Last August  we were able to spend 8 days in Togo for our Vision Trip. We cannot believe it's been a year since we visited there! And there are only 5 more months before we [hope to] move to Togo where we will make it our home alongside our team. During those few days last year in Togo we needed to have open minds, wide arms, and willing hearts in the place we may be calling home with people and a culture that we did not know. Most of us move a time (or twelve) in our lives, sometimes across town, maybe to a neighboring city, or possibly even to a different state. Change inevitably comes in life, we find newness, and expand on the life we've been so graciously given. We can all relate to the feelings experienced when entering a new area, busy crowds, colorful markets.
The market there in Aneho was flooded with colors, textures, smells, noises. Our sweet missionary friend parked the car across the street when we arrived and led us into the market. There was just enough space for two people to squeeze by one another in the first aisle with vendors and their baskets on both sides. Produce and spices filled the baskets, some kinds we had never seen [and can't wait to learn how to use]! Fish laid to dry on top of a piece of tin, a smell that we couldn't miss as we walked by. The types of items changed as we walked throughout from produce to spices, fabric and necklaces and we were informed of the animals being sold up ahead for voodoo practices. We've grown up around hunting so it wasn't the carcasses that bothered us, but certainly the stench and the idolatry committed with them. Eyeing the mixed variety of patterns among fabric vendors, we headed there as we sought to choose some that were representative of us and something we would use for clothing. Then we were off to pick up produce to take to the house for dinner, specifically lettuce which we've been told is not easy to clean. If we take a look back at the materials sold for voodoo practices, we notice this is a way of life for the people there. Voodoo is the national religion of Togo. For us, it's heart-wrenching as we know that God is worthy of all glory and the only One we can find hope in. So we go to love on people as we are all created in His image.
We've had a lot of fun this past month and are grateful for the ways the Lord is working in us to be more understanding of each other, with a greater willingness and desire to have conversations with people around us, with patience to work on the tedious tasks, and discipline to complete what has been given to us. Also, we're at 58% with monthly funding progress! When we get to sit around a table next to others who want to follow His light in Togo, we experience such love. This month we will have the pleasure of visiting Boone, NC, Colorado, Wyoming, and Raleigh, NC to sit around different tables. Time spent in these places will be useful for growing new relationships and being surrounded in more of our Creator's masterpiece - the mountains of the west are calling! Our hope is to develop and deepen partnerships with families and churches. We've seen fruitfulness through the relationships that have been built on throughout this year and even this past month. Thankfulness doesn't begin to contain how we feel for you.
Please pray for us in this way: - That opportunities for gathering around tables with others to share in Kingdom building will exceed our needs and desires this month.
- That the family on our team that is currently moving to Togo will sleep and eat well, trust one another, and begin adjusting to the changes.
- That provision to come for construction tools and equipment needed that we will take for projects in Togo.
Much love from us.
Blake & Kristen Harwood, Missionary
Help Blake and Kristen build a ministry camp and plant churches to share the Gospel in Togo as a part of the 6 Degree Initiative.