Category Archives: News Article

The New Direction

20130804-172233.jpg MERCER CHRISTIAN ACADEMY

Back to School for Chris!

God has so graciously answered our prayers by giving us clear direction for future ministry. Chris is joining the staff of Mercer Christian Academy located in Princeton, West Virginia as administrator. He begins his duties this school year which excites us and challenges us at the same time!

We are so grateful for those who faithfully prayed for us as we sought the Lord’s direction. Many folk were praying all over the world and we are so very thankful for each of you. We are humbled by the number of you that wrote to tell us how you were praying. Again, thank you so much.

This wasn’t an easy shift for us. Even though we felt God’s patient leading us away, we easily could be tempted to close our ears to His voice and stay in the Philippines. We so loved our time with New Tribes Mission and especially our time in the village with the Banwaon. We have wonderful family there and will certainly visit when The Lord allows. We miss our co-workers so much as they also became family away from home. Our hearts literally ache from loneliness often. Still, we know His voice and we asked for direction – even pleaded at times. He answered.

The board of directors of Mercer Christian Academy were praying and asking The Lord for direction as well. To quote their letter;

“Dear MCA Family:
The Search Committee of the Board has worked very hard and diligently over the summer to interview, evaluate and recommend a new administrator for Mercer Christian Academy. We are happy to report, that after an extensive search and evaluation period, a new administrator was selected and recommended to the Board of Directors. The Board has acted favorably on the recommendation (voting unanimously) to call Rev. Chris Strange to the position of Administrator at Mercer Christian Academy.
I am pleased to announce that Chris has accepted the position of Administrator at Mercer Christian Academy.”

So many are asking us, “What now?”

We are officially in transition into Chris’ new position from our ministry with New Tribes Mission. NTM leadership graciously approved a 90 day period for this huge move. Our ministry account remains open for financial support until October 31. We appreciate those who wrote and assured us they will support us through this transition and even beyond! Thank you so much. Your tax deductible receipts will continue for all donations up to that date. After October 31, any money sent to New Tribes Mission for our names will be returned to the sender.

We don’t know how to thank you. Our prayer and financial supporters are so faithful. We ask The Lord to lead you to continue the wonderful act of worship through supporting missionaries. We would love to introduce you to some incredible missionary friends serving faithfully all over the world should you feel led to continue!

Our Home Assignment schedule is changed as Chris begins the new ministry. We are contacting all those who are affected by the transition. Please write to us if you have any questions. We still hope to visit as many as we can but the dates will be different.

This all changes much! God is already showing us how some of this will work. We will be living in two states as we work through the transitional three months. This necessitates a second car and much travel back and forth. We’ve asked The Lord to find us a safe home in Princeton and we ask you to pray with us in this. He found us a car already so we look to him for the funds for it as well. God has paved a way for Chris to have a room when he is serving at Mercer Christian until we officially move. And, we have a Church Home! We joined Johnston Chapel Baptist Church today.

There are hard decisions ahead. We will be farther from family in NC which is difficult for us all. PR, our son who is living with us in NC, has to resettle there into a new place. We’ve lived out of the country and not owned a home since 1995. In many ways we are starting over right back at square one! Searching for a safe affordable home feels like a challenge to us but we know it isn’t for our God. We trust He will provide all these details and needs. How grateful we are to depend upon Him!
Thank you for lifting these issues in prayer. Pray also, please, that we cling to him and not try to jump ahead of His leading.

Thank you for standing with us as we serve Him,
Chris and Lynne


A little Blip

Yikes! Ignore the hair!

Yikes! Ignore the hair!

Firstly, thanks so much for praying for the latest eye surgery… things went very well – until a tiny blip recorded on my heart monitor. I heard them say, “she’s quickly converted; we’ll continue.” which never registered since the shot they gave me truly allowed me to care nothing about what they said or did.

In the recovery room a nurse began to ask what I assumed were normal questions after surgery; “Who was my local doctor?” “Who prescribed my one and only prescription?” “Who was my cardiologist?” and  “When was my last physical?”

My answers like, “I guess my local doctor would be in Radford, VA.”, and “Oh that was from my doctor in the Philippines.” drew more and more nurses over to my little curtained cubicle until there wasn’t room for any one else. One outside the curtain fairly gasped, “She has no local doctor!” and I couldn’t yet focus enough to decide her attitude, but it was there. After my answer about a cardiologist,  “(snicker)… cardiOLOgist?” and the following one going something like, “Oh, I think maybe about 15 years ago or maybe not.”

That was the answer that dashed them over the precipice.

I am grateful I regained the presence of mind to actually NOT say, “I don’t think I’ve ever had one.”

They rushed to get the surgeon. He already left. Phones came out and doctor names bounced in the air until one landed a rushed appointment the day later. He’s a cardiologist.

I arrived at his office and couldn’t imagine being there. I never go to the doctor! Refer my apparent disturbing answer to the nurses’ last question. I hadn’t been back in the states a year and already had two surgeries and now a cardiology appointment. (The sixties are not being nice to me.)

The extremely tall (I so miss normal-sized Filipinos) but very nice doctor explained my blip is atrial fibrillation and is the most common cardiac arrhythmia…(heart rhythm disorder). It may cause no symptoms, (which was true for me) but it is often associated with palpitations, fainting, chest pain, or congestive heart failure. Then he looked at me and said in a very thick accent, “Most likely it was anesthesia, but we will make sure.”

I’m wearing a heart monitor for 24 hours and will eventually have an echocardiogram of my heart’s beat.

All this to say, he was very supportive of my calm attitude about it all as I was still amazed to even be in a cardiologist’s office.

Oh, and a nice receptionist penciled my name into a slot with my local doctor (at least he’s stateside!) next week in Radford, VA.


Bible Camp!

Camp Eating Frenzy!

Camp Eating Frenzy!

Even (ahem) somewhat older folk get all “goose-bumpy” about summer camp! Chris is resident missionary for the week at Mount Hope Bible Camp tucked away near Wayne National Forest in Otway, Ohio.

Christian Camp is for EVERYONE! Most reading this post will be outside the “camper age” unless you are as fortunate as Chris. Some might be in the “camp leader age” and I’d like to encourage those to consider serving the Lord for a short time at Christian camp. And don’t feel too limited because many might not realize it, but Christian Camps are worldwide. When last I checked they are found on six continents. SIX! It is a very worthy service when your faithful commitment to the Lord impacts fellow counselors, kids from all over and their families. Very worthy service. For those readers whose children are in the fortunate “camper age” years – budget and plan Christian summer camp for some of their time this year. Go all out and plan for each year to follow. They are only kids once. Kids all out of the house? Consider donating a week of Christian Camp for some child that couldn’t otherwise attend. Involve your church group to get together and donate enough for a whole group! See? EVERYONE!

Christian Camping might be one of those few places left, at least here in the USA, where Christian kids are out of their comfort zones and free to encourage and support each other. Away from distractions like electronics, sport events and even family, the young camper can meet the Lord, or grow in Him and consider His plan for their life. Trained, cool, young people can come alongside to Biblically guide them through some pretty tough situations they face back home. Lifetime changes can occur. Testimony abounds that Christian camp is where decisions that alter the course of a life form and set up in the heart and mind. Many couples met under the stars at Christian camp.

We love when the young people we meet along our travels keep in touch. Our lives are enriched every single time without exception. We met Brett and Sara Wilson, the couple managing Mount Hope Bible Camp, before we left for field ministry. They were both single serving in music and cabin counselors that year. Sara made the long, expensive trip to the Philippines to help our church team rebuild our jungle home. On her return, she and Brett married and began ministry together in music and camp. Now they are intern-missionaries with InFaith at the camp where they met each other and us! As an added bonus, Chris made it to Christian camp this year :-)!

Oh I almost forgot – It’s loads of FUN!

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THE FUTURE

future

We are blessed. God is wonderful to allow us this much time fairly close to most of our family since leaving the United States in 1998. We’ve cherished these months – there have been some incredible highs and lows and every emotional level in-between. We know. It’s just life: births, deaths, relationships, certainties and uncertainties – all the normal stuff each of us experience in the moments given. We struggle sometimes.

Culture shock has been just that – a SHOCK. We’ve read about it and prayed about it and even anticipated it but this time around it’s slapped us silly. Encouragement from The Word shot directly into the heart by our Father keeps our feet on the ground. Many of you also encourage and help us for which we ask God to bless you abundantly for your service to Him towards us. What would we do without the Body of Christ? You know who you are so please take this as a very warm and very public THANK YOU. Seriously, we appreciate you more than we can possible express here on this earth.

You encourage us to serve better.

We miss our wonderful God-given family in the Philippines. You also know who you are. Our hearts literally ache sometimes. Yes, literally. We also miss our co-workers and partners and their families. And it’s not just the wonderful people we left there – we even miss the food, culture, smells and noise. Who would have thought that? Do you ever feel fickle before the Lord or is it just us? We missed all that from here when we were there. We relate to these words divinely preserved in Psalms 199:8 when the author entreats the Lord in the second part of the verse:

Psalms 119: 8 O forsake me not utterly.

How can He not be completely exasperated with us? Can we just add here that God, our Father, is faithfully holding us close with all His mighty strength?  We know that even when we don’t exactly feel His arms grasping around our bodies. We cling to that fact when we fail Him and those around us. We stand assured of that fact when our emotions are all over the place, failing Him every other moment and thinking we have to KNOW what’s ahead of us.

We praise and thank Him for the times we do feel His tight embrace.

All that to say, “We don’t know what is ahead of us.”  Is it any surprise that God draws us to the book of James chapter four?

And it might sound old and cliché to some so you can just skip this next part of this sentence (and reread James:4)… although we don’t know our future, we do know the One who planned and holds our future. Praise God it is in HIM we trust!

Selfish prayer request:

Pray we wait with patience. Pray we do not grow weary to do any good works. Pray that we guard our hearts and remember our words and actions are judged by Him – and that no other judgement counts in the end. Pray that we draw ever close to the Lord. Pray that we are willing and eager to run in the direction He gives when He reveals it to us. Pray.

After reading our blog, an understanding friend shared this lovely poem by Minnie L. Haskin :

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: 

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.  

That shall be to you better than a light and safer than a known way.”

So I went forth and finding the hand of God, 

strode gladly into the night, 

and He led me toward the hills and the breaking of the down in the lone east.” 

We pray it’s an encouragement to you too!

Again we say “Thanks” in the warmest possible way that the written word can express (bold and italics).

ChrisLynne


An Added Joy – FOLKS!

A huge part of our joy in Home Assignment is the same as our joy in Field Assignment – PEOPLE!  (and a couple of animals)

Here are just a few of the faces in our family and travels through forty-plus meetings and ten states thus far (added photos of family inserted without shame :-):

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(some photos borrowed  ;-) Thanks much!)

There are still so many missing ones of YOU! We look forward to visiting those that are in the future as the Lord wills!

ChrisLynne


Moving Along in Home Assignment

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No, really. We are literally MOVING! Already, the car increased 20,000 miles on the odometer since last September! We’re sharing God’s awe-inspiring story of His work in the lives of the Banwaon Tribe in homes, Bible study groups, Sunday Schools, Meetings, camps, Awana groups, mission parties, prayer meetings, cook outs, and any other opportunity God brings our way.

Surgery and doctor appointments edge into the time as well as moments snatched with family, friends and holidays but it is all part of Home Assignment! Reverse culture shock has been very real this time around as it’s the first time since 1998 that we’ve spent more than a few months away from training or field assignment.

Teens hear about God's work in the Philippines

Teens hear about God’s work in the Philippines

This week, Chris is sharing with senior high students at Christian Camp in Ohio. Please pray that these young people will waken to the need all around them and be sensitive to God’s appointed opportunities to share Christ.

Link to our DATEBOOK page: HERE


Below the Surface

In the second video set from NTM.ORG, you will meet wonderful friends of ours, Ralf and Elli Schlegel.

We had the great pleasure of four years training – start to finish – with these dear co-workers now serving in Papua New Guinea with their team, the Smith’s and the Markley’s.

Enjoy watching these encouraging videos remembering to pray for the families and the new believers desiring to share Christ where God has them.

ChrisLynne


A Time for Healing

No doubt of need

no doubt of need

We arrived early all smiling and without nerves on my part. At a friend’s suggestion, I found google-ly glasses so while I waited in the patient waiting area with Chris and Doris (my cousin/more like sister), we had a bit of fun before I headed back for preparations for my surgery. Once things began to move forward, it seemed a bit like the normal “hurry up and wait” hospital scene until they actually wheeled me back to the OR. I must add here that God wonderfully answered the prayers for my nerves as I felt absolutely calm the whole time. Thank you all praying friends so very much.

The nurse anesthetist asked me all about the Philippines which might have been a mistake because I stayed very awake in order to answer all his questions. Perhaps he should have picked a less favorite subject as he said, “Why are you so awake? You need to feel very sleepy and go on out for about two minutes so we can give you this shot in your eye. I’m giving you a bit more.” I remember seeing all sorts of colors and lights and also them asking me to stop moving my feet. After that I concentrated on keeping very still.

In recovery, the doctor came in and explained what he found: the membrane was clearly seen and a macular hole.  He explained after he used tiny instruments to remove the membrane, he inserted a gas bubble into the eye to press against the retina so the hole would heal. This would change my next week as I had to remain face down to keep the bubble in the correct position until my next appointment. He also explained a guaranteed second surgery as this surgery damages the natural lens to my eye meaning cataract surgery is absolutely in my future. He then gave us prescriptions and a phone number for medical equipment rental to keep me in the face-down position.

Chris and Doris helped me dress and wheeled me to the car and home. I continually asked the Lord for the strength to properly hold my ever-increasing heavy head face down. Once home, with Chris’ help, we worked several pillows that kept me stay face down on the bed but sitting and walking around was murder as my muscles had to do that task alone. To say those muscles ached is truly an understatement. When the chair arrived that night I’m sure I heard my neck and shoulders shout for joy. The next day allowed for removal of the patch and antibiotic drops to begin. Pain relievers did their duty and I have not really had pain in my eye even after I stopped taking them – a praise! The bubble is slowly growing smaller and my only complaint is the bubble’s constant moving inside the eye makes me a bit sea-sick.

At this writing I had my first exam where he explained things are looking good and I expect to have the next exam on the 14th – Happy Valentine’s Day for me!

Here are a few of the photos from my experience so far:

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Praises to God for:

  • praying friends and His answers to all the prayers 
  • guiding the surgeon’s hands
  • the gift of the wonderful doctors and staff involved  in finding my need (three offices in two states!)
  • the gift of an excellent surgeon and medical staff
  • urging the prayers
  • providing funds in advance for all the appointments
  • providing great caregivers in Chris and Doris
  • continued healing with very little discomfort
  • chairs and sleeping devices designed for keeping one face-down

Prayer Requests:

  • continued healing inside the eye
  • appointment on the 14th
  • complete absorption of the air bubble very soon
  • macular hole to heal completely and restored vision to same as before
  • for the upcoming cataract surgery to go smoothly

We are blessed. God is our almighty and loving Father. He works His plan in our lives for our good and continues to forgive and mold us into the image of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

All praises to Him,

ChrisLynne


The Eyes of… February?

God’s timing didn’t allow for the great title, “The EYES of March” (get it? :-) so I took a bit of literary licence to fit the month. We’ve often thought about the amazing gift God gave our friends and brothers and sisters in the village and talked about it lots in these last weeks so I’m saving my eye a bit of over work and re-posting this one for our new readers and those who want to praise the Lord again for this special time in our village.

History being made!CATARACT SURGERY – JUNGLE STYLE  God has wonderfully restored the sight of so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ here! Hearing the praises to the Lord for all He has done for them has been heart warming and we join our praises to Him for the answer to all the prayers and preparation for this rare event in the middle of the jungle.

 

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THE HUMAN TEAM EFFORT (Tribal and Missionary)

  • prayer
  • months of planning and adjusting schedules
  • countless emails
  • funds and medicine
  • preparing and fueling generators
  • purchasing equipment and supplies
  • planning and scheduling meals
  • flying the team of administrator, doctors, and nurses
  • flying in all the medical equipment
  • preparing rooms for the medical team
  • transferring the dining room into an operating room
  • adjusting the beds to operating table height
  • draping off a ‘waiting room’ and ‘shower’ outside in a covered area
  • attaching netting and laying brand new tarp in the room to make it as bug free and clean as possible
  • scrubbing all surfaces with bleach
  • screening patients for surgery and clinical checkups
  • preparing and serving the meals for the whole medical team and missionary team
  • the pre and post operative care
  • the surgical procedures
  • flying the medical team and equipment all out again
  • returning the OR into a home

GOD’S GIFT
SIGHT!

It has been thrilling to hear how appreciative our friends are of this amazing and historical event. They have praised the Lord for His wonderful gift and allowing them to have restored sight. Their comments have drawn us into praise along with them and true rejoicing! God gave them spiritual sight and a relationship with Himself.  He has now restored physical sight and a visual relationship to their world again for so many. Again, we marvel that God allows us to be a small part in His work here among the Banwaon!

The day after surgery, a dear older man sat down beside me and with a twinkle in his eyes, said, “That dog there of yours sure has nice hair. Yesterday, I couldn’t even see the dog!”

One patient had congenital cataracts since birth and she described what she saw through clouds immediately after surgery. Then, on the third day, she gave a trembling smile as she could see for the first time in her young life. She is 15 years old and from another tribe living nearby (at least nearby in the jungle sense.) We all tried to imagine that moment when she opened her eyes and could see for the first time clearly. My guess is we won’t even come close until heaven!

Praise God for His alone is worthy!

A Christian news interview made about the surgery and can be found here:

http://www.mnnonline.org/article/10607


Precious Gifts from the Lord

image001

I woke up this morning to check email and found this friendly photo in my inbox. It did my heart good to see these smiling faces of the missionary ladies on Mindanao. They shared that during their prayer time they prayed for my upcoming surgery and for me. No photo, but our co-workers in our village shared that our brothers and sisters there are praying too!

How precious is the gift of friends – rather, family – brothers and sisters in the Lord. I thank the Lord for each of you.


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