Around the World: Minister tells of joy, sadness serving Kenya’s deaf
David and Samson Okotch stand in front of the sign…
LUBUGA, Tanzania — What causes Cerebral Palsy? An angry ancestor? Witchcraft? A jealous family member? Or is it (echoing the story of Cain and Abel) a curse directly from Almighty God?
Those are the questions Lazaro Gaudence and fellow members of a Church of Christ in this East African village face as they try to improve the life of a toddler with the disorder — the granddaughter of a prominent witch doctress, said Kevin Linderman, a member of a mission team in Mwanza, Tanzania, in a recent report.
Gaudence is medical director of a community health project in the Mwanza, Tanzania, area. Searcy, Ark.-based International Health Care Foundation/African Christian Hospitals sponsors the project.
The Lubuga church provides enriched porridge to help address the child’s malnourishment. Gaudence visits regularly to provide basic physical therapy. Workers with the health project constructed an adaptive chair to help the child gain muscle strength and coordination “so that one day, Lord willing, she will be able to walk,” Linderman said.
Recently, Gaudence and the church gathered at the witch doctress’ compound, with permission, to pray for the child and other developmentally delayed children in the village.
The child’s family would be most convinced of God’s power if she were miraculously healed, Linderman said. “But God is demonstrating his sovereignty in different ways. He is demonstrating his love, his power and his grace through the church.”
AVIGNON — Aaron Palmer, youth minister for the Crieve Hall Church of Christ in Nashville, Tenn., and his wife, Betsy, traveled to this city in southeastern France and to the city of Colmar to “share God’s word with seeking souls,” the minister said.
The couple studied with 15 people in the two cities. Bren and Cheryl White, longtime missionaries to French-speaking nations, joined them on the mission.
“We are praying every day for those with whom we studied,” Aaron Palmer said, “that God would help them to have a clear understanding of what the New Testament says and what it means to be a true disciple.”
PURNIA — In India’s northern state of Bihar, where followers of Christ have reported frequent attacks by militant Hindu groups, Churches of Christ are providing relief to Purnia and other towns and villages after recent floods.
Minister David Martin, based in the southern Indian city of Chennai, reports the distribution of flour, rice, green peas, coriander powder and bath soap in Bihar and the neighboring state of West Bengal. Two souls were baptized by minister Massih Tudu during the relief work, Martin added.
JERICHO — Minister Maurice Jadon preached to 51 believers on the banks of the Jordan River before baptizing a new soul in the waters where Jesus himself was baptized.
The baptism happened during an annual tour hosted by the Nazareth Church of Christ, a congregation of Arab Christians. The site of the baptism was Qasr el Yahud, an Israeli national park about six miles east of the Palestinian city of Jericho.
The group also toured historic sites of the life of Christ in Jerusalem and visited Bethlehem. In the nearby shepherd fields, Jadon preached again; and the Christians sang “Glory to God in the Highest.”
Khon Kaen — The Kum Hai Church of Christ is launching a new Sunday afternoon worship service in a foreign language — English.
“Why do we want to do that in Khon Kaen? There are more and more mixed marriages between Europeans or Americans and Thai women,” explained missionary Kim Voraritskul. “There are now over 30,000 foreigners in the northeast alone.”
As a result, a new ethnic group of English speakers is emerging in Thailand, “so we believe we should be ready for this group,” Voraritskul said, adding that the church will soon launch an English Bible school to train ministers for the work.
NOTTINGHAM — “What pleases me is the way in which they feel at home as they walk through the doors and greet us all as old friends.”
That’s how missionary Bob Eckman described participants in the recent harvest supper hosted by the Church of Christ in this English city. More than half of the senior citizens who attend the annual event are not church members, Eckman said, “but they have become good friends of the church.”
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