Fall in America

September 29, 2021

Fall has always been my favorite time of year in Iowa.  I especially enjoy biking our beautiful bike trails and savoring my last few days before heading back to South Africa. This last month, I befriended a homeless man who I see sitting along the bike trail and visit with almost daily.  His name is Corey, it took 2 or 3 days chatting before he trusted me enough to tell me his name.  We have now become buddies.  He sleeps in a sleeping bag and does not even have a tent. He is also quite private about where his actual camp is located.  I usually pack him some food in my bike bag and bless him with something most every day.  About a week ago after a long rainy day I found him lying on the ground under a tree shivering and telling me that he was so sick.  I convinced him to let me take him to Broadlawns urgent care and they determined that he was severely dehydrated and admitted him to the hospital for IV therapy.  I am hoping to be able to take him to the Will Graham celebration this weekend.  I learned many years ago how much joy it brings to my heart to bless another human being.  It is especially effective when I am able to bless someone who likely will never be able to return the favor.  We are able to do this all of the time in Africa but I also enjoy being able to help people now and again here in the USA.

We have seen so many of our prayers answered this last month, it continues to deepen my faith and relationship with God.  Many years ago, a good pastor friend of mine told me, “When we work, we work, when we pray, God works”.  This has been so true in my own life, I have found that I can work harder and harder and not see much success, but when I pray, it is like mountains begin to move.

This last week for the first time, we were able to turn on the LED sports lights at our new sports complex.  A big thank you to Musco Lighting in Oskaloosa, Iowa.  We will soon have some beautiful photos and videos to show all of you this exciting progress.  Also, this last week, 2 large unsolicited donations came into our ministry.  One of them was from a donor who passed away in July and left us $100,000 in his will.  He had been sending regular donations to us for the past few years but I honestly did not know who he was.  I am embarrassed that I had not reached out to him while he was alive to thank him and get to know him.  The other large donation was from a widowed woman in Southern Iowa who I also do not know.  She goes to a small rural church that likely has fewer than 60 people that attend each Sunday.  When the church secretary went to the bank on Monday to make her weekly deposit, she noticed a check for $100,000 had been put into the collection plate on Sunday morning.  When she followed up with the pastor, she told him of her desire to have all of this money go to supporting missions at her church. Together they decided to give $45,000 to Blessman International.  Fortunately, this lady is still alive and I will be driving down to have lunch with her and her pastor as soon as I get back from Africa in early November.

I would like to let all of you know how our board has directed us to handle donations that we receive from estates and trust.  We always honor the donors wishes if they direct us to use the funds in a particular way.  If they do not specify, we are currently placing these funds into our endowment account.  Our goal is that we grow our endowment account large enough to cover our administrative cost after Beth and I are no longer able to contribute our usual donations to the ministry.  We currently have $1 million in the account and pray that it will grow to $5 million over the next few years.  This will help the ministry to go on for many more years.

Please keep Blessman International and our African children in your thoughts and prayers as you are meeting with your own attorney and financial planner about the legacy that you would like to leave.

We will bring you fresh reports of our trip to Africa when we return in November.