Thankfulness to God…
There are always many things to be thankful for, but as we consider all that has happened in the recent past, are just so overwhelmed with gratitude to God for His many blessings and to each of you for your faithful encouragements, prayers, and support!
For those who haven’t heard the exciting news, we are officially MARRIED! On January 7th we entered into the covenant of marriage before many friends and loved ones amid a beautiful winter snow in Grand Rapids, MI. It truly was a perfect day to say, “I do…until death do us part!” God blessed with the breathtaking winter wedding Anna had always dreamed of and everything was so God-glorifying just as we had prayed for. Thank you to the many of you who were a part of our special day! We were so honored and privileged to have you there with us! It would not have been the same without you.
Since returning from our honeymoon, life has been filled with many changes! First for Anna was settling into Mike’s apartment in Grand Rapids and our adjusting to life as husband and wife. We are continuing to work through the process of joining our two lives together in the practical sense. This has included merging our ABWE accounts into one—a lot more logistics, calculating, and recalculating needs than we had anticipated. Just as Anna got somewhat settled into our apartment God opened the door for us to move into the mission house of one of our sending churches. What a blessing! Due to a busy travel schedule, we ended up moving in within a week of finding out we would have the house. Our family helped us tremendously in moving, and were patient with us despite the fact that we had very little time to pack beforehand; we could never have done it without them! We were in the house for six nights before we headed out on the road. What a whirlwind!
The beginning of our trip was spent with Emmanuel Baptist Church of Toledo, OH. Anna had the opportunity of sharing her heart and our ministry in Togo with over 100 women at a ladies’ outreach tea on Saturday morning. What a blessed time! Please pray that God brings fruit in all of our lives from this time together! Sunday morning we were able to share with the congregation about our passion for reaching the lost in Togo. What an encouraging time of mutual edification! We are so thankful for the opportunities to meet other brothers and sisters in the body of Christ through this thing called ‘prefield ministry.’ It gives us the unique opportunity to meet new people in local churches across the US and swap “God stories.”
We left directly from Toledo to head to Missouri where we attended Community Health Evangelism (CHE) training for the week. Community health has been a love of Anna’s since my nursing school days; it has been so fun for her to dive back in a little bit this week! It is a dream of mine ours to hopefully one day establish a CHE program in conjunction with HoH in Mango one day. This outreach strategy combines health education and evangelism/discipleship within the model of training nationals to reach their own neighbors. It has been an exciting week as we dream about the possibilities and pray that God will help us to begin something in Mango one day! Please pray for wisdom as we seek how and when to initiate this program as a Mango team. Also, we covet your prayers for safety as we travel back on Saturday.
Where we are now…
It has taken some time to merge our ABWE accounts and figure out our current support level as a couple and the needs that still need to be met. We are very excited to report that with a few support increases this last week we currently have 91% of our monthly support needs funded! This only leaves a deficit of $477/month. Praise the Lord!!! Please pray with us as we seek more financial partners to bring us to 100% of our need. In order to leave for the field this fall as we desire, we need to reach that 100% mark. Would you consider partnering with us? If God is laying on your heart to join with us in what He is doing in Mango through financial support you can go to www.abwe.org/give where you can commit to support us as well as learn about ways to give. (Please include “Mike and Anna Cole” and our missionary ID# 0134943 with any gifts so that it gets into the right account.)
Since Mike originally went to the field as a short-term missionary he did not do much language school training. As a result, the beginning of this term for us will involve attending language school. We are currently looking at the same school Anna attended in Massy, France and plan to be there for about a year. Please pray for the process of application, Mike’s placement in the program, and that we will be able to get our visas without issue. It is a fairly lengthy process of acquiring and submitting all the necessary paperwork. Pray for wisdom in the timing of all of this as we still have support to raise to be cleared to leave.
In addition to our recurring monthly support needs, we also need to raise money in one-time gifts to help cover travel and visa expenses, language school costs, shipping our belongings to Togo and setting up our home there as well as purchasing a reliable and safe vehicle for use in-country. We currently have $25,000 already raised with a remaining $50,000 needed. Raising this amount seems a bit overwhelming, but we are trusting God to supply all of our needs. If you would like to be a part of helping us reach these goals, please give through the same website listed above, designating the gift as “O&P for Mike and Anna Cole/#0134943”. He has been so faithful in providing for us in amazing ways in the past through the generosity of so many of you, so we rest with confidence in Him! He is our Jehovah Jireh! (Gen. 22:14) Thank you for joining us in praying for these needs! As always, we would love to share our ministry with you or with your church family! If you or one of your friends are interested in having us come please let us know.
Busy schedule coming up…
We are picking back up with a busier travel schedule after taking a break from travel over the holidays and following our wedding. Please pray for good contacts and encouragement as we seek new prayer and financial supporters as well as reconnect with our current faithful supporters. We have a pretty busy schedule coming up, so please pray for safety for us as we travel and that God would bless our time on the road.
“The harvest is ready but the laborers are few.” If you are interested in being the hands and feet of Christ in Togo, please let us know! We are in ever great need of short-term medical personnel from a variety of professions to fill gaps in our coverage. We also have many non-medical needs on the field, so if you are open to considering a short-term trip, please let us know. We’d be happy to answer any questions and begin dialoguing with you about the possibilities!
God is continuing to do amazing things in Mango and we are so excited to get back to our friends there! His Word continues to go forth into unreached people groups in and around Mango and people are coming to Him and in faith confessing that He is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life! As always, thank you for praying and partnering with us!
Making HIS Name Great,
Mike and Anna Cole