Have you ever grieved for someone sitting across from you? I have. I remember looking at one of our students recently and thinking, “Where are you? Where have you buried that easy smile and gentle spirit?”
There is no other word for it but grief when a student is lost in the haze of substance use. This student is still alive, thank God, and this grief is not the same as the grief a parent feels should their child pass away. It’s not the kind of grief that brings people around with a show of condolences and support. It is a silent grief that no one talks about. It is buried in shame and despair. Nothing prepares you for the experience and certainly nothing prepares you for the deep sense of loss that enters your daily life. And so you grieve as you ask yourself "How did I fail this child?" He started in our school as a little boy. His sponsor has given me attention, gifts and encouragement. His teachers have shown him love on a daily basis. He even prayed and asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins several years ago. I could blame his mother who abandoned him or his father who is a drunk. By really where does blame get you.
While I was grieving such things as the loss of spending meaningful time with this student and what appeared to be the end of all the hopes I had for him, I also began to wonder if I wasn’t subconsciously preparing myself for an unthinkable outcome. I knew this student might be in mortal danger with his addiction. How could I possibly face that outcome?
It is so hard for us to minister to young people for years only to see them make bad choices in their high school years. I realized early that all I could do was pray for this young man and others like him in our ministry. I remind myself daily that the Lord God Almighty hears the prayers of His children. He commands us to pray, and He promises to listen when we do. “In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears” (Psalm 18:6).
The most important lesson I learned and would like to share with others in a similar situation was to never, never, never give up. If your family member/friend/coworker is still there, you can find him or her again. There are many roads to recovery but they all start with a real relationship with God. The power of prayer does not flow from us; it is not special words we say or the special way we say them or even how often we say them. The power of prayer is not based on a certain direction we face or a certain position of our bodies. The power of prayer does not come from the use of artifacts or icons or candles or beads. The power of prayer comes from the omnipotent One who hears our prayers and answers them. Prayer places us in contact with Almighty God, and we should expect almighty results, whether or not He chooses to grant our petitions or deny our requests. Whatever the answer to our prayers, the God to whom we pray is the source of the power of prayer, and He can and will answer us, according to His perfect will and timing.
Please pray with us as our church ministers to this particular young man and others who have been affected by addiction.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Thursday, January 30, 2020
Can you believe that we have been doing missions work for 19 years? 2020 is our 20th year of serving Kenyans and it is a milestone in our lives. I wanted to share with you all that God did in 2019.
Here are the results:
1. 157 people gave their lives to Christ and 36 were baptized.
2. 70 new students were added to our Christian school ministry.
3. 42 families joined as monthly sponsors for our feeding/education program.
4. Two Pastor's training conferences were held emphasizing Ethics.
5. Two Youth Encounter Camps held with sixteen teenagers saved.
6. One new church was constructed in a village called Colorado.
7. One man was ordained into the ministry.
8. Begun construction of a new kitchen at Good News Academy, Majaoni.
9. Provided Biblical Learning Materials to Pastors such as Bibles.
10. Two adult literacy programs are proceeding with teaching reading.
11. 3 Training scholarship to Crossroads Baptist Bible Institute was awarded.
12. Construction of a kitchen/dining hall at high school is planned for 2020.
13. An Christian community center is now open outside Kisumu, Kenya.
14. Phillip, one of our staff members, surrendered to full-time preaching ministry and we hope to enroll him in Bible College in 2020.
15. We had two tremendous teams who came from the states to minister.My favorite 2019 memories:
- Seeing 13 people come to know Christ when an American team shared their testimonies during a medical clinic in Majaoni.
- Hearing a sponsor in Indiana tell me that she needed to come to Kenya because her sponsored child was getting baptized then being in Kenya with her in June to witness the baptism.
Thank you for your prayers. In many ways, this has been the hardest year of our 19 years in ministry. We lost some financial support which is always a strain on our family and to a ministry that seems to grow every year. We need around $500 monthly to make up that loss. Then we lost over 40 child sponsorships only to have God give each child a new sponsor one by one. Please continue to pray for Lisa as she is still battling with her chronic pain. Doctors have recently been helping with a vitamin supplement. We know that without you, our partners, praying we could not go on trying to accomplish wonderful things for God.
Just a final reminder - God is ALWAYS faithful!
Have a wonderful 2020.
Bobby, Lisa, Ethan, Conner, and Dylan Bechtel