God gives His children Joy!
Barely over jet lag, we piled stuff into the new car and made the trek to a very special birthday celebration. Our granddaughter, Jaiden, celebrated her ninth birthday and we were there!
I know there are fortunate ones that do this every year with their grandchildren but, for those of us serving overseas, it’s a rare and wonderous occasion. Your inner being gnaws with hunger for family. So it’s pure JOY to live in the moment right there with family.
We felt like we were living Jeremiah 31:12.
We thank the Lord for the timing of our Home Assignment and the gift of celebrating this special day with Jaiden and 4 other days just lapping up family time. For our wonderful friends separated from family, we took the time to pray for your family-sized hunger pains and that God would grant you this gift in the future so you might sing songs to the heights of your home.
For the rest of us, REJOICE!
By the time most of you get to see this we will be winging our way across the ocean towards the USA! As hard as it is to leave our dear friends in the Philippines we find surges of real joy at the thought of seeing family and friends in the USA! We are in a constant state of tears and goosebumps!
We ask for your patience as we learn how to get our communications up and running and be assured we will try to contact you as soon as possible and work on filling up our year with visits and sharing the amazing work that God is doing here. We yearn to hear of what He is doing in, around and through each of you!
Party is Pinoy!
Chris says, “Goodbyes are GOOD, because it’s always about people and that’s good.” No matter if make-up runs down the cheeks. No matter if the nose must be wiped with your shirt because there is no tissue. No matter that your face looks all screwed up with emotion.
So of course here, in the Philippines, goodbyes are a great reason for a party! That’s the despidida.
We have had a few. We cry at each. We hug. We laugh and eat. We fellowship. And Lord, please bless our dear neighbors with protected ears, because we sing. We sing of the Lord and how wonderful He is to bring us together as family. We’ve said “townie” good-byes in Manila, Butuan and Malaybalay.
Join the parties through these photos (had to borrow a few) of beautiful family God has joined by heart strings:
Gold Fever has hit our beautiful jungle home. During our visit we missed so many faces and when we asked about them, almost every answer was the same. “Mining.” It seems someone has persuaded them to pan for gold and they would purchase it from them. The fear is that they do not receive the true price for all that difficult, dangerous work as they have no means of learning the true value of the market.
Already we know of accidents because of landslides around the mining areas. One young man had to have three surgeries for his mangled legs after such a landslide where he was mining during the season of heavy rainfall. We learned whole patches of farming land stripped away and upturned with water from high powered pressure hoses. It’s a matter of time when their efforts will cost a life. Tragic.
But these concerns are not the most tragic. Our enemy is very clever and full of lies. Families were split apart because of the gold quest. Ancient rain forest is changed forever. It gets worse. The meeting house was half empty. Youth are drawn away from the weekly Bible lessons. Focus has shifted from what God is doing in their minds and hearts to what can gold do for me? It’s the classic, “Forsaking the best for the least.”
Most tragic is the bright and shiny is blinding them from the truly precious treasure of knowing Christ. We are reminded of verses found in Job 22: 23-25 and the entire chapter of Job 28. We are praying this Word for them. Please join us in this ministry of prayer.
We also learned our dear friend, Amay Ubinu is gone from our village. No, not mining. He is home. His treasure and mansion is lasting forever.
Home with the Lord
All the troubles of this worldly life completely incomparable to the eternal life he is already enjoying. He never has to drag trees from the jungle for his firewood! Amay Ubinu can rest. We miss him here. We are full of joy knowing we will see him again. We praise the Lord he learned the truth found in Philippians 3:7-8.
Please pray that wisdom will be sought from God’s Word over the false promises of the gold merchants. Pray for the Banwaon church leaders’ to teach boldly and that hearers will take the truth deep into their understanding and return to the Lord. Pray for those struggling even today with the temptation of this world’s riches trying to decide what is best over what is less.
Amay Disi prayed for our flight.
The day came for our last flight out of the village before home assignment.
Silently the group moved to the landing and waited on the plane. The time had come. It was time to say good-bye.
Amay Disi, the main Bible teacher, prayed a sweet prayer for our flight.
We thank God that He gave us that time with the Banwaon. We thank God for the way He makes us all family. We thank God for allowing us to get back into the village together before we head to America. It’s a standing prayer that He might allow us to return.
Please pray for the Banwaon believers as they continue growing in the Lord and sharing the Gospel all throughout the jungle. Pray that the young ones who never worshiped the evil spirits catch the urgency of their parents’ and grandparents’ who easily remember the bondage, fear and lies of the evil one. Pray for the translation of the Banwaon Bible and for our partners, the Castelijn’s, and the tribal translators, Amay Duduy, Amay Isil, and Amay Tim, as they strive to finish the New Testament.
Pray for us as we make the adjustments back to America. We know there will be moments feeling dreadful loss mingled with the incredible joy of being back with dear family and friends in the States. We are already aware of feeling out of sync in our own culture as our home nation has changed so much.
We are changed.
Our pilot, Joel, was kind enough to take photos and give us these to remember and share. We have to grab a kleenex when we look at them. (Be glad there is no audio!)