Dear Friends and Family,
Since the last time we wrote to you, we made another trip to Indonesia. The goal was to help them walk through some ongoing issues, as the young leadership there needs support. We held lots of meetings with board and staff, but we did take a break and head to Borneo.
Rena and I were invited to help Dr. Debora and her husband Roland, who travels twice a year to remote parts of the country bringing basic medical relief. This time they asked if they could get help from our Teen Missions base in Sosok on the island of Borneo, or some call it today, Kalamatan. So we took a short flight to Borneo, and after a long fight with airline security trying to get the medicine through without paying a bribe, we had a long drive to the base. We left early the next morning for another long drive to a tiny little village to meet a group of alumni waiting for us at a tiny church on a hill. The pastor was also a graduate of our Bible school (BMW) and had a congregation of 100. What I did not know is that the village had only 100 people in it, so some are walking a long way to get to church. We saw 115 patients that day. In the evening, four church pastors from different denominations joined us for a revival meeting and the place was packed. Then there was the long drive back to the base.
The next morning we left in a tiny pickup truck—eight of us and the medicine were crammed in the back with Rena and the doc shoved in the front with the driver. The slippery clay roads were so steep that we did not worry about how narrow they were, about the sheer drop off or about the smoke that was coming from different parts of this tiny pickup, including the brakes. I was worried that we would flip backwards onto the roof, but we made it both ways. Now my back will never be the same! I have to admit it was fun—kind of like a roller coaster without the safety equipment to keep you in or safe. I would love to do it again.
When we worked alongside the doctor, I took the vital signs (blood pressure and pulse) before people saw the doctor. Rena was the drug dealer—the doctor would hand her a paper. She would then give the drugs to Roland, who made sure they had the right drugs and knew how to take them, then off the people would go. It was basic medical care, mostly taking care of malaria, all kinds of infections, stomach issues and the like—things they would die of if not taken care of. The sad part was that many had other issues we could not do anything about. One man had a tumor behind his eye and one lady had a broken hip from which she had endured the pain for over a year. Those people broke our hearts and we wished we could do more. I had the honor of preaching on the last night. We truly love that part of the job, but sadly, we had to head back to Jakarta to continue where we left off.
There are changes in the wind for us. The only problem is, it is not really the cool, gentle afternoon breeze that we like, it is more like a category three hurricane that is getting bigger. We are hoping it will be downgraded soon. The uncertainty is keeping us on our toes, not just for Rena and myself, but also for our daughter and her husband. We have suspended some of the work in Australia for the time being. No, it is NOT closed, just certain parts are on hold while maintaining other operations, which will free Rena and myself up. We are now focusing on helping the Asian bases through some troubled waters. In the coming months, we will be focusing on Indonesia, Myanmar, India and wherever the International office sends us. So we hope to secure the Australia base with those who will run the camp side of things, make a few more trips to Indonesia, and maybe India. Then we will file the rest of the charity and other reports that the government requires before heading home to the US in Octoberish (we are hoping and Lord willing). We will stay at the US office until whenever, then be back in Australia by Juneish. There is a lot up in the air and even more unknowns—I guess that is where faith comes in.
Kate Rose and her husband Brandon are in the same kind of boat, but in a different way. Brandon is graduating from Southwestern Baptist Seminary. It was a long road but he did a great job. (Congrats, dude!) But now that means either going back to school for his doctorate or finding a job somewhere. They also need to find a place to live. Katie Rose also needs a job as the last one she had at the school was made redundant. They are not sure what is next, so pray for them as they seek God for direction.
Michael is the only one that knows what he is doing for this coming summer. That is to find a job, take more classes and then repeat the process for the next three years.
Mike and Rena