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.
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 .
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.
4 NTM Alumni Meeting, Spartanburg, SC
24 – 30 Family Time for a Birthday!
2 Lowell Smyre Methodist Church, Lowell, NC
13 Calvary Baptist Youth Conference, Radford, VA
16 - 22 NTM Enrichment Conference, Roach, MO
30 Mount Hope Bible Camp, Lucasville, OH
1 – 6 Mount Hope Bible Camp, Lucasville, OH
6 – 13 Miear Household, Riner, VA
14 – 20 Brent and Tonia Time
20 – 24 eastern area of VA
September - November
Traveling through Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Oregon, California, Washington and all the States in between – hoping for some scheduled time with those of you out there!
Date Not Set: Jerome Prairie Bible Church, Grants Pass, OR
October 10 – 15 Wirkes Wedding, Chicago, IL
October 27 – 30 Squaw Creek Baptist Church, Mission Conference, Marion, IA
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.
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.”
OD Morgan and family 2013
Chris traveled to Radford, Virginia recently for a day of celebration of the forty-year service of OD Morgan. Pastor Morgan challenged us in the Word for nine years before we left America for the United Kingdom when we began training with New Tribes Mission. He then led the church to accept us as their missionaries to the Philippines with New Tribes Mission.
The day was a bitter one weather wise, but heart warmth filled the church as folk and family traveled far and wide to celebrate. Reunions of family, friends like family, and many of our youth group (now married with children) made the day as perfect as should be, except I couldn’t be there. We vainly search for words to express our immense gratitude to the Lord for his servant and his family so, of course, Chris came through with humor!
Enjoy a slidehow of the day by clicking HERE:
We arrived early all smiling and without nerves on my part. At a friend’s suggestion, I found google-ly glasses so while we waited in the patient waiting area with Chris and Doris (my cousin/more like sister), we had a bit of fun before I headed back for preparations for my surgery. Once things began to move forward, it seemed a bit like the normal “hurry up and wait” hospital scene until they actually wheeled me back to the OR. I must add here that God wonderfully answered the prayers for my nerves as I felt absolutely calm the whole time. Thank you all praying friends so very much.
The nurse anesthetist asked me all about the Philippines which might have been a mistake because I stayed very awake in order to answer all his questions. Perhaps he should have picked a less favorite subject as he said, “Why are you so awake? You need to feel very sleepy and go on out for about two minutes so we can give you this shot in your eye. I’m giving you a bit more.” I remember seeing all sorts of colors and lights and also them asking me to stop moving my feet. After that I concentrated on keeping very still.
In recovery, the doctor came in and explained what he found: the membrane was clearly seen and a macular hole. He explained after he used tiny instruments to remove the membrane, he inserted a gas bubble into the eye to press against the retina so the hole would heal. This would change my next week as I had to remain face down to keep the bubble in the correct position until my next appointment. He also explained a guaranteed second surgery as this surgery damages the natural lens to my eye meaning cataract surgery is absolutely in my future. He then gave us prescriptions and a phone number for medical equipment rental to keep me in the face-down position.
Chris and Doris helped me dress and wheeled me to the car and home. I continually asked the Lord for the strength to hold up my ever-increasing heavy head. Once home, with Chris’ help, we worked several pillows that kept me stay face down on the bed but sitting and walking around was murder as my muscles had to do that task alone. To say those muscles ached is truly an understatement. When the chair arrived that night I’m sure I heard my neck and shoulders shout for joy. The next day allowed for removal of the patch and antibiotic drops to begin. Pain relievers did their duty and I have not really had pain in my eye even after I stopped taking them – one of many praises! The bubble is slowly growing smaller and my only complaint is the constant moving inside the eye makes me a bit sea-sick.
At this writing I had my first exam where he explained things are looking good and I expect to have the next exam on the 14th – Happy Valentine’s Day for me!
Praises to God for:
- praying friends and His answers to all the prayers
- guiding the surgeon’s hands
- the gift of the wonderful doctors and staff involved in finding my need (three offices in two states!)
- the gift of an excellent surgeon and medical staff
- urging the prayers
- providing funds in advance for all the appointments
- providing great caregivers in Chris and Doris
- continued healing with very little discomfort
- chairs and sleeping devices designed for keeping one face-down
- continued healing inside the eye
- appointment on the 14th
- complete absorption of the air bubble very soon
- macular hole to heal completely and restored vision to same as before
- for the upcoming cataract surgery to go smoothly
We are blessed. God is our almighty and loving Father. He works His plan in our lives for our good and continues to forgive and mold us into the image of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
All praises to Him,
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.
Photos from this day can be found here: strangeministries.com
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.
THE HUMAN TEAM EFFORT (Tribal and Missionary)
- 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:
I woke up this morning to check email and find 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.
News Flash: Surgery
I thought my doctor would tell me I had to start wearing glasses… but he didn’t. At his little news flash, my mind went into overdrive and the challenges began.
“You need surgery on your right eye. It’s a complicated procedure where three tiny instruments are inserted inside your eye to fix the problem - removal of an ERM (wait! what did he mean by TINY? – and THREE???) but we do this surgery often and with great results. First we remove the jelly that shapes your eyeball…,” he continued on but now my ears were not working any better than my right eye.
My mind quit and the prayers began. Lord, help me realize that you have this in your plan for me. Lord, help me trust the doctors. Lord, help me not chicken out and call the whole thing off. Lord remind me that I am trusting You and when I fear, then I’m not anymore.
I’ve had some stupid moments like when I looked up the surgery on YouTube. Another one when I started googling wildly colored eye patches thinking I’d skip the surgery and just wear a patch the rest of my life and actually thinking that might be a plan.
I’ve had some wonderful moments when folk have reminded me how much my Father loves me and how much they love me too. My wonderful husband encourages me all day and makes me laugh to take my mind off the whole thing (I’m so much braver when he’s having surgery). My precious daughter in law sent me an audio book to listen to afterwards.
One dear fellow shared how he actually felt God’s arms around him as he had brain surgery. Let me confess that bit of conversation convicted me for my fear. After all, God gave me two eyes so even if his plan is not the outcome I hope for, at least He allows me a great left eye (and all those colorful eye patch options) in the end.
My incredible cousin is taking off work to help Chris get me back home afterward. My wonderful sons, grand daughters, family and friends are praying and asking how they can help. A dear friend even called from France to encourage me! My all-powerful and loving Father is hugging me all through it because He knows I’m basically a medical coward (even if I can’t feel His arms like Billy Ray did during his brain surgery, I will know they are there.)
Often this week I think on the day I went into the operating theater with Inang, my friend from the village. The doctors let me wear surgical scrubs to hold her hand and translate their instructions as they did a procedure on her eye. I remember seeing her tiny little hand in mine and how brave she seemed in a scary situation so foreign to her. Now I think it was her lesson to me about trusting in our Heavenly Father.
Praise and Prayer Requests:
- for God’s presence all the time and His working His plan
- for the three wonderful doctors that helped find my problem
- for the wonderful surgeon that will do the work next week
- for all the family and friends who are willing to pray and help
- for my trust in Him not to waver even for a nano second
- for me to be a good patient and better witness
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/
Sending Church, Calvary Baptist
Some places on this earth feel as good as comfortable socks on a cool day.
These places are gifts of God for rest and refreshment for the soul. For our family, it’s Radford, Virginia.
To be honest, God gives our family a few of these places and we dearly love each of them, but maybe the one that we reach for the most from that “sock drawer” of spots on this side of heaven is Radford. We had the great privilege for an impromptu visit just last weekend. There was a bit of time before doctor visits take over our schedule. It took a last minute call to see if it would work out for us to pop in for just a day’s visit! A wonderful family keeps a room ready for us and once again they opened their doors for us where we crashed into the room we call “ours.”
Sunday morning we learned from God’s Word and croaked our songs out in English with beloved folk.
During evening service we shared of God’s work in the Philippines that we’ve had a part of for the past ten years – and gratefully accepted the prayers, hugs and ice cream afterwards.
Good ole Radford!
These moments are our faint glimpses into Heaven. His children gathering around the living Word, praising and worshipping God together.
If this feels so good here, can you even imagine Heaven?