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Dear friends, supporters, and prayer partners,

We first want to say thank you so much for your ongoing love and support you show us in so many different ways. Hardly a week goes by that we don’t receive some sort of encouragement via Facebook, email, or a Skype call. We also know that so many of you are praying for the people of Togo, and we are thankful that God has given you the opportunity to be engaged in our work in this way. And finally, we have been amazed at the consistency of our financial supporters during the past two years. We hold to the words of Jesus when he assures us that if we seek his kingdom first, he will provide all we need. We have seen this promise fulfilled countless times in our lives, reinforcing again and again our faith in the provision of our Father!

With that in mind, we have been seeking the Lord about a specific need we have as a family, and we believe that he has led us to present this need to you so you can pray with us about it and help out with it as well, if he directs you to do so. The need is for a vehicle which we hope to acquire before our return to Togo in January of 2015 following a home-leave.

When we initially went to Togo in early 2009, we knew that our set-up funds would not allow us to buy a good, “long-term” vehicle, so we began praying for a decent used vehicle that could last us at least a couple years until we could get something more dependable, but we never imagined that God would provide such a great truck for such a low price. We were able to get a 2003 Mitsubishi Nativa (a diesel Montero) for only $10,000, which is a steal for an SUV in Togo. We had the intention of keeping it for only a couple of years, but it has served us very well for these past five years now. We praise God for this!

The other day, however, the Lord decided that our poor truck had endured Togo roads long enough! As I was driving along, the engine blew, oil flooded the combustion chambers, a smoke cloud enveloped us, and we experienced a situation known as “diesel runaway,” in which the engine “red lines” and won’t stop even when the ignition is turned off! It was a bit scary, but we thank God for his protection, especially since both boys were with me at the time. We will be getting the truck repaired soon, but it is almost certain that it will either be undrivable or never be as reliable as we need it to be. Our plan is to sell it before coming back to the States in July.

As for the new vehicle, we would ideally like to find a mid-sized, Toyota SUV (most likely a 4Runner) with a seating capacity of seven or eight. We foresee having several groups of visitors in the future, so having these extra seats will permit us to have 3-4 visitors without needing to ask them to pay for a rental vehicle, which is either expensive or unsafe. Our current best option appears to be finding a used (but low-mileage and well-maintained) truck in the States and shipping it over to Togo. This has advantages over buying something in-country because vehicles in Togo are not maintained well, wear out quickly, and are extremely overpriced. Not only that, but virtually all imported used vehicles have major problems or falsified odometer readings. One viable option, however, would be to find a used vehicle in Togo that was previously imported brand new. Please pray for the Lord’s guidance and wisdom in finding and choosing a reliable truck.

We are not sure exactly what our financial situation will be when it comes time to purchase the truck, but it looks like we will be able to put at least $7-10,000 towards it from our savings and from the sale of our current truck. The estimated cost of the truck, shipping, and import taxes looks to be between $24-$30,000, so we asking you to pray with us that the Lord provides the remaining amount. Furthermore, if you believe that he is moving you to donate towards this need, we have a vehicle fund set up through our church, the information for which you can find below. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact us.

We are so grateful for all of you and for the role you have played in seeing God’s kingdom grow in Togo, and we can’t wait to see you all when we come back to the States in July!

In His Grace,
Jesse, Tiffany, Joshua, and Owen Shanks

Donations can be sent to:
Living Water Community Church
2901 NE 65th Ave.
Vancouver, WA 98661
Designate checks to: Shanks Vehicle Fund

Breakdown of expenses:
Vehicle price: $17-20,000
Shipping: $2-3,000
Taxes: $5-7,000