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Togo Import Taxes

This is a regular update from  faithful ABWE missionaries serving on the front lines in Mango, Togo, West Africa.  When you are done, please pray that ABWE is exonerated from import taxes on construction supplies, or that God will show another way.May 25, 2009

It’s shortly after 9:00 in the evening, and we returned from Lome just a couple of hours ago.  The trip was uneventful, apart from nearly hitting a man who wasn’t in his right mind, and who decided to stand in the middle of the road and shake his fist at cars and trucks as they passed by.  We were following a truck loaded with 40 tons of cement when the semi suddenly swerved hard into the oncoming lane.  Thankfully he didn’t lose control of his vehicle, and nobody was in the lane coming his way.  When I turned right to avoid him, I saw the reason for his evasive action.  I had to swerve to miss an angry man in the road, and was roundly scolded for my efforts.  The fellow had determined that he would not budge from his chosen spot.  Once safely past, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a passerby walk out to try and persuade him to move.  Many Togolese are good Samaritans, and while it might be dangerous to meddle with a madman, they are often willing to try, in order to save the life of some unfortunate no longer in control of his faculties.  Esther and I gave thanks for God’s protection, and then reflected on the foolishness of this man.  I can’t help but see a parallel to fallen man’s reaction to God.  It is foolish for a man to confront a heavily loaded semi.  We call it madness.  But even more foolish is man’s disregard of his Creator, and His laws.  Surely that is MADNESS. And it is our responsibility to try and move them from the road that leads to destruction.

We spent part of the week in Team meetings down at Tsiko, and coming back this evening we were reminded again that it is much hotter here in the north.  We had forgotten (I don’t know how), but the evening air feels hot, the water coming from the tap is warm, and even the walls not exposed to the sun today are radiating heat.

While at the hospital in Tsiko, we had opportunity to visit Nouhoun, who is recovering from his surgery.  We made arrangements to have him and his sister returned to Mango once he is well enough to travel.  He was proud to show me that he could walk with a walker, although he did not put much weight on the damaged leg.  We were told that the leg will heal in time, and though he will walk with a limp, he will be able to return to an active life.   We are so very grateful for the medical professionals who are caring for him in Tsiko, and believe that God will use this time to open his heart to the gospel.  And we look forward to the day when that excellent medical care will be available here in Mango.

Tomorrow I hope to start purchasing sand and gravel for the start of construction on the Wendell Kempton Medical and Ministry Center.  We need to move quickly, as once the rains become heavy and the river rises, the only sand available is what was purchased for re-sale, and it costs almost twice as much.  I’m assuming the same holds true for gravel, and since cement and concrete construction requires both sand and gravel, we need to move quickly.  God has been gracious in withholding the rains to this point.

Please pray about exoneration from taxes for building supplies and equipment that are needed for the upcoming construction.  I was told today that the head of the custom’s agents turned us down.  This isn’t a dead end, but it complicates things.  And of course, with taxes at around 50%, we do need the exoneration.  We are reminded that the king’s heart is in the Lord’s hand.  Like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wills.  We have tools coming in with the team from the Silverdale Baptist Church in about 4 weeks, and are praying that we can bring them in without taxes.  I believe there are also several containers of equipment and other supplies that I’ve heard are to arrive in July.  Thanks much for praying.

Yours in His service,

Tim & Esther Neufeld

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