“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46: 1.
We trust that you are beginning to see an end to what has seemed like a long winter. Here at the Lord’s Boot Camp it is not the spring flowers that indicate the end of one season and the beginning of another, but the putting up of our four Big Top Tents in preparation for the summer ministry. We spent all day April 9th outside as a staff getting the tents up. Wow! I use to bounce back from those outside work days a lot quicker than I do now. Tis the season to break out the work boots, Boot Camp clothing and start thinking of packing for the summer. It is amazing how close together these summers seem to be.
LINDA’S HONDURAS ADVENTURE
I traveled to Honduras February 14 – 28 with co-worker Pat Storey and ended up having quite the adventure. We flew into San Pedro Sula and traveled the two hours to our base in Santa Cruz de Yoja where we spent the first four days training 17 students and staff for Motorcycle Sunday School Mission (MSSM). The training included how to: teach a Bible lesson, teach Spanish phonics, train adults as teachers, develop Bible quiz teams and motivate the Sunday School participants to make a difference in their communities. In between the training we purchased a motorcycle and copy machine. We interacted so well together, and I found most of our students were so gifted and creative, which made teaching enjoyable. We had wonderful fellowship and laughter and I loved the menu of rice, beans, fruits and veggies (although I will admit rice and beans for breakfast is interesting).
After training we traveled two days northeast to an area called La Mosquitia. It is an area accessible by air and river. And what an adventure it was to get there changing vehicles, driving up on rafts and being pulled across a river and then finally hours in a boat. We spent two days traveling up and down the rivers visiting villages and meeting those who are excited that a program like MSSM is coming. At night we would feel like we were still rocking from the boat. We had lunch one day with the head man of a certain village. We were humbled by the simple meal of chicken, boiled yucca and fresh coconut water to drink. While we were there a 70 year old man walked for hours to meet us and request we come to his village—wow what needs! Children were everywhere! Some were privileged to be able to attend school because that particular family couldafford the uniform. Some of the village school locations were so far apart that children housed themselves with relatives during the week and were only home on the weekends. There is a vast problem with teen pregnancy—some girls as young as 14 were mothers. Many of the men had multiple wives or girls and many many children. There are a few churches; however, the majority of the pastors have little or no formal training. It is also a dangerous area as the waterways areused as a route for illegal drug smuggling. The gangs have
great influence as well. We were able to purchase a 16 ft boat and 15 HP dual stroke motor—a first for me. We also traveled to the mountains in an area called La Esperanza where we will set up a motorcycle circuit, this trip took two and a half days. In this area we will work with the Lenca Indians. The Lencas are mainly farmers and in fact most of the country’s potatoes are grown in this area. We saw the sacks standing like tombstones up and along the hillsides as we traveled. Faustino and Gabriel will be our motorboat riders and Ramiro and Brayan will be our motorcycle riders. Please pray for them as they begin this new ministry and bring hope and light to a people in need.
TOM’S AFRICAN ADVENTURE
Tom took an adult team to Cameroon February 22 – March 12. It was a positive trip. He was able to visit two Rescue Units with over 80 orphans coming to each one. Our staff men, Vitalis and Richard, traveled with him so that they could discuss and plan the different aspects of the ministry in the evenings. The team enjoyed the experience and would like to return to Cameroon again. They took pipe cleaners and had all kinds of fun making various items and telling stories using them. Tom took along some new led lights powered by solar panels that really blessed our facilitators. One story that impacted Tom was about a lady he met. While at the Rescue Unit in Impalim, an old lady came
by, greeted him and walked down the hill to her garden and then later passed by on the way back. This story does not seem special until I mention that she is totally blind. She lives about 30 minutes walk away from the Unit and goes back and forth each day. We gave her a place on our property to farm so that she can provide for herself. She was so joyful and grateful that we had helped her in this way. She sang and danced for Tom when the facilitators introduced her to him. Tom is so pleased with the job our national staff are doing and was greatly encouraged. We just learned that our staff Vitalis and Elizabeth had a baby girl on April 8, they named her Shammah. We can’t wait to return and see this newest blessing.
TWO NEW GRANDSONS
We are so blessed and excited to announce the birth of TWO new grandsons! Jude Thomas Maher (son of Tom and Deena) made his appearance on March 13, 2015 weighing in at 8 lb and 4 oz and Link Isaac Maher (son of Daniel and Kelsey) made his debut on March 14, 2015 weighing in at 7 lb and 4 oz. How fun that the cousins are 24 hours apart in age. Two healthy boys and both mamas did well, although Kelsey did have a much longer labour than Deena. We are in love with these sweet precious boys. We were able to hold Link when he was two days old and Jude at two weeks.
Tom and I both returned from overseas tired, yet healthy! We spent nearly three days of straight talking to get each other caught up after the month apart. Tom, Kalah and I did head north during Kalah’s spring break March 20 – 30, to spend some time with Tom’s mother. It was a blessing to travel together in Kalah’s car. Mom Maher has the best attitude! She is experiencing fatigue and weakness due to the chemo, but was more frustrated with her lack of use of her hands which are clenched, than she is with the cancer. We had a wonderful time with her and are grateful for the opportunity. We did receive good news with her latest scan that there are no new tumor growths and the spot on her liver is gone! We also spent two days with Tom, Deena, Elsie and Jude. We loved it! We had not been around Elsie since she began talking and enjoyed her little chatter so much. Jude liked to be held and snuggled which was just fine with his Papa and
Nana. Deena’s birthday was while we were there and I enjoyed cooking her favorite dishes. It was, however, cold and we were happy to return to the warm south. We both continue to be busy in our offices—crazy busy. Tom is finishing up a new computer program he wrote, as well as helping with the websites and other issues computers seem to always have. I have been placing leaders for the summer, doing accounting and teaching in the Bible school. Never a dull moment and numerous opportunities to grow in our faith. Our word of the year, “refuge” has been a constant reminder that only the Lord can give us strength, direction and wisdom. We decided to attend a small group at our church this year and we have loved it. We meet each week with a group made up of mostly empty nesters like ourselves and share together in the Word. We enjoy the fellowship so much.
Our summer begins with the Boot Camp training time. As in years past Tom will be Mr. O.C. in charge of starting the morning Obstacle Course, helping in video and filling in wherever needed. I take care of our leaders, teach outdoor cooking, teach Bible classes, and run to and fro doing various projects. It is a busy and exhausting time. Pray for health, wisdom and strength. We do not want to get to a point where we are just surviving, but rather thriving and pouring ourselves out for those we are called to serve.
We are scheduled to lead the Zimbabwe Eyeglass/Medical team this summer. Our team will travel to our base and run clinics for those needing reading glasses and basic first aid. We will also travel with the MSSM Circuit Riders and assist with their programs. The team is scheduled to take a trip to see Victoria Falls. We are both excited to see this natural wonder of world, something we have always wished to visit. Zimbabwe will be in winter while we are there and from what we hear, it will be much colder than Cameroon is in July and August. After we drop our team off at the airport to travel back to the States, we plan to remain in Zimbabwe for a month to help at the base. We pray we will be an encouragement to the staff as we assist with various ministries, help them with their finances and reports and assist with some needed construction projects. After we leave Zimbabwe we will be in South Africa for a week to meet with our staff there before heading to Cameroon for three weeks before landing in the USA. It looks as if we will be out of the country from July 10 to October 1. Oh the life of a missionary!
We are so grateful for our partners in prayer and financial support. THANK YOU for your partnership with us that enables the Gospel to continue to be proclaimed! We know that many of you have been faithful to us for many years, and we are so grateful! Your prayers and finances are a HUGE encouragement and blessing!
1. Thank the Lord for the arrivals of Jude and Link and the blessing they bring to our family.
2. Thank the Lord for safety for Tom and Linda while on their winter adventures.
3. Thank the Lord for a safe journey up north and back.
1. Pray for the Zimbabwe Team. Pray the teens and assistant leaders grow in their faith, have safety in travel, that they remain healthy, and that they are a blessing to others.
2. Pray for Tom and me that we would have good health, safety in travel, wisdom in leading the team and in working with our national staff.
3. Pray for our children and grandchildren.
4. Pray for consistent financial support and that the Lord would meet our needs.