Andrew and Esther Schaeffer

Prayer Letter/Ministry Update

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Dear friends,

For the past ten years I have been holding a women's Bible Study in the village of Peni. I try to give eight lessons over a two-month period, finishing up in May before the rains start and farming season begins. It has not been an easy assignment for several reasons. The heat in April and May is oppressive. Then there are the personal problems in this small group and sometimes our numbers have dwindled down to just three or four others beside the woman leader.

But the woman leader has been faithful. In spite of suffering persecution for choosing to follow Christ, the death of two young children and sickness, she has stood firm in the Lord.

Last year, at the end of our last meeting, she asked to speak to me. A team member and I listened in disbelief as she recounted a tragic story of betrayal and lies that had been going on in her family for a long time. This shattered woman could not hold back the sobs as she spoke of the humiliation and physical torment that she was going through. And then she asked the question, "What should I do?"

Coming from a different culture, those questions are difficult. Understanding the personal impact of her decision, it would be impossible for me to tell her what to do. So, I assured her that God was for her and understood her situation. I said, "You have followed Christ for a long time. Search your heart and decide to do what you know will please your Savior." Quoting Ephesians 5:10, I explained that the verse encourages us to determine what will please the Lord. "Don't please yourself, or others, but please the Lord Jesus and you will experience His peace." After a time of prayer we left, not to have any contact with this woman until this year, when once again we arrived back in Peni for Bible Study.

This woman leader was the first one to greet us, all smiles. She led a wonderful meeting and seemed happier than we had ever seen her. Afterwards, we pulled her aside and asked, "So what is going on with you? What happened with that situation?" And her very short reply was, "I forgave. I knew that would please the Lord. He has given me a heart full of forgiveness." And then she went off to greet others.

Needless to say, we were stunned. We couldn't imagine what that decision cost her personally. What seemed so easy for her to say, we knew had come with much struggle and pain.

But then another amazing thing began to happen at the Bible Study. The next week we had three new believers. They had come to Christ in a neighboring village and she invited them to Bible Study. Each week we have added two or three women, some seeking to know more about Christ, and some who attend outlying churches. Our woman leader came over to me last week and said, "We have thirty-one women here!"

Forgiveness. Matthew West talks about it in his song, "It's the hardest thing to give away, and the last thing on your mind today, it always goes to those who don't deserve. It's the opposite of how you feel, when the pain they caused is just too real, takes everything you have to say the word." He goes on to sing, "Forgiveness. It flies in the face of all your pride, it moves away the mad inside, it's always anger's own worst enemy. Even when the jury and the judge say you've got a right to hold a grudge, it's the whisper in your ear saying set it free."

With one simple word this woman leader expressed what must have been the most painful thing to do. But the power it has released in her life is wonderful to see. We can only imagine what it is doing for her family and, as we watch the Lord bringing these women into her group, we want to shout it over and over, "Forgiveness!”

It is an important reminder to do those searches to make sure we are not harboring any hurt or anger or jealousy towards another. Matthew West continues, "Forgiveness can even set a prisoner free, and there is no end to what its power can do”. Forgiveness. Have you experienced the freedom that comes from forgiving someone? Have you seen the power that forgiveness releases in your life? May we be those who "get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, may we be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." (Ephesians 4.31-32)

Blessings,

Esther Schaeffer

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CONTACT INFORMATION:
Andrew & Esther Schaeffer
Mission Protestante C&MA
B.P. 3050; Bobo Dioulasso
Burkina Faso, West Africa

Andrew: aeschaeffer@gmail.com
Esther: estherschaeffer@gmail.com

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Prayer Requests/Answers to Prayer

May 13, 2019

1. We are grieved to hear of yet another attack on a church. Pray with us that Christ-followers would stand firm in their faith and cling to the Lord Jesus in the midst of persecution. Pray for the peace of Burkina Faso.

2. We thank the Lord for several new women believers attending a Bible study in the village of Peni. Pray that as we teach, the Word of the Lord would be clear to them and that it would resonate in their hearts.

3. Pray for several pastors' wives who are facing serious medical issues. Pray for complete healing.

4. We thank the Lord for the five new graduates from our Bible School. Pray for them as they begin ministries, one being assigned to ministry in a neighboring country.

May 1, 2019

1. We appreciate prayers for the family of a pastor that was killed, along with two family members, while leaving church this past Sunday. Though terrorist attacks have increased over the past few months, this is the first to target a church. Pray for church leaders as they make decisions about the deteriorating security situation. Pray that believers would stand firm in their faith. Pray that the Lord Jesus would protect and allow the Gospel to continue to be preached in Burkina Faso.

2. We thank the Lord for the wonderful graduation ceremony at Poundou Bible School with 27 pastoral couples completing their studies. Pray for them as they begin ministry. Pray for other students as they serve in church ministries during the summer months.

3. Pray for several of our pastors' wives who are dealing with significant illnesses. Pray for one who has begun chemotherapy. Pray for complete healing in Jesus' name.

4. We thank the Lord for 39 decisions for Christ at a recent door-to-door evangelism effort by our central church. The Gospel was presented in 165 different homes. Pray that this work will bring lasting fruit.

April 15, 2019

1. Seldom do we meet up again with those we were able to help at the hospital. But yesterday we saw again a man who we had met two years ago. He was totally crushed having just heard that his wife and baby had died. They had come to Bobo for an emergency C-section. At first they told him that they would operate to save the life of the baby, but in the end they both died. He didn't know anyone and had no money. Handicapped from birth, he said through sobs, "she was everything to me". We quickly were able to arrange things and notify his church family and provide for the burial and his trip back home. Yesterday, we met up again. It was so good to see him smile and to hear his testimony of answered prayer in his life. Thank you for praying for our hospital ministry.

2. Pray for a distribution that we will do at the local hospital. It is a lot of work. Pray that we can get the supplies together and receive the necessary authorization. Pray that our acts of kindness and love would be an encouragement to many.

3. Lots of baptisms going on during Easter. One church is baptizing over thirty new believers. Pray for family members and friends that do not know the Lord but will be attending the services.

4. Our children will be together at some point during this next week. Pray that they would honor the Lord Jesus in all that they do. Pray for their mom who doesn't have anyone to make an Easter basket for.

April 7, 2019

1. I was told it was a women’s' conference for sixty women, but when I got there, it was an all church event with just as many men and teens as the women, and of course the children outnumbered everyone. Thank you for praying for our village ministries. Great opportunities to deal with some tough topics and encourage believers.

2. At Bible study last week a woman showed up who is from the leading religion. She is the sister of one of our believers. I didn't know how long I would have but explained clearly who Jesus Christ is. It was only about five minutes before she went to sit outside. Pray that the brief word would penetrate her heart and that she too would choose to follow Christ.

3. I will be teaching in a local church that is facing some serious problems. Several key people have left. Pray that we can have a ministry of healing and reconciliation.

4. Andrew has two ministry trips this week. Pray for effective interactions and for the Lord's protection.

April 3, 2019

1. Pray for our ongoing ministry at the Bobo hospital and prison.

2. Praise the Lord for the great attendance and wonderful spirit at last week’s Burkina Alliance National Convention!

3. It’s hot season and the school year is winding down. Pray that we will finish well.

4. Our granddaughter Hope is doing very well. Please continue to pray for her growth and development.

Burkina Faso

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Updated: May 14, 2019

Children's Names
Robert
Henry
Stephen
Mark
Rebekah
Status
Field Assignment
Country of Service
Burkina Faso
Address
Mission Protestant C&MA
B P 3050
Bobo Dioulasso,
BURKINA FASO

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