Dear Family and Friends,
The last few weeks getting ready for Hurricane Irma, getting through the storm and cleaning up after Irma seem to have pushed a lot of things into the background. Sometimes God allows us to go through storms, whether it be a hurricane like Irma or some other situation going on in our life, to see if we will look to Him for all things or depend upon our own strength and abilities. Speaking as a Californian, I would still rather deal with an earthquake than wind, but as I read about the recent quake in Mexico, I’m not sure I want to deal with them, either. What I do know is that God holds us in the palm of His hand and regardless of what happens around us, that is the best place for us.
Bob and I had just returned home from visiting family in Montana and St. Louis when Irma got close enough to Florida to determine what track she might take. Initially, it looked like she was coming straight to us. We still had a week of vacation time before the storm, which was a total blessing. Neither one of us is as young as we used to be and putting the plywood up over our windows was a challenge, especially since, while Bob is doing much better since he broke his knees, ladders and carrying heavy things are still difficult for him. We had several days to work on getting the house ready instead of trying to get it done in the evening after working all day. We were also blessed with some help in getting the wood up. Many thanks to our friends, John and Susan, for their help. Not only did we get the outside taken care of much quicker than last year, but I got the house cleaned, paperwork caught up, the lawn mowed and edged and extra stuff out in the last trash pick-up before the storm.
Fortunately for us, the storm’s track shifted to the west, which put us on the “bad” side of the storm, but not in the path of the eye of the hurricane. We evacuated to friends’ house in West Melbourne and had a good visit with them while waiting out the storm (thank you, Dave and Cheryl). We returned home as soon as it was safe to travel to see how our home fared. God was good to us— we had minor damage: shingles on the front corner of the house curled up (already repaired), two-thirds of the back fence down, Bob’s shed needs reroofing and the usual yard debris. We have learned that if we cut up the branches and palm fronds that come down and put them in garbage cans, they get picked up quicker. Ours are already gone while our neighbors still have piles of debris in their front yards. We were without water for two days and without electricity for three days. In fact, the electricity came back on right after I bought 20 pounds of ice! Our Teen Missions training has been helpful in helping us deal with the after-effects of the hurricane. Many thanks to Bryan and Dawn and their boys (staff family) for helping us get the plywood off the windows and to separate and pick up the fence pieces and to Josh for repairing the house roof. God provided for us in many ways. While He didn’t cause the storm to go away, He did get us through it. We know that many of you were praying for us and we thank you for the prayers.
We had a good summer in Malawi with our team of 20 preteens, two other leaders and one leader kid—25 altogether. Travel was challenging this year because of the long layovers we had in airports (20+ hours altogether). After much thought and discussion with others, we came up with a plan for food for all the airport layovers. Many thanks to the moms of our team members who organized and put together the food for us. Each person had a gallon Ziplock with three other Ziplocks labeled for each airport (Montreal, London, and Nairobi) to carry. Fortunately, our trip home did not have all the long layovers.
While in Malawi, Bob and I were honored to be the representatives for the Florida base at the Bible school graduation for all four Bible schools. Because all the schools were there, we got to meet more of the Malawi staff, some of whom we’ve been praying for for a number of years. Another blessing was that we were there when Harrison and Kathy had their baby. They live in the house on the compound where the team stayed. We got to know them and their daughter Diana in 2014 during our last stay there. The baby was due the week after we left, but I told Kathy that I needed to hold that baby, so it had to come before we returned to the States. The baby was born on Tuesday and we left on Saturday. God is good!
Our project this year was to build a playground for the staff kids at the main base in Chipoka. Clearing the land of vegetation and bricks was the first job. Then the kids painted some tires and placed them in the ground, some as tractors, others in a winding S-shape to climb over and through. They also cut some tires to use as swings on the swing set. Poles werestained and concreted in the ground for a fort and the floor put in. While we did not have enough time to finish the playground, we got the major part of it done. Before we were even close to finishing it, the staff kids were playing there! We had a good team and good leadership and are proud of what they did and how they grew in the Lord. Praise the Lord!
After our team, we spent two weeks back at Teen Missions where we worked on catching up from the time we were gone (me) and sorted through, cleaned up and put away the team equipment (Bob). We then prepared for deputation. This year we traveled to Montana to visit my brother, Bob and his family. It can be confusing when brother Bob and husband Bob are in the same room—who are you really talking to?! It was good to go to my brother’s church that housed us in 2012 when we took a team to an Indian reservation in northern Montana. Besides the visit with family one of the things we got to do was go to Yellowstone. I’m glad to report that Old Faithful is still faithful! Enjoying God’s creation, especially the mountains, with family was special. After a quick visit with former team members in Colorado Springs, we flew on to St. Louis to visit Bob’s cousin Rachel and husband Chris. We haven’t spent much time with them, so it was good to get to know them better and to see the sights of St Louis.
While we were in St. Louis we visited my nephew (who is stationed at an Air Force base about 30-45 minutes away) and his wife right after their baby was born. While I will never get to be a grandma, I am proud to announce that I am a great aunt! Both Bob and I got to hold Edward when he was not even 24 hours old. A very special thing was when Bob asked if he could pray over little Edward— it was a powerful prayer that blessed everyone in the room. Who knew when we planned our trip back in May that the timing would work out so well? God is good.
When we find that friends are in the hospital, Bob often goes by and sings for them. One of the oft-requested songs is “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.” As we think about all the things God has done for us over the last few months, we can’t help but think that His eye is on us and we know He watches over you, too. Many thanks for being a part of our ministry team over the years. We appreciate all you have done for us so that we can serve the Lord through Teen Missions.
Servants for Christ,
Bob and Paula Yost