by Joshua and Joanna Bogunjoko | You may or may not have heard of the killings going on in Nigeria. We are so sad that many lives have been taken and it does not seem like the government is doing anything to stop the killings and prosecute the perpetrators. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones or their means of livelihood or have been injured. We need God’s intervention as it is ongoing and just a few days ago, more people were attacked and killed.
It has been some time since we sent out a news and prayer letter. Thank you for your unceasing prayers and faithful gifts that keep us going in our ministry, in our work with SIM teams and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ around the world.
The last two to three months have been full of ministry activities as well as family activities and challenges. The month of May kicked off with Joel’s return from school at the end of his second year in the University. However, it was a difficult time for him. He has struggled with some level of general anxiety for some time, but this was aggravated by additional academic stress. It all came to a head this past semester when he was taken to a nearby hospital during a panic attack. Joshua made a dash to Columbia to be with him through the hospital visit and spent the night with him in his hostel. Thankfully, he was able to finish his exams the following Monday and return home. This situation prompted us to bring him along for our trip to the UK where he spent two weeks with his aunt and uncle while we went on to a prior commitment in the SIM North East India office. We are grateful for the Lord’s care for Joel. He has done well so far and has continued in counseling. He also recently had surgery and is recovering well. His surgery led to our decision to have Joanna stay with him at home while Joshua went on to Malawi for the SIM Spiritual Life Conference and the 125th Anniversary of SIM.
This has been a challenging year health wise. Starting in December with Joanna going through hospital visits for back-aches, then suffering from pneumonia in January/February with three additional hospital visits. Joshua was also treated for pneumonia, followed by strep-throat; now Joel with anxiety, and topping it all with surgery. It has only been the Lord’s grace that has sustained us, and we are very grateful for your prayers. Of course, one of the impacts of these multiple hospital visits are the bills that keep coming. We have continued to receive new ones almost every week. Please pray for us and for our finances, that we will have wisdom from the Lord and He will meet all these financial needs.
Another item of prayer in relation to this is Joel’s college scholarship. Due to the serious anxiety issues with the class that resulted in his ending up in a hospital, he failed the class. He had received special accommodation recommendation from a psychologist for this class, but it was not implemented by the university. Despite doing well in all other classes, his GPA still fell below the necessary 3.0 by just 0.0023. As a result, we have been advised that he will lose his scholarship. Joel has an option of appeal. Please pray as we appeal this decision, that the Lord will go ahead of us and that he will receive a sympathetic hearing and a favorable consideration for the continuity of his scholarship.
In all that has gone on in the recent months, Joel was also recently diagnosed with adult Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This is something that we had wondered about over the years and which Joel himself, through his readings had wondered about. However, now that some of his struggles have a clear diagnosis we look forward to simply and prayerfully journeying with him as he works through its implications. One thing that we are grateful for is his better understanding of himself and our own better understanding of the root of some of his struggles. Pray for this journey with us that we would be able to serve him well and that he will trust in the Lord in all his ways not allowing any form of illness or diagnosis to pull him down. He is full of potentials with a desire to serve the Lord. We want to see the Lord accomplish all His plans in his life. Jochebed was also diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and mild PTSD a couple of months ago, and we pray the Lord will guide her as well as she deals with the implications.
The last few months have not just been all about illnesses. We have also had tremendous opportunities of ministry around the SIM world. We participated in the SIM anniversary celebration in the UK in May on our way to North East India where the Lord opened to us many doors of ministry. We met with several denominational leaders of churches who are currently sending missionaries with SIM from North East India. This office just marked ten years this year and so far, they have already sent more than fifty missionaries with SIM, with 45 currently active on the field. We give thanks for what He is doing with the SIM North East India.
We were back briefly in the International office and then left for Namibia and Mozambique. We spent a valuable week with the SIM team in Namibia with a visit to the SIM related churches in the North of the country. Very grateful for the work that is going on in the heart of God’s people across the country. There is a spark of light towards mission sending from Namibia by these churches but there is a great need for discipleship. Please pray that this spark will become a burning flame for the gospel and in the heart of God’s people.
We wrapped up that trip with speaking at the SIM Mozambique Spiritual Life Conference. This is a small SIM team but a very committed team nonetheless. Joshua spoke seven times in the four days that we were there while Joanna spent an afternoon with the women and many one on one moments. We were truly blessed as we listened to their vision to make Christ known where He is least known in Mozambique, to invest in the churches by training leaders and training disciple makers. One missionary’s desire is to see farmers all over the country impacted by the gospel through agricultural practices that honor the Lord and tend to His creation. It was a sobering but encouraging week. Sobering in the sense that this team has in the past two years lost two of their leaders to serious illnesses with no promise of cure. They had gone from one heart break to another, and yet they were committed to the Lord and to the course to which He had called them. Please keep our Namibia and Mozambique teams in your prayers.
Joshua is currently in Malawi. After two weeks back in the States, he had to make this trip alone as Joanna stays home to care for Joel. Joshua will be speaking twice on Saturday, July 21st and at the Sunday service during the SIM Malawi celebration of the 125th Anniversary of SIM. And then daily from Monday through Friday next week, at the missionary Spiritual Life Conference. Please pray for wisdom for him and for the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit upon all his messages. Pray that he will have the right message for the right occasion.
Thank you also for all your prayers for the leadership changes in SIM. The Lord has honored your prayers beyond anything that we could imagine. As at the end of last week July 13, 2018, all the search process and interviews planned for this time had been concluded. We are now in the process of confirming each person in the role to which Joshua is appointing them. We also give thanks to the Lord for a new Executive Assistant for Joshua in the person of Angela Doucet. She is from Canada and will be based there. Being in the same time-zone is a great plus. Please praise God for all these leadership appointments and for God’s provision of Angela as Joshua’s much needed Executive Assistant.
Thank you all for standing with us as we prayed through the last week of May into the 1st of June when we started Joshua’s second five-year term as International Director. Many of the items that we prayed for that week have now seen answer to prayer, especially the prayer for the new leadership structure and the new leader appointments. We have seen the Lord’s hand in everything. Starting with eighty-two candidates and looking to make around 11 appointments, the Lord brought it all together in a space of less than three months. God has been gracious to us! Thank you for praying.
We praise God for Jochebed in San Francisco. She has had a period of discouraging events at work and has been working through it by prayer. The Lord answered those prayers in amazing ways in the last weeks. She is back to her happy self and excited again with her work as she prepares to fly to New York and present to her company’s Impact Advisory Council on diversity and inclusion.
We would like to ask you to join us in prayers for the Faris family. A little over two years ago, their eighteen-year-old daughter died in her sleep in the University. Her father, Don, has been battling severe pancreatic disease in the last two months. He has been hospitalized many times and several times for a prolonged period. This family has gone through a lot. Don works in our IT department and his wife, Lisa in our Finance department. Will you please join us in prayer for the Lord’s healing for Don.
You may or may not have heard of the killings going on in Nigeria. We are so sad that many lives have been taken and it does not seem like the government is doing anything to stop the killings and prosecute the perpetrators. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones or their means of livelihood or have been injured. We need God’s intervention as it is ongoing and just a few days ago, more people were attacked and killed.
Praise God for His intervention on Joel’s life and for all that he has gone through that he continues to be strong in the Lord.
Praise God for answered prayers for Jochebed at her work.
Praise God for answered prayers for leadership appointments and executive assistant search.
Praise God for His protection, provision and presence in all our ways.
Please pray for Joel’s health that the Lord will heal him completely. We are not camping at the door of any diagnoses, rather, we are trusting the Lord our healer to heal Joel and keep him safe and healthy.
Pray that the Lord will continue to sustain Jochebed and make her a light where He has placed her.
Pray for Joanna as she looks after Joel and pray for the Lord’s wisdom in her work with missionary families, women in the mission, female staff in the office and the archives.
Pray for Joshua as he speaks in Malawi that the Lord will speak through Him and touch many hearts through the words that the Lord will give to Joshua.
Pray for the new leadership team and the new Executive Assistant as they start in their roles that the Lord will give them hearts of unity and that they will work together as unto the Lord.
Pray for the Lord’s healing for Don and for strength and grace for Lisa as she cares for him.
Pray for the situation in Nigeria that the Lord will heal our home land and bring an end to the killings and injustice.
Thank you for praying for us and with us. We are grateful that the Lord has put you in our lives and has kept you in our lives. Please let us know how we may be praying for you as well.