Posted by: the watchmen | January 30, 2009

Pray for Sarah.____Paul and Marina Briggs, New Tribes Mission.

Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 9:58 AM
Subject: Pray for Sara*

One of the most thrilling and emotional events that we experienced over the past few years was the day we returned to the village of Gogo after an absence of almost four years. Due to war, and the division of the country by the various warring factions, we had not been able to enter northern Ivory Coast, but on Easter Sunday, 2006, we made our first trip back to Gogo.

After a tiring, three-hour motorcycle trip from Burkina Faso on rough dusty roads we eventually arrived at our destination. As we walked into the packed church building, the believers sang a welcome song for us. Tears filled our eyes as we witnessed what God had been doing among the Loron believers during the years of separation and we thanked the Lord for the privilege of being able to return to our village. The singing was led by a young woman called Sara. We had a great time with the Loron folks, first at church, and then as we baptised new Loron believers in a local reservoir. Sara was among the group of seventeen young men and women who were baptised that day.

About a year later, Sara’s husband** came to Burkina Faso to receive treatment at the local government hospital. He had been sick for quite a while and had lost a lot of weight. He also had a chronic case of hiccups. He was checked for HIV and the test came back positive. He was given treatment and some medication, but there was not a lot they could do for him. The treatment did, however, help to relieve the hiccups. After recuperating at the hospital for about a week, we brought him back to Gogo to spend his final days in the village with his wives and children. But after a few weeks he recovered quite well and resumed a somewhat normal lifestyle. He also started to attend the church in Gogo.

We know that at church and through the witness of the Loron believers who visited him at his home he heard a clear presentation of the gospel in his own language, but we do not know if he ever put his trust in the Lord Jesus for salvation. He lived for another twenty months. Last week we received word that he had died.

Ten days later, his first wife also died. Sara has now been tested for HIV and, sadly, she has also contracted the disease. So far, she has not shown any physical signs of being HIV+, but it can take several years for symptoms to appear. We are very upset, but not surprised by the news.

Last Saturday we called Joel, one of the main Loron Bible teachers, on the cell phone that we left with the folks in Gogo. We encouraged the church leaders to go to one of the major towns in northeast Ivory Coast to try to obtain some of the antiretroviral medication for HIV that has become widely available in the country through President Bush’s emergency programme for AIDS relief (PEPFAR) in Africa.

As well as being active at church and among the young people, Sara is also a very capable literacy teacher and has been working with a number of adult students in Gogo. Please be praying that she will be able to get the medication that she needs to extend her life, and that she will continue to be a blessing and encouragement as she faces this unimaginable trial.

By His grace,

Paul and Marina

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