September 1. 2019
Precious Moments Sharing Life in the Napo
Whether it's that amazing feeling of relief that comes from jumping into the Napo River on a hot jungle day, or the joy of flying down the river in a small dugout canoe with a peque-peque motor on the back under the light of a full moon & thousands of incredibly bright stars, or that refreshing taste of cold masato while helping the people to plant a new yucca garden under the punishing mid-day sun...and the list could go on and on of all the amazing moments from daily life among the Napuruna, but in the end, the moments that are even more precious & memorable are the ones of sharing life with our Napuruna brothers & sisters. For both of us, being able to connect, share, live shoulder-to-shoulder, and learn with people who are different from us...but when you get past the superficial things, are not really all that different from us, there is nothing better!!
Meet little Gianna!
Early one morning during our last trip while visiting one of the villages where we have many friends, the people excitedly shared with us that one of the mom's had given birth that morning to a little girl, Gianna! (see above photo) While we celebrated the news with them, several members of the family, smiling & giggling, asked us if we had ever pierced a baby's ears. We, rather wide-eyed but smiling at their contagious giggling, said no, that we'd probably be too scared to try. Throughout the week, different family members would come by and mention something about the ear piercing ritual of becoming god-parents, in that classic hint-hint kind of way. Long story short, we are god-parents again! Nope, she's not ours in case that crossed your mind, lol. :D We managed to survive the scary initiation process of piercing her little ears! (not something I ever want to do again!) It was definitely the hardest initiation process we've seen or undergone in the Napo, and I still don't know how they talked us into it. XD I just about can't handle being in the same room for this kind of thing, but we had lot of experienced god-parents gathered around, leaning in, telling us what and how to do it, so we all survived the process. Being a god-parent means we're bound to the whole family as "family", and I have to say that I don't quite mind that part. :) So thankful for our extended "family" members in the Napo and especially for little Gianna! P.S. don't freak out about the picture of me holding scissors below! In the end, Nem had to do the piercing (see the picture above with him holding the needle, and us both looking like proud god-parents) since I couldn't make myself pierce her ears, so I did the knotting and cutting of the strings in Gianna's ears. X)
What’s Up in the Napo
This year has been so full of so many twists and turns, and if you feel like you're behind on something that's been happening with us, I'm about to dive into a modge podge of updates & news from the Napo, as well as family & personal updates from the last few months or so! :) Sorry in advance for the long update! What a crazy year it has been; it's definitely keeping us on our toes to say the least. I'm going to start with the latest happenings and work backwards:
August 2019 – ANNUAL CONFERENCE IN DIAMANTE AZUL
As you guys know from our last email update from the 2nd of August, "Our Prayer for Unity" (If you haven't read that one, go back & take a look at it so this update makes sense :), we had our last annual conference with the church plants in the Napo the first full week of August. Thanks soooo much for reading that update, responding with encouragement, and especially for praying fervently with us about all that was going on! By the end of the conference, we could only look back on those exhausting 4 weeks and thank the Lord for helping us navigate through all the challenges. The morning after I sent that email asking for prayer, we left Iquitos at 6am and traveled 10 hours by boat to meet up with the team organizing the workshop. We hadn't slept the nights before leaving because of all that was going on, so the 10 hour boat ride didn't really help with our exhaustion level, but we spent the whole boat ride praying and planning what to do and say as peace-makers between all the church leaders and missionaries involved. We were feeling pretty beat up emotionally. As soon as the boat docked, we were able to get everyone involved in the problems of miscommunication, division and confusion together to facilitate the first face-to-face meeting since the problems had started. It was not an easy meeting, as I'm sure you can imagine - I know a lot of you wrote us sharing about similar problems with unity in church situations or in other areas that you have experienced. Thanks so much for the encouraging words & for your support! By the end of the meeting, we were able to clear up some of the miscommunications just by having everyone in the same place to where they could hear directly from each other. After lots of praying for one another and each person sharing, we felt like everyone was in a pretty good frame of mind to leave the next morning for the conference. Our time with our brothers and sisters in Diamante Azul can be summed up in the above picture from Nem's 3-day Homiletics workshop! We were once again blessed by the fellowship, Christ-like love, joy, hunger for God's Word, and dedication of these precious brothers & sisters. We truly soaked up every precious minute fellowshipping & sharing with these amazing brothers and sisters. There were so many encouraging moments that came from our time with them, of reflection around Scripture and Christian & church life. The 4 pictures below are from Nem's Homiletics workshop with the church leaders and his 2-day workshop on grace. We're so thankful for these brothers and sisters! Thanks so much for your prayers for us and for everyone involved in the conference! We were privileged to see how much the Lord has grown our brothers & sisters in Diamante Azul in faith and grace over the last few years!
August 15-18, 2019 – VISIT WITH NEM’S DAD
As you guys know, Nem's dad, Celso, has been undergoing aggressive chemotherapy the last 6+ months. After we wrapped up the conference in Diamante Azul, we traveled to Lima to see Celso and accompany him and Nem's mom up until the transplant. He just started the transplant today! He'll be in total quarantine for at least 2 more weeks if not more, depending on how his body responds to the transplant. Please be in prayer that his body will respond well and that this will be the beginning of the end of his cancer treatments! While we were in Lima, our sister-in-law, Dorcas, had to be flown to Lima because of complications due to a chronic Pancreas attack. Shortly after, her mom, Rebecca, was also hospitalized because of a heart attack. Thankfully, all of them were in the same hospital there in Lima, so we became regulars in the hospital with visiting all 3 family members. Would you be praying for all 3: Celso, Dorcas, and Rebecca, that they will all receive the treatment and healing they need at this time!
Update on the Situation in our Home Village
Many of you have been asking how the situation in the village is. Thanks so much for your prayers and concern! We were able to meet up with some of our friends and neighbors from the village in July, and thankfully they let us know that it appears that the Colombian strangers in the village have left and that they haven't been seen in the last two months. We feel like the situation is safe for us to resume our normal life in the village soon! We're so thankful to have close friends and neighbors in the village who look after our welfare! In October, we hope to do a month-long visit to a village a little bit downriver, where our godparents, Selmira & Romulo, live. It will be a packed trip! In addition to visiting with the believers in the village, we'll be serving the villages by helping them investigate how to make the local high school upriver more accessible for students coming from other villages. We're excited to be able to meet a felt-need that all the villages in the area have! Please be praying for success in the investigation and that as a result the government will improve the situation for Napuruna high school students! In addition to the visits and the investigation, we'll be working on the final revisions of our 1st oral Bible stories in Kichwa that I've been working on these last few months! See the picture above from my review of the Genesis Wycliffe Kichwa Bible Translation from earlier this year. It's been a lot of work, first reviewing the Genesis translation with our Wycliffe teammates, recording & comparing different oral recordings of the stories in Kichwa, and in July, finally finishing writing a version of the first stories for a Kichwa Evangelism CBS story track! (CBS: Chronological Bible Storying) I'm so excited to be close to using the materials from this oral discipleship project!! To be able to teach Scripture in the heart-language of the people and in an oral format that is natural & reproducible for the people - this will truly be a dream come true! After the review process with our god-mother, Selmira, we'll be able to start using these stories late this fall! Please please be praying for us that we'll be able to finish off these 1st stories so as to be able to start Chronological Bible storying in our home village in October or November! I'm over the moon about this, as you can probably tell, lol. :D Will you pray with us?
1) Will you pray that we will be able to finish the final edits & revisions of these first Chronological Bible Stories? Will you pray that our Kichwa will flow smoothly as we begin discipleship 100% in Kichwa in our home village – this has been our goal since the beginning and we’re closer than ever! This will be a huge learning curve as we start to implement this process. Would you pray that the people will correct us when we say things incorrectly and that we will not get discouraged as we begin discipling in Kichwa? Would you also pray that the Lord will be calling the people to Him and that they will have a hunger to know Him through His Word as we share?
2) Would you be praying for this opportunity to serve the local villages through this investigation into the accessibility of local high schools: A) that we will be a blessing to the people as we help them gather the info for the investigation and as we present it to the government as a petition to improve the high school education system; B) that this opportunity will further open doors in all the villages we visit during the investigation to share Christ in word and deed; We’re praying that by meeting this felt-need, we will be able to show our love for the people, and that it will lead to open doors in the villages that are not open to missionaries efforts to date.
3) Would you pray with us for Celso’s bone marrow transplant, that his body will not reject the transplant in anyway and that he will be free of cancer after this transplant? Would you also pray for Dorcas, that the doctors will be able to figure out what is causing her pancreatitis so she can start eating normally, regain her strength, and return home? Would you pray also for Dorcas’ mom, Rebecca, and the ongoing analysis that the doctors will be doing in the coming days?
4) Would you continue to pray for our precious brothers and sisters in the Napo – that they will continue to seek the Lord with all their hearts and grow in their walks with Him? We’re so thankful for them!
5) Would you continue to pray for unity, patience, and love for all the church leaders and missionaries who work in the Napo? The enemy would like nothing more than to make sure that confusion, miscommunications, and conflicts distract & detract from the church-planting work in the Napo. Would you pray for wisdom and grace for us, that we will be able to continue working in the Napo alongside each and every leader/missionary in a way that shows mutual, Christ-like grace, love, & unity?
6) Would you pray for little Gianna and her family? Pray for health for little Gianna in her first months of life outside the womb, as the first months can be the hardest for newborns. Pray for healing for Gianna’s mom as she recovers from the delivery, and for Gianna’s older sister as she is suffering from unexplained seizures & blackouts.
7) We have some news to share about doors the Lord is opening! Buuuut, since this update is already too long, I’ll save that news for the next update, which should be very soon, so keep an eye on your inbox! 🙂 In the mean time, would you be praying for wisdom & discernment, for a continued sense of peace about the direction we feel the Lord leading us in, and for patience as we constantly seek His leading every step of the way?
April 9, 2019
We got some exciting news from our teammate Kristan about a breakthrough with little Brayan! Here's her fb post:
March 26, 2019
March 6, 2019
March 4, 2019
Vill and Elia and the kids made it safely to Iquitos early this morning! They will be heading to Pucallpa in the next boat in the next day or so. So far everything has gone well. But the baby, their littlest, Marioli, has a cough, so our teammates are taking them to the doctor before they leave to get some medicine for her.
We’ll keep you all updated when they arrive to Pucallpa. More updates to come! Grace,