Dear Family and Friends,
We’ve had quite an adventure since we last wrote with many miles driven, many meals cooked and many sights seen. Our summers actually seem to start in May when many of our overseas staff come to the U.S. in order to lead summer teams back to their country. Since Bob and I primarily do behind-the-scenes work to help Teen Missions work around the world, we especially enjoy seeing the people who are in the field.
This year we were blessed to have Oscar and Maureen Chama from Zambia and Claimet Sibanda from Zimbabwe each spend a weekend with us. We got to know Oscar when he was a Missionary To America several years ago, but this was the first time we met Maureen. Oscar and Maureen coordinate much of the work that goes on at the AIDS Orphans Rescue Units in Zambia, all 16 of them. It keeps them busy, to say the least. Claimet, along with his wife Sipho who stayed back, coordinate the Lord’s work at our base in Zimbabwe. We also got to know Dave and Janet Chale from Malawi who are establishing a Teen Missions base with the Yao, a largely unreached people, at the southern end of Lake Malawi. God is truly doing great things through our brothers and sisters in Christ in their home countries.
It has become a tradition for Bob and I to host a turkey dinner with our overseas staff the weekend before the leaders and kids come and this year was no different. The barbequed turkey and trimmings were delicious, but the fellowship was even sweeter. Our annual dinner, with guests this year from Australia, Brazil, Malawi, Siberia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, gives us a taste of what heaven will be like when we get to see all our brothers and sisters in Christ from all over the world.
Once the leaders come, the kids are not far behind. Bob got to lead a Peanut Team this summer. Two small teams were combined—Clown and Tree Planting Teams became Clown Plant! They planted a tree and did evangelistic presentation at two board and care homes. Peanuts (7-9 year olds) are bold when they share the love of God with everyone. The Seniors in the homes enjoy the kids when they share the Good News coloring book, use puppets, give their testimonies and sing praise songs. It’s hard to tell who enjoys it more, the kids or the adults!
The scheduling of the different Boot Camps was the same as last year, which meant that Linda, my friend and co-worker, was immersed in the Mustard Seeds (4-6 year olds) when Super Boot Camp teens arrived. That put the entire load on me for team member finances. God was good and all the financial shortfalls were cleared up fairly quickly. This was the second year that I had to be responsible for the finance part of Super Boot Camp Registration Day. Praise God for Amanda and Ashley who helped it run smoothly. God always seems to know just how much we can handle, doesn’t He?
After Early Boot Camp Commissioning (Teens, Peanuts and Mustard Seeds), Bob and I had about a week before our Preteen team arrived. We started with four leaders and added another part way through Boot Camp. With 26 kids, another leader was very much welcomed! Our team this year was the Old West Indian Reservation Preteen Team—instead of “flying away” we “drove away”—all the way to Arizona. The bus became our “home away from home” as we crossed the southern U.S. on the way out and the way back. We added Gary, a volunteer bus driver, so Bob did not have to do all the driving. That was a huge blessing. Gary also helped us on the work project.
The team accomplished much on their projects for the Burnt Corn Valley Community Church in the heart of the Navajo Indian Reservation. They dug down four feet looking for water lines to the church, both incoming and sewer lines. Most were found and those needing repair were fixed. Two 5’x 9’ porches were poured and roofs to cover the slabs were built for the front entrance to the church, as well as the side entrance. The kids had to dig sand out of the wash and haul it up to the church. They were the cement mixers as they mixed the sand with gravel and cement right there on the ground near the porch they were pouring. The outside of the church was scraped and painted a nice blue-grey color, although I think the kids got more of the paint on themselves than the church sometimes.
We enjoyed God’s creation when we visited the Grand Canyon. Another day we drove down to see the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. Bob’s years with the Forest Service came in handy as he pointed out a number of things about the state of the trees before they turned to stone. We started our trip east by making a quick trip to Canyon de Chelly and then on to the Hubbard Trading Post where we learned more about the culture of the area.
Last May, Bob and I, along with Bob’s brother John and sister Louise, went to Sun City for a memorial service for Bob’s mother. We enjoyed being together as family, something that doesn’t happen very often, in spite of the sad circumstances. I have heard Bob and family talk about White Tanks Park over the years and finally got to see them. We enjoyed seeing some of the desert in bloom. Bob will be making a trip to Pennsylvania in October for another memorial service for his mother where the East Coast relatives will attend.
We had hoped to go west at the end of the summer to visit many of you, but were unable to do so. The plan is to save up so we can come next year. While we missed seeing our West Coast family and friends, we did have a relaxing time at home and worked on some long-overdue projects.
God has been good to us over the years and He has used you. We appreciate your prayers on our behalf and your financial support. We could not be doing what we do without you. Thank you!
Servants in Christ,
Bob & Paula Yost