“Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you [and in us] would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” ~ Philippians 1:3-6, The Message.
The Apostle Paul does a great job of expressing what is in our hearts for you. We are so thankful for your partnership with us! We have been back “home” for about 7 weeks now and what full weeks they have been! It has been well over a month since our last prayer letter went out, so we wanted to let you know how God has been working in response to your prayers.
Our YWAM friends, Ben and Anna Story, are still in Australia with their precious little Simon. He is 7 weeks old now and weighs in at 1.8 kg (a little shy of 4 pounds) – almost twice what he weighed at birth. Recently, he has graduated from the NICU to a special care nursery where he is free from oxygen tubes and is sleeping in a little crib instead of the isolette. His parents have sent us a note thanking everyone for their prayers! Such a wonderful miracle of life!
Our friends the Rudds are together again in the United States. You may recall from our e-mail in August that Kay had a heart attack in June while living here in Vanuatu. She spent some time in New Zealand while Jack and Jay packed up all their belongings here. They said in a recent e-mail to us, “We believe that God has more for us to do and we would ask you to be in prayer with us as HE shows you and us the next steps in this adventure for HIM.” Thank you for your prayers for them! In the picture to the right: Jack and Jay and Roger and Cindy and little Leilani Sutter came to our house for dinner before the Rudds left for the States. By the way, Cindy is doing much better and is visiting Roger’s home in Switzerland for the first time.
We became a bit more acquainted with the traditions and customs surrounding the grieving process as we mourned with Susan’s family and all of our churches after she passed away on August 7th. The particular custom for the people of the island of Paama (an island north of us where Susan’s husband is from) is that the family remains at home for a month following a death. They do not go to work, school, or to other activities that are outside their home. It is a time to be together and remember the one who has died. One week after Susan’s death, we gathered with the family as they presented a cow and other food to Susan’s brothers. After a month, Susan’s family will eat the “last kakae (meal)” together and the women of the family present razors to the men who have refrained from shaving during the month indicating that the time of mourning is over.
This last Sunday we picked up Susan’s kids and her husband’s parents and took them to Black Sand Church with us. The fellowship we shared together was like a healing balm. Please pray for Susan’s husband, Arthy, and some other young men that live at their house that they will begin to desire new life with Christ.
What a delight that little Anna worshiped with us that day too! You may remember us asking you last year to pray for a little 1 year old who was badly burned in a house fire and flown to Australia for skin grafting. This was her first time to come to church, and we didn’t have our camera with us. She is really shy especially when she sees our white faces looking at her. After several minutes of singing she began to feel more comfortable and was smiling and interacting with the other children around her. Her skin grafts look good. It doesn’t look like she is crawling or beginning to walk. Please pray for her continued development physically and for her and all her family to experience a life transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.
David packed up the easel, white board, CD player, computer, a box full of books and supplies and headed off to teach class this evening at the rented classroom of Joy Bible Institute. He will be teaching Biblical Theology II every evening for the next 3 weeks. He would appreciate your prayers for him that he would have the understanding and creativity he needs to teach this very important material. Pray also that the students will be able to grasp and process all the information.
As he daily packs the truck with all his teaching supplies, we look forward to the day when we will have a classroom and library for our pastoral training program. We have made a down payment on a piece of land that we are prayerfully considering might be the future location for the Vanuatu District Center for the Church of the Nazarene. The facility would include a large sanctuary for district wide gatherings as well as for a local congregation. We would also plan to include a classroom and library, offices and other meeting rooms. Please continue to pray with us as we make decisions in the next few weeks regarding the purchase of this property.
Sylvia is scrambling to be ready to begin a series of Bible studies on the Sermon on the Mount with the Black Sand Church this Wednesday, as well as with an international women’s Bible study that she has been attending for the last couple of years. She is also preparing to teach a 3 week course for SPNTC on the Letters of Paul in November. Thanks for your support in prayer!
We feel so blessed to be able to serve the Lord in this beautiful country! Several of the young men from our churches helped us break ground for a new garden in our big 2.5 acre yard. In the States we probably would have rented a roto-tiller, but these young guys used a 6 foot long crowbar and shovels to break up the ground. We love to see the land producing lots of food. David makes a daily check of our close to 30 pawpaw trees, using a long stick to harvest from the trees that are now close to 10-15 feet tall. Sylvia has established a friendship with our neighbor as they share different flowers to be planted in each other’s gardens. Madalyn often brings over a stick or little part of a plant for Sylvia to add to her flowerbed. It doesn’t take long before a little shriveled piece of a plant begins to put on new leaves and eventually flowers! The tropics are incredible! This lovely amaryllis was one of Madalyn's many gifts to Sylvia. It was just a bulb when Madalyn gave it to her. They were both surprised and overjoyed that it produced 10 flowers!