After many months, the twin engine airplane is finally up and running again and we are back “home” again in north Luzon for a few short weeks! It’s really great to be home after 8 months! We really don’t mind traveling all the time and God has provided many “homes” for us, but it’s always nice to be alone in our home again once in awhile!
Much has happened since we last wrote a couple months ago. We thank you for the prayers for the rain! The drought is over and we are now in full blown rainy season! (however some pilots and workers are wondering if they would prefer to have the drought back!) The gardens are doing great and it’s so nice not to have to haul water anymore! We had to say a sad goodbye to our volunteer gardener, Violaine who returned to France recently, but we are so thankful for all her time and effort in helping us get these gardens off to a good start!
Violaine gardening with LIGHT students
MEDICAL MISSIONARY TRAINING!
Last we wrote we were in the middle of planning a one-month medical missionary LIGHT training specifically to help nurture the newly baptized youth of our area. There were several seemingly impossible challenges that we foresaw and we came very close to canceling it. But we all felt it surely had to be God’s will to have such a life-changing activity while the teachers were available, so we prayed for another 3 days. And through His guidance we decided to move forward in faith. And we are so glad we did! We had 6 dedicated, volunteer teachers and more than 25 students of all ages and backgrounds. One by one God took care of each challenge (students, finances, water, meeting place, approval from the Conference etc.)! He also worked in each student’s life, helping them to grow spiritually and to learn many practical skills, which made us feel that every risk and sacrifice was worth it all! Three of the students who were not already Adventists were even baptized by the end of the month! Thank you so much for your prayers and support that made this and other activities possible!
Students gave all the lectures at a Health Expo as part of their training
POWER OF PRAYER!
Our two mountain mission schools were facing some challenges with the local villagers these last couple months. But as the pressures were mounting on both missionary families in both schools about the same time, and they felt it might be best to just leave, we could only encourage them and pray for them, and for each situation that God would intervene. We praise God that through united prayer, amazing things have happened! One family had already packed their things and taken them to the lowlands and we wondered how we would ever find another more dedicated family to replace them, especially in time for the next school year to start, which was just weeks away. God worked on their hearts and as they went back to spend a few more weeks with the people, they were impressed to fast and pray about their decision. God used the local villagers to explain more to them the true feelings of their people and begged them to stay. We’re happy to say that the family has returned to stay for another school year with new strength and love for the people, and the school is back in session right on time with more students than ever!
The other family in the other school (in the newly opened village of Karusuan) decided to join the one-month LIGHT training at our base in the lowlands, since their lives were even being threatened in the mountains by one of the disgruntled villagers. During that time they were spiritually renewed and challenged to return and stay for another school year as well! Their adult students from the mountains continued to grow spiritually (one of them even attended the one-month training with them), and recently 6 of them were baptized! These are the first baptized members of the Karusuan mountain village! The new school year as already started with 30 plus children and many adults as well! What a testimony to what God can do when we unite with others and with Him in prayer! Please continue to pray for the missionaries in these remote areas and around the world that God would give them courage and strength to face the challenges and to continue pressing on to reach more souls for God’s Kingdom! Also pray for more brave souls to join the mission field!
With 4 aircraft flying now, the work is growing! We’ve even started flying in a new area in the very southernmost island of Palawan-- the island of Mangsee that we wrote about in the last newsletter. We’ve made a couple medical evacuation flights for them so far. We continue to pray that we can be a blessing and a light to those people in spiritual darkness. We are taking the necessary precautions, but we do ask for your prayers for safety for our flights to these somewhat dangerous areas. We also ask for your prayers as our monthly expenses are increasing with the added aircraft and flights. Thank you so much for your support that keeps these important projects going!
This remote village has been re-opened to the work of missionaries, thanks to the helicopter
It’s been a few months since we came to Palawan to work on some maintenance of the aircraft. It seems the pace here is always somewhat more intense with so much going on. My main purpose down here has been to get the twin back up and flying, but the progress has been slow for a few reasons. Our helicopter pilot, Daniel left for the USA because his Grandma passed away and after he got back a few weeks later he promptly broke his arm so I am still doing all the helicopter flying. He still manages to help out alot despite having only one arm. Sean and I have been working on getting our licenses in the new Cessna 206 and we finished that up a few weeks ago. I was needing to change a mount that was corroded on the horizontal stabilizer a few weeks ago on the 206, but after pulling the tail apart and looking more closely at it I decided to reskin the left side because it was badly beat up and had been covered up by a rubber rock guard. So this took me a week to finish fixing the tail and get it back together. It will probably take me another couple months to finish the twin with all the distractions, but we're enjoying seeing God at work here in Palawan.
Flying into the Palawan airbase (with no rain for a couple months)
We were so blessed with a visit from some of our videographer friends who came to help us capture this work that God is doing here in Palawan. They came all the way from central Philippines and Indonesia to volunteer their time and skills for God's glory. That was an answer to prayer, and also a busy time as they interviewed all the Bible workers and missionaries and videoed all the projects over a couple weeks. You may have seen some of their initial short videos already on facebook. We are so thankful for this video team and their hard work so that friends like you can see how God is blessing through your prayers and support.
The Hope Channel from Mindanao also come recently to shoot some episodes for their "In This Generation" TV series featuring PAMAS missionaries. We had a fun time with them as well and we pray the programs will be a blessing for many youth.
HOPE Channel, Mindanao pose for a goodbye shot with PAMAS team
Another big blessing came recently with our visitors from France: An experienced farmer and teacher, Daniel Garcia, and his capable student, Violaine Herisson (who has stayed behind in Palawan to help us keep things going). The agriculture seminars and practical demonstrations were held in both our Luzon and Palawan projects and many missionaries, neighbors and nearby church members also benefited from them. Many of us have become more serious about growing our own food now as we have learned new methods that give us hope that we can have more success in the future! With Violaine's help and lots of prayers (through the middle of a drought), we're already beginning to see progress in the gardens!
Violaine and Ruzzel having fun planting banana trees
The garden after 6 weeks, with nitrogen restoring plants.
Gardening has so many blessings and can teach us so much. Of course there is the physical exercise, which brings good health (like we always say around here, "another day at the PAMAS Gym!" The membership is free and it's lots of fun!). But there are so many spiritual lessons we can also gain from the garden. My recent favorite is from Jeremiah 17: 7,8 - especially as we so often face challenges and we get tempted to become anxious. Listen to this great lesson!
We pray for that kind of trust that keeps us from being anxious even during times of "drought" (which is a literal problem we have here right now with very real possibilities that our water will run out). With God's help we try to bear His fruits (of love, joy, patience, peace, self-control etc) and trust in Him even when things may seem impossible. The key is having a daily relationship with God which helps us grow deep roots that keep us connected with Him, the Water of Life.
Speaking of drought and planting seeds, there are two small islands called Mangsee off the southern end of Palawan that are the last pieces of Philippine property before Malaysia. They have been requesting for awhile for us to visit and consider extending emergency medivac services to them in the helicopter. The main island is no more than a kilometer in diameter if it was a complete circle, yet around 9,000 people live on it- a very concentrated population for such a small island. Most of these people are fisherman or businessmen that trade stuff through Malaysia including drugs and who knows what other illegal products. They have no cell phone service and no medical facilities to speak of. The flight is almost an hour from our hangar. We see this as a possible open door to reach the people of this island who are in spiritual drought.
We finally decided to pay them a visit a few weeks ago. There is a missionary family on another island off the south end of Palawan that have been our contact people to verify and contact us for medical emergencies around many of the surrounding islands there. We often make a couple flights a week to those islands. We planned a trip to pick up the missionary there and continue on down to Mangsee to meet with the people there. It happened to be the missionary's wife's birthday the day before, on Sunday so Wendy and Daniel and Violaine and I left early and spent the afternoon and night with them. We visited a beautiful little, white sandy beach island nearby where we ate lunch and swam and snorkeled. It hadn’t rained for 2 months but we laughed that God finally answered our prayers and sent us some that day. We were all set up with our tents to spend the night on the island but finally decided it might be a bit too soggy so we went back to the main island to sleep. It was still a nice but brief getaway.
The next morning we flew to Mangsee and sat down with the leaders of the island and laid out what their responsibilities would be if we start doing medivac flights down there. They seemed very open. They need a lot of health education and this, along with the helicopter support could be a good opportunity to plant seeds of hope and show them a better Way. Please pray for a missionary family that will be willing to go and help them. The population is primarily Muslim and has five mosques on it and there is a small group of professed Christians as well.
Dwayne speaking to the people of Mangsee
You can see why we enjoy being here in Palawan even though we do miss "home" (in Luzon) after being away for so many months at a time. There's so much going on, and though it has it's challenges, it's great to see and be a part of the progress here. We are blessed with such a great team of praying missionaries with varying skills, cultures, and backgrounds and this helps us to accomplish a lot all at once. With multiple church building projects, a new school, Bible and medical work, and flights going on, we can only praise God for what He is doing. And yet, there is so much more to do. As we've been planting (by faith) in the midst of another drought, we're often reminded to pray for rain-- not only physical, but spiritual. There are many areas still left to be reached and more Holy Spirit power is needed for the work to be truly effective. We ask for your prayers for more missionaries and for the outpouring of God's Spirit on His work. Thank you so much for your faithful support for this ministry. You might also like to see the "Urgent Needs" below and help us pray for God's provisions for the growing needs!
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends it's roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; But it's leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit." Jeremiah 17:7,8
--Funds for one-month LIGHT (medical missionary) training this May in Palawan (sponsorships for students, teachers fares and food, etc)-- ($2,000)
--Fuel for deployment of SULADS missionaries this May with the Helicopter (in Mindanao) ($1,000)
--Funds for restoration of helicopter for East Timor ($35,000)
--Fuel for operating aircraft ($3,000/ month)Continued:
--Wellness Center for Palawan
--Helicopters for Luzon and Mindanao
--Sharing tracts and Hymnals (Ilocano and Tagalog)
--Church/School buildings for Karusuan ($1,000)--Completed, Thank you!
--One-Month LIGHT training this May (Students, Funds, Rain/Water, Logistics etc.)
--Guidance and Holy Spirit's work in Karusuan and Kabulnukan (unity among village leaders, strength and wisdom for missionaries)
--Wellness Center for Palawan
--God's work to continue forward without delay for lack of funds or any reason
--Provisions for helicopters for Mindanao and North Luzon
The amazing thing about a faith ministry is that you're stepping into the Red Sea every month. We have been learning to walk by faith and not by sight. Each month is a new adventure and faith building experience. Though the expenses continue to grow, with fuel and maintenance costs, more missionaries and church plants, somehow His work keeps moving forward. Despite the apparent challenges, we continue to pray for more, as we see the needs of His work, and God has not failed.
The last email we sent was right before Christmas from Montana. We had a nice relaxing couple weeks with my family before returning to the Philippines on the 5th of January. I had mentioned in the email that we had made an offer on a Philippine registered 1973 Cessna 206F for $85,000 and they had accepted that offer. When I got word that they accepted the offer we had only $14,000 in an airplane fund. Within a couple days of our last newsletter that amount had come up to $66,000. This was a big answer to prayer. I told the owner that I wanted to do a more detailed inspection when I returned and then we could work out the payment options.
I spent a day doing a much more thorough inspection and everything seemed to be fine so I asked them to write up a deed of sale and give me their bank account information so I could work on getting the funds transferred. We were still $20,000 short but I thought I would just work on an agreement to pay the rest later as God provided. Right before going to the office the next week to work out the final details, I checked my email and the GMI accountant had sent me an email saying $20,000 had come in the last 2 days of December and that gave us just what was needed. We didn't know how God would provide for the other expenses we had for the month, but we trusted God and proceeded to complete the payment and deed of sale. As an added bonus, the exchange rate went up after we initiated the funds transfer, and as a result we overpaid them by about $700 which they refunded to us. We serve an amazing God.
Another answered prayer came the day I was inspecting the Cessna 206 and I began thinking about how we needed another pilot. I had been in communication with Jason, a young pilot from Papua New Guinea that was in the Philippines learning to fly. He had expressed to me his desire to be a mission pilot about 6 month ago, but I had not heard from him since. I was thinking I should email him and see what he was doing. When I got back home that evening I found an email from Jason saying he had finished his flight training and wanted to work with us. God's timing is perfect, Jason went to Palawan a couple weeks ago and has been flying and working with Sean, and it is a big blessing to have his help.
I have been completing all the licensing requirements for this new airplane and renewing paperwork on the R44 helicopter which has taken a lot longer than we had expected. But we are finally ready to fly the new plane to Palawan this week and start using it for God's work. We praise Him for all these answered prayers.
"In the up-building of His work, the Lord does not always make everything plain before His servants. He sometimes tries the confidence of His people by having them move forward in faith. Often He brings them into strait and trying places, bidding them go forward when their feet seem to be touching the waters of the Red Sea. It is at such times, when the prayers of His servants ascend to Him in earnest faith, that He opens the way before them, and brings them out into a large place." Christian Service p. 277
We arrived in Loma Linda 2 weeks ago and I attended the Robinson Helicopter maintenance course in Torrance while Wendy stayed with her brother and family in Loma Linda. We flew up to Montana a couple days ago and will be here for Christmas with my family. Its' nice to be home.
I just received an email this morning regarding a Cessna 206 that has recently come up for sale in the Philippines. We have been praying for a bigger airplane to use in Palawan for over a year and it seems this may be God's answer. We have been operating the Cessna 172M in Palawan for almost 4 years and it has worked well but needs are increasing and upgrading to a Cessna 206 gives us two more seats, 700 lbs more carrying capacity and room enough for a stretcher. I inspected the airplane briefly before returning to the U.S. a couple weeks ago. We prayed about it and made an offer for 4 million pesos which is about $85,000. It was a low offer for a Cessna U206F even in the U.S. but in the email this morning they accepted it. This is very encouraging to us and as God continues to open doors we feel we should pursue it. Having this new airplane would also allow us to take the Cessna 172 to our airbase in Luzon and as God provides another pilot, we would be free to focus more on the Mindanao airbase and eventually base the Twin Commanche there. We have an airplane fund with about $13,000 in it already. Please join us in prayer for God to provide the rest of the funds to be able to purchase this airplane.
This last month has been another eventful one. We were supposed to go to Palawan, but when we were coming through Manila during the SSD Division year end meetings I saw Gary Roberts, a fellow missionary pilot and my plans changed. Gary has taken over the Adventist Aviation mission program in Papua Indonesia after the accident that took his dad's life. Gary was heading soon to Austria to pick up an airplane that they had just purchased and was going to fly it back to Indonesia for their mission work. He was planning on flying alone because no other pilots he knew had time to go with him. The Pilatus PC6 that they purchased is an amazing bush plane but it is slow and unstable and takes full attention of the pilot when in turbulence and bad weather which does not leave much time to navigate if rerouting is necessary. Flying half way around the world makes it likely bad weather would be encountered at some point.
I prayed earnestly that God would show me if I should volunteer to go with him. I had three people tell me that next day that I should go help him so I took that as God's answer. I arranged to meet Gary at the airport in Austria on the 18th where the plane was. I found and purchased some cheap tickets from Manila to Dubai then on to Austria. Wendy went as planned to Palawan and helped with a one month evangelism effort our missionaries were holding.
The week my flight left there was an APEC summit in Manila and flights were being canceled right and left because of security reasons the government said. I kept looking at the flight schedules and my flight was one of the few that was not cancelled. On the day of my flight I borrowed my in-laws car and headed into the airport 5 hours before the flight with my friend Andrew who was going to drive the car back. We got half way to Manila and the government had shut half the expressway down and closed the end of it so all traffic slowed to a crawl. 3 ½ hours later we reached the exit that all cars had to take and I decided there was no way I would make my flight at this rate. I told Andrew I would walk the rest of the way. I got out of the car, grabbed my backpack, and crossed over 4 lanes of oncoming traffic and climbed over the fence. I was able to get a taxi on the frontage road that took me the rest of the way to the airport. We departed Manila on time but half way to Dubai a lady had a bad stroke and we had to divert to Mumbia, India. Because of the requirements for refueling an aircraft in India it was 5 hours later before we took off again. By the time we arrived in Dubai my connecting flight to Vienna had just left. The airline would not re-book the flight so I contacted Gary and he suggested I meet him in Greece near Athens as he had an appointment the next day in Slovenia and Greece would be his next stop. I searched and found that the cheapest tickets to Athens was through Doha to Istanbul, Turkey so I purchased the tickets and flew to Doha that evening. I spent the night in the airport and left the next morning for Turkey. I spent that afternoon and night in Istanbul and then flew to Athens on Friday morning. I spent the weekend in Athens at a cheap hotel near the Acropolis and was able to attend an English speaking international SDA church. Half were Filipinos so I felt right at home.
There was another series of obstacles that came up but God worked things out and Gary arrived in Athens Sunday afternoon. The wind was blowing so hard he decided it was best to stay the night in Athens and take off early the next morning. We finally took off at sunrise Monday morning and had a beautiful day of flying over the Mediterranean and across Egypt. 8 ½ hours later we landed in a small resort town along the red sea where we fueled up and spent the night at a beach side hotel where we took a swim before going to bed. We took off before sunrise Tuesday morning for the flight across Saudi Arabia- the longest leg of the trip. We started running into bad weather by mid morning and were picking up ice at 15,000 ft. We finally had to descend to 9,000 to stay out of the icing conditions and we requested to be routed to the south where the weather was better. After several hours of getting tossed around by turbulence we got into some better weather. We landed in Abu Dhabi an hour after dark after 11 hours of flying.
I spent the rest of the week staying with the Adventist pastor in Abu Dhabi trying to get a visa for India (which was our next stop) while Gary flew over to Manado for some meetings. I had time to visit the Grand Mosque on Friday. It has some incredible detail in its architecture and is a most impressive building. Unfortunately I was not able to get the visa in that short amount of time and I had to leave Gary in Abu Dhabi. Gary continued the rest of the way by himself and God blessed him with good weather most of the rest of the way. He has arrived safely now with the airplane in Papua.
One thing struck me after briefly visiting the countries around the Mediterranean and middle east. There are billions of people out there without the hope we have in Christ. Many are chasing after worldly pleasures. Others are seeking salvation through their own works and merits, through rounds of meaningless rituals. God has called us to take the Gospel to the world to every nation, tribe, tongue and people so they can have the sure hope we have in Christ. This is our purpose on this Earth and all of us our called to play a part.
During this Christmas season let us remember the sacrifice that Jesus made in coming to earth that we might have a sure hope of salvation in him. The sacrifice He made on our behalf reminds me that any sacrifices that we may make are very small and insignificant in terms of eternity.
We don’t often get around to writing follow up stories from previous newsletters but here is one we had to write. You may remember a story I wrote 2 years ago while we were in Palawan of a village man that showed up to church one day requesting our help saying, “We don’t want any other religion in our village except the religion of Kamantian." (Many people associate our work with AFM's because we work together to reach the Palawano people.) Though we have many requests like this, somehow this one seemed different and it was hard to say no to his urgent plea to start a church in his village. We felt we had to at least go and make a visit. So two of our local Bible workers and I made arrangements and the next week we arrived at the designated meeting place. We were surprised to learn that the village was actually a couple hours hike up the mountain, with 5 crossings of a raging river! Durialan, the village leader who met us told us that many people were waiting for us because they wanted to learn about the Bible. We looked at each other wondering what to do as we were unprepared for a hike, but we decided without hesitation that we must go! We set off on an adventure with homemade walking sticks and with Durialan to help us cross the rivers. We arrived to the beautiful mountainside village with luscious greenery and a spectacular view of the ocean. We had the most wonderful visit with the friendliest, most eager villagers of Karusuan. We shared with them about a loving God who gave His Word to us in a book so we could learn about Him and know how to live. They were amazingly attentive to our stories and health lectures. We asked them if they had ever heard the story of creation or Noah or Jesus but they all said “no”, they had never heard any stories from the Bible! When it was time to go, the inevitable question came, “When will you come back?” We had to honestly tell them we had no idea how long it would be. We told them to pray for more missionaries and/or a helicopter that could help make the best use of the missionaries' time and also help with their medical emergencies.
The Rest of the Story
As we suspected, with limited missionaries and with our return back to our other airbase in northern Luzon, another visit had still not been made after 2 years. We had very occasional contact with the villagers throughout the years when we would see them at the lowland market. We told them that we hadn't forgotten them and to keep praying for more missionaries and a helicopter!
The Long Prayed for Helicopter
This last May we were privileged to finally bring the long prayed for helicopter to Palawan! It didn't take long for regular calls to start coming in with requests from remote missionaries with AFM, PFM, and our project in Kabulnukan for medical evacuations. But we did not forget about Karusuan. As soon as we found them at the lowland market we told them the good news about the helicopter and instructed them how to clear a landing pad. We promised to visit them soon, but 'soon' wasn’t good enough for them and they persistently called asking when we would come to start a church in their village! They said, “Ma’am, how can we go to church when the nearest church is so far from us and the river is so high!”
First Helicopter Visit
The day finally came for us to visit Karusuan for the first time in the helicopter. The flight is only 5 minutes from our airbase (versus a 40 minute drive plus a 1.5 hour hike if the river is not too high). Many villagers were happily waiting for us! They crowded into a tiny hut near the landing pad and pressed in to hear the continuation of the Bible stories we started 2 years before. Many could not fit in the hut and had to peek through the bamboo walls, and when the rain came it was difficult for all to find shelter. We found many people with Malaria and other complaints so we treated as many as we could before we had to leave.
Over the last two years we have been working toward restoring an old airstrip at Mountain View College (MVC) in Mindanao for the purpose of supporting the work of the SULADS. The SULADS had their beginning years ago as a student missions program of MVC. It is now officially a separate entity but is still mostly composed of college students and graduates of MVC. They have multiple mission schools and projects scattered all throughout the very remote mountains and islands of Mindanao as well as other areas of the Philippines. When God provided the R44 helicopter last March I wanted to visit Mindanao with it one time to help raise awareness of the need for a helicopter for that area. The SULADS missionaries annual training (of new and returning missionaries) ended the last week of May, so we decided to time our trip at that time so we could help deploy the missionaries. We headed to MVC the 1st of June with the helicopter and arrived at the newly restored airstrip just in time for a dedication ceremony for the airstrip. The mayor of Valencia attended with many SULADS missionaries and staff from MVC.
Four months ago during the dry season God moved the mayor to supply the graders and equipment for the reconstruction of the airstrip at no charge. All we provided was diesel to keep them running. So we felt it only right to give her a ride in the helicopter back to Valencia after the dedication ceremony. It was a four minute flight vs. 30 to 45 minute drive.
We immediately started making plans and arrangements for the deployment of the missionaries. Over the next week we dropped off 35 missionaries at their mission schools. The nearest school is about a 3+ hour hike and the farthest is more than a 2 days walk. We also helped them make courtesy visits to the nearby government officials of each area. The results were a huge boost in the morale of the missionaries, and a renewed interest in the work of the SULADS at the highest levels in the church and government. Part of this was simply because they had a helicopter supporting them. Our time there with the helicopter also made us see even more the huge need of aircraft in Mindanao for supporting the work in the remote areas.
When we returned to Palawan I turned around and went back to Mindanao in the twin Commanche airplane a couple days later to pick up a new missionary family to be deployed to our remote mission school in Kabulnukan. A few days later we dropped them off at the trail head to hike into the mountains with their four children. Then a few hours later, about the time they arrived, we flew in all their personal supplies, food and school supplies. They are experienced, former SULADS missionaries so they are used to hiking, but they were very delighted to have their supplies carried in for them this time.
The flight is only 5-6 minutes long to Kabulnukan. Every couple days or so we end up making flights for this village as well as the AFM project and several other similar villages where many are suffering from Malaria and other outbreaks. There are especially a lot of sicknesses right now with the monsoon rains starting again. We always coordinate the flights so that needed supplies and medicines are going in while more severe patients or missionaries are coming out. What a difference a helicopter makes to the missionary work! We continue to praise God daily for this great tool he has provided to speed the spread of the gospel to the people of Palawan. Thank you for your continued prayers and support!
We ducked our heads into the small, bamboo hut and saw a young girl curled up in a dark corner on a raised, bamboo bench seat. *Amy is only 18 years old, newly married and 2 months pregnant. She recently moved to a depressed village near our airbase in Palawan. We got a full history of her illness which included panic-attack type symptoms which supposedly started as a young girl when a classmate chased her with a snake. She complained of various things including a “UTI”--urine infection, and trouble seeing. The family explained that she had been “blind” for 3 days the week before, after the last attack.
Since we were ruling out demon possession (verses mental illness) we asked the family about any charms, strings, or witch-doctor medicine that they might be using. They openly showed us the string they had taken off her waist already. They also showed us the witch-doctor medicine which consisted of some green leafy, floating things in dirty water in a big, old coke bottle. We encouraged them to get rid of all these things and they consented. I asked them what they thought her sickness was- a physical problem or a “bad spirit.” They answered honestly even using the word “Satan” to describe what they believed might be the problem.
I told our visiting doctor companions that I highly suspected demon possession but that we would probably know for sure when we saw her during an attack. We encouraged Amy and the family to pray fervently and to study the Bible. They readily agreed. They had no Bible and had never read it, so we offered to start Bible studies with them.
As we closed our visit with a special prayer, we heard a loud clunk and saw that Amy had been suddenly thrown to the floor. Her husband was there in an instant and we jumped to help him lift her back up on the bench. Her arms and legs were shaking and her hands and feet were stiff and cramping into painful contortions. She was having trouble breathing and seemed to be hyperventilating. She was moaning in distress and fear and was talking about snakes. The same thing had happened the week before as our other missionaries were having closing prayer after a visit. The doctor checked Amy's eyes with a pen light and found them fixed and dilated.
We immediately started praying for Satan to be cast away as we attempted to help make her comfortable in different ways. One of the doctors asked if there were any other charms in the house or similar things that might be associated with witchcraft. Then we noticed more strings around her wrists and ankles. We asked the family what they were for and they said “for her UTI.” We suggested they take them off (which they immediately did) and then we strongly recommended to the husband that they choose now whom they wanted to serve--Satan or God. If they chose God, then he should burn all the strings immediately and throw out the “medicine.” He hesitated and I told him he should be the one to decide, not us.
Amy began to calm down when we started singing hymns and she soon fell asleep. We praised God when the husband went out right away and burned the strings and threw out the witch-doctor medicine! We knew that God had saved this girl’s life and freed her from Satan’s attacks as they made a decision for Him.
A few days later we visited Amy with our other missionaries and *Jane (our other 18 year old friend that was freed from 3 demons and has since become a baptized, growing Christian.) We found Amy sitting outside, hardly recognizable! She was bright-eyed and smiling and so happy to see us! We continue to visit her regularly and though she struggles at times she looks forward to the visits and Bible studies. She and her husband are even attending church with us whenever they can.
P.S. Amy recently lost her baby in a miscarriage. They were so grateful for our help with getting them to the hospital during the crisis and helping them with the bill. We always direct their praises to God who is the source of all good things. We do thank you also for being a channel of God’s blessings to this ministry through your gifts and prayers which allows us to help people like them.
*Names have been changed
The last month has been busy. I flew off the time required for a check ride and soon after was able to take the check-ride to reinstate my helicopter license here. We left the day after and flew up to our airbase in northern Luzon where I was able to do some more maintenance. I repainted the rotor blades and applied some approved rotor blade tape that will reduce further need for maintenance and painting. After reinstalling the blades we tracked and balanced the helicopter and fixed an oil leak. Everything seems to be working and flying very smoothly now.
We hosted a Family Bible Camp over the Easter week at the Adventist church next to our airbase and it seemed to be a huge blessing to all that attended. We were reminded that "Healthy families make healthy churches." We were thankful for the additions to our missionary team that God had orchestrated in advance to make this and other ongoing programs a success. We saw how even though we were unable to have many meetings to plan together, with a big prayer focus before and during the event it made it even more powerful.
The following Monday I flew the speakers down to Iloilo to put on another Family Bible Camp down there. I continued on to Palawan and left the Twin Commache at our airbase there and flew commercially back to north Luzon. I then turned around and flew the helicopter back down to Manila the same day with Wendy. That night we picked up Daniel Lui, the new helicopter pilot that has come to join us. We have been processing our visa renewals and Daniel's license conversion this last week.
We will fly the helicopter to Palawan tomorrow where we can start using it where we left off three years ago (when our other helicopter was grounded.) We already have scheduled flights waiting for us for medical mission teams going into the mountains and to the remote islands of southern Palawan. We expect the med-evac flights to also pick up right away, as we continue to get texts and stories of patients in desperate need of transport. We praise God for this great and unique opportunity we have to serve "the least of these" and to speed the work of the missionaries in these areas.
We can't tell you enough how we value and appreciate your prayers and support so much! Thank you for being a part of this ministry.