Greetings from Sonrise International! Forgive us for being silent for the last three months or so. We plan to send another letter soon with testimonies about the ministry side of things. Things continue to grow across West & Central Africa (WACA), even though we are not there presently. For now, we will summarize by saying that the Lord has done a great thing! Chip’s life was almost snuffed out, BUT GOD is not through with him yet!  Here is a summary of what took place told by Chip himself:

“As some of you know by now, I was in Dakar, Senegal on November 21, 2017, when I became very ill with a severe headache. The next 30 days are missing from my memory. I have been told that I had a Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (Mid-Brain Bleed), which means bleeding between the brain and a connective layer beneath the skull. Though I’ve been told it was not technically a stroke, they call it one…probably so that normal people, like me, can understand the severity of what happened. Our neurologist told me that one third of the people who’ve had a mid-brain bleed have died from it. I was evacuated from Dakar in a medical jet to Tulsa, arriving in Tulsa on November 26th. I spent 18 days in the Intensive Care Unit of a Tulsa hospital before being moved to the stroke ward for 4 days. After 5 more days in a rehabilitation center, I was released to go home on December 19th, before the Christmas holiday and was able to spend Christmas with my family at home. Praise God!

By all accounts, my recovery so far has been quite miraculous. I believe it is in answer to the prayers of the saints that have been answered on my behalf. Since returning home on December 19th, I’ve begun to realize that I have a couple of deficiencies. The vision in my right eye is slightly affected, and the coordination in my right hand is not working properly. (This has been very frustrating when I’vd tried to sign my signature and later type on my computer!) The right side of my back and my right leg also are still hurting, but thankfully continue to heal. Thank you for continued prayers in these areas. The last few months, we have spent about 3 days a week in various types of therapy sessions. I am trusting God to complete my healing 100%. Thank you all for so many prayers on my behalf. It’s been very humbling to realize how many have prayed for and love me.

Several of the people praying for Kathy and I have had a word of knowledge regarding witchcraft being used against me. The World Mission Center intercessors get together and pray for all of the regional leaders periodically. Before this last trip to WACA, I was emailed a picture of what the Lord said to them. One of the items they wrote said that the enemy’s plan in Senegal would not be victorious. At the time, things were going great in Senegal. I just “shelved it,” thinking of several countries we had been struggling in that I wished the word of the Lord applied. That was…before this incident, which happened to me! When Willie Crew came to visit me, he was sure I would fully recover, bringing this word received in prayer to my remembrance.

God is such an encourager and knows just what we need before we do (Jn 16:13)! He is so good…and all-powerful! The neurologist I saw last week admitted that they have not found the source of the bleed…and really don’t know why it occurred. Now that I understand what happened and can confidently say that I believe t this was a spiritual attack.

Then, after I had the mid-brain bleed, there was a group from our home church praying for me. The Lord spoke the word “bonishy” to one of them. They called Kathy to ask her if she knew what it meant. She found out that “bonishy” means “wife of fetish” in the dialect of the man I sent home to Benin from the Leadership Development Academy (LDA) that was being held in Senegal a month earlier.

Actually, coming at the end of the Senegal LDA to spend time with the students, I was listening to them tell me of their experience with this man when I had the severe headache, which was the start of the mid-brain bleed. As I listened to them, it was confirmed to me that this man should have never been in the LDA. In fact, he showed up after it had started, after Kathy and I had left at the beginning of the school. During the LDA, I had to make the call to send him home early due to his behavior, etc., based on our coordinator’s complaints of him. I don’t want to bring too much attention to the enemy, so I will stop short of telling you the reasons I had to send him home to Benin. But based on what he told the students and his roommates, it does not surprise me that his wife is into fetishes and voodoo, which started and is common in Benin. I truly believe that the sole purpose of this man’s intent was to sabotage the Lord’s work in WACA. However, our God is greater than any voodoo curse! Our experience thus far has been that our WACA Team has shown “far more courage to speak the Word of God without fear” (Phil 1:14) as a result of what has happened to me. God is in the middle of fulfilling Romans 8:28, “causing all things to work together for good” in our lives and in all of the WACA Team…and we pray in your lives too!

Sonrise International had such an outstanding year in 2017 in West Africa, we are not shocked that the enemy would try to stop the progress being made. But God’s work cannot be stopped! He has done great things in West Africa in 2017, and we are not about to back down when things are just now beginning to “churn” in the right direction! Christ has given us the victory!

No. I did not try out for Star Wars! This is the tool our eye doctor used to determine how much prism to put in the eyeglass lenses he made for me so I could see, until my eyes healed enough not to need them. I no longer need them. Yeah!”

While Chip rests and heals, the coordinators, pastors, facilitators, students and graduates in WACA have been inspired to run even harder and faster. What the devil meant for harm, the Lord is turning around for the advancement of the Gospel and our good (Rom 8:28). We are amazed by the zeal and energy of the men and women who work for the Lord in places of WACA that are both difficult and dangerous. We are so blessed to have such a great team, a great WACA family!

Last week the neurologist told us that he wants to scan Chip’s brain in May, and if all goes well, he will release Chip to return to West and Central Africa sometime in June. We are trusting God that the report of the scan will be better than expected. Thank you for standing in agreement with us for this.

We hope to bring our West African and some of our Central African leaders together in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire the last half of July. We would also like to bring a team from the U.S. If the Lord is speaking to your heart about coming with us, please contact us! Our plan is to spend about one week with the leaders in Abidjan, the commercial capital of Côte d’Ivoire. The second week we want to form smaller teams, connecting those who come with us from the US with our WACA leaders and send them out to “blitz” Côte d’Ivoire by empowering the church with Live School and ministering to the people.

Afterwards, Chip is planning to go to Nigeria to hold several Sonrise Summits and then to either Cameroon and/or Chad to begin a Central African Leadership Development Academy (LDA). We are recruiting some men to travel with him to those countries too. Please, let us know if you are interested!

We hope that you are encouraged by this letter. Thank you for all the ways you have blessed us over the past months. Many of you brought us meals, prayed, fasted, and gave to help us in sacrificial ways. THANK you again!