"How do I help?" Likely that is a question we each ask ourselves many times. That question does not focus on the desire to help--the desire is there! The question focuses on being helpful to the need and the situation--"I want to help, but what do I do to be helpful?" The issue is not the desire. The issue is the what.

In the early 70's, Deborah Wilson, Joyce, and I worked as part of a mission group in a country in West Africa about the size of California. Deborah Brown Wilson had not yet met Jim. She, as a single lady, worked as a nurse with the mission group's mobile clinic. She also taught numerous ladies' Bible classes. Joyce and I, with our children, worked as a family unit in the teaching and evangelizing portion of the mission group. Much of my work focused on stabilizing newer congregations--those were times of rapid growth for the church in that country.

Those were also turbulent times in that work. Within the first two years of our time there, for numerous reasons the number of known congregations grew to be almost 100. Most of the congregations were small in size and rural in nature. In this same period of rapid growth there were few national preachers/teachers. At its full strength, the mission group numbered no more than six families. If fully staffed, we had only two single nurses. The need for teachers and preachers far exceeded the available preachers and teachers within the mission group.

For that reason plus other reasons, the mission group began a preachers' training school. Most (not all) of the students were teenagers. One of those teens was Eugene Elangwe.

It has been over 30 years since that school started. Eugene finished his training, and some time later moved to a remote area of the country--where he continues to work today. He has a large family, serves numerous congregations (at times his circuit takes a month to visit, and he walks), and has little resources available for the work. Yet, he has begun a school to train others to help teach and preach.

The question I face is the same one you face. The desire to help is there, but what do we do to help? With the aid of the C.U.R.E. program and the help of Bob Fisher, we plan to send a large container of medical supplies (greatly needed!) to the medical clinic in Eugene's remote area. With those supplies we plan to send Eugene some Bibles and some basic reference books. In this way we hope to (1) increase meaningful opportunities for Eugene's work, (2) address some urgent medical needs, and (3) supply some basic Bible study aids to those studying with Eugene.

As plans come to conclusion, we will seek the help of anyone interested. Everything supplied will be a gift. Our costs for shipping and for a few of the medical supplies must be raised. We will keep you informed of the situation as needs in collecting the gift become specific. I would much appreciate you putting this effort and Eugene in your prayers.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 11 July 2004

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