Bland, Bob & Bernie Newsletter (Fall 2014)

Bland Staff Newsletter


The summer went by like the blur of a speeding race car. It went well with one exception. The anchor for the Jacob’s Ladder (part of the Obstacle Course) pulled out when the home schoolers were on it for a picture. The paramedics were called and the report went out that there was a multitude of casualties. So we were flooded with ambulances and TV crews. They took 12 to Cape Canaveral Hospital, but released all the same day; no broken bones, just bruises. We did have one girl we took to the clinic that had a broken wrist. She was still able to go on her team. One adult went to Orlando, but was released the next day. So we are grateful to the Lord that He protected us. Following Second Boot Camp, I went to four countries in Africa.


This is the only TMI base I’d never been to. We arrived in the capital and took a seven hour drive to the base. I was met with singing and was presented a traditional outfit and later the Fon (Tribal Chief) gave me a very ornate outfit and plaque to commemorate our first visit. Tom and Linda Maher have done a great work there and have built some wonderful BMW buildings. We took one day to drive to a mountain area to visit the Lynn Harnage AIDS Orphans Rescue Unit. A hundred kids were there. What a great and needy work. We were able to provide a motorcycle for transport at this location. We also purchased sewing machines for two Units to train older orphans in a trade. There are other Rescue Units and MSSM reaching hundreds.


After a days drive and an all night flight, I arrived in Malawi. Kathy Vanderpool joined me there from Zambia. Josiah and Bethany Frey, the coordinators, picked us up and we headed north to Rumphi. We made it to a motel by dark and out to the TMI base the next morning. The first TMI Well-Drilling Team left just before we arrived and we passed them on the road. It is a needy place with little to no witness for Christ. The Bible School is doing well there. Next we took a day’s drive to our main base at Chipoka. They had just killed a big crocodile at the BMW which is on Lake Malawi. A big python had come to eat it and they cut two foot of his tail off. That can give you bad dreams at night! God is doing a great work there with the BMW students and the farm work. We also visited the House of Joel Rescue Unit with kids everywhere. So many have come to know Christ as Savior.

We drove to Mangochi, our Yao BMW site, on the shore of Lake Malawi. It has developed into a campus. TMI has four BMWs in Malawi in four different languages. While there, we went to the site where TMI’s all-girl team was to drill a well for a local non-Christian village. Team members shared the Gospel with the scores of children. We plan a Sunday School circuit of six Sunday Schools in the area which is totally unreached. The girls hit a good source of water. They pumped it for two hours and it never went dry. Ten tribal chiefs were there at the time. Each from a village without the Gospel and asked us to come drill a well in their villages. It is hard for them to say no to a Sunday school when you gave them a clean source of water. Of course, our goal is to bring the Living Water, “Jesus”, to each village. We need about $2500 for a pipe pump and fuel for each well.


We asked the three staff men from the TMI Zimbabwe base to come to the South Africa base and meet us. Their need is lights for the school as they do not have electricity. Solar units were available for lights to study by and a larger unit that would power a refrigerator—a real need for a BMW. Kathy drove the equipment up in our truck. They are praising the Lord.


The Lord showed us a new opportunity for MSSM Sunday Schools. There are four people on the team and they run eight Sunday schools during the week. Under this plan, we can have guys and gals or married couples on the circuits. They will use bicycles instead of motorcycles. Each circuit will have four bunk houses (6 ½’ by 12′) to save distances between Sunday schools. Eivind and Carol Bray are building the ones in South Africa and Claimet will build the ones in Zimbabwe. They have established 16 Sunday Schools in Zimbabwe and eight in South Africa.


This island nation is much bigger than most realize. It takes three long, hard days of driving from our base in the north to the one in the south at Vangandraino. It was winter there. I wore three shirts and two pairs of pants day and night to keep warm. Liva, the Madagascar coordinator, Kathy Vanderpool and I made the long, hard journey. This BMW also has no electricity which makes it hard to study at night. When we returned to Tana, another three-day journey, we purchased solar units for the dorms, classroom and kitchen. The place is greatly in need and PTL we are training young people for the ministry in this vast land. TMI has 12 Sunday Schools at Vangandraino and another 12 up north at Mahajanga.

Liva’s wife, Nomena, runs an elementary school on our north base for 700 children. We were also asked to store and distribute Christmas shoe boxes from Samaritan’s Purse. They gave out 650 the day I arrived. Another 200 were going down south. It is a great ministry.


The Brays and helpers are building an Old Testament Tabernacle for African evangeliIMG_1923sm. The walls and sockets are not built. The Brays will go back next summer to continue work. They would like to have some adults to go help. They need people who sew for the curtains and embroidery work. Unskilled workers are also needed. When finished, TMI is planning an African Awakening Revival. We plan an evangelism team of Americans and nationals to travel with the Tabernacle doing tours and holding nightly meetings. Could you be one of those?

Following South Africa I flew to Columbus, where Bernie was, and Kathy went on to Uganda. I continued to feel worse in Chillicothe and made four different trips to the emergency care at the hospital. I had an ear and sinus infection, plus bronchitis. I coughed until I had so much pain and thought it was my heart. When I went for an X-ray, they said I coughed so much I cracked a rib. So I went through two series of antibiotics. I felt better but not as strong. We are 80-90% now. So now I can get to Sonny’s and should be back to 100% soon.


Bernie wasn’t up to traveling, so my daughter Cathy drove me to Kentucky, actually Cincinnati, OH, where we visited the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum. We were invited to speak at their chapel for their workers. There were 150 there. I spoke from the same platform that Ken Hamm spoke at the great TV debate a few months ago. We stayed with a retired surgeon who oversees all their volunteer workers. I was blown away by the presentation. If you are ever in the Cincinnati area (across the river in Kentucky), be sure and go. The word museum just doesn’t fit everything that is there. It is one of the best presentations of the Gospel I have seen recently. Steve Carter, who we were staying with, took us south to the site where they are building the life-size replica of the Ark. They bought 800 acres and were clearing the land while we were there. The Ark construction will cost 85 million dollars and will employ 900 people. That is just the first phase of the gigantic property and the whole intention is to share the Gospel, which they do well. There will be four or five more phases. The timbers are being made by the Amish and will be brought in there to be set up. It is a huge undertaking. Pray for it as it will be a great witness. We surely need a witness and revival in our country. Cathy and I also went down to Cain Ridge, which was an hour away. I have known about Cain Ridge for years and always wanted to see it. It is where the first great revival in America happened. Back in 1801, Ohio wasn’t even a state yet (came in 1803), it was a wilderness. The largest city in all of KY territory was Lexington with 2000 people. Daniel Boone had requested a Presbyterian preacher named Barton Stone to establish a work there in the wilderness. The Presbyterians had what they called a communion, which was really a camp meeting revival-type thing. At one time in the wilderness, they had 20,000 people coming by wagon and horses or walking. The meeting ran for five days. They preached day and night and preached from the stumps. They had 20 preachers preaching at the same time in various areas. Out of that revival came three denominations, Christian Church, Disciples of Christ and the Church of Christ (non-music). Also saved in that revival was the great Methodist evangelist, Peter Cartwright. The one-room log church still stands. It is encased in a stone building. Cathy and I were able to kneel there and pray for revival for our country—that God would bring revival again. If you are ever in that area, go see it. It is just outside of Paris, KY, which is Blue Grass country where all the big horse stables are.


Bernie and I started home Sept. 19. Cathy wasn’t able to drive us, so we went on our own and took our time. Even though we were taking the long way around, I went to Indianapolis first. I met with Loretta as we have a Tabernacle there that is not doing well. I had lunch with Rick and Julie Alvis, who head up Wheeler Mission. Rick is one of our kids and Julie is an FTM. They sleep 350 homeless people a night in the mission. They have done some great things there.

The next day we drove to Rossville as I was to speak at the church next morning. They were so gracious and we had a wonderful time there. After church, we started going south. We got just beyond Louisville and the next day made it to Nashville. We had a place there in Nashville that was interested in the Tabernacle. We are working on that. We also had a place or two there that wanted a loan and we are working on that.

We went to Atlanta where we have a loan at a shopping center for Tim Downs. He is doing a wonderful work reaching out. They have something going all the time and reaching so many people. Tim went to the city of Atlanta and asked for the most crime-ridden and needy place and he bought a shopping center in South Atlanta. The old grocery store is now a church and it also has a laundromat. It has a big parking lot so we are trying to get permission for the Tabernacle there. They had permission for two weeks, but we need a variance. The community is so impressed that even the Governor is going to see it in two months and Tim is going to see if he will allow the Tabernacle to be there. It is just off of the interstate. Pray that the door will open.

From there it took us two days to get home and we know the Lord was watching over us. We were tired and worn out and just to show how people’s prayers are answered, I was driving in traffic going 70 on a four-lane highway when I went to sleep and I heard a big noise. I drifted off to the right and hit the rumble strips and it woke me up. I was able to get us back on the road, and was awake from then on. I give the Lord the credit for sparing our lives because we could have been wiped out right there. Needless to say it is good to be home. I am doing OK, but Bernie is not feeling well. She has been to the doctor and it is not corrected yet. Please continue to pray for Bernie’s health. God is able and we are believing on that.

Thanks for being our partner in this ministry all these years.

Bob and Bernie


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