Tag Archives: missionary

Precious Gifts from the Lord

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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.


Gold Fever

Worthless

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.

Priceless


Last Visit into the Jungle (Goodbyes)

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.

Tears flowed.

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!)

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Last Visit into the Jungle (Getting There)

God blessed our last visit into the jungle with memories, laughter and a flood of tears.

We spent some of our time making final decisions and totally clearing out the house but the best time spent was visiting and enjoying our family and friends there.

Before the meal, we gathered with some of our closest friends in the meeting-house. Thankfully, our partner Albert Castelijn was there to help us are our deepest expression of thanks and love in their language. We shared that just like God instructed us to ready ourselves to leave home and dear family in the USA to come live among the Banwaon, we continue to follow Him where ever He leads. They replied that even though they will miss us terribly the only right way to live is in obedience to God, our Father. They touched our hearts deeply as they added that we might be separated here on this earth but because of God we can look forward to eternity when we have ONE HOUSE in heaven.

During the Pogsalamat (thanksgiving) celebration twenty-seven chickens, one hundred kilo (220 lbs.) of rice, seventeen kilo (37 1/2 lbs.) of noodles (uncooked) and uncounted cans of fish fed hundreds of people (450 – 500!). God is so good. We shared before that this is a month in their ‘hungry season’ before fall harvest so it was especially nice to see folk that were thinner since our last visit enjoy food and laugh with us one last time before our trip for home assignment.

“Difficult” is not adequate to describe our tearful good-byes. “Heart-wrenching” isn’t either! We eternally thank God for allowing us to be a part of the work He is doing there. We thank Him for each of you that helped us do it. We will always feel family-connected to these people and promised to do all we can to come back and visit.
This is part one of our time there. We took hundreds of photos. Check them out below and in following posts.

Getting There:

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All Choked Up

Difficult goodbyes in the Village

We are heading into the village for our last time before home assignment. It’s even hard to type. We found it difficult to think about and dreaded it for months. Our throats close up and tears spring into our eyes before we attempt to control them.

Our partner, Albert Castelijn, flew into the village today to prepare for their family’s arrival. They’ve just returned after almost three years of extended home assignment in Australia getting their oldest children settled into advanced education. We began preparing for our visit.

Oh how we can learn from our dear brothers and sisters in the jungle!

We were full on working our plan for the flight when both of our computers loudly squawked that we had incoming messages at the exact same time. Chris was out in town so I ran from his computer to mine trying to quiet the noise. It was Albert. He was sending out a message that our friends took up a collection for a Pogsalamat (Thanksgiving) with us before we leave!

The news stunned us and then sent us into a flurry of activity. Suddenly we had to shop and weigh and pack everything they ordered (and then some) for a big celebration. We were on full tilt! All the plans for our original flight changed and another flight added. Chickens needed to be purchased – FAST. A lot of chickens. Chris heaved heavy sacks of rice into the truck to go in the plane with us. All those carefully laid plans quickly brushed aside for a time of joy and thanksgiving with our beloved families in the jungle!

It is overwhelming. This is a difficult time of the year for them yet it was on their hearts to give and celebrate with us. July is in their ‘hungry time’ before harvest in September. Food and funds are at an all time low during these months before harvest. Their expression of love literally fills us up to overflowing.

This is one of the most wonderful things we love about the Philippine people! A big celebration at the last minute? NO PROBLEM!

It was just what we needed to put a smile on our faces. Saying “good-bye” is the most difficult thing for missionaries to do. It seems we are always saying it to family and loved ones and feeling our hearts rend with each loss.

Please pray for us. We know it will be in heaven before we next greet some of these brothers and sisters of the Philippine rainforest. Pray that we are able to express how much they mean to us and how we carry each of them in our hearts no matter where we might live on this earth.

Praise the Lord with us as we trust Him to fill in the gaps, heart to heart, what we cannot express in words.


Airstrip Repair — DONE!

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 We are praising the Lord and couldn’t wait to share this news so you can praise Him along with us! Our partners, Albert and Lynne Castelijn sent out this report just now:

Hi everyone,

The time in Ulanguan was amazing. The Lord wonderfully provided in many ways – plenty of workers (even though it’s typically farming season for the Banwaon), tons of good quality stockpiled gravel at a disused logging company quarry about 1 km away, and a truck to haul the nearly 200 tonnes of gravel to the airstrip, along with enough dry weather to make the trip along the old lagging track possible (with a bit of help by building one bridge and a log-lined creek crossing). On top of all that it was a joy to meet with the Banwaon believers and see how they continue to walk with the Lord and reach out with His love (in spite of some real difficulties they are working through).

Probably the best way to summarize the work is to refer to Joel’s list to me which he made after his first survey trip:

  1. Touchdown zone: side slope removed and minimal to no crown. Done. No sideslope, and no crown from 0 – 150’ mark. Then crowning gradually rises from 0” at 150’ mark to 8” at 250’ mark. 8” crown is maintained for the rest of the graveled area ie 250’ – 750’.
  2. Landslide Area: Rrepaired with drainage pipe and packed down and smoothed out and not encroaching on the useable runway. Done. Airstrip now full 40’ wide all the way.
  3. 9% upslope area: sideslope removed and crowned. Done.
  4. Top area by the waiting shed: smoothed out. Done, and 8” crowning to avoid puddles.
  5. Thin packed layer of gravel. Done. It will be interesting to see if erosion is a problem. I have a pile of gravel stockpiled at the side of the airstrip at the 450’ mark for repairs if necessary. There are some areas near the top of the hill which were mostly rocky gravel which didn’t pack down well. I’ve asked the guys to replace this with better gravel, but not sure if they’ll get to it. They are only fairly small patches anyway.
  6. On the grass side of the runway: Two problem areas closer to the top of the hill. Done. We packed river gravel into the dips to level those areas. For those two areas the gravel extends right across the strip to avoid differential braking problems.
  7. On the grass side of the runway: Fill in and smooth out most extreme bumps and dips. Done. Filled in dips with packed river gravel, dug off one bump.
  8. On final approach: bushy green trees above houses cut. Done.
  9. On short final: Cut back hill as close as possible to 50’ from centre of runway. We dug it back as much as we could without encroaching on the school grounds. There was one section left to dig away which I’m hoping they’ll get done in the next 2 weeks. If not, either Chris can get it done, or I can when I return.
  10. On the go around: Trees on the left side of the runway. Done. We cut down about 10 trees there to avoid a steep turn on go around.

Some additional things:

  1. Fill in and smooth out the remainder of the grassy part of the airstrip. We can discuss what more needs to be done when I return in July.
  2. Trees on climbout to avoid making as extreme a right turn on climbout. We cut a lot of trees while I was there, so I didn’t want to tackle this one yet. We can look at it again in July.
  3. Two trees way out on hill affecting airdrops. Done. We actually cut down about 10 trees in that area altogether. Should really help for airdrops (but hopefully we won’t need airdrops anymore).
  4. Short guyabano tree on final approach. Done – cut short. 

Some other things:

  1. Fence at school – we had to build a fence above the steep bank between the road and the school grounds that we dug away. Shouldn’t be an issue for plane I don’t think.
  2. Fence alongside runway – we have built a fence on the left side of the runway at the touchdown area to keep carabao and bikes off the runway. It runs right alongside the runway from 0’ to about 150’, but we put it in the drainage canal to keep it’s height above runway surface a minimum (about 12”-18” above runway surface). The fence then turns away from the runway towards the detachment hill. The start of the fence is my biggest concern because it cuts across the left hand end of the strip (even though it’s over 50 feet before the touchdown marks). You may want this removed – I have told the guys that that part of the fence may need to be removed for flights. We’ll need to come up with a plan for something permanent that is suitable.     
So please continue to pray for the final check out flights before any passengers are allowed to land on our newly repaired strip. God is so good!

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