Archive for February, 2009

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Papa God

(A reminder with many thanks: If you were thinking of making a donation on behalf of a Harvest Project team member, this would be a good time. Airline tickets are being purchased now.)

Remember camp songs on the bus when you were a kid? There’ll be time for plenty of songs when the Harvest Project team makes the 8-hour bus trip again this time from Yaounde up to Bamenda.

In 2007 on the bus we learned a worship song in Pidgin English. The meaning is something like this:

No one can say God has never done good for him.

Show me! Show me!

I never heard, I never saw, I never heard

Any who can say God has never done good for him.

I was back in Cameroon a few months after the 2007 project, and grabbed my camera when the church choir started in on that familiar song, “Na oh weh Papa God nevah do good for he.”

So here’s to memory and anticipation! And here’s thanks to our God who drops rain on the just and the unjust and who works everything together for good to those who are trusting him.

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Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Not Saying No to God

(A reminder with many thanks: If you were thinking of making a donation on behalf of a Harvest Project team member, this would be a good time. Airline tickets are being purchased now.)

Thought from Brian Reilly, team member:

Our pastor has been preaching sermons the last few Sundays about spiritual gifts and making oneself available to God, that we may not say no to God (nor would there ever be a good reason to do so).

I have been listening especially closely, feeling like he is opening up God’s word directly to me for the upcoming Cameroon trip in particular. I know it goes for everyone, but I have been awestruck at how God is honoring me by providing for this trip. This scripture is not new to me, but its pertinence and current application has growing meaning, growing me in Christ.

Getting to know the truth about what’s going on in the world, that some people actually think their disabled loved ones may be part snake – true heartache. It makes trust in God and faith grow stronger by the second.

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Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Solange

by David Anderson, team member who lives in Cameroon and ministers through Crossing Bridges

Solange was born with a deformity in her knees which made it difficult for her to learn to walk.

In many African cultures, this means that the child is not valued by the family – often the family may simply abandon the infant.

In Solange’s case, however, she was kept by the family, but because of her disability – and because of the mysterious disappearance of some eggs -

her father believed that Solange was actually a snake.

Somehow, she was “found” by Nungu Magdalene, Founder and Director of the Center for Empowerment of Females with Disabilities, and was brought to the school. In 2005, an orthopedic surgeon operated on her knees to reduce the deformity. She now wears braces to further correct her legs and to give support.

Last month, when Magdalene was in Solange’s village . . . she gave Solange’s father a letter from Solange. He was astonished. “My daughter wrote this?” he kept asking. Magdalene assured him that she had, and added that Solange wants to become a minister (government official). Suddenly, his entire attitude changed. He began telling everyone whom he saw “My daughter is going to be a minister!”

This true story somewhat parallels a sketch which the children of CEFED frequently perform, which features a disabled child whose father denies her the opportunity to attend school, favoring instead his non-disabled child. As the sketch ends, the disabled child, now grown to adulthood, returns to the family after achieving a position of importance through the Christian love and support of a benefactor. [Solange plays the role of the mother in the video of that sketch, "I Want to Go to School."]

Solange is one of several children who, following a profession of faith, was baptized last December.

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Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Transient vs. Eternal



by Bob Horning, team leader

 

I don’t remember the exact date I became a Christian, but it was right about this time of year, 30 years ago.  The verse that broke through was 2 Corinthians 4:17-18: 


For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.


Those verses keep finding their way into my life, and it occurred to me this morning how fitting they are for this outreach. We will be serving a couple hundred disabled people who are in the middle of a “slight momentary affliction” that probably doesn’t feel very slight or very momentary. 


But believe it or not, another “affliction” can be the wheelchair itself.  The wheelchair is a great thing, but it is going to wear out eventually.  

 

So would you please join us in praying for each person that gets served? Thirty years ago Jesus changed my life by helping me take my eyes off transient things. 

 

Pray that these eternal souls in Cameroon:

 

  • would see their disability as transient.  Even if it lasts their whole life it is short compared to eternity.
  • would not put too much emphasis on their new wheelchair, realizing that it too is transient.
  • would respond with joy to the gospel, and know without a doubt that Jesus offers “an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”


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Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Confirmation

One of our teammates was feeling somewhat uncertain about his decision to go, but he is discovering God giving him confirmation from every side.

His Sunday school class pledged financial support even before he asked. His daughter surprised him with a substantial gift for his birthday. A friend lent him a book with practical and interesting information about Cameroon. And many friends, even outside the church, are showing interest he would never have expected.

Please pray that all of us will sense God’s confirmation when hesitation arises or when it’s more difficult that we expected to raise support and make preparations for leaving family and normal responsibilities.

Please do pray that each team member will have the financial resources required.

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Monday, February 16th, 2009

I Want to Go to School

In many countries a person with a disability is often treated as useless–no good to his family, his community, or to the wider society.

The children of the Santa Special Education School in Santa, Cameroon, present a small drama with a different viewpoint.

We may or may not agree that the accomplishments of the disabled daughter in the story are the highest possible measures of usefulness. Still, don’t miss the contrast between the child with disabilities and the sister who is “normal.”

And at the end of the video, hear the firm conviction of Nungu Anna, teacher at the Santa School and sister of Nungu Magdalene, one of the Cameroonian members of the Harvest Project team.

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Friday, February 13th, 2009

Even More Prayers Answered

Thank you, Lord.


We prayed for the chairs to get through Customs, and they did. 

AND we prayed that the customs officials might grant humanitarian status so the customs fee–which can be very steep–would be less. And he did that too.

Magdalene emailed from her home in Bamenda after days of legwork in Douala.

“Our Lord God has been so faithful. He has been making exponential breakthroughs at every stage. It is so amazing the way the Lord has worked out the details of the removal of this container [from Customs]. The exoneration procedure was long and we resorted to removing the container for fear of high storage fees. 

“While at the seaport in Douala I prayerfully booked for an audience to speak with the Chief of Sector of Customs at the seaport and shared CEFED’s activities, the needs, impact of the wheels Harvest Project in Cameroon, and the need for a waiver from custom duties. 

“Behold the Lord touched his heart and he ordered for a waiver of a little more than 50 percent of the custom duty.  Praise The Lord. 

“The chairs where finally transported on Tuesday night, and they arrived in Bamenda Wednesday morning in good condition and safely stored.”


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Thursday, February 12th, 2009

The Chairs Have Arrived!

You prayed that God would smooth the way through Customs for our wheelchair shipment.

Email from our team member, David Anderson who lives in Bamenda:

“I spoke briefly with Magdalene yesterday morning. She drove back through the night (Tuesday), arriving in Bamenda around 4 AM. When she called (around 7:30 AM), she said the chairs had just arrived at her home. She says the Lord blessed.”

Thank you for praying! God did it!

On another note, here’s some more of David’s email that gives a flavor of Magdalene’s life and ministry:

“She was off to a “Youth Day” celebration, I suppose had to teach today at her high school, and tomorrow may be taking one of the children to the hospital.”

So thank you for praying for strength for Magdalene whenever you think of her.

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Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

A Picture Is Worth . . .

So many people and so few hours! If only there were time to sit and sip tea and hear each person’s story.

I’m not sure a picture is really worth a thousand words, but a photo can capture at least some of what happened when the last Harvest Project team was in Bamenda, Cameroon. We were working then with Nungu Magdalene, through the ministry of CEFED, as we will be again this time for part of our mission.

I hope these pictures will give you a taste of the joy that arrived with wheelchairs. And may this joy remind you to pray for eternal joy for the people we meet and work with.

(Don’t forget to subscribe so you can lots more pictures.)

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Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Team Cameroon: Magdalene

Nungu Magdalene – Bamenda, Cameroon

(Family name comes first)

“She’ll never walk again,” the doctors told Magdalene’s parents when she was a young teenager and had suffered a severe fever that had left her paralysed. In her home country of Cameroon, this might well have meant the end of education and normal community life.

For people with disabilities in Cameroon, as in many countries, there is no support system of the sort we might take for granted in the US, and poverty makes it impossible for most people to afford even basic medical care or adaptive equipment. Furthermore, a disability is often viewed as shameful or as a curse from the gods.

In spite of these things, Magdalene’s mother and father wouldn’t accept the doctors’ verdict. With their encouragement and inspiration and her own stubborn persistence, Magadalene regained the use of her legs, earned a university degree, and became a teacher. Her gait is slow, but she doesn’t let that stop her.

Having herself struggled to overcome the stigma and prejudice against disability, Magdalene was led by God to work with and for others with similar challenges. She is the Founder & Director of the Centre for Empowerment of Females with Disabilities in Bamenda, Cameroon.

Magdalene with the board, staff, and volunteers of CEFED are an essential part of the our Harvest Project.

Right now, for instance, we are thanking the Lord that our shipment of 200 wheelchairs arrived a couple of weeks ago in the Port of Douala, Cameroon, in plenty of time for our mission. Magdalene is in that city, fulfilling the customs requirements so the chairs are released and ready for distribution when we arrive. This usually involves a lot of visits to various offices, being sent to other offices, returning, etc.

Please pray:

1. That officials will grant a humanitarian status to the shipment. This will save a large duty fee.

2. That the process through customs will move smoothly and the shipment be released early this week. After a certain amount of time in customs, an expensive storage fee will be levied.

3. That Magdalene receive strength from the Lord. She is an amazing woman, but the customs procedures can exhaust even a person with no disability.

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Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Mal’s Story, part 3: The Open Door

Don’t miss the part 1 and part 2 of Mal’s story.

by Mal Hasty, team member

All of my life God has provided me with unusual strength in my legs and a extra dose of “let’s get it done.” From the time that I got my prosthetics, I worked during my therapy sessions and after hours, including many times at night when I couldn’t sleep.

With God’s guiding hand I was able to walk without a walker or a helper in about a week.

They released me on August 10, 2005. I had been in a hospital for 7-1/2 months. My body, with the exception of my feet and two fingers on my right hand have returned almost to normal.

Why was I saved when doctors told me that the mortality rate for streptococcus A is almost 100% when it’s discovered as advanced as it was with me? God proved them wrong, didn’t He?

When I lay in a hospital bed without energy to brush my teeth, shave, or even turn over and knew that I should really already be in Heaven-why had God saved my life?

The only reason that came to my mind was, He had additional purposes for my life. I promised God that whenever a door opened, I would trust that He wanted me to step through.

Many opportunities have come my way in face-to-face encounters. People will stop and ask me what happened and the first thing I tell them is that I’m here because the Lord saved my life.

God has led me to give my testimony in several churches, Fellowship of Christian Athlete meetings, the sauna of the gym where I work out, in Romania, and now with this Harvest Project.

This is the next open door.

It’s my joy to still be alive and very active.

I can say God’s grace is sufficient.

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Friday, February 6th, 2009

Mal’s Story, Pt 2: Choose–Limbs or Life?

Today, we continue the story that began yesterday.

by Mal Hasty, team member

My heart, kidneys, and liver were not getting enough blood to function. The doctors suggested a medication that would force blood out of my extremities to my vital organs. They warned of possible side effects (loss of parts of fingers, loss of toes and possibly part of the feet). Since I was in a coma, my kids made the decision to give the medication, which saved my life.

I was transferred to a hospital with a hypobaric chamber (100% oxygen) in an effort to save my extremities. I was to be there at least six weeks to use the chamber three times a week and go through dialysis three times a week.

God’s grace showed through loud and clear. My daughter worked at the hospital. She was able to come see me any time that she didn’t have a patient. Even though many, many friends visited me and were very encouraging, my daughter’s visits with her five children probably did more for my spirit than anything else.

At the end of the six weeks, I was told that both my feet needed to be amputated. You would think that I would be angry and bitter. I can only say, God gave me two months to be prepared for this.

God’s grace sustained me through this and the only thing lingering on my mind was: Let’s get on with the therapy and the prosthetics.

As soon as the wounds healed the therapists began their work. I was assigned to a therapist named Sharon. Sharon told me that she was in a prayer group and a woman in the group had asked prayer for someone in exactly the same situation I was in. It was my daughter-in-law. So my therapist had been praying for me long before we met.

All I can say is, His mysterious ways.

(It will be easy to remember to read the rest of Mal’s story if you’ve subscribed.)

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