Friday, August 14, 2009

"Sing to the Lord a new song.!" (from Psalm 98:1)

A new year fills us with new hope.  Like a blank slate that has not been written on, it represents new challenges and new opportunities. What do you have planned for the New Year?  What will 2009 bring for you and your family?   In the United States we hope for a better economy, perhaps a new job for ourselves or for a friend who is unemployed.  We hope for peace in the world and wisdom for its leaders.  We may wish for better health, for better relationships, in short, for all that is good in life to come our way. 


What will the New Year bring for the people of the Central African Republic?  Peace is uppermost on the minds of many:  the chance to live life in tranquility and without fear.  Food is another wish for many Central Africans—enough manioc to fill one's stomach, and maybe a little meat and vegetables besides, at least on some days.  Good health would also be uppermost on the minds of people whose average life expectancy is less than 40 years of age and dropping. 


While we in the U.S. might wish for a new car or a bigger house, someone in the CAR might hope for a source of clean water to drink that lasts through the dry season.  A woman who has to walk a mile each way to fetch water out of a dirty stream for her family might dream of having a well just a few hundred yards from her house.  Others may wish they had a latrine—never mind if it's a very nice one or not.


Many challenges face the people of the Central African Republic, one of the ten poorest nations in the world.  Many challenges face the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the CAR as they strive to help their neighbors through programs such as PASE (the French acronym for "Water Resource Management Project").  Your prayers and gifts in the past have helped us serve together with our Central African colleagues in providing clean drinking water and hygiene training to villagers in the CAR.  Thank you for your support as we continue to work toward meeting the challenges of 2009!


On a more personal note…


Audrey Plisch arrived from Chicago on December 9 to help Christa finish sixth grade as a home-schooled student.  Audrey is an energetic retired teacher, with lots of experience in middle school, as a former guidance counselor and dean of students.  Pray for her continued adjustment to life in Africa—especially the warmer climate and the French language—and for continued good health.


Also last month, Mariel Viera-Bernier returned to Puerto Rico where she will resume her studies in anthropology at the University of Puerto Rico.  Mariel was a big help with Christa's studies, and enjoyed trying to speak Gbaya with local kids!  She enthusiastically tried eating boa, antelope, manioc, peanut sauce, and ndole (kind of like turnip greens with ground up pumpkin seeds in them).  Much to her disappointment, she never got to try caterpillar sauce.  Mariel's excitement about new experiences was catching. You can read her blog at


Please pray for our continued good health and energy for our work.  We have had a few relatively minor illnesses this past month or two, but are all now in good health.  We thank those of you who continue to pray for us.  It has definitely helped! 


We wish each of you a blessed and joyous 2009.  May the peace of Christ accompany you and your family throughout the year.




Joe, Deborah, and Christa Troester

Baboua, Central African Republic

January 2009


Dr. Joe Troester serves as technical adviser to PASE, the French acronym for Project for Water Resource Management.  This is a program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in CAR, sponsored in part by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  PASE seeks to provide safe drinking water through construction and maintenance of wells, spring boxes, and slow-sand filters, while also teaching good hygiene practices that can lessen water-borne illnesses. 




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