Tuesday, March 3, 2009

February Banana Boat update

(Read from the bottom up, if you want sequential order. The newest posts are always at the top.)

  • We wanted to say thank you for your support through prayers and giving. Here are some of the ministries that you have been a part of along the way…

    • Making repairs and general upkeep for the “veggie” vehicle – we use this cargo type vehicle for delivering vegetables, furniture, rice, pasta, clothes, and blankets.
    • Purchasing rice and pasta for our African immigrant families.
    • Purchasing blankets for folks who don’t have one for the cold nights.
    • Purchasing a few inexpensive small presents (play dough) for the African immigrant children for Christmas or Three Kings Day.
    • Purchasing rice to send on the truck to the refugee camps in Algeria. Many women and children living in the tents in these camps will benefit greatly from your ministry.
    • Your prayers and support are reaching out to people from the Gambia, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Ecuador, Romania, Argentina, Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon.

    Hide and Watch

    Each week Joel goes with Dan to pick up free vegetables in our white project vehicle. They sometimes get enough vegetables to fill nearly 70 bags to give out to families and homes filled with young men from North and West Africa. Recently we were disappointed to hear that the warehouse that gives away their excess vegetables for this ministry would no longer be able do so. Just before we got this news, we were so happy to receive a donation to our Kilos of Care project that is set up to buy food for the hungry. We were already thinking that God was finding other ways to provide for these African immigrants who have so little. The following Wednesday, the regular day that we use to pick up the vegetables, we had made plans to do some other work, when Dan called to say that there was another warehouse that was going to give out the free excess vegetables. The new warehouse is in Mojonera – we were so excited to find this out because we had wanted to involve our guys from Senegal in this ministry. We had often thought in the past that it would be great if our guys who lived in Mojonera could be involved with picking up the vegetables and distributing them, but the previous warehouse was just too far away from them. The new warehouse is just two roundabouts down from their house in Mojonera. It is fun to watch God work. I often think we need to get out of His way and let Him do His will. We just need to “hide and watch!”

    Please continue to pray that God will do His exact will in His ministry to the African immigrants here in southern Spain. Then, with us, hide and watch! (or maybe better said – pray and watch.)

    Conversations with Momodou

    Momodou (or Mohammed) is from Senegal. His father is Sereer. He went to school in the Gambia, so he speaks English, Wolof, French, Sereer, and some Spanish. He has been living in Spain for a year, but has been unable to find work. He lives in Mojonera in the house with 20 other guys from Senegal. We have had several conversations. He is an interesting and friendly young man. He has told me some of his story. His father is a Muslim; his mother is a Christian. He has chosen to be a Muslim. When I asked why he made this choice, he just shrugged his shoulders and said that when he was very young his father put him in a school to learn the Koran, so he simply continued on with what he had learned at such an early age. (When I lived in Senegal there was a little 3 year old boy named Usman who came to my kids club each day. He could already quote the Koran because he was already enrolled in the Koranic school in our neighborhood – thus emphasizing the need for children’s ministry to teach the Gospel as well.)
    In another conversation Momodou spoke about his belief in amulets. Amulets are from African Traditional Religion. They are usually made from leather and have some kind of stone or something attached. They can be worn around the neck, arm, wrist, waist, or even hung in the home. Many African people put them on their babies to keep them safe. Momodou was telling me that he believed that they really worked to keep people safe from all kinds of harm. He said that when his mother wore hers she was kept safe from accidents or other problems unlike when she did not wear it.
    In Africa, where many are simply trying to survive, there is a certain type of “layering” of religion. If a “witch doctor” of African Traditional Religion can solve a person’s problems, then that is what the person will cling to. Then, if the Imam (Muslim holy man) is able to help, the person will believe in Islam as well. Sometimes when a person is healed or maybe helped by a Christian, they will also follow the “Jesus Way;” therefore, part of the challenge is helping these people who are just trying to survive to understand about a personal relationship with Jesus, who says in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

    Please continue to pray for our friends that the Holy Spirit might begin to help them come to know Jesus as the only way, that they might commit their lives to God through Him.

    Prayer Update:

  • For three weeks now Nguy and Momodou have been helping us pick up, bag, and deliver the vegetables. This week as they were working in Dan’s garage to bag the vegetables, Joel and Dan showed them Bibles and the Jesus film in Wolof. As they seemed interested, Joel asked them if they would like to have one of each and they said yes. So please pray with us again, from Isaiah 55:11, “so is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
  • Thank you for praying in the past for Check, Maria Ellen, and baby Margarita. Margarita is doing well. She is growing and continues her doctor’s appointments each month here in Almeria. Maria Ellen is working on getting legal paperwork for Magarita. Check has gone to Madrid in search of work and legal papers, in order to support his family. Please pray for this family; that God’s will would be done in accordance with their legal paperwork, their future job, and life as a family.
  • Please pray for our coworkers as they deal with spiritual warfare in their ministry.
  • Please pray for our family as we live and minister cross culturally. Pray for us as we adapt to Megan’s school. Pray for us as we begin to look into schooling for the boys. Pray for us as we seek to find ways to follow up with speech and medical issues for the boys and our family.
  • Please pray for Joel’s cousin Scott, a young man in his late twenties. His cancer seems to be progressing.

Thank you for keeping up with us, and for praying for us.
You can continue to e-mail us at twhitley@thefellowship.info .


Unknown said...

I love your blog, I am praying for your children and your ministry, and I am giving thanks to the Lord for your ministry here, in Almería. It will be good for all of us at church to know more details of your work.
God bless you,
your pastor in Spain (I want to be that)

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