the first and second wife.  She has suffered greatly under this situation.  She longs to return to her education and become a teacher.


Please pray for A. and her grandmother, who are both believers.  Also pray for both her bio father and mother, along with the estranged husband’s family members, that they too would come to know Jesus as Lord.


We are seeing God transform lives in many different communities in Niger.  The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Is God calling you?


We are busy making preparations for our home assignment starting July 1st.  We will be spending 10+ days in Toronto upon arrival.  We are anxious to see family in Manitoba until the end of July.  July 30 to August 2nd we will be participating in the Waldheim Mission conference. Following that we will be in a variety of locations.  Grace’s mother has experienced some health challenges, particularly in the past year.  We look forward to visiting with many of you and catching up on news.  Already we have housing and the use of a vehicle while in Lloydminster.  We are particularly looking for a vehicle from July 13 to late August, if you have something available we would love to hear from you. This is for the Manitoba Saskatchewan area.


Thank you for your faithful prayers and support.

Orest and Grace

Monday, January 30, 2017

Dear Friends and Family,
We wish to begin by telling you the wonders of our God. He continues to astonish and amaze us in how He looks over every detail of our lives and needs.
I would like to start at the Hausa Christmas morning service.  The children’s skit was a keen reminder of the events of that first Christmas.  The children representing the Wise men and shepherds as they came to greet the new born baby surrounded “Mary” and the “baby Jesus”.  Then the “hosts” of heavenly angels crowded about and packed themselves in close to the central characters of the play.  It was so beautiful.  All these people longing to be close and pressing into the Messiah.  The scene gave me much to reflect upon.  How do I “press” into my Messiah?  Am I aware of the unseen angels sent by my Heavenly Father who protects and guides me daily?  Am I aware of the holy presence of God in my life?
Nothing answered these questions more clearly than the events on January 2nd.  We were travelling to Niamey for the annual SIM Spiritual life conference. Halfway through our journey our car came to a grinding halt on the road.  The drivers’ front tire was sitting askew under the car.  Initially it looked like a broken axle.  Very soon 5 men appeared from the village just off the road a few hundred metres, and they assisted us in moving the car off the road to a dirt side road.  Orest paid them for their assistance and then they proceeded to be our guardians for the remainder of the day.  They brought several mats from the village and placed them under a shade tree so that we and our 4 passengers could rest and wait for the mechanic to come.  One of the SIM team cars was behind us, so they stopped at the closest town, and arranged for a mechanic to come and make the necessary repairs.  Upon arrival he ascertained we needed a welder to make the required repairs.  We continued to wait and wait.  Orest inquired about the delay only to discover the welder had not left because he needed a guarantee of payment before he left for the work.  He was reassured he would get paid, but we still waited another hour for him to arrive.  Hence, it was dark when he started work.  He welded what looked like the frame back together, but not the axle as we at first expected.  At 8 pm we were able to restart our journey.  It is SIM policy to not drive in the country at night, but we did not have a choice.  There are no motels or hotels along the road.  The journey was challenging to say the very least.  We arrived in Niamey, at the guesthouse, at 1:30 in the morning.
But this is not the end of the story.  We had four passengers and we are grateful that another SIM vehicle was able to take them to Niamey.  As we waited for their arrival, we played Phase 10 under the tree while our guardians watched over us.  We longed to share the gospel with our new friends, but this is done here through long relationships not a chance meeting on the side of the road.  But what does God do.  He makes a way for His message to be delivered to these men.  The welder arrived in a bush taxi, carrying his gas tank and welding equipment.  This particular taxi kept all his windows and doors open and the radio blasting at full volume.  After a few songs were played the regularly scheduled Christian programing came on and the local pastor was talking about the events of Jesus’ birth and that Jesus is our Messiah.  The men of the village sat there and listened.  What a wonderful answer to prayer.  We indeed felt we had been surrounded by a host of unseen angels.  We were distressed having to drive at night but at no other time would this radio program have been delivered.  Our broken car was God’s instrument of good news to this unreached village.
Still it is not the end of the story.  This year at conference for the first time ever, 2 mechanics came from the U.S. to bless missionaries with servicing and checking of their vehicles.  We, of course, signed up for the service.  For your information we drive a 2003 Rav4 that was shipped to Africa, it originated from Massachusetts and we purchased it in 2014 when we arrived in country.   When the mechanics examined the work done road side, they were astonished we had made it to Niamey at all.  We were told that the sub-frame of the car was unsafe and needed to be replaced or we needed to purchase a new car. We went to a local mechanic, Tony, who came highly recommended to get the repairs done.  He sent his scouts looking in wrecking shops for a replacement part, but they found none.  The next day we received a call that a brand new replacement sub-frame had been found and that we needed to come and look at the new part.  When we arrived we saw the old one that had been removed.  It was clear that for the past 2.5 years God has protected us every mile of the way.  The rust from salted roads in Massachusetts, and old repairs from an accident prior to our ownership, had seriously compromised the safety of this vehicle.  In total the motor mount, bushings, and the sub-frame all needed to be replaced.  
We are grateful to be the receivers of such mercy, kindness, and protection from God.  Unseen angels were rejoicing with us.
We love one of our Facebook friends’ response, and I quote Len B: “So you’re telling us that there just “happened” to be a brand new sub-frame for a 14 year old vehicle just sitting in the middle of Africa to fit your vehicle?  Oh ya, you’re right.  That is so far out of the ball park it is nothing short of a miracle!”
Can you image our great Father sitting in stitches all these years waiting for this day to happen, since He arranged for said sub-frame to be delivered to Africa so long ago?
Oh my! Just tell me our God doesn’t plan our future, Wow, just Wow.”
Blessings to you.
Grace and Orest

Monday, December 5, 2016

Dear Friends and Family,
Peace and grace be yours in the name of Jesus our Lord.
From the day we sent you the last letter I have been gathering tidbits to share with you.   Now I am faced with condensing them into a readable form. 
Last month we shared about classes and the various women at the safe house and gave you many prayer points.  God is faithful and trustworthy.  Immediately, we received answers to prayers.
S, the women with 2 children, has received her documents to resume work as a nurse.  She has found work in Dakoro, along with a place to stay.  However, her children remain at the safe house for now to attend school. 
We asked you to pray for A who had not returned.  Within a day or two of the letter she did return, very ill suffering from severe malaria and typhoid.  Because of her new faith in Christ her family and ex-husband refused to provide the basics of life to her, despite her late stage of pregnancy.  She was 9 month 13 days pregnant when she arrived back.  We immediately took her to get medical attention.  She was hospitalized, and once the medication for her urgent medical conditions were effective, the baby was taken caesarian.  Baby Moise arrived into the world October 17th.  He has delicate features but he is healthy. 
Over the past month A’s elderly aunt has remained by her bedside as a helper.   To make things worse, A’s ex-husband has filed a lawsuit against her for ½ of the bride price.  If you remember, A’s step father demanded a divorce and sold all of A’s personal property to pay for her brother’s debt.  A is penniless except for the cloths on her back.  Pastor had a long encouraging talk with A telling her to speak boldly in the court about the events this past year.  Praise God A has received a kind defense attorney.  The final decision went in her favor: she does not have to repay the bride price and the father of the baby was ordered to pay for the medical treatment.  It is generally understood that by not providing her the needed medical attention his action demonstrated he was wanting her and the unborn baby dead.
On November 6th the baby is being named Moses, or as in Niger Moise.  This was part of a church day service that included 11 baptisms and Pastor Appreciation.  The service was over 4 hours long and it included a hot meal at the end.  The pastor received many gifts including a live turkey.   Curiously the turkey was hobbled and sat quietly up front of the sanctuary for the last hour of service. 
The aunt briefly returned to the community telling people we Christians have treated A with much love and compassion.  They are astonished that we do not force people into our religion and that we are good and kind people.  She is interested in coming to our church and seeing more.  A cousin has come to visit and was glad to hear all the good reports and she too is interested in knowing more about this loving God.
 The young refugee girl at the safe house has begun her training to become a tailor.  She is excited and eager to learn this trade, it will give her an opportunity to provide for herself and her son in the future.  There had been a potential suitor, however, she put the matter before the Lord and as a result has ended the relationship.

I have been doing a ministry review of the safe house with Esther so we can understand each other’s expectations, and see how God is working through this ministry.
Thank you for your faithful prayers.
Good news from the women’s prison.  Two more women have turned their lives to Jesus.  One of the women was a part of a family that was involved in revenge killing.  She saw that hate and bitterness was killing her and her family and she wanted that to end in her life.  Pray for U and M and their new faith in Christ. 
With a full schedule, each week we have many opportunities to share the gospel with our students. Over the course of the week we are engaged in relationships with over 60 students and individuals. We rejoice that we are given this opportunity to speak into the lives of children, youth and adults in Niger. Grace was moved to tears this week during the beginners' literacy class. These individuals are making great progress in their writing skills. So proud of them, their persistence and perseverance is paying off. Please pray for one young woman A, she is 16 eyars old, and has failed out of the public school system. We have been working with her to teach her to read and write in Hausa, since this is the language she speaks. We had an educational consultant come in and provide us with suggestions. Sadly, she has profound learning disabilities that prevents her from being able to consistently read even 2 letter words. We are working with her mom, also a literacy student, to be her helper and make some special learning tools for them to work with at home. The English students are making great progress, so we are doing the occasional Thursday night English movie night at our home. We had a great response to the film "Season of Gray", an adaptation of the story of Joseph to modern times in rural U.S.
Oct 27th we purchased plane tickets for home assignment next year.  We found an outstanding saving such that both of us are flying for the price of less than one ticket.  July 1st 2017 we depart, and will be flying to Toronto first.  We will likely spend some time doing medical checkups in Ontario before heading west.  We are so excited, and look forward to seeing you all once again.
Are you considering missions?  Consider Niger or other countries where people have not had the opportunity to hear the gospel. Check out the www.joshuaproject.net.  Check out the prayer link and ask God how He wants you to respond.  
Blessings to you all,
Orest and Grace Pelech