Greetings from Mexico

We rolled into town on Monday the 19th. After 5 weeks of meetings, and wonderful visits with people from all over, it was nice to stop rolling and sit for a spell. We are still getting set up, though most of our unpacking is done.

RADIO STUDIO: I went to the studio to start setting it up and opened the door to a musty smell. Looking at the marking on the door, it appears we had a pile of rain and some flooding in the studio, so unfortunately the carpet got wet and I will have to move all the furniture out of the way to pull out the carpet. It’s not like a permanently installed carpet, I will just have to roll it up and get it out on the drive way to sun and bleach, both of which we have plenty of! The weather has been very nice at about 25C or 77F, sunny and calm. Robin and I went out to turkey dinner on Christmas eve which is a nice break for her at this time of year.

CAR: As mentioned previously, our plan was to purchase a car while in AZ. Unfortunately, the used car market is so high with limited availability we could not find what we were after, so we decided to just buy a new one since Ford has a 0.9% interest on their financing. So we were about to buy a new one, but there was a stipulation in the financing which won’t let you drive across the border to Mexico. LOL. They will let you go to Canada but not Mexico, so we decided to just order one and pick it up potentially on our way home and leave the old car in AZ. Such is the auto plan for now.

However, that left us with the dilemma of what to do with all of the supplies we had ordered which were going to get packed in the ‘new’ car. It’s kind of funny how the Lord provides things. A brother in our Riverview church had donated a bicycle for me to use down here. When I was there, he said, “here take two” and then he said, “here, take a bike rack too!” I wasn’t planning on taking all that down, but I thought since we would be getting another car, I would have room. Anyway, long story short when we got to Tucson where Bill Odom was waiting on the side of the highway with two bundles of acoustic insulation batts for the recording studio, I wasn’t sure how they would fit in our packed car. I thought about it a bit and figured out a way to strap them on the back of the car and hook the ties straps onto the fenders. That was us… one of those Youtube videos you see of people coming out of Home Depot with materials tied onto the roof… But, like I said, we made it.

Thanks to your prayers and the kindness of the Lord, we drove all the way here without a problem, even at the border. I had prepared my heart to spend two hours unpacking everything at the border if need be, but the kindness of the Lord waved us on through.

COLOMBIA/VENEZUELA: We have scheduled a P conference along the border of Colombia/Venezuela for January. I will fly from here on the 10th and be there for about 2 weeks. Reports from E say there may be about 500 coming. They will have to pitch their hammocks along the river. More on that trip later. The Lord is impressing on my heart to have the theme of the conference titled “The Unity of the Body of Christ” as there has been brewing division and sects creeping into the P nation now for some time. I have invited everyone and would like to give delegates from every group to have a turn to speak. Pray for unity. The more I grow in the Lord the less picky I seem to become about where people are in their faith. Somehow that makes sense. There has to be a lot of room for people’s individuality and stages of growth in which they are at.

HOWARD and SUSAN: I continue to hear Howard to be about the same, which to me is good that he isn’t worse. I really feel for Susan. What a trial. They’ve been trying to raise money for a medical flight down here, but their insurance company won’t cover them if they leave Canada. Yet the doctors say there’s nothing more they can do and encourage him to go home. The flight was $68k CAD to get them here, so Susan has decided to go back to the RV plan and save their money which they have been raising to help pay for his recovery since they will be out of insurance once they cross the border. I just heard that someone from here in Mexico who has a 40′ RV is heading up this week to get them and drive them back down.

JORGE and SOLE: It was so nice to see Jorge and Sole again. They are doing so well, growing in their faith. They are such an encouragement to me. Jorge is now working regular hours at the orphanage and also pastoring the small church here.

BIBLE SCHOOL: Bible school starts on the 23rd of Jan. I will get back from Colombia and start teaching likely the next day.

Just wanted to briefly check in. Thank you so much for all you do for us. You are much appreciated. I will be in touch with more details as they develop.

t.

The final leg before Mexico

Greetings. Sorry it’s been a long while since I’ve updated you. We’ve been on the road and it’s been difficult to find a quiet time with wifi. I will say that we have had such a rich and full time with all that we have seen. The Spirit of Christ is present wherever we go and we see Him and experience Him in all and in every place.

Our meetings are over. They all went so well. We are now at our final destination before heading to Mexico. Today, we met with the staff at SOM and again were richly blessed by people who are full of the Spirit of Christ.

We are lingering a few days here as we are trying to purchase a replacement car. The plan was to purchase a newer car here and drive both cars to Mexico, leaving the old one there to use and then return back to Canada in the Spring with the newer one. Prices are higher than expected and availability is low on the slightly used cars (the covid lockdowns and microchip shortage increased the prices of used cars and depleted the amount of available cars considerably).

We are just trusting the Lord with this. If we don’t find anything, we will continue on with our older car which has served us so faithfully and continues to do so. Thanks for your prayers for us regarding this need.

Today I received a hand written letter from E which he expressed gratitude on behalf of the P churches for the generous giving towards this next printing of 15,000 more P bibles. He’s delighted that now everyone will get their own copy.

Here is the translation of the letter which was written to those who gave towards the printing of the P Bible. Though this letter was inspired by the recent giving towards the second printing, any one of you who gave or prayed for this project whether the first printing last year of this second one now, please receive it as to you:

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Even before the heavens and the earth were ever brought into being, you were set in his mind, all of us Huottöja (P) of Venezuela who are saints of God, together even with those who still do not have faith, and also together with the Huottöja (P) people of Colombia, we, greatly rejoicing at this time, greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This book of our Creator’s word, which we on our own could never have purchased, you by His Spirit, have given your huge gift according to your faith in the name of your Lord, just as He had planned to do through you, being set in His mind before the heavens and the earth ever were.

Even before the creation, our Creator knew that through you He would bless every single Huottöja (P) person that was left without the book of His word so that all would receive their own copy. As we reflect with great joy on the blessing of our creator God through your offering which you gave in the name of your Lord through prayer on our behalf, we know that the one who gives rejoices even more than the one who receives.

When we, the members of Christ’s body, watch you rejoice in heaven when you receive your rewards, we too, being right there with you will rejoice before our Lord, in the brightness of His shining light. That joy will be even greater than the joy we now feel by receiving a Bible. Our creator God knew of this future event even before we existed.

We are in prayer to our creator God according to this word (these verses) which are fulfilled in what you have thought to do in the name of your Lord; 2 Corinthians 8:12-15, 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, also James 2:21-26 and Philippians 4:18.

Though we are far away from each other in this world, we will forever be before our Lord in His shining light without end…

May it be just so by the name of our Lord…

Update on Howard

Howard continues in Kelowna Hospital. Susan is very tired. She said to me two days ago this is the biggest trial of her life, and she’s had many. I can’t imagine how exhausting this is for her sleeping in a hospital cot next to Howard for months now. Unfortunately, they were just moved out of their private room and now share a room with others. Susan is hoping to find a small suite somewhere near the hospital where she can rent and go there to sleep at night.

The inflammation has gone down but only a little bit. If it goes down enough for Howard to not need to be in the hospital then they would return asap to Mexico to recover there. If that happened, they would be neighbors with us and we could help out too. As it is now, Howard can’t even sit up in a chair and hold up his body weight, nor is he able to be consciously present very much at all.

Here is a small update on Howard which was written by his brother Merrill yesterday,

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“Many of you have been asking about how Howard is doing so I’ll give you all a little update here. Let’s just say that since the last report, it has been somewhat of a roller coaster affair. Things are up and down, discouraging and encouraging. Some days, Howard is sort of bright eyed and bushy tailed, and the next day he spends the whole day asleep. One day, his little Howardisms rise to the surface and the next day there is nothing. He continues to eat well without choking for which we are thankful. And today was his third day of his second treatment of IVIG, so we are trusting that this treatment will bring about some good results. So yeah, the road is long and challenging, especially for Susan. Thanks so much for your prayers for her and Howard, and their two daughters. Yes, a crazy time for sure. This journey isn’t easy either for my 96-year old mom, especially since we already said goodbye to one of our brothers on October 3rd. So yes, thanks so much to all of you for your continued prayers and encouragement. We are weak, but our Lord is strong! Thanking God for all of you.”

Various news items

Good morning from snowy and cold British Columbia. Wow we had a spectacular summer which blended into Indian Summer and then over night turned to winter last week. We had no fall so to speak and now the ground is covered in snow and the temperature is -14C. We are not sure if it’s the Spirit or the weather but something is saying, “it’s time to go”. Other than our sadness to leave family again, it wasn’t hard to convince Robin.

I just wanted to briefly update you on a few items below. We are truly touched that you care about us and are interested in what the Lord Jesus is doing through us. We really value your prayers and we feel them. How blessed we feel – truly – that we are given this great place of honor.

  1. TRAVEL: We plan to depart over the snowy mountains on Monday, November 14th and arrive into Mexico on December 14th . Your prayers for traveling mercies, functioning car and wonderful fellowship in the car together are much appreciated.
  2. ITINERARY: Clearwater BC – Courtenay BC – Salt Spring Island BC – Little River CA – San Jose CA – Pleasanton CA – Fallbrook CA – Prescott AZ – Cottonwood AZ – San Carlos MX.
  3. MEETINGS: We are blessed to have meetings in these places. Thank you for your prayers that we might be filled with the Spirit of Christ in our thoughts and words wherever we go. I think of God’s words to Abraham to make him a blessing and also to be blessed. I think of Paul’s words to the Romans (1:12) as he wanted both encourage them and also to be encouraged by them through their mutual faith.
  4. HOWARD: Sadly Howard took a turn for the worse and two days ago was admitted back to Kelowna General Hospital to be under the care of three neurologists that are familiar with his case. He’s unable to walk, limited to a bed, undergoing neuropathway therapy. Merrill says “He’s disappearing. He’s coming to the surface much less and then he dips down under and then he’s gone for a while. He just stares into space.”
  5. JUNGLE WI-FI: I was blown away a few days ago when I got a random video call from a number I did not recognize. Lo and behold, it was a group of P’s way up river from the isolated village we used to live. To get to our village, you either had to fly in a Cessna airplane or take an 8 hour trip by truck and boat. To get to Berea, the village where this call came from, it would be another day upriver in a boat. I still shake my head to have learned that someone has installed a solar powered WI-FI Antenna out there and I now have contact with them. It was so weird to be looking at brown smiling faces on my phone who were all bunched together in a mud hut with candlelight. This extra contact will be a real blessing. Yesterday I got a text from them saying that G would be arriving to their village on the 10th for fellowship and teaching.
  6. E: E is back in Colombia. What a blessing he is, as he has a deep understanding of the Scriptures and, together with his wife L, has a tender and dedicated heart desiring to serve Jesus with his life. It’s really nice to have E near WI-FI as he helps me with song lyrics, translation questions, and we are hoping to soon write a children’s Bible Story Book in P.
  7. CEC: The Bible School in Mexico has asked me to teach a third class this year which I said I would. Thanks for your prayers for these classes that will take place sometime between Jan-April.
  8. COLOMBIA: I have another opportunity to travel to the border of Venezuela. This time it is much closer to the border and would facilitate many more P’s. There would likely be around 200 for a week. Your prayers are appreciated for this somewhat dangerous trip through guerrilla territories. It’s a pretty amazing opportunity that Russell has offered me. We are wanting to be sure it’s the Lord’s will before we confirm. But if so, that would be during the last half of January and would be a 5 day conference there.
  9. RADIO: Once back in Mexico, I will continue with radio programs recording them in my studio there.
  10. OT TRANSLATION: There is a group of P’s currently translating the OT. Then, there is another younger group which also wants to translate another version of the OT. They’ve asked if I would help them. I was somewhat reluctant to be involved with this mammoth project but I did say that I would help them with difficult areas or with questions they may have.
  11. PRIMER: We have two primers which have been written or modified by native speakers. They are still going through editing and revisions but they will soon be ready to be sent to the printers. The older generation really wants to launch a reading program for the children, so that they will be able to read their Bibles.
  12. AUDIO NT: The dramatized audio version of the NT has been recorded. Faith Comes By Hearing did a wonderful job with about ½ dozen P’s (E, G and M were involved). The recording was then sent to FCBH headquarters in the US and is being mastered. We hope to see this completed sometime within the next few months. Once it is final, FCBH will upload it to their own devices and distribute it to the people. This will be wonderful once it is received by the people as they will be able to listen to the audio version while they follow along in their Bibles. This will also help improve literacy.

Thanks for everything. We really appreciate you and feel so cared for. The hand of God upholds us through you,

t.

Howard

I just got off the phone with Merrill and also Susan (Howard’s wife). Merrill had just arrived. It was disheartening to hear Merrill say that Howard was worse than he had imagined. Merrill said Howard basically continues as an invalid, unable to walk, exercise, see, or think right. Susan said he thinks he’s in Mexico (he’s in Salmon Arm BC Canada). But Susan did say that he’s opening his eyes a little more which may indicate that the cerebral inflammation is going down some. Regardless, she said that she has heard of few other people who have had a similar case of viral encephalitis and it can take a year to recover (Merrill said in some cases 4 years). Susan said that barring a miracle, she would expect it may take another year from now.

So this puts Susan in a real tough spot as they are all trying to function in Merrill’s condo in BC. Howard’s bed is down stairs in the living room now which eliminates stairs, but with the winter now setting in and very little support network locally, Susan REALLY wants to take Howard back home to Mexico where they have a larger house and plenty of support on all sides for his recovery, not to mention being able to go outside in their yard. So the biggest pressing need is how to get Howard (he’s a huge man) back to Mexico.

The reason they were in Canada was to renew Canadian status. Susan has applied to the government to give an extension to their deadline so that Howard could first heal up and then they could come back to Canada to renew their Canadian status (this status, if lost, would affect their Canadian benefits which they have paid into all these years as ’employees of a Canadian agency’). So the prayer requests are: 1. to get government approval to return and 2. to find a way to get him back down there.

One thought that came up in the conversation was if there was someone with a motorhome that would drive Howard and Susan back to Mexico that could be a wonderful way to transport him as he can’t be climbing stairs to get into an airplane and it’s extremely hard to get him in and out of a wheelchair.

Robin and I are about to be heading down to Mexico. We (Lord willing) depart November 14th from here in Canada. We will be right next door to Susan and Howard’s house so we would also be close by them if they could return.

We all appreciate your prayers and thoughts regarding Howard’s trial which is also Susan’s trial. Please pray for her too, I can’t imagine how exhausting this is for her. Thank you.

t.