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  Check out the prayer link and ask God how He wants you to respond.  
Blessings to you all,
Orest and Grace Pelech

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Deuteronomy 16: 15   For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose.  For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.  NIV

Dear Family and Friends,
We give thanks for you, your prayers and financial support. You have been faithful in all God has called upon you.  Each morning we give thanks for the prayers, gifts and sacrifice you are making for Kingdom-building there, and here in Niger. We give thanks for those whom God has entrusted to our care. We are grateful that God sustains and equips us to continue do His good will here. 
Out of the sweat of your brow, you are busy with the fall harvest in North America so as to fill the bins and take to market the fruit of your labour. Here also, the people eagerly await harvest season.  In our travels we have seen areas of the country where there has been insufficient rain to produce any crop. In our region we are thankful to see better crops. The rains were late and therefore little harvesting has taken place so far. This past week there was an invasion of locusts which is devastating to standing crops. The good news is that it seems to be a particularly good season for peanuts this year. Peanuts here are about half the size you are accustomed to seeing in your grocery stores.  Some areas are hoping for 2 more rains to fill the grain heads adequately. The major crop is millet: it is used to make a drink called fura which is consumed in lieu of breakfast, and throughout the day. Millet has a high sugar conversion rate and is like an energy drink, but not particularly nutritious.  Pray for a good harvest.
Grace had an opportunity to speak with an educational consultant about the struggles in teaching 3 illiterate women to write. She has a new appreciation for kindergarten and primary school teachers in teaching children to write. As a result Grace has fashioned quite a number of aides to assist in teaching this skill. These past several weeks she has deployed these aides and is happy to report the women are responding positively and their comprehension is increasing. Because the Hausa alphabet is made up of letters that don’t exist in the English language the aides had to be made specific for this language. For example she used pipe cleaners to make the shapes of the alphabet.

We were eager to resume classes and fall programs after the delay created by our additional medical travels.  We used the time between trips to do additional preparation and planning for the fall. This was time well spent and will take off considerable pressure in the months to come. 
Pray for us to be effective teachers of English and God’s Word. Pray for our students that they would attend regularly and work on their English or Hausa lessons.
We have had an enthusiastic response from 3 local pastors in advertising the English classes being held at our home. It resulted in new students who are eager to learn English. We have set up some pre-requisites for those attending classes so that we can more fully meet our aims of sharing God’s Word with students. Pray for the new students.
We wanted to continue working with children from last year, but understood we needed to do it in a very different manner. This year we are do ing Wednesday afternoon kids club just outside our house. We are deploying the use of puppets, and with the help of Pastor A., we are telling the story of the Bible over the next several months. We were pleased with the initial response and look forward to continuing. The day after the last club date, 2 mothers with 4 children came to our door asking if their children can also come. Exciting! We have been brainstorming as to how best to create a shaded area for the children to sit. Pray for God’s Word to be clearly communicated and that the children would come to know and love the Lord.

Last letter I spoke about A. coming to the safe house because she was divorced and was sent away because her brother had taken a large sum of money from the community. He has since been located and returned to the community. As a result of his return, A.’s mother has been released from prison and A. returned to her mother’s home. A. has not returned to the safe house. Pray that the seeds planted within her heart, during her stay at the safe house, would continue to grow.
S., who is one of the women in the safe house, has 2 school age children. The private Christian school received sponsors for the 2 children’s school fees, however, we have had to purchase all the school books, supplies and uniforms needed for their school year. In Niger every family must purchase their own text books for their school age children. Because of distance and no school bus system, a taxi service has been hired to transport the children to and from school daily. Pray for S. as she seeks employment as a nurse and continues to grow in faith.
One of the pressing problems is the number of mental health issues the women in the safe house experience. We take them to Danja for regular follow ups and counseling. Danja is the location of one of the SIM hospitals. One woman has been particularly resistant to treatment and she is in the greatest need. Please pray for M. that she will understand that she needs this treatment. Her activities have been particularly harmful to herself and she is showing very little compassion or care for the welfare of her children. Pray the Christian community and leaders will come to learn and understand mental illness, and stop blaming curses and demonic activity as the source of these women’s behaviour.
There are many expenses related to running the safe house for displaced women and children. These costs come out of our ministry fund and our own pockets. We would ask you to prayerfully consider supporting these ministry expenses. We currently have a campaign on the website to raise funds. Please look under the tab called ‘campaigns’ and you will find ours at www.sim.canada. You may want to consider this project in your Christmas gift giving ideas.
Niger is the worst place to be a widow, not just to be a mother. Finally we wanted to tell you of an experience we had visiting 2 widowed women. Polygamy is a normal practice among people in this country who do not attend church. We entered a compound that held many family members. The man who had passed away had a history of diabetes. He had 2 wives and many children. His father the patriarch of the family had at least 3 wives and one concubine. The man who had passed was the son of his second wife. The first wife has the highest status and the status of subsequent wives becomes lower and lower depending on placement. Despite the deceased son living in this home for 4 decades, he and his wives had very low status within the family network. The widows’ roof had begun to leak during rainy season, so instead of incurring the minor cost to repair the roof, the family had asked the widows to return to their mothers’ family. On several levels the injustice and cruelty is so apparent. One, their husband had planted a crop that was just weeks away from harvest. This was their food for the next year. In their absence other family members would make claim to their deceased brother’s field without providing for his wives and children. Second, the family was forcing the women to leave in haste, with essentially only the clothes on their back and little of their personal possessions.  The children were to leave with their mothers. Third, the family they were to go to would not be prepared to provide for the needs of the extra mouths to feed, causing hardship beyond measure. Did the women want to leave? No. This has been their home for 15+ years, the place where their children knew.
To show God’s love, we covered the cost of the roof repairs. We know this is only a temporary stop-gap to their expulsion, but perhaps they will be able to harvest the fields of their deceased husband and not go hungry this coming season. Hopefully, they will be able to plan and strategize their departure, and retain those things they need to remake a new home. 
Our God of love and compassion for all people, particularly the widow and fatherless, is desperately needed in the country. Pray for workers for the harvest.
Please pray for our physical well-being. Grace has been experiencing considerable pain in her left foot after a slip in the bath tub. Continue to pray for healing in her eyes.
Blessings to all,
Orest and Grace Pelech
Serving in Maradi, Niger

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hello Prayer Warriors,

I have just returned from my one month follow up appointment in Paris on my left eye.  We are visiting Galmi en-route to follow up with our team doctor and see family.  We feel blessed to celebrate their 5th year wedding anniversary.  Several months ago their marriage was falling apart so this is particularly sweet blessing.

While here, I have begun experiencing the same symptoms in my right eye.  Again, I have returned to Paris for medical evaluation.  We have been so grateful how our medical insurance has taken such good care of me. The team doctors have been investigating the reoccurrences of this situation in the second eye and have found it would have likely happened within 3 years of the first eye, my case it just seems to be more rapid.  It is my second detached vitreous(gel sac attached to the front of the retina) in 6 weeks.  We are told to stay in Paris for one week, as this is the highest risk time for detached or torn retina to occur, so it would allow me seek medical intervention immediately.

I will take the time to bring you an update on the safe house and prison ministry.  The prison had 28 residents, for more than a year we have been the only group visiting the women on a regular bases.  We are been informed that the majority M.... religion is now also making regular visits.

The news of the safe house is getting out into the community.  We have a new resident from the community rather than the prison.  Her name is Amina and her situation is extraordinarily sad. She is 17, recently divorced at the demand of her step father, pregnant with her first child.  Her brother stole a large sum of money and her mother is being held by the authorities to motivate his return to account for the lost money.  The domino effect of the situation has struck Amina as well.  She is so disillusioned by her old faith system, she no longer wants anything to do with it. She is seeking a new life in Christ and is receiving discipleship training.

We are receiving very positive feedback on providing ESL from the local community.  There has been an excellent response to the pre registration, for which we are grateful.

Literacy, Hausa beginner books have come available to us for free of charge.  I was able to share copies with Esther, the pastors wife who is also working with literacy, and with Saratou in Galmi.

Blessings to all,
Grace and Orest Pelech

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Maradi Women's Safe House   
Currently we are doing an outreach ministry to the women in the prison in Maradi.  A number of these women also have children under the age of 2 with them in the prison.  This outreach includes evangelism and literacy training.  We are pleased to say that a number of the women have taken a bold step in faith. 

Unfortunately, a release from prison can lead to many problems for these women as they are often no longer accepted by their husbands or families.  For many women this can lead to outright poverty and desperation. 
To help these women, we have created, in association with a local church, a safe house.  This is a place of peace where they can be discipled in the gospel and learn some trades that will help them become independent.
We are seeking funds to help pay for such things as food, medicine, doctor visits, safe house rent, clothing and discipleship material.
To make a donation please go to:
Greetings Family and Friends,
This letter is composed of many short stories, I hope you will take the opportunity to read them and pray for and into the opportunities presented.  We cannot do this alone, we need your prayers and petitions before our faithful God.

Romans 9: 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? NIV

Blessing of Countryside Visit
We had an invitation from one of our students Samuel to go and visit his garden/fields in the country close to Maradi.  He was a great guide and we had a wonderful time.  The day included a trip to a village that makes clay water pots, and a different village that has a clay brick manufactory plant where the bricks are baked in a kiln, these bricks are used for building construction.  Both were using clay from the same source.  See pictures

The clay pots with the small necks are used for cooling water particularly during hot season.  The bricks are used for the construction of buildings and are more effective than cement brick in producing a cooler building.

The open pit is where the water pots are fired.  The fire is not so hot, so the pots will last for about 1 year and cost 300 cfa(local currency) each or about 75 cents.

The bricks are made in a plant, then fired in a very hot kiln, and will last a long time.  Each of the larger bricks sell for 300 cfa each also.

Each of the makers used a small pebble to strike the jar or brick to test it for a particular sound that is associated with its integrity and strength.

In Reflection
In reflection of my life, I tend to prefer the lower temperature fires in our spiritual lives rather than the very hot.  But, it is in that very hot temperature where long lasting faith and perseverance is produced.  Do I want to be a one year pot or a building block in God’s kingdom?  Am I willing to experience the hot kiln to refine and strengthen me?  Pray:  God help me be all you desire of me.

New Supporter
We give thanks for a new ministry financial and praying partner church.  As you know the Canadian dollar is weak, and the fixed support we end up receiving is significantly reduced due to the exchange rate.  This is currently causing some financial stress for us.  Please pray for this.

Men’s Prison Ministry
Continue to pray that Pastor Abdou will receive the necessary documents to do men’s prison ministry.  Orest would join him in that ministry.

Visa Renewal
In the processes of needing to get our visas renewed we needed to go to the local hospital to have an eye and hearing test.  Orest was at the cash office doing what was necessary, and I stood outside trying to reduce the congestion within.  These moments always lend themselves to some interesting observations.  One such event was watching two men carry a very frail old lady to a motorcycle taxi.  My mind was racing as to who would hold this lady onto the bike due to her weakened condition.  Would one of her son’s? Culturally, this is not likely.  Several moments passed and a young woman appears and sat behind the old woman to hold her secure while in transport.  This woman’s condition would have warranted an ambulance transport in North America.  This series of events reminded us once again of the need to pray for all the people of this country. Please take a moment and join me in prayer for the people of Niger.

Mother’s Day Weekend
Went to Galmi Friday evening.  Saturday started off with meeting a Brother in the Lord who is a Member of Parliament.  He and his wife were attending the same wedding as we were in the morning.  Sani’s sister got married.  At the wedding we sat with Saratou’s  Aunt S..  She informs us that Ousmane, a man whom I worked extensively while in Galmi, had been killed as a result of a motorcycle accident the night before.  I had many tearful reunions with many ladies of the community who had also worked with Ousmane.  After the wedding we went to the house of Ousmane to greet his widow Fatima, aunts and many family members.  Pray for Ousmane’s family.  We know  Ousmane had many copies of the scriptures and had heard the gospel message many times, but we do not know where his heart was at the end.  After this we went off to greet Mama A’I who is at home receiving IV therapy.  She battled cancer last year and had been close to death but had recovered and had been getting stronger.  She was back to walking to church and going and visiting friends at the hospital.  We do not fully understand her current condition other than the IV was to give her some comfort.  She had been drinking and not experiencing pain. So we are a bit confused.  In the afternoon we visited with a friend on the compound after a little midday rest and wrapped up the day with a birthday celebration for Samuel who just turned 3.  He continues to be such a delight and full of joy. 

Weather Report
We have been consistently having 44 degree weather for 2 plus weeks.  This year we are making more effort to stay indoors and limit outdoor activities as much as possible.  Our focus is to remain healthy and functioning well so that our ministry will not be interrupted.  For the most part this strategy is working.  I have been working on blankets (while not teaching) to be given to homeless people during cold season as well as the women coming into the safe house. Pray for a break in the temperature, local people are suffering considerably in this weather.

Safe House
“M” has been released from prison.  I was able to pick her up from the prison. Before taking her to the safe house, Esther and I dropped off two other woman to their families’ homes.  Then we went to see ‘M’s’ six year old son, who has been under the care of an uncle.  When we arrived over 10 other children were playing, but her son was washing clothes.  The decision was made to pick him up to stay with his mother rather than just have a visit. 

African Services were visiting Maradi the same day and were staying overnight.  They would spend some time encouraging “M” in her faith.

Esther has been communicating with the Chef of the woman’s prison.  As a result, they now understand we intend to provide support and assistance to women released.  We have received their strong support in our efforts and ongoing work within the prison and the follow up.  The prison staff sincerely do not wish to see these women return to prison and are delighted in the opportunity the women will receive in the safe house.  It is our prayer that the one other woman discharged will return to her family in another town, as she promised, and did not return to the prostitution camp.  Pray for M and her children’s resettlement and that she will grow in faith.
We continue to treasure the relationship that we have and continue to develop in our community.  One particular young man has been a delight to work with.  He is 16 years old Christian who is wanting to be a research doctor in the future.  He lives in the lot behind our house in grass huts with his 5 brothers and sisters and parents.  He is very bright and is in our English class.  He received a nasty injury on his shin 2 months ago.  We took him to Galmi for medical attention and necessary surgery, since then I have been doing daily dressing changes. Beside the dressing changes he then spends time with Orest asking questions of the scripture and Orest gives him a question to research daily or to ask his pastor about, then he returns the next day for a discussion.  We see him growing in wisdom and understanding and this is tremendously exciting.  May 6th we removed the final dressing and the shin is looking good.  We praise God.

Barnabas has been ranked 3rd in his grade level at his school.  He is making every effort to get to #1 next year so he would receive a bursary to go to a premier high school in Niamey for the balance of his education.   Pray for Barnabas to be faithful and diligent in his studies and continue to grow in faith.

Briefly about a family, they were here for Easter. Sadly they were in major conflict, we tried to give them a platform for them to start speaking to one another in a respectful way but when they got home things deteriorated again.  The following weekend Pastor Abdou a trusted friend whom we work with, and their former pastor in Galmi, traveled with us and was able to assist us in translation and counsel.  Happy to report they are happy and the relationship has been restored better than ever before.  They are praying with each other, and for each other, and this is binding them together.  What a joy to see love and respect present in their home. 

The stress of having Barra proved too much for the family.  Barra returned briefly to her village but is now staying with Saratou’s grandmother who is suffering poor health
Pray for the new arrangement and the renewed commitment to marriage for this young family.
Blessings to All,
Grace and Orest Pelech