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Vogel's December update for Fair Shake Village, Change Agent Network-Midwest
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Greetings from Liberia!

Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Isaiah 40:4 (ESV)

This prophecy regarding the ministry of John the Baptist in preparation for the coming Messiah kept going through my thoughts as we have been working in Liberia the last month plus. Partly because we were coming up on Christmas and there is always a celebration in remembering how God has been making and keeping promises for all time.  But in reality I wasn’t thinking of it so much in its proper prophetic context as I was of all the “rough places” that can be a part of any work for the kingdom. (Definitely isogesis/eisegesis rather than exegesis, for those of you who are wondering)

Our first minor rough place was related to the house in which we stay.  There had been some vandalism and thievery that had to be corrected and replaced.  It was nothing that major but it is all a part of the challenge of doing ministry.
The students from the Buchanan School for the Deaf came to greet Carolyn shortly after our arrival.
We began by checking in with the various ministries that we have worked with in the past and found several ways we could assist.  These included the MODUC (Mary Beh, directress) orphanage, the Buchanan School for the Deaf and Liberia Christian High School.  It was a grand time getting to be in contact again face to face with these groups and see how they have been striving to stay on task under difficult circumstances.  Working with these groups in planning for the future has many challenges.  In the 11 months we have been away, the Liberian dollar has gone from 87 LD: 1 USD to 101 LD: 1 USD.  That’s not a very vibrant economy and several groups (including some parts of government) have been withholding salaries for lack of funds, that’s a definite “rough place”. There have been several other groups we have contacted as well and are trying to be some encouragement.

FAIR SHAKE VILLAGE PROJECT

Making the trip to Fair Shake Village was a great challenge.  The rainy season roads were still in full control.  A 30 mile trip took 2 hours. I counted 110 mud holes/rough places in the 30 mile stretch.  On the way back we were at a standstill for almost 3 hours because of a truck with a 20’ container stuck in the middle of the road.
Roads become parking lots and visitation sites when vehicles like this get stuck in the middle of the road.  Three hours of getting to meet people.
We have conducted soil tests for the best soil for the dwell earth block and because of funding thus far, we will be able to begin molding block and digging and building the foundation for the gathering center in the next 6 to 8 weeks.  We’ll keep you posted on the progress as it is made.  We have discovered that with dry season upon us, the road crews are making the rough places plain.  Please remember, what a bulldozer does for the roads of Liberia today (physically), a baby did for the way of mankind 2 millennia ago (for eternity)! “…the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.” Isaiah 40:4b (ESV)
Maybe it's just an old man's excuse for playing in the mud, but the preliminary soil tests results for the type of CEB (compressed earth blocks) we will be using came back very good.
Thank you for all of your prayers, encouragement and contributions.  Remember, a $15 donation builds one square foot of the gathering center.  We have raised about 15% of the $150,000 needed for this project.  Are you able to make an end-of-year contribution?  We would greatly appreciate it!
Blessings,
Ken and Carolyn Vogel
Change Agent Network, Missouri
If you know of others who may want to be receiving this, please share this with them or have them request this from us at ken@canmo.org or ken@hccwired.com

Prayer Focus

1. Praise Him for His sustaining grace as we adjust again to dry season.  Our overall health has been good!

2. Praise Him for our Liberian friends whose faithfulness encourages us daily.

3.
Praise Him for the teaching, preaching and discipling opportunities we have had in these first few months.

4Petition Him for the funding and construction of the Gathering Center at Fair Shake Village.

5. Petition Him for wisdom as church leaders struggle with worldly examples of "doing church" while making decisions that dishonor the name of Christ.

6. Petition Him
for the workers who will be involved in digging a well, molding block and laying the footings and foundation for the Gathering Center at Fair Shake Village.
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