Monday, August 13, 2012

Hello from Togo!!!

It caught me by surprise that my 3 month visa needed to be renewed, how is it possible that I have already been here for that long???  I apologize for not being able to send out more frequent updates! 
Our internet connection is unpredictable and very slow!  I would appreciate your continued prayers and have included some specific prayer requests throughout the letter.  I’ll try to give you some
glimpses of what has been happening over the last couple months:

Supervising Nursing Students

My ministry here has been primarily to work with the supervision of nursing students in the hospital.  The month of May I worked with four Cedarville University nursing students.  Starting in June I have transitioned to working with the Togolese nursing students.  They are a class of 20 and about half way through their three year program.  There are many challenges as I work through translators and try to grade work done in French.  Please pray that these students would be well prepared for a future ministry as a nurse!!!  Please pray for me to have wisdom in supervising the students and in improving my French to better communicate with them!!!
The Cuisine

On the hospital compound there is a place called The Cuisine for families of patients to cook meals and sleep. Often patients and their families stay after discharge while waiting for follow up appointments, money to pay their bill, or rides home.  I enjoy going there to see former patients and play with the children.  It can be challenging because of the language barrier, but I found a lady who speaks some English as well as French and Ewe, which is one of the local tribal languages.  I started taking a French children’s Bible and having her read stories to the children, but she had to return to her village. God has provided another women who reads the stories in French and then in Ewe.  There are now a consistent group of about 8 women and 4 children who have been coming to listen to her read from the Bible.  Many people are asking for Bibles of their own.  I have asked them to memorize 6 verses and then I will give them a Bible!!!  Please pray for wisdom in this ministry in The Cuisine and for someone to always be able to read the Bible in their native language!!!  Please pray for wisdom in giving out Bibles and the funds to provide them!!!    

Community Health Ministry

I have had the opportunity to see some of the Community Health ministries happening in villages surrounding the hospital.  One village received some pigs to raise, other villages have received machetes to help plant fields and gardens, many hand washing stations have been set up, and village workers have been established to teach people about improving both their physical and spiritual health.  Please pray for this ministry and that the projects they do will empower the community to make needed and lasting changes!!!   

A trip to Chad

In August the nursing school will have a break between their trimesters.  I will take this time to travel to the country of Chad to work with TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission) and learn about the Community Health Development ministries in that country.  Their ministry is different from the one here in Togo in that they do not have a hospital, but they are strictly focused on Community Health.  The trip will be from Aug. 25 – Sept. 6.  I will arrive in Ndjamena, Chad, the capital city, and as soon as possible fly to Tchaguine where the community development work is happening.  Please pray for this trip and for all the logistics to continue to come together, as well as for the time there to be beneficial in learning about community health ministries.   

Trip to Ghana

The first 2 weeks of July I enjoyed a trip to the neighboring country of Ghana to join a ministry team that my mom was a part of.  I was able to meet children that my mom has been working with over the past 8 years and it was such a joy to get to know them and spend time with them.  I miss them already and would love another opportunity to go back and visit them!!!  I was a special trip that I am very thankful for!!!    
Financial Update

I have been so grateful and amazed by the financial donations that have been given towards this time of ministry here in Togo.  I am humbled to be the steward of such generosity!  Currently the amount of money donated will pay for my time in Togo through Sept.  The remaining costs for my time here in Togo from October through December and the time in Chad will be approx. $5,000.  My church will continue accepting donations toward my trip through the end of the year if you feel that God would have you financially partner with me in this ministry.  Please pray for me to be a wise steward of all God’s provisions!!!

Donation Info: Checks should be made out to College Park Church, but do NOT write my name on the memo line; Send to: College Park Church, Attn: Global Outreach, 2606 W. 96th St., Indianapolis, IN, 46268; please include a note that the funds are for Amie Bockstahler. They will provide tax-deductible receipts at the end of the year.

·         Relationships: with the many people I interact with in a variety of settings
·         Strength and contentment: that I would rest in the Lord and be available to do whatever He asks me to do
·         Protection from discouragement: especially seeing great needs, and in times of missing family & friends
·         The Hospital: for the hospital staff and for the patients seeking medical treatment
·         Traveling: continued protection
*** Thank you for your prayers!!!***                     
Please let me know how I can be praying for you!!!
·         The community of missionaries and Togolese that surround me
·         The few skype and/or telephone calls that have worked
·         So far I’ve had great health
·         Working primarily in the pediatric ward – which is my favorite!!!

Quick Facts:
·         The house I live in is on the hospital compound and about 2-3 min. walk to the hospital
·         I have only seen one snake . . . and thankfully it was dead!  I still try to never walk in the dark without a flashlight!
·         My French lessons are twice a week
·         The Togolese people are very creative and resourceful!
·         We see many different diseases, including malaria, injuries from fires and accidents, infections, complications from herbal medicines, and many other things.
·         Patients often wait at home or go to a healer before showing up very sick at the hospital
·         I attended a Togolese wedding which was a fun cultural experience!
·         The weather is comfortable and it is currently rainy season
·         I take many walks up the mountain and enjoy a great look out over the hospital compound, valley, and surrounding mountains
·         In August, I might be going to northern Togo to the city of Mango, where this mission is in the process of building another hospital 

I'm glad that i'm here and enjoying this time. It's hard at times when I’m missing family and friends and some of the big events happening in their lives. There have also been times of struggling with not feeling qualified for the responsibilities given to me, and wondering if the ministry I’m doing is having any impact.  But, I still feel a peace about being here for this time. Regardless, any little sacrifice that I am making right now is nothing in comparison to the sacrifice that Jesus made when He died on the cross for us!!! So, sometimes there is lots of smiles and laughter, other times there is frustration and discouragement, and other times there are just lots of tears.  But, in the end, God sustains me through it all!!!  Psalm 66: 8-12 “Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of His praise be heard; He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.  For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.  You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.”   My prayer is that I can praise God in the midst of difficulties and challenges and allow God to use those things to bring me to a place of abundance!!!

Amie Bockstahler

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