We have finally received our official release from AGWM to leave for Togo West Africa. PTL! Our monthly budget is not complete, but we are trusting that God will provide the balance needed and meet the needs.
Vickie and I are delighted to be preparing for our soon departure. Of course it will be a bitter/sweet event. We are ready to return to Africa and fulfill the calling that is on our lives. But we are not looking forward to leaving our children, parents and other family and friends behind in the States.
Now comes the monumental task of packing (again), virtually shutting down our life in the States, dealing with cars, a house, shipping, vaccinations (ouch), saying those hard “goodbyes” and much more. Then there is the other side when we arrive in Lome, Togo. Setting up our house, getting to the process of living and existing in a third world country where we do not speak the language (yet), just to mention a few of the challenges. We have to learn the money system and the exchange rate for the West African Franc. I think the exchange is somewhere around XAF445 to one American $1.
Our son Ryan will be leaving soon to work in Alaska for Holland America. He is training tour directors as well as directing tours himself. He has found favor with the company and he really enjoys the interaction with the clients.
Our daughter Cristi is now a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God and she is preparing for her missions appointment to Istanbul, Turkey. She is leaving on February 29th for a ten day trip to Istanbul and Tajikistan. She will begin her itineration in May of this year.
Vickie and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has blessed us with your prayers and giving to make this ministry possible. Our hearts are heavy as we become more and more aware of the incredible needs in Africa for clean and safe water. Something that we take for granted. The needs across Africa for water solutions are overwhelming.
I saw a woman in the Namib Desert struggling up out of a dry river bed carrying a bucket of water in each hand, a bucket of water on her head and a baby strapped to her back. I had not seen water anywhere in the area and at that point I had no idea how far she had come or where she was going. About 2 kilometers down the road I saw an old military type tent out in the desert and near it was a man sitting under a bush with several goats near by. I thought to myself, survival is a very real issue out here. Water makes all the difference between life and death. Oh Lord, a fresh water well would change their lives. The Africa Oasis Project can help these people. Let us have the opportunity and the provision to do it.
Again, thank you to all of you who have expressed your concern and support through prayers, financial offerings and calls and letters of support. We appreciate each and every one of them.
We will try to keep up with this blog a bit more as we go through the next months on our journey back to Africa.
Mark and Vickie
Mark and Vickie