Vanderpool Newsletter – Fall 2009
My Boot Camp summer started with the Mustard Seed program. This program is for children ages 4-6 that come with a parent/guardian. They are so excited when they enter the Big Top and find the tent they will be staying in; they then begin to explore things all around them. This year we used different animals to learn the Wordless Book colors, so they would be able to share the plan of salvation with anyone. They learn the color and what it represents, a verse, a Bible story, a craft and then had some music. A missionary comes everyday and talks about their country. They run the Obstacle Course, and, of course, some of the favorites are snack time, rest time, swim time and evening rally with a special speaker. Mustard Seeds is three days long. I’m not sure who is more ready to go home, the child or the parent/guardian. When we have Commissioning Night, the children dress in a costume from around the world and sing songs for the teen teams. They are precious little children and it is so special to spend time with them.
Zambia was the destination for me for the teen team. On the team there were four girls and four guys, one leader and myself during Boot Camp and we met another leader in Zambia. We were the Orphan Angels Motorcycle Sunday School Mission/Film team. The team members and leaders rode motorcycles to each Sunday School -a different one everyday. At least that was the plan. We had some difficulties with our truck that carried our supplies the first day out. The clutch needed to be repaired, but we were 4 hours from the nearest town. There wasn’t an auto parts store in the area. We waited for three days before we could get it repaired, but that worked out okay for the first week. We stayed at one Rescue Unit for the week and went out everyday to a different Sunday School. The team members helped teach games, Bible lessons and phonics. One circuit rider shared with the team. The orphans did not know that God loved them or anything about God or the Bible. When they heard the Bible lessons and learned that God loved them, their question to the circuit rider was: “if God loves me why did my parents die and leave me an orphan with no one to care for me?” That’s a pretty tough question to answer to children. What would you say?
The other project that the team worked on was to film a documentary of the Motorcycle Sunday School Mission. Although we were a week behind, the team was able to get all of the footage that we needed for the film. The team members had really good skills for shooting the film. We are anxious now to get it edited and out to help promote the ministry.
The team had opportunity to travel to Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world. In all my years in Africa I have never seen the falls. What a magnificent sight that God created for us to enjoy. We also went to a game park but only saw one giraffe. On the Zambezi River we traveled by boat where we enjoyed lunch and saw a whole herd of hippos on the sand. They were fun to see basking in the sun.
We returned back to Lusaka where the team flew back to the States for Debrief. I returned back to the base in Ndola for a couple of nights and then flew to Madagascar.
I had a couple days of travel due to a long layover in Nairobi, but our staff was there to meet me when I finally arrived in Mahajana. I was able to see the completed Bible, Missionary, & Work Training Center (BMW) building and stayed in one of the guest rooms. My main purpose was to see our new base in the South of Madagascar. We were planning to fly into a town that was two hours away, but they now only fly once a month. We were going to fly to Tana, the capital, and then travel south by land, but we would be delayed two days. So after a little tour around the base, we decided to go by public transport (mini van). We left at 7:00 at night, and it is 600 kilometers to Tana. Arriving at 5:00 a.m., we waited until 10:00 a.m. to meet up with the truck we hired to drive us another 800 kilometers to the base. Around 1:00 p.m., we were able to start our journey. However four hours away from Tana, our driver hit a little girl that ran in front of us. We are so thankful that she wasn’t hurt, but the girl had to be taken to the hospital to make sure she was all right; then she needed medication; then they brought the police in to do all of their reports. I waited in the truck from 4:00 until 7:00 at night when it was decided we had to go to the police station, file reports and then photo copies were needed of all the documents. But, all the shops were closed and they couldn’t make copies. So at 8:30 p.m., it was decided we would wait until morning, which we did, but no photocopies could be done until noon because the whole city didn’t have electricity. I am thankful for those who pray for safety as we travel. That is a great prayer for missionaries. Finally, at 2:00 p.m. we were on our way and arrived at midnight. The next morning, we met the staff in town and traveled to the base. The base is located in the Rain Forest, so the road was a little slippery getting up the mountain, even though this was not the rainy season. There were three teams to meet us. They sang as we drove into the property. They had prepared a short program of songs and a welcome. It was a very special arrival that they planned for us. There were three teams at the base while we were there. One team was working on constructing the BMW dorms and classroom. The foundation was poured and was being worked on by a team. One team was building a toilet block and another team was digging a fishpond. The other buildings that we have right now remind me of nipa huts in the Philippines. We had time to meet together with the staff. I really appreciate the time with the staff who are faithfully serving the Lord. We have three couples and there are 12 students when school is in session. We may be able to receive more after the Boot Camp. It is new property but already they are reaching out into the area with the Gospel of Jesus and training the young people in Bible as there isn’t any other work of this kind in the area. The fields are white unto harvest.
I returned back to the States and went right into the office to keep communications (emails) going between our bases overseas and our Director. In between, I was able to go through files, sort and reorganize and get ready for the new year. Mom has come in to help sort through old files and reduce some of the paperwork that can be thrown away. It has been a big help.
All the staff will be back this week and we will have our Staff Field Conference and a big clean up inside and outside here at the Teen Missions base. We will be working on the 2010 brochure and things will be starting all over again as we make preparations for the 2010 Boot Camp – our 40th anniversary for Teen Missions.
I may be going to Zimbabwe in March with an adult team, but will give you more about that later.
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support that make it possible for me to serve here with Teen Missions. It is truly a privilege to serve here.
Because of Him,