A BELATED CHRISTMAS 2014 NEWSLETTER
(Due to accumulation of events which stretched us personally and professionally, we were delayed in sending this, but we’re excited now at last to be updating you!)
We pray that 2015 has gotten off to a blessed beginning with you!
PET CARTS (Personal Energy Transportation Carts)
We were so blessed that our last two PET carts were delivered for us by Pastor Jeremie and Pastor Justin. We are thankful for these two pastors and their time and help in this special opportunity.
They delivered our fourth PET cart to a man named Siprien who is in his late 30’s and lives in the village of Tou Tou. Some years ago he became very ill with what was thought to be malaria. He received an injection of Quinine, but for whatever reason, was left with paralysis of his legs. This is probably due to an illness more severe than just malaria. He currently works fixing people’s hair. He’s been very limited in doing this because the people must come to him. Siprien is hoping that the PET cart will enable him to go various places to find and serve more customers; he also wants to be able more easily to get to church. He attends a local Catholic church, and Pastor Justin has had a chance to do some discipleship with him since the initial contact.
Our last and final PET cart went to a man named Koffi, who lives in the village Elo-megbé. After two severe illnesses, one following right after the other, Koffi was left with extreme muscle weakness in his legs that has never resolved. Prior to this he worked as a farmer, but now, of course, this is not possible. As he is married and has children, he has to rely on extended family and his wife to provide financial support for the family, which is very difficult. He is hopeful that the cart will give him more mobility, and, thus, open opportunities for him to help support his family, as well as to attend his local Pentecostal church.
We would ask that you pray for these two men, that the PET carts will be a blessing to them and their families by providing more mobility, support for their families, and encouragement in their relationship with God.
Please pray also for us as we hope to have follow-up visits in the future with each of the five PET cart recipients. We want to determine if the carts have been of good practical use in helping these men and women. During our visits we also hope to speak into and encourage them in their spiritual lives. If the carts prove to be an avenue of blessing, we would like the PET carts to become a part of our future ministry here in Togo.
FAMILY AND MINISTRY
Balancing family and work has been a constant struggle for us here in Togo. There is a severe need here at the hospital/clinic (HBB) for medical/surgical coverage. Being family doctors who do high risk OB and c-sections, we have been relied on to “step up to the plate” regularly for extended hours -–for both medicine and OB. During our time here we have more than doubled Noah’s weekly day-care time. Even at this, we were feeling the need to increase our work time, and, consequently, Noah’s time spent with a second Togolese care-giver.
At the end of January, with the February schedule pending, and after months of family discussion and prayer, we made a decision to limit our work hours. This is a big decision as it means multiple things, and has opened up new concerns and questions. First, are families and missionary work life compatible? i.e. Can you be a missionary with a family, and/or is missionary work best left to those with no families and/or those whose kids are already grown and out of the house? Second, the work we don’t do must then be picked up by someone else and/or the operation has to become refocused from a “needs-based resource” (which is huge) to a “resource-based resource” (which is limited). Is this fair both to the others who have to take the extra work and/or the operation whose main priority is “to serve the local community”? Third, we are now struggling with another issue: can you place boundaries/restrictions on your work/ministry and still be a missionary and/or a Christian? By placing these boundaries/restrictions, are we Christians of weak faith not understanding that “God only gives us what we can handle”? Are we cut out for “missionary life?” As we strongly consider the possibility of applying for a five-year term here, these are questions with which we wrestle. We request your prayers as we seek to honor God in all He would have us to do and in His direction for our future plans.
Lydia’s pregnancy is progressing; she is now 34 weeks. We have been blessed by three OB-GYN’s who have donated and coordinated their time to come to Togo to help cover the OB service at the hospital from the middle of February until the end of March, and also to take care of Lydia when she delivers the baby. We are truly blessed by this and cannot adequately express our gratitude. Thank you, Dr. Haak, Dr. Brown, and Dr. Stocks.
GRANDMA AND GRANDPA CHILDRESS
We were blessed during December to be visited here in Togo,by Grandma and Grandpa Childress. It was a blessed time despite the need to cut the trip short. We were able to enjoy a fun time in Lomé, at the beach, and at Christmas. Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa, for coming out and all the love you brought with you. Thank you to all of you who sent gifts with them for us. It made for a very fun Christmas multiple times over. And thank you, Dr. Belcourt, for covering and re-arranging your schedule in time of need.
- Lydia’s pregnancy will continue to progress without complications including the delivery.
- For the hospital/clinic (HBB) and us, that we may continue to grow despite the road bumps, and that God’s long-term plans for us will become clear.
Check out our blog. Recent posts:
- The tale of Two ladies
- … here a little, then its gone
- Three Monkeys Just Hangin Around
- Some cases and random thoughts
Financial support ($1200.00 a month)
- 100% of support received
- Donations: account #003916 http://www.samaritanspurse.org/medical/wmm-doctors or send to: Samaritan’s Purse, attention: post residency program, PO Box 3000, Boone, NC, 2860
- Please note: US donors will get tax receipts, Canadian donors are not eligible for tax receipt (sorry)
Thank you again so much for all your love, prayers and encouragement for us!
Fred, Lydia and Noah Pfenniger