Current prayer letter/Update

2014

 

Dear Friend,

 

We hope this CHRISTmas season found you rejoicing in the blessings of this past year.  We thought it would be good to update some of you on the highlights since we came stateside in 2012.  And the last contact we had with you (according to our records) was 2013.

 

In July 2013, we unexpectedly received the news of our retirement after 28 years of service as Steve was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Plus Disease and as he said too many “would you want me to do your surgery”?  We are so thankful for a former judge who helped us through the process of acquiring medical disability for Steve.  In January 2013, we went to Togo to close out our ministry and took along a friend to help Steve with the preaching schedule and pack up our things to move back to the US.  That is why many of you have received notes from our Grand Haven address as we have made this our home base now.  The Lord showed us and allowed us to buy a lovely home just big enough for us.  We are thanking the Lord for the job HE has given us, this has allowed us to have surgeries that would normally been held off for a bit, except for Mary Jo’s back surgery.  This went well and Mary Jo is pain free and scheduled to return to work the end of January. We both had cataract surgery on both of our eyes and Mary Jo had her Left shoulder cared for with a torn rotator cuff repair previously to the back surgery then wrapped things up with her back surgery and now has a spinal fusion from her shoulder blades all the way down the spinal column.  We both are doing well now and are so thankful for God’s watchful care over us.

 

David is still working on his doctoral studies with much to do yet.  Kellie is doing well, having just moved up to New York for Eric’s work.  She is starting her third trimester of her pregnancy and is feeling well.  The boys (Jonah and Jesse) are keeping her quite busy, :0))

 

Thank you, for praying for us and with us for the ministry in Mango.  We had hoped to include parts of other’s letters with news from Mango in the previous letters but will include them in all future letters.  We asked you to pray for Mango and the new hospital, which is scheduled to open, at this point in time in March. Here is a portion of a colleague’s letter who works with the beautiful F. tribe. specifically the women.   This is an example of the hard work spiritually, mentally, physically that the Lord allowed us to have while we were in Togo and as you will see, is a very active and ongoing ministry.  The names and locations have been changed to protect them.  As she began, her letter with and wrote:  “We‘re Tired of Islam”!  God is at work here in Mango! There are some really exciting Bible studies going on around town with Muslim friends and even some Animists. We are prayerful for the day when Bible studies in communities can morph into churches. Here’s some news about a few of them and how to pray.

 

A well-educated T. man named D. was trained by some Catholic priests but then converted to Islam. Recently he started getting to know our Christian F friend H. H.   He never went to school and struggles to speak and read well in French, but despite this, they began a dialogue about spiritual things. After studying what the Koran says on certain topics, they transitioned into studying the Bible.  D. understood the Gospel and became a follower of Jesus.  In his hunger and excitement to study God’s Word, he invited his friends. The group has grown to between 7-10 on a regular basis. They meet twice a week but sometimes that is not enough and they ask for a third day. One day I was visiting H.’s wife around 4:30 in the afternoon and saw how the group of men with D. were gathered under a tree talking about the Bible study. The study had ended at 11:00 am, but they were still discussing and asking questions! What strikes me most in this story is that God used H. in his weakness of language. He is a simple man, but he spends a lot of time in his week praying for God to move in our city.

Two days ago, D. was visiting with some other neighbors who are F. One of these F. neighbors was in the R Camp a few years ago, behind our hospital property. As D. talked with them about the Lord, this refugee lady said, “In 2 or 3 years all of the marabouts’ (a Muslim witchdoctor, leader) kingdom will fall down. The Christians here are stronger than the Muslims and we are so tired of Islam.” May God give the unsatisfied such as her’s, the courage to leave Islam and turn to Jesus!

Another F. man in town recently admitted that he is doubting whether or not the Islam he has been taught is the truth, but what he sees in the Christians is the true path. He is starting a study with H. Some of his other staunch relatives are engaging in spiritual conversation with H. as well.

A T. man in town who is an Imam (Muslim religious leader), has begun a study with one of the missionary men on my team. When they first began, he said something like, “Man, this is so good. I need a study like this so that I can really figure out what to believe. The problem is that I don’t have a lot of time to study. Would it be ok if we only meet four times a week?” Of course!! They have been looking at and comparing what the Koran and the Bible say about sin, heaven, hell, forgiveness, and Jesus. He is embracing the teachings of the Bible but it will be very serious, potentially dangerous, and highly impacting to others for him to leave Islam.

 

So. we must continue to pray for the work in Mango. 

 

Every time you pick up the fruit of Mango will you pray for the spiritual fruit in Togo?

 

Even though we have come through a rough time.  We would like to close out our letter to you with some praises and prayer requests.  We appreciate your prayers so much as we continue to serve the Lord wherever He may lead.

We Praise the Lord for:

1.    A good time in Togo in January of this past year packing up our belongings.

2.    Seeing many old Togolese friends of so many years probably for the last time this side of eternity.

3.    Recovery time was short after surgery for both of us.

 

Prayer requests for:

A.     Faithfulness of our prayer supporters for Mango.

B.     Rapid healing Mary Jo’s back after her back surgery.

C.     Faithfulness of our prayer supporters for our financial needs and ongoing health needs for Steve.

D.     Continued healing of Mary Jo after her back surgery.

E.     Wisdom in understanding what the Lord has for us now.  

F.      The acceptance that this is where HE want us for now (when our hearts are still so much in the ministry in Togo).

 

Steve & Mary Jo Mills

1144 Slayton Ave.

Grand Haven, MI  49417

 

Steve & Mary Jo after the hospital's 25 anniversary celebration