Monthly Archives: March 2012

Out of the Miry Clay

This is Chris' last sight of us until after our visit.

I’ve just returned from the overland trip into the village. Talk about getting a good picture of “miry clay!”

Check out these photos of the trip into our village that took us over seven hours.

But don’t get bored with the repetition… it’s part and parcel of that trip and can help you appreciate the whole ordeal! We thank God for the way He protected us through the long trek. We arrived very hungry and tired but happy.

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KAAMULAN

Stilt walker

KAAMULAN

Kaamulan means “social gathering” in the dialect of the indigenous people of the northern Mindanao jungles. These meetings were called for weddings, peace negotiations, and rituals. Sacrifices and communion with evil spirits mark each one. In our town, every year there is a special celebration to celebrate the tribal peoples that originally inhabited this area.

Many tribes are represented in this festival that now benefits the town by drawing tourists and participants as hand crafted goods, displays of tribal sports and skills, food and art vendors delight visitors and locals alike. The sad news to all this is the obvious entrapment the spirits still have over these people. They fear and sacrifice to these evil beings that enslave every part of their lives. Please pray for the efforts to win these to Christ. Pray that the enchanting displays will not mask the terror these people live and die in every day. Pray for salvation.

Our Banwaon friends share how the spirits try even now to draw them back into that slavery. They share how the Holy Spirit enables them to walk in freedom and pass by the trees where the spirits dwell. They no longer fear what the spirits threaten to do because almighty God is their strength and the battle is won! Pray for their efforts to share this Good News throughout the tribes.

Here are some photos from Kaamulan celebrations:

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PHOTO CREDIT WITH PERMISSION: Earl Bolivar,  http://bukidnonphotojournal.blogspot.com

and Brian and Brooke Johnson, Missionary, NTM


Like A Child

 I cherish Luke’s telling of Jesus’ desire to be with children. Like dutiful support personnel, the disciples were shooing away the exuberant little kids clamoring for His touch. They frowned at the parents and scolded them for pushing their little ones toward Him. The NLT version of Luke 18:16-17 says,          “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” 

Wow. Never… NEVER! Strong words from our Savior.

(just a side note: It’s an interesting study to find the verses where Jesus says never.”)

New Tribes Mission Aviation is an organization of missionary pilots and their families dedicated to flying supplies and missionaries into our remote locations, specifically serving the NTM missionaries located around the world. We are uniquely fond of the ones serving God in the Philippines appreciating their excellence in professionalism and skill. It’s been a real pleasure building relationships as we load and unload the planes helping where we can to facilitate getting people and supplies in and out of our villages.

This week I had the privilege of enjoying extra special time with their children! NTMA had important meetings to work out issues serving the three largest islands here in the Philippines. They needed some uninterrupted time to discuss things as a team. I joined a group of ladies as “adult supervisors” for their wonderful children while they met.

There’s nothing like being around a BUNCH of children to glean a picture of what God is talking about. This time gave me that unique perspective – not just from the little children. Did I mention that two older Missionary Kids organized and executed the WHOLE THING? Games, crafts, quiet activities, run around crazy activities and all that goes with that were completely handled by two teen-aged children of a missionary family. Children. Exhibiting behavior like the ones required for inheriting the Kingdom of God.

Were they perfect? 😉

They were loving, forgiving, kind, orderly, excited, happy, free, attentive, active, creative, messy, thoughtful, obedient, careful, unencumbered, selfless (mostly, at times) helpful, contemplative, dirty, carefree, independent, unembarrassed, co-operative, loud, eager, bouncy, quiet, daring, clean-able, urgent, and every nuance of emotion and motion in-between!

Do you need to pray like me?  “Oh Lord, help me be as these. Squish me soft – manipulated out of my particular adult hardened shape into someone fit to receive and enter your Kingdom. Help me stay pliable and guard me from brittleness. Slide a pair of pipe-cleaner glasses over my eyes so I might, in awe, see how to approach you as these, eager for you. Help me bring my children for your touch. Embolden me against the ‘shush-ers.’ Thank you for loving even me. Amen.”

ENJOY!

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Mission Church

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We are part of a mission church near the town where we live. There was no church close by the community of families that work the land or farms surrounding the dirt road. A pastor friend of ours responded by planting a church with a handful of believers. God is pleased with their efforts and the congregation is growing as the people hear the truth of the gospel and respond. Recently we celebrated communion and a meal afterward. For some, it was the first time to share the Lord’s Supper. Enjoy these pictures as you pray for this new body of Christ.


Diligence, Faith and Patience with Prayer

tropical gear at 10,500 feet

Now, it seems so anti-climatic. It wasn’t, believe me.

Thank you for praying for this airdrop. It was a huge blessing to get these supplies into the village after so many attempts. Chris and the incredible pilot, Joel Davis, would prepare early each morning with the hope of clear skies only to have it clear in the area of the hanger but cloud over the village or visa versa. They communicated with the friends in the village and with missionaries living in outlying areas that could update Joel on conditions over their villages, only to have conditions too fragile to complete the trip time and again.

You prayed. We prayed. Our brothers and sisters in the village prayed. We prepared. We waited. We prepared again. We waited again. We prepared again.

We had faith that God also wanted these supplies to reach the village. They did.

A friend sent us those words for our title upon hearing the supplies made it into the village. AMAZING!  These ups and downs often characterize our life here. In fact, it is the norm. We spend a lot of time planning and preparing and waiting and praying. And then doing it all over again the next day or next week or next month. For things we used to take for granted.

God answered today with allowing some holes to open up just enough to make the zig-zag trip through the clouds over above the strip. Chris said the cold was unbelievable and the wind especially hard on his ‘throwing arm.” He shoved the bags out of that open door as fast as he could while Joel maneuvered in and around the holes as the skies were not forgiving. Just imagine flying far over the jungle with this visibility out that open door.

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VILLAGE NEWS

 

Friends from our village in the hospital boarding house

“Inay Brin, Mahagsay ha masolom!”

My heart did a little leap when I read the “Good morning!” greeting on my phone screen last Friday. It’s only our friends in the village that call us “Amay” and “Inay Brin!”

They made the arduous trip from the jungle down the mountains into the city (around 10 hours travel) and were hoping to see us during their brief time at the hospital. We were quite sick ourselves but borrowed a car and bumped and jumbled ourselves over broken roads for the six hour trip to get some “face space” with our dear friends. As if parched, we drank up the news from our jungle home – new babies, deaths, sickness and hunger, families that have moved, school successes, Bible teaching, church meetings, joy, grief and a few, ‘I don’t know” trickled into the conversation.

Tuberculosis is making a steady comeback into our village and other villages in the jungle. The little boy pictured above tested postitive for TB and will receive medicine before they return. The older woman was still awaiting the results of her tests but was experiencing a general weakness and is unwell. The little girl is also waiting on her test results, the doctors suspecting TB. There are many sick in the village lacking the money to make the trip down to the hospital. Two of the village health workers are no longer living in our village and since moved away for family matters or duties outside the village. Supplies are low in the village first aid pharmacy and necessary paperwork for admittance into the hospital has run out. Food stored from last years harvest is pretty much gone. These lacked the funds to make it back home.

In the midst of the difficult, God blessed. Forgotten expressions due to our lack of use of the Banwaon language brought tears to the eyes and raucous laughter! Yes, some of the news filled our eyes fresh with grief but smiles, teasing and hugs wove gently around the sorrow and seeking, buffering our cherished time together.

Too soon it was all over.

They had to go back to the hospital and we had to leave for the trip back up the mountain to our town home. The plan was for them to leave the next morning if all the results could be read by the doctors. We think it happened as we didn’t hear from them after our visit.

We’ve scheduled a supply flight that will airdrop some of the needed items on the airstrip near the village this week. Our airstrip is still banned for a landing, so I (Lynne) will take a trip overland by motorcycle as soon as possible. Chris’ back will not allow him to make that trip by motorbike and there is no other way available since the boat was broken in the last storm.

Please pray:

  • for those in the village that are too sick or poor to make it out for hospital care
  • for Inay Daday, the village health worker that is left alone to care for these
  • for the Bible teachers to be encouraged and refreshed in His Word as they teach each week
  • for the people to gather enough food from the jungle to strengthen their bodies
  • for the flight coming up this week to go smoothly in the season of bad weather
  • for the people to continue looking to God for comfort and help
  • for plans to come together for Lynne’s trip into the jungle

We thank you and on behalf of our dear brothers and sisters as well for your faithful prayers in these concerns. Thank you for your financial support of our ministry that help us minister to these brothers and sisters of yours in the rainforest. You are each a part of what God is doing here.


UNWARY

 I love how God speaks to me through the beauty of his creation. You can imagine my gasp as I glanced out the window and saw this magnificent butterfly. Grabbing our camera, I scuttled out the door and crept upon him mingling among the giant yellow trumpets behind the house. It just lingered there around the beautiful bush, seemingly for me to admire it and collect photo after photo. It effortlessly lit upon the blossoms never bothered by my intrusion. I clicked away capturing this incredible sight, grateful for a moment of unexpected beauty. God planned a lesson for me that morning.

Viewing through the camera lens, I watched the beautiful butterfly haltingly stretch out his wings in a unique stance. Excitedly I thought, “Ooh, something different is happening!” I watched amazed as the wings remained spread and the butterfly seemed to float slowly downward from it’s blossom. I couldn’t quite see clearly enough through the lens but just kept clicking shots as the weird activity continued, convinced I was witnessing something exceptional of butterflies. Instead I was witnessing something of life. And of death. ‘My’ beautiful butterfly twitched his last there in those lovely flowers. This carefree butterfly failed to distinguish the gorgeous spider camouflaged among the blossoms.

God reminded me real danger can appear appetizing. I remembered the warning found in Matthew 7:15. False prophets come disguised but in reality are vicious! Much like the spider disguised as a nourishing flower, false prophets inject poison that paralyzes the unwary.  God’s warning flashed bright red anew. Caution and discernment must be exercised when listening to messages masquerading as teaching from Scripture. False doctrines literally spew poison from so called Christian programming and unwary believers are snared. Friends, learn with me this lesson from the spider and the butterfly. Let’s study the Bible, our true authority on God’s revelation, and allow God to raise those red flags of warning when you hear anyone twisting the Truth.

Deceived


Awana Day

Feeding the Awana Kids of Mt. Moriah

Feeding the Awana Kids of Mt. Moriah

Awana! It’s amazing to watch 350+ kids line up for a delicious and nutritious meal after hours of running and jumping, screaming and clapping and, amazingly, quietly sitting to hear God’s Word for them.

 

Awana Clubs International brings the Gospel of Jesus Christ to kids. Lots and lots of kids. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and even more beautiful to participate. We visited one such club recently and the noise brought a smile to our faces even before we saw the room full of children. I stepped inside the vibrating building just to grab a few photos and video because we had a specific task to do. We were there to volunteer in the feeding of 300+ children after all the activity and teaching was finished.

God is using the directors, friends of ours since coming to the Philippines ten years ago, in such an amazing way and they serve tirelessly – well, that’s not correct. They are tired. But they are also extremely blessed to be able to reach these children before they are trapped in the path of poverty that leads to desperation that leads to crime and ultimately jail. Yes, you read that correctly. Children in jail.

The plight of street children of the Philippines is well documented in film and print for any that care to look it up. God urged this family to get out of the church pew and do something. They did. God built a tremendous ministry for them from seven children to 300+.. a proper count possible only in the bowls and cups of food as they politely file past the table for their serving. I prayed for them today knowing that there are countless others around the world giving the Gospel to children that their society ignores until it costs them – ranging from being a nuisance to causing harm.

The goal of the directors is to break the chain that drags them from abandoned or disadvantaged to jail. They want to allow God to make a difference before they become someone’s jail ministry. And thanks to God, He is making that difference. We are humbled to volunteer some of our time to help.  They encourage church teams to come for projects or even to do the program for a short time offering much needed break to the staff. Feel the need to build something? Plumb something? Teach something? Feed someone? You will return home blessed and enriched.

We’ll happily be a connection to the program if you’d like to contact us of the urge God has put upon your hearts.

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Bible Lessons

Chris Teaching 4th Grade

Chris Teaching 4th Grade

Once a week Chris is greeted enthusiastically with “Good morning Pastor Chris!” by approximately thirty little 4th graders. It’s a highlight of our week when we volunteer as substitute teachers for a Bible Story and singing at a small school in the area. The children are attentive and eager to hear about the stories God has preserved for us in the Bible. They love hearing about the giants and the mighty things people did when they obeyed God. Singing is loud and joyous and we get to learn new ways to act out the “sweet sweet love of Jesus.” Many of these little ones come from extremely poor homes. The most malnourished receive a special meal after the teaching and treatment for tuberculosis while the others play outside. We understand that for those, it’s their only nutritious meal of the day.

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Youth Group Problems

Ages 12 - 29!

Ages 12 - 29!

The youth group from the little mission church we attend in town has a wonderful problem!

It’s too big!

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