PET carts

One day this spring, while walking through our Women’s Ward, I noticed a woman who was paralyzed from the waist down and had been admitted to the hospital for a simple infection. Her hands were calloused with thick leathery skin and she explained to me that she cares for her family and her home by scooting across the room with her hands. She had an active child playing by her bedside and I couldn’t begin to imagine how she was able to run a home and keep up with a toddler all with limited mobility. We talked some more and arranged for a follow-up visit at the hospital a few weeks later for a potential solution to her problem of mobility.

Several years ago a missionary family became interested in “Personal Energy Transportation” carts or simply “PET Carts,” which are hand-cranked transportation devices for the disabled. Items like traditional wheelchairs and crutches are difficult to use in areas without paved roads or level terrain, so often the disabled are home-bound and isolated from society.

Thanks to these missionaries’ interest, and some generous donors, our hospital received a large shipment of PET carts just a few weeks before this woman’s hospital visit! I quickly recruited a volunteer PET cart team to assemble the device and then we waited for the woman’s follow-up visit.

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When the day came, the woman was dressed in her best clothes and smiling ear to ear in anticipation. We began by explaining all the features of the cart followed by a personal demonstration by yours truly. Next, we helped her onto the cart and watched as she quickly learned to pedal, steer, and brake by herself. After reviewing the safety features once more, she was ready to return to her town as a newly independent, and mobile, member of society.

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Honoré Afolabi received one of the PET carts for a gentleman in his Lomé neighborhood.  The man agreed to do a short Bible study with Honoré and he also accepted a French Bible.  Honoré was able to walk him through The Story of Hope study. Without being told to, the man decided to take notes and write down the verses to read them again at home.

By the grace of God, on the afternoon of Monday, June 26th, he accepted Christ as his personal savior! We give God the glory for his saving grace. Please pray for him as he expressed the desire to continue the Bible study.

-by Kristi Tebo and Honoré Afolabi

Test Flight

Almost 2 years ago, the 1964 Cessna 206 was sent back to the States for some much needed tender love and care. We are pleased to report that N5180U is in the last stages of her total refurbishment, and she is looking good! She just completed her first test flight!

Please pray:

  • For our mission will be able to get NGO status before the airplane arrives. NGO status is granted to non-profit organizations and it gives us certain tax cuts that will make it much easier to get our airplane back into the country without having to pay astronomical taxes.
  • Almost all of the funding has come in to complete this project. Ten thousand dollars is needed for its completion and to finally get the plane back to Togo. Contributions can be made to account number  at www.abwe.org/give

 

-Shared by The Stoners and Buczaks

Students at the Village of Light

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This sweet kindergartner is shy girl who is new to our school this year. She grew up in a Muslim household. Last year her mother became very sick and was admitted to our mission hospital. There, she was told about the good news of Jesus and started a relationship with Him. This student and her sister also decided to follow Jesus. Because her mother chose to become a Christian, her husband and family rejected her. She is now raising her daughters by herself. While her mother was in the hospital, some fellow missionaries told the family about our school for the blind. They were thrilled and this 11 year old has adjusted very well to life here at the Village of Light. She is learning more and more about faith in God and has a sweet love for Jesus. She is also very smart and is learning Braille and French well. Please pray for her family that they would also know the love of Jesus and be reconciled.

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Simeon is a very intelligent student from the capital city of Lome. He lost his sight when he was born, but that doesn’t keep him from learning all he can. Simeon is 13 years old and graduates this year from our school.  He plans to continue his studies in the local middle school. Please pray for Simeon that he will understand more of the love and grace God has for him. Pray for strong Christian men to pour into his life after he has graduated from the Village of Light.

19732137_1408482985894148_5002753570948063444_nKossi is a hardworking 5th grade boy who loves to play soccer. He comes from a very poor family who cannot support him. His father died in 2014 and Kossi is praying that after he completes school he can get a job to provide for his family. He hopes to become a secretary when he graduates.  Kossi came to know the Lord with a former chaplain, Mr. Woaku in 2011. Since he became a Christian, he says has felt free from the sins that used to control him.

Yay! I’m a llama again…

Have you seen the Disney feature The Emperor’s New Groove? It’s a favorite in our family – mostly for the humor, but there are often truths to be identified even in cartoons. The story is about a selfish Emperor who must learn the lesson of considering people other than himself. Early in the film he is accidentally turned into a llama by a careless villain, and most of the storyline involves him trying to find a way to become human again. Near the end of the movie he finds the potion for just that, but it’s unlabeled among other potions for becoming all sorts of animals. So, while running around and trying to escape the villain, he tries one potion after another. He becomes a turtle, a parrot, and a whale before turning back into a llama. Here he exclaims, “Yay! I’m a llama again! …wait….”

What does that have to do with life? Missions? Togo? Well, most of you know that we spent a year at a language school in France before moving to Togo. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, but it was also very difficult. Europe was far more foreign to us than we anticipated and everything that had never seemed like a big deal was suddenly trying (like buying food). Now we’ve been in Togo for half a year and have encountered similar challenges in a whole new context. God has certainly given us grace throughout all of this and continues to remake us in His image. Yet, the strangest thing has been occurring. We recently were in the country’s capital city for groceries when we drove past a store that we recognized. Amid a foreign people who speak foreign tongues in a foreign culture in a foreign country on a foreign continent, we saw a store – a brand – that we knew. We were suddenly overcome with the warmth of home. For a moment, we felt the comfort and safety of familiarity. It was then that we realized that the store was not an American brand; it was French. It was a grocery store that does not exist in the USA. How strange a realization that was! My wife simply said, “Yay! I’m a llama again.” We could only laugh at how appropriate the reference was.

We’ve had several more instances of the same phenomenon and will now grin and repeat the quote. It has, however, made me question my concept of home. We are, like many others, a family displaced in the world, and we continue to think of a small portion of this earth as our home. Specifically, we think of home as where our families remain, though even much of our family is displaced. I realize anew that this world is not our home. We do not yet live in perfect unity with God. His plan has not yet completely come to full fruition. We have work to do. In Matthew 8 a scribe expresses interest in following Jesus, and Jesus responds, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Do I let myself get too settled? Too comfortable? Again, in the same passage, a man says that he will follow Jesus after burying his father – at some non-descript time in the future after settling his affairs. Jesus replies, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” Do I have to have everything in order before I respond in obedience to His call on my life? Does my home and family come first? Later in chapter 10 Jesus says that “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

These words are convicting. I’m not supporting neglect of family or becoming a workaholic, yet I recognize that I cannot use the comfort of home or my love for my family as a reason not to obey in every area of my life. I hope that resonates with you too. Perhaps you are exactly where God wants you in life or geographically, but we must consider again and again whether there are things or people holding us back from obedience. At the end of Matthew 9 Jesus said to the disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Are you a laborer? Am I a laborer? I recently told my wife that my whole life dedicated to missions would be worth it if only one soul were saved, even if that soul was my own. I truly wish to gain my life, my home – so I think I must first give it up for the sake of Christ Jesus. Continue to pray for us as we persist in looking for the good works “which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” and that people “may see [those] good works and give glory to [our] Father in heaven.” Here are some specific ways you can be in prayer for us:

Life in Togo has been somewhat hectic. The hospital is undergoing a lot of change – several long-term doctors are in the process of leaving this month and next as they continue to seek God’s will for them. Inherent in that is having to say goodbye to friends and support that we’ve come to rely on personally. We also lost all three of our nurse anesthetists and so for our surgeons to do surgery, I and another family doctor have been doing basic anesthesia. I’ll soon be taking on call for the maternity ward as well as medical call. I’ve also been learning basic ultrasound skills as one of the two physicians taking care of that will be leaving. For a time, it appears that the hospital will be covered by one surgeon, one pediatrician, and myself.
Rebecca is 35 weeks pregnant and feeling ready to have a baby rather than a belly. We are blessed to have her mother coming out to help and encourage us around the time the baby is due. We are planning on hosting a couple of cousins from Rebecca’s side of the family over the next few weeks and are looking forward to fellowship with them. Several medical and PA students are scheduled to be at the hospital over the next few months and will need direction and teaching.
Our children have been battling simple illnesses on and off for a few weeks and homeschooling has slowed down for them as that is partly dependent on undependable internet. We have used some of your funding for us to purchase the roof of a small church plant several hours drive from us and are praying for that church to be fruitful (this is the same church Rebecca mentioned in our previous blog post). The Ghanaian Muslim boy who we hosted several weeks ago has kept in contact with us and professes acceptance of Christ and is sharing the gospel with his family and friends.

We are always encouraged by your notes and letters. Thank you for praying.

-Shared by Seth Mallay

http://mallaysonamission.blogspot.com/2017/06/missionary-doctor-yay-im-llama-again.html

Senyo’s story

17362479_1313239448751836_8534562859403399984_nSenyo lost his part of his sight about four years ago. He decided to come to the Village of Light to continue his education by learning to read and write in Braille. Last school year, Senyo decided to enter our two-year small business program. He is learning how to weave furniture and make soaps, chalk, brooms, and other sellable items. He likes to go to the market to sell what he makes. This is his last year in our trade school. Senyo asks that you pray for him and his home life. He says that people shun him and threaten him in his village because of his disability. Please pray for encouragement and boldness for Senyo. Senyo became a Christian with his village pastor. Pray that he grows in his faith and understanding of Jesus’ love for him while he is here at school.

Shared by Lauren Lunsford

Ekklesso’s faith

17352435_1292723254136789_4834252782177598332_nEkklesso is one of our students here that is always smiling. His name means, “No one is greater than God.” He comes from a very poor family. His father is also handicapped and Ekklesso frequently must beg for food in his village. Here at school he is grateful for everything and works very hard in his classes and around the center.

Ekklesso received Jesus with a former chaplain, Mr. Woaku in 2009. Before he came to know and love Christ he would bully other kids. Now he has learned to love others as Christ has loved him. His favorite verse is Hebrews 13:5-6 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”

Melebatom’s Story

17352110_1292725220803259_3671032166675207342_nMelebatom comes from a very poor family of farmers. His job at home was to hoe and clean the fields for his family. School has been difficult for Melebatom, so this year he has started in our workshop, learning to weave chairs and make chalk, soap, and other things he can make in his village to support himself. He enjoys the workshop and does a very good job at weaving chairs.

Melebatom received Jesus in 2015 with a missionary here, Jane Schmitz. He says since he’s become a Christian, the sins he used to do, he no longer does. He asks that you pray for him while he is here at school that he can learn all he can in this time here. He also asks that you pray for those in his family who have not received Jesus yet.

Cader’s story

16683913_1268642093211572_460275410581619634_nThis is Cader’s first year in school here. He is our youngest student this year. His father, Mr. Abalo, is also blind and attended the Village of Light when he was young. Cader’s mother left their family when Cader was very young. Please pray for her salvation and reconciliation. His father is very loving and attentive, but struggles to take care of them both. They are very poor.

Pray that Cader continues to learn French. It is difficult for him to communicate with others because he speaks a different tribal language than most of the other students (Kabiye). However, he has been learning French very well for how young he is.

It has been a joy to see the transformation of Cader since he started out here. Cader was withdrawn, shy, and very sad when he first came. It was difficult for him to adjust to life away from his father. It was not uncommon to find little Cader crying. However, now it is hard to find Cader without a smile on his face. He loves to sing. You can usually hear his voice over all the other voices during chapel. He loves school, his friends, and to play games.

Pray that Cader understands and accepts the Gospel as soon as possible.

Nina and Josephine

17796234_1313239288751852_6914024191058240245_nThis is Nina’s second year at school here. She and her best friend, Josaphine, love to swing on the swings, sing songs, and laugh together. Nina has had a difficult life in her village. Many people make fun of her because she is blind. Nina is also the niece of a witch doctor. This has caused many problems for her. Last school year she suffered from terrible nightmares. Praise God, she no longer has nightmares! Please pray for her salvation. She still does not completely understand the gospel. We are praying she takes the step away from darkness of the voodoo practices of her past and into the light of Jesus. 

16832083_1268642069878241_7524460043554040185_nThis is Josephine’s first year at school here. She and her best friend Nina, who is also in our Kindergarten class, are inseparable. Josephine loves to sing and she is learning French and Braille very well. You rarely see Josephine without a huge smile on her face. I’ve often thought when I see Josephine, that because she has grown up blind she doesn’t know that most people don’t smile constantly. All she knows is to express her joy for life in her smile wherever she goes. It is a beautiful thing.

She has found belonging here that she has lacked in her village. People in her village tell her mother regularly to abandon her because she is not worth anything. This is very difficult for Josephine. Please pray for strength and encouragement when she goes home on breaks. Please also pray for Josephine’s salvation. She knows that God is good, but has not received Him as her Savior yet.

Wiyau’s Story

16487003_1259137720828676_1398762897623476889_oWiyau is a very shy boy in our 4th grade class. His favorite subject is math, but he says he struggles in French. He loves to play soccer. His name means chief in his local tribal language. His family are farmers who live in a remote village. 6 years ago his father died, leaving him and his brothers and 2 sisters alone with his mother. His mother is a Christian, but he asks that you pray other members of his family that are not Christians. In 2013, Wiyau heard a message in chapel that really spoke to him. He decided to accept Jesus. He says that ever since that day, his life has been changed.

Shared by Lauren Lunsford