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Scribblings Online – Mar 2006

Six!

This is very old news to most of you now, but just in case you didn’t hear yet, Eliana Joy was born on 22nd July2005 — our 16th wedding anniversary. Fortunately she sleeps better than most of her siblings ever did at her age. Eliana is a Hebrew name though not found in the Bible as a name. It could mean either God has answered or possibly the LORD is God. We understand that Eliana is a popular name in Portugal and in modern day Israel, it has been increasing in popularity in the US, though it seems almost unknown in Britain. We can certainly confirm that our Lord is God and he really does answer prayer. We hope that you will know that as your experience too.

Six!

This is very old news to most of you now, but just in case you
didn’t hear yet, Eliana Joy was born on 22nd July2005 — our 16th
wedding anniversary. Fortunately she sleeps better than most of her
siblings ever did at her age. Eliana is a Hebrew name though not found
in the Bible as a name. It could mean either God has answered or
possibly the LORD is God. We understand that Eliana is a popular name
in Portugal and in modern day Israel, it has been increasing in
popularity in the US, though it seems almost unknown in Britain. We can
certainly confirm that our Lord is God and he really does answer
prayer. We hope that you will know that as your experience too.

{mosimage}

Luke will be three in May. He is a typical unruly two year old, but keeps us all amused – at least when we are not clearing up the latest spilled drink He has been slower to talk than Christopher and Emma were, but he makes himself understood and is beginning to say more. Emma will be 13 in August. She loves to chat. She has lots of friends and seems to spend much of her time chatting to them either on the phone or most often typing incomprehensible txt spk into MSN messenger or her mobile phone. Quite a few of her friends go with her to our church youth group. Pray with us that they will trust in Jesus as she has. It was a real joy for us all and a special privilege for Paul as he baptised both Emma and Christopher last year.

Both Christopher and Emma continue to get excellent reports and results in school. Our years spent in Africa have certainly done them no harm academically. Christopher will be 15 in September. Now in year nine, he is just choosing some of the subjects he will be taking at GCSE. Like Emma he enjoys using the computer a lot, but in his case he most enjoys playing online games. He is a keen supporter of Liverpool football club, so it was a special thrill to travel to Anfield to watch them beat West Ham earlier in the season. As you can imagine Margo has a busy life looking after the rest of us. She does find time to sing in a local Christian choir and also helps to run our church parent & toddler group. Paul also enjoys online computer games, but usually after the rest of the family are in bed. To try to maintain a measure of fitness he tries to get to the swimming pool once a week.

The challenges of IT in Africa

Paul continues to enjoy his role as Africa Inland Mission's International IT Officer. Information Technology is now driven by the Internet, but whilst we have information superhighways' in developed countries, most parts of Africa struggle to move data over what might be described as 'information dirt tracks'. It's a real challenge to maintain perspective when building Internet based systems ensuring that they won't end up being unusable by our members in Africa. They often have nothing but slow and unreliable dial-up connections that struggle even to transfer e-mail. But the wind of change is currently blowing strongly within AIM – our country units in Africa are being grouped together under the direction of regional offices. Hopefully, those offices at least can be provided with reliable Internet connections.

Working in French

AIM works in several French speakingafrican countries and also has a sending office' in France. Following some staff changes Paul discovered that he is now the only French speaking person working full time in the office. So, as well as dealing with IT he now sometimes finds himself translating email messages relating to franco phonework or relaying messages on the phone with the AIM France director who doesn't speak English. It's good to keep these skills from going rusty. Both already fluent French speakers, Christopher and Emma go to an afterschool lesson once a week which should help them get top grades when they take an early French GCSE.

{mosimage}Don’t judge by appearances

Being a family of six is great, but it did rather force us to buy a bigger car. We swallowed our aesthetic pride and went for a Fiat Multipla just like this one. However unusual it looks, it is amazingly versatile. It has three individual seats in the front and three removable seats in the back with plenty of boot space to boot! We hope we can fit everything in for our holiday to France in August. We took Margo’s very rusty old G registered MG Metro to get an MOT certificate recently and they issued it with a death certificate instead! Since we could no longer drive it, we wondered how much we would end up paying to have it towed away, but we put it up for sale on eBay and a dealer came from 150 miles away and gave us £125! He wanted the 1275cc engine to put in a Mini.

{mosimage}Unfortunately the news on the internet is rarely good. So many promises have been made and broken but we keep on praying for peace & reconciliation.

On the Bete Bible Translation front the work needs your prayers. Carlos is discouraged by the struggles of supporting his family on the very limited income he receives. Sending more support from outside might sound like the answer, but that would do nothing to help the local church recognise their responsibility and could devalue the end results. The Bete language association -A “Zo “De seems still to be struggling greatly from poor communication and a lack of coordination. Please pray for Carlos and the association.

{mosimage}Eliezer married a young lady by the name of Angèle in April and they now have a baby whom they have called Margo! Please continue to pray for him as he tries to scrape together enough for them to live on. He is no longer working for -A “Zo “De, but still wants to do whatever he can to help bring God’s Word to his people in their own language.We might attribute most of these problems to the war, but of course the battle for the Bete Scriptures is a spiritual one. So let’s ask the Lord to defeat these enemy attacks and bring honour to his name.

Paul was privileged to attend a conference in February last year for AIM members involved in reaching Muslims. For the safety of Muslim background believers, details of this work are not normally written or even spoken about in public. It was moving to hear of the great cost to some of following Christ, but thrilling to hear how God is powerfully at work bringing Muslims into his kingdom.

Travels and Visitors

In June, Paul again attended the ICCM conference in Indiana – a great chance to learn and share experiences with others involved in missions IT. He then chaired a gathering of AIMs IT personnel at our US office near New York city. This was a very useful and strategic meeting. Another trip to the US in November began the process of unifying AIM’s different public websites. You can watch developments by pointing your web browser at www.aimint.org from time to time. Earlier this month we enjoyed having our website designer from the AIM US office staying in our home for a week together with his wife. He and Paul are working closely together on the development of AIMs web-based personnel placement system. Our hope is that it will really help the whole organisation to get the right people to the right places where they can be most effective in serving God within AIM.

Family on the Move

Margo’s parents moved from Swansea to Bradley Stoke in January. This is the first time in our married lives that we have lived near either of our parents. We are delighted to have them close by — and that’s not only because of all the help they bring in babysitting, giving lifts to the children etc.!

The other news is that Paul’s brother Iain is moving from Street Baptist Church to become the pastor of Battisford Free Church near Stowmarket in Suffolk. We pray for God's blessing on the family as they move there in April.

{mosimage}We thank the Lord for making our family part of the family at BSEC. Paul has been an elder now for about a year. It is a privilege to serve the Lord in this way but also a great responsibility. Since we do not have a pastor at present Paul has been preaching more frequently. Although study and preparation often takes a lot of time it has been great to sense the Holy Spirit at work through the Word, challenging both preacher and hearers. As elders we are particularly engaged now in looking for a man to join us as a full time pastor. We are very conscious of our need for great wisdom as we talk to prospective pastors and seek the Lord’s direction.Thank you again

We must conclude again with our very sincere thanks to all who continue to pray for us and for the Lord’s work in which we are involved. We reckon some of you have now been praying faithfully for almost twenty years! It's been almost as long since we have had any personal contact with some of you. We would love to reconnect with folks we rarely see so why not pick up the phone now and give us a call or send us your phone number and we'll call you? We send our particular thanks also to those who have continued to bless us through generous gifts which allow us to continue in the work he God given us.Our prayer for you is that God will bless you by deepening your knowledge of him and making your lifespiritually fruitful for his greater glory and honour.

Paul, Margo, Christopher,Emma, Luke & Eliana

 

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!

BSEC

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.

In
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

Holiday

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!

Finances

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).

Eliezer

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

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.

 

 

Scribblings Online – Dec 2003

{mosimage}New Beginnings

This year has certainly been a year of big decisions and major changes in
our lives. We praise the Lord for his faithful care and direction.

No going back

When we wrote in April, we were beginning to face the possibility
that we might not be able to return to Africa and we asked you to pray
that the Lord would guide us clearly. Not long after writing, we heard that
SIL had decided not to return to Côte d'Ivoire this year.

Based on advice from other missionaries, we had always been planning
to leave Africa in mid 2005 for Christopher to begin year nine in Britain.
We now knew that it would be at least 2004 before we could get back
to Africa. As we reflected on our situation we concluded that returning
to Africa for such a short period would not be a wise use of our resources
and energy. So with a mixture of relief and disappointment we took
the decision that we should stay in the UK for the next few years at
least.

Was our time of full- time missions work now over, or should we continue
working with Wycliffe but based in Britain? Earlier in the year Paul
was able to get some career counseling within Wycliffe. The conclusion
was that he should move towards a role where his computing skills could
be more fully used. In the light of this he was asked to consider a
computer related role at the Wycliffe Centre. Around the same time
we learned that Africa Inland Mission was looking for someone to be
responsible for Information Technology (IT) at their International
office in Bristol.

Where next?

{mosimage}
As we reflected we reached a firm conviction that God had not called
us to move out of full-time mission work, but we still had to decide
whether to move up to the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire border and remain
working with Wycliffe or to join the work of AIM and continue living
in Bristol. The decision was made harder by the recognition that either
choice would have profound implications in many areas. We sought advice
from Christian friends, thought deeply and prayed that God would show
us which way to go. We concluded that God was ready to bless us in
either path and had left the decision to us. Finally, just days before
Luke was born, we decided to join AIM and remain in Bristol.

Luke arrives

Luke Samuel Shaddick arrived on May 15th – exactly the day he
was due – weighing 6lb 9oz (2980g). Although Margo wouldn't say
it was easy, he did conveniently wait just long enough to let us drop
Christopher and Emma at school on the way to the hospital! Thank you
to all who sent gifts and cards after his birth.

Like his brother and sister before him, Luke hasn't been a very good
sleeper, but he does seem to be a very happy baby most of the time
and is bringing us all a lot of joy. He was a little slow to begin
gaining weight at first, but has certainly made up for it since. We
hope you enjoy the pictures on the front page. If you would like to
see them in colour take a look at the versions of this newsletter on
our web site: www.shaddick.net There are '.pdf' format files there
too, which you can use to print a colour version of this newsletter,
perhaps for your church notice board.

New Work

I (Paul) began working at the AIM International office in June. It
is quite a small office with only a dozen people working there, but
it coordinates the whole mission's work in more than a dozen African
countries and eleven sending countries worldwide. I am the first person
the mission has had in this role so there is plenty to do. Last week
I presented my first set of recommendations to the International IT
committee. These were discussed and mostly adopted as resolutions which
will form the basis of our IT strategy over the coming year.

{mosimage}
In February I will be travelling to Kenya for a couple of weeks to
attend the African Executive Officers' Forum and probably to carry
out an IT audit of one of the offices there.

Another important part of my job is developing systems for use internationally.
Currently I am working on an international web site, an organisational
intranet and a system to match up available personnel with personnel
needs throughout the organisation.

Sometimes people express the view that missions should commit the
fewest possible resources to administration and support roles, particularly
in 'home' countries. Someone suggested to me that such people should
think about how effective the British armed forces would be if all
personnel were sent to the front line and there was no such thing as
the Ministry of Defence.

House Headaches

Just to add a little more to our cumulative stress levels we are
trying to move house! We have been living in rented houses since 1991
and with the decision to stay in Bristol, we were looking forward to
moving in to our own place. The first step was to sell the house in
Bridgend that we began buying when we got married. Unfortunately our
tenants refused to move out and only finally left when we threatened
legal action. Finally in August, we were able to begin applying all
Margo had learned from watching House Doctor on television. Over about
six weeks, with lots of help from parents and friends, we fitted a
new kitchen, painted every room and replaced all the carpets. By the
time we had finished we almost wished we were moving in ourselves.
Within a week of putting it on the market in mid September, we had
a buyer and soon afterwards we found a house to buy in Bradley Stoke
and agreed a price, so we hoped that we might be in our own home by
Christmas. In mid-October the sale fell through, but within a couple
of weeks we had a new buyer. As we write, it looks like that sale should
be completed before Christmas, but unfortunately the people we are
hoping to buy from have still not found a house to buy. We have begun
looking again, but still hope that we can buy the first house. How
long should we be willing to wait? Please pray with us that this might
be resolved soon.

Bhete News

Carlos is continuing work to complete his Doctoral thesis in Bhete
phonology. The major need before he can start Bible translation is
a suitable speaker of the Gbadi dialect to work with him.

If you get our e-mail news you will know that Carlos and Mariam's
little son David has had problems with properly controlling his foot
ever since being given an injection in his bottom for a high fever.
When I visited they were already seeing some improvement from physiotherapy.

Eliezer is taking an eight week course in computer maintenance. He
already has some skills in using computers, but -A "Zo "De
feels it is important to have someone with more understanding of how
to fix computer problems. We promised to help them find funds to cover
this course and would be happy to pass on any gifts. The total cost
including accommodation and course materials is about £500.

 

{mosimage}Christopher & Emma: We are sure
you will agree with us that Luke is the cutest baby ever! He is also
the cleverest so
we decided to let him write the ShadKids bit
this time. Over to you Luke. . .

Luke: aawaawooo

Emma: Wow, Luke speaks Bhete! But perhaps we still
need to do this bit for those people who don't understand Bhete baby
talk. Let's tell people
what we've been up to
since last time.

Chris – to my friends
but Christopher to my
parents:

Well, we both
had fun at camp in Wales during the summer with our cousins. Then I started
at Patchway High
School in September. I enjoy having lots of different lessons and teachers.
I'm learning German because I already know French, and I'm also learning
to play steel
drums.

Emma: I am in my last year at Holy Trinity primary school. I am house
captain and my house is called Luke! Can you guess what the other three
houses are called? This
term I've been busy with rehearsals for our school play: 'Oliver!' I
played one of Fagin's gang and Bet who is Nancy's friend. If you don't
know who Nancy is, then you
need to rent the video! I've got my SATs coming up and hope I can do
as well as Christopher.

Travelling Home

I've ticked off almost everything now… Emma's roller blades
that she's hardly used yet; Christopher's Lego; some of their first
books – Luke will enjoy them soon; Margo's food processor; a
special table cloth; a carved wooden elephant; Emma's sparkly top.
But what is really precious to me? What can I fit within my luggage
allowance? A few computer books – not exactly pre-
cious but expensive to replace – and ah yes, the little copy of Pilgrim's
Progress which I won as a Sunday School prize for the FIEC Scripture
Exam when I was 9 years old.

{mosimage}
John Bunyan captured so well the essence of the Christian life. Though
relieved of his burden early in his journey when he passed through
the wicket gate and climbed up to the cross,
Christian still had a long journey through many difficult places before
he finally reached the City of the King.

During a 10 day trip to Abidjan at the beginning of October I sold
or gave away almost all the furniture, appliances, books, toys and
clothes that we'd had to leave behind when we evacuated from Abidjan
a year ago. It was painful at times – sorting the toys even brought
me to tears one day. Saying goodbye to good friends
is a recurring sadness of missionary life, but this
time I was the one leaving and I wondered just who I might meet again
before we all reach the end of this life's journey.

It was a real blessing to see how God is at work amongst the Bhete
people stirring them up to support the ongoing work of literacy and
Bible Translation. I was astonished when they
organised a reception to bid me farewell and 150 people turned up from
all over Abidjan as well as from Gagnoa. It was moving and humbling
to hear many people speak of their commitment to seeing God's translated
Word in Bhete changing their society for good. "We have spent
enough on our dead," said one man
referring to the huge amounts of money spent on elaborate funerals, "it's
time we Bhete used our money for the benefit of the living!" Although
we are now based in the UK we shall be continuing to follow and support
the Bhete work and will
keep you updated on how things are going.

We had expected that our path would lead us back to live and work
again in Africa this Autumn, but the Lord has led us down a different
road. We have learned that some of our supporters don't feel they can
continue to accompany us. In some cases we can fully understand the
reasons, but in some very significant cases we have been painfully
surprised. It is tempting to dwell on the cost and to worry about where
we will find the means to continue along the path of mission whilst
based in the UK, but just as through prayer Christian found the key
called promise which enabled him to break out of Doubting Castle, so
we will continue to trust in God's promise to supply all our needs
according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Côte d'Ivoire is still a divided country. Two days ago 19 people
were killed when masked men tried to take over the TV station in Abidjan,
but as we write today it appears that rebel and
government forces have finally begun to disarm. Please keep praying.

The Bottom £ine

Some have been asking how we are financed within
AIM. Although AIM pays us a salary as members we
must have individual support to cover that salary and
a contribution towards the mission's other costs. Like
Wycliffe, AIM is a 'faith mission' which means that
we each look to the Lord to provide our finances
through churches and individuals, but agree not to ask
for money. Some who gave us financial support when
we were with Wycliffe are now supporting us through
AIM, but overall we appear to have lost a lot of support. As a consequence
we are building up an increasing debt to AIM each month.

We firmly
believe that
the Lord wants us where we are, serving in the AIM
International office, and will provide for our needs,
but on a human level we are discouraged that our support is currently falling so short. We know that we
cannot continue with AIM unless gifts come in to
cover the red balance we have built up and meet our
future costs. So please pray with us that the Lord will
move churches and individuals to commit themselves
to regular giving.

{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 For a real and lasting
peace in Côte
d'Ivoire. Pray that both sides will see their
faults and be willing to compromise.
Monday For Carlos' work to complete
his doctorate
and for little David's full healing.
Tuesday Giving thanks for our three
children and
asking that they will grow in their
knowledge and trust of God.
Wednesday That our house sale and purchase
can be
completed before too much longer.
Thursday For Margo as she interacts with
non-Christian mums in the church toddler group
which she helps run.
Friday For Paul as he continues to
help the mission
work of AIM through leadership in the
area of IT and as he travels to Kenya in
February.
Saturday Thanking the Lord for leading
us to the
new work with AIM and praying for the
support we need to continue working with
them

 

 

Scribblings Online – Dec 2003

{mosimage}New Beginnings

This year has certainly been a year of big decisions and major changes in
our lives. We praise the Lord for his faithful care and direction.

No going back

When we wrote in April, we were beginning to face the possibility
that we might not be able to return to Africa and we asked you to pray
that the Lord would guide us clearly. Not long after writing, we heard that
SIL had decided not to return to Côte d'Ivoire this year.

Based on advice from other missionaries, we had always been planning
to leave Africa in mid 2005 for Christopher to begin year nine in Britain.
We now knew that it would be at least 2004 before we could get back
to Africa. As we reflected on our situation we concluded that returning
to Africa for such a short period would not be a wise use of our resources
and energy. So with a mixture of relief and disappointment we took
the decision that we should stay in the UK for the next few years at
least.

Was our time of full- time missions work now over, or should we continue
working with Wycliffe but based in Britain? Earlier in the year Paul
was able to get some career counseling within Wycliffe. The conclusion
was that he should move towards a role where his computing skills could
be more fully used. In the light of this he was asked to consider a
computer related role at the Wycliffe Centre. Around the same time
we learned that Africa Inland Mission was looking for someone to be
responsible for Information Technology (IT) at their International
office in Bristol.

Where next?

{mosimage}
As we reflected we reached a firm conviction that God had not called
us to move out of full-time mission work, but we still had to decide
whether to move up to the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire border and remain
working with Wycliffe or to join the work of AIM and continue living
in Bristol. The decision was made harder by the recognition that either
choice would have profound implications in many areas. We sought advice
from Christian friends, thought deeply and prayed that God would show
us which way to go. We concluded that God was ready to bless us in
either path and had left the decision to us. Finally, just days before
Luke was born, we decided to join AIM and remain in Bristol.

Luke arrives

Luke Samuel Shaddick arrived on May 15th – exactly the day he
was due – weighing 6lb 9oz (2980g). Although Margo wouldn't say
it was easy, he did conveniently wait just long enough to let us drop
Christopher and Emma at school on the way to the hospital! Thank you
to all who sent gifts and cards after his birth.

Like his brother and sister before him, Luke hasn't been a very good
sleeper, but he does seem to be a very happy baby most of the time
and is bringing us all a lot of joy. He was a little slow to begin
gaining weight at first, but has certainly made up for it since. We
hope you enjoy the pictures on the front page. If you would like to
see them in colour take a look at the versions of this newsletter on
our web site: www.shaddick.net There are '.pdf' format files there
too, which you can use to print a colour version of this newsletter,
perhaps for your church notice board.

New Work

I (Paul) began working at the AIM International office in June. It
is quite a small office with only a dozen people working there, but
it coordinates the whole mission's work in more than a dozen African
countries and eleven sending countries worldwide. I am the first person
the mission has had in this role so there is plenty to do. Last week
I presented my first set of recommendations to the International IT
committee. These were discussed and mostly adopted as resolutions which
will form the basis of our IT strategy over the coming year.

{mosimage}
In February I will be travelling to Kenya for a couple of weeks to
attend the African Executive Officers' Forum and probably to carry
out an IT audit of one of the offices there.

Another important part of my job is developing systems for use internationally.
Currently I am working on an international web site, an organisational
intranet and a system to match up available personnel with personnel
needs throughout the organisation.

Sometimes people express the view that missions should commit the
fewest possible resources to administration and support roles, particularly
in 'home' countries. Someone suggested to me that such people should
think about how effective the British armed forces would be if all
personnel were sent to the front line and there was no such thing as
the Ministry of Defence.

House Headaches

Just to add a little more to our cumulative stress levels we are
trying to move house! We have been living in rented houses since 1991
and with the decision to stay in Bristol, we were looking forward to
moving in to our own place. The first step was to sell the house in
Bridgend that we began buying when we got married. Unfortunately our
tenants refused to move out and only finally left when we threatened
legal action. Finally in August, we were able to begin applying all
Margo had learned from watching House Doctor on television. Over about
six weeks, with lots of help from parents and friends, we fitted a
new kitchen, painted every room and replaced all the carpets. By the
time we had finished we almost wished we were moving in ourselves.
Within a week of putting it on the market in mid September, we had
a buyer and soon afterwards we found a house to buy in Bradley Stoke
and agreed a price, so we hoped that we might be in our own home by
Christmas. In mid-October the sale fell through, but within a couple
of weeks we had a new buyer. As we write, it looks like that sale should
be completed before Christmas, but unfortunately the people we are
hoping to buy from have still not found a house to buy. We have begun
looking again, but still hope that we can buy the first house. How
long should we be willing to wait? Please pray with us that this might
be resolved soon.

Bhete News

Carlos is continuing work to complete his Doctoral thesis in Bhete
phonology. The major need before he can start Bible translation is
a suitable speaker of the Gbadi dialect to work with him.

If you get our e-mail news you will know that Carlos and Mariam's
little son David has had problems with properly controlling his foot
ever since being given an injection in his bottom for a high fever.
When I visited they were already seeing some improvement from physiotherapy.

Eliezer is taking an eight week course in computer maintenance. He
already has some skills in using computers, but -A "Zo "De
feels it is important to have someone with more understanding of how
to fix computer problems. We promised to help them find funds to cover
this course and would be happy to pass on any gifts. The total cost
including accommodation and course materials is about £500.

 

{mosimage}Christopher & Emma: We are sure
you will agree with us that Luke is the cutest baby ever! He is also
the cleverest so
we decided to let him write the ShadKids bit
this time. Over to you Luke. . .

Luke: aawaawooo

Emma: Wow, Luke speaks Bhete! But perhaps we still
need to do this bit for those people who don't understand Bhete baby
talk. Let's tell people
what we've been up to
since last time.

Chris – to my friends
but Christopher to my
parents:

Well, we both
had fun at camp in Wales during the summer with our cousins. Then I started
at Patchway High
School in September. I enjoy having lots of different lessons and teachers.
I'm learning German because I already know French, and I'm also learning
to play steel
drums.

Emma: I am in my last year at Holy Trinity primary school. I am house
captain and my house is called Luke! Can you guess what the other three
houses are called? This
term I've been busy with rehearsals for our school play: 'Oliver!' I
played one of Fagin's gang and Bet who is Nancy's friend. If you don't
know who Nancy is, then you
need to rent the video! I've got my SATs coming up and hope I can do
as well as Christopher.

Travelling Home

I've ticked off almost everything now… Emma's roller blades
that she's hardly used yet; Christopher's Lego; some of their first
books – Luke will enjoy them soon; Margo's food processor; a
special table cloth; a carved wooden elephant; Emma's sparkly top.
But what is really precious to me? What can I fit within my luggage
allowance? A few computer books – not exactly pre-
cious but expensive to replace – and ah yes, the little copy of Pilgrim's
Progress which I won as a Sunday School prize for the FIEC Scripture
Exam when I was 9 years old.

{mosimage}
John Bunyan captured so well the essence of the Christian life. Though
relieved of his burden early in his journey when he passed through
the wicket gate and climbed up to the cross,
Christian still had a long journey through many difficult places before
he finally reached the City of the King.

During a 10 day trip to Abidjan at the beginning of October I sold
or gave away almost all the furniture, appliances, books, toys and
clothes that we'd had to leave behind when we evacuated from Abidjan
a year ago. It was painful at times – sorting the toys even brought
me to tears one day. Saying goodbye to good friends
is a recurring sadness of missionary life, but this
time I was the one leaving and I wondered just who I might meet again
before we all reach the end of this life's journey.

It was a real blessing to see how God is at work amongst the Bhete
people stirring them up to support the ongoing work of literacy and
Bible Translation. I was astonished when they
organised a reception to bid me farewell and 150 people turned up from
all over Abidjan as well as from Gagnoa. It was moving and humbling
to hear many people speak of their commitment to seeing God's translated
Word in Bhete changing their society for good. "We have spent
enough on our dead," said one man
referring to the huge amounts of money spent on elaborate funerals, "it's
time we Bhete used our money for the benefit of the living!" Although
we are now based in the UK we shall be continuing to follow and support
the Bhete work and will
keep you updated on how things are going.

We had expected that our path would lead us back to live and work
again in Africa this Autumn, but the Lord has led us down a different
road. We have learned that some of our supporters don't feel they can
continue to accompany us. In some cases we can fully understand the
reasons, but in some very significant cases we have been painfully
surprised. It is tempting to dwell on the cost and to worry about where
we will find the means to continue along the path of mission whilst
based in the UK, but just as through prayer Christian found the key
called promise which enabled him to break out of Doubting Castle, so
we will continue to trust in God's promise to supply all our needs
according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Côte d'Ivoire is still a divided country. Two days ago 19 people
were killed when masked men tried to take over the TV station in Abidjan,
but as we write today it appears that rebel and
government forces have finally begun to disarm. Please keep praying.

The Bottom £ine

Some have been asking how we are financed within
AIM. Although AIM pays us a salary as members we
must have individual support to cover that salary and
a contribution towards the mission's other costs. Like
Wycliffe, AIM is a 'faith mission' which means that
we each look to the Lord to provide our finances
through churches and individuals, but agree not to ask
for money. Some who gave us financial support when
we were with Wycliffe are now supporting us through
AIM, but overall we appear to have lost a lot of support. As a consequence
we are building up an increasing debt to AIM each month.

We firmly
believe that
the Lord wants us where we are, serving in the AIM
International office, and will provide for our needs,
but on a human level we are discouraged that our support is currently falling so short. We know that we
cannot continue with AIM unless gifts come in to
cover the red balance we have built up and meet our
future costs. So please pray with us that the Lord will
move churches and individuals to commit themselves
to regular giving.

{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 For a real and lasting
peace in Côte
d'Ivoire. Pray that both sides will see their
faults and be willing to compromise.
Monday For Carlos' work to complete
his doctorate
and for little David's full healing.
Tuesday Giving thanks for our three
children and
asking that they will grow in their
knowledge and trust of God.
Wednesday That our house sale and purchase
can be
completed before too much longer.
Thursday For Margo as she interacts with
non-Christian mums in the church toddler group
which she helps run.
Friday For Paul as he continues to
help the mission
work of AIM through leadership in the
area of IT and as he travels to Kenya in
February.
Saturday Thanking the Lord for leading
us to the
new work with AIM and praying for the
support we need to continue working with
them

 

 

Reengaging in the UK

{mosimage}Thank you for continuing to remember us despite the lack of news for a couple of months. We are grateful to the Lord who has enabled us to settle here in Bristol for a while.

We have now become members at Bradley Stoke Evangelical Church and are enjoying getting stuck in to church life there. It was a painful decision to leave Philip Street where I (Paul) grew up. Our dear friends there have been so faithful in supporting us over our years in Africa, but we felt it right to join with our local church, where we feel we can be more fully engaged.

My work in the International office of AIM is interesting and I am getting a lot of pleasure from helping people in the office solve their problems and addressing the Information Technology needs of the mission as a whole. I am currently working on a new web-based system which is intended to help with matching people from different sending countries to the needs in the African countries where AIM is working – it’s a more complex system than I’ve ever developed before and quite a challenge to get it right for countries with very limited internet access. In December there will be an important meeting of the International Council IT committee and I will be responsible for making a number of new policy proposals.

Please pray for the staff of AIM’s UK office. They have all moved from London to Nottingham and have the huge task of re-establishing the office as well as trying to keep the administration going. Amongst many other things they look after receiving the gifts we depend on for our support. In future please use the new address for any gifts towards our support – 3 Halifax Place, Nottingham, NG1 1QN (Tel. 0115 9838120). Because of the move we still don’t know what support has been coming in for us since we left Wycliffe, so we do apologise if we have not acknowledged any gift you may have sent.

Last week we finally finished completely redecorating our house in Bridgend and refitting the kitchen. It is now on the market at last. We are glad that house prices there have been rising over the summer whilst prices in Bradley Stoke (where we hope to buy) seem to be falling somewhat.

All the children are doing well. Christopher seems to be settling well into senior school, whilst Emma is enjoying year 6 and looks forward to joining him next year. Luke is a very happy little chap. He still wakes for a feed 3 times in the night, but he does go back to sleep pretty quickly so we can’t really grumble.

I will be making a trip back to Abidjan October 3-13 to sort out our belongings and either bring them back, sell them or give them away. I have mixed feelings about it – it will be nice to see friends there, but not to say goodbye.

The Bété work still seems to be making progress in Ivory Coast despite the difficulties of the fragile peace that holds there. Please pray particularly for Carlos and Mariam’s young son David who seems to have sustained damage to a nerve when he was given an injection in his bottom. This has affected the control of his foot. They have been advised that it might be treatable with physiotherapy, but are concerned about how they will meet the costs. Pray for Carlos as he works on his Doctorate. He really would have liked to get started on Bible translation but SIL have advised him to wait until he can have more consultant help. That depends on the political situation in Côte d’Ivoire becoming more stable.

If you would like to invite us to your church or a home meeting to talk about the work we are involved in through AIM, please give us a call or write to us.

Future Work

Dear praying friends,

In all the excitement over Luke’s arrival, we had almost forgotten to pass on the news of our decision regarding our future work. We did manage to make up our minds before he was born, but didn’t make it public immediately.

It was a very difficult decision to make and as we mentioned last week, both directions seemed good, but in the end we concluded that we should join AIM. We are glad to finally be heading down a single path, but sorry that it won’t be within Wycliffe. We are certainly not planning on giving up our Wycliffe friends or our interest in Bible Translation. Wycliffe and AIM cooperate closely in many parts of Africa so we are glad to see it is a change of departments rather than a move to a competitor! We are also very happy that we will be able to remain in Bristol.

We have recently sent in our preferences for a place for Christopher at secondary school. Please pray with us that despite our late application, he will be able to get into a good school where he can reach his full potential.

Paul plans to begin working at the AIM office in a few weeks time, though the process of officially transferring between missions will certainly take longer. We will give further details as we get them.

Thank you for all your kind messages of love and support,

Paul & Margo

Staying in the UK

Dear praying friends,

{mosimage}Things are continuing to move in a positive direction in Cote d'Ivoire, but we have known for several weeks that it is most unlikely that any Wycliffe missionaries will be returning to live there before the beginning of the new school year. Having prayerfully considered our personal situation, it doesn't seem like a good idea for us to plan to return 'sometime next year perhaps' knowing we would be leaving in the summer of 2005 so that Christopher can be back in British school for 'year 9'.

So the next question is "what should we do in the UK?" and has God's call to us to serve him in cross-cultural mission come to an end because we have had to leave Africa? Margo is obviously going to be busy with our new baby for a while, so our primary thoughts are concerning where Paul can best use the training and experience God has given him.

As you may know Paul took a degree in Computing Science in the 1980s and worked for 4 years as a computer programmer. Computing moves on quickly so Paul's programming skills are not very current and the computer industry is still quite depressed following the bursting of the '.com bubble'. Paul's experience since joining Wycliffe in 1991 is mostly not very applicable to the secular work environment except for his more recent experience in leadership and management. However, those he has managed have either been of a very different culture or they have been highly motivated people following a long-term vocation. Paul has also had some limited experience of teaching computing to others and enjoyed doing that. Whilst a return to secular employment has definite attractions and would not be an end to Christian service or involvement in mission, we do not think it is the right path for us to pursue at present.

Wycliffe are inviting Paul to work at our mission headquarters in Horsleys Green, managing the training school computer lab and teaching people how to use specialised linguistic and general office applications. Staying with Wycliffe would mean staying with an organisation we know and love, but would mean moving our family to live in Oxfordshire or Buckinghamshire before the beginning of the new school year. This option presents many practical difficulties in terms of accommodation and schooling especially since Christopher is at the point of starting secondary school. Of course God has seen us through many difficulties in the past and we do not doubt his care.

In recent months we have also been talking to Africa Inland Mission. They are looking for someone to work as an IT Specialist based at their International office here in Bristol. This job would involve supporting the local office systems and coordinating IT more widely including offices in Europe, the United States and Africa. There would be a limited amount of travel each year to train and educate staff to use newly developed systems. This would mean a change to working with an organisation we don't know as well, but one with a good reputation and ministry in Africa. We wouldn't face the same upheaval for the family, since we could remain living in Bristol. We would still need to trust the Lord about schooling for Christopher, since we are very late in applying, which means the 'better' schools in the area are already oversubscribed.

Whether we work with Wycliffe or AIM, we hope to maintain a personal link with the Bhete work in Ivory Coast. We will also continue to trust the Lord for our finances since both missions operate an individual support system. Some people feel uncomfortable about financing 'home' based mission staff, but the reality is that missions simply do not have sources of funds other than the Lord's people to support them. We recognise this as a challenge, but we firmly believe that as we follow his leading the Lord will continue to meet our practical needs, whether that be through our current supporters or through others.

The baby is officially due next Thursday and we would like to make a decision before it is born. We must decide between two options that are both 'good', yet the choice isn't easy because each choice has profound implications. Please would you pray with us as we take this next step of faith in one direction or the other that we would experience the Lord's peace in the consequences that will follow?

Scribblings Online – Apr 2003

Torn Apart!

{mosimage}Can
you remember being woken by an unexpected sound in the night?

In more rural locations in Africa, we have been woken by many strange
sounds – rats running around in the roof space of our house; the
blood curdling screams of tree hyraxes and once, by what sounded like
someone walking around on our corrugated iron roof!

Since moving to the city of Abidjan it's more often been loud music
from neighbours, all night parties, the bin men clattering and banging
at 1 a.m. or telephone calls from friends who are unaware that most
Westerners don't get up with the sun at 6am on Saturday mornings!

Since 1999 though we have become more familiar than we want with a
more deeply disturbing sound:

19 September 2002 5 a.m. Again we
wake to the rattle of automatic gunfire in the distance, but it doesn't
seem to be stopping after a few shots as it usually does with armed
robberies. There are also occasional louder booms which sound like heavy
artillery.

I get up and switch on the two-way radio provided by the embassy. Nothing
but crackles until with classic British understatement a fellow warden
says: "This is 'Plateau
Two' to Base: Um…there seems to be rather more gunfire than one
would expect at this time of the morning… over.
"

7 a.m. Initial radio reports suggest a rebellion by
discontented soldiers who are about to be demobilised, but a number
of key political figures have been killed in attacks on their homes
suggesting that this is another coup attempt – the fourth since Christmas
1999.

7.30 a.m. We certainly can't drive Christopher and
Emma to school today. But getting to the SIL office takes only a quick
sprint across the grass. Our night guard there says he heard the first
shots at around 4am from the direction of the police training school
a couple of miles away.

10 a.m. Local radio is telling us that loyal government
troops have the situation under control and that occasional shots in
the distance are just part of 'mopping up' exercises. The reality of
the threat is driven home when we find a broken windowpane and a stray
AK-47 bullet on the top floor of our SIL centre.

We hope that things will soon return to normal as on similar occasions
in the past, but news from our workshop centre in Bouaké is worrying
– the city is still under rebel control. More than twenty friends and
colleagues are currently attending a workshop or living there.

23 September Government forces are trying to retake
Bouaké. Paul calls frequently and can hear the gunfire and explosions
of the battle raging in the immediate vicinity of those at the other
end of the line! Although we feel powerless we know that God is all
powerful and in sovereign control of the situation.

{mosimage}26
September
Finally rebels allow French soldiers to lead a convoy
of expatriates out of Bouaké and back to Abidjan. Many tears
of relief are shed when they finally arrive safely at the SIL centre.

Over the next few weeks, life in Abidjan begins to return to normal,
but there are still frequent reports of fighting in the North and a
continuing 8pm-6am curfew, which limits social and church activities.
Paramilitary police destroy large areas of 'shanty' housing in Abidjan,
claiming this is necessary to root out rebels who are hiding there,
but it leaves many thousands without homes and further increases ethnic
tensions. It is encouraging to see some churches witnessing powerfully
and effectively as they help these people.

Paul attends regular wardens' meetings, which along with the Internet
and the radio help us to keep up to date with developments.

16 October Paul is called to an urgent meeting at
the Embassy where the ambassador asks wardens to contact British people
in their area advising that they should leave the country as soon as
possible. The same advice is given out by most other embassies since
the situation is deteriorating and unpredictable. Our mission's contingency
plan states that this would be a trigger for us to leave, so after consultation,
Paul as the director tells all our members that we must leave. Over
the following five days everyone works very hard to ensure that everything
is left in order and that arrangements are in place to provide as much
support as possible to the Ivorian colleagues we have to leave behind.

Bamako

22 October About 30 of us fly to Bamako in Mali where
the other half of our branch is based. We thank the Lord that we get
to the airport before violent demonstrations begin outside the adjoining
French military base.

With the sudden release of pressure we begin to realise just how much
stress we have all been experiencing. But Paul is still acting branch
director, so there is little time for resting. Individually and as a
group we must consider what we will do until a return to Côte
d'Ivoire becomes possible. For the Shaddick family there are several
significant considerations:

  • We are expecting a new baby in May! Whilst Margo felt prepared
    for a delivery in Abidjan, Bamako is much less developed and we don't
    feel at all confident about remaining there for the birth.
  • Christopher and Emma have been warmly welcomed into a mission school,
    but switching yet again, this time to an American curriculum, is hard
    on them.
  • Paul feels uncomfortable about leaving the heavy directorial responsibilities
    for others to carry.
  • Margo's responsibilities as project funding coordinator will also
    need to be covered by others if we leave.

18 November Finally, after having weighed up the situation
and consulted with others, we conclude that we should return to the
UK at least until the end of the current school year.

Back to the UK

9 December We fly back to the UK and spend a few weeks
with family.

New rebel groups are emerging in the west of Ivory Coast near the Liberian
border.

3 January We move into a rented house in Bradley Stoke
close to where we spent our furlough. Christopher and Emma are delighted
to pick up with their old school friends and we are glad to be in a
stable and familiar environment.

25 January Negotiations in Paris finish with an agreement
on a government of national reconciliation, but loyalists in Abidjan
are angry that key posts have been promised to rebels. Intense anti-French
feeling leads to violent protests and looting of French interests in
Abidjan including Christopher and Emma's school.

April In spite of further talks and international
pressure, rebel and loyalist sides still cannot agree on the composition
of the new government. There is a growing hope for peace, but still
a fear that the situation could suddenly deteriorate. Areas near the
Liberian border seem to have become completely lawless.

What Next?

Over the coming weeks we are facing major decisions about our future.
When we returned to Africa last year, we planned to be there for three
years before moving back to the UK so that the children could complete
their critical final years of schooling in English. The situation in
Ivory Coast is such that we must now face the prospect of not being
able to return there as we had hoped. So we are asking what we might
do if we remain in Britain.

We know that the Lord is fully in control of all that happens in our
lives and that our situation is no surprise to him. Please pray with
us for his leading as we carefully consider the way forward.

We realise that Margo is going to be busy with the new baby for a while,
but for Paul there seem to be three possible directions which he could
take if we cannot go back.

  • Continue working with Wycliffe in the UK. He has been specifically
    asked to consider taking on responsibility for computer training of
    other members preparing for assignment overseas.
  • Apply his skills and experience to work with another missionary
    organisation based in the UK. We are making enquiries in this direction.
  • Try to return to secular employment in computing and be a witness
    there.

{mosimage}Christopher: Just before we left Bamako
I was ill. I had really bad pains in my tummy and I kept being sick. At
the hospital they looked inside me with an ultrasound machine. The Doctor
said it looked like there had been a stone in my kidney, but it had now
passed out. She wanted me to stay in because I was dehydrated, but I didn't
want to. In the end they let me go home, but I had to stay on a drip overnight.
A kind missionary lady, who is a nurse, helped put the needle in my arm,
and daddy woke up and changed the bottle in the middle of the night. By
the morning I felt fine.

{mosimage}Emma: When we evacuated we went to
Mali, which is just above Ivory Coast on the map. I was sad to leave Abidjan,
but I liked Mali too. For a few weeks we went to the Bamako Christian
School. It is a small school with only 18 kids before we got there. I
made some friends there, but they gave us much too much homework! One
of the funnest things we did was putting on a really funny play called
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Bhete News

We
enjoyed having the Goprou family visit us in the UK last April. Since
then Carlos and Mariam have completed their studies in Kenya. In July
they returned to Abidjan and later moved to Gagnoa for Carlos to begin
work with -A "Zo "De on Bhete translation. The transition
has been hard for them, please pray that they would know the assurance
of the Lord's faithful provision as they face an uncertain future.

Eliezer too has been through tough times over recent months. His fiancee
broke off their engagement, his mother has been seriously ill and he
has been suffering again with a stomach ulcer.

{mosimage}
We are thankful that so far fighting has not reached the Gagnoa area,
but the ongoing Bhete work is now seriously affected by the absence
of SIL from the country. Without the usual support structures in place
SIL is advising Carlos not to begin translation this year as we had
originally hoped. The other reason for this is that as yet, no suitable
Gbadi dialect speaker has been found to work with Carlos. Of course
we hope that these delays will only be temporary. Meanwhile Carlos will
be aiming to complete the doctoral thesis in linguistics that he was
doing before he left for Nairobi.

Communication with Gagnoa and Abidjan have become increasingly difficult.
The SIL e-mail server in the Abidjan office has stopped working and
telephoning is an expensive and often frustrating alternative. Let's
keep praying for them. 

Prayer Pointers

Sunday For the church in
Côte d'Ivoire to grow through these trials and to witness consistently
to God's love.
Monday That peace, justice and unity
would soon be restored throughout the whole country.
Tuesday For a safe delivery and good
health of our new baby due in the middle of May.
Wednesday For progress in the Bhete work
in spite of the ongoing difficult circumstances.
Thursday For clear direction from the
Lord about our personal future whether in Côte d'Ivoire or the
UK.
Friday For wisdom for our branch colleagues
who are having to make tough decisions about ongoing work in Côte
d'Ivoire.
Saturday That God would keep our Ivorian
friends and colleagues safe and continue to supply their practical
needs.

 

Scribblings Online – Apr 2003

Torn Apart!

{mosimage}Can
you remember being woken by an unexpected sound in the night?

In more rural locations in Africa, we have been woken by many strange
sounds – rats running around in the roof space of our house; the
blood curdling screams of tree hyraxes and once, by what sounded like
someone walking around on our corrugated iron roof!

Since moving to the city of Abidjan it's more often been loud music
from neighbours, all night parties, the bin men clattering and banging
at 1 a.m. or telephone calls from friends who are unaware that most
Westerners don't get up with the sun at 6am on Saturday mornings!

Since 1999 though we have become more familiar than we want with a
more deeply disturbing sound:

19 September 2002 5 a.m. Again we
wake to the rattle of automatic gunfire in the distance, but it doesn't
seem to be stopping after a few shots as it usually does with armed
robberies. There are also occasional louder booms which sound like heavy
artillery.

I get up and switch on the two-way radio provided by the embassy. Nothing
but crackles until with classic British understatement a fellow warden
says: "This is 'Plateau
Two' to Base: Um…there seems to be rather more gunfire than one
would expect at this time of the morning… over.
"

7 a.m. Initial radio reports suggest a rebellion by
discontented soldiers who are about to be demobilised, but a number
of key political figures have been killed in attacks on their homes
suggesting that this is another coup attempt – the fourth since Christmas
1999.

7.30 a.m. We certainly can't drive Christopher and
Emma to school today. But getting to the SIL office takes only a quick
sprint across the grass. Our night guard there says he heard the first
shots at around 4am from the direction of the police training school
a couple of miles away.

10 a.m. Local radio is telling us that loyal government
troops have the situation under control and that occasional shots in
the distance are just part of 'mopping up' exercises. The reality of
the threat is driven home when we find a broken windowpane and a stray
AK-47 bullet on the top floor of our SIL centre.

We hope that things will soon return to normal as on similar occasions
in the past, but news from our workshop centre in Bouaké is worrying
– the city is still under rebel control. More than twenty friends and
colleagues are currently attending a workshop or living there.

23 September Government forces are trying to retake
Bouaké. Paul calls frequently and can hear the gunfire and explosions
of the battle raging in the immediate vicinity of those at the other
end of the line! Although we feel powerless we know that God is all
powerful and in sovereign control of the situation.

{mosimage}26
September
Finally rebels allow French soldiers to lead a convoy
of expatriates out of Bouaké and back to Abidjan. Many tears
of relief are shed when they finally arrive safely at the SIL centre.

Over the next few weeks, life in Abidjan begins to return to normal,
but there are still frequent reports of fighting in the North and a
continuing 8pm-6am curfew, which limits social and church activities.
Paramilitary police destroy large areas of 'shanty' housing in Abidjan,
claiming this is necessary to root out rebels who are hiding there,
but it leaves many thousands without homes and further increases ethnic
tensions. It is encouraging to see some churches witnessing powerfully
and effectively as they help these people.

Paul attends regular wardens' meetings, which along with the Internet
and the radio help us to keep up to date with developments.

16 October Paul is called to an urgent meeting at
the Embassy where the ambassador asks wardens to contact British people
in their area advising that they should leave the country as soon as
possible. The same advice is given out by most other embassies since
the situation is deteriorating and unpredictable. Our mission's contingency
plan states that this would be a trigger for us to leave, so after consultation,
Paul as the director tells all our members that we must leave. Over
the following five days everyone works very hard to ensure that everything
is left in order and that arrangements are in place to provide as much
support as possible to the Ivorian colleagues we have to leave behind.

Bamako

22 October About 30 of us fly to Bamako in Mali where
the other half of our branch is based. We thank the Lord that we get
to the airport before violent demonstrations begin outside the adjoining
French military base.

With the sudden release of pressure we begin to realise just how much
stress we have all been experiencing. But Paul is still acting branch
director, so there is little time for resting. Individually and as a
group we must consider what we will do until a return to Côte
d'Ivoire becomes possible. For the Shaddick family there are several
significant considerations:

  • We are expecting a new baby in May! Whilst Margo felt prepared
    for a delivery in Abidjan, Bamako is much less developed and we don't
    feel at all confident about remaining there for the birth.
  • Christopher and Emma have been warmly welcomed into a mission school,
    but switching yet again, this time to an American curriculum, is hard
    on them.
  • Paul feels uncomfortable about leaving the heavy directorial responsibilities
    for others to carry.
  • Margo's responsibilities as project funding coordinator will also
    need to be covered by others if we leave.

18 November Finally, after having weighed up the situation
and consulted with others, we conclude that we should return to the
UK at least until the end of the current school year.

Back to the UK

9 December We fly back to the UK and spend a few weeks
with family.

New rebel groups are emerging in the west of Ivory Coast near the Liberian
border.

3 January We move into a rented house in Bradley Stoke
close to where we spent our furlough. Christopher and Emma are delighted
to pick up with their old school friends and we are glad to be in a
stable and familiar environment.

25 January Negotiations in Paris finish with an agreement
on a government of national reconciliation, but loyalists in Abidjan
are angry that key posts have been promised to rebels. Intense anti-French
feeling leads to violent protests and looting of French interests in
Abidjan including Christopher and Emma's school.

April In spite of further talks and international
pressure, rebel and loyalist sides still cannot agree on the composition
of the new government. There is a growing hope for peace, but still
a fear that the situation could suddenly deteriorate. Areas near the
Liberian border seem to have become completely lawless.

What Next?

Over the coming weeks we are facing major decisions about our future.
When we returned to Africa last year, we planned to be there for three
years before moving back to the UK so that the children could complete
their critical final years of schooling in English. The situation in
Ivory Coast is such that we must now face the prospect of not being
able to return there as we had hoped. So we are asking what we might
do if we remain in Britain.

We know that the Lord is fully in control of all that happens in our
lives and that our situation is no surprise to him. Please pray with
us for his leading as we carefully consider the way forward.

We realise that Margo is going to be busy with the new baby for a while,
but for Paul there seem to be three possible directions which he could
take if we cannot go back.

  • Continue working with Wycliffe in the UK. He has been specifically
    asked to consider taking on responsibility for computer training of
    other members preparing for assignment overseas.
  • Apply his skills and experience to work with another missionary
    organisation based in the UK. We are making enquiries in this direction.
  • Try to return to secular employment in computing and be a witness
    there.

{mosimage}Christopher: Just before we left Bamako
I was ill. I had really bad pains in my tummy and I kept being sick. At
the hospital they looked inside me with an ultrasound machine. The Doctor
said it looked like there had been a stone in my kidney, but it had now
passed out. She wanted me to stay in because I was dehydrated, but I didn't
want to. In the end they let me go home, but I had to stay on a drip overnight.
A kind missionary lady, who is a nurse, helped put the needle in my arm,
and daddy woke up and changed the bottle in the middle of the night. By
the morning I felt fine.

{mosimage}Emma: When we evacuated we went to
Mali, which is just above Ivory Coast on the map. I was sad to leave Abidjan,
but I liked Mali too. For a few weeks we went to the Bamako Christian
School. It is a small school with only 18 kids before we got there. I
made some friends there, but they gave us much too much homework! One
of the funnest things we did was putting on a really funny play called
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Bhete News

We
enjoyed having the Goprou family visit us in the UK last April. Since
then Carlos and Mariam have completed their studies in Kenya. In July
they returned to Abidjan and later moved to Gagnoa for Carlos to begin
work with -A "Zo "De on Bhete translation. The transition
has been hard for them, please pray that they would know the assurance
of the Lord's faithful provision as they face an uncertain future.

Eliezer too has been through tough times over recent months. His fiancee
broke off their engagement, his mother has been seriously ill and he
has been suffering again with a stomach ulcer.

{mosimage}
We are thankful that so far fighting has not reached the Gagnoa area,
but the ongoing Bhete work is now seriously affected by the absence
of SIL from the country. Without the usual support structures in place
SIL is advising Carlos not to begin translation this year as we had
originally hoped. The other reason for this is that as yet, no suitable
Gbadi dialect speaker has been found to work with Carlos. Of course
we hope that these delays will only be temporary. Meanwhile Carlos will
be aiming to complete the doctoral thesis in linguistics that he was
doing before he left for Nairobi.

Communication with Gagnoa and Abidjan have become increasingly difficult.
The SIL e-mail server in the Abidjan office has stopped working and
telephoning is an expensive and often frustrating alternative. Let's
keep praying for them. 

Prayer Pointers

Sunday For the church in
Côte d'Ivoire to grow through these trials and to witness consistently
to God's love.
Monday That peace, justice and unity
would soon be restored throughout the whole country.
Tuesday For a safe delivery and good
health of our new baby due in the middle of May.
Wednesday For progress in the Bhete work
in spite of the ongoing difficult circumstances.
Thursday For clear direction from the
Lord about our personal future whether in Côte d'Ivoire or the
UK.
Friday For wisdom for our branch colleagues
who are having to make tough decisions about ongoing work in Côte
d'Ivoire.
Saturday That God would keep our Ivorian
friends and colleagues safe and continue to supply their practical
needs.

 

Back in Bristol

Let’s begin by wishing you a belated Happy New Year! We are settling down to life back in Bristol for a while at least. It is good to be away from some of the stresses of the situation in Africa, but those we have left behind are still very much in our thoughts. We found another house to rent in Bradley Stoke and moved in at the beginning of January. Christopher and Emma are happy to be back at their old school and looking forward to the new baby. All is going well with the pregnancy and we are finding plenty to keep us busy here. It took a frustratingly long time to get our phone connected and get back on line, but we are glad now to be able to follow events in Africa and keep in touch by e-mail.

Please e-mail us if you would like to know our new address and phone number.

At this time we want to particularly update you on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire. At the end of January, peace talks in Paris ended with an agreement between government and rebel forces to bring an end to the armed conflict. Both sides had to give a lot of ground but at least there was some hope.

Unfortunately, during the days that followed the agreement there was a lot of rioting and looting in Abidjan by loyalists who were incensed at what the rebels had gained through taking up arms against the elected government. Their anger was mainly directed at French interests, because people believed that France has imposed an unacceptable deal on them. French schools in Abidjan were systematically looted and vandalised, including the school that Christopher and Emma went to. This is sad news for us and will do nothing to help the country on the road back to peaceful normality.

Some of our Wycliffe colleagues were caught in Abidjan at this time during a short working visit. They were forced to stay indoors for fear of being mistaken for French. Eventually they were able to get out safely to the airport and flew back to Mali. Many more Westerners have also left in the last couple of weeks including most missionaries we know. The violence has now subsided somewhat and the President has said that he wants to see the spirit of the peace accord followed. A new prime minister, Seydou Diarra, has now been appointed. He has the very difficult task of forming a new power-sharing government. The rebel groups are saying they will return to fighting unless they are given control of the defence and interior ministries, which they say they were promised them in Paris. However, the army has said it will refuse to serve a rebel minister. Please continue to pray for a real return to peace.