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