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.
I’m having a problem with my right eye and it’s making it almost impossible to continue long stints at the computer. It requires surgery next week, but more on that later. I’ll be sharing phenomenal updates from our co-workers until my eye heals enough to get back to blogging.
So, the eyes have it this month. I’ve been given permission to share this wonderful update from NTMA Pilot Joel Davis posted after he flew into our village. A link to his blog is at the bottom so be sure to check it for more.
We have all had times when you met someone or even saw them at a distance and without a word spoken, you could see Jesus living through them. These are two of the older guys in one of the tribal villages that I fly to on a regular basis. Today I flew this guy in the blue bandana out and before we left our missionary snapped this photo of these two guys and sent it to me and it struck me….the stark contrast between these two guys’ eyes.
The one in the red bandana is a respected chief in this tribe, a solid believer and he is also becoming a friend of mine. He always greets me when I land and even took me and my family out to one of his farms for a tribal picnic the last time I stayed there. Our missionary told me that the guy in the blue bandana is still an animist, still lives in fear of the spirits, and so far has not accepted the truth of the Gospel. I am always so encouraged when I land in each of our tribal locations and look around and see Jesus all around me in the eyes of my brothers and sisters. The Gospel has truly changed these tiny little corners of the earth and you can see it even in the eyes of those around us. It is always so evident to me that Christ lives in and through them but even more so when I see the eyes of those that don’t have the Light. Please keep praying for the Gospel to keep flooding these dark corners of the earth and drawing people into the Light.
Under His Wings,
Link to Davis Photo Journal: http://blogs.ntm.org/joel-davis/2012/12/12/davis-photo-journal-jesus-in-his-eyes/
God fills our lives with good, no – excellent – gifts. They are almost always about people. Well, the best of them are.
This visit into the jungle was squished between all the arrangements of leaving the beautiful country that has become our second home. It’s no joke how packed our time is before the long flight back to the USA. The countdown is on.
List-making Chris has even made lists for me! We have lists to direct us to other lists so we will hopefully not forget anything which might cause our friends here trouble after we leave. We so want to depart with nothing for them to clean up after us. Lord willing, we will finish all our tasks. We appreciate your prayers with us on that!
Here are just a few snapshots of the memories He gave us among our Banwaon Family and Friends.
Visits and around the village:
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.
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:
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:
- 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’.
- 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.
- 9% upslope area: sideslope removed and crowned. Done.
- Top area by the waiting shed: smoothed out. Done, and 8” crowning to avoid puddles.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- On final approach: bushy green trees above houses cut. Done.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Short guyabano tree on final approach. Done – cut short.
Some other things:
- 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.
- 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!
Repairs Being Made
This is our first look at the repairs on our airstrip and we were delighted that we could see all the work scraping off the grass and leveling the strip well past the little waiting area we lovingly call the ULA International Airport.
We are very grateful to the Lord for:
- the many folk that gave sacrificially for all the labor costs and supplies for the repairs
- our partner, that he could arrange his schedule in Australia to come back to the Philippines for the month of April to do the ground work and supervising
- for safety for the village people working by pick axe, shovel and muscle power in the blistering heat *Please pray for unhindered work on their farms as this is normally the busiest time for getting the land cleared and burned before planting
- for our missionary pilot for his expertise in directing the repairs necessary and his willingness to hold flights until he could make the overland trip into the village to assess the situation first hand
- for safety for Chris to travel the hazardous roads in a borrowed truck (thank you co-workers!) buying supplies and transporting people and those supplies so they could make the trip into the village
- for all those who remembered to pray for the whole process and continue until the plane safely returns to our village and for the continued work God is doing among the Banwaon
After all, it takes a TEAM!
Little Miryami is thought to have TB
Our return began with us waiting for the drivers to load the mutur at 2.30AM.
Brilliant stars - photo doesn't do justice.
It’s very black in the jungle at that hour but the stars were magnificent! Once loaded, we said our good-byes and took off in that blackness.
We added a couple extra passengers on our return trip.
Midin is a young woman I met when she was only fifteen. Now she has four beautiful children. I was delighted when she visited me in the village with her daughter, Yami and Inay Ladinay, a friend and the village health worker. Quickly delight changed to concern as she explained that little Yami was suspected of having TB and needed a check up a year ago but they only had enough money for the trip back from the hospital. Could they ride with us to save on the cost to the hospital?
So Midin and Yami traveled out with us. The heavy rains that pounded our fun day at the river caused even more mud and swollen river passages. One beautiful thing the Lord arranged for a visit with Midin’s sister who lives along our route. They had only visited once since her sister left the village and she had never seen her little niece. We witnessed the tearful reunion as they hugged and chatted together at breakfast before we pressed on to the hospital.
Medical Assistance ministry could be our full time ministry here – easily! Midin explained to me her fear of all the unknowns – big city, language and procedures being foremost. The hospital is extremely crowded and everything moves so fast. The tribal people are not even sure of what questions to ask the busy staff. Traffic baffles them – how and when to move in it. Like many of us, they do not understand the medical terms or instructions that are either English or Cebuano, languages that are not theirs. Midin had papers thrust in her hand and had no idea what they were – prescriptions and x-ray schedules. No wonder they feel scared to be in the city! We are often confused by it all as well but we at least understand hospitals. Midin and Yami are waiting now at the big hospital for treatment and medicine and are a six hour trip for us to visit. They could be there at least two weeks as far as we understand it today.
- for Yami as she undergoes the strange things they are doing to check her for TB
- for Midin as a young mother facing city and hospital challenges for the first time out of the jungle
- for the doctors to clearly diagnose her problem and get her the medical help she needs
- for their care during this Easter week when EVERYTHING shuts down
- for strength and endurance as they deal with this difficult situation far from home and family
- for health to return to Yami
- for their return to the village as quickly as possible