Monday, February 12, 2018

February 12, 2018

We are excited because we will be departing for Africa in two weeks.

Looks like the surgery on Grace's knee went well, so there should be no delays.  There is a follow up appointment with the doctor in one week but we do not anticipate any problems.

When we experienced the first snow fall on this home assignment we marvelled at the beauty of the countryside covered in snow.  Then we experienced some really severe winter weather and it was like "enough is enough". 

Now, in February, we are in Toronto.  The weather is warmer but it just seems to keep snowing every day.  Enough is enough already.

Looking forward to African warmth.  Lots of sun and heat.  Which, of course, when we are there, we will complain about the heat, but we will not miss the snow.

In the beginning of home assignment, this was nice

This, however, is just plain - not nice

As we plan our return to Niger Orest has found the verse below to be an inspiration:

Proverbs 16:3(NIV)

3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Merry Christmas
Happy New Year to all

Orest & Grace

Sunday, December 24, 2017


Our daughter has given birth to a 3.5 kg baby on December 20, 2017.

Mother and baby are doing well.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

We greet you in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.  We pause to celebrate the wonders of His birth and the hope and joy that it brings to all those who choose to believe in Him.

We once again would like to take this opportunity to thank you for partnering with us in prayer and support this past year. We have been blessed beyond measure. We cannot express how encouraged we are by you taking the time to visit and pray with us as well. We have been back and forth through a lot of Canada. We have felt like we have been on a beautiful journey, encountering loving and caring friends and family where ever we go. I sit here breathing in all the good memories, and tears of joy are in my eyes. We have indeed been at ‘The Well’ and are drinking deep of all the Lord has to offer. It has been so sweet, and we are grateful that you have shared with us the things of your hearts. Your words, your longings, your hopes are all treasured and prayed for.

In the next week or two we are expecting to hear news of the arrival of our new grand child. Pray with us that Sara will have a good delivery. Samuel was born via emergency caesarean.

Praise God that two women S. and her sister H. have been released from prison. They have been unjustly imprisoned, and it is a joy to call them Sisters in Christ. They leave committed to following our Lord in their lives.

Another reason to rejoice is Sara’s cousin Amos just recently got married to a lovely lady in Niamey. Amos is a wonderful Christian musician and has produced several CD’s with a band. He has been working at the SIM Niamey office for the past year, and will likely be taking on the role of office manager in the coming year when the current office manager retires. Amos is a person of integrity and deep commitment to the Lord and it is our joy to call him our friend.

As many of you know I had right knee surgery Sept 13, the knee has recovered nicely, unfortunately I have now injured my left knee and the same surgery is required. That surgery will take place on February 5th in Toronto. Again, praying for a rapid recovery that will allow a departure to Niger without delay.

We look forward to spending time with friends and family in Manitoba from Dec 13th to January 23rd.

May joy, peace, and love be yours throughout the Christmas season and the New Year.

Orest and Grace

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