Here we are again at the beginning of a new ministry year. The house is full of puppets, props and worksheets, coffee cups and long "to do lists". We had great expectations of all that we would get done in January, but we only managed about half of it. Does that happen to anyone else? Our main problem was government offices holding up paperwork hoping for a bribe. It was frustrating but it helped to remind us that other people here are paying a much higher price because of the corruption, which keeps the country in poverty.
On Monday Ben starts visiting the schools. We're back in Limpio this year, which is more work but closer to home. The first visit is to the teachers and is both pastoral and administrative. We'll be starting the presentations on 2nd March. We have a great team this year, which is a wonderful answer to prayer. Erin is from the U.S. and Samuel is an ex-DTS student and has worked with Tekove before. Both are waiting for God to show them where to serve Him in the future and both are people who we enjoy working with very much.
This year Tekove will also be running in Ciudad del Este with Nilda and in the interior with Miriam. Nilda also has plans for a new aspect of the ministry. She has found a place that she feels they are to transform into a ministry centre for kids to come to in the holidays and for schools to use. It is in a very needy area, where several schools have asked the Tekove volunteers to be "big brothers" to some of their more difficult boys. This kind of discipleship is already happening, but it highlighted long term need, which we would love to respond to. Please pray for the development of this prject. The place that Nilda is wanting to buy has walls, but no roof and is full of banana trees inside. Even if we get the money to buy it, there's a lot more money and hard work involved in getting it ready for ministry use.
Meanwhile I've been praying about something that I can do while the children are at school in the mornings and still have dinner on the table for everyone at 11 o'clock (Ben and the team leave at 12 o'clock for the afternoon session). We have always felt strongly that we are to invest in the Kingdom of God and not just our little part of it. This year I will be working with another ministry. I will be involved in Christian education, which is allowing me to see the situation in the schools from another perspective. So far it has confirmed to me that Tekove is exactly what the guidelines from the Ministry of Education recommend. I have also discovered that the government wants to incorporate Biblical teaching in schools. We are well positioned for an even greater impact on this generation if we can get more people involved. Of course, I'm still doing all my work with Tekove too.
Finally, this year continues the work of reviewing and improving our materials so that they can be used by others. It is possible that Samuel will take on the job of international coordinator of Tekove at some point in the future, so these are important first steps. I only wish I could enjoy the process more.
In a few days Jordan and Kesia go back to school. They have long summer holidays, but once school starts there's only one two week break in the whole year, except for one day national holidays. It's going to be a busy year.
Here are a few prayer requests.
- For the school visits and a good working relationship with the teachers. Some schools are great and some are very difficult, but the best impact is when teachers come to the presentations and follow them up in their classes. I've been producing some materials to encourage this and hope it will make a difference.
- For the preparations. There is still a lot to do and we want to give the clearest presentation of Biblical teaching that we possibly can.
- For the weather. We've been forecast for 2 months of heavy rain. It is too dangerous for most children to go to school in the rain, so this could make things very difficult for the ministry.
- For Erin and Samuel. That God would guide them. We would love for them to stay and work with us long term, but we say, "Your will be done".
- For Nilda and the ministry in Ciudad del Este, both in the schools and for the development of the new ministry centre.
- For the anointing of the Holy Spirit in all that we do.
- For me, I'd really appreciate prayer for strength and energy.
Thank you all for your prayers. We believe that the miraculous way that God has brought both Erin and Samuel to us, is a direct answer to prayer. May they be the first of many. This has been the main prayer in our hearts for quite a few years now. I'm sure I'll be writing shortly with more answers to prayer, once we get into the schools.
May the Lord bless you all. With much love,
Ben, Ruth, Jordan and Kesia