Last week escaped faster than I could keep up. I am here now. Better late than never, right?!! I’m here with the promised update on our newest sweet OSIF child! I promise, you’ll be so glad you hung on, waiting patiently for me to get out my keyboard to click out the update. Okay, now…I wouldn’t be myself…if I didn’t give a little background first. Oh, come on…you knew that was gonna happen! Don’t act surprised. I’m a novelist, as if a few months break from blogging was gonna change that fact. LOL!~
Okay some key background points.
Dave and Ellen Bartlett
Spring of 2013, Dave and Ellen moved to Northern Ghana as cross cultural workers. When you are a new missionary on the ground, immersing yourself in culture is JOB 1. You are discouraged from beginning ministry, working in ministry, helping in ministry, etc. in the first year. (Although their sending agency was well aware of their involvement with One Step In Faith, it is preferred to have no daily involvement with ministries.) Why you ask? Among many reasons, you are instead encouraged, to BEGIN relationships, BUILD relationships, and GROW relationships with nationals in the area God has called you. A part of beginning these steps in the area you are joining God, you NEED to learn the culture and language as best and as soon as possible. This means, meeting and getting to know Ghanaians. Ha! Imagine that! So, in preparation for their arrival, Dave/Ellen, their support team, their family, and their friends began to pray for God to reveal these people.
And, as God always does, He showed up. Early on, Dave and Ellen were introduced to a beautiful Ghanaian couple, David and Ursela, who would become their cultural and language teachers. Oh, but this couple would soon become so much more. They are confidants, pastors, friends, they are brothers and sisters in Christ. They laugh together, pray together, and comfort together when this place they call home sometimes feels so unfamiliar. Life in another country is not simple, life away from home is not easy, and life away from all those you love so dearly – your home country family and friends – is sometimes more than a heart can bear. To have people, nationals of the country God calls you, help to comfort in those areas is a gift. So, speaking on behalf of Dave and Ellen, I hope I am not speaking out of turn when I say – I believe David and Ursela are a gift.
David and Ursela
David and Ursela have been in ministry for quite some time, having moved back from the southern portion of Ghana, back to their hometown of Bolgtanga (Northern Ghana), as in-country evangelists/missionaries. Their ministry has several facets, most of which are helping wherever God leads. (Well, that is what God calls us all to do – right?) They live 100% on faith and trust the Lord will provide. One day, in obedience, they took in an abandoned infant child who was HIV+, Jerry. His mother had recently died of AIDS, and his father was in denial that the child was his. His position was, there was no way he had HIV, therefore Jerry had to be another man’s child, even though (1) he hadn’t been tested for HIV and (2) the boy has striking physical similarities. Sheesh! Jesus, help when we as human beings have little patience and understanding with these situations. It was not easy, but David and Ursela are raising Jerry as their own. He is thriving by the way, quite the spirited little boy! Super fun!!
Jerry has a sister
Well, time has passed and Jerry is such an active toddler, loving life and loving Jesus. Actually, I wish I had a camera when we were there this past September. We were praying over dinner, and I opened my eyes. OK, YES…I opened my eyes. You know, I actually enjoy watching children while we pray. And, I think God understands and doesn’t take any offense…promise! LOL! Anyway, I was watching Jerry, this little toddler pray over his food. David and Ursela teach Jesus in their home, they worship and live & breathe as Jesus followers/disciple makers. This little boy had his eyes closed (yeah, his were closed) and his hands stretched out over his food as they prayed. SO SWEET!! I get images of that sometimes when we pray, and it always brings a smile to my face. Well, he is doingamazing, getting great medical care for his HIV, and as I said, time has passed.
Ursela received a communication Jerry’s older sister (5 years old) needed to be tested for HIV. Ursela helped the family, by taking her to the clinic to be tested, and Praise Jesus…she is negative. YAY!
This was not an easy decision to make. It was clear, as Ursela was holding this young girl in her arms, she needed someone to love her. However, David and Ursela were struggling to provide for their own biological children, Jerry, as well as themselves. With all the financial strife in the North, they have no stable income from their mission work, as I said earlier…this couple lives by faith. However, they do not live in their own strength, and so they lifted these concerns up to God. They lifted up this little girl. In obedience to God’s prompting, Dave and Ellen came to One Step In Faith with this little girl’s story.
Saying yes, when you don’t see how…
At our board meeting, we were discussing considerable financial concerns with our existing children. We know there are fundraisers to be planned and sponsors to be raised, and were reviewing ideas and options to start addressing the soon-to-be serious financial situation. After reviewing the current sponsor and financial bank balances, anticipated year end risks, we all agreed to lift this up to the Lord and press forward with our approved plans. Next agenda topic, Dave & Ellen, understanding the financial situation with the existing children, obeyed the prompting of the Lord and brought up the situation with Jerry’s older sister. They shared the background, details of her story and asked for us to pray and consider her support through OSIF. Oh, it would be so easy to say – well, DUH? We are out of money, why are you bringing us another child to support – we can’t afford the ones we have. But, you see, we just don’t operate like that. We know if God wants us involved, God will make a way. And, we know there is food and water when we need it, a roof over our heads, entertainment when we seek it, and love in our homes. So, we prayed. But, to be honest, it was INSTANT…God guided us instantly to take her on.
I would like to introduce you to Sara. Oh my goodness, isn’t she just so cute! Just want to bottle her up and carry her around with you all day long. This picture was taken of her attending church! Sara will grow up knowing she is loved by a family, by community, and most importantly by God. Sara will grow up with her biological brother! And, Sara will have an opportunity for education. These are pictures of her getting ready for her first day at school. She began a pre-kindergarten type class. So excited for all God is going to do in and through Sara. Please pray for David and Ursela, as they raise up these sweet children. Please pray for Sara, that God would continue to cover her and reveal to her Himself. Please pray for provisions, as we are still in need of financial support.
Prayer is a huge part of the support we provide to these children. Frankly, we believe it is the most important part of the support. It is our hearts desire to have a team of two or more people, willing to come together on a regular basis to pray in unison for one of One Step In Faith supported children. And, then, when they are not together, for them to pray individually on a daily basis. It is heart’s desire, to have the family (including the child, if they are old enough to understand…some of our kids are infants) of the supported child to in partnership, pray for the prayer team. Sara needs a prayer team. Would you seek your heart? Does God call you to become a prayer team leader? If so, please contact me at email@example.com for more information.
Thank you and as always…hugs to you all!!!
Stay tuned for an update on another OSIF child later in the week...