November 18, 2017

September 2017

The mission of By Provision is to proclaim the gospel and allieviate the situation of the destitute to show them God’s love in a tangible way. Everyone deserves to find freedom and redemption in Christ Jesus, no matter their current circumstances.

Casa de Pan

Lanny Merrit donated a 20” ECHO chain saw and the Church at Chelsea Westover donated a laundry project for Casa de Pan. Victor could barely sleep for the worry that one of the larger branches of a rotting tree would fall on the house during the night crushing the preteen boy’s bedroom. During the day the trees presence was a constant reminder that a branch could easily fall on the gas tank and explode hurting the children as they ate a meal. It took two weeks solid and four people to cut the 90 foot tree down that was close to the neighbour’s fence between the house, the covered side walk, and the gas tank for the main kitchen and dining room. We still need to get all the cut wood to someone that can use it. There are two other similar trees in precarious positions that also need to be cut.

Pic of tree cutting at Casa de Pan

Melba and Victor decided that getting a roof on the gazebo and putting in 4 clothes lines under a clear shed roof the full length of the laundry building would be best laundry project. This time of year it rains daily and in October it will rain for longer periods of time. Line drying clothes for 51 children plus the adults in the house is a task.

Pic of new clothes line under roof

Mentoring

Marse, a young Mexican missionary here in Costa Rica, was seeking a place to minister and started volunteering with Elizabeth at Casa de Pan doing laundry, tutoring the children, grocery shopping and taking Melba and the children to the different places they need to be. Melba never learned to drive, so she is appreciative that Marse can help in so many ways.

Paula is now working with a Christian camp. She is using her graphic design degree in marketing to attract more young people to the camp. She gets to speak to leaders wanting to bring teams and witness to the youth also. She is amazed how God is sending the world to her as she continues to develop her life mission plan.

God in Action

Adrian is still doing well. His skin is healing from the inside out. He’s put on weight. He

is thankful and wants everyone to know that your prayers have saved his physical life and Jesus saved his soul. The rehab center needs to continue meeting the long list of government health requirements to stay open. In July AT Scott class donated the tile project for the kitchen and dining areas. The LL class from Double Oak donated the sink and stove hood. The custom made stainless steel sink with two deep basins, two upper shelves, and a lower big shelf is in! Ricardo did an excellent job with the tile behind and below it too. The men at God in Action are so proud of their new kitchen!

Pic stainless steel sink

La Biblia Dice

Every Sunday of the year there is a mission’s moment before the main preaching. Some of these are live reports from visiting missionaries the church sponsors, video reports from those on the field, testimonies from those who have gone to work short term alongside the missionaries sent from the church, and dramas and skits to present unreached people groups. In September the whole month is dedicated to missions. Visiting missionaries preach the main sermon teaching the command to pray, give, send missionaries, and go themselves into the entire world taking the gospel to those who haven’t heard the gospel. The last Sunday of the month there is a big mission’s dinner inviting people from other churches with all proceeds going to the church sponsored missionaries. Paula did the music (see picture below). Gary and Elizabeth both spoke separately. Gary spoke as a “veteran” missionary to Africa and Elizabeth as a wife about family dynamics as an overseas missionary. Elizabeth wore the very first Angolan dress bought in Africa 18 years ago. Our African brothers and sisters saw pictures of Gary and Elizabeth on Facebook and were quick to chime in with great memories and the need for more missionaries to come.

Pic Missions Dinner

African notes:

October is final exams times for our African young ladies and men. Olivia and Yasmine doing the GED exams. Salinde is doing her 10th grade exit exams. Esther, Bertha, Rosa, Helena, Indileni, and Maria are doing college final exams, some for the first time. Linda continues to enjoy her church in Windhoek and leading a small group in her home. There are so many others. Some we haven’t heard from much, like Florence (Micky) and Nadia. Please remember to pray for them too.

God is busy in Costa Rica! We have so much more to share with you. Elizabeth’s mother came to visit. Kathryn speaks Spanish and enjoyed worship at La Biblia Dice. She also helped at Posada de Belen with the infants and toddlers and at Casa de Pan with the endless laundry. She did say we shouldn’t expect 80 year olds to work more than three hours at a time. Point well taken, Mom! Come join us, breaks are allowed!

God bless each of you for your prayers and support of By Provision!

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, Ph. D.

August 2017
The mission of By Provision has been to proclaim freedom for the captives, alleviating the situation of the destitute to show them God’s love in a tangible way. Everyone deserves to find freedom and redemption in Christ Jesus, no matter their current circumstances.

Casa de Pan

A local family downsized and donated their big house to Hogar Casa de Pan. Despite their generosity, there are several issues since it was built as a home for an average size family. One of the main issues is the laundry. There are 8 washing machines, but no dryers in a country that gets heavy rainfall. Drying a minimum number of school uniforms and bedding in this country that gets 100 inches of rainfall a year is daunting. The Church at Chelsea Westover donated a laundry project for Casa de Pan. Melba is beside herself deciding and planning what would be best. We’ll get it done in September. Meanwhile we enjoying visiting each week, spending time with the children, and getting others involved.

Pic of Casa de Pan

Mentoring

God has put two young ladies in our lives to mentor as missionaries. Marse is a young Mexican missionary here in Costa Rica just starting out and Paula is a Costa Rican deciding where and who to go serve in the 10/90 window. We spend time with them praying, talking, reading God’s Word, sharing our testimonies of how God has led us and showing them different kinds of ministry opportunities. Mostly we encourage them to trust God to lead them and use them to His glory. We were surprised that Marse didn’t have a study bible and so happy to give her one thanks to Widow’s Might from Liberty Baptist Church.

Pic Marse with Bible

God in Action

Adrian arrived at the rehab center in late July, after 40 years of drug abuse. His body was literally eating itself from the inside out. The doctors told him he wouldn’t live through the end of the year if he didn’t change his life. The first 30 days Adrian was at the center his only job was to read the Bible. Adrian is a changed man, even putting on weight. He is thankful and wants everyone to know that your prayers have saved his physical life and Jesus saved his soul.


Pic of Adrian reading the Bible

The rehab center needs to continue meeting the long list of government health requirements to stay open. In July AT Scott class donated the tile project for the kitchen and dining areas. Next on the list is the stainless steel sink and stove hood. The LL class from Double Oak has taken those on. We’ve ordered the sink and hope to have it installed by the end of September.

African notes:

Bertha is now teaching a Bible study on college campus. She also spent on of her school vacations week teaching at Camp Good News. Linda is preparing to do her master’s degree in London. Cornelia is now 21! We miss our beautiful DAT young ladies and are so thankful to see them becoming all God has in store for them.

 
July 2017

 

Mid year school break comes in July, when there is usually a break in the rain for a couple of weeks. This is an ideal time for VBS, Youth Camps, and church retreats.

Created and Transformed VBS in San Miguel, Costa Rica

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me” Psalms 51:10. Gary and I helped do crafts, snacks, and lunch for the VBS. The children learned that to be transformed they had to repent of wrongdoing/thinking/saying and ask Jesus to be Lord of their life. VBS ended on a Sunday to entice non believing parents to come to worship and hear a clear presentation of the gospel.

Pic at VBS

Worthy Youth Camp in Alajuela

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God” Revelations 1:5b-6a. Thirty five youth from La Biblia Dice church paid for themselves and a non church attending friend to go to camp to learn that without them deserving it, God took them into account for His own glory. He made a way for them to become worthy in His sight. On our way to and from camp, we had to abandon the bus, because of a mud slide that took part of the road with it, and walk part of the way enjoying a gorgeous view of the Central Valley. While much fun was had, the constant message of free will and the priesthood of the believer were deeply set into their minds and hearts of each youth. Gary and I worked the kitchen from 4am to 9pm every day. Gary was our dishwasher (cold water only) for 80+ people, for three meals and three snacks per day. The parents were waiting in the sanctuary. After prize giving, a call to salvation, and a challenge to believing parents to encourage their youth’s spiritual life, we went home utterly exhausted, happy, and thankful to be part of God’s kingdom work.

Pic Youth Camp Gary walking around mud slide

God in Action Rehab Center

The ministry of health told God in Action they would be closing them down on July 15th if the floors in the pantry, kitchen and dining rooms were not tiled. God led A.T. Scott’s class at The Church at Brookhills to raise necessary funding. Gary oversaw the project. Ricardo, one of the young men is a master tile setter, directed the tile laying and others helped to finish this beautiful floor. It’s the highest quality material we could find so it will last them. The hardware store gave us a 50% discount, making it the same price as regular tile, and free transportation. God is good! It thrills me (Elizabeth) to see such great work being done so close to where I grew up in San Isidro de Coronado. As a child we met in the pastor’s home for worship. Now there are churches and ministry entities with a presence in the community sharing the Gospel in tangible ways to lead people to Christ.

Pic of Tile finished

God is busy in Costa Rica! We have so much more to share with you. We are in Alabama the last week of July and beginning of August. If you would like to meet with us, please call us 205-370-6071 Gary and 205-441-3899.

June 2017

Pic June orchid

Serving full time to prevent, restore, and re establish sexually exploited people with the love of Jesus Christ is not for the faint of heart. It has proven more taxing than we imagined, but God is faithful to strengthen us day by day. We continue to affirm and guide the DAT young ladies, and to encourage our African pastors whom we deeply miss after almost 20 years of relationship and fellowship. Now more than ever we rely on God’s Word and his promises.

101,000 Gideon New Testaments were distributed in schools, universities, jails, and police academy centers. For a week, we left the house at 5am and arrived home between 8-9pm. Two nights we were too tired to bother with dinner. Gary hauled boxes of New Testaments. Elizabeth translated, shared the gospel, and prayed with many of those receiving the New Testaments. It was exhausting and exhilarating. Praise, God!

Pic of New Testaments

Matt Wilkins came to see what we were doing and help with the roof project. Widow’s Might from Liberty Baptist Church sent us Scofield Spanish study Bibles. These are prize possessions for believers here, because they are so difficult to obtain. There are plenty of regular Bibles at the Bible Society, but in depth study Bibles are few. A good study Bible is a huge blessing and growth tool. His church, the Church at Chelsea Westover, funded the project and others pitched in too. There was more than enough to replace the roof and the gutters too! Thank you so much! Pastor Jose Antonio Solis and his wife, Odette, are happy to be sleeping dry now. They had planned on saving up a little each month and replacing the roof as a Christmas present to the family. Pastor Solis serves in a neighborhood of many illegal and minimum wage earners. The church in Paso Ancho has about 70 members. The minimum wage in Costa Rica for a non skilled/educated worker is currently $750/month. The church pays the pastor $385/month, which is generous given the circumstances. Odette said it was such a relief to not have to run every time it rains to get pails and buckets all over the house. She didn’t realize how much stress the leaky roof was creating. Jose Antonio is grateful for the roof, but emotionally even more so. He said it was the first time in his ministry, of over 40 years, that someone has done something for his family personally. The joy your generosity brought to this family is significant.

Pic of roof

While Matt was here, he and Gary helped with labor intensive landscape project at a women’s development center, while Elizabeth helped with a sewing class. They literally moved heavy rocks from the upstairs garden to the side of the building down the hill to prepare for a preschool playground. Matt visited the rehab center, God in Action, and was impressed with the commitment of Keith Britton, 74 years old, to take care of these guys and disciple them. He enjoyed getting to visit pastor Jose Antonio Solis’ church and the feeding program. He loved our church, La Biblia Dice and took part in the prayer ministry and served at the missions fund raising marathon with over 1000 participants, including physically challenged people. Matt also visited three orphanages. We spent one full day taking care of babies of teenage moms. At one of the others he made plans to come back and help organize the laundry after seeing overwhelming piles of it. He finally said, “There’s enough to do here to keep me busy for a lifetime.” Yes, there certainly is! Matt plans to come back in September and bring others with him.

Pic of Matt

The ministry of health told God in Action they would be closing them down on July 15th if they haven’t installed tiles floors in the kitchen and dining room. God led A.T. Scott’s class at The Church at Brookhills to raise money for them. Gary is project managing. We’re so excited to get this done! It thrills me to see such great work being done so close to where I grew up in San Isidro de Coronado. As a child we met in the pastor’s home for worship. Now there are churches and ministry entities with a presence in the community. God has blessed!

Pic of God in Action wood stove

If you would like to fund or serve in person with projects, please do so! No visas or immunizations needed. It’s a quick, easy journey with good weather most of the time. We’ll do a quick visa trip home late July and meet our new grandchild too. Let us know if you would like to meet with us.

Thank you for your faithful prayer and financial support! God bless you and keep you well or as the Ticos say: May God bless and accompany you!

Your Servants in Christ,

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, Ph. D.

May 2017

La Guaria Morada is one of our favorite orchids here. There are so many different kinds of orchids everywhere they are easy to overlook-sensory overload. Our Creator is so kind and good to surround us with such beauty!

Picture guaria morada



Posada de Belen

La Posada de Belen (resting place of Bethlehem) is a home for sexually exploited pregnant teenage young ladies. They live with their babies at the same facility together. They currently house 64. It’s a ministry of the Episcopal Church. They have housing, school, and nursery on site. It’s absolutely amazing. The room for babies to 6 month olds has 24 children with three full time workers. Per month the home uses a ton of rice, 1,000 pounds of dry black beans, and 1,800 diapers among many others food items, supplies, and toiletries. The first day we toured the home to find out how we could help, as we walked by the school classes, Gary asked: “Where are the mothers?” Of course he was staring at them, but that fact just wouldn’t compute in his brain. The mothers are all under age 18 years old. The youngest pregnant young lady was 9 years old. Tears started streaming down Gary’s face.

Pic Posada de Belen


A team of volunteers went with us for a service day. Half of the team sorted donated clothing by gender and age outside under the sun, while the others helped in the nursery, holding crying infants newborns up to 9 mo, changing diapers, feeding, playing, mostly just holding them and loving on them! The mothers are in school on campus trying to get their high school diploma! So during class break the moms come nurse the infants, about 13 today, 11 are big enough to eat baby food! It was overwhelming at times but left there knowing we were the hands and feet of Jesus and got blessed with smiles and faces of contentment.



La Biblia Dice is our local church here in San Miguel. It is wonderful! This is the first time in 18 years that we’ve had a church we’re not in charge of leading, teaching, and preaching. It’s such a blessing! God is good! He knows we need refreshing and refilling. It is a Spanish only speaking church. They’re so kind they’ve added English subtitles to songs, so Elizabeth can sing without having to translate. The pastor has the Scriptures for his sermons projected, so Gary is using a bilingual Bible and learning quickly. This month pastor Fernando Miranda of La Biblia Dice chose a work project to bless another pastor, Jose, which meets in southern San Jose. The pastor is Jose Antonio Solis. His church is Primera Iglesia Bautista, Paso Ancho, San Jose, Costa Rica. Jose and Maria are in their 60’s and have never been able to finish painting their house. Jose’s wife cried when she found out we would help her. The more we find out about this pastor and his wife, the more impressed we are with their dedication and sacrifice to reach others for Christ. They feed 30 children every day of the week that would otherwise go hungry. It is a socially depressed area, as they call it here, full of illegal immigrants, pregnant teenagers, drugs, and such. It turns out Odette, pastor’s wife, is going through breast cancer. They care for her brother, Fernan, who lost his leg last year. He kept us entertained as we painted the inside of the garage that is actually his porch and only entrance he can use to get into the house in a wheel chair. While we were painting the outside, neighbors driving by would call out to encourage us and say how nice it looked!

Pic Fernan and Gary


The scope of the work grew to include a roof. They are in their 60’s. His wife is dealing with breast cancer. If it rains at night they get wet. They tried moving the bed around but there simply isn't a non leaking spot in the house as big as the bed. After looking at the roof, we saw it is mostly rusted through with very few good areas. This roof needs replaced! Our local church will help with some of the labor and some others local believers too. When the Church at Chelsea Westover found out we were looking for funding for this project they jumped on board! Matt Wilkins will come next week, June 6th to bring the money and help. We are excited about this project!



La Sala (ministry to older women in the red light district) is expanding. There are interns for the summer months that are using English as a Foreign Language materials provided by Linda and Dale Johnson, Church at Chelsea Westover, AL to teach them English. A command of English is the most prized job skill in a country largely based on tourism. We are also helping with Bible studies three days a week with this same group of women. Some of them are now attending a sewing class provided by yet another ministry. We guide them to decide to learn something new and provide transportation. The idea is that they’ll follow Jesus Christ as Lord and be equipped for other means of earning a living.

Pic La sala sewing


God in Action is a Christian drug rehab ministry led by a 74 year old American, Keith. He is a living example of Jeremiah 17:8 and affirms Gary’s goal of staying of the mission field.

Pic God in Action

For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear[fn] when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

If you would like to fund and or help with projects, please do so! No visas or immunizations needed. It’s a quick, easy journey with good weather most of the time.

Thank you for your faithful prayer and financial support that allows us to continue ministry in the mission field. As the Ticos say: May God bless you and accompany you!

Your Servants in Christ,

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, Ph. D.

Leave us a message at 205-678-5024

Imessage, FaceTime and Messenger reaches us no matter where we are.

Our Costa Rica cell numbers are: +506-8572-5942 (E) +506-8572-5953 (G)

US cell phones 205-370-6071 and 205-441-3899 will be off while in Costa Rica

April 2017

 

Poas Volcano and Easter

There are now two active volcanoes, Poas and Turriabla, spewing out ashes and rocks just 18 miles north of us. Thankfully we don’t live in the path of either one. Although some days we do get a bit of ashes and it becomes quite difficult for me (Elizabeth) to breathe. When we are home for a week in May, I’ll get some extra medicine. There are some spectacular scenes posted on line.

Easter is the biggest holiday of the year here. The official holiday is Maundy Thursday through Sunday, but most people take the whole week off so it makes for 10 days off. The Catholic churches have live out door theater plays with nice costumes living out the trial and crucifixion of Christ. This requires building props and holding rehearsals from Palm Sunday through Wednesday. Many streets are closed to allow the theater and processions (parades) to take place. No expense is spared! Holy Week starts with the remembrance of the ceremonial entry of Jesus into the Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The story is in acted by the Catholic parishes as Jesus enters the Jerusalem on a donkey and the people hail him by waving branches of palm trees.

On Maundy Thursday, they act out the Jesus pronouncing his coming pain and death. There is a walk of silence to church where the last supper headed by Jesus is played out.

Good Friday is the earnest and most intricate day of the Holy Week. It marks the arrest, trial, crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus. Everyone from the community makes way for the historic procession. The route is laid out and 14 posts are marked where a paragraph from the story is read out loud. It has characters of cross carrying Jesus, court, the Roman soldiers, his followers and the thieves. The crucifixion brings along sorrow which ends the day’s march and is organized at a place where the maximum number of people can gather.


Holy Saturday is the day Jesus rests in grave and Judas Night is celebrated. It’s an event that can bring about commotion and fear among the people. People play pranks and take things from homes to burn down in front of the church. Easter Sunday is the end of Lent, so Holy Saturday is an all out preparing for a feast day.

Gary enjoyed seeing the daily activity throughout the week. Resurrection Sunday is a family affair where people come together and have good food, like Thanksgiving in the US. Gary was so disappointed that Resurrection Sunday wasn’t publicly celebrated that it literally depressed him. He fasted and prayed Easter night for people to understand Easter is not about Christ dying, but His resurrection conquering death.

Casa Libertad (Freedom House)

During Holy Week, Gary and I took the rescued young ladies to serve others. This was their first service experience. Thursday we baked and iced two big cakes. They enjoyed baking the cakes, even though Elizabeth integrated using fractions and multiplication and cleaning up after ourselves to the experience.

The next day after making and packing lunches and figuring out how to transport the cakes, we took the group and Marse, a Mexican missionary serving as chef for Casa Libertad, to a private Christian children’s home, Casa de Pan. It is a home where a Christian couple has legal permanent guardianship of 46 children currently. They don’t turn any child away as long as they have space for them. Several children have various health issues. Luis has autism and loves Gary. This time Luis had Gary take the lids off a couple dozen down spout collection points on the property and clean them out. When Gary found and took out leaves, trash, & spiders, Luis would jump up and down for joy celebrating the victory.


Marse and Elizabeth spent most of their time on the playground with little boys and girls excited to have adults playing with them. The Casa Libertad young ladies were afraid of Luis and the handicapped children, so they retreated to the laundry to help fold clothes. It was a growing experience for the rescued young ladies to see others have problems and be forced to find a way to help them. They were sorely disappointed they didn’t get to even taste the cakes, because we had to leave for Good Friday service at our church. A pleasant surprise of coffee and pastries was served afterwards. At the end of the fellowship time, the pastor told them to each load up a plate of sweets to take with them. They were beyond excited!

Praise, God, another young lady was rescued this month. Their pictures and stories can only be shared in private. When we are in the US, we’ll be glad to do so in closed settings.

La Sala

The donations of clothing brings in new and younger women off the streets to La Sala in the downtown red light district. Each item is sold for less than 20 cents USD allowing the women to have pride of purchase and ownership. The sale fosters informal conversation and sharing among themselves and the ministry team members. Much of what we hear hurts! Snippets from April: One lady had just given birth three days earlier and was back at work because she needs to buy diapers. She had only one left in her purse. One pregnant lady had not eaten all week. One lady said she would NEVER set foot inside one of our meetings. One person was turned away at the door, because we thought she was a man. She started cursing and pounding on the window as she showed her ID proving she was a woman, before walking away. Realizing a mistake was made, we had to chase her down, apologize profusely and get her to come in and eat breakfast with us. Ministry is not for the proud or faint of heart!

The theme for the month at La Sala was clean heart, clean hands from Psalm 24:4. This led to mani pedis. The pedicures revealed more problems and made a best friend for me (Elizabeth). We’ll call her Maria. She comes every time the door opens. She is a very short woman and enters the gatherimngs hollering out and demanding to be taken care of first. Maria is an older lady (my age) and obviously not thinking right. She always wears closed shoes with socks, even though the shoes are tight. The day of the mani/pedis, she came in her usual loud way. I asked Maria to wash her hands and pick out a nail color. She dipped her hands in water and shook them off and harshly told me to use any color. Her hands were dirty with caked in dirt around the cuticles and under the nails. I told her we needed to get them cleaner so the polish would stick. Maria alternated screaming and fake crying saying it hurt her to wash her hands. Each time I immediately stopped washing her hands and asked if the water was the wrong temperature, if she had cuts on her hands, what could possibly be causing the pain? Slowly Maria allowed me to gently wash her hands with nice smelling soap and even let me brush her fingernails. She chose a reddish color. Then she had me put white dots on some nails and white strikes on others. I told her my granddaughters liked to mix their color and designs up too. I asked her if she had time for me to do her toe nails. She was enjoying the coffee and cookies, and answered yes. When I saw her feet, I understood why she’s always frowning and angry. She’s in pain! Her big toe nails where at least an inch long curved to the side and black with fungus down to the cuticle. The other toe nails were long too and some grew vertically towards the top of her shoes. I cut them down and painted them as best I could and asked if she would consider a different pair of shoes. She said she liked her shoes (pink ballet shoes with white socks). During the mani pedi her voice and tone became more pleasant. When she left, she gave me a nice kiss on the cheek. The next time she came, Maria entered quietly, looked toward me and said: “I just want to talk to her.” Maria and I are now best friends. We’re encouraging her to go to the podiatrist and consider new socks and a new pair of shoes.


If you would like to fund or serve in person with projects, please do so! No visas or immunizations needed. It’s a quick, easy journey with good weather most of the time.

Thank you for your faithful prayer and financial support! God bless you and keep you well or as the Ticos say: May God bless you and accompany you!

Your Servants in Christ,

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, Ph. D.

March 2017

The Lord provided a home for the Wilkins in an ideal location in the Central Valley where they can easily get to the broad base of anti human trafficking ministries By Provision partners with dedicated to advocacy, prevention, rescue, reintegration, discipleship, and orphanages caring for the 366,000 discarded children of prostitution. The nature of the ministry limits the pictures we can take or post. You need to come see for yourself.

The Lord is so good that the first church in the Central Valley we visited, just one mile from our house, called: The Bible Says, we felt right at home. Gary is teaching a mid week English Bible study at our home. Right after music and before preaching every Sunday is a mission’s emphasis. The church sends out missionaries locally and around the world. Pastor Fernando includes the command to go in every sermon and includes a call to salvation and to missions at the end of nearly every service. The church is bursting at the seams with little educational space. The youth meet under a shelter without walls. The plan is to buy the lot next door and expand. None of this will be done at the expense or by cutting back on missions. We love it!

 

Early in the month Gary cut down three trees that were endangering family homes. It needed to be done before the rainy season, when there is more danger of the earth loosening and the trees falling. The tallest one was 120 feet, 32” diameter. Gary used an 18” chain saw, 3 wedges, and a mallet. After cutting down the trees the work started: cutting the branches and trunks into smaller moveable pieces. Praise, the Lord, no one was hurt. One of the trees did fall and burst the main water line, but it was easily repaired.
 
Gary has enjoyed back hoe work at one of the orphanages in Coronado where Elizabeth grew up. This will be a state of the art facility able to take in children with special needs. They are building one house for girls and one house for boys. We plan on being grandparents to the children.
 

Elizabeth tutors rescued young ladies at Freedom House four days a week. Privacy is of utmost importance to protect these young ladies. There are currently four teens and one that is pregnant. All of them are under 17 years old and the one with the most education is working on seventh grade studies. One of them shows evidence of her recent faith in Christ. The others are going through the motions. Names are confidential, but please pray for Freedom House young ladies. Pray they will choose to trust Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour to see them through the rest of their live. Pray for us (Elizabeth and other local ministry workers) as we deepen our relationships with them that the teens will see Christ in us reaching out and drawing them to Himself. Please pray for a 14 and a 16 year old that so far refuse to be rescued. Pray they will make the hard choice to go through the process to get off the streets and to safety.

On Thursday mornings after serving a free breakfast of “gallo pinto” (mix of black beans, white rice, and a special sauce), eggs, bread, and coffee to the street ladies there is a private sell just for them. The clothes and shoes sent in January are sold at 20 cents per piece. It is fun to see the ladies talking and laughing, leaving to bring other co-workers to take advantage of the opportunity. This sale draws in the younger ladies and teens. Oh, yes, many of the street ladies are in their 40 and 50’s. Tuesday afternoon’s coffee and cookies are served along with a program and/or activities: art, music, mani/pedi, educational workshops, Christian movies and others as supplies and volunteers are available.

Other activities at La Sala are a monthly spa day and Spanish Christian message movie day. Please collect supplies for these activities, so we can bring them. We will travel back to the US every three months to comply with visa regulations.

The building used for these activities is La Sala in the middle of the red district down town San Jose. It needs several projects to be funded: inside painting, replace broken windows with plexiglass, flooring in bathroom, kitchen countertops and shelves, upstairs closets, and under staircase storage among others. The kitchen, closets, and storage spaces need kitting out and organizing with labelled supply containers for the various activities.

Several orphanages need construction projects as well. House of Hope needs much more back hoe work done. Gary is currently doing one day a week. They need a road cut in, a soccer field levelled out, a tilapia pond carved out in the creek, and other projects. Gary could use a on the ground helper.

The other orphanages By Provision is helping need repairs and replacements: doors, windows, roof (zinc replaced or repaired and painted). All the orphanages need love and hugs providers! Adults are needed to rock, hold, and play with the children. This is a great family mission’s opportunity!

Sharing the gospel is easy since people are so friendly and willing to take time to chat. Josue, a new Christian friend, that we met while buying bricks stays in constant contact with Elizabeth. He’s a Nicaraguan that is working here in Costa Rica and misses home. Josue is a couple of hours away from us, but loves using his smart phone to communicate. Josue sends questions and videos. Elizabeth answers questions and encourages him to find local believers living where he is working for Bible study and fellowship.


 

If you would like to fund and or help with projects, please do so! No visas or immunizations needed. It’s a quick, easy journey with good weather most of the time.

Thank you for your faithful prayer and financial support! God bless you and keep you well or as the Ticos say: May God bless you and accompany you!

Your Servants in Christ,

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, Ph. D.

February 2017

 

February is hot and dry on the Pacific coast in Costa Rica. High 90’s during the day and 80’s at night, with a fan, the right breeze, and lots of frozen water bottles it’s bearable. This month has been dedicated almost solely to sexual exploitation prevention. People are up early in Esterillos Oeste beach to get past the volcanic rock to go fishing. Some just want to make it out to the mermaid. The old folks like to bathe in natural healing low tide pools. The volcano ash that fell for 7 years back in the 60s saturated the sand making it brown. This ash sand mixed with the salt water are known for healing all kinds of ailments. People come from long distances to bathe here. Gary fell on some rocks early in the month around midnight unloading the van after fetching some people from the airport. He had bad cuts on his face, arms, and hands. The locals insisted he get in pools of volcanic ash sea water, when they saw the cuts on his hands were getting infected. It’s quite treacherous reaching the pools as you have to walk over lava rocks left from volcanic eruptions. With good solid pair of tennis shoes we started making an effort in the late afternoons when the tide was low enough to walk over the rocks to get to the pools to enjoy a few minutes in the water. It did help!

All of February through the first week of March, Monday through Friday, 8am-4pm, Elizabeth translated for a hairstyling class in the middle of a palm oil plantation field at a government housing project where many of the girls are sold into prostitution. The aim is to give the young people a skill to sell instead of their bodies. Each morning Elizabeth led a prayer time and had each student read from the Bible, followed by a short Bible study. We wanted them to know that God is with them always, no matter what. There were eight students, 7 young ladies and 1 young man. All but one student attend High School at night (5pm-10pm). Two of them are single mothers. Gladys has an 8 month old and Dani has a 2 month old. Several days they couldn’t find anyone to babysit, so the babies came with them to class sometimes at the same time. Gary pitched in and did Granddaddy duty, so the mothers could learn. One of the young ladies, came two different times to camp on the beach and even cooked fish for us one day. On Fridays the students did an internship at a local hair salon. They had to get live models to come for a service. Yofred, the young man, couldn’t get anyone to trust him enough, so Elizabeth had him cut her hair. He did a great job and gained some confidence. Haircutting and styling skill will provide students a good way to earn an income for themselves and others, and possibly grow a business.

Saturdays we had the welding class in the same area for the boys for the same reason. Elizabeth translated and Gary led the Bible study and the welding class. It seems every window has bars on it and many patios do too. There is a high demand for welding here. These young men should be able to earn some money even while in High School. Gary has been working in the center where the classes are held repairing the gates, fences, doors, etc. working in getting us reliable transport, setting up bank account, & all the other aspects of establishing a life here. His Spanish and Portuguese are quite mixed up, but he’s making progress. He's learning to eat new foods too!

The second week of class a friend of the students was murdered on the road we drive in on to class. Her throat was cut and her body dumped on the beach. After that even, Yofred, a strong, strapping young man, was afraid to walk to classes. He lived several miles away on the opposite side of the palm oil plantation where the classes were held. The palm oil plantations are beautiful! The particular one where we were teaching has government housing on the outskirts. The peacefulness of the palm oil plantation is deceptive. The groves are gorgeous, but the gravel road full of potholes makes any form of transportation slow. Bad people lay in wait to attack those who to through by themselves. We offered to pick Yofred up and drop him off so he could finish the class and we felt more comfortable with him with us in the car.

Sunday's we have morning church in one town and afternoon church in another. There are quite a few churches and ministries in this area. God is leading us to move to the Central Valley where we will continue helping in various areas of ministering to the sexually exploited. Elizabeth will do written translations for church curriculum, adapting to the users educational level and regionalisms. God is good we're healthy and developing relationships with the locals quickly.

Seymour Baptist is preparing to go back to do their first pastor’s conference in Rundu (northeast Namibia) mid March. Elizabeth is organizing and lending a hand all via phone and internet. Elizabeth is especially sad not to be there, as she didn’t get to visit as much after opening the DAT. Pastor Anton was in his very early 20’s and not held in much esteem, because of his youth. We saw such potential in him and he has definitively lived up to it. The pastors will be housed in his old mud church building and the conference will be held in the new tall iron and cement building right beside it. The speaker system Brian Striggow gave us many years ago is now installed in Pst. Anton’s new building. This is yet another closing circle for us as Rundu is where we held our very first pastor’s conference. We are so thankful that First Baptist Seymour, TX has taken up the lead and sponsoring the much needed pastor conferences.

We still hear from the DAT young ladies in Namibia daily. Sometimes it’s good news, like Bertha meeting up with Magiver, one of the young men from our Sunday School in Tsumeb. He told her about a good church close to the university she is attending. She’s so happy to have a home church again!

We are developing partnerships to help broad base human trafficking ministries including advocacy, prevention, rescue, reintegration (skill training and business creation), discipleship, construction projects, and caring for the 366,000 discarded children of prostitution in orphanages. Please pray for us as we follow God’s calling that we might discern exactly what and how He wants us to do it. The need is so great and broad no one ministry can do it all. By Provision will play a supportive role in human trafficking ministry.

Prayer requests:

a) Permanent lodging out of the volcano spew path-Where? Rent or purchase?

b) Transportation, preferably a pickup truck for construction projects

c) Legal status- we can stay 90 days at a time and reenter as many times as we like

d) Language acquisition for Gary (separate Portuguese and Spanish)

Leave us a message at 205-678-5024 Iphone users can Imessage or FaceTime us.

Our Costa Rica cell numbers are: +506-8572-5942 (E) +506-8572-5953 (G)

FB users can Messenger both of us.

Thank you so much for your faithful support!!!

God bless you, Elizabeth and Gary Wilkins

January 2017

The Discipling African Teens (DAT) twelfth grade graduates are getting ready for university. Ester was accepted for the economics program at the University of Namibia (UNAM). She’ll be staying with her sister in Windhoek. Bertha will be at the UNAM campus in Oshakati studying Environmental Health. She found a hostel close to campus where she can walk to school. Her classes are from 7am to 4am Monday through Friday, so she will only work during the break times. She worked over the last three months saving up her money to cover needs during this first semester. Indileni and Nadia are still making decisions. Rosa will finish accounting this year. Helena still has another year after this one to finish Business. Yasmine finally decided to delve into the health care world. She wants to live in a big city. She’s taking courses for a certificate as an Emergency Care Practitioner in Windhoek and hoping to get a job there. She should finish at the end of August. Olivia is taking Namcol (GED) classes to get her grade point average up and hopefully apply next year to university. Maria Aukongo finishes her nursing degree this year. We are so proud of the DAT young ladies. Linda continues studying slowly, working as needed, putting most of her energy into the youth group at church in Windhoek.

Seymour Baptist is preparing to go back to do their first pastor’s conference in Rundu (northeast Namibia) in March. Elizabeth is organizing and lending a hand all via phone and internet. Elizabeth is especially sad not to be there, as she didn’t get to visit as much after opening the DAT. Pastor Anton was in his very early 20’s and not held in much esteem, because of his youth. We saw such potential in him and he has definitively lived up to it. The pastors will be housed in his old mud church building and the conference will be held in the new tall iron and cement building right beside it. The speaker system Brian Striggow gave us many years ago is now installed in Pst. Anton’s new building. This is yet another closing circle for us as Rundu is where we held our very first pastor’s conference. We are so thankful that First Baptist Seymour, TX has taken up the lead and sponsoring the much needed pastor conferences.

Last November Gary and Elizabeth went to Costa Rica, 40 years to the date from when Elizabeth left Costa Rica after her first year of university. The topography and infrastructure changed little in that time. The cityscape changed vastly. Costa Rica is now ranked 4th most dangerous country for drivers due to road conditions, traffic fatalities, and car theft. Learning to drive here is an ongoing adjustment. Pray Gary will react quickly and intuitively while driving. Pray for angels to protect us!

Mid month the Samford University cheerleaders helped get the remaining clothes, shoes, school supplies, and beanie babies collected to Costa Rica for the sexually exploited. The ministries receiving the half ton donation were impressed with the quality and excellent condition of the goods and suitcases donated. They were thankful for the goods and the suitcases to make it easy on those receiving items to store and care for the gifts. So many of you donated to this project! We stand in awe of how God brings us together to serve and show His love in tangible ways.

We are developing partnerships to help broad base human trafficking ministries including advocacy, prevention, rescue, reintegration (skill training and business creation), discipleship, construction projects, and caring for the 366,000 discarded children of prostitution in orphanages. Please pray for us as we follow God’s calling that we might discern exactly what and how He wants us to do it. The need is so great and broad no one ministry can do it all. By Provision will play a supportive role in human traffic ministry.

Linda and Dale Johnson from the Church at Chelsea Westover gave By Provision a case of beautiful big leather bilingual Bibles. These Bibles will be a great help to Bible study and worship service translators!

Prayer requests:

a) Permanent lodging out of the volcano spew path-Where? Rent or purchase?

b) Transportation, preferably a pickup truck for construction projects

c) Legal status- we can stay 90 days at a time and reenter or pursue residency

d) Language acquisition for Gary (separate Portuguese and Spanish)

CONTACT INFORMATION

Leave us a message at 205-678-5024

Iphone users can Imessage or FaceTime us no matter where we are.

US cell phones 205-370-6071 and 205-441-3899 will be off while in Costa Rica

Our Costa Rica cell numbers are: +506-8572-5942 (E) +506-8572-5953 (G)

FB users can Messenger both of us.

 
 
DECEMBER 2016 

Jesus, God the Son, came to earth in human form to love us beyond our comprehension. Serving Him fulltime in Africa for the past 17 years was a great joy we hoped to continue for years to come. Our hearts were torn in two knowing we would not be sharing life on a daily basis with the DAT young ladies on a regular basis. Sadness could have overcome us at leaving Namibia and starting a whole new ministry elsewhere. “...but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50:20 NKJV).

From the Kalahari desert of Africa where the sand dunes literally meet the ocean God took us to the rain forest in tropical Costa Rica. Our visit to Costa Rica last month, God revealed how He wants us to help with sexually exploited ministry. It is a tough assignment to pray, share the gospel, and disciple the sexually exploited as they choose to surrender to God and become positive contributing members of society. We met with different ministries dedicated to various aspects of prevention, rescue, support, training, and moral job creation and placement. Your encouragement and prayer prepared us for what lies ahead in this new place and purpose.

Clearly God loves each one of us individually and wants a relationship with us. Christ was born, died, and rose for each one of us; the Holy Spirit indwells each of us that call upon Christ’s name; and heaven awaits the one who puts their faith and trust in Christ. May He use us through your support to “save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh’ (Jude 23, HCSB).

Pray with us as we establish a legal way to live and carry out ministry in Costa Rica. The plan is to move to Costa Rica in January for three months at a time, with short out of country breaks, to maintain legal status until we can get some kind of residency. We will be working alongside other ministries filling in essential gaps (translating, construction work, team transportation, Bible study, counselling and more). Our primary needs going into 2017 are: 1) establishing a residence, 2) obtaining a vehicle (2013 or newer pickup for import), and 3) finding the right lawyer to guide the residency process. Our gratitude to God for continuing to use us for His glory through your prayer and financial support fills us with awe and wonder.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, Ph.D.

 

NOVEMBER 2016

Thank you for praying for us about beginning a new phase of ministry in Costa Rica! There was a hurricane for the first time in 176 years, and God gave travelling mercies, logistics and transportation. God revealed how He wants us to help with sexually exploited ministry. Your encouragement and prayer prepared us for what lies ahead in this new place, and purpose. The Lord strengthened us and gave us direction in where and how to continue serving others to His glory.

Human trafficking and sexual exploitation is an unfamiliar and dark place. It’s heartbreaking that children as young as 9 years old are involved. The average age is 13 and most are female. In Costa Rica pregnant young women or men are preferred, because it’s eliminates the possibility of child support demands being place against the perpetrators. The thought is hard enough to grasp as you read this. God’s grace and power were evident as we witnessed to a 32 week pregnant young lady in a brothel with tears in her eyes too scared to leave, a partner of a lesbian couple with 7 children born of prostitution, a young man that had been kidnapped earlier this year and held captive for over three months back on the streets again, and others.

Happily in that week two young ladies chose to be rescued and brought to the safe house. They are cared for by a full time psychologist, social worker, chef, and guardian. These are fully certified and licensed workers that love the Lord with all their heart and work as though for the Lord. The rescued receive medical attention and so much love they hardly can take it in. They are here for two weeks to two months depending on their situation before being moved to the next step in their journey toward health and healing with the collaboration of other ministries.

One this week was a pregnant 13 years old. To say that her roller coaster emotions are a challenge would understate the complexity of the situation. It will be a while before we figure out the words to share that express our thoughts and feelings about this new directive from the Lord. Clearly God loves each one of us; Christ was born, died, and rose for each one of us; the Holy Spirit indwells each of us that call upon Christ’s name; and heaven awaits the one who puts their faith and trust in Christ.

Jude 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. (HCSB)

Pray with us as we establish a legal way to live and carry out ministry in Costa Rica. Hopefully we can go full time next month. Our gratitude to God for continuing to use us for His glory through your support fills us with awe and wonder.

OCTOBER 2016

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:15

October 7th donors and volunteers gathered around us at our home to enjoy fellowship, hear about the year, and encourage us. Spending time with supporters, telling the stories of how God moved in our lives, begging for prayers on behalf of DAT members, pastors, churches, and individuals in Namibia and Angola is our joy. If we haven’t seen you yet, just call 205-441-3899 (Elizabeth) or Gary (205-370-6071). Here and in Africa we have the most uplifting and sweetest friends that love Jesus.

The Discipling African Teens finished High School exit exams for 10th and 12th graders under great duress due to teacher's strike in October. When the teachers went on strike, the DAT young ladies felt the world had come to a stop. They first sent emails, texts, and posted on Facebook to Elizabeth about how scared they were of not getting the chance to even finish taking the exit exams. I wasn't be there to give them a hug, talk, or pray with them. Andre and Nadine, the volunteers taking care of them, are nice but they were a new relationship where trust was not built up yet. Your prayers comforted and encouraged them. I, Elizabeth, can't begin to express how much I appreciate your prayers on their behalf. This week their celebrating no more wearing school uniforms and packing up to go on with young adulthood. Bertha, Indileni, Ester, Nadia expect to to to university next year. Olivia will take a year of Namcol to improve her GPA before applying to university the following year. Florence has had all the schooling she can stomach for now. She is looking for a job or coming up with a business idea. Aina wants to go to Windhoek for a computer program. Please pray for each of them as they make decisions about their futures. One opportunity they have is to work part time or full time for Child Evangelism Fellowship. They are primed and up to the task, but fear they won't ever make a good living. Pray they will follow God's direction and plan for their lives.


Anton Theron, a strong believer, is drilling boreholes, 1 free one for every 10 sold, to minister to those who need water and share the gospel with them. The people in Tsintsabis, Oerwood, and Combat are very happy that Moses and Joseph continue repairing the wells we drilled over the years. Please pray with us that they will all continue spreading the Good News as they drill new wells and maintain old ones.

Pst. David Warren, Seymour Baptist Church, TX and his team did a pastor's training in Outapi the last weekend in October. Pastor Peter Aebeb said: "We had a time of being refreshed and seeing the bigger picture of understanding the Bibles. Thank yo for connecting me!" Pray for Pst. David as he hopes to continue doing pastor conferences. These are a great teaching and encouragement for the local pastors. Pray for Elizabeth to be able to organize and handle logistics from here.

If you ever wonder about our nation’s future, rest assured God is in control and moving in the lives of our future leaders. The proof was in a visit Ms. Galbraith’s 2nd grade class at Greystone Elementary. These children are concerned with and care for the world. After we shared about Africa, read African stories, and dressed up with African cloth they told us thank you and hugged us. Some even asked for a second hug. Their thank you notes included: “Thank you for the fabric, the water, the story, the flag of Namibia and the card and pictures. Thank you for talking to the people about Jesus.” “Thank you for telling us stories and being the kindest most sweet person ever.” “Thank you for coming to share what you do. It is so nice that you help other people, like digging wells, missionary work. Thank you for the story, fabric, flag, card with pictures. We will remember this day forever. It is so cool that you live in Africa. Living without water is hard to live, but since you help them that makes me happy.” One card was written in an Asian language we don’t read. That didn’t keep him from participating or writing a thank you note. The teacher told us they are still talking about it weeks later. They are inspired to do good and show God’s love.


Costa Rica, Nov 28-Dec 3, vision trip with Seeds of Hope (for females) and Root of Jesse (for males) in Esterillos and El Puente school in Quepos. Pray for simple things like traveling mercies, logistics and transportation. Also pray for God to reveal how He wants us to help with ministry through education and serving those trapped in human trafficking. It’s heartbreaking that children as young as 9 years old are involved. The average age is 13 and most, but not all, are female. Perhaps this last month of encouragement was to re establish us after a hard year or perhaps it was to prepare us for what lies ahead. Pray we will be strong and wise in the Lord to continue serving others to His glory.

Thanksgiving is upon us. “I (Gary and Elizabeth) thank God every time I remember you (supporters and those we serve)” (Phillipians 1:3)! May God continue showering you with all heavenly riches and blessings as we strive together to live closer to Jesus and serve others in His name daily.


Elizabeth and Gary Wilkins, Ph.D.

 

September 2016

In Oerwood, Oshikoto region, wells were sponsored by South Shelby Baptist and Lori and Kevin Wills. The South Shelby Baptist well is in a rocky area where there was no other access to water. The Lori Wills site the community had lost the majority of their livestock (25 head of cattle) and all their crops. This year they weren’t able to plant at all. Now they will go ahead and plant to start the seedlings hoping the rain will come early in December to grow their crops.

Pic Gary drinking water from borehole (updates)

New church building in Okahandja is quite a story. Years ago someone donated money for a church at the prison outside of Tsumeb. A year after getting approvals to build, the warden suddenly said the budget for the building would have to be 10 times the amount donated. That led to getting land, drilling a well, and building a nice roof structure for a church in Tsintsabis that had been meeting under a tree. A tar road through Tsintsabis and the local government representative said the church could no longer meet in the building because it was too close to the new road, half a kilometer away. So one drunken weekend men from a church in Windhoek helped us take the building down piece by piece and move it to Okahandja. A new church start there was meeting in an big old tent where we used to have pastor training. The beams and roofing lay on the ground for two years while building permits were obtained. Finally this year the property is fenced, the temporary guard house is built, the foundations poured and the roof is up! The people are so excited to see their new building, especially since the wind has torn their tent to shreds. Praise, God, for his provision and plan. Also the tent in the background is the same one we used for our first pastor training in Tsumeb 12 years ago. It's been serving as the church meeting place for the past few years.

Pic of new church building

September is full of DAT birthdays. DAT birthdays are treasured. For most it’s here they get their first cake in their honor. The pride is palpable. Past DAT home members call on their birthdays to get their “greetings” and many times post pictures on Facebook of the cakes they enjoyed while here. DAT birthdays are a team event from choosing the cake, gathering the ingredients, adapting the recipe to the found ingredients, making the batter from scratch using nothing but a wooden spoon and mixing bowl, making the frosting, deciding how to decorate the cake, writing cards for the birthday person, setting a beautiful table, group prayer, personal wishes verbalized from each DAT member, and the birthday person giving her dreams and goals for the upcoming year. This month Salinde chose a cherry cordial cheese cake. Olivia wanted a repeat of the apple cake from last year. Indileni had a banana cake. Nadia’s cake is in the freezer so they can celebrate her November birthday at the end of October, when all but Salinde finish the school year.

Pic of birthday cake

Pray for the DAT young ladies as they take external exit exams from mid September 15th through the end of October. Pray for Nadine and Andre as they care for the DAT young ladies these final months of High School.

Home Affairs finally approved and stamped Gary’s work permit. Elizabeth’s work wasn’t deemed necessary to Namibia. Despite the fact that there is no similar in country program, free or paid for, for teenage young ladies. God answers prayers, sometimes in ways we don’t quite understand. This is a heart wrenching time. We knew the day would come, but were hoping for a few more full time years here. As it is we can come back for three months per calendar year.

Please continue praying with us as we wrap full time ministry up here and seek how to continue while not living in country full time. We are planning the yearly pastor conference for 2017 in Rundu, north east Namibia. We aren’t ready to give up on full time missions yet. It’s hard to explain how much we depend on you spiritually, not just financially. God answers prayers and leads us in many ways: intercessory prayers, seeing where God is at work and joining it, advice from other believers, open and closed doors. We will be taking a vision trip to Costa Rica in November to consider ministry human trafficking and education.

Please come celebrate 17 years of By Provision serving full time in Africa at the Wilkins' on Friday October 7th starting at 5:00pm.We'll have barbeque and the fixins from 5pm until 8pm.

5855 Hwy 51

Wilsonville, AL 35186

205-678-5024 off.

205-370-6071 Gary

205-441-3899 Elizabeth

It’s a joy to spend time with you while we were in the US. If you can’t make it on October 7th, please let us know when we can meet with you. Contact us via cell phone: Gary 205-370-6071 Elizabeth 205-441-3899 or email: ewilkins@byprovision.org

May God bless you as you walk ever closer with Him each day.

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, Ph.D.

 

August 2016

Pray for Namibia as we face the rest of the drought year. Thankfully a good rainy season has been predicted for next year, but that doesn’t help right now. The rain is four months out. One of the new good wells this month stands out. It is in a new area of service, Combat, and the desperation of the people is palpable. Combat was an abandoned mine area until just last year. The people that had stayed behind after the first mine closed had relied on a government well that had a windmill. Having no jobs and all entities, except for the primary school, close down after the mines closed the people are exclusively dependant on agriculture (small animals and crops).

Pic windmill

The Combat borehole and the windmill broke down a few years ago. As long as there was enough rain and they moved around they were able to survive. Then the terrifying drought came over the last two years and took all they had. They came to us late in the year to request a well, lest the all die. We were reluctant to tackle a new area so late in the year, not having drilled in the area before and not having an established relationship with the headman. After an assessment trip, Gary felt compelled to at least try. God was good to us and them. He provided a good well! When it came to pumping water out there was a “fight” between the children and Paulus, the one legged man in the picture below, as to how the hand pump would be set up and who would get to pump first. He won, threw his crutches on the ground, and started pumping!

Pic Nico borehole, one legged man

Pastor Andreas Kativa, also missionary to Angola, has returned to Tsumeb to build the church in Namsoub back up. It had over a hundred members when he left 5 years ago, and is now down to a handful. Pray for Andreas and his wife as they reestablish the church on their own. Their sons were a great help to them, but are now adults with jobs in other cities and one is in South Africa.

This month was Joseph’s birthday. He was so proud to tie up his big cake box on the back of the bicycle and take it home to his family. Bertha’s birthday was also this month. She feels a bit cheated because it falls at the end of the second term of school, just before a two week break. This year she decided to wait for everyone to be home on the 30th to celebrate. She chose a chocolate cake with coconut filling shaped like a Bible. Olivia and Indileni made flags with Bible verses on them to decorate the cake. The birthdays of 12th graders are particularly hard to deal with, especially those in August and September, as we know it is also a goodbye. We don’t get to see them much afterwards. It’s similar to sending your kids off to college across country without the means to get them home for Christmas break. “Not nice!” as they say here.

After two years, Yasmine finally got a job at Mr. Price, a retail shop, in Okahandja. Her mother also got a job and moved several hours away. She is now living on her own, after putting down deposits for rent, buying uniforms, and starting housekeeping for herself, thanks to the financial assistance from volunteers to get on her feet these first couple of months. She is so thankful. Please pray she will also find a good church home. She has struggled to fit in at the churches she’s visited in Okahandja. Pray God will send godly believers into her life, especially now that she’s alone.


Pic DAT with Wilkins

The DAT young ladies started their final semester and take exit exams from September 15th through the end of October. Andre and Nadine will be taking care of them through the end of the year. Nadine is a teacher in the private school here in Tsumeb and her husband works in the mine. The young ladies are a bit nervous. This is the first time they will not be cared from by Americans. Nadia even asked for a hard copy printed letter certified with a police stamp to make sure they would be taken care of till the end of school. Perhaps we failed in that they trust American Christians more than local believers. Then again, only one local person ever volunteered to help with DAT. This will be a good learning experience for them as they trust each other more. Instead of solely rely on the goodness of foreign believers. After all we all serve the same Lord.

Pray for Namibians to turn to Jesus and follow Him.

May God bless you as you walk ever closer with Him each day.

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, Ph.D.

 

June and July 2016

The past three months took us by surprise, but God sent help. Late June Gary had emergency eye surgery and Elizabeth had a four hour dental procedure. Just afterwards Dr. Steytler said Gary couldn’t afford to wait any longer for his rotary cuff surgery. Early July Denise and Roddy George arrived to stay for a month and took care of the DAT young ladies while Gary had his surgery in Windhoek. They also did Sunday School and Sunday evening worship. Since we couldn’t drill, Roddy found all kinds of things to repair around the house. He was also Gary’s chauffeur since he couldn’t drive. Roddy did some hunting and got us wort hog for the first time this year. We were all grateful and are still enjoying the meat. We celebrated Denise’s birthday with a 5 layer “mountain” cake. Denise and Roddy spent most of their time with the DAT young ladies having nightly devotions, special events each weekend: going to Lake Oshikoto, having a BBQs, pancakes with peaches and custard night, taking pictures for prom, helping with weekday afternoon Good News Clubs, buying prom shoes, and grocery shopping. Denise found out how difficult it can be to just get bread. One week it took five different shopping trips to three grocery stores, before we finally found enough bread. Life simply takes a lot of time and effort to get the basics covered. The DAT made the George’s a plaque to take home. The Georges gave each young lady a new phone and/or a laptop. These have become necessities after high school for college and/or just to be able to give future employers a number they can call to offer a job. When the Georges got home, within a couple of days, Denise printed out photos for each DAT young lady, both casual and formal, and sent them to us with the next volunteers: Melba Parham and Hayley Arnold.

 

 
Melba (72 years old) and Hayley (17) were only here for a week, but they packed it to the brim with wonderful experiences for the DAT. They had daily devotionals with the DAT, brought the pictures Denise took along with scrapbooks and held the actual prom. We stayed in a huge, beautiful lodge house all together about an hour from Tsumeb. Everyone dressed up in their gowns and high heels. The lodge decorated tables under a thatch roof with fresh flowers and matching linens. Melba and Hayley personalized it a bit more with hand painted glasses and framed pictures for place cards, and chocolate kisses and mints at each place setting. Hayley took pictures of each person as they came in for dinner. The only hard part was interpreting the menu and ordering a three course meal. The food took a while, so while we waited we sang favorite hymns and choruses and took many more pictures with their phones. The meals were great and we enjoyed each others company, without the distraction of “boys” except for Gary of course, but he kept a low profile. Us old fogies went to bed early. Everyone else stayed up half the night playing games, talking, and having hot chocolate. The next day we after a leisurely breakfast, then they worked on their scrapbooks till lunch. Some made year books, most made High School memory books. Since this isn’t something available for any amount of money from the High Schools, it is especially meaningful!

 

 Pray for Namibia as we face the rest of the drought year. Thankfully a good rainy season has been predicted for next year, but that doesn’t help right now and it’s six months out. Pray for Namibians to turn to Jesus and trust Him and Him alone. Thank you for your constant support and prayers on our behalf. We couldn't do this ministry without yGod's favor and your faithfulness.

May God bless you as you walk ever closer with Him each day.

 

 
May 2016

Drilling is much more comfortable now that we are in late Fall, mid-eighties during the day and low 60's at night. This is Gary favorite time of the year. God blessed By Provision with an international Rotary grant. It couldn't have come at a better time! God constantly surprises us in the ways He supplies all we need for His work. The people we serve have no idea and probably couldn't grasp how much money is needed to drill. If they did, they would be in even more awe about receiving wells.

Moses' (drill assistant) birthday was on Mother’s Day. The night before he called to make sure Elizabeth didn't forget his special day. The workers get a cake just like the DAT young ladies do. Also that night, we got our three minute Mother's Day rain. Every year for the past 16 years we've gotten a couple of minutes rain, just enough to be able to smell wet dust in the air. On Mother's Day itself, Elizabeth started the day off with best wishes from one of our pastors at 7am. Various pastors and DAT present and past members called throughout the day.

Moses' grandfather died in early May. Moses was blessed to be an adult and still have a grandfather, none the less it is painful. His grandfather was a pastor. Pray for Moses and his family. They lose several family members every year. Praise, God, his baby is doing fine. Moses finds joy daily in small things and accepts whatever God allows. He is an example to us. If you were here and saw the little place he and about 20 family members live in with no water or electricity, you would see his hope is truly only in God.

We can't wait for Sunday School to resume on June 4th. It's been very quiet at our house with the DAT young ladies and all the school children gone on school holiday for the month. Every week in May has a holiday. There are a total of six days off with three in the first week of May. Most businesses closed for the whole week, some closed for the entire month. The stores that are open have a skeleton crew. It was especially quiet, since this is mainly a student town and schools are on break the whole month. This is also the month that tourism picks up as we are less than an hour from the nicest game park in Africa. As May progresses daily life becomes more difficult, everything from obtaining food at the grocery stores to getting bank transactions done.

Some families don't have transport money for their children to come home. They hang around with their friends, play soccer, walk around town, and sleep wherever they can while waiting for the school hostels to reopen. When they get hungry they stand around outside the grocery stores or fast food places in hopes of something to eat. Gary had many opportunities to feed the hungry this month. They know he's a softie that will buy them sweet bread and coke, whereas Elizabeth gives them peanuts, tuna fish, boiled eggs-some kind of protein.

Bertha, Nadia, and Indileni agreed to give up a week of their holiday to teach 5 day clubs in Swakopmund braving the cold nights. It was to be Indileni's first time to teach 5 days straight, but she had to help with a family funeral and was unable to go. We've made sure as many DAT members as possible have this opportunity. With responsibility comes privilege. Nadia enjoyed being at the sea.

 


There were just over a hundred children that came to the 5 Day Club with 50 children making decisions to be Christ followers. Local CEF staff and church volunteers will follow up with the children. Starting in mid-June weekly Good News Clubs will begin again. Just like in the US events like the 5 Day Club, VBS, and camps serve both as evangelistic outreaches and discipleship tools. The ones who learn the most of course are the teachers and volunteers as they study to prepare and then teach.

 

Bertha took advantage to meet with scientists in Swakopmund that she befriended last year at the Youth Environmental Summit in hopes of getting some help obtaining a scholarship. She has the maturity to realize she needs to cease the blessings God is putting in her life. She stayed with us the first week of break to learn to keyboard. The internet program gave her a lot of feedback making it easy to gauge her progress. She came back on the 21st, ten days early to get a head start on a school project. Aina came back on the 22. The others trickled in after that for school starting on May 31st.

Public speaking, teaching groups, and traveling to new areas are some of the experiences we want all DAT members to have. Several of them mentioned how helpful it was to the to be pushed to speak in public, take part in weekly meetings, learn how to present their thoughts, plan and negotiate during weekly DAT meetings. Now if we could only figure out how teach them to give directions beyond "somewhere on the other side."

Past DAT members are doing well. Maria will graduate for college this year. Rally passed her TOEFL exam and got her student visa approved to study in US at a community college. Yasmine is taking a tourism course next month in Windhoek. Rosa and Helena continue at university. Linda is a youth leader in a Windhoek church heading up service events. This month they did a car wash-a novel idea here and it worked great!

Gary did some hunting to restock our freezers that were empty. Elizabeth, Moses, and Joseph did all the processing. With all the funerals this month, we needed more meat than normal. The DAT young ladies will be happy to see at least one freezer full of meat. They love it when Gary hunts, but it is a lot of work to process and Elizabeth doesn't like them to stay up late on a school night.

Roddy and Denise George will be coming mid-June for a month. The DAT young ladies are excited to have them visit again. Pray for Denise especially as she is recovering from a surgery and going on previous mission trip to South Dakota, before coming to Namibia.

Please continue to pray for our work permits! Home Affairs still hasn't answered. As of May 31st we are here illegally. In the past it wasn't a big problem, as long as your application was submitted. However, just last month two Zambian missionaries were jailed for overstaying their visa. Pray God will soften the hearts of the officials and move them to allow the Zambian missionaries to return and approve and stamp our work permits. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. There is no way for us to explain how much we depend on you. God answers prayers! Pray for Namibia as we face the rest of the drought year. Pray for Namibians to turn to Jesus and trust Him and Him alone.

May God bless you as you walk ever closer with Him each day.

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, Ph.D.

April 2016

 

No pain, no gain has been the motto this month. The local leader and volunteers at the drill site didn’t show up. Gary, Joseph and Moses decided to go ahead with the drill, since they had driven all the way out into the bush. The soil formation was breaking off and falling back onto the top of the hammer. This requires a lot of extra work, entailing more cleaning out that Gary is able to do with the hydraulics and the air compressor. It also requires beating the drill steel to help free up the debris that is falling from the top onto the drill hammer. Joseph and Moses got too tired in the hot sun. All three carried on working until the hammer got stuck. Gary decided they had to get the hammer out and pull all the drill steel out of the hole. Hot, tired, and frustrated about the hammer the guys made a mistake. They tried losing one of the 100lb piece wrench before the drill steel quit turning. The C wrench went flying through the air bouncing off of Moses’ upper thigh, knocking him to the ground, and then hit Joseph in the chest. There was no blood. They were screeching in pain. Gary told Moses to drop his pants. Moses said no way. Gary insisted and saw no blood. Regardless Gary was frightened they might have internal injuries, since they were still screaming and crying in pain. Gary loaded them up and took off for the hour and a half journey to the hospital. First Gary took them to the private hospital emergency entrance where they were told there was no doctor on call. Then Gary took them to the public hospital where Elizabeth and Aina met them. Aina stayed with them at the hospital. After hours of checking them out and not finding any broken bones or internal damage, they were released and told to take a 10 day rest. Elizabeth sent food, water, Easter chocolates, and Tylenol pm to help them sleep through the night. Gary picked them up and took them home.


Just a few days after Joseph and Moses were hurt; they decided to come back to work early. They wanted Elizabeth to “check” them and were concerned about having abandoned the drill rig in the bush with the drill hammer still in the hole. Armed with extra pain medicine and two temporary workers, they set out. As they left the edge of town, Joseph said: There is Elizabeth’s bike! It had been stolen the month before. Gary was driving and did a U-turn. Upon seeing himself chased by a pickup truck, the guy on the bike put it over a pad locked fence. Gary slammed on the breaks and all four 20 something year old workers jumped out to chase the old guy (mid 50s) with the stolen bike. The two part time workers, Titus and William, led the race to retrieve the bike. Joseph forgot about his pain trying to keep up with them. Moses hobbled along last a fast as he could. Upon seeing his demise, the old guy threw the bike down. Ever so happy the guys retrieved the bike. Wish we had a picture of this! When they got home, the DAT young ladies hugged and thanked them for getting the bike back, because Elizabeth had taken over one of their bikes. The handle grips had been replaced and the seat torn, but Elizabeth was thrilled to have her old bike back.

The Etosha 12th graders have been “blocked” from school all month so they can study for exams. They just go to school when they have an exam. Nadia and Olivia are jealous, because their school didn’t blocked them. Florence and Salinde have school as normal even though they too have exams. Each day Bertha, Indileni, and Ester are spread out over the compound studying hard. Their favorite spots are the lapa, the front veranda sitting area, the kitchen, and the outside dining nook. It’s “winter time” now, so they look like old grandmas in fleece pjs all day wrapped up in bathrobes while they study.


The last week of April and all next month is holiday. Everybody finished on April 22. We celebrated the end of term with an elegant sit down supper with donated fine china. Bertha and Nadia stayed with us the first week of holiday break, while Bertha dedicated herself to learning keyboarding. Nadia, Indileni, and Bertha will be doing a CEF 5 day club at the beach in Swakopmund. Elizabeth packed sleeping bags and other needed items for them. Aina is going to help her grandfather and Aunt on the farm. Florence will go to her mother’s farm to help with the harvest. Salinde, Olivia, and Ester will be with relatives in different towns. It will be very quiet around here the few weeks without the DAT young ladies and Sunday School children.

The rain is “finished” as they say here in Africa. The water holes never filled up this year. It’s now a two year drought. We haven’t reached the critical stage yet. Overall the average person lost 50% of their wealth (cows, goats, sheep) last year and expect to lose at least 25% more this year, despite selling off animals and the government stepping in with emergency assistance. These facts make providing safe drinking water even more essential than ever. With less money on hand (animals to sell), nutrition goes down and the people are weaker, most susceptible to water borne diseases. On Saturdays our old pickups stay busy helping with funerals. Linea’s (“Big Pony” DAT graduate) mother died and her husband abandoned her and their child. Joseph’s grandfather also died this month. He is grateful to have enjoyed his grandfather.

Please continue to pray for our work permits. The current ones expire at the end of May. We are pleading for two more years in Namibia. Please pray for return volunteers who are making plans to come in June and July: Roddy and Denise George from Alamaba and Melba Parham and her granddaughter Hailey from TX. It will be Hailey's first time to Africa. The DAT young ladies are excited to meet her in person, since they only know her through Facebook.

Gary’s healing continues to progress well. He does biokenetics three times a week and rides the bike the other four days, unless the drilling that day has been too rough. Gary is happy we’ve had some very nice boreholes this month.


Gary and I rely on the faithful and constant prayer and financial support each of you generously donate to By Provision. Thank you so much! May God continue to bless you and reward you!
Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, Ph.D.
 
March 2016

After 16 years on the field, it’s amazing that God keeps giving us new experiences and teaching us. Seymour Baptist Church, TX came from March 4-13th. They ministered in Tsumeb and Outapi. Bill and Luke were first time volunteers to Africa. Luke is By Provision’s youngest volunteer ever, 10 years old. Luke attended Francis Galton Primary School with Dominicus, helped Elizabeth prepare snacks and drinks for the pastor training breaks and did toilet checks to make sure they were flushed properly and not stopped up. Luke ate lots of chicken schnitzel (chicken fried chicken without the gravy) and strawberry milk shakes. The Sunday School children were proud to have an American attend their school! It was quite stretching for Luke. Two classes were taught in Africaans and the teacher made an effort to translate for him. School starts at 7am and finishes at 12:50pm with only one 15 minute break. Luke said he didn’t have time to eat his snack.

Luke’s father, pastor David Warren, and Sid Winn led the pastor training in Tsumeb. The topic was “Leading a Gospel Focused Church.” The 15 pastors developed a clear purpose for their local church, a mission statement, and determined its activities. The pastors were encouraged in their fight for the faith. They reviewed 30 core traits of a disciple. One of the most difficult homework assignments was identifying the local church’s basic beliefs and principles on which to build the body of Christ. In a power and fear based society the idea of leading and empowering others to fulfil the church’s vision was a difficult to receive. The church’s stewardship was not shied away from either. The pastors were asked to plan budgets according to the church’s vision and purpose. Finally David led them in an overview of a healthy church. Their brains were tired and their hearts touched and motivated to continue the ministry.

Pic David teaching

One of the lighter moments of pastor training was attending to physical needs. Reading glasses or various strengths and/or sunglasses were given to all. Many of them didn’t know about reading glasses and were amazed how helpful they are. Sunglasses are viewed as a luxury, but they are actually needed to protect their sight from the Namibian sun. Upon seeing there were over a 100 pairs “left over” the pastors took them to their deacons and other church members that were having trouble reading their Bibles. This was the last of the reading and sunglasses we had.

Pic Glasses for pastors

The Seymour group was at Sunday School two Sundays. Sid helped David with the pastor training and also preached the evening service on John 15. Sorry, I didn’t get good pictures of him. Here’s one of Sid with the Sunday School kids.

Pic SS Sid

Before part of the Seymour group went to Outapi, they greeted the DAT young ladies. The DAT prayed for them and the ministry they would do in the north. We sent them along with dozens of hymnals, Bible story books, church bulletins that we use to make cards and invitations, and some Easter decorations.

Pic Praying with DAT

When they came back to Tsumeb, Beverly and Jo spent a whole day with the DAT young ladies. They cleaned, cooked, shopped, had Bible study, and gave them gifts. The plan was to go swimming, but the day turned out to be too cold. The Seymour group also brought gifts for Gary (pain medicine and soft shorts) that were very much appreciated!!!

Pic Gifts for DAT

Pastor Chanda Wonder also did a training in Oshikuku, northern Namibia, during the same week. He’s was more upscale at a hotel and had quite a few attending. He had to abandon the work here in Tsumeb, when we lost the building. He is doing fine and developing the church in Oshikuku.

Pic Chanda Wonder Training

Easter CEF outreach in Tsintsabis

The week between Palm Sunday and Easter was school break. It’s so sad when the kids are gone! The whole town is empty. Tsumeb is a school town, overflowing during school time, empty otherwise. The DAT young ladies seem to be the only ones that hang around. Florence left a few days late. Olivia came back after three days. Salinde left a day late and came home a day early. Bertha and Nadia stayed with us the whole time. For Easter we decided to help CEF with an outreach to Tsintsabis. The DAT young ladies helped serve lunch to 147 people and clean up afterwards, taught the memory verse, led the review game, helped with the songs, played soccer with the children, and gave out candy at the end. It was hot and weary, but they enjoyed it very much.

Pic Easter in Tsintsabis

None of the DAT young ladies had been to Tsintsabis, so they were excited to go to a new place and observe a new culture. Olivia and Bertha were also keen to see a borehole and help Gary put install a pump handle. Bertha had all kinds of questions: Did they share the water? How did we keep it clean?

Pic Olivia and Bertha installing pump handle and

Pic coming to get water

Not far from where the CEF event was taking place is another one of our boreholes. I looked up and saw some guys vying for their turn at the pump. Two people had come with donkeys and another couple came in a car. In the end, the people in the car gave some tobacco to the donkey guys so they could get their containers filled first. The donkey stood there sort of bewildered about the process. I finally decided to go take a picture of the process, but the couple in the car were embarrassed and quickly closed the hatch of their car.

Pic Donkey vs Car fetching water

Gary’s is making good progress recovering from the knee replacements. He finished physical therapy and is now doing biokenetics. He was told he could ride a real bike on the road in town after Easter. He’s done all the little projects he was willing to do around the house. He is stir crazy. He’s not a little projects and details guy. He likes big, dirty, sweaty, and bloody projects. He got up and went drilling, instead of cycling. It didn’t help that during the school break people came to visit, including the Tsintsabis headman, asking when he’s getting back to work.

March was a wonderful month. We got 50% of the total yearly rainfall. Most crops have survived, but sadly the water catchments are still dry. Volunteers came to help and encourage us. A Christ centered Easter focused on serving and evangelising is great! Thank you for your faithful support and prayers!

Please start praying for our work permits that expire at the end of May. We turned in all the paperwork in mid January. We are asking God to touch the hearts of those approving and stamping our passports to give us two more years.

God bless each of you,

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, Ph.D.

 

 
February 2016

Gary drilled incessantly before double knee replacement surgery and rode his bike faithfully to build up his muscles. He is ahead of schedule in physical therapy. God is blessing his desire to be drilling again as soon as possible.

This time of recovery requires rest from heavy labour, as we keep working in other areas of ministry. Rest is a relative term. On the way to Windhoek we took some pictures of a typical rest area along the nicest biggest highway of Namibia. Big trees are a treasure. Nice rest areas have a shade tree, a cement picnic table, and a drum for trash. If you carry “tickets to the game” as Gary calls toilet paper on road trips, you can get behind the vehicle.

 

Gary is now aware of how many people come to the gate all day long every day asking for boreholes and many others things. Some have come to see the wonder of “knee replacement,” and a few have prayed over him. Angolan and Namibian pastors have stayed in touch and fervently prayed for Gary. Pst Lazarus from Omuthiya fasted and prayed three weeks for the surgery and recovery. Then he sent a text to Elizabeth saying it was her turn! Two weeks after surgery Gary decided it was time to get back to work, at least repairing boreholes and doing site assessments for new ones.

People are desperate for water. We had two short rains this month, enough to turn the grass green. The two year drought is taking a toll. Cattle are dying of starvation affecting the livelihood of families. Thankfully all of our boreholes still have water. It’s blessing from God! Those who have a borehole are still enjoying abundant safe water, despite the long line and the heavy haul home.

Several previous DAT young ladies have been in contact with us. Rachel has a new job as School Support Officer for a primary school in Australia. Maria Aukongo just has one more year of Environmental Health Services at University of Namibia. Linda Shipomba is enjoying church life. Rally loves working for the pharmacy in Otjiwarongo. Tenth and twelfth graders have never been allowed to repeat a grade. Now with “free education” that started this year for high school, everyone is promoted to the next grade whether they are ready or not. A few of them know this is not in their best interest. The current 12th graders (Nadia, Bertha, Ndilineni, Olivia, and Ester) are anxious about life. Most are being tutored ($40/mo if you would like to help them) aiming for the highest scores possible. Life celebrations are welcomed with joy. DAT celebrated Mickey’s birthday with cake, cards, prayers, and listening to Mickey share her dreams and goals for this year.

Losing the church building and moving it to our house has not impacted Sunday School or church attendance. Praise, God, there is shade for Sunday School and worship! A generous donation came in after sharing the need last month for a grace shelter. Being at home more this month allowed Gary to oversee the construction of the lapa (thick grass roof). The DAT young ladies are thrilled because it is also making their rooms cooler and giving them a much more comfortable place to study. Children continue to invite others and new ones get saved nearly every week. There are more teenagers this year. Chantel moved to Tsumeb this year to attend 11th and 12th grade. North of Tsumeb many communities only have a Junior High School (8th, 9th, & 10th grades). Within two weeks of coming to Sunday School Chantel asked Jesus Christ to be her Saviour and Lord.

Seymour, TX First Baptist Church is coming the first two weeks of March. Pastor David Warren and Sid Winn will lead a week long training for pastors. Beverly Kinnibrugh and Jo will host a Bible study and fun day for the DAT young ladies. Luke Warren, 11 years old, will attend school with Dominicus here in Tsumeb. Pray for safety of travel and activities with other churches and pastors they will be doing here in Namibia.

Pray for recovery so Gary can get back to drilling. People using hand dug well with contaminated water desperately need a borehole with a hand pump to ensure safe water for their families.

God blesses the drilling, but nothing short of repentance and trusting in Jesus as Lord will suffice: “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” 2 Chronicles 7:14. Pray for more Namibians to come to Christ!

Thank you for your faithful support and prayers! God bless you,

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, Ph.D.

January 2016

 

School started on January 13 and all the DAT young ladies hair was done and they were registered by the 22nd. We now have 5 twelfth graders: Bertha, Nadia (who is head girl at Oshikoto High School), Ester, Olivia, and Indileni, our newest member. Florence (Mickey) is in 10th grade. Salinde is in 9th. Indileni is adapting well to our home life. Liina is working at the butchery in a local grocery store. Cornelia is at home in the north. She didn’t score high enough to be admitted into university. Rosa continues working toward her accounting degree in Windhoek. Helena just registered in university and is still unclear about what she will study. Maria is in her last year of college. Yasmine failed Namcol 10th grade exit exam and will not be allowed back into school. Her father died when she was young. Her step father died late last year after a long illness. Pray Yasmine and her mother will find a job to take care of the younger children. Life is tough here. How anyone makes it without the Lord is incomprehensible.

Pic DAT School

Please pray for the DAT young ladies to study in earnest. Starting this year Namibia has “free school” for all 12 grades. The DAT members spent the first week of school trying to locate text books and/or making copies of existing text books. The better teachers left the public system. Now public school students aren’t allowed to fail. Young “failures” (as they are called here) will be promoted regardless of scores and older ones will not be allowed back in school. The expectation is that students from first grade on appreciate the opportunity and money spent on them by the government. If they don’t, they should give space to those that do. Pray for all the school children in Namibia to live up to the expectation put upon them.

The church building was taken away from us. Thankfully Kip and Sue, US volunteers, removed everything before they left in early December and stored it at a church’s member’s house that is under construction. Missionaries have been using the church building for 35 years. We tried to buy it from the owners about four years ago which reminded them of their abandoned building. In mid December a pastor from that denomination simply took up residency in the Tsumeb church building. We gave away all the preschool furniture, puzzles, books to a Christian preschool in shanty town here in Tsumeb. Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) took the keyboard, projector, vacuum cleaner, and 20 chairs. The sound system will be given to Pst. Anton or Pst. Hiliwa. They both just finished a new building after 10 years of worshiping in a mud and stick construction building. It will be whichever has the necessary power to use it. We kept Bibles, chairs, movable metal black board, and the pulpit.

Now we're meeting in our house for worship service and holding the Sunday School in the back yard. There were over 30 kids that showed up the very first Sunday without any communication about where the Sunday School had moved to! They don’t fit inside the house, so we are meeting in the yard. The Sunday School children made 100 invitations and then walked in the mid day upper 90s heat to hand out the invitations in the neighbourhood to make sure everyone knows where Sunday School meets now. It's been over 100 nearly every day in January and there is very little shade. We need to make some kind of shelter for the Sunday School and we could use it for worship too!

Pic of Sunday School

Namibia is a desert land. There is no such thing as free shade. There isn’t a big tree that hasn’t been claimed by someone. These trees are referred to as a “palaces.” Our property doesn’t have a tree, just a few bushes. The only solution is to build a grace covering/shelter to get out of the sun and hopefully rain. It will cost about $5,000. May God lead someone to donate this shelter.

Gary went to the doctor for a second opinion after the orthopaedic surgeon in the US told him he needed both knees replaced and his shoulder worked on. He's been falling quite often and is hurting himself more. Hopefully both knees will be replaced at the same time on Feb. 4th.. Please pray for favour with the insurance company and for Gary not to hurt himself any further. He's been repairing wells, getting road permits for the vehicles, and drilling as much as possible to get holes in the ground done before the surgery. The workers can pour the pads and set the pumps.

January 27th Elizabeth was praying Gary wouldn't get hurt while drilling. Normally Elizabeth only prays for a successful borehole and people to see God's love in action. In the past 15 years, he’s only been hurt once while drilling. When Gary got home he said the last piece of drill steel came unscrewed at the top and bottom at the same time. This has never happened to Gary before. Gary sits on the rig and controls the rotation of the drill steel. The workers stand on the ground and use c-wrenches to finish taking it off. There was no way for them to catch the 80 pound 6 foot long piece of drill steel above their head. It fell straight towards Gary's head and he wasn’t wearing a hard hat in the 100 degree heat. Gary saw the steel coming and was able to lift his bad arm just enough to deflect it from hitting his head.

Pic Gary drilling

Maria Shafa decided she wanted to learn how to do some digital marketing. Elizabeth helped her set up her Facebook page and learn how to load pictures. Hopefully the student will be better at marketing than the teacher! Elizabeth also designed business cards and flyers for her. It has been a joy to see Maria go from sleeping in the toilet at the lodge where she worked to having her own business. It’s taken years, but Maria has prospered financially as her soul has grown in faith.

Pic Maria

Our new Namibian work permits we submitted mid January to an agency that will handle the rest of the process. It is nearly 50 pages of paperwork including By Provision registration, deed, social security registration, yearly financial audits (2014 & 2015), yearly reports including human resource development plan and replacement strategies, board minutes, police clearances for each of us, proof of social security payment for every employ in the last 2 years, 2 page application form, motivation letter, letter from local headman requesting we be allowed to continue, letter from water specialist validating our work, etc. The Home Affairs Ministry has not accepted applications yet this year. They “need to get organized and sorted before they sit.” Please pray for speed and favour for approval of 2 year work permits to be granted before the current permits end May 30th.

Trudie needs more adult volunteers to help with CEF. She relies heavily on the DAT young ladies, 5 of which are 12th graders. The challenge with 12th graders is their final exams start in September and their school year ends in October. Trudie needs new volunteers to take their place no later than August, so they can learn what needs to be done. DAT won't be taking replacements for these 5 members until next January when the school year starts, because we don’t have a place to house them until then. Please pray that God will call more local adults to volunteer with CEF in Tsumeb.

Pic DAT family

Praise, God, the church and Sunday School continue, the Tsintsabis headman has approved 8 new well sites, the DAT young ladies are wonderful, Gary is ready to go through with the needed surgeries, it rained once mid January and there are actually a couple of inches of water in catchments that have been dry for the last 2 years. We are thankful for friends who pray for us and for the many people who are still waiting for clean, safe, accessible water and the Living Water. God bless you!

 
 
 
 
Merry Christmas 2015! God used By Provision supporters to give Living Water trough many tools this year: safe water wells, hand pumps, well repairs, Discipling African Teens home,  Tsumeb Community Church, International Family/Youth retreat, pastors' training, weekly distribution of fresh vegetables and fruit, weekly community children's Bible studies, and more.  Namibians make a joyful noise to the Lord when they see clean water flowing out of the hand pumps installed at drill sites.

 

Many Namibians shepherd goats and sheep. They are are overwhelmed that the Lord loves them so much that He sends people to make safe water available. They rejoice and sing in gratitude for the wonderful gift of clean, safe water God provides through loving brothers and sisters they will only meet in heaven. Joe took pleasure in pumping water for people coming to fetch water for the day. Water is life and God is the giver of life. They see the clear water, hear the pump bringing the water up out of the earth, feel the wet and coolness of the water on their skin, their mouth taste the fresh love of God. They have clean safe water because Christ followers obey Him, give generously, and pray us to accomplish the work He set out.
 
 
 
Liina and Cornelia graduated from 12th grade. Rachel was finally repatriated to Australia. Nadia is head girl at her new school. Bertha won the Cooper town marketing competition. Aina, with the help of Kip and Jim, built a house for her younger siblings. Florence got baptized. Esther was our audio person and lead choreographer all year. Salinde got her wisdom teeth at 13 years old. Olivia heads up the birthday celebrations.God blessed us with volunteers Jim & Debbie that came to invest their lives in them for three weeks and Kip & Sue that parented them from the last of September through December 3rd. Helena is helping with CEF in Tsumeb. Rosa is excelling at accounting studies. We are hoping that Yasmine will make it back to us again next year. Discipling African Teen (DAT) young ladies enjoy nice shelter, nutritional food, and good education with us, while many other children are waiting anxiously for By Provision to come drill them a well.
 
 
 
Seymour Baptist Church came twice this year! Pastor David Warren and Brant Small led the pastors’ conference. We are excited about pastor David coming to lead again next year. We are praying expectantly for God to sponsor and send volunteers for the youth retreat. Ron Fortenberry and Brian Striggow came for a month each to help drill wells. It is an effective to empowering people to better their lives now and choose eternity with God.
 
 
Thank you being part of By Provision to give clean safe water and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. God bless you and Merry Christmas!

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, Ph.D.

2015 Thanksgiving Season

By Provision is thankful for you! You have touched the lives many of the 2 billion people that can’t read, the 82% of the world that doesn’t have a bank account, the 75% of the world that doesn’t have a pantry or a closet, the people that wonder if they will find enough water to sustain their family tomorrow. Some of you come to minister alongside us in Namibia. Kip and Sue have been in Tsumeb since late September and will stay through the end of the school year in late November. Jim and Debbie came for three weeks bringing celebrations.

Pic Jim and Debbie

The volunteers are busy taking care of the DAT young ladies, teaching Sunday School, preaching, rehabbing wells, and doing special projects. Kip is perplexed and excited to do well rehabs again. One of the most memorable ones this month was finding a small coin caught in the O ring (see pic). The upper assembly is built to prevent this kind of problem, but children with enough effort and time can manage.

Pic coin damaged o ring

Sue loves the rehab process too. It’s a tool to reconnect with people. Sue uses paper plates and other items to do crafts supporting Bible stories with the children while Kip and the workers are repairing the wells. The children love to see her!

Pic Sue at pump

October is the final school month for 10th and 12th graders. Rachel finally made it to Australia. She is going through a two month integration program and then will be going to university. Bertha entered and won a Copper Town project sponsored by the mine. Weekday Good News Clubs also end. The DAT young ladies enjoyed preparing for and participating in Fun Day for all the good news clubs, end of year party for the volunteers (which they all are), and Liina enjoyed her graduation party.

Pic Liina graduation party

One of the special projects was building a house for Aina’s younger brothers. She found out this year that her younger siblings have been sleeping on the ground in a very small inadequate place. Aina was crying when she told us about it. She saved up some money, we matched it, and the volunteers helped her out also. The volunteers and the workers went and built her brothers a safe, dry place. We gave her three cots for them to sleep on to keep them up off the ground. The boys were so happy to have their own house!

Pic Aina house & family

In Namibia where medical care is “universal”, many people can’t afford the taxi fare to go to a hospital to be treated. Instead they pray and thank God for each day they wake up, for each Sunday they get to go to worship with fellow believers. By Provision passes on what material goods you have sent, holds their hand, hugs them, teaches, and encourages them. They are our brothers and sisters and in will likely reach heaven sooner than us. That is a wonderful! Their suffering will end and they will be there to greet us when we arrive.

People that know no other existence than basic survival are part of our everyday life in Africa. They have taught us to be thankful. They are thankful for each new day, each cool drink of water, each loaf of bread, each smile and greeting. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation (Psalm 12:3)

Many of them are truly happy and have learned to see through the pain of each day by looking forward to being in heaven with God and enjoying the mansion Christ is preparing for them. They know this hope, because you cared enough to support By Provision, prayerfully and financially.

Pic boys toting water

We, Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, thank God for this year’s challenges and opportunities to serve Him. You are one of the friends and family that held and shored us up, enabling this year of ministry. Thank you for trusting us to be your feet, hands, and voice in Namibia, Angola, and Botswana to provide a cup of cool water, give humanitarian aid, teach, and faithfully spread the Gospel.

“Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces” Psalm 122:7

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, Ph.D.

 
 

September was a most blessed month with volunteers to help us. Pastor David Warren and the pastor Brant from Seymour, TX led the pastor training early in the month. Tony Ningula from Angola headed up the youth conference. Kip and Sue Stewart came in late September to oversee the DAT and will stay through the end of the school year late November and also do some well repairs.

 

Pic rehab sept 2015

Pastor David and Brant taught pastors from Angola and Namibia. The main topic was on the church and how to lead it. The pastors had many interesting discussions, including church polity, gaining a better understanding and confidence to more effectively lead their churches. They were most impressed with pst David acronym for Baptist: Born again, Autonomous, Priesthood of the Believer, Two Ordinances (Believer’s Baptism and Lord’s Supper), Immersion baptism, Symbol of baptism is not salvation, Two Offices (pastor and deacon). Elizabeth printed out, enlarged, and laminated a poster of the acronym for them to post in their churches. The pastors were most grateful for the study Bibles David and Brand brought for them. The pastors always enjoy sweet fellowship and rejoice in the opportunity to come together to encourage and pray for each other.

Pastor conf 2015

Pastor Anton and Pastor Hiliwa shared about their building construction projects. Pst. Hiliwa announced their building was completed. Pst. Anton is still working on it. In the picture you can see the 10 year old mud building that is beginning to collapse and the new building that is already providing shade during this hot time.

Pic pst Anton old and new church

Tony Ningula from Angola led the international youth conference. This year it was held in a Baptist church under construction in Ongwediva, about 4 hours north of Tsumeb. We camped in thick soft sand and set up cooking outside for 70 people. Morning devotions started at 7am and the last session ended at midnight. Tony was gracious to give me (Elizabeth) the first morning session from 9am to 1:30pm. My session was on correct thinking and personal spiritual defense.

Pic teaching at youth camp

The DAT young ladies performed 6 choreographed songs they prepared. One of the favourites was We Are a Chosen Generation. The cooks moved the kitchen from the back of the property to the front, so they could hear all the teaching and participate in singing worship songs while they cooked in upper 90s degree temperatures outside over fires and gas cookers. A child of one the cooks joined the DAT with his own break-dance.

Pic DAT singing

Salinde and Olivia were not pleased with the tediousness of enduring constant translation, but they still enjoyed, learned, and made new friends. These two girls are best friends and even have birthdays in the same month. One of the most celebrated events was handing out 7 Portuguese study Bibles that David Warren left with us. The pastors and leaders receiving the Bibles marveled and ask how we’d gotten them since they’d been searching for years without success. A study Bible is a great tool for any Christ follower and especially so for pastors and leaders.

Pic Portuguese study bibles

Kip and Sue Stewart will oversee the DAT and lead Sunday School and church services while we’re in the US. They came a few years ago while we were gone and did a great job. They handle emergencies with aplomb and kept everything running smoothly. Pray for equal success this time. They hit the ground running delivering needed pottery supplies to a missionary in Okahandja on their way from the airport. Another couple Jim and Debbie will be joining them in October.

Kip and sue 2015

We got all the Namibian government year end reports, forms, and other various documents, including the financial audit, to the various Ministries of Water, Health and Social Services, Ministry of Home Affairs on time. It may not seem much to someone in the US, but here it is nearly a miracle. Praise, the Lord!

Twelfth graders started their final exit exams on Sept 21. Pray for Liina and Cornelia as they go through this three week process. No one is allowed to repeat 12th grade. If you fail, you must do the equivalent of a GED called Namcol here in Namibia. The main difference is that few students are able to pass the Namcol courses. Pray that Yasmine will pass her Namcol grade 10 and be able to return to DAT next year. Pray for all the DAT young ladies as they carry on with their Bible teaching responsibilities.

Pic Aina Bible story

Linea, Big Pony, graduated in 2011, came to visit and brought her son, Ryan, born in late April this year. He is the opposite in personality of his mother, quiet and reserved. Pony said she was thankful, though concerned because he doesn’t laugh a lot. We told her not to worry a sense of humor is developed later.

Pic Ryan Lineas son

We are headed back to the US for reporting and fundraising October through December. Please let us know when we can meet with you. Contact us via cell phone: Gary 205-370-6071 Elizabeth 205-441-3899 or email: ewilkins@byprovision.org

The water catchment areas never did fill up this year. Animals are coming to town to eat and drink. The drought is not quite as severe as it was two years ago. This September has been the hottest in over 50 years. People are hoping it means the rain will come soon. Please join them in prayer. Pray for Namibians to obtain clean, safe drinking water during this time and to find the Living Water for eternity long.

Pic Woman with baby toting water 

August 2015
The drought is now taking the lives of animals. People are getting desperate. Namibia has the third highest murder percentage in the world and the ninth highest suicide rate. The numbers seem to increase the fastest during the last few months of the year. Enduring a drought year after year isn’t for the fainthearted. Yet there are always some who focus on the positive and improving their lives. One such example is the number of solar panels being used to keep cell phones going.

 

Pic mud hut with solar panels

Gary worked on getting the drill rig reapproved for the yearly roadworthy test. It is extremely complicated involving police declarations, police clearances, mass distance road forms, submission of logs, various fees paid at various places by various means, and vehicle testing. The process involves waiting to receive a written notice you can start the process. Then visiting all the different places to request appointments to come do whatever their part is, getting it done, taking confirmation forms of the previous steps to the next office in the process.

In the midst of the process the police tried to take the drill truck away, because they couldn’t find the engine number saying he might have stolen it. This coming from people who when they see the drill truck moving start calling Gary’s cell phone asking when can he come drill for them! Gary refused to let them keep it: “I have a current permit that doesn’t expire till the end of the month. I’m taking my vehicle.” Then he took it to Walter, mechanic, to get him to help find the engine number. Then he got another appointment to take it back for the police clearance to show them where to look for the engine number. That’s the short story of a small part of the process.

Pic roadworthy doc

August is birthday month! Stanley’s birthday was on the 13th. Bertha and Joseph share a birthday on Aug 16th. Thomas’ birthday was on 18th. One of the most appreciated privileges for By Provision workers and DAT members is getting a cake on their birthday. We buy cakes for the workers. This year because of schedule conflicts the workers opted for one large cake. They wanted to make sure you could read their names on the cake, so the picture is upside down.

Pic guys cake

Liina’s birthday was on Aug 2nd. The DAT young ladies request their own special made from scratch cake. They choose what kind of cake, filling, and frosting they want. Some DAT young ladies will help make it and decorate it. Decorating is always the most fun as they have to come up with ideas on how to do it using most candy and whatever “sprinkles” are available. Liina chose carrot cake. That idea did not go over well, but Elizabeth insisted she could have what she wanted. After much teasing and doubt, most loved the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and filling.

August was filled with trouble in the lives of our workers. Joseph’s wife had twin baby girls on Aug 3rd.. The smaller twin was transferred to a hospital in Windhoek that had a respirator. It took them about 32 hours to do so. She died a few hours after they arrived. The universal health care provided by the government just doesn’t enough efficiency and equipment to go around. Thomas, Stanley, Moses, and Joseph all dug the grave together. The surviving twin is Jennifer. We were thrilled they named her within the first week. This is means they have hope she will grow up.

Thomas’s aunt who cares for his preschool son, Marcel, was in the hospital for a week, just after Thomas buried his wife, who was five months pregnant. Stanley went to visit his mother in the hospital only to be accosted by someone demanding money when he left. He had none to offer so the guy broke a bottle to fight him. Stanley was cut badly on his face, but did not lose his eye. He seems to be healing well, though he will definitively have bad scaring.

Aina spent half of last month and all of this month caring for her “mom.” She was in the psychiatric ward of the Oshakati hospital for about a month. Then Aina cared for her at home.

Salinde is only 13, yet her wisdom teeth decided to come out during exam time. She had a lot of pain and was terrified. The private dentist put her on antibiotics and gave her some pain meds. He also took time to talk to her. After seeing the x-rays and understanding it’s a normal part of everyone’s live she calmed down. Salinde is our drama queen, and she also laughs the most.

There was also lots of fun in August as the school term finished a week early on the 5th. Liina and Ester went to their villages. Cornelia went to prom (matric). Olivia and Salinde went to Good News Camp as participants. They were thrilled. It was Salinde’s first time to travel to the capital. Bertha and Nadia were cabin leaders at the Good News Camp in mid August. It was Nadia’s first time as a cabin leader. Together the four led 12 people to Christ during the outreach day.

Florence (Mickey) was baptized with her siblings at her mother’s church. The baptism was very formal. Florence and family all wore new white formal wear and silver shoes. The service was on a Sunday morning, during our regular Sunday School time so Elizabeth couldn’t be there. Gary was a witness as to her Christian life. The way baptism is done, the candidate bows their head and the pastor pours water over their neck. When it was Florence’s time, she grabbed Gary’s hand and held it tight until the end of the service. She was so proud for him to be there with her, it made Gary cry.

Pic Mickey baptism

Elizabeth thinks that most of the problems we faced in August were because of starting the new church. Pastor Chanda Wonder, from Zambia, is a great example for others. Gary, Elizabeth, and a couple of our workers went to clean up the church yard. We didn’t ask anyone to help, mainly because we planned to use potentially dangerous tools. Gary used the chain saw to trim back the trees and over grown bushes. Elizabeth used the pressure washer to clean the outside building walls. The workers were up on ladders cleaning out the gutters. Pastor Wonder drove by and saw us working. He went home, changed clothes, and came back with a pick up to help us.

This is the first time an African pastor helped us with manual labour. Pastor Wonder asked why we didn’t tell him so he could help. The following Saturday we scheduled a cleanup day for everyone to finish cleaning inside the building and raking outside. Gary and Pastor Wonder set the example and pace outside. Elizabeth did the same inside. The DAT members, some church members and even two young ladies, new believers, came to help. The church building is shining, relationships were strengthened, and it was noticed by the community. The following week the church yard was still clean! For the first time ever since we’ve been in Tsumeb, the neighbours did not through trash in the church yard.

We are blessed with new mercies every morning, and every month. In September we have the pastor’s conference, the international youth conference, and getting all our end of year reporting done for the government. Thankfully God is sending volunteers to help us. Pastor David Warren and the youth pastor from Seymour Baptist Church, TX are leading the pastor training. Tony Ningula from Angola is heading up the youth conference. Kip and Sue Stewart are coming in late September to oversee the DAT through the end of the school year late November and also do some well repairs.

Pic rehab

Pray for Namibians to obtain clean, safe drinking water during this time. Pray for their strength to be renewed each day. Plead for them to find the Living Water for all eternity long.

Pic Toting water home with friends

 
July 2015
The San people are quick to take care of and upgrade the wells drilled for them. Over the years they’ve found creative ways to protect the hand pump, irrigate the land, and otherwise improve their lives once they have a well. A refreshing surprise during routine well inspections was to find a hand pump in Oerwood that the community had converted to an electric pump. They removed the head and the handle of the hand pump and kept the rest of the handpump assembly adding a generator. They built a small branch housing topped with a tin roof to protect the well and the generator.

Pic electric pump

 

Aina celebrated her 23 birthday on the 6th. She had a banana cake with coconut carmel filling and cream cheese icing. All the DAT members participated in making the cake. Florence (Mickey) really enjoys it because her school doesn’t offer cooking classes. Liina’s birthday is next, and she hasn’t decided what she wants. Each young lady wants something unique and tries to come up with a new cake/filling/icing combo they haven’t had before.

Pic Aina BD

The next week news came that her “mother” was admitted to the hospital. Another relative took care of Caroline for a week, but couldn’t stay any longer. Aina left on July 20th to go take care of her mother. After two weeks, the doctor still hadn’t come by to see her. The only thing the nurses would tell her is that she drank too much. Aina says Caroline is given medications every day but they won;t tell her what it is. We’ve asked a friend of a friend who is a nurse at the hospital to shed some light on the situation. All we know for sure is that Caroline is in the psychiatric ward and still can’t feed herself. Please pray for Caroline and Aina as she cares for her.

The same week Aina left, Thomas’ five month pregnant wife died of the flu. This was devastating, because he lost his first wife in January 2014. His son, Marcell, didn’t find out his Mommy had died until they were at the funeral. Thomas never found the words to tell him. Thomas took two weeks off and will have another week off in August to deal with all the paperwork and childcare issues.

God is good all the time. All the time God is good. In the midst of Aina and Thomas’ suffering, a Zambian pastor came to us asking to partner with us to start a new church: Salvation of God. Pastor Chanda Chewe Wonder has a heart for the youth. We explained we are but foreigners and squatters in the building we are using, but he said he still wanted to work with us. He is preaching a Sunday morning, Wednesday night, and Friday worship. H is preaching the Sunday night service. Liina, Cornelia, Ester, and Mickey are on the praise team. We decided it was too much time for the girls to help on Wednesday nights, but they are helping with the other services.

One of our first projects was two great clean up days with people from our church and the new church working together. Pastor Chanda and Gary set the example for all to follow. We clean the outside walls, prune all the trees, raked all the leaves (it’s wintertime here), cleaned the gutters, washed the windows, and scrubbed everything inside and out. Attendance is increasing in all the services, plus Sunday School. It is a great testimony to the community to have people of different nations, languages, and tribes all working together with a sole goal: to make Christ known.

Thank you for your continued, faithful prayers on behalf of thirsty people in Namibia!

 
June 2015

Ron Fortenberry did discipleship with the drill team on a daily basis and with the DAT members three days a week. Over the weeks the guys and the DAT young ladies opened up and began to ask more questions. Doing assessments to set up well drilling, drilling and rehabbing (well repairing) were also part of Ron’s experience. He was amazed at the “paths” (African roads) we tread to get to the drilling sites. One of his favourite sightings was a handmade sign telling us and others where the water project would be. Ron enjoyed pumping water after the drilling finished.


June 6th was Ester’s birthday. She had a chocolate cake with strawberry icing. Neither strawberry flavouring, nor strawberries were to be found. We finally decided to use strawberry jam to make the icing. It turned out fine. Ron was here to celebrate the birthday and took his turn as each person around the table gave her a blessing. Aina gave Ester a big chocolate bar. Ron gave Ester a bag with Proverbs printed on it and a big bag of Twisters candy to share. Ron also gave devotional magazines to each of the DAT young ladies.

Olivia, Salinde, and Liina love to sing and are part of the praise team. Salinde and Oliva are now also teaching part of the Sunday School lessons in addition to helping with attendance and discipline. They are filled with eager anticipation and trembling fear of public speaking. It is wonderful to see how teaching a part (memory verse, mission story, review game) helps them develop confidence and emboldens them to share the gospel. Olivia and Salinde spent two Saturdays in teacher training learning how to present the gospel clearly and do the invitation to accept Christ as Saviour at the end of the Bible lesson.

Liina, Olivia, Salinde

Africa Child Day, June 16th, the DAT young ladies celebrated a version of Thanksgiving. Rosa and Helena were both in town to spend the day with us. Esteria attended Sunday School with us until she went to college this year in Windhoek. Esteria has been close friends with several DAT members and considered part of the family. The DAT young ladies gathered fire wood for the wort hog rib brai (barbeque), prepared special pap and salads, made fruit punch, fixed their hair, painted their nails, and spent a lot of time on FaceBook and UTube. They enjoyed Twisters candy that Ron brought as desert. Sadly Gary and Ron didn’t make it home in time to join in the festivities, but they were happy they finished a very good well that day.


Nadia won the spelling bee for the 11th and 12th graders in her school. Spelling is her favourite thing in the world. She loves English, especially words!

Ron preached in town at Tsumeb Community Church and at the prison. The first Sunday he preached on the Samaritan woman at the well. The second Sunday he preached about keeping the Sabbath holy and how that implied that you worked the other six days. Samuel Eichab wrote us a letter after Ron left thanking us for bringing Ron to share with them and making a sponsorship request for him to attend a Bible Institute when he gets out of prison.

As God would have it, Father’s Day fell on the first lesson in a series on Joshua. The Sunday School stayed after the 8:30-10:30am class time to make cards for their fathers. Most children don’t have a father around, so we encouraged them to think of their male teachers or other significant adults in their life. They also made cards for Gary and Ron.

The last weekend in June Ron led the Bible study times at the planning meeting for the International Youth Conference. The planning was at held at Etosha, a national game park. None of the six Angolan youth leaders had ever been to a game park. Both days we spent part of the day doing a game drive. It’s fascinating to observe native people seeing one of their greatest treasures for the first time. They were awed by God’s creation. As we were driving around Tony Ningula prayed out loud praising God for his power, beauty, and majesty and thanking him for allowing us to enjoy it. The youth leaders are excited to share and use this setting to glorify God with 50-70 youth September 17-20th.

One of the greatest gifts male volunteers have to give is an example of how godly men conduct themselves. The last Tuesday evening Ron was here he spent some time saying goodbye to the DAT young ladies, giving them gifts his wife Kay had sent, taking pictures, receiving letters and hugs from them. Ron treated them with love and respect. Hopefully they will keep that image of a godly man in their hearts.

Elizabeth went to Rundu to meet with pastors to plan the pastors training in early September. Ron met some of the pastors, got to see various church buildings from mud structures to completed outside block structures with no floors. Roddy and Denise George sent beautiful leather Portuguese Bible for George Sambo, a pastor they met last year.


The Georges also sent a crate of Bibles for pastor John Tobias from Rundu. While we waited for him to arrive at the church, Elizabeth had a teacher training session with his mother, his wife, and his sister to encourage them to teach children. Elizabeth gave them some children’s Bible study materials that Gay Cole brought to Namibia.

 

 

Thank you for helping provide people have safe, clean, fresh water in the name of Jesus!

May update

 

May 2015

Brian Striggow arrived on a Saturday evening. Sunday they loaded the drill truck and support vehicles. Early Monday morning the drill team headed north about three hours. It was quite a different experience than when he came to Angola to drill with us in 2004. The distances here are very great and there aren’t usually water catchments nearby with the necessary water for drilling. It makes for very long, dry days. Some days God rewards us with new wells.

Pic New well

May has four official holidays. Most workers take off of the day before and/or after off too. It makes for a frustrating month trying to make necessary purchases and get small yet urgent things done, like paying for the trailers licenses that are due May 31 yearly.

Saturday May 16 Gary took Brian and the drill team to Etosha Game Park. Brian remarked the workers were like little children in awe and wonder of seeing the animals for the first time. Gary said despite the giggling and carrying on they did get to see many animals, including a family of 27 elephants. It’s such a joy to share God’s creation with others.

Pic Etosha elephant

Gisela Fey, a dear friend, whom was our landlord the first two years we lived in Namibia, died. She didn’t suffer too long. Her husband had died last Fall. We will miss her.

School started back officially on Tuesday May 19th. The DAT young ladies started arriving home on Friday 15th. By Friday they finally had all the correct winter uniform pieces. The stores were late in stocking the necessary items. It’s in the 40’s when school starts in the morning and in the lower 80’s when it lets out at 1pm. The DAT young ladies seemed to have enjoyed their holiday time. Most of them went to family member’s farm to help with the harvest. It’s autumn here. Mickey said she loved the work and was really glad to be back where we have running water in the house and you don’t have to go fetch and carry it back on your head. Traditional wells are more common, and present many dangers.

Pic open well

Saturday May 23 they had a teacher training event with Child Evangelism Felllowship covering classroom management, discipline, and how to encourage children. This training is particularly important in a fear based culture. Learning how to resolve problems in more God pleasing ways is a life skill that will serve them well in all relationships. Trudie grilled sausage for us and Aina made the “pap” (similar to grits, but finer grain.)

One of the mission adventures Brian shared with us was our first vehicle breakdown in the bush. The support pickup’s axle broke at 8am. The drill team, Gary, and Brian had to figure out how to get it back to town. Brian helped hook up the boom on the drill rig to the pickup and then tie it with the wench for extra security. Brian said: “Suspenders and a belt.” They arrived in Tsumeb at 4:30pm just before the shop closed. We are still praising God that this was the first time, that it happened when and where it did, that the drill rig was set up only 8 miles away from them, that the security check point didn’t find anything wrong with the all the guys riding in on open drill rig while pulling a pickup, and no one was hurt.

Pic Brian rigging up

A few days later using the other support vehicle, as they backed into the compound after getting the drill hammer stuck in the hole, the breaks went out on that pickup. Brian experienced what we call a bad day. Even then Brian was praising God they had made it home safely. Life on the field reminds you that God is good all the time.

Bertha makes the effort and takes time to submit applications for various scholarships and opportunities. The other girls say she’s wasting her time, because only a few are chosen. Bertha persists though and it has paid off. She spent a week at the Youth Environmental Summit (YES) in Waterburg, two hours south of Tsumeb. Bertha was on the bush encroachment team researching plants and animals in Waterberg plateau and the Cheetah Foundation. On the final day the president, various ministers, and environmentalists from around the world … She most enjoyed climbing the mountain and made afternoons spent in the bush. Bertha made friends with other students from all over Namibia and some international speakers, including an American from Colorado. She learned about career opportunities, enjoyed the Waterburg plateau, and “nearly froze to death.” The whole DAT was thrilled to see Bertha once again in the Namibian newspaper in a picture of the participants receiving their certificates.

Pic Bertha newspaper

Brian brought a case of Bible that Roddy and Denise George sent. We began giving out the Bibles right away. Bertha took two with her to YES. She thought she would give one each to her roommates as they were both believers and neither even had a New Testament. But God led her to concentrate her evangelistic efforts on a student that proclaimed loudly he was an atheist. At the end of the week she got an opportunity to make a clear presentation of the gospel. He said he thought he was convinced, so she gave him one of the Bibles. Sadly the next morning, when they were leaving she found the Bible on her doorstep. It was discouraging, but she kept sharing about God. While on the bus home, she called to ask me if I would bring a study Bible when I (Elizabeth) met her at the bus stop. She had met Matt during the week. Matt is a 12th grader from another town that feels called to full time ministry. Matt was overjoyed to have a full Bible and even better a study Bible.

Church started back on May 24th. It was a delight to see all the Sunday School children again. Our gap lesson was on God’s pharmacy (fruits and vegetables). Then we continued the Life of Christ in June. The DAT members are proud to be teaching again at our church and two other churches during the week.

Pic Salind and Olivia songs

The DAT praise team was delighted to sing together again. Gary is preaching on love and forgiveness. Brian preached on knowing God’s Word and how it impacts his life. The last few days Brian said some images, captured only in his mind, would stay with him forever. A young girl sitting on a trash heap reading a magazine, portrayed human dignity to him. A lady carrying fire wood on her head, as she texted on her cell phone, was a portrait of the deep desire for human connectedness. Despite poverty and lack of access to clean water, people love, live, and laugh. People need each other and God no matter whom or where they are.

Pic Brian

Adrian J. Pabón Rivera, five years old, from Manati, Puerto Rico sent us a note saying God loves us and he wants to visit Namibia. Adrian drew a Bible with a cross on the left side and a heart circled in love for us. This is our first hand written letter from a non family member. It was a wonderful surprise to receive it. The following picture is for Adrián. Adrián, gracias a tus oraciones estos niños ahora tienen agua potable. Que Dios te bendiga, Adrián.


Ron Fortenberry is due to arrive June 4th. Pray for his safety and health as he travels and stays here the month of June. Ron will be preaching and teaching.

Thank you for your continued faithful support to provide clean, safe water and the gospel of Jesus Christ. God bless each of you,

Elizabeth

The rain we started getting March 23rd lasted util April 10th. We got some rain nearly every day, totaling 95millimeters of the regular 500 millimeters rain expected per year. It was too late for the crops, but the strongest plants and animals will survive. The catchment areas are dry.

Pic dry water catchment

Easter.is a 4 day weekend and the girls are suppose to go home to their villages. However, this year none of them left. They all stayed with us. Friday we went to Etosha National Park, one of the best games parks in Africa. We left at 5:30 am and got home at 5:30pm.

Pic DAT at Namutoni

My driving arm was burnt to a crisp and still hurts, haha. I forgot the sunscreen. The girls got to see a couple dozen different kinds of animals including a cheetah eating a fresh springbok (antelope) kill, not including all the birds. Etosha has over 180 species of birds. Most of the girls had never been to the park. Somehow I let three years go by without going. It's terrible that native people don't get to enjoy their own park with some of God's most spectacular animals.

Pic Cornelia with lion

The Easter weekend was also the national Baptist women's retreat. Women came from all over the country. Thankfully this time my responsibilities were limited to providing beds and teaching a two hour session.

Pic Women’s conference

Easter Sunday morning we had 41 children in Sunday School despite the long weekend with most everyone traveling. Time changed Saturday night. We had a three hour Sunday School from 7:30am to 10:30am, to make sure no one missed out because of the time change. Sure enough there were children waiting for us to open at 7:30am and no one left early. Sunday night is just worship, mostly adults except for the DAT young ladies.

The DAT young women are going to miss teaching their respective Bible studies on Sundays and during the week, while on school break. Bertha and Florence decided to stay one week of their break to help teach at 5 Day Club in Rundu, northeast Namibia. They especially liked camping with the drilling team. The guys went drilling and the gals went teaching.

Pic Bertha bible study

Foreigners often ask us about ways to help natives get water. Qdrum water containers, shaped like a donut, are easy to pull, and would be a great help to women and children hauling water from the well to their homes. Most people here use free containers being thrown out by painters, cleaners, restaurants, mechanic shops, etc. The thought of having to pay for a container is usually not entertained. Speaking from experience, they are a bit too large to pour from easily. Also people like to dip into the water container easily with a metal cup or gourd. Once you get above 2.5 gallons, it requires quite a bit of strength and height to pour water from a large container into a smaller container (pot, glass, etc.) without spilling much of it.

No thought is given to the pain and suffering women and children go through to find and tote water. African proverb: "No distance is too great to get water for your mother." Keeping the water clean and safe from the well to the home is greatly enhanced with a closed container. The qdrum also helps to keep the water free from contamination once they get it home. It's the age old urgent vs important dilemma. Choices are many times based on urgency, instead of importance. Keeping the water clean and saving the children time and pain in getting the water, would allow them to attend school more often and stay in better health. Getting water right now for supper tonight in whatever is free meets the urgent need to prepare dinner.


Despite the hardship, people find joy in simple things. Volunteers leave clothes and other items with us to give away. We like to take these to the most remote places where people have to travel great distances to purchase goods. Mupapama is one of those places.

Pic Mupapama church

Though the two aren’t related in any way, giving clothes and food help the people to wait while the cement pad for the hand pump hardens. It assures and comforts them while they wait thee long days, before they can use the pump.

Pic pumping

Meanwhile they are still using their old tradition open wells. These are dangerous. Children and animals fall to their deaths. Thank you for continuing to fund the repairing of old wells and the drilling of new wells, so there is no need to use unsafe open wells.

Pic Open well april

 
March 2015

The weather is now in the mid to high 90’s. It’s still extremely hot weather to drill in considering the amount of heat generated by the hydraulic engine, the air compressor, the mud pumps, and the truck itself into the cab while driving to and from the drill sites. They leave the compound at 6am to take advantage of the cooler early morning temperatures. How Gary withstands the heat of the day while being blasted with heat from the drill is amazing.

The seals in the drill rig are finally holding after two weeks of testing, refitting, and testing again and again. They worked fine during air drilling, but were useless during mud drilling, which is the majority of the drilling here. The water catchment areas where the poorest and most marginalized people live are still dry. Gary is now taking the drill rig and two support vehicles and a trailer hauling water for drilling. Elizabeth dreads seeing what our normally $200USD water bill will be this month. Without water in the catchment areas there is no choice but to haul water and hope it doesn’t run out before getting the drill steel out of the hole. These conditions make drilling much more stressful.

March 10th we celebrated Gary’s 63rd birthday with a strawberry cake. His desire is that God will grant him 7 more years in serving in Africa. It was the best African birthday he’s had. The DAT young ladies had just sat down around the table to sing and celebrate, when Shirley FaceTimed. Ellie and Addie got to sing Happy Birthday along with the DAT. Then two year old Addie said: “Blow out your candles, Granddaddy. Where are your presents?” Florence quickly obliged making a present with what was on hand.

Elizabeth finally got all the new marketing tools (logo, slogan, brochures, posters, business cards) for Maria Wellness Service made. It's been a journey for Maria to go from employee to being the owner of her own place. It started in 2006 when we met her. I noticed how skillful she was and how unhappy she was at her place of employment. The logo, slogan, and business cards are a first for her. She finally agreed. I took her and waited in the car as she approached new businesses asking them to put her poster up and handing out brochures and business cards. Each time she had success she was encouraged. The last time she came back to the car, she said: "They don't know me, but they said I'm doing a great job. I told them they couldn't really say that unless they come and experienced it for themselves. Then they could know what they were recommending." She was laughing and happy to have done something to hopefully increase her business.

March 21 was Independence Day. Namibia is a young country, only 25 years old. A new president has been elected and it seems everyone is on edge about it. Unity and inclusiveness is hoped for with guarded anticipation. Women do seem to be making some strides and that is what the DAT members are watching most closely. They look at me strangely when I say they will be mapping, forming, and developing Namibia’s future with the decisions they make about their own lives. Liina is 19 years old and in 12th grade. She didn’t vote because she still doesn’t have an ID. She did however participate in traditional dancing at the school’s celebration of Independence for extra credit. Pushing her to get an ID has been an ordeal. She won’t even have the opportunity to fill in an application for further education or a job without an ID.

Salinde, Olivia, and Nadia were proud to have Elizabeth go to their school’s parent meeting. It was scheduled for 1pm on a Saturday at 97 degrees and no air conditioning in a room with over a hundred sweaty, smelly bodies. We waited from 1pm until 2:25pm for the meeting to actually begin, so I was able to spend some time catching up with community members I don’t normally see. Martha told me about her new business selling beauty products. Pastor Junias said they still need more Bibles at the prison. We set up a time in June for Gary and a volunteer to go preach and take Bibles. John, the police officer, needs a water well drilled. Jaqui needs more preschool supplies and equipment in Ondundu where we drilled a well several years ago. Only the love of God took me and kept me there until 5pm. I feel it is important to show the DAT young ladies support and to set an example for how they should participate in the lives of their future children.

Bertha and Nadia teach Bible study at Praise Assembly Church on Wednesdays. Aina and Florence (Mickey) are teach at NG Church on Wednesdays. Salinde and Olivia have gone to help with attendance and discipline both days. All DAT members have a part in our Sunday School whether teaching (memory verse, Bible lesson, mission story, review game) or in a support role (audio, attendance, handling homework, discipline, setting up, cleaning up). Sometimes even old DAT members help out too. We enjoyed having Linda with us the whole month. Linda finished university and is now waiting for her job with Telecom to begin.

As God would have it our mission story on Bloody Sunday was set in the 1883 and was about a slave girl would wanted to learn how to read. I was apprehensive about using this particular mission story, because of a particular line in the story: “Blacks can’t read.” My fears were baseless. The children literally laughed at that line. At the end of Sunday School, we stayed a few extra minutes to talk about Bloody Sunday in the US and challenge the children to think about how God could and would use them to better their own country.

The children and DAT members love Sunday School prize giving at the end of each teaching series (usually about 6 weeks). The children get points for attendance, brining a friend, knowing the memory verse from the previous week, attending worship, turning in their homework. Aina adds up all the points and determines the categories for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize. Other DAT members will then select the prizes from a treasure box with an assortment of school supplies, toys, and personal hygiene items (combs, toothbrushes, nail files, etc.) mostly given to us by volunteers.

Gary has been preaching about Jesus’ parables from Luke this month. One was about the woman caught in adultery. That the oldest left first, after Jesus said that those without sin cast the first stone, was bewildering. Since elders are to be respected without condition, the parable is culturally unacceptable. It took quite a bit of explaining. Once again showing that God expects us to put Him first in our lives, even over our culture.

The north central part of Namibia is still in drought. March 22 we had our first rain that lasted more than 5 minutes in Tsumeb. We actually got 16 ml of rain, just over a half inch. From the 22nd of March through the end of the month, we got an average of 5 minutes of rain per day. Suddenly the trees and plants seem to be growing right before our eyes. Tsumeb, Otavi, and Groofontein form a triangle where most of the 0.01% of arable land in Namibia is located. The commercial farms have irrigation, but the family farmers don’t. The production of milk has gone down too, as the cows aren’t getting enough water. Milk is now just under $2/quart, nearly double what it was last year.

Gary and the drill team repaired some old wells in the King Kaluhma area, a couple of hours north of Tsumeb. Aina went along to show us her uncle’s farm. His village hasn’t gotten any rain since last April, a year ago. Even though we can’t drill without water, Gary went in an attempt to find a way to help him. Alas, the final 50 kilometer path was impassable because of the flour sand. They had to turn around and come home. It’s times like these that are disheartening, when all efforts to minister to people seem void. Thankfully God’s Word doesn’t return void. We pray and hope that God’s love clearly shown to him, will impact his decision about Christ.

Brian Striggow will be drilling and working with Gary in May. Pray for his journey and time while here in Namibia. Brian was our very first volunteer in Angola. He helped Gary learn how to drill. He was with us in Ondjiva when there was no running water, electricity, phone, internet, grocery store… Now we have all these things, most of the time. Pray for his wife, Becky, as she stays behind and holds down the fort for them. May God grant Brian many wonderful new memories of providing physical and introducing people to the Living Water.

Thank you for your faithful prayers and support.

Happy Easter. He is risen!

February 2015

 

The DAT young ladies kept Elizabeth busy with lots of drama. Salinde threatened to commit suicide, when she wasn’t allowed to go to a school dance. Despite hours of tears and threats that particular Friday and Saturday, Sunday came and she was all smiles.

Cornelia's mother sent someone to get her and go find a school in the north. No school would take her nor offered the subjects she was taking in Tsumeb, so a few days later her mother decided to send her back to DAT. Meanwhile, Cornelia’s spot was filled with Liina, who was on the waiting list. Liina was staying in a shack made out of two pieces of tin roofing (4x9 feet). One of the worst I (Elizabeth) have seen outside of a landfill or war zone. I had given our last bed to Jospeh, after his house burned down last month. Cornelia is now sleeping a foam mattress on the floor. It isn't nice, but it will have to do.

Nadia, Salinde, and Olivia are taking a taxi to school and back each day. They say the taxi driver is a crazy his driving scares them. It's safer than walking in the dark. During December a 10 year old girl was raped and killed near their school. They missed their ride one morning. After an Elizabeth speech, it probably won’t happen again.

Florence (Mickey) won first place in her school for the 100 and 200 meter dash. Later Mickey competed against all the other schools in our town for the 100 meter dash and won again. She is the shortest of all the runners and doesn’t wear shoes when running. She walks on the sides of her feet for two days after a race. She says she can’t pick up her feet wearing shoes. She qualified for the northern regional competition. If she wins the regional competition, she’ll be on tract to compete next year for nationals.

Florence turned 18 on the 3rd. She has always shared her birthday with another DAT member. This year for the first time in four years, she had a birthday cake just to herself. Salinde, Olivia, Aina, and Liina helped make the cake. Ester designed a Mickey Mouse head out of M&Ms that the George’s brought us.

When we were mixing the ingredients and putting the cake layers into the oven to bake, Salinde starting jumping up and down, screaming and pointing at the oven: “Those things, skinny black sticks there are my legs!!” Apparently she had never seen the reflection of her legs. The glass of the oven was reflecting her legs. She was shocked and happy! Florence was thrilled with her Mickey Mouse cake! We celebrated as usual with each person saying a blessing for Florence.

Elizabeth went to a three hour parent’s meeting Florence’s high school, from 6-9pm. The school hall has no windows and no air conditioning, which is why the meeting was in the evening. It was still in the 80’s and there were about 200 people in the room. One of the routine matters is the student’s use of the toilet, specifically the males’ toilet. There are 657 students in the school. There are only TWO toilets each for the male and female student groups. The female students clean their own two toilets and pay 5 cents to keep supplies. They have nice, clean bathroom. The male students refuse to clean or pay to use their two toilets. The parents want to school to take care of it, even though it is soiled with feces from the threshold. It was an impasse.

One of the new young ladies is a 19 year old 12th grader had a baby in late December. It's been a task to teach her to stop selling herself. The teens think that if they agree to the terms of the sexual transaction they are in control and therefore not being abused. When she came to live with us she had relationships with two different older guys and one guy her age. Her plan was to live free at DAT and use the child support money to have fun, leaving her mother and dad to worry about the baby. She’s only one of DAT that actually have both parents involved in her life. Her dad is the first dad in six years to come meet Elizabeth before leaving his daughter at DAT. He works in Windhoek, five hours south of us. Her mother lives 4 hours north of Tsumeb. Elizabeth has taken the new DAT member to the hospital twice this month. Each time she was given heavy antibiotics for yet another infection. The last time is was her tonsils. She accepted Christ the first week she was with us and has come a long way. Pray she will heal physically and continue to make strides spiritually.

Each week a farm outside of town donates non sellable fruit&/or vegetables to us. None of it goes to waste. We keep what we will use and give some to the drill workers. Then we go distribute the rest to Adelaide's Preschool and other needy people in shanty town. It makes a big difference to the lives of many. One week we were given so many tomatoes that even after our regular distribution route, there were still many left over. It was over 100 degrees and we knew the tomatoes would go bad quickly if not consumed. Gary decided to go to a park in shanty town where we do a week day Bible study. Many children were playing and he offered them the hot tomatoes in the back of the pickup truck. The children devoured the hot tomatoes emptying out the bed of the pickup truck in a few minutes and went back to playing.

Gary’s Bible study group at the hardware store, Build It, is excited to have him back in town. Gary gave them all a Bible on a usb flash drive. They loved it! Now requests are pouring in every week for more of them. Bernedine has also been communicating with Roddy George, after he and Denise came to help last year.

Valentine’s Day fell on a Saturday. The DAT young ladies decided to go the shanty town park to celebrate with the children there. They made cards and cookies for the children at the park, all the Sunday School children, and the adults at church. Afterwards, Gary and I took the DAT young ladies for pizza at Dros.

The church building we have been using free of charge is now on the open market. The asking price for the church building and grounds is $60,000USD. We don't think it is worth that much. There are five sewer outlets on the property. Two offers ($10 and $12USD) were too low and were rejected. If we had the cash in hand, we'd offer $30K.

Bank Windhoek finally approved our new account. After 6 weeks of processing, we finally had a bank account number, access to online banking, and checks. Another two weeks later we got a debit card.. In order to get the workers access to their salaries with less than a dollar charge, they needed to open new accounts at our new bank. Elizabeth issued letters to the bank saying we wanted them to have accounts, how much they made, how long they had worked with us, etc. Then we made sure they each had their own identity cards. We took Joseph to Home Affairs twice and gave him $5 to request a new ID card. A few weeks later he had a new ID card. Then we made an appointment to take them to the bank all at one time.

We dressed up and went to the bank thankful they’d allowed us to make an appointment. Some of the workers are illiterate. None have street addresses. Only one has a post office box. One doesn’t have a cell phone. Some had never had a bank account of their own. Two hours later they all had an account number. A few weeks later, Elizabeth went back to the bank to get signature cards and pick up the withdrawal ATM cards. The workers signed the cards. Elizabeth took the signature cards back to the bank to get the ATM cards activated. Praise, God, the ordeal is over now and they are all proud owners of a bank account and an ATM card. Now they need to learn to use the cards.

Moses, one of the drill team members, and his wife had a baby boy on February 4th. It seems all of nature is multiplying right now. There are babies (human and animal) everywhere. In town it seems most women are carrying a baby on their back. All along the road we see little baby animals (wart hogs, baboons, antelopes).

This baby season makes hunting tricky. When Gary got us a nice big male wart hog early all the DAT lined up to clap for Gary as he drove in the compound. Elizabeth gave him a kiss on the cheek that caused a raucous. It’s one of the only times DAT members get to stay up past 9pm on a school night. Animal kills are a great celebration here! The DAT young ladies compete to see who is the best at what part (skinning, removing meat from bone, cutting meat, packaging the meat) of the process. Gary guts it to make sure the meat stays clean. Elizabeth organizes and oversees, making sure the process moves in order and everyone has what they need keeping hygienic and safe. Elizabeth and a helper process the intestines and the stomach, while Gary cuts out the backstrap/fillet. The DAT young ladies remove the meat from bones in large pieces. Elizabeth and a couple of DAT members take the feces, shins, and hoofs to the bush to throw away. We also distribute the giveaway parts to the workers (bones with meat for soup, flesh surrounding the organs, and skin - burn the hair off and eat it-,). Meanwhile the meat is cut into appropriate pieces and bagged. Gary sharpens every knife in the house multiple times. Elizabeth makes sure all instruments are cleaned, dried and put up. The next day the workers make a fire and boil the head in a big black iron pot with legs. Bubba collects the skulls and/or horns. The girls/workers use the broth. It's quite an ordeal, but everyone works happily. With all animal kills everything is used except for the shins and hoofs. What this is drying on our security wire in the picture?

Cornelia, Ester, and Aina were singing and dancing “We Believe.” The newcomers to DAT (Olivia, Salinde, and Liina) proudly showed off their skills. Liina was named best skinner, misplacing Bertha from three years running. Aina and Salinde were upset, because somehow we only found one kidney. Elizabeth finally said: “I guess he was an organ donor.” Everyone laughed and were able to move on. Florence took particular care to gleam all the fat attached to the skin. When she was about finished, she looked up at us with a huge handful of fat and said: “Look chicken meat! We can eat it tonight.” Fat in Namibia is called white meat. It was a celebration.

The last Wednesday of February a team cane from Red Springs Baptist Church, Texas. They are considering helping start a new church plant in Tsintsabis. We lined up a pastor they could work with and a place the church could meet. One of the assistant pastors of the local church in Tsumeb went with Gary to look at the property for the new church and make a plan of action to present to them. Elizabeth is also hoping that one of the ladies or couples from Red Springs Baptist will stay with the DAT girls in Oct and Nov.

Tsintsabis is still a village setting of San people, the most oppressed tribe, on the way to becoming a town. The road just got tarred last year. There is no running water, just the wells we've drilled. There was a missionary there we worked with, but he left because of the hardship. There are several churches, but none functioning consistently. The Catholic church holds a service once a month. The Lutherans send someone once a quarter. The Assemblies of God church did well before the road got tarred and the village has now out grown their reach. The pastor is also busy dying with no replacement in sight. This town needs an ongoing everyday evangelical church.

Red Springs Baptist Church pastor David and four other members (Randall, Beverly, Joe, and Donna) came to visit. Over the past 6 years they’ve planted and established a church in Outapi, 4 hours north west of us. Now they are looking for a new place to do the same. We introduced them to Phillip and Dankie, local pastor and wife, who have laid some ground work for a new church start in Tsintsabis. God’s ways are good! We drilled a well in 2008 on a plot in Tsintsabis that was later taken away by the government for a road construction project. We lamented and thought about how unfair it was. Then last year, after the road project was completed, the government returned the land and the hand pump was still intact. While the government occupied the land, it built three buildings on that plot. Though they’ve been stripped of the roof and all interior parts, the basic structures are good. The owner is willing to sell the land and the three buildings to the church for $6,000USD payable in $100 monthly installments. Pastor Phillip has an assistant pastor who is willing to live in Tsintsabis full time. That assistant pastor would need monthly support. Pray God will provide through His followers to plant, develop, and establish a good evangelical church in Tsintsabis to reach the community and grow disciples on a consistent daily basis.

Gary and Elizabeth thoroughly enjoyed having the Red Springs Baptist church visit. Randall and David asked many questions about the drilling. Beverly brought some items Elizabeth will use in Sunday School for the unit on Esther, evangelistic outreach doorknob hangers, and other incentives to use with the children and youth at church. She also brought me (Elizabeth) a beautiful scarf that I’ll enjoy once it cools down a bit here. Joe brought a handbag full of candy and served the women in Tsintsabis by pumping their water for them. Beverly and Donna also pumped some water from the hand pumps. They were amazed how easily the pump worked and how nice and clean the water was. The men drank some of the water straight from the pump.

They whole group, plus the driver Richard Martin and pastor Phillip and his wife had lunch with us before leaving. They braved eating kudu and wort hog fillets and drinking cold sweet rooibos tea. We had beautiful local avocados, sweet corn on the cob, and good tomatoes along with some delicious local health bread. Donna, Beverly, and Joe spent a little time with DAT young ladies. David and Randall got to meet the DAT members briefly as well. We were encouraged by their visit and hope they will continue to do projects here in Namibia, hopefully with us too.

At our weekly family meeting before Red Springs Baptist team came, I reminded the DAT young ladies to be properly covered and clothed when the visitors arrived. It's been very hot here and the girls haven't been wearing much clothing. Salinde, the youngest and just turned young lady, has had a hard time learning to wear a bra. About an hour later I went into the kitchen. Salinde had put a bra on and had pulled her blouse up over her itty bitty bra. I looked at her and everyone started laughing. Salinde said, "It's hot, mam!" I answered: “Yes, I know, but when the visitors are here pull your blouse down.” She did.

Gary has everything ready for drilling: vehicles, hammers, and drill bits, gravel filter pack and other supplies. We just need rain to fill the catchments so we can use to drill. It's still hot, high 90s during the day and down to 70s between 3am-5am. The barometric pressure is wild too. If it would rain, we would get some relief. So far, we've been having about 5 minutes rain per week. It seems to be more than enough for mosquitoes to thrive. Meanwhile Gary will do well repairs/rehabs.

Isaiah 43:18 Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

 

January 2015

Our luggage arrived, everything except my (Elizabeth's) medications. It was a God thing. We've never been able to check in at the curb for an international flight. Despite that fact, Gary handed the guy at the airport curb $40 and asked him to get our luggage checked all the way to Windhoek, Namibia. It took him a while, but he did it! When only one piece showed up in Johannesburg, we thought it might not have worked. However the next morning when we checked into the flight from Johannesburg to Windhoek, the person at the counter verified that all four luggage pieces had been located and would be put on the flight. Everything arrived in Windhoek. The customs people were checking every single bag. We didn't have proper documentation to import anything and we didn't have enough Namibian cash on hand to pay for any fees. Gary took two bags that didn't have few questionable items and went on through. I stayed behind with the duffle bags pretending I was still waiting on another bag and praying for the opportune moment to get through customs. About 30 minutes later, the one of the customs ladies got up for a break. I prayed, God is this the time? It was as if He was laughing at me, "What do you want? A hand written note?" So I walked through customs smiled at the ladies that were still there keeping my pace to the door. When I got out, Gary couldn't believe it. "How did you make it?" I waited, prayed, prayed others were praying too, and walked right through. Praise, God! Thank you for your prayers for our luggage!


This first week was spent mostly getting the girls back into school. Yasmine wasn't allowed to go back. She failed 10th grade by 1 "one" point. She is from a lower tribe. She cried and cried to no avail. Now she is in Otiwarongo staying with an aunt so she can do an equivalent to GED for 10th grade. If she does well, she can try to get readmitted into 11th grade here in Tsumeb next year. Florence (Mickey) is repeating the 9th grade. She failed one subject. She is mixed from two different tribes. The school changed her subjects to include German and Africaans. Languages are her weakness. Cornelia failed most subjects and was promoted to 12th grade. She is from the right tribe. Bertha, Esther, and Cornelia are going to Etosha High School. Nadia, Salinde, and Olivia are going to Oshikoto High School several miles away from home. The two new girls are: Salinde, an 8th grader, and Olivia, an 11 grader. Pray for them as they adjust to new schools and life at DAT. Aina is doing well helping us. She helps cook for the girls and the workers Monday through Friday. She continues to pitch in with other tasks as asked. Mainly she keeps an eye on everything. Rosa and Helena were admitted in PolyTech University and left of January 23rd to move to Windhoek. Rosa will study accounting. Helena has decided for business emphasizing sells. They will stay with extended family members.

 
Joseph, our drill worker who lost his wife and only son January, lost his house to a fire January 2, 2015. We got him set back up with a new bed and some clothes. He is doing amazingly well considering the circumstances. Pray for him to regain emotional and physical strength.

There were two offers made on the church building we are using while we were gone. Thankfully they were both rejected, so we get to continue using the building. We started church the first Sunday, a couple of days after we arrived. I (Elizabeth) started Sunday school Jan 18. The church yard was grown up in several feet tall grass and weeds. The girls and Elizabeth cleaned the inside. The guys (5) worked two days in the scorching sun getting the grass cut and the church yard into shape. We still need to clean the outside of the building and repair the entryway that has eroded away.

The weekly afternoon community Bible studies started on January 28th. We are using the CEF materials and have all new songs this year. Cornelia is in charge of music now, since we don’t have Yasmine. The children are already talking about going to Good News Camp. Last year most in Tsumeb missed out, because they didn’t hand in the applications on time. This year they’re determined not to miss out. Linda, a young lady that came to daily Bible study with Elizabeth in 2009, just graduated from University of Namibia (electronic engineering) and came back to Tsumeb. She has joined in with the group teaching at both Sunday School and community Bible studies. We are thrilled to have her back in Tsumeb!

Each January the drill and other vehicles have to be registered, pass roadworthy, and re-licensed for the year. It's a tedious, frustrating process. The old rig was in Windhoek, 6 hours by car, 8 hours for the truck. Gary and two guys got it on Monday 19th to bring it back to Tsumeb. It was a 105 F day, 14 hours driving, in vehicles with no air conditioning. We didn’t a find a spare tire for the rig. They arrived safely to Tsumeb. The next morning it wouldn't crank. God protected Gary all the way back home safely, where we could deal with whatever problems from it being standing while we're gone. The following week a new head light came in for it (minor miracle to receive it in just a week). Gary then took it for the roadworthy test itself, a 5 hour ordeal also in the sun. Then he had to begin the process to pay for it. That part of the process involved many calls and emails to Windhoek asking for a written confirmation that the $6.17 road taxes were paid and hard copy proof had been overnighted to Windhoek. The confirmation of road taxes was received on the last work day of the month. Gary then went to Natis to get a form to take to the bank to pay for the roadworthy decal. By the end of the day, we had the precious roadworthy decal. Praise, God!

The bank had us blocked from online transactions, the credit card is still not working (our Namibian bank informed us none of their credit cards are working), and we are not allowed to use checks (because we are a trust), so basically we had no access to our account until January 15th. It took Elizabeth standing at the bank for a total of 10 1/2 hours last week and this to get it going again. We are trying to open an account at another bank that has a better reputation when it comes to internet banking. Pray it will be allowed. We did all the paperwork two weeks ago, but the new bank hasn’t approved the account yet. Later in the month, the bank’s internal system was out of order for two full work days. Thankfully, their system was up and running again in time to process payments on the last work day of the month.

Since January 9th we've been meeting with people wanting boreholes and/or wanting repairs. We've talked with pastors and friends. Elizabeth has spent many hours shopping. The grocery stores have very little stock this time of year. January 16th we finally got some meat from a farmer. There were 20 packs of meat left in our personal freezer and the DAT freezer was well stocked with meat, when the George's and all but Aina, Cornelia, and Florence left in mid October. However when we got here there was no meat. The two people that had keys to the house say they don't know anything about meat. Trudie helped Elizabeth find a farmer with some meat to sell.

The Rotary meeting in Otjiwarongo about doing a project with us went well. Please pray the Rotary clubs in the US and here will continue to be interested and proceed with all the necessary paperwork to get the project approved and the funds sent. If you know a Rotarian in the Birmingham area please put in a good word for By Provision.


I (Elizabeth) took a round of antibiotics trying to get rid of "severe acute bronchitis." I was coughing so much, my brain was swollen. I'm feeling much better now. Please pray as we revive ourselves and the ministry again. It's a cycle of life here. The whole country is coming out of hibernation slowly. The internet and water have been off and on intermittently. The grocery stores are stocking the shelves. The DAT young ladies finally got all their books and uniforms Friday 23rd. We should all be back up to normal speed soon.

Randal Kinnibrugh, Beverly Jan Morton Kinnibrugh and three others are coming from Texas in late February. Brian Striggow plans to come mid May to June. Pray he gets his new passport soon so he can proceed with buying a ticket. Ron Fortenberry will come in July. Hopefully Robert and Cali Fondren will be able to come in late August. Please pray each of the volunteers as they make arrangements to come work alongside us. Please pray for volunteers to come in October and November to oversee the DAT young ladies.

Thank you so much for your faithful support and prayers! God bless each of you,

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins

2056785024 (we’re 8 hours ahead of central time)

PS I need 50 greggers (Jewish noise makers used to celebrate Purim). If you find some please get them and send with one of the volunteers.

OCTOBER 2014

Denise and Roddy George came the last week of September. Because Gary found it impossible to quit drilling in September, he and Roddy finished off some new wells putting in pumps.

Gary and Roddy also did some well rehabs in Tsintsabis. Some sites need new cement pads that have eroded putting the pump in jeopardy. Others just need regular maintenance. Roddy also taught Sunday School and preached at the church in Tsumeb. He did a great job, though he was disappointed we didn’t get to go to the prison as planned. At the last minute the person that gets us in was not available.

Denise went to do the music and help with the international Youth Camp. It was such an intense time. Climbing the mountain with 10 prayer stations each morning at 6am to the cross overlooking the vast African plains-God’s creation. Each day ended in the middle of the night after singing, praying, worshiping, dealing with deep hurts, encouraging young believers to take up their cross, follow Jesus, and keep the faith and focus on eternity. Denise also took lots of pictures and posted many of Facebook along with interesting insights. Her beauty inspired as much as the music she played for us as the Holy Spirit transcended the variety of languages.

Just before we left the DAT young ladies wanted to take us out to say goodbye for the year and celebrate Elizabeth’s birthday early. We all went to have pizza and they gave me (Elizabeth) their words and a few letters. Denise took pictures. It was a sweet way to end the year.

The Georges stayed with the DAT young ladies the first two weeks of October, since the 10th and 12th graders (Helena, Rosa, Bertha, Nadia, Ester, Yasmine) finished early this year. Roddy did a lot of repair work around the compound, took some furniture to Aina’s house in the north several hours away down an hour and a half path, and started putting the posts along the fence line for Thomas’ property in Tsintsabis.

Roddy and Denise both looked after the DAT, held devotions with DAT members, did counseling (Yasmine left early against her own wishes), made sure they carried on with the teacher training each week, fetched vegetables and fruit from Namfo, and help teach Sunday School and lead worship and preaching the last Sunday they were there. They also went up to Rundu to do well rehabs. We haven’t sat down to talk about what all else they did. It was their second trip and even more impactful than the first.

The Georges endured the yearly fires, which came within about 200 feet of the compound this year. We forgot to warn them about the fires. Many times we’ve driven through miles and miles of fires and smoke. Setting fires is a yearly tradition to “fertilize” the soil and frequently gets out of hand. Denise got a great picture of the fire that came up close to the compound.

Denise was shocked to read the newspaper about happenings in Rundu where she and Roddy had just been. “Mukwe Constituency Councillor Kalyangu Muliki also urged people to be careful when they are at the river. Some of the areas in my constituency have boreholes now and villagers should make use of them instead of going to the river and those that want to go bath or swim at the river must be very careful, stated Muliki.” We told her about requests for wells from that area stating the wells are needed because "we're tired of the crocodiles eating our children." Yet children still have to go get water. The river looks so calm and peaceful. Deceiving like Satan. We need more funding to drill more boreholes in Rundu so the children don't have to risk their lives to get water.

We are now sharing the church building that American missionaries have been squatting in for the past 30 odd years with another church. The other church is meeting there on Saturdays and helping us with the upkeep, especially while we’re gone. As long as the Lord sees fit to allow us to stay in the building we’ll continue using it.

It started to rain, early this year. Praise, God! However, they also got two hail storms the first week of November killing all the newly planted crops and causing other damage too.

Bertha and her friends' school project for the Copper festival got first prize, so their school got a bit of money. Bertha was so excited about it! Helena will be working at Travel North in Tsumeb. Rosa is trying to get some temporary work at an accounting firm in Tsumeb to see if she actually would like to pursue that field. Helena and Rosa have both put in applications at the PolyTech in Windhoek, though neither of them have any means of support for actually moving to Windhoek and studying there. Bertha, and Nadia have gone back to Angola to be with their deceased mother’s side of the family. Their last maternal aunt died in September. It was very hard on Bertha to miss the funeral. Pray she will have a healing time during the school holiday. Esther is at home with her mom in Oshakati.

Gary and Elizabeth are back in the US meeting with as many people as possible, and speaking in groups and churches. We enjoyed having the chili diner early in October. If you missed it, please plan on coming to our house for New Years Eve. It’s become a tradition and a nice way for us to bid you farewell for the year before we head back to Namibia on January 6th.

Thank you for your faithful support, visiting with us, and introducing us to new people to tell about the ministry in Namibia. We are here these months to meet with you, answer your questions, and invite you to minister alongside us.

Please continue remembering the thirsty in Namibia. God will use you to fulfill His promise in Isaiah 43:19 I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. 43:20 The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, 43:21 the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.

God bless each of you,

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins

205-678-5024

 

Providing clean drinking water is what By Provision does to show God's love for each of us, even to those who are too poor to have access to such an essential life giving source that He created for us. When we see preschoolers at the well pumping safe clean water to drink, it it God's mercy and grace pouring out of the spout.
 
 
 
Thank you for helping us get the 6x6 Samil 100 truck for the new rig and compressor! It took three week to drive it from Johannesburg to Tsumeb, Namibia. It took until September 6th to get it approved as roadworthy and registered in Namibia. Praise, God, it is now with the machinist to mount the new drill and compressor.
 
 
Clean running water is something most Americans alive today have taken for granted all their life. It is stated: "Clean drinking water is a human right." It may well be a "right," but most humans don't have access to safe clean drinking water. Watching children draw water with an old rusty oil bucket from an unprotected hand dug shallow well to pour it into a dirty uncovered bucket to tote home to their family always brings tears to our eyes, no matter how many times we've seen this before. We try not to stare, as if they were doing something out of the ordinary that we couldn't relate to. Talking and getting to them opens the door to share about Christ's love for us. If it weren't for the effectiveness of clean water as a tangible out pouring of God's love, we couldn't bear the images of little ones getting dirty water to take home knowing it will surely end their lives in a most painful way. Watching the children pass us by while we are drilling breaks our hearts, especially if it is during school time.
 
 
Angola Drilling
Thanks to your prayers the border crossing into Angola went smoother than ever before. Satan had another trick up his sleeve though. The gear box in the drill rig engine broke before completing the first well. Gary and the drill team came back to Namibia with the gear box to have it repaired. Two weeks later they returned and God blessed with three new wells.
 
 
Namibia Drilling
After the water holes dry up, we drill near rivers so we can get the necessary make up water for the drilling. This means camping out a week at a time during the coldest nights of the year. Many nights have been below freezing, with at least 3 nights at 27 degrees. Even a hippo came close to our camp fire  in search of warmth. She was as big as the pickup, quite frightening. Despite the cold and the hippo encounter, God blessed the drilling and the local teenage boys were very happy to have clean water for the first time.
 
 
Volunteers
The US summer time is the best time of year for volunteers to come to Namibia. Weather is at its best and the mosquitoes are at their lowest. It's hunting season, too! The Georges, from Montevallo, Alabama, came the first two weeks of August. Roddy worked with Gary drilling and repairing wells in Rundu and Tsintsabis. He got along great with the drill team.
 
 
Denise ministered to the young ladies at Discipling African Teens (DAT). They had devotions each night, prepared a song for worship service, visited Oshikoto lake, made t-shirt necklaces and performed at church while Denise played the keyboard. They enjoyed each other and formed new friendships spanning the ocean.
 
 
 
Microenterprise

Tilapia projects will remain unfinished this year. The locals we’re working with insisted on digging ponds so big, they’ve been unable to finish them. It is a hard lesson for us to watch them to learn. We pray through our tears that God will protect them and keep them until they succeed.

This the best season for solar cooking, since there has been and will be no rain for months to come. Nailoke continues making the solar cookers and training people how to use them. Habits and traditions are hard to break though. The women many times say, “We prefer to use wood. We like to sit around the fire and talk at night.”

The sewing projects have taken off. All the sewing machines have been donated to different churches and NGOs with sewing groups for women and children with HIV/Aids. Sewing is something they can do at home to provide for their families, while conserving their physical strength and limiting exposure to attacks on their immune system. Some teenagers have taken advantage of the opportunities to learn how to sew also.

 
 
 
 Discpling African Teens (DAT)

The final term of school starts September 5th. Linda, Maria, and Cornelia (twelfth and tenth graders) have exit exams this term. If they don’t pass they are not allowed to repeat. We expect they will do well based on their current GPAs and progress this year. This fact doesn’t diminish the stress they feel. Most of their friends will not pass. Please pray for peace of mind and heart as they study and take their exams.

 

To help ease their minds we took the DAT family to Etosha Game Park. For most of them, including the Getrude (house parent) and Aina (health & hygiene teacher) it was their first time to see elephants, giraffes, wildebeests, kudu, oryx, and many other other birds and animals. They squealed all day long sometimes scaring off the animals. When looking at the giraffes drinking water, Cornelia said: “God has a solution for everything, even long necks.” Amen! It was God’s creation of the elephant as the most powerful animal that reminded us to revere and worship God.

 

 

Health and Hygiene

Offering Health and Hygiene classes opens doors that would otherwise be closed to us. Aina teaches while the drill team works on new wells or repairing old wells. It also helps the people receiving clean water to learn how to keep it clean and improve their overall health and well being by improving their hygiene practices.


Aina is doing a great job with all ages, including preschoolers. At first she was reluctant, but after seeing them learn to wash their hands properly and fold them in prayer thanking God for clean water, she is thrilled to see her faith put into action as others respond to the gospel.

 

Evangelism

The youth at church had a fun day at the Makalani Hotel in Tsumeb. They enjoyed the fellowship, eat pizza, did some mini-dramas, and splashed around in the pool despite the cold weather. Notice the DAT girls are front and center.


God is growing a future for Namibia out of 35 youth at church in Tsumeb. They were in charge of a worship service for the first time. DAT girls led the pack in drama, song, dance, offering, reciting Scriptures, and leading the congregation. Florence danced. Rachel sang. Jasmine and Florence were both part of the drama team. Aina led the offering time and Maria took the offering. Esther, Cornelia, Jasmine, Linda, Maria, Aina recited scripture and led one congregational song. Poqui was on the worship team and gave her testimony. Rachel and Aina won the leadership awards.


The majority of women in the Africa are still toting unsafe water to their families each day. Thank you for helping us provide them with clean safe water and more importantly the gospel to quench their thirst.


Thank you for your support, encouragement, and prayers.

God bless you,

Gary and Elizabeth Wilkins, Ph. D.

 
 
 
2012 May June
 
Thank you for providing the funding for the 6x6 truck Samil 100. Gary went to check on the progress of the refurbishing of the Samil on his way back from the LWI meeting in Kenya. They are making good progress on getting the Samil finished are ready for delivery to Namibia. Here’s what it looks like at the moment.


 

We’ll need $35,000 to “fit it” with the rig and compressor once it gets to Namibia. Pray God will provide the remaining funds. The goal is to have a rig similar looking to the one below.

 

 

 

Gary is catching up on some of the wells that need repairs. Some wear from use, others from sand that gets in the well pump and freezes it, others are damaged by mischievous children putting stones, rocks, pieces of glass through the vents on the upper assembly of the hand pump…


 

No matter what the reason the witness of going back to check on wells to make sure they are working is a mayor way of showing God’s love. God doesn’t just provide a way for us to be saved, He cares enough to “check” on us too. Gary talks to the pastor at a new church start where we put a borehole in two years ago. This borehole doesn’t need repairing or replacing yet, but the church ladies happily gather on the church benches, below the church bell in the tree next to the steel beams they’ve acquired for the new building, waiting for Bible study to continue.

 

Health and Hygiene training, so it is now done at all new wells and repairs, in addition to a whole term at the Tsintsabis Junior School, grades 1-7. The school children participate in the lessons.


Aina adapts to all kinds of environments now inside, outside (shaded or not), seating availability or not. She even uses the tire ruts of the drill truck going into a site to her advantage as in the picture below where she placed herself on one side of the rut and the students on the other. Teaching children in the bush how to wash their hands properly goes a long way toward improving their health.

 

Simple observations tell us the state of the children’s health without needing to ask questions. When thin children with weak breakable yellowing hair come to the well to get clean water it tells us they suffer from severe malnutrition. The clean water gives their bodies a chance to spend their energy getting strong instead of fighting unnecessary disease.

 

Thomas is still working on the license for the 4x6 drill rig truck. Andreas, drill assistant, has a permit for a pickup and needs his permanent driver’s license. Getrud, DAT house parent, and Aina, Health and Hygiene teacher, are still trying to pass the driver’s learners permit exam. Pray for them as they strive for these goals that will make By Provision’s work much easier on everyone.

Hunting

May opens the hunting season in Namibia. Hunting is a great stress relief for Gary and helps provide protein for the DAT teens. Gary took advantage of some down time to supply some warthog for the DAT and us. This time he took out 4 wart hogs with three bullets. The butchering was a lot of work since it was holiday time. He and Aina spent two days putting the hogs in the freezer.


 

Discipling African Teens

The school year here runs the same as the calendar. We are more than half way through the year. We see real change in the teens lives as they grow in knowledge and grace before God and in the community. Leading Bible study and singing in the park with local children is the favorite weekly of community service followed by the vegetable and fruit distribution.


The DAT teens planned and held a pageant. They designed the program, selected the music, wrote the questions, purchased the prizes, and set up the venue. They presented casual wear and evening wear, had talent competitions, and answer character questions. The answer that stood out was 12th grader Maria’s response: “I want to be remembered as a kind person.” The princesses were awarded flowers and crowns which they proudly wore to church the following day.

 
Remember those in Africa while you enjoy time with your family. Most people here will be searching for water. Their family activity will be for each family member to tote as much water as their body weight will allow, whether the water is safe to drink or not.

Thank you for continuing to help us provide them safe, clean drinking water to tote home. You improve the total quality of life for families and whole villages at a time, when you sponsor a hand pump well for them. The little ones in the picture hopefully won't remember a time they didn't have clean water and Jesus Christ.


 

2012 March April
 

God provided the deposit to get the Samil 100, 6x6 truck, out of South Africa. The Samil 100 truck is an ex military 6x6, 10 ton, Deutz F10L413F V10 engine, ZF S6-90 gearbox, and a ZC Z90 transfer box. These vehicles are robust and reliable and parts are readily available.The total cost will be $125,000 for the truck and then $35,000 to “fit it” with the rig and compressor. Pray God will provide the remaining funds.

 

 

The old drill rig and compressor continue to be used mostly about one hour north of Tsumeb in the Tsintsabis and Bravo areas where the government is relocating the San people.The rainy season is finished now. It’s always a mad dash to drill as many wells as possible, before the drilling make up water in the catchment areas dries up. The preschooler in the picture below pumps his body weight in clean water to tote home. Thanks to this new well he will never remember getting sick because of drinking unsafe water.As you drink clean water today, remember to pray for the little ones who pump and tote their body weight in water every day for their families.

 

 

Gary is still catching up on some of the wells that need repairs. Some wear from use, others from sand that gets in the well pump and freezes it, others are damaged by mischevious children putting stones, rocks, pieces of glass through the vents on the upper assembly of the hand pump… No matter what the reason the witness of going back to check on wells to make sure they are working is a mayor way of showing God’s love. God doesn’t just provide a way for us to be saved, He cares enough to “check” on us too.
 
 

 

This year we stepped up the Health and Hygiene training, so it is now done at all new wells and repairs. Aina doesn’t speak Damara-Nama or San. She has adapted well to teaching with a translator. One of the most well liked lessons is about how to save water using a Tippy Tap made from a plastic bottle. The Tippy Tap is it hygienic, but allows users to wash their hands with a minimum amount of water.

  Tippy

 

Thomas is still working on the license for the 4x6 drill rig truck. Andreas, drill assistant, is trying to get his regular drivers license. Getrud, DAT house parent, and Aina, Health and Hygiene teacher, are still trying to pass the driver’s learners permit exam. Pray for them as they strive for these goals that will make By Provision’s work much easier on everyone.

 

This time of year fishing disappears as the water catchments dry up. The San people begin to rely more heavily on traditional methods of catching/trapping small animals, bird, reptiles to supply protein in their diet. The young boys enjoy using handmade slingshots to kill birds and bush chickens (similar to Cornish hens). If you look closely at the picture below you’ll see the sling shot and the bird prey in the boy’s hand as he holds it by the neck.

 

 

 

Micro Enterprises

 

The tilapia project started last year with TOV is yet to be finished. The local leader got so excited about it, he expanded the number and size of the pools. It seems it will take him all year to get the 20x40feet ponds dug.

 

 

Meanwhile the Bushmen in Bravo decided to start with what they had, a natural water catchment area that dries up more slowly than most. Gary stocked the pond in early March, so they should have 2-4pound fish by the end of July.

 

 

Evangelism and Discipleship

 

There are 150 children enrolled in Sunday School. Every Sunday the one room church we meet in is filled with at least 75 children from ages 3 to 21. This is a special time of year because of Easter. Elizabeth was delighted to have Easter pencils to give to each child on Easter morning. Pencils are particularly appreciated this time of year, because their first term exams are the last two weeks of April. The Bible verses on the pencils will remind the children that God is with them while they take their tests.

 

 

The youth young women came over to the By Provision compound to enjoy a girl’s evening of beauty, music, and giggling. Kamira brought over all kinds of makeup, nail polish, hair extensions and decorations for a fun filled evening of learning how to be beautiful inside and out with modesty, fearing God more than fashion dictates.

 

 

Discipling African Teens
 

The teens continue learning how to serve others each week. The two hours weekly of community service in the past couple of months have included weekly distributing vegetables and fruit to the needy in our town, cleaning at the Old Age Home, and teaching Bible study at a park in Tsumeb. Scrubbing toilets isn’t among the favorites, but they did it with a smile.

 

 

Their most favorite community service project is the weekly vegetable and fruit distribution on Wednesday afternoons. We go to the local farm to pick up the non-sellable produce and then distribute it in town. The next favorite activity is doing the weekly Bible study on Thursday afternoons at the park for whoever shows up. The teens take turns leading the Bible study, signing, review questions, and memory verse activities. They are developing leadership skills as they minister to their community. Now that the heat and rain are passing, it will be much more fun.

 

 

In the picture below the Tippy Tap with clean water is hung from the rafter. This family has filtered and boiled the catchment water to have some clean drinking water for whoever might get sick. The metal tin with the water shared by humans and animals alike is propped up with a log to get the last drop of water. This is the water the family drinks if they are healthy. Tomorrow several older, bigger boys in the family will miss school. They will roll the blue fifty gallon barrels to the water catchment. Once filled with dirty water the barrels will weigh a little less than 500 pounds. Then the boys will have to get them home. It usually requires spending the night out in the open to regain their strength to finish the job.Thank you for providing the resources so families can tote clean, safe drinking water home from hand pumps drilled close to where they live. It is a most wonderful way for them to see the love of Christ.

 

 

God bless you,
 

Elizabeth and Gary Wilkins

January/February 2012

Drilling and Repairing

The new drill and compressor are finally in our compound in Tsumeb. Gary and Thomas are thrilled. Now to get a 6x6 truck to mount them on so we can go drill in places that have been waiting for this equipment. We are trying to get a Samil 100, 6x6 truck, out of South Africa. The cost will be $125,000 for the truck and then $35,000 to “fit it” with the rig and compressor. Pray God will provide the funds.

 

The old LS300 drill and smaller compressor are working fine now, after being in the shop with various repairs. There were several false attempts at starting to drill this year, as three times in a row Gary took the drill to the bush only to find out it wasn't quite ready. Mid February both the rig and compressor we in good shape. Gary drilled in Tsintsabis area and completed three new wells. This area is ever expanding as the government relocates more San people here.

 

 

When we first get back to Africa in January the first order of business is to visit all the wells and determine which ones need repair. This time of year the people tend to not worry if the pump is not working and rely on the water catchment areas that the rain is filling. They don't call us to let us know, so we go to them.

 

The people have a hard time believing that dirty water is making them sick. After all this time of year it has a good clear color and no offensive odor. They've built up quite an immunity to the germs in the dirty water. It takes the young children and the elderly dying, that they can't blame on anything else, before they begin to think it might be the water they are drinking. Gary did 10 repairs giving 10 communities clean water again and increased health.

 

 

The rainy season brings blessings beyond just water and green grass. The native fish lay eggs in the sand that remain dormant until the water catchment areas fill up again. Within a couple of weeks people start to enjoy fresh fish. The added protein to their diet is another reason their health is better during this time. Thankfully the young men in the picture below are using actual hand made fishing poles and not their mosquito netting as a net to catch more fish at one time like the often do.
 



By Provision Compound Activity

We enjoy having fellowship with co partners in ministry. Six times in January and February we’ve had visitors: a team from Red Springs Baptist Church, Seymour, TX , a missionary family and volunteer from Angola (twice), a team from Cunene for Christ, our LWI partners from Zambia, and Child Evangelism Fellowship from Windhoek, Namibia. It seems our compound is ever busy.

The Sunday School leadership group is active again and talking about forming a youth group at church. The leadership team came to our house to prepare valentines for all 100 of the Sunday School children. The older teenage young men were most proud of their creations.

 

Discipling African Teens

 The Discipling African Teens 2012 are:

12th graders: Linda and Maria

11th grader: Rachel

10th grader: Cornelia

9th grader: Francina

8th graders: Florence, Esther, Pokie, Anna, and Auguste.

House parent: Getrud

Please pray daily Luke 2:52 over each of them: And _____ increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

 The new teens are learning to enjoy serving the two hours weekly of community service. In January they pulled weeds, cleaned two different church yards, clean the inside of our church, and took great pleasure in the weekly distributing vegetables and fruit to the needy in our town. This distribution is made possible by weekly donations from Namfo, a local farm about 5 miles out of town. We appreciate their donations and share the extras with those in need in our community.



One of the places we always take fruits and vegetables to is Adele’s Preschool. Adele started this preschool to show God’s love to the children in her neighborhood. She is a CEF worker that teaches Bible study to primary children once a week in the afternoon. Because of the vegetable we take her, she is able to provide the children with soup every day for lunch. When there is fruit, they have it for mid morning snack. This is a picture of her preschool that is increasing the witness of Christ in the community.

 

It is summer time here so the community children and the DAT young ladies are enjoying the pool. We’ve limited the community children come on Fridays and Saturdays only. There are a couple dozen regulars. The DAT girls prefer to swim by themselves during the week day afternoons and Sunday afternoon.



Aina and Hilma, previous year’s graduates of Discipling African Teens, started working with By Provision as Health and Hygiene teachers. Everyone now has passports, so we can work in Angola. Thomas got his regular driver’s license and is now working on the license for the 4x6 drill rig truck. Andreas and Getrud are still trying to pass the driver’s learners permit exam. Pray for them as they strive for this goal.

 


 

 

 

 

A volunteer posted a video on you tube is you would like to view it use the link below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHOpAh39OHE

 
September 2011

Drilling 

The Santa Clara border Angolan border officials finally cleared the rig and released it. This only happened because of the intercessory prayer of many for the rig’s release.During this time of waiting God also showed Gary a new place in Angola, that doesn’t require crossing at the Santa Clara border.

It was most unusual that Gary felt led to stop and ask directions from a lady selling her wares outside a liquor store. When he asked her if she knew how to get to Angola using a road that isn’t on the map, she said: “Yes, and I need a ride there. I’ll show you.” As they traveled, Gary told her about our desire to drill fresh water wells for people that don’t have water.” She answered: “We’ve been praying for a long time for fresh water. We have friends a couple hours away in Omandanguila that a Christian drilled for but we don’t know how to contact them, so we’ve been praying they would find us.” When we told her we were the people that drilled there and mentioned pastor Tumenge’s name she started crying for joy and asked: “What must we do to get clean water like they did?” We told her she just needed to get permission from the headman and she answered: “That will be easy. He’s my husband.”

This last week of drilling was in southern Angola. Gary used a path that didn't require going through the official border. The drilling went well and they didn’t get stuck on the path. They drilled 6 new wells. It is always thrilling to see the astonishment of the faces of preschoolers when they see clean water for the first time coming out of a pump. They don’t understand it and look at with reverence, shyly putting their hands in, and then tasting, before they start smiling, laughing, and running around in joy.

 

Well Rehabs
Thankfully we didn’t need the rig to repair wells in Ondija. We were able to repair 17 wells in the Ondjiva area and follow up with the believers in that area of Angola. Our hearts breaks for them as they are oppressed by such a great cloud of corruption it makes earning an honorable living extremely difficult. Yet some remain faithful to God’s standards and are a testimony to those who have given up and to those who are still searching for God.

One of the pastors in that area, Tumengue, is a young man, just married last year. He is joyful that we've come back to his area. He ditched his Lutheran priest collar and robe, put on his old rags, and put his muscles to work helping us do the rehabs of the wells. Young boys that had to help go fetch the dirty water waiting for to come rehab the wells were particularly grateful. One particular one drank quite a bit, straight from the pump, before filling his bucket to head home.

 

Pray for pastor Tumenge's ministry to prosper and increase as the relief brought by clean water will free him and others in their area from daily burden of seeking water and from the consequences of dirty water.

Discipling African Youth

Since the youth have been back in Tsumeb, after their school break, DAT has been in a constant buzz. Tori used Gary’s laptop to teach Rachel, one of the teens, keyboarding once a week for six weeks. Rachel and Rally, DAT teens, led signing in a 5K march for orphans in town. They practiced for two weeks every day after school with the orphans at Hope Center. DAT celebrated the baptism of Rally and Linea into a life of service to our Lord Jesus! Would you please commit to pray for these two young women. They will leave us at the end of October when they take their High School exit exams. Pray that God will send someone into their lives to continue discipling them as they enter the adult world.

 

Linea's baptism

Rally's baptism

The DAT teens don’t count the weekly vegetable distribution as part of their mandatory two hours of weekly community service, because they count it all joy. Getrude and Elizabeth choose Good News Clubs, preschools, and believers that use the vegetables as a way to extend the gospel to their communities. It is a true act of worship and service that the DAT teens greatly enjoy. Pray for the family in the picture below. At least once a month, there is another child with another ailment or accident. The mother is at work all day and there is little supervision for the children. A few months ago a toddler fell into the cooking fire badly burning her scalp and neck. This week we found one of the preschoolers had broken his arm.


All the DAT teens attended a youth weekend in Groofontein the first weekend in September where they learned about casting their cares on God, praising Him when things aren’t going as planned, and comforting others in face of loss. These lessons will come in handy over the next few months. The 10th and 12th graders will have exams until the end of October. The other grades will have class and exams until the end of November.

 

Evangelism and Discipleship
Gary did quite a lot of preaching this year in Tsumeb for the English church. The last Sunday he cautioned people to not let Jesus pass them by (Mark 6:48b). Gary used the same story of Jesus walking on the sea from Matthew to encourage believers to cry out to the Lord for a closer relationship and more opportunities to build faith like Peter did.

 

We celebrated the beginning of the new and last term this year by hosting the 16 Sunday School youth leaders at our house for a power point presentation of Germany and Portugal. It was a good time of fellowship and discipleship as the youth thought how other people live and considered travel as a part of their future. A few decided they might want to learn how to drive, so they can more easily travel. We talked about how to go to the ends of the earth to share the Good News requires travel.

The community children are only coming to swim on weekends now that school is back in session. It's hot again now with most days hoover in the 100's and getting down to 80's at night. The neighbors still don’t like it, even though we are adhering to the strict Africaner schedule of  2-5pm weekdays and 3-5pm weekends, as to not disturb the neighbor’s nap time.

 

Scott continues with his 4 groups of disciples in Tsumeb, Rundu, Tsinstabis, and Groofontein. Pray for consistency in attendance and development of accountability in each group. The Johnsons attended a local native church as a family Sunday for the first time. They were seriously tired afterwards since the Saturday night service ended at 1:20am and the Sunday morning baptism service ran several hours also.

Micro Enterprise

Tilapia projects have not gone as well as other years. There were several nights below freezing at various times in the year that killed a lot of the fish. The leaders of our newest project, TOV, decided they wanted such large fish ponds that they’ve had trouble completing the digging. In fact, they gave up and are trying to get the road crew to use their back hoe to finish the digging.

Robert Scott has learned now to fish the tilapia. He is a great promoter of tilapia. Gary taught him how to scale, gut, and clean the tilapia at Gary and Elizabeth's house.


Maria’s wellness salon is doing well. She did have to let her only worker go to be able to make a profit. Mrs. Johnson made a flyer for Maria that Elizabeth had blown up to poster size and placed it at key business areas around town. In order to help Maria’s clientele grow, we are in the process of getting the salon approved as a provider under health insurance programs. We are very proud of Maria.

 

The solar cooking project has been slow this year, as Nailoke had no table saw to build the cookers until June. We did get a new table saw donated to her. She found a place to store and use it. After months of  waiting for the needed saw blades, Nailoke is now busy cutting her wood to build new solar cookers.

  

Pray for those in Angola, Namibia, and Botswana during this drought. Thank God for those you've given a clean water well to that they will share the gospel with those seeking physical water. They will be waiting until the rain comes again and for Gary and Elizabeth to come back to drill.


A volunteer from last year posted a short video on you tube is you would like to view it use the link below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHOpAh39OHE


STATS 2012
New wells:
            Angola              3 
            Namibia          30 
                             33 new wells
Rehab Wells:

            Namibia          27 
            Angola           17 
                               44 rehab wells

1 DAT home for 10 teens in Tsumeb
Discipleship weekly in 4 regions
Health & Hygiene at well & rehab sites
3 microenterprise projects