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

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