The Mathews Family
We are now in the heart of rainy season here in Liberia. The rainy season can be very hard on people. The roads are full of mud and it is extremely hard to get around. People have trouble getting to the market to buy and sell their goods. You hear people saying, “no money, no rice, no food, I’m hungry.” Schools are beginning and yet people do not have the money to send their children to school. The weather, when not raining, is damp, overcast, and a bit cooler and many people are sick. One of our guards, Paul, almost died of typhoid fever and malaria. Thank the Lord for Dr. Steve’s help saving his life.
This past month has been challenging for our own family. We have suffered from many strange sicknesses and infections. Thank you all for praying. Once we send a prayer letter out, we can see God starting to work almost immediately. Kandi’s arm is almost fully recovered with now just a small scab over the wound and Joanna is completely better. In Africa, so many strange things can happen medically, and many, many times you don’t know the right course of treatment because you have no idea what the sickness or infection is.
As far as the ministries go, things are going very well. We spent 3 days conducting interviews with around 100 candidates who have taken the entrance exam and applied to be a part of the next class (beginning 2018) at the Baptist College of Missionary Physician Assistants. Our selection board has selected 33 students that will make up the next class of the 3-year program. It was very encouraging to see so many applicants to our school. Doctors from the various hospitals, where our current students are being trained, sent relatives and friends to our school because of the excellent training.
We have finally been able to purchase oil palm seeds from neighboring Ivory Coast to plant on the 100-acre farm that the school owns. The goal of the oil palm farm is to help the Baptist College be self-supporting and self-sustaining long into the future. We are starting the farm with 1,000 already germinated oil palm seeds that we put in a nursery at our house and prayerfully we will be able to transplant onto the farm by June 2018. Every year we hope to gradually increase the amount of seed we plant until the farm is fully planted. The seeds will stay in the nursery for 6 months and then be transplanted on the farm during rainy season. Within 3 years, the first palm can be harvested and processed into oil which can be sold either locally or even exported.
The last couple of months on Wednesdays a local pastor, church planters and I have held teacher/preacher training at the various church plant locations in the Panta District. It has been going very well. The men are asking good questions and seem to understand the lessons well. I have been teaching lessons that they can then go teach on Sunday mornings to their churches. The lessons started with the Bible and God and we are chronologically going through Genesis. The men love to see how the Bible stories keep building on one another to tell the big story of redemption and salvation for mankind. It is great to see them learning the lessons then teaching them to their own people.
Kandi is also teaching her ladies Bible Study class. She really enjoys spending time with the ladies and helping them to learn the big picture of the Bible as well. They all said that they had heard bits and pieces of the Bible in church, but they never understood how the Bible fits together as one big story of redemption.
With an old car and old generator come almost weekly problems and time spent at the garage. I have had some good witnessing opportunities with my mechanics Sam and Mission. Generator problems have allowed me to be able to witness to our Muslim generator mechanic, Yaya. The other morning I asked him why the Muslim people in town were blocking the road and in a very large group praying on the side of the road. Yaya said it was the 4-day Muslim Christmas (that’s what they call it in Liberia). It is the time Muslims celebrate Abraham offering his son Ismael as an offering to the Lord. I was able to tell Yaya the real story about Abraham offering his son Isaac and the meaning of the story and was able to share the gospel with him. He seemed interested and agreed to come to our house to watch the Jesus film in the Mandingo language. So, pray for Sam and Yaya’s salvation and spiritual growth for Mission.
We thank you all so much for your faithful prayers and support. We could not be here without you!
The Mathews Family
Liberia, West Africa
Praise and Prayer requests:
• Salvation of Yaya and Sam
• Spiritual growth for Mission
• Salvation of ladies in the Bible study and spiritual growth
• Praise the Lord for our families recovering from our illnesses
• Praise the Lord for the teaching going well in the bush, pray for the men to grow spiritually
• Continue to pray for the MPA students as they get ready to graduate - that they would go and be a witness for Christ in Liberia
• Pray for the new class of students
• Pray for our financial support as we have had a lot of extra expenses the last couple of months