Cherrydale Baptist Church
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
To love God and people above all else

Pastoral Trip - North Africa Trip

Pastoral Trip to N. Africa - March 30-April 10

 

Pastor Grudier, his wife and daughter are visiting two of the Cherrydale families serving in North Africa.  They are going to see the work and life/ministry context first hand, to meet some of the co-workers and people that Cherrydale's workers are currently serving, to get to know our workers better within their context, and also to provide a listening ear if there are any issues (work, family or personal) that they would like to talk through. They are also going to help in practical ways for the time they are there as well. Whatever need is present - organizing, cleaning, babysitting, cooking, running errands, basically whatever is needed during the days they are there so our workers can have a small break.

The Grudiers are going to show our overseas workers that Cherrydale is a church that truly cares for them, yes through financial and prayer support, but also by sending a pastor to them. Our hopes are that the workers will receive heartfelt encouragement, and our church will receive a fresh vision for what the Lord is doing through our efforts poured into our field workers. Please take the opportunity to pray for this trip and follow the Grudier's journey as they send updates throughout their trip.
 

April 10 – from Ed and Kathy
Today we want to give you a word of THANKS. The workers expressed to us over and over how thankful they are for Cherrydale and for our visit. We often hear the word ‘partnership’ in reference to God’s work overseas and the hope is that our field workers truly sense that we as a church are their partners in the work. Their work for the Lord is often lonely, stressful, beyond their capabilities, discouraging, frustrating….but those are all the factors that lead them to a place of humility where they can receive the abundant grace that God pours into them to sustain them and bring them comfort, peace, power, courage, and vision to press on. We can have an active part in that process as we pray, write emails, send care packages, and express our genuine concern and ‘partnership’ in any way that the Lord leads.
Jim and Barbara, and all the children they serve, are grateful to you Cherrydale. Patrick and Carol, and all their co-workers, are grateful to you Cherrydale. We say thank you for sending us as your representatives. Thank you for being followers of Christ who open your eyes to the needs in our world and seek to grow in your participation in the Lord’s work among the nations.


Our trip is at an end, but we want the impact in our own lives and in the life of our church to have lasting results. Let’s continue to consider the multi-faceted nature of culture and the proclamation of the gospel to these nations, and pray. Let’s continue to stand with these workers who live day in and day out as light in overwhelming darkness, and pray. Let’s step out of our own comfort zones and intentionally seek the Lord regarding how we can be an active part of His redeeming work among these nations, and pray.

 

 
April 9 - from Amy
Yesterday I had a chance to visit a clinic in a poor village on the outskirts of city. It used to be run by a doctor, but after she left another follower of Christ named Paul took over. He is an intelligent, educated man but he has no medical training whatsoever. I went with an American surgeon who recently moved here to pick Paul up from his humble abode and we drove to the “clinic” (see pictures below). He set his stethoscope and blood-pressure cuff on the table, put on his white lab coat and waited for the first patient.  This one-room clinic with extremely limited supplies (a few bottles of antibiotics, antifungal pills, and vitamins) run by one humble and caring man is the only source of medical help for the entire village.

This is just one of many similar situations that we’ve witnessed during our stay in North Africa. Seemingly impossible situations. One obedient believer stepping out in faith and relying fully on God. Beautifully miraculous results. So many of the situations do seem impossible, and really-for humans-they are. But we serve a God for whom nothing is impossible (Matthew 19:26). And when His children are willing to walk by faith and take one step of obedience…that is when life-altering things begin to happen.
 
 

April  8 – from Ed
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17)

Our first day in the country, I went with Patrick to the House of Prayer to seek the Lord in prayer.  Yesterday, our second day in the country, we attended the prayer meeting in the afternoon (after Friday church) that Kathy mentioned yesterday.  This morning (Easter Sunday) we met in the desert amongst the sand flowers and dunes to sing of the resurrection and pray.  Next week nearly all of the workers in the country will gather for a week of prayer, with the last 3 days set apart for prayer and fasting, for a breakthrough for the gospel.  In a land where there are estimated to be less than 300 national believers in the entire country, the need for prayer is obvious.  Yet, the workers here not only recognize the need for prayer, but make the time to actually devote themselves to prayer.  Prayer is a labor of love and an exercise of faith through which the Lord will do His work in this dry and thirsty land.

Please join us (and the workers here) in praying for a breakthrough for the gospel in the hearts of the people of this land, and for the living water that Jesus offers to flow to each person that our Lord draws to Himself.
 
 

April 7 – from Kathy
Patrick and Carol spend many hours at the English teaching and computer center that they run.  We had opportunity today to give some practical help by tackling the library.  We spent the day organizing, dusting, labeling, dusting, and shelving books for the center’s library.  The sand does some serious damage to books but they are so useful for the students who are trying to learn English.  After completing the job it was great to stand back and have the sense that we could bless the center in a small hands-on way.
 
In the afternoon we took a tour of the city from the sand dunes on one side to the ocean on the other.  We drove through the market place area and then through the expanding sections of the city where squatter villages arise as the people from the desert and outlying towns move in to find work and food.  The hundreds of donkeys pulling water carts indicated that running water for many parts of town are still just a distant hope for the future.  The ocean is not really a place that draws people in this country except for the fishing industry.  The water is very rough and the beachfront very windy and completely undeveloped but it was a nice place for a quiet break from the city.

Pray for the people here to reflect on the vastness of the ocean beside the vastness of the desert and consider the God of the Universe who created it all and has a plan for their redemption.  Pray also for wise government leaders who will move forward in solving some of the macro issues that this country faces for the good of their people.
 
 

April 6 – Good Friday – from Kathy
After a pretty rigorous travel day we are back online and in a new country. This is the first time we have ever been to a country that is desert.  The city we are in is literally built on the sand.  Walking the “streets” (sand) gives us a whole new perspective on what the years of wandering in the desert must have been like for the Israelites after leaving Egypt.  And it is clear that, after being here just one day, the need for water and shelter are essential to life.  Many people here have only that, the bare essentials.  Amy went up onto the roof of our guest room for her quiet time this morning and snapped the picture of the goats having their breakfast. 
Today is Friday, which is the normal church gathering day.  In this country Friday and Saturday are the weekend while Sunday through Thursday is the work week.  We gathered with over 100 followers of Christ from over a dozen nations remembering our Lord’s death on this Good Friday.  Patrick and Carol are taking us out to the sand dunes for a sunrise Easter morning service…so we are looking forward to that on Sunday.
 
Every Friday Patrick, Carol and a small group of Christ followers fast and pray for this country and the work the Lord is doing here.  We joined in with them seeking the face of the Lord and pleading for this desolate country.  Prayer is central to all the workers do here ….but more on that another day.
 

April 4 – from Ed
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Pet. 3:15)
 
Today Kathy and I spent over 2 hours drinking tea and talking to “Oscar” and “Mary”, a local married couple who have been followers of Jesus for over 35 years in this country that has less than 0.1% evangelical believers.  We heard many stories that illustrated how they have lived out this verse from 1 Peter.  Oscar owns a car, but often takes a taxi into town so that he will have opportunities to share with the taxi driver, and then finds a ride home with a local friend, so that he has another opportunity to share.  He boldly shares with family members, the police, military personnel, and the many friends that he has made over his many years living in this part of the country.  He sows the seeds of the gospel, often just one small truth at a time, giving time for God to work in the hearers’ hearts giving them time to begin to consider the claims of Christ.  He seizes upon statements made to either share a truth, a parable, or a Scripture verse with great wisdom… all in a country where it is against the law to be anything other than a Muslim.  His ability to share hard and challenging truths with gentleness and respect (and often a smile and infectious laugh) has been very disarming to those who otherwise are normally strongly opposed to the gospel.
 
He ended our conversation together by sharing how his grandfather (with whom he had shared with for years) came to faith through a dream shortly before passing from this earth.  He shared how his grandfather saw Oscar with a strong handsome man on the other side of a large lake.  His grandfather noticed that the side of the lake that Oscar was on was lush, green and beautiful, but the side he was on was barren and ugly.  The grandfather told the strong handsome man (whom he knew was Jesus), “The side you are on is so beautiful and my side is so ugly”.  Jesus replied, “You are welcome to come over and join us”.  When he woke up he knew the meaning of the dream and accepted Christ.
 
Pray for Oscar and Mary as they share the gospel in many and varied ways, day in and day out, in this environment where the claims of Christ are rejected before they are even known.  Praise the Lord for His work of redemption in their lives and their influence in the lives of others.
 
 

April 3, 2012 - from Kathy

The word for today was HOSPITALITY.  Every culture has aspects that reflect God as well as aspects that display a rejection of God.  Today we experienced the local culture with its warmth, care of others, and generous sharing toward strangers and aliens (us) in their land.  Our morning started with a trip to the market.  Buying a week’s worth of fresh produce to feed everyone at the Haven is no small task.  Yet in the midst of buying kilos of tomatoes, potatoes, oranges, bananas, peppers,  onions, etc. at the market the staff that we went with made sure we were keeping up, not getting lost, or stepping where we shouldn’t (sheep droppings).  After the produce was loaded into the vehicles we walked into town to join Jim and Barbara at a street side café for breakfast (tea and “grilled” bread).  While Jim and Barbara sat there more than 12 people, that I counted, joined them to sit, drink tea and chat.  They invited anyone they knew who walked by to sit for a while.  We are learning that they know a lot of people.

 

We then picked up the kids from school and after lunch we were invited to have tea with one of the local believers and his wife.  We were welcomed with such warmth and kindness that it was hard to leave even after 2 hours.  Amy left after about 1 hour to make the school run with the bus and the children.  After dropping off the kids for the afternoon school session, one of the local staff asked Amy and two of the house parents to come to her home in town for some tea.  When they arrived not only was tea served but a “second” lunch.  Food is definitely a big part of hospitality here and again the warmth and generosity were undeniable.

 The Lord is full of lovingkindness, calls all who are weary to come to Him, and is generous in grace and love.  Pray with us that many in this culture will respond to the witness of the Lord among them and be a part of that “great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne” worshiping the Lamb (Rev. 7:9).   

 

April 2, 2012 - from Ed
“Here  am I.  Send me!”  (Isaiah 6:8)  “Paul, called to be an apostle” (1 Corinthians 1:1)

Availability . . . calling . . . this is the tension I have struggled with since arriving at The Haven. We have heard story after story of children being brought to The Haven who have had to be turned away due to lack of staff to care for them.  The most recent was less than a month ago. When informed that The Haven could not accept her baby, the mother broke down in tears, sobbing, “What am I going to do with this baby?”

Experience has taught those working here that each family can only adequately care for and nurture 8-10 children at a time. They are currently maxed out… however there is enough room for two more families to come and serve here . . . that is 16-20 more children who could be cared for, if only house parents would come.  If more than two families would come, there is room for additional buildings . . . how many more children could be cared for, if there were people willing to give up what they currently know and live to serve the unwanted children of this country?  Where are those willing to say, “Here am I, send me!”

Concurrently, there is something else to consider. Over and over again the workers here have said that they consider this work a joy for them, that it is no sacrifice for them to be here, because this is what God has called them to do. . .it is what God has made them for.  So the tension grows tighter. . .calling . . .availability. . .both? Is it that God is calling, but too many are not listening?  These are tough questions that have elusive answers… at least this side of eternity.  But they are questions that naturally come to mind each time a baby is rejected, and a sobbing mother cries out, “What am I going to do with this baby?”
 

 


April 1, 2012 - from Amy

It’s hard to believe we’ve only been here for two days. The bonds that God has given us with these children so soon after arriving are such a blessing. Today after lunch we had an activity time with all of the kids using the toys/supplies that we brought them from the States. We brought a paper flower kit for the girls and a Lego set for each of the boys. I don’t think any of us were expecting them to be so eager and focused on completing their projects. The girls made paper flowers for 2 solid hours and were extremely creative in coming up with ways to use them. The boys thoroughly enjoyed building Legos and were proudly showing them to everyone once they were completed.

It has been incredible/heart-breaking to hear these kids’ stories as well as the overall orphan crisis here in North Africa. Many countries (including where we’re visiting now) have strict policies against international adoption, so these children have little to no chance of being adopted (except by a family member). We found out from Jim that when women get pregnant out of wed-lock and can’t keep the baby because of strict local customs about bringing shame to their family they are desperate. Many of them find an excuse to leave their homes for a few months when they can’t hide the fact that they are pregnant, deliver the baby without cost in a government hospital and abandon their child (which is actually permitted by law). The majority of these babies are crammed into specially designated hospital rooms , receiving no personal care or attention, and except for a few hearty fighters most of the babies die before age 2. Those that do survive are placed in government run institutions where they are simply given food and shelter. The Children’s Haven is currently the only Christian orphanage in this country, and these 23 kids are really blessed by the loving care they receive. The Haven could take more children if they had more house parents join the staff.  But without more workers to care for the children they currently have to turn children away.

My dad taught the kids and staff today from Exodus and John reminding us all that God can take the little we have to offer and, like the fish and loaves, multiply it and use it for His glory.  Here we see His multiplying work through the love of His servants.

 


March 31, 2012 – from Kathy
After a great flight in calm skies, we landed an hour early and stood in the airport watching the people walk by while we waited for Jim. It was wonderful to see Jim’s familiar face among the crowd and we hopped in his car for the four hour drive to the town where they live.  We had so many questions for Jim, and we learned some of how the Lord is working as he told story after story of their 50+ years on the field.  Jet lag hit each of us in turn - part of the ride Ed slept, then Amy, then myself - all the while we each had things we wanted Jim to explain to us before we reached the Children’s Haven. The car took us up into the hill country and then we began up the mountain. The temperature dropped and when we passed from pavement to gravel to dirt roads we knew we were near.  As we passed through the gate the children came out to greet “Papa” and his visitors. Some of the kids were very eager, coming right up to us to shake our hands and tell us their names.  Others were shy and hid behind their house mom waiting to see exactly who we were.  Everyone gathered for lunch of chicken and couscous and already several of the girls wanted Amy to sit beside them. All afternoon, since it is Saturday and the kids are off of school, we have played outside with them, getting to know them and hearing a little bit of their stories from Jim and Barbara. They all speak English because the house parents are English speakers, and they know the local dialect of Arabic, and they are learning French in school. They are full of energy and the care givers are tired, but they are full of love and that shows through loud and clear.  What a joy to witness the care of the Lord through the care of His children to these who could be considered the least, unwanted, insignificant. What a mighty God we serve.