We are thankful to have reached this point of updating you on the faithfulness of the Lord in our lives. As always our summer was busy, stretching, full of adventure and, THANKFULLY, God ordered and ordained.
All of June and up to July 11 was spent facilitating our Boot Camp programs in Merritt Island, Florida. It was extremely hot and dry this year. Tom as usual served in the Video/Computer Department and went out of his comfort zone and spoke at an evening rally, which he did very well. I taught outdoor cooking, prepared outdoor meals for everyone, coordinated the Preteen program, taught classes and spoke at a few rallies.
July 11 through August 7 we were the leaders of a group of 10-13 year olds on the Honduras Preteen Team. Although I have coordinated the program for 16 years, we had not led this age group since 2000. I quickly discovered that middle school age boys are a handful. We had 12 boys and 6 girls. The girls never stopped talking and the boys never stopped being curious and full of energy. Our project was to help repair the road that led up to the Teen Missions property in San Isridro, Honduras. It was a beautiful mountain location filled with singing birds and various creepy insects, reptiles and spiders which the boys were always anxious to show us. The day was always full of challenges as Tom and the male leaders directed the work projects, which included digging drainage ditches, spreading out gravel and machete work. My assistant lady leader and I kept 32 people fed, mended the wounds associated with middle school age boys and tools,and kept the kids and our living quarters clean. The national students and staff joined us daily for meals which gave the kids opportunities to practice Spanish. The team had opportunity to share the Gospel in open air meetings at two local schools. The national Bible school students taught them some Spanish puppet songs and they really enjoyed both learning them and sharing the message. The team was blessed when 10 received Christ as a result of their efforts. We praise the Lord for the opportunity to be a part of these lives for a season, we love each one and pray that God will continue the work HE has begun in each life.
August 15th we boarded a plane for Cameroon, West Africa and began what seemed like a second summer team experience. In fact, I woke up about two hours into the first flight to Paris, and about panicked cause I did not see a group of teens or preteens wearing our signature magenta travel shirts. We arrived in Cameroon in time for the last two days of the national program. It was a blessing for us to see how well our national staff did in running the program alone for the first time. Blessings continued to rain down as we listened to the reports from the five teams. A total of 95 Cameroonian teens participated on 5 teams and 2,644 received Christ as Lord and Savior through their proclamation of the Gospel! To God be the Glory! We were especially happy to hear that Louie (the very first Cameroonian to sign up for a team) was able to volunteer and teach puppets and drama and one of the Boot Camp speakers was a former team member from 2003 who is now a pastor. To see the fruit of our efforts in Cameroon was a great blessing. Our schedule for the remainder of our time consisted of travel to the Units over challenging roads and faith-inspired bridges, a trip to the capital city six hours away to check on the process of our government paperwork, starting up a new Bible school year, hours of paperwork and checking on finances, and meetings with staff, students and national board members. We plan to establish the location for our fourth Rescue Unit by January. Tom and Vitalis took a trip to a remote area called Nwa. The 12 villages in this area are quite primitive and there is one small thatched roof church in the region and one small dirty clinic with little or no medicines. Tom found one household that was being run by a blind old grandfather and three children. The youngest girl, Sambine, five years old, had not walked in a year due an infestation of insects in her feet, ankles and knees. When Tom returned he contacted a missionary friend who runs an orphanage and told him about the girl and they were able to make the trip out to the village. The grandfather was happy to have Sambine placed in the orphanage. The last we heard she had been taken to a hospital and had 52 insects removed from her little body. She was recovering nicely and is excited about the possibility of school for the first time. Unfortunately the blind grandfather was not willing to let the other two children ages 12 and 10 go because he needed them to cook and gather firewood for him. As we meet with the area chief for land and establish the Unit in this area, we are trusting we will be able to get these two children in school as well as assist them medically. One of the village practices we became aware of this year that was heartbreaking to us was slicing the cheeks of small children. They cut them to let out the bad spirits that cause nightmares. Unfortunately, in many cases these wounds get horribly infected. The children cry in the night because they are hungry and the guardian or parent believes the witch doctors that it is the evil spirits. So they inflict painful wounds to ward off the evil. Our prayer is that the message of the Gospel will reach these people and they will be willing to do away with these pagan practices.
An unwelcome side effect to working in Africa is the fact that we get ill at times. Tom battled a cold the entire time we were gone. I came down with both an upper respiratory infection and malaria. On the trip home both of us started feeling ill and by the time we touched down in Florida we both had fever of 102° and a case of malaria. We took our treatments and now it is a matter of regaining our strength. We plan to take it one day at a time. Right now our hearts are full but our bodies weak, as the Lord heals we will share more of our time overseas with you.
We are grateful for the Lord’s faithfulness, your consistent prayers on our behalf and your financial gifts that keep us in ministry. Thank you for your prayers for our children as well. We returned to find Zach doing very well with the diabetes, Kalah doing great in school and work, and Daniel strong and happy.
Our prayer is that you will be blessed in the final months of the year, taking each day to walk in the Grace, Peace and Mercy that our Lord offers.
Because He Lives,
Tom & Linda Maher
Success of the 2010 Cameroon Boot Camp.
Safe travel over the many miles.
The ability to see fruit for our labors.
Health and strength
Wisdom in our daily activities.
Consistent support in prayer and finances.