New literacy ministry started
Last Sunday, a new literacy ministry for the ladies began as part of their twice-monthly Bible studies. Actually, the Ladies' Ministry is very discouraged, there is no leadership, they have few ideas for organization, and have no vision or purpose for meeting together. But they are scheduled for a meeting every other Sunday afternoon, and at least a few women usually show up. The three meetings I've been
able to attend, showed their frustration and request of me for ideas of how to proceed.
I don't want to come in and take over this ministry for several reasons. I don't yet know Bambara well enough to listen and share their heart, I don't want to start a mentality where a missionary comes in and "saves the day" and does the work, and I've got a full plate with homeschooling and homemaking and all
the support roles I'm filling right now. Inserting my humble ideas one at a time and helping them grasp them little by little seems a better way to make permanent change and do some leadership guiding along
There are some capable women, but only 4 of them can read Bambara or French, and two of those don't write. There are another 10-12 who are basically illiterate, although a couple of them can speak some French, so we can at least communicate verbally with them. I don't know that any have had any formal or even correspondence-style Bible training, so spiritual counsel is hesitant at best, and unscriptural at worst.
One of the voiced frustrations among the women is that most come 30-45 minutes late to the meetings, and how can we get them to come on time so half the meeting isn't lost waiting for whoever might show up? I'd been wondering about starting a literacy program through our Study Room, since there are no students in the mornings. We could offer some classes or tutoring to ladies and get more full-time use of the room. Instead, I suggested that we start a literacy class the first hour of the ladies' meetings to draw more women to them on time, then the regular Bible study or prayer time can take place the second hour
with higher attendance.
This is how last week went, with nine women in the basic A-B-C class, and four women in the higher level French reading and writing class. Pastor Youssouf who is a trained literacy teacher took the lower class, and Joannie, our tutor from Quebec, took the upper level class. Everyone was excited, especially when a visitor showed up interested in the class and stayed for prayer. She is not yet a Christian, but is a good example of how we might be able to draw in others from the community as an outreach possibility.
My goals for this ministry are threefold: that we can build up the Ladies' Ministry and begin to work for the Lord by praying and encouraging one another's faith, that new women will come to the church and find the Lord through this ministry, and that next year many ladies will have enough reading and writing ability to
start a correspondence Bible training course. Some day, we want to see trained women effectively leading their own ministry and reaching out to their community in the Lord's name.
We don't have pics of the women in this ministry yet, but will upload them ASAP.
Please be praying for these ladies as they struggle to do something we take for granted everyday!
Answer to prayer! Lisa's papers were found. Her purse was stolen about 3 weeks ago. Well, we recieved an email from the embassy saying that papers with her name had been turned in! So her drivers license, and other papers were returned! Thank the Lord. Lisa was praying for her drivers to be returned, but
Bamako is a big city, the odds of them turning up again were very small.
Our digital camera was not turned in, of course. We'll be replacing it, but we weren't able to get new photos into this blog edition. Sorry.
Still, Big thanks to the Lord, who cares about even small details in our lives!