We just finished our annual reports which entail looking over the past year, reviewing the goals we set last year, and making goals for the new year. Wow! We have to stop and thank the Lord that we were able to see great things happen in 2018! The biggest thing was that after years of waiting and planning, the airplane was finally working and put to ministry use! Ryan flew nearly 50 hours and had over 60 passengers of various positions including pastors, leaders, surgeons, doctors, and other medical staff and national partners. We are always thankful for your prayers for safety.
Already this month, Ryan has made several flights to Mango transporting surgeons, medical administrators, and as an added bonus, he got to transport some Bibles and hymnals on one of his flights.
When Ryan is not flying, he can be found using his service gifts helping friends in other ways. He serves on a local church facilitation team encouraging local pastors and helping where needed, as well as a hospital security team and the missionary worship team. He also just finished transforming some old apartments at our house into guest rooms. This month, we were able to host our first guests; two local pastoral leaders who had come out for our team meetings. We hope to use these guest rooms for traveling pastors and ministers. Already, we have some wonderful people lined up to stay with us. Perhaps you, too, would like to make a visit to Togo? Now you have an excuse.
I, Stephanie, continue chasing around Christian and helping with miscellaneous needs. I stay busy during the week taking care of the home, watching Christian grow and learn, and I serve with our missions guesthouse leadership and help with bookkeeping at the Christian Resource Center. Last year also brought an opportunity to minister to a local girl as she navigated a difficult school year and a crisis pregnancy. Sadly, this young girl lost her baby, but we continue to help her physically and spiritually when we can. Please join me in praying for Esther as she continues her studies in high school with hopes of one day becoming a midwife.
Another opportunity to revisit my interest in serving the deaf in Togo has presented itself. Several years ago, our mission began establishing Christian schools in connection with our local churches. This past school year, a young deaf boy named Jonas enrolled in one of our schools. Our friend, Liz, has begun working to teach him some signs and his school teacher has expressed interest in learning sign so that she may communicate with him in the classroom. This week, I had the opportunity to visit the school and even had a chance to teach the classroom along with the teacher some general classroom etiquette using sign language. The schools have interest in serving special needs children, but personnel are definitely needed to really invest in this sort of ministry well. I love the idea of working with the deaf, but my sign needs a whole lot of help as it’s been many years since I’ve really had anything to do with it. Please pray for guidance for the schools administrators that the Lord would fill their hearts desire to serve special needs children. Also, pray that the Lord would make it clear to me if he would like me to pursue getting involved in this work (It will involve some beginning ASL lesson planning. If you have some you’d like to share, I’d much appreciate it.)
This brings me to another subject. This and last school year, the Lord has blessed us with such a wonderful teacher at our MK* school. Aunt Marilyn has invested two years of her heart into our girls and both Leslie and AnnMarie are doing well. However, in June, Aunt Marilyn will retire and return to the States. Aunt Marilyn’s time here has allowed we moms to apply ourselves to other works and ministries on our team. We are all prepared to homeschool again next year, but it would cause us to have to minimize what we are able to do for our team. Would you please pray with us that God might send us out another teacher for 1-2 years to teach our 10 elementary aged MKs? If you know someone who is interested, please let us know right away and we can help them to get the ball rolling on the application process.
Lastly, we have purchased tickets for our six-month furlough to the States starting in mid-May. We will begin contacting our supporting churches and friends. We will be making a trip out to the east coast in July and probably in September/October as well. I’ll plan to put better specifics into our next letter. In the meantime, please pray that we will finish what we are doing here well and that we will be able to get all of the logistics in order for our time home. If you know of someone who has a car to loan us for that period time, it would be extremely helpful.
This year our family has adopted the word “words” for our word of the year. This encourages us to use our words well toward one another and for God’s glory. May our God also give you love and grace with words as you seek to honor Him this year. We are ever thankful for your love and support for the work that God has called us to here in Togo.
We thank you always for your prayers
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST' (ESV)
*MK – Missionary Kid