Dear Family and Friends,
I'm writing to you from Bondoukou this Thursday afternoon. A soft rain is falling. Just a few hours ago the wind, which ushers in the dry season, was blowing. So, the yearly struggle between the two seasons has begun. The rains are trying to stay longer than usual, and the dry season is ready to begin. And, as always, we know that the dry season will win. Then, in March, the rainy season will be the winner. The Creator of the seasons has ordered this and it will happen.
September has been a good month, one filled with visits and meals shared with my African family. The new school year starts in October and there won't be much time for visiting again until the Christmas break. I was also able to get down to the serious business of getting ready for my return Stateside in just a few months. As I sort through 30+ years of accumulated "stuff" I realize that I'm almost a pack rat! Looking through the memories of my time in Côte d'Ivoire has produced a mixture of emotions - laughter one minute, followed by tears the next minute. Whew! How does one choose a "few" photos from 20 photo albums? How does one decide which letter, book, or card is just too special to throw away? I'm happy that I know the answer to these questions. The choices are being made with the Lord's help. Yes, as far as photos, books, letters, etc. much has been accomplished. I continue to look to my Helper for the accomplishment of the many other tasks. And, for His grace to be sufficient for my mixed emotions.
Debbie Anderson and I continue to do Community Health Evangelism (CHE) training sessions with the ladies from the Gouméré church. We appreciate the 15 to 20 women who come each Sunday afternoon ready to be blessed and challenged through the study of His Word. We are also teaching lessons which will help them find solutions for their problems of malaria, malnutrition, back problems, etc. It is our prayer and goal that these dear ladies will begin sharing all that they've been taught with their unsaved neighbors. The Andersons and I meet each Thursday evening for dinner, followed by a time of prayer for the CHE ministry here in Côte d'Ivoire. God desires to bring forth much fruit through CHE. I invite you to join us in our prayer time.
In closing, I'd like to share two special prayer requests:
1. Please pray for a young man, Francois, from the village of Sayé. He is one of the leaders in the Free Will Baptist Church there. He is married and the father of two young children. He has a terrible looking "growth" under his ear. I'm not a doctor but, due to my experience with skin cancer on my scalp, I suspect that this is a carcinoma. It has been recommended that he go to Ghana for surgery. Please ask the Lord to provide the funds for this and to do it quickly.
2. Presidential elections are scheduled on October 31st. Please pray that the elections will be peaceful and fair. Pray for God's perfect will in the choice of the next president of this country.
Thank you for having taken the time to read this Update. Thank you for continuing to pray for me, the CHE ministry, my co-workers (Verlin and Debbie Anderson), our brother Francois, and the presidential elections. I also appreciate your prayers for my mother. She sounds good when we talk on the telephone. Take care. God bless and keep you. Your faithfulness in praying and giving is appreciated.
Love and prayers,
Alice F. Smith