Neno is a life-long guitar player, composer and national worship leader. In the last couple of years he has developed increasing discomfort and numbness in his left arm. At first he cut down the number of hours he practiced a day, then he cut back on worship team rehearsals, finally playing only during Sunday services. He talked to a couple of doctors about it and one suggested it could be a pinched nerve or swollen tendon in his elbow.
There are two tiers of medical care here. One is the state-run hospital, our version of socialized medicine - this is cheaper but you may wait several months for an appointment. Once you finally see a doctor he usually tries to convince you there's nothing wrong. The other is a private clinic. You can usually get an appointment within a couple of days, but need to pay cash right away, much more than you would pay at the state facility. The doctors are very thorough and usually find several things wrong that will require more tests and physical therapy (all paid for in cash, of course).
Now that he is desperate enough to really find a solution, Neno decided to start with the public doctor. He explained the situation to him and the doctor looked at his elbow. He said "I don't see any signs of swelling, you're fine." Neno said, "But doctor, I can't play the guitar!". To which the doctor replied, "Play the drums". Problem solved!
Please pray for Neno. Pray for God's healing touch both physically and spiritually. He is very discouraged and misses worshiping God with his guitar.
God is on the move in Guadalara, Mexico! On July 28, 2018, with the help and support of the local church and the pastoral team, IWs, Bob and Cheryl Fugate, officially inaugurated the Center for the Circle of Care/Hope. The office is on the first floor of the building where the Breath of Life church rents the entire second floor, so we are closely associated with the Breath of Life church and their ministries.
Together with director, Lety Avila, they came up with a plan for workshops to help the women in their congregation and community.
One of the women who stepped forward to help was Claudia.
Claudia is a licensed hair stylist, so the first workshop offered was a Basic Hairstyling class, something that women could learn as a craft and then work from their homes, in their neighborhoods, offering basic hair cuts and earning some money, their own money. Claudia put the class together, prayed through each class, offered a verse before each class, and truly became a mentor for the 12 women that signed up for this workshop and attended for 12 weeks!
The first class opened on August 28, and they handed out diplomas and haircutting kits to each woman that completed the course til the end! God was so gracious as they started out, just novices in this endeavor to reach into the community and help others find the peace and hope in Jesus.
Over the course of the next three months, the women would come and hear a simple verse shared before each class, and during each session the Circle of Hope team would come and be a type of support system for the women. They would have coffee before each class, laugh, and share their lives.
One week, Veronica, a woman with four children and not much support from her husband, asked Lety, “What is this hope you keep talking about? I want that kind of hope in my life.” They shared with Veronica the hope that they cling to, and she accepted Jesus as her Savior that day.
Another young girl, Lesly, just 19 years old with two children already, also asked how they could be so happy. Lety and Cheryl shared with her, and she prayed to receive Jesus also. They are now in the process of going through a discipleship/new believers’ course with these two women.
On November 28, there was a ceremony where 9 women received diplomas and a kit for them to take home and use those tools to earn some money and self-respect. Each kit had the basics that they would need to cut hair, combs, a Wahl machine to do basic men’s cuts, scissors, clips, apron and capes – the basic tools to help them get ahead. It was a joy to see their faces as they received these tools, a symbol of the hard work they had put in over the last three months, but more importantly was the new joy and perspectives many had gained . . .self-worth, respect and most of all, love for each other.
Continue to pray for the Circle of Care Center and the impact it has on the community in Guadalajaro.
In December, a team traveled to Burkina Faso to put up a hangar in a village that had no church building. The pastor and his family were renting a house in town but the village gave them a piece of property way on the outskirts of town where nothing else was to build their church.
This is often done with new churches and is the village leaders way of discouraging churches and pastors from staying.
The church consisted of about 15 members when the team arrived but while they were there two nights of open air meetings were held and over 200 people came to accept Christ!
The team erected the metal roofed hangar on the isolated property and were so moved by this pastor and its people that they promised the funds to drill a well and build a mud brick pastor's home on the property. Water had to be the first priority.
Generally this village would have to wait an entire year to get on the program for a well, but due to their close proximity to another well being drilled they were able to be next in line. This rarely happens with the well drilling programs.
The well drilling team arrived late in the evening one day and set up camp and the rigs. The local pastor got them settled in at the site and the team then decided to begin drilling after setting up camp. They finished drilling at about 1am that same evening.
The next morning the pastor came to greet the team again and what he found was a completed successful deep drilled well, with plenty of water!
Soon a simple mud brick pastor's home will be constructed allowing his family to move out of the rented house and on to the church property. Now that there is water others will move closer to this area too.
Soon the pastor will have more and more neighbors, and his wife will no longer have to struggle for water for her daily needs. The church will share their water with everyone, and this is just one way that they show love to their lost neighbors.
What a testimony to this village and what an encouragement to the pastor, his family, and the new believers this well and the hangar is. It is now obvious that the church is there to stay and also being blessed by God too.
This is just another of many incredible stories of how God is working and providing in Burkina Faso.