Category Archives: Ministry

A Year In Transition (and Photos!)

What a YEAR God had for us! A new ministry, multiple surgeries, living in two separate states, buying a house, losing a brother, finishing out a school year and raising fifty-four chickens!

My (Lynne) eyes were only part of the reason this blog was on hold and they still limit the time I can stare at a screen. With Chris working flat-out at Mercer Christian Academy as their new administrator and me flat on my back after 4 surgeries we failed all of you with our sad lack of communication!

But, NO MORE EXCUSES! Please forgive us and allow these photos to cause praise to the Lord for all He has done in our lives that we failed to share.

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Please pray for us:

  • to keep our focus on Christ
  • trust Him in difficult situations ahead
  • strive for better relationships
  • to do better at communication
  • to be open to new ministry opportunities
  • for Chris in planning for the new school year

We so appreciate those of you who have kept in touch and prayed with us through the hardships and transitions we faced. We praise and thank the Lord for each and every one of you!

ChrisLynne


After the Storm and a Way to Help

Storm Aftermath

Storm Aftermath

We received an update from NTMA pilot Joel Davis. He and Zach have moved the helicopter to a group of islands off the northeast tip of Palawan. From this location they can more easily distribute supplies to the typhoon victims on the remote surrounding islands. 

With the help of NTMA pilots Josh Dalton and Brian Pruett they will use our three aircraft to better meet the needs in this neglected area. 

Joel writes -The last few days have been really busy with logistics and organizing how we will be most effective in this relief effort. The task is huge and we are starting to see how we can be of service. The last few days have been filled with survey flights to take pictures and report back concerning the hardest hit areas. It was really sobering to see what looked like the aftermath of a huge bomb hitting the coast of Samar and Leyte. Despite the chaos, loss of life, and desperation, as we flew over we could see people jumping up and down waving and in true Filipino fashion making the best of a horrible situation. We also have used the helicopter to help move relief workers around on those islands and take key people in the relief effort to determine new staging areas. God is building a great team of people to help and we are so grateful for the inter agency cooperation that we are experiencing. Please continue to pray for wisdom for our team, strength, and that we can be a blessing to those affected by this typhoon.

Written earlier:

Many of you are keeping up with the news and asking about ways to help. NTMA pilots are going all out delivering immediate help organized by the local churches in each area. You can be assured this money will get help TO THE PEOPLE.

Please read these reports and if the Lord is leading you to help physically we wholeheartedly know your help will actually reach those in need.

A link to help: www.ntm.org

From Bryan and Bailey Pruett:

We have not done a very good job at sending out updates on our situation here in the Philippines and for that we apologize. Ever since typhoon Haiyan reduced the middle of the Philippines to rubble we’ve been swamped trying to coordinate help for our own missionaries. Once they were all safe and accounted for we turned our attention to what we can do to help those who were most affected by the typhoon.
On Sunday morning this week we were approached by a team with the Philippine Red Cross about the possibility of flying them for aerial surveys and damage assessments so that they could more effectively deploy relief workers into areas damaged by the typhoon. Relief flying isn’t something we’ve ever done before, mostly because we have such a small team (four families in the Philippines right now) and are already maxed out just trying to keep up with our normal flying schedule. We also haven’t been in the country for a disaster as overwhelming as this one so we haven’t felt this kind of desperation before.
Considering the devastation caused by this Super Typhoon and the desperate situation so many are in, we decided to ask a few of our friends if they knew were we could get plugged into relief efforts after the Red Cross flying was finished and just trust the Lord to lead us. We were also trusting the Lord for the finances so that we could commit to helping even though we did not know where the money would come from. We told the Red Cross we would love to help them and three hours later we were deep into planning a second relief effort with the lead Philippine government agency for disaster relief. We also received a financial pledge that was adequate to do the Red Cross flights free of charge as well as a large donation of fuel for our second relief project at “ground zero,” Tacolban City airport.
It has been a whirlwind for us since then and our phones and email have seen unbelievable traffic! We have been forwaded emails from missionaries trapped on islands, pleading to be evacuated as siib as we can get to them. Not a minute goes by that we don’t feel the desperation that so many thousands of people are feeling right now and our hearts want to help all of them.
We have waited two days to get clearance into Tacloban City but have been unable to land there and have been advised that we cannot land in the nearby areas either due to peace and order issues. It really is an unbelievable strtegy for Samaritan’s Purse to bring aid, but because of yet another big storm, we were grounded again.
We have now changed plans and this morning (Wednesday Nov 13), Brian and Joel, out other pilot here on Mindanao, flew to a bigger airport outside of the disaster area where they will stay and fly relief from. Our helicopter and it’s pilot is also coming from the Northern Luzon today to meet them. Initially we think we will fly government officials and the heads of various aid organizations for aerial surveys and to drop them off in strategic locations where they can help coordinate a way to secure supply lines. At this point very few foreign aid agencies are able to get in to the disaster area to help. It is our hope that we can help secure the area by providing air support so that the bigger aid agencies can freely move into position and do their work.
Please pray for Brian as he, Joel, Zach and Josh will all be assessing the situation and trying to make decisions about the longer term needs in the area. Pray for wisdom and safety for them. Pray for the wives, Bailey, Missy, Jane and Candy as they hold down the fort and communicate with their husbands as they fly. Pray mostly, though, for the Filipino nationals here who, no doubt, have the hardest task of all – rebuildning their homes and lives and facing the reality of lost loved ones. Our hearts break for them and those that are still without food and water.
It is a very big task and we are very small but we know Who is bigger than all of this and wre thankful for His faithfulness and His strength. Thank you for your prayers – we appreciate them now, more than ever.

From Joel and Missy Davis:

Super Typhoon Haiyan

This weekend one of the most devastating storms in history pounded the Philippines. Where we live, we were safe and out of the path of the storm… we had a bit of rain and a little breeze and that was it…but as we watched the storm progress on the radar, we knew in other areas it was a different story. We were watching updates on Facebook of our coworkers who are living and serving out in remote locations on islands that were being pummeled by Haiyan.

Photo taken by Josh Dalton, NTMA pilot

One family reported having about 130 people from their village taking shelter in their house. Praise the Lord that those people had somewhere to go.

Another team told of parts of their roof flying and them holding it down as best they could, with rain pouring in the closed windows. After that post, they lost their internet and cell signals, and our concern was growing when didn’t hear from them for about a day and a half.  We were mobilizing the airplane to go fly over their island to see if we could see anything – or if we could help – when we got a text saying they were ok. They also reported zero casualties, only property damage- praise the Lord. This team just located there a few months ago and are in continuing language study.  Please pray with us that this will be an incredible opportunity to show God’s love to the people there.  Our pilot on that island has already started flying there with relief goods.

From photoblog.nbcnews.com

As news of the devastation is coming out, our hearts are so heavy. A possible 10,000 plus have lost their lives, and there are islands that are 80% destroyed.

Today, just now, Joel and the other pilot landed a location where we can be used to help. Our other pilots from our 2 other locations are on their way too. Together they will be basing out of a bigger city that is near the damage, poised and ready to start taking supplies and personnel where they need to go.

Please pray with us for safety for our aviation team that will be working hard to help with this disaster. Pray for their families at home holding down the fort. Pray that our team would be a light to those whose lives were turned upside down this weekend. Pray that the love of Jesus would be so clear to them through the care and help of God’s people.

If you want to give toward the relief efforts here, you can do so here:  www.ntm.org

I had the opportunity to talk about what is happening here on Moody Radio this week. To listen to the interview, click here.

Thank you so much for your prayers.
Under His Wings,
Joel & Missy

Chris on Local TV Station

Check out out this clip from an interview with Chris.

http://www.wvva.com/story/23328741/2013/09/03/mercer-christian-academy-has-new-administrator?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9269718


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


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


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


Romans for the Banwaon

Translation Check

Translation Check

We are praising the Lord!

Our co-workers sent an update stating the translation check for clarity and understanding is OVER!

We are so excited as the translation will soon be ready for printing and insertion into their Scripture portions. This is a huge breakthrough as it will finally put their New Testament portions over the 40% “completed and checked” mark! Romans was a real challenge for translation and we prayed to the Lord for a good work so our brothers and sisters there in the jungle will have access to Romans in their own language at long last.

This anticipated update came from our partners in the village, Albert and Lynne Castelijn. They explain some of the process:

Enormous privilege.  Enormous joy.

Imagine – soon verses like these will be included in the ever-growing Scripture books that the people have….

 

There is only one God, and there is only one way of being accepted by him.

He makes people right with himself only by faith. 

(Romans 3:30)

and

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love.

Death can’t, and life can’t.

The angels can’t, and the demons can’t.

Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow,

and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away . 

(Romans 8:38-39)

 

Truly, we are blessed.

 

However there is challenge involved too.

 

  It is a privilege, but it’s also tough going.

 

Long, long days as Albert reads a passage to two tribal helpers, then they think it through and say back what they understand it to mean.

  

In English, Albert tells JJ (the translation consultant) what they’ve said.  JJ carefully examines the passage to see if they’ve understood.

 

Discussion.  Re-reading.  “Did they get this point” – “Maybe this word needs to be clearer or changed” – “That’s great, they got it exactly!”

 

The days have been hot and humid.  The tribal helpers are not used to sitting such long hours doing intense focused mental work.  Their day normally consists of physical work such as preparing their farms for harvest rather than sitting on a chair for hours at a time concentrating hard.

 

One of the helpers hasn’t been feeling well.  Yesterday he couldn’t come at all.  Albert had to go up into the village to find someone else willing and able to assist.

 

The book of Romans, while beautiful and rich, is also complex and not easy to translate.

 

Will you please pray with us?

 

  • For Rumi, Yakisan and Amay Marbin – the tribal helpers.  For endurance.  Clarity of thought.  Insight.  And that they will be blessed as the rich truths of Romans strike deep within their spiritual consciousness and understanding.

 

  • For JJ – the translation checker/consultant.  Wisdom and perception to pick up what’s good and what needs changing or clarifying.  JJ is incredibly gracious.  Pray he’ll be blessed by this check too.

 

  • For Albert – the translator.  Pray for all of the above!  Endurance.  Clarity of thought.  Faithful relaying of what the helpers are saying.  It’s not simple constantly switching from English to Banwaon.  Pray for insight – what are the best words to most faithfully express the meaning of Romans?  Our desire is for an excellent translation that glorifies God.

Oh how we praise the Lord for this and we invite you to rejoice and praise along with all of us for you are also an important part of this work! Lynne wrote to say they are creating a Banwaon web site so we will be passing that along to you once it’s launched.

ChrisLynne


Miraculous within the Mundane

The Brooks

The Brooks

Today we are sharing portions of this beautiful post of dear “friends/rather more like family,” the Brooks, our co-workers in the Philippines. They serve the Lord among a growing church. You can read this post in its entirety from her blogspot: http://pippyinthejungle.blogspot.com

“These past few weeks I have had days taken up with potty training and lots and lots of normal. Mosquito bites, ant infestations, tears and giggles. Cooking, dish washing, clothes sorting, and sitting on the porch talking to chatty neighbors (which is not good for the potty training)….but not too much drama. Just life, family and ministry all rolling along one day after another.

However these are the days I cherish, the moments I cherish, for they pass too quickly. Sometimes I wish I could freeze life at this stage that we are at with our two-year old and our baby. I love Saturday morning pancake time and bedtime stories. Coffee with my husband before they wake up (which is rare) and rocking a baby to sleep. These days I am treasuring listening to a two-year old discover her imagination, “pearls slipping off a string”. Precious. Valuable. Unique. Simply put, days are passing, sunsets are amazing and mornings come again….sometimes too early.

 It was while sitting with my chatty neighbor that we were able to talk for over an hour about the Bible study he is having with our co workers Paul and Cathy. He is a man that is not yet saved, but he is thinking and questioning and praise God he is getting the opportunity to listen to the truth of God’s Word. People are praying for this man and his family. Silent prayers, prayers that are lifted up in far away distant countries, prayers that are brought before our Mighty God….who hears. We are praying for a life to be changed. It was while heading to arrange a meeting with some of the people in the village that Danny and I enjoyed a lovely walk along the beach and some rare alone time together. Holding hands, just being us. It is in these moments that I remember the statement I once read, that not only did I get to marry the man I love, but now I get to love the man I married. Life changing. 

After baking all morning last week with one of my dear friends here in the village, we sat down to a cup of coffee and some fresh lemon bread. Both my kiddies were asleep, the coffee was strong and black, the bread was fresh and warm and our fellowship together was real, personal, God-centered and encouraging to my heart. She has learnt so much from God’s Word in such a short time. She is a life changed. I am a life changed. Thank you Jesus. 

photo

Last week as I looked around the room I was blessed to see that in more than one situation it was a mother sitting helping her own child read and learn from the Scriptures. Truth being passed from one generation to another…with love. A few years ago the truth of God’s Word was not known in this place. Today a mother sits and teaches her son the Word of God.Life changing for both.

Gathered together with a group of people who speak a different language from me, whose customs and ways often still leave me ever so perplexed. We sit on hard wooden benches, it is a hot afternoon, the kids are playing outside, the men sit near the back, they read the scriptures silently while they wait. I look around the room at the faces. I know their stories: a former member of a “works for salvation” denomination, the daughter of a witch doctor, a lady who moved here to meet the father she never knew. Another whose husband was murdered last year, opposite her there is a man who has served time in prison. There is a young man who is sick and doesn’t know what his future will hold, beside him is his mother who worries about him. A young mother, a sister, a friend, a co worker. In the middle of us all there is a plastic table. Nothing fancy. We are all gathered around the table on which sits a plate of skyflakes (crackers) broken into small pieces and some grape juice. We sing together, we pray together, we read the Word of God together, and most of all we remember our Saviour together. Our Saviour who died to free us from the fear of evil spirits, to free us from death, to liberate us from the bondage of sin and to give us new life in Christ. A Saviour who bled and died a cruel death in obedience to His Heavenly Father so that a sinner (such as I) can be forgiven, be freed, be saved, be at peace with the Creator of all things, our Almighty God. Remembering His great love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Life changing.

I am trying to say is that it is often in the daily routine things of life that we can miss the chance to see the miraculous. For In the small things God is still great. In the mundane things He is still ever present. In the routine He is still faithful and in the rhythmn of life He still Sovereign.  I pray that God will help me to be faithful in the mundane, so that I will rejoice in the eternal. 

Philippa for us all.”


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