Dear Friends and Family,
Melissa here. Mid-January saw us away from home for several days as we visited Pahi and Kenya. In Pahi, Jon ran a clinic for 5 days to encourage the young men who are just getting started hoping to boost morale both for them and for the villagers. This clinic has had many ups and downs due to various problems with personnel over the years. We are encouraged with the current leadership and hope that with a larger medical staff (from one to three), things will get off the ground and run smoothly. Most of all, it is our prayer that this clinic will be a witness to our Lord Jesus. Patient numbers were lower for the outreach clinic (15-25 a day) than we expected, but we guess that the main reason for this is that it is the rainy season so people are busy planting their fields. Also, with the poor harvest last year people, it’s a financially tight time right now. Actually, it rained so much while we were there that the road we came in on washed out and we had to bushwack to get out again. Our escape route included crossing a riverbed, a soccer field and negotiating various foot paths.
But we made it out and arrived safely in Kenya for the elementary field day. After about 4 weeks, we were more than ready to reunite with out kids, especially Rachel as this was her first term at boarding school. She is doing really well and we are so thankful. She is loving living with the Hood family, and they’ve done a great job taking care of her! So many friends told us that every time they see her she is smiling and seems to be very happy. She is progressing in her reading and I think all concerned are confident that she is right where she needs to be. Josh and Drew continue to thrive at R.V.A. Drew is playing rugby 2 days a week which he loves. Josh is taking a break from sports this term and is keeping busy with academics and visiting his little sister. It was great to be together for the weekend, especially for the field day which was a water day…always a highlight for the elementary kids. Leaving was heart wrenching as always but this time we only had to wait 2 weeks to see them again. As I write, it’s already two weeks later and we are back up in Kenya for mid-term weekend. Usandawe had heavy rains and we had to cross two sections of water that covered the road to make it!
This coming week after mid-term Jon will remain in Nairobi for a leadership retreat while Melissa spends the rest of the week at R.V.A. This will be especially fun for me (Melissa) as I will be there for Drew’s birthday and get to help with his birthday dinner at his dorm and will have opportunities to visit with friends from my childhood. We will then return to Magambua along with a medical student from the U.S. who will be with us for almost a month while she does a medical rotation under Jon’s supervision. Her name is Ashley so please pray that her time here would be beneficial and blessed.
Jon will be returning to the U.S. the weekend of the 27th for a very short time in order to celebrate the life of his beloved grandmother, Millie Harman (aka Nana) who went Home to be with Jesus on Feb. 8. She was 90 years old. She was one of those ladies who radiated the love of Jesus,…we will miss her so very much but are so thankful for the hope that we have to see her again one day!
In March, I (Melissa) will attend a Scripture Use seminar to learn more about engaging people with the gospel in their mother tongue. I will also attend a week long language learning course later in the month to gain some more skills in this area as I desire to improve my Swahili. Now that home schooling is not my main thing, I am hoping to get out more but my Swahili is still limited. I will also begin doing a survey of the wider Usandawe area in order to get a picture of how many Believers there are among the Sandawe people. This will help us and our mission to have a better idea of how to continue ministry here. The kids will be home during the month of April and we look forward to a 2 week visit from Mimi and Pop Pop, Jon’s parents.
On the Famine Relief side, thank you to all who have given so generously! The month of December had $5,925 come in for famine relief donations. With the balance of funds, we were able to purchase another 240 sacks of maize for about $40 per sack, which we divided between Magambua and Kwa Mtoro as distribution points for this second round. Many villages received the help gratefully and were very appreciative, though in Magambua there were some complaints, both within the church and outside. Please pray for our local congregation, which is still having problems with disunity. Please pray for peace and reconciliation and for grateful hearts, and wisdom to distribute the food well so that it is a good witness and not a hindrance to the gospel.
Thank you for your continued love and support.
May the LORD bless you and keep you. Amen!
Melissa for all of us