Friday, June 7, 2013

Announcing Noah Robert Sheppard

We are thrilled to announce that Noah Robert Sheppard made his big arrival! We took a Samaritan’s Purse flight down from Lofa county on Monday morning. On Tuesday (June 4th), Sara felt pain throughout the day, but doubted that it was actually labor. We had a big dinner that evening with five guests, but by 9:30 Sara was hardly able to be discreet about the pain that was coming every 8-10 minutes. The guests soon left and suddenly at about 10:30 her water broke. Within a couple minutes Noah’s head came out. Sara yelled for help and Nancy (John-Mark’s mom) ran in. Nancy started praying and with one more push Noah was born. Nancy and John-Mark caught the baby. He started breathing right away. Mark (JM’s dad) went for a Liberian midwife, who helped us with all the aftercare.

The next day Sara felt well enough to go out to a missionary women’s Bible study on the ELWA campus. While there, Noah had a check-up with a SIM missionary doctor, and she gave him a clean bill of health. We feel so blessed to have such a beautiful new addition to our family, with such an easy delivery. Although his birth did not happen as we planned, God’s plan for Noah’s birth was so much better!

Our last five weeks in Voinjama were very productive. Thankfully we finally finished our house and moved in by the middle of May.  We have enjoyed living there so far, and Sara greatly appreciates having Ansu’s family next door when she needs help. Even still, it is a huge adjustment living so closely with a Liberian family.

With the house project finished, John-Mark has finally been able to dive into ministry. He and Ansu have started translating the book of Genesis and are making good progress. Soon we will be ready to test our translation with Manya speakers in nearby villages. They also organized a fellowship of Muslim background believers in Voinjama, and had their first official meeting on Sunday. There were about 15 people there, including a number of Manya believers. John-Mark told the story of the Prodigal Son, and led a good discussion about the spiritual treasures found in the story. He has also continued to work through the stories of the Bible with our church on Friday nights, and those who have been part of the group testify to what an impact the stories are making. One man said, “Before, I used to just play with the Bible. But the storying method has really opened my eyes and helped me know God’s Word for myself”.

We plan to stay in Monrovia for at least six weeks while Sara recovers, we take care of paperwork for Noah, and look for a new vehicle. Unfortunately, the Land Rover we purchased in January has proved to be extremely unreliable. We ended up hiring a pickup to tow the Land Rover 230 miles to Monrovia. This vehicle has put us in a tough spot. We spent $5,000 to purchase it, plus another $5,000 in upgrades and repairs so far. If we can get it moving again, we hope to sell it for at least $6,000. We want to replace it with a double cab pickup or ideally a Land Cruiser. The minimum needed for a replacement vehicle is $10,000, which leaves us around $4,000 short. We would greatly appreciate any special gifts towards this goal, and look forward to seeing how the Lord provides. Thanks so much for your ongoing prayers and support. We couldn’t be here without you!

Praise & Pray:

We have been able to start the Genesis translation!

We moved into our new house!

Pray that Manya believers attending the Bible study would grow in their faith and reach out to unsaved family and friends.

That Noah would grow up strong and healthy.