Tag Archives: team

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 Eyes of… February?

God’s timing didn’t allow for the great title, “The EYES of March” (get it? 🙂 so I took a bit of literary licence to fit the month. We’ve often thought about the amazing gift God gave our friends and brothers and sisters in the village and talked about it lots in these last weeks so I’m saving my eye a bit of over work and re-posting this one for our new readers and those who want to praise the Lord again for this special time in our village.

History being made!CATARACT SURGERY – JUNGLE STYLE  God has wonderfully restored the sight of so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ here! Hearing the praises to the Lord for all He has done for them has been heart warming and we join our praises to Him for the answer to all the prayers and preparation for this rare event in the middle of the jungle.


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THE HUMAN TEAM EFFORT (Tribal and Missionary)

  • prayer
  • months of planning and adjusting schedules
  • countless emails
  • funds and medicine
  • preparing and fueling generators
  • purchasing equipment and supplies
  • planning and scheduling meals
  • flying the team of administrator, doctors, and nurses
  • flying in all the medical equipment
  • preparing rooms for the medical team
  • transferring the dining room into an operating room
  • adjusting the beds to operating table height
  • draping off a ‘waiting room’ and ‘shower’ outside in a covered area
  • attaching netting and laying brand new tarp in the room to make it as bug free and clean as possible
  • scrubbing all surfaces with bleach
  • screening patients for surgery and clinical checkups
  • preparing and serving the meals for the whole medical team and missionary team
  • the pre and post operative care
  • the surgical procedures
  • flying the medical team and equipment all out again
  • returning the OR into a home


It has been thrilling to hear how appreciative our friends are of this amazing and historical event. They have praised the Lord for His wonderful gift and allowing them to have restored sight. Their comments have drawn us into praise along with them and true rejoicing! God gave them spiritual sight and a relationship with Himself.  He has now restored physical sight and a visual relationship to their world again for so many. Again, we marvel that God allows us to be a small part in His work here among the Banwaon!

The day after surgery, a dear older man sat down beside me and with a twinkle in his eyes, said, “That dog there of yours sure has nice hair. Yesterday, I couldn’t even see the dog!”

One patient had congenital cataracts since birth and she described what she saw through clouds immediately after surgery. Then, on the third day, she gave a trembling smile as she could see for the first time in her young life. She is 15 years old and from another tribe living nearby (at least nearby in the jungle sense.) We all tried to imagine that moment when she opened her eyes and could see for the first time clearly. My guess is we won’t even come close until heaven!

Praise God for His alone is worthy!

A Christian news interview made about the surgery and can be found here:


Precious Gifts from the Lord


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.

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!

God’s Little Gift

Colorful confusion!

Busy missionary moms need a substitute granny on occasion. One mom who is also the pilot’s wife texted that her pilot husband needed to fly into a tribal location which meant she needed to flight follow. Which meant she had to stay by her computer and radio while he was in the air to the village until he returned to the hanger. Which meant her daughter would miss her second day of ballet class. Unless a Lola (Filipino for ‘Granny’) would take her to class.

We are in the sorting, tossing, packing and re-packing stage of our preparations for furlough. It’s overwhelming with all the details of getting cargo shipped to the USA in a month, coordinating several domestic flights for remaining ministry as well as arranging our international flights. All very important, tedious, dry and boring details. All the plans being made then scratched and blocked for no other reason than to teach us humility. And the endless phone calls that end in frustration because the new information doesn’t match the information that was given yesterday that was very critical to us ending up in the United States – together. It was just not a good time for me to take off from all of that.

On top of that, my hair was dirty since I hadn’t planned on leaving the phone or computer for weeks! Or at least until that one room was completely sorted and packed away for the move. Also Chris needed to use the car we borrowed. On top of that I’m feeling burdened that we have two patients from the village in the hospital in a town three hours one way over broken roads and I hadn’t visited in over a week.

And she needed a lola. I’m the only lola here right now. So I washed my face and pulled my dirty hair into a clip, hitched a ride with Chris and his friend and headed to ballet class.

Ballet class! Excited girls of all ages and sizes flitted in colorful, bouncy tutus, tights and ballet slippers. Little beginner ballerinas hopping and twisting and pointing toes in a chaotic display of utter confusion! I smiled then laughed as I chatted with the mothers, dads and lolas in the sidelines snapping pictures at the little dancers every move.

And I prayed. I prayed for my daughter-in-law and my little granddaughters on the other side of the world doing exciting things that I miss forever. I prayed for the grandmothers (and the granddads) on the other side of the world missing forever this moment of beauty their little granddaughters were creating.

And, I thanked God for the gift.

Ministry In Miles

Most envision a missionary teaching or studying the Bible at a desk surrounded by resource material with a squeaky fan blowing the bugs out of his face.

But sometimes he sits behind the wheel in a hot car barely moving over broken roads. Trip after trip, he sleeps in tiny hotel rooms with limited electricity, cold showers and sketchy food. Sometimes he shops, in scavenger hunt fashion, searching in four different cities ducking in and out of countless, dark, dusty stores that only stock one or two of the 90 needed items to get all the hardware for the airstrip repairs. (There is no one-stop shopping here!)

Chris traveled over 2796 miles (4500 K) in this ministry month. Not the usual miles racked up in the seat of an airplane. Road miles. The slow and painfully bounced, jerked and slammed to a stop kind of miles. ALL OF THEM. Literally.

The national highway that circles northern Mindanao, the island we serve on, is under major repair. Because it is majorly in disrepair. Heavy rains caused the road bed to wash out from under the asphalt surface causing a ‘peanut brittle’ effect. The road works crew then scoops up this brittle road one lane at a time with a bulldozer that tosses it aside while all the traffic uses the ‘free’ lane. And not in servicable sections like you might imagine. This roadworks project covers the entire national highway!

Actual forward 'speed'

V-e-r-y slowly uses the free lane. It is not at all unusual to sit 2 hours while traffic passes in that lane. Over and over again all along those many miles. Why?

Because the national highway is the only roadway that takes you around the island. Why would Chris do all those miles when the road is such a mess? When the driving and sitting all those hours causes leg and back cramps that wake him in the middle of the night? When he would rest at home just one night to turn around and make the painful trip all over again? FOUR TIMES in THREE WEEKS? Why?

Because it pleases God when missionaries work as a team. We share the privilege to serve Him as part of the New Tribes missionary team here on Mindanao, not just partners in the translation team for the Banwaon.

Chris first made that roundtrip in four days to take me and my two friends to the pick-up point for our road trip into the village by motor bike. Then he supply shopped before he came back to pick us up again. Then he slept one night at home and covered the same painful journey adding a day to pick up our partner to make his motor bike trip into the village to repair our condemned airstrip. Then he returned home to sleep two nights in his own bed only to turn around to do the three day trip again and three days back with the New Tribes Mission Aviation pilot who went in to explain the specific details of the repairs needed on the airstrip. All four of those round trips literally fill the three week time frame.

Supply buying and mobilization was Chris’ part of the teamwork needed to complete the repairs on our airstrip.

God knows just how to plug each of us into the team to suit His purpose and plant a church for His Glory.

A short video clip of Chris traveling a section of the national highway. Praise the Lord, the tires stayed round!

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