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Mango Mission # 3

Update # 3 from ABWE Missionaries in Mango, Togo – Northern Outreach.

Excerpt . . .

The work goes on.  We have been very impressed by the way our teammates have been working hard on learning the Tchokossi language, Anufo.  And it is paying off.  I took a walk with Peter Maybury on Saturday, and people in the street, who wanted to hear him speak their language, stopped him continually.  There were mini-conversations, and the delight the people showed that a foreigner would work to learn there language was evident in the smiles on faces all around.  If we expect to win these dear people for God, we will need to win their hearts, and we believe language is one of the keys to their hearts.

November 24, 2008

It’s Monday evening, Thanksgiving week, and with the long trip from Mango to Lome, I didn’t get this written last night.  Esther is out shopping, and I tried to get some rest this afternoon.  I’m a little down on energy this evening, and have hopes for time off at some point this week.  Thanksgiving lunch is scheduled at the guesthouse in Tsiko on Thursday, and that is always a treat.  Much more work for the women than the men, to be sure.

We have much for which to be thankful, and here are a few things that might appear to be out of the ordinary for most of you.  I killed a scorpion that came into the house last week.  Nothing special about that, but I’m thankful that someone spotted it, and I was able to dispatch it with a well-aimed blow from a beach sandal.  Nobody was stung, for which we are thankful.  I’ve started to check my shoes before I put them on.  That was a habit I developed years ago, and let drop.  On Saturday, our guard Mumoni killed a snake that Kiméwalu spotted in our yard.  Again, we are thankful that nobody was bitten, and that Kiméwalu saw it, and Mumoni later found it and broke its neck.  We thank God for His protection.  I’ve walked around barefoot in the yard, not even thinking to look out for snakes.

One of the health issues with which we live in Mango is the lack of public sanitation.   Esther complained about the smell emanating from the cornfield next to our house.  Since it has been harvested, and the land has dried up, I began the work of burying the human excrement scattered across the field.  Welcome to the third-world!  I spent several hours cleaning up, and then knocking down the dried corn stalks, and bunches of grass behind which people could take cover.  A neighbor man came over to help, and we finally set fire to the dried vegetation.  While watching the field burn, I talked about the need for public latrines, and one of the neighbors said that the Tchokossi don’t use latrines, implying that it’s no use building them.  I was told that one of their insults is to suggest that someone cleans latrines.  Most Americans, who have never seen an outhouse, have any idea of just how unpleasant a public latrine can become.  And of course, people are going to avoid a place that is filthy and unsanitary.  While we were talking, a small child came out from the group of huts next to the field and started to mess up what I had just cleaned and burned.  The child was far enough away to where we couldn’t tell if it was a girl or boy, but we all yelled and told him/her to stop and go somewhere else.  At which point the child wandered 50 yards away into another field and completed the job.  We do have our work cut out for us if we are going to change their behavior.  And change it must!  Pigs and chickens die because of diseases spread this way, and it is the cause of a good deal of sickness in the human population as well.

There is a parallel in the spiritual world.  The Bible speaks of the uncleanness of human behavior, and if your stomach has been turned a little by previous paragraph, it may help you see how God views our moral perversity.  The apostle Peter writes of professing Christians who, like a dog, returned to their vomit, and like a pig, to wallowing in the mud.  Those who know the Lord Jesus-Christ as Savior must, “Purify themselves even as He is pure.”  We thank our God for the blood of Jesus-Christ His Son, which cleanses us from all our sin.

We left Mango yesterday, and won’t return until the middle of next week.  The work goes on.  We have been very impressed by the way our teammates have been working hard on learning the Tchokossi language, Anufo.  And it is paying off.  I took a walk with Peter Maybury on Saturday, and people in the street, who wanted to hear him speak their language, stopped him continually.  There were mini-conversations, and the delight the people showed that a foreigner would work to learn there language was evident in the smiles on faces all around.  If we expect to win these dear people for God, we will need to win their hearts, and we believe language is one of the keys to their hearts.

Thanks so much for your prayers, and for the support so many of you have given to keep us here.  We do trust and pray that you will enjoy a holiday that was officially created as a reminder of our need to thank God for His many blessings.

Pictures are here.

Yours in His service,

Tim & Esther Neufeld

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