Monday, December 14, 2015

Greetings Dear Friends & Family,

We echo the message of the angel over 2000 years ago.

"Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom His favour rest."
Luke 2:14

The prison ministry team have been burdened about the women being released from prison.  Most of the women have been divorced while in prison and returning to family is often not an option. Once again we see God’s hand at work. A place has been made available to start a safe house for women being released.  This will allow for ongoing discipleship to new believers and provides a safe environment to transition back into the community.
Pray this will be ready soon.
Each weeks visit to the prison presents new and interesting experiences.  On one occasion we had been talking with the women about prayer when an inmate came in crying. The crying quickly turned to wailing, telling the women in the room, that we are messengers’ from God with the message of salvation for them. She was begging to leave the prison because of God’s presence there, which did not allow her to worship her idol.  She became very disruptive and like Acts16:18 we prayed over her to be silent.  She immediately became calm and fell asleep. In our subsequent visits she has been quietly attentive to what we had to say.  She was likely possessed by an evil spirit that controlled her.  Due to the nature of her crime she will likely be in prison a long time and this same evil spirit likely contributed to the events that brought her to this place.
Several to the woman have been released, we are happy to report one of the three returned to her father’s house, however, two others were claimed by the Madam from the prostitute camp.  We have gone to the camp this past week and were able to visit with one woman. The other one was out at the time.  It was bizarre to be greeted by name by one of the first men we encountered.   I mentioned him in a previous letter as K. who was causing problems at our home compound. He is the son of our guard and has caused them, A and S, much sorrow.  Pray for K. as it appears he seems to call the prostitute camp area home.
Interestingly, several of the same male inmates are always close to the entrance where we go into the women’s section.  They recently have asked us for a Bible and we were able to supply their request; they said that they had previously attended Church or raised by believers. Currently there is no one serving the men’s side of the prison.  We can only have brief conversation with these inmates, but the team is able to encourage them weekly.
Pray for return visits to the prostitution camp and opportunity to give the message of hope and freedom in Christ. Pray for all the people trapped in this life and the courage to start a new life.

Pray that a local Christian man would respond to the opportunity to go into the prison on a regular basis to minister.

Over the past month, both Orest and I have had malaria. 
I did a course of treatment, Orest’s case was milder and the symptoms were treated as they appeared.
-Thank God, for He is the Great Physician and we have recovered.
At this time we have 11 ESL or literacy classes we are preparing for each week.  Every class involves using the scriptures.  Several have discipleship training as part of the program.  The classes are being well received and seem to be enjoyed by the participants.  We are enjoying making new relationships in the local community.  We are planning a Christmas party in two weeks, when we will invite everyone for an evening of watching the film “The Nativity”.
Pray for our Christmas party and that God’s Word will minister to the hearts of our students.
The first week of December is already gone and there is definitely a chill in the air here. Night time temps dip down to 15 degrees with daytime up to 30.  This is accompanied with strong winds, which means dust, and lots of it.  Daily the house needs to be wiped down because of the fine particles that settle on everything.  We look outside at the limited visibility, hear the wind howl, and we are reminded of snow storms.
On the 24th and 25th we will be preparing a large amount of food for the unbelieving neighbours of the church, as well as the entire prison.  We are hoping we will be able to have all the inmates come out to the common area, where Pastor Benji will give them the message of Christmas.  We will be in Galmi for the 26th and 27th to celebrate Christmas with our family.
Pray for many people to have the opportunity to hear God’s message over this Christmas season.
December 18th is the celebration of independence in Niger, and this year’s celebration takes place in Maradi.  The city has been busy preparing for the past several months.  Road improvement, street lights, and general facelifts.  It has made movement about the city very crazy and new road closures happen daily without notification.  We look forward to the completion of work, but grateful that the city can benefit from these improvements.  We will be attending some events with a couple who are our ESL students so we can learn and understand the significance of the events.
Pray for peaceful joyful celebrations to take place.  This morning in church we were reminded by church leaders that the officials are concerned that people may try to take the opportunity during this celebration to be disruptive.
Pray for events the churches are hoping to host during this celebration to bring the Good News to the visitors of the city.
As rivers dry up in the east part of the country it will once again make it easier for the B. H. troublemakers to enter into Niger.
Pray for the military forces to be diligent and united in its resolve to keep such individuals from entering Niger.
Pray as Orest has contact with a man who may be able assist in setting up some men’s ministries in Maradi.
Blessings to You All,
Grace & Orest Pelech