My devotional reading this morning centered on Acts 2:23, "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain". As I read, a mixture of tears of joy and tears of sorrow began to flow. I am greatly saddened by my Lord's extreme suffering at Calvary. At the same time, I rejoice in God's wonderful plan for achieving my salvation. Jesus' death on the cross was not a tragic accident. His crucifixion was a part of God's incredible plan for redeeming lost mankind. Praise be to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God! He is Alive! Hallelujah! May you have a Blessed Easter! We'll be having special services on Good Friday evening - singing, praying, preaching, and observing the Lord's Supper and feetwashing. After Sunday morning services, we'll return home to cook, then come back to the church grounds for an African-style potluck dinner. You're invited! Come hungry!
Thank you for praying about the longterm electricity and water cut-offs which we suffered through for over two months. The breakdown has been repaired and, instead of dipping from a barrel, I'm learning how to turn on a water faucet again. As we're still experiencing very hot weather, we're so thankful for running water and the ability to turn on a fan at night.
Last week, I was in Abidjan for my annual mammography. Thankfully, the test results were normal. There are certain areas in Abidjan where it isn't wise for a woman to drive alone - so, I take a taxi (which is frequently quite an adventure).
It also presents the opportunity to share the Gospel with the drivers. Please pray that the seed which was sown will take root and bring forth fruit.
April 25th. has been designated as World Mission Offering day in Free Will Baptist Churches. Though giving to the Mission is slowly rebounding, there remains a large deficit to erase. Decreasing income has led to low budgets. And, dealing with low budgets can be quite challenging and stressful for your missionaries. If you would like to give a gift to help erase the deficit, please send your contribution to Free Will Baptist International Missions, P.O. Box 5002, Antioch, TN 37011-5002. I am touched, but not surprised, by the fact that my generous supporters have remained faithful in their giving, in spite of the financial crunch. Thank you. May our Lord richly reward you.
In closing, I have two prayer requests:
1. The National Retreat for FWB Women in Côte d'Ivoire will be held at Bouna April 6-10. Ask the Lord to provide the means for the women to come. Pray that their days together will be a time of encouragement and spiritual growth. Debbie Anderson and I hope to go for one and a half day.
2. On - field missionaries and the Ivorian church leadership will be meeting on April 23 and 24 to review, discuss, and plan our continuing efforts of advancing the Kingdom of God in Côte d'Ivoire. May we see and understand His perfect plan for building His Church in this nation - a nation in which the number of false prophets is growing by leaps and bounds.
Again, thank you, God bless you, and Happy Easter.
Daily rejoicing in our Risen Savior,
Alice F. Smith