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Scribblings Online – Dec 2004

13 Blackthorn Drive

{mosimage}At the end of April, we finally moved into our own house in Bradley
Stoke. After more than twelve years of living in rented properties,
it is good to feel a little more settled and that we will gain the benefit
of effort put into decorating.

We want to say a huge thank-you to friends and family who made our move
possible and helped us get moved in. Thanks also to whoever it was who
advised us to buy our original house in Bridgend before we went to Africa.
Entering the housing market for the first time in 2004 would have been
very difficult.

We were able to purchase this house at a 'good' price, but it did need
quite a lot of work. I wondered why Margo watched Changing Rooms and
House Doctor so much. Now I know why!
So far we have redecorated six rooms, laid a new floor and a lawn. Handy
Andy has nothing on me and we've made more trips to B&Q and Ikea
than Ann Maurice!

Bradley Stoke is a new town just to the north of Bristol in South Gloucestershire.
We live within five minutes of the M4/M5 intersection so it's a very
convenient place for you to stop off for a cup of tea or a bed for the
night. We really want to use the home the Lord has given us for hospitality
so don’t hesitate to let us know when you would like to come and
spend some time with us.

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Apart from working on the house, life seems to be full to overflowing
with activity in so many areas!


We are all busily involved in Bradley Stoke Evangelical Church. Paul
is part of the current leadership group and has been busy with ministry
in various areas including running the 7s-11s group and preaching about
once a month. Margo helps to lead the church toddler group Busy Bees
which draws in 70 children plus their mums or carers every week.

Work for AIM

{mosimage}During the past year Paul's work has been very varied. In February
he spent some time in Nairobi talking about IT to a gathering of field
unit leaders and conducting an audit of a computer support department
which serves missionaries throughout the region.

June he was in Indiana attending a conference of missions IT professionals
and chairing a forum of AIM's IT specialists from various offices around
the world.

The rest of the time, he has been in the Bristol International Office
doing everything from putting together a new intranet system for the mission to buying and configuring laptops for
missionaries on their way to Africa.

This February he will attend a gathering of those working in countries where mission work is not officially accepted


In August we did get a break from the usual rush. We went to Spain
with some good SIL friends whom we had lived and worked with in Côte d'Ivoire. We drove there and back
through France and enjoyed staying a night in each direction with two
former SIL Côte d'Ivoire families in Paris and Valence.
Christopher and Emma ended up spending the first night with three of
their old friends in a two man tent, eventually getting to sleep at
about 4.30 in the morning!


We remain convinced that this is exactly where God wants us now, but
we and AIM are still very concerned about the level of financial support
they have been receiving for us.

{mosimage}Luke: Do you like my Father
Christmas outfit? So do I, but I don't much like this funny hood
on my head.

Emma: I now go to the same school as
Christopher – Patchway Community College. Our new headmaster changed the
name from Patchway High School, but at least we didn't end up having
to wear blazers and ties.

Chris: I spend most of my time outside
of school on the computer like my dad, but unlike him I also love football
both playing and watching – especially Liverpool.

News from Côte d'Ivoire

Sadly, this year has seen the continued failure of both sides to honour
the terms of the May 2003 ceasefire agreement. Eventually in November,
Government forces began air raids on the rebel held north.

One air strike, just yards from the SIL training centre in Bouaké,
killed nine French peacekeepers. The immediate French response was to
destroy almost all aircraft of the small government air-force. This
was viewed by many Ivorians as a disproportionate response and mobs
set about a ferocious attack on French and other Western interests in
government controlled towns and cities. Some also took advantage of
the situation for general rioting and looting.

As a consequence of the violence, as many as 9,000 Westerners have
left the country including almost all remaining missionaries. The consequences
for the economy and future investment are catastrophic.

In Gagnoa – the president’s home town – there were violent demonstrations
and confrontations between local southerners and northern ‘immigrants’
(who had often actually been living in the area for several generations).


The events in Gagnoa had a direct effect on Eliezer although he was
not involved in the rioting. He writes “in this situation I too
was a victim. I’ve just lost my computer, my printer and my scanner.
All the equipment was stolen by the protestors. That day was a black
day for me. The equipment helped me meet my personal needs, but alas
through these events it is all gone. ” He had been given money
to buy the computer by some German friends and we gave him the printer
and scanner when Paul returned to Côte d’Ivoire last year
to sort out our stuff. He was getting some income by allowing them to
be used by a friend who ran a little shop providing word processing
and printing services.

Despite this big setback this has been a real year of spiritual growth
for Eliezer. Earlier in the year he spent several months on a residential
training course run by one of the few indigenous African missionary
organisations. It was a very tough programme, requiring students to
work each day in the fields to make a living as well as attending lectures
and practical ministry training. What we have heard from Eliezer since
that time encourages us that the Lord has really been working, giving
him a real desire to live a holy life and a deep concern for those whom
the gospel has not yet reached.

Eliezer’s Plans

Eliezer is planning on getting married next summer, but before that,
he wants to go to Mali to work for a few months among unreached Muslim
people with a friend whom he met on the training course. We encouraged
him to consider the difficulties of this trip, but he still seemed to
have a burning passion and faith that the Lord would meet his needs
and bless him through it.

In the end we said we would only help him financially to undertake
this trip if the local churches would fund a quarter of his expected
expenses. We knew this would be a real challenge because often the African
church has been slow to see its role in mission. However he has just
sent us a list of 56 people who have already given or promised a total
of almost £170 towards his trip. This is tremendous especially
given the current economic problems for Ivorians.


Carlos has spent this last year working on completing the PhD studies
in Linguistics which he had started before he began training as a Bible
Translator. In this he has been supported by SIL as part of its desire
to see Africans trained to higher levels which will allow them to train
others. Having submitted his thesis his real desire now is to begin
translation work as soon as possible. He now has others willing to work
with him, but the major problem is finance.

Unfortunately, the recent events have made it even harder for SIL to
provide support for Carlos and difficulties in maintaining communication
and accountability have meant that they are not currently providing
any financial help to the work.

Consequently, for the last couple of months Carlos has had virtually
no income to enable himself and his family to live. Officially he is
an employee of the Bhete language association, but they are no longer
receiving support from SIL and cannot even afford the rent for their
office in Gagnoa. We have been doing what we can to help, but the situation
is now really critical.

{mosimage}Gifts towards our support can be sent to the AIM UK Office:

AIM UK, Halifax Place, Nottingham NG1 1QN
Tel: 0115 9838120

Please indicate who your gift is for. Note that, if you are
a UK taxpayer, a simple gift aid declaration can greatly increase its
value to us.


Pray with us…

Sunday …that the Lord would bring an end to the downward spiral of violence in Côte d'Ivoire. This is vital to the ongoing work of Bible Translation.
Monday …that a way would be found of supporting Carlos and his work on translating Bhete Scriptures in spite of the difficulties SIL has in working in Côte d'Ivoire. Pray also for Eliezer and Angele.
Tuesday …for Christopher and Emma that the Lord would enable them to grow in faith and to stand for him in a world which denies God and his standards for living.
Wednesday …thanking the Lord for his provision of our home. Pray that we would use it for his honour and that it would not consume resources which could be better used elsewhere.
Thursday …for Margo to know real joy in the Lord as she cares for Luke and seeks to be a witness and a support to other mums in the church and to those who come to the mums & toddlers group.
Friday …for Paul to maintain the right balance between responsibilities in the home, at work and in the church, and that his work would effectively contribute to the work of God’s kingdom in Africa.
Saturday That regular gifts to AIM for our support would increase so that we cease to be a heavy drain on mission finances.



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