We are so thankful that many of you remembered to pray for us, as many prayers were answered:
Prayers for safety in travel and protection from illness.
God even answered a prayer I hesitated to ask: That our daughter Lydia’s baby would be born soon enough for me to be available to help with the house and children and the birth! (Baby was due on our departure date. I was prepared to leave her house to pack for the trip on Oct. 7, but she went into labor and little Elspeth was born just minutes before Oct. 8, so next day I went home, and we departed on Oct. 9 with sufficient items packed!)
Prayer that we would be safe was abundantly answered, though we took a different route in order to avoid some trouble areas. That seemed like a selfish request, but we are thankful, and continue to ask God to help us be like Jesus, not putting our own safety or agendas ahead of the advance of his kingdom, or of loving those whom He wants us to love.
For outreach: We made significant connections with so many people that I am still amazed! The first four days we went from village to village, finding and welcoming people and people eager to see a dentist (his presence was a great help to so many!). Then we’d be offered a home to sit and sip tea (with help of our long-term worker translator when Jeff (the dentist) didn’t need him). Many women eagerly prepared us tea and had the rare chance to discuss numerous topics or ask questions, or listen to our stories, or share ideas about child-rearing, cooking, life, and love.
In the first village (a cluster of 3-12 cinder block structures without floors, glass/screen in windows, plumbing or indoor kitchen, or running water at all) we were warmly welcomed by a 16 year-old who acted as a head of household (but we learned she’s about to be married to the man she’s planned to marry for 6 years, waiting for him to find a way to produce income!….they’ll have to move to a small coastal city where he hopes to make enough driving a taxi.). In the “B” community, this is normal, as most don’t attend school beyond age 12-14, meanwhile learning important house-keeping/cooking skills for their marriages.
Near the big city, we also visited many homes, sharing stories to show the power, love, and glory of the Redeemer, and to connect heart issues we all (women especially) are concerned about. We felt true connection with so many, and they seemed to be warmed by our love. They seldom get guests (especially from so far!) so it made our visits even more special. I’d love to return to share more and build on this beginning, but I am thankful that long term workers will do that. They are amazing in their love, persistence and perseverance. We were challenged by their examples! May we all rise to greater levels of faithfulness daily!
Written by Evelyn Stilwell