Dan & Esther Penney's "Rejoice & Request" Update -- April 2006

The big event of this last month was our two-week trip to Johannesburg, South Africa.  A colleague to participated in the WorldVenture Leadership Conference there pointed out to us that it is farther from Dakar to Johannesburg than from Dakar to New YorkAfrica is such a HUGE continent!  It was interesting for us to see such a mixture of western/modern and African in South Africa.  (For those of you reading this in black-and-white, the blue "Rejoices" are also italicized, and the red "Requests" are bolded).

PERSONAL & FAMILY

*       Esther's pregnancy continues to go well.  Praise the Lord that she is beginning to feel much better, with significantly more energy and only occasional nausea.

*       We praise God for the good family vacation in South Africa during the week following the conference (see below for more on the conference).  Since not only we as a whole family, but also Esther's parents and her brother with his family, were all together at the conference, we decided to all stay on for another week and have a truly family vacation together.  It was fun to spend the time together, to rest, play games, take walks, and especially to enjoy the wonderful wild life in South Africa.  Dan got literally hundreds of great digital photos of lions, giraffes, antelope, zebra, etc.  One of the biggest highlights was petting some lion cubs with our boys---a once in a lifetime experience!  (We, and the game keepers, made sure these frisky "little" cats---who play like kittens but have bigger jaws and sharper claws!---didn't get too rough with the boys.)

*       Pray for wisdom in dealing with our current electricity shortage.  One of the city's four main generators burned up a couple weeks ago, and so we are now enduring daily power outages of 8-12 hours.  As you can imagine, this makes it challenging to get work done (especially since much of Dan's work is on the computer), not to mention keeping refrigerated food good.  Because the government has announced that this situation will continue for at least another two months, we are considering purchasing a generator for basic electrical needs when the power is out.  But that would be a significant expense, and we do not want to waste the financial resources God has provided.  So pray for wisdom to know how God would have us respond to this need.

*       Since it has happened somewhat gradually, we have forgotten to tell you that our oven has finally settled down.  We slowly figured out that we cannot use it in the same way we would an oven in the US.  It is a bit more sensitive and temperamental than that.  But we are gradually figuring out how to get it to maintain its set temperature.  So we thank you all who were praying for our oven.  With slight modifications to her cooking habits, Esther has made peace with it, and so it is now working as we need it to.

*       Please pray for Dan's computer.  As we were working on this update, our laptop's LCD display began to black out periodically.  We do not yet know if this is a serious problem that will require sending it back to the US for repair, or something intermittent that will go away.  So pray that God will keep our equipment working well, especially our computer equipment, upon which we rely so heavily to do our work here, and to stay in contact with our prayer support base (you!).

FIELD NEWS

*       WorldVenture's Leadership Conference in South Africa went very well.  It was good to be with colleagues from all over the world, to be encouraged from the Word about our leadership roles (lessons from Moses' life), and to hear ways others are dealing with the leadership challenges we all face.

*       Continue to pray with us for a new director for Dakar Academy.  This MK school serves over 250 children from all over West Africa, and has unique needs, both as an American school in a non-American environment, and as a combination boarding school and day school for missionary children.  Dan is on the school board, which is conducting the search for a new director for 2006/2007.  We will need him/her in place by this summer!

*       Pray for Dan's trip to Bamako, Mali for the West Africa regional field leaders' meeting.  This will be April 25-27.

*       Our national Christian leaders report that Senegal is gradually developing more antagonism toward Christianity.  The latest development is that the current administration gave all of this year's private school subsidies---a fair portion of which is supposed to go to private Christian schools---to the private Islamic schools.  As a result, many Roman Catholic private schools have gone on strike in protest.  More significant to us is what this action indicates in terms of governmental willingness to publicly snub Christian institutions.  Pray that Senegal's political openness will continue.

MINISTRY

*       Continue to pray for ITES (Institut de Theologie Evangelique du Senegal; formerly known as IED).  We continue to have significant needs, but God has provided in two wonderful ways, as the following two points indicate...

*       The director's team has found an 8.5 acre plot of land that looks very workable.  This is even bigger than we'd dared hope for, and the owner (nearby village) seems ready to sell at a good price.  Pray for the smooth finalization of this transaction that could have a far-reaching, positive impact on the future of church leadership training in West Africa.

*       The board of directors for ITES has yet to meet with the two parties who are offering potential short-term solutions for our facilities needs in Dakar.  We hope these meetings will take place this coming month.  Pray for wisdom to know the Lord's mind in these opportunities.

*       Pray for the next ITES board meeting, set for April 5.

*       We have a short-term team coming this month from one of our supporting churches.  They will be here for 12 days, doing maintenance work on missionary homes, seeing and praying for our WorldVenture-Senegal ministries, and getting a first-hand view of missions.  Pray for safety, and especially for the Lord's will to be accomplished in their lives as well as ours during their visit.  We'll admit that short-term teams are a lot of work for the hosting missionaries, but they can also have a major impact for the cause of missions, both in the host country as well as in the lives of the short-term team members themselves.  Pray that both will be true for this team.

FINANCES

*       After a brief dip below 100% last month, we are again fully supported!  God is good.

Thank you for your prayers.  Your financial support allows to BE in Senegal, but your prayers are what allow us to have an impact for Christ.

(You have our permission to distribute or reproduce this information as you feel appropriate.)