This Christmas, are you looking for an idea for giving a MEANINGFUL GIFT?
We just returned from a visit to Guinea. Wow! It is extremely difficult to be an Pastor in Guinea, as in most countries of West Africa! Guinea is so poverty-stricken. Shortages of electricity and water (there is water, but it is not at all exploited), absolutely TERRIBLE roads! Dangerous! A lack of any effective means of transportation. Communication by phone, very poor! Internet? Leaves much left to be desired, to say the least. No postal system! Imagine?
Praise International exists to support, encourage and facilitate the ministries of national pastors in Poverty-Stricken Countries, such as Guinea.
We have two ideas for a meaningful gift this Christmas:
- A Guinea Pastor would CHERISH having a good Study Bible with Commentary.
2. Sponsor a Guinea Pastor for $35/month.
Village Pastors in West Africa typically have NO SALARY. Imagine? How many in America would work for no salary? They have gardens, maybe chickens, maybe a goat. But this is not enough. They need money to send their children to school! Imagine a pastor in America whose children can’t go to school? Praise International seeks people who would be willing to sponsor a pastor? A fruitful evangelical church, lead by a dynamic devout Man of God, will impact their community for good and for God and for God’s Glory.
Please send your give by PayPal or by mail to: Praise International, P.O. Box 927, Caldwell, ID 83606.
Dick Shaw, Praise Chairman of the Board, and I just returned from a two-week ministry trip in Africa. We traveled from Conakry, Guinea to Bamako, Mali to experience the culture, to see how people live in these two countries, and most importantly, to meet as many evangelical pastors as possible and to support and encourage them. We can heartily say that we accomplished those goals.
We were profoundly touched by the great difficulties faced by these folks, as they live and work a world of extreme poverty. They seemed so humble, calmly accepting their way of life, experiencing without complaint the pains and hardships of day-to-day life. From our American perspective, spoiled by relatively extravagant comfort, even though we spent only a few days immersed in this culture, our temperament and coping skills were put to the test to the max! I’m terrible at timed-test. I’m not sure if I did well on this test. But I learned so much! God taught me so much!
These dear people live like this every single day! We went to Guinea and Mali in order to understand what pastors in Africa are up against, to verify that Praise International is indeed helping, and to inquire as to how we can do a better job. Wow! Do we ever understand things better now!
One of the very interesting things we learned about is the great significance that they attach to the kola nut. Yes, the kola nut. The kola tree is native to Guinea and a couple other countries in West Africa that have tropical rain forests. This caffeine-containing seed is used for drinks and for cooking. Yes, the original recipe for Coca-cola contained extracts from the Kola nut. It is also used as medicine. The chewing the nut (or ingesting it in some form or another) is known to improve a person’s digestive system, to increase the heart rate and to stimulate the blood circulation.
However, the kola nut has a much deeper significance. It is actually called, the nut of life. This nut is much more than a nut. In Guinea, the most life-changing events include a cultural, spiritual and ceremonial use of the nut of life. A man gives of a certain amount of kola nuts to the parents of the girl he wants to marry, somewhat like a dowry. At the birth of their baby, there is some sort of ceremony, which involves, I believe, the baby’s umbilical cord being wrapped permanently around a cola nut. The nut is also used at the christening of the child. It is used at the ceremonial signing of certain important documents. It is also used to honor an important person or to reward someone for accomplishments. There is also a kola nut ritual at the funeral.
Several times as Dick Shaw and I traveled to visit pastors, driving for miles on muddy, bumpy roads surrounded on both sides by thick jungle, we entered a tiny village full of round thatch-roofed huts and were invited into the dwelling where the pastor and his large family live. The small room is crowded with people such as church leaders, village councilmen, and maybe a village chief. We sit in a circle on hand-made wooden benches. Then there is a beautiful traditional welcome ceremony. One person in the circle has a small container with some kola nuts in it. This is past from person to person, each person taking his turn at expressing well-chosen words of welcome to us, their honored guests. When the cup of kola nuts was handed to us, we had the opportunity to thank them for their beautiful and meaningful welcome. And of course, this was one of our opportunities to honor the pastor and his family for the sacrificial work they are doing for the Lord.
For a couple of interesting reads, I suggest two articles.
On January 12 Haiti was assailed by a deadly 7.0 earthquake, killing an estimated 230,000, injuring over 300,000 and rendering over a million homeless. What could be worse? A cholera epidemic. Only nine months later, still suffering from the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, with hundreds of thousands of Haitians still living in “tent cities” or on the streets, Haiti has been experiencing a ruthless cholera epidemic, the first in more than 100 years. The number of Haitians killed by this epidemic has climbed to almost 2,400. Over one hundred thousand have been infected by the virus.
Pastor Ignace Augustin and his wife, Franchette, live in Les Cayes, a seaport town in southwestern Haiti. Ignace is our Praise International regional leader in Haiti. Like the rest of Haiti, Les Cayes has been devastated by the cholera epidemic. He has been very actively involved in the relief work.
Ignace and his helpers have distributed to hundreds of Haitians crucial products that will help prevent the spread of cholera, such things as an oral serum, clorox, soap, as well as food.
In addition to the mass distribution of these products, Pastor Ignace says, “We are also working in the area of education and instructing the people how to prevent getting infected with cholera.” As Christians, they also believe that prayer is an important part of overcoming this cholera plague.
Praise International supports and facilitates the ministries of such Haitian pastors as Ignace and Franchette.
Pastor Rosny Civil and his wife, Francine are also supported by Praise International. They have two children, Syndie, 11 years old and Dor, 9. Financial contributions from people like you allow pastors like the Augustins and the Civils to serve God faithfully where He has called them and to have a tangible and lasting impact upon their communities.
If you would like to sponsor a Haitian pastor, contact Praise International. There are pastors at this moment who need your encouragement. Thank you.