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January/February 2022

Dear Church Families and Friends,

We hope this update finds each and every one of you well! We have had a great couple of months, and a good start to another year of ministry in Côte d'Ivoire.

At the beginning of January, we spent some time remembering Eden's ordeal back in January 2021. We made a commemorative video in order to remember that time and to praise God for sparing her life and healing her completely! If you would like to watch that video you can find it here

On January 2, we were excited to have our second baptismal service! Four of our people were baptized-- Evelyne, Serge, Joël, and Bryann. We headed toward the beach after church and held our service in a small lagoon (this crew of people preferred to brave the crocodiles in the lagoon than the ocean!). It was a joy-filled ceremony, with singing, prayer, and banter among our people who have quickly become a tightly-knit church family.

At the end of January, we all headed to San-Pédro. Seth and Stephan led a special awards ceremony for the students at the Christian school they've been helping. There was a huge turnout, with a few hundred people in attendance. Seth preached a gospel message to kick things off, and then there was an awards ceremony to publicly honor the students who are have worked exceptionally hard. Afterward, refreshments were served. Seth's mom, who had only been back in the country for a few days, along with Seth's little sister Esther, worked very hard to make enough banana muffins/cake to serve to everyone! Although it's unusual, banana bread seems to be a big hit amongst the Ivorians.

We ended our trip by celebrating Zion's third birthday. We ordered a cake from our favorite patisserie, and she got to open presents while we all ate. Eden was very sweet and kept track of everything Zion opened, putting it in a little pile next to her so that Zion could start on the next one. It wasn't an elaborate party, but she got to celebrate with her grandparents and aunts and uncles, so Zion was more than content with the evening. We are thankful for three whole years with our beautiful, spunky, funny girl! And thank you to those who sent cards/e-cards to her for her birthday. There were several and we appreciate the kind thoughts!

From February 7-11, Seth was away from us on a ministry trip. There's a town around twelve hours away where his dad had commissioned some church plants over the years, but those churches were having some serious problems. Seth, his father, and Stephan made the trek there to meet with the pastors and church leaders, assess the work in the area, visit some of the nearby villages and any churches there, and lead a seminar for the local pastors to help correct some issues and assist in deeper training. The days began before sunrise for them, and they often didn't get to sit down for dinner until after 9 p.m., but the trip was well worth the effort. In the meantime, Seth's sisters, Lydia and Esther, came to stay with me (Paige) and the girls. It was so nice to have their help and their company! Lydia was a capable and loving babysitter for the girls and gave me time to rest, and Esther could hardly be moved from her self-assigned job as my personal dishwasher! They were so sweet, and my girls and I really loved having them here. We don't have a lot of company here, so it was extra fun and special to stay up late gabbing with Lydia like we did when we were in college. 

At the end of February, we were able to get away for a couple of days of alone time. Seth's parents kindly agreed to watch the girls for a couple of days so we could go enjoy a "babymoon." We haven't had that kind of time together since 2020, and we relished every minute of it. We went to a very nice hotel in Grand Bereby and enjoyed the stunning beauty of the beachfront and the grounds. It was lovely to be together, free of obligations and interruptions. And the girls had a great time with their grandparents. When we called them in the evening to tell them goodnight, we could hardly get them to stick around long enough to talk; they were having too much fun to miss us! The small break was so good for our whole family, and we are so thankful for a God who provides for us and wants us to enjoy life. 

Animals have been keeping us busy through February too! A week before our trip, a friend brought over four, tiny baby mongooses. He had been hunting that day and killed a mongoose, only to discover it had been a mama to four, very new babies. He felt badly about it, and brought them to us to see if we wanted them. We took them in, and had a long week of caring for the poor things, including taking turns with middle-of-the-night feedings! So far, they are all doing very well, and are cute, affectionate little pets. They're big enough now to not need to eat in the night, which is exciting too. When we went on our trip, Seth's mom babysat all four of the mongooses, and then we left two of them with her when we headed home. We believe both of our new pets are girls, and we named them Daisy and Violet. 

A day or two after we got home, Seth found someone in town who had a baby civet for sale. Seth's mom wanted it, so he bought it and brought it home. His mom came and spent the weekend with us, then took her new fur baby home with her.

In other news, we had around six people accept Jesus as their Savior over the past couple of months, most of them young teens. We are thrilled to see more souls brought into the Kingdom-- especially young men and women! Please pray for us and them as we try to disciple them and teach them, and as they seek to learn and grow in understanding.

We are so thankful for our friends and supporters who sacrifice their time and money to support us in prayer and finances here on the field. You are responsible for dozens of reborn souls in West Africa, and a baby church that is truly thriving. Thank you for your help!

It might be a little while until you hear from us again. Our next update is due to go out at the end of April, but our baby is also due around the same time. As you can imagine, we will be pretty busy around here preparing for his arrival, then adjusting to the presence of our new son. We will certainly keep sharing small updates on social media, but our next letter might not get out into the world until May. In the meantime, please pray for a smooth birth and a healthy baby!

Happy in His service,
The Cuthbertson Family
Seth, Paige, Eden, Zion, and Baby Boy

Sandrine (left) and Seth (right)
Sandrine is one of the several teens that have asked Jesus to save them these past couple of months.
Seth and the four who were baptized in January
(from left to right) Evelyne, Serge, Seth, Joël, and Bryann.
Behind them is the lagoon in which they were baptized. 
Seth holding four, fuzzy, brown baby mongooses in his hands. They look something like a cross between a ferret and a mouse at this age.
Seth, his dad, and Stephan (behind his dad to the left) with a group of men they trained on their trip. The women in the photo were responsible for cooking lunch for everyone every day.
The rewards ceremony at the school in San-Pedro. There are a little more than 200 people crammed into those tents for the special day! The tent on the left is mainly students; the one on the right is comprised of parents or guardians, as well as faculty.
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Seth and Paige Cuthbertson: Independent Baptist Missionaries · 1348 Farmstead Lane · Bolingbrook, Illinois 60490 · USA

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