- Liz Ortiz
Worth the Journey
One Sunday in September, I got up early to go with another missionary to visit a small church up on the mountain. The long drive over rough dirt roads caused me to become very car sick, but as soon as I saw the little bamboo structure and the people's smiling faces, I knew that the drive had been worth it.
It's normal in Togo for new visitors to stand up and introduce themselves during the church service, but this church did things little differently. After I had stood up and introduced myself, the pastor asked me to stay at the front. The congregation started singing and then slowly walked towards me until I was surrounded by smiling brothers and sisters who enveloped me in one big group hug! I felt so much joy from that room.
That Sunday, the church was doing something special for the children who were about to begin a new school year. The pastors had gone out and bought new notebooks for each student, and they asked Sharon and me to help present the notebooks to the children. This was great fun, as the students were excited about the gift. Afterwards, the church invited us to stay for a pig roast. The meal was delicious. It was fun fellowshipping with the church. Thankfully the drive back home went smoother than the way there, as I had Dramamine this time.
I hadn’t seen Jonas since the summer class ended, so we set out for his school in Amou Oblo. I thought about last year at this time when I first met Jonas and would walk into his classroom. He would hide under his desk or pretend he was sleeping. What would his reaction be this year? We arrived at his school, the teachers greeted us and we walked over to the classrooms. When Jonas spotted me, he gave me the biggest smile and waved enthusiastically. As I walked into his class, his brother Sadrac, spotted me too. They both were excited to see me
I taught the class a few signs. When I asked Jonas and Sadrac to assist me with demonstrating how to sign, they were more than happy to do so. Jonas was especially proud to show off how to sign John 3:16. My heart was filled with joy. I pulled Jonas aside to work with him one on one. I asked him some questions. Before he answered me, he thought each answer though. A year ago, when I asked questions he would just randomly guess. He wouldn’t put any thought into it. What a difference a year makes!
I cannot thank you enough for your prayers and giving this year. I wrote in my last newsletter my desire to extend my stay. It is with great joy that I can tell you God provided! I am staying in Togo until mid November! Thank you for those who prayed and gave to this need! I’m excited to be here for Jonas and the other opportunities this brings!
One opportunity I’ve had was to go to Benin to visit a deaf school and ministry there. I only recently returned (which is why this newsletter is later than usual). I will talk more about that trip in my next newsletter. What I will say for now is that it was an amazing and informative trip. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to go. Thank you for your prayers and giving. Please continue to pray for the deaf ministry in Benin. God is at work.
Praise God for a successful trip to Benin!
Praise God for the developing deaf ministry!
Praise God for the progress Jonas and his family are making in learning sign language!
Praise God for His financial provision!
Pray for wisdom about deaf ministry in Togo
Pray for an ASL interpreter – big opportunity for one!
Pray for God’s direction as I consider full time missions
Pray for wisdom as I teach Jonas
Pray for wisdom on how we can be involved in the public deaf school in Kpalmine