Warmest Christmas greetings, dear Friends, Colleagues in ministry, and caring Supporters,
Wow! This has been such an eventful year for David (Faouzi) and me! Where do I even begin?
MALI: You remember that some frustrated Malian soldiers, angry with their president for holding back arms and ammunitions needed to squelch a Tuareg rebellion brewing in the north, initiated a coup the end of March. Shortly after that, the rebels, influenced by Al-Qaida partisans, took advantage of the confusion to partition the northern 2/3rds of Mali and create “their” new nation, Azawad.
ITALY: As the political and racial tensions escalated in Mali, and since David and I were already scheduled to fly out to a mid April missions conference in Palermo, we went ahead and evacuated at the same time. What a delight it was for us to connect with, not just many dear missionary friends, but also with Faouzi’s sister’s family while there!!! To top off our joy, we were able to briefly intersect with our son and daughter-in-law who had business in that same area.
LEBANON: After the conference, David and I went with Faouzi’s sister and her husband to their home in Beirut, Lebanon, where we had 2 wonderful weeks visiting with and ministering to the Arzouni side of the family, many of whom have close ties to Hezbollah.
USA: From Lebanon, I had already made plans to come back to the States for rotator cuff surgery, but even before getting on the plane in Beirut, I got a call saying my mom had fallen again and was hospitalized with two broken arms. So I postponed my surgery for a couple of months until Mom was well enough to come home again.
After our time in Lebanon, Faouzi returned to Mali and the demands of planting 45 acres of rice, corn, and beans at our self-sufficiency agro-pastoral project. I finally had my shoulder surgery done the end of July, followed by therapy. But suddenly, on September 12th, “life as usual” was abruptly interrupted when the Lord called my mother home. My sibs Mike and Judy, Faouzi and I helped Dad say temporary good-byes to Mom with a memorial service here in Santa Cruz, CA, and a funeral in Buffalo, SD. The log cabin AG church in Buffalo is where Mom, then a single evangelist, was preaching when Dad accepted the Lord.
Mom’s passing threw me into a new job, that of trustee, and, with much help, I have been slowly putting order in Dad’s financial house. Faouzi went back to ministry at our self-sufficiency agro-pastoral project. Due to local mismanagement of a dam nearby, David watched as one third of the project fields were flooded and destroyed. Even the rice heads were eaten by the fish. He is now doing his best to recover from this setback.
Although the cereals harvest was very damaged, spiritual harvest has never been better! Along with farming God’s way, David begins every day with a Bible study with the Muslim workers, often followed by interactions and discussions about Issa-Al-Massih’s (Jesus’) solutions to life’s problems throughout the day. He is ministering more to Muslims now than he ever could in his former traditional missionary role.
YOUR CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR: May the God who moved a star in the heavens to lead the lost to His Christ, may this same Father bless you and lead you into this New Year 2013 with peace, assurance and purpose!
Praying that His star would shine bright over Mali,
Linda and David (Faouzi) Arzouni