Mclaughlin Dec 2020 - Ivory Coast
Warm greetings to each of you during this holiday season! Thank you for your prayers for stability in Ivory Coast. God has answered, and I am looking forward to returning to the field in January. As in the past, I’d like to use this last letter of the year to summarize ministry developments in 2020.
The Lord has blessed with a great furlough. What an encouragement it has been to visit many dear friends who have supported me these past fifteen years. I traveled 47,000 miles, and I am grateful to have reported back to the majority of my supporting churches. During this time, the Lord encouraged me by providing for several ministry needs. Some needs were for people; others were for funds. I’d like to share some of these neat answers to prayer with you.
Medications for ministry are readily available in Ivory Coast, but they are expensive. We’ve realized that if we were to obtain our medications from US-based humanitarian organizations, our costs could be cut in half. For this to take place, we needed a physician to join our team. Twelve years ago, a medical student with a heart for ministry visited our ministry. Dr. Amana Andrews is now ACCESS’s Physician Representative.
We asked the Lord for a minimum of ten medical team members to join us in ministry in 2021. Eleven signed up. Praise the Lord for how He sends us just the right people for ACCESS teams.
I’ve had a need to replace my 1998 SUV. Many prayed and gave. Through you, the Lord has met this need. What a blessing it will be to purchase a more recent vehicle that will be used in evangelism both in the Bingerville villages and as we partner with church planters in the country’s interior.
As I finished traveling, I had a delay before returning to the field, so the Lord led me to put together some French tracts for our ministry. Because Ivory Coast is 52% illiterate, an illustrative-type tract could be effective specifically in reaching rural tribal groups. Returning to the field, we will have three new tracts to target three specific groups: professionals, illiterate, and those experiencing loss. A friend has graciously offered to design and print two of these tracts free of charge. God is in the details. He always knows what He is doing!
News from the Field
On the field, the village team has done a great job in not only maintaining, but also in extending the ministry during my furlough. News of those who have been saved has filled my heart with joy. One day, the team called to ask if they could continue going to the villages instead of breaking early for Christmas. What a zeal they have to reach their neighbors for Christ! A couple of weeks later, we were talking again, and they asked, “When you get back, can we go to new villages?” I can’t wait to join this team again. There will be new chiefs to meet, new tribal groups to understand, and new people to love to Christ. Doubtless, there will be challenges, but God has always shown that His grace is greater than any challenge ahead.
"For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work." (Ps. 92:4) God has led in so many ways this year, and we look forward to a great year of ministry in 2021. Missions is the combined efforts of many people. “No matter what accomplishments you make somebody helps you.” (Althea Gibson) Words cannot adequately express my gratefulness to each of you for your giving and prayers. You mean a great deal to me, and I thank the Lord for you. Several sent Christmas gifts which couldn’t have come at a better time to meet expenses as I return to the field. May the Lord wonderfully bless each of you this holiday season!
PRAYER FOCUS • I plan to return to the field with a stock of medications. Pray for our paperwork with the Department of Health in Ivory Coast to be approved and that the medications would go through customs with minimal fees. • I will probably be moving into a different house in Bingerville. Please pray that the Lord will lead me and provide for my housing. • Pray that the Lord will give me wisdom in the village ministry. • Pray for safety and continued good health.