Getting Settled

The other day we were sitting on my bed in my brand new room, and it occurred to us that we have been racing top speed for 3 months now. That is a long time to be unsettled and working so hard…and those three months just happen to be hot season. We are all worn out, but happy.

We are still working hard each day to try to get our new property ready for teaching. Things are starting to come together. We still have a water system to put in, but at least a few spigots are in already, even if we don’t have a well yet! We have a lot of the classroom building up and usable, although we just found out that we need to build with cement instead of bamboo. So, as soon as we are able we will need to replace what we have done with more permanent materials. The road ahead looks impossible, but God leads us one day at a time.

Already, we are seeing the benefit of living right next to the village. People drop by every little bit all day, and each day a group gathers for English classes and evening worship. We have found lots of ways to make friends in the village. This past week, it was rice planting, or driving people to where they need to go, or helping displaced people move all their belongings to their new homes. (We were not the only ones to lose our land)

We have a new family here assisting us. Millissa and her three girls, Rebecca, Rachel, and Samantha joined us a month ago. Millissa has taken over the kitchen responsibilities while Rebecca is training to be an English teacher. Rachel and Samantha are younger, but they help us as much as they are able to. It is not hard to stay busy when there are a thousand things that need to be done right away before the rains start in.

Although the last three months in many ways have been the hardest of my life, I would not trade it for anything. It is only when things are simply impossible that you really see God working and sustaining. When I look back, I don’t see any way possible that we could have done what we just did. I believe that God wants us all to get to the place in our lives where we depend on Him completely, and not on our puny little selves. In his will is the happiest and safest place to be.

The Witch Doctor

“Mommy, there is a strange man outside”, one of the girls whispered to me. By strange, I thought that she meant someone we had not met before, but I was quite mistaken. When I finally went and peered over the edge of the classroom, I was met by a very unusual sight.

A man sat on a post down below me. On the back of his head was a mass of gold Christmas tinsel, colorful feathers adorned the sides of his head, and the front of his long hair was held in place by a multitude of large, women’s hair clips of various colors. He was chanting something, and looking around with interest at all the activity. He did not appear to be drunk, or on drugs. He had a degree of intelligence to his face, although we all thought that a person in their right mind would NOT look like he did! In his hands he held a bag full of many kinds of devil charms. He had an aura of evil about him, and the children naturally shied away from him.

He stayed, watching the activities for quite some time, then got up and left as abruptly as he had come. But, after leaving our front yard, he went to the corner of our property and went through some kind of little ceremony, using his devil charms, singing, dancing and chanting. Millissa figured that he was putting a curse on us or something.

I have often read about witch doctors in the old mission books, but I never expected to see one in this day and age. It reminded me of just how far we are from actually finishing the work that God has given us to do.

How would you like to be that man? What if you never knew the love that God has for you personally, and all you did know was demons and trying to please them? Would you want someone to come and tell you about the God who loves you? The God who has power over the demons? I know that I would.

Somehow, when I saw that man, I was reminded of the demoniacs in Jesus’ day. That man is bound, and maybe he would like to be free. I ask you to join me in praying for our witch doctor. Pray that he would be open to hearing the truth, so that the truth can set him free.

 

A New Start

This week finds us getting settled on our new land. It has been an incredible month of miracle after miracle to get us to this spot. It is easy to see, in hindsight, how God was working to put us in the place where He wants us to be.

Several months ago, Jason and one of the students were asked to go and fix a tractor up at a village in the mountains called Tee Thay Kee. He was not all that busy, so he went and fixed that tractor. While he was there, the head woman of the village asked if he could possibly send someone to teach English and Bible in their village. Jason came back and talked to us about it, and Roy ended up going up there to teach for the rest of the school year, which was nearly over.

When we lost our land, and had to move so quickly, we had no idea of where God wanted us, but we committed the decision to His hands, and waited for doors to open and close. Within a week, we had 5 places offered to us. None of them were ideal, but we laid out our options before the Lord, and asked that His will be done.

During that time, I had a bit of free time on Sabbath, so I got out a piece of paper and pen and started writing down all the different options, and the miracle that would have to take place in order to move to each location. One needed a large storage tank and a truck. One needed permission from the government in a different province, and so on down the list.

One day, Jason went up to Tee Thay Kee to check out a piece of property that he had heard of there. He was ready to tell the people that we would take it, even though water would be a huge issue. But, right then another man came and offered him a different piece of property. The only catch was that we would have to pay for it instead of getting it for free. Jason was really impressed with the place, and felt that we should accept the offer. We all prayed about it, and decided that although we had no money, we should take it.

The day before we were to go to the Umpur to sign the papers for the property, a very large donation came in unexpectedly that completely covered the cost of the property, and a used truck that will be necessary in order to live in that location! God is so amazing and good to us! When I looked back at that piece of paper that I had written down all the things that would have to happen in order to move to that place, I saw that God had provided for every single thing I had written down… Including a farm truck to move all our stuff up there since there is no way we could have done it by motorbike.

When the papers were signed, it seemed as if all hell broke loose against us. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Two of the girls got malaria, we all got itchy rashes and hives. The river got all muddy, making it impossible to take baths, or cool off during the incredible heat. Then we got word that the military would not let us move to the new property. The battle was so intense that we knew for sure that it was a spiritual battle that God has already won for us. So we hung on, and prayed through each circumstance that came our way.

It is amazing how God can make mountains of difficulty move out of our way. We now have the blessing, and support of the military, as well as the local government. We moved to our new property this week, and are busily building new houses. Each day, villagers come to help us, and to visit and make us feel welcome. Roy has started to teach English to all the interested villagers each day.

We can now say from experience that God is faithful and true. We are ready to expand our work for God. The best way to move forward is on your knees!

Is It Gonna Burn?

Echoes of exploding bamboo ricocheted off the hillsides surrounding our jungle home as we watched fires consume the remnants of our three buildings. We’d been working furiously since Sunday, and now it was Thursday evening. We heaved sighs of relief as we crawled wearily onto our mats. Only one more day remained for us to complete our work. Most dropped off to sleep instantly, but a few of us gazed up at the stars overhead and wondered, What next? Then, with the knowledge that God holds the future in His hands, we also closed our eyes and slept.

Is it gonna burn – what you build in this life – is it gonna burn? Will you lose it all – when your work is tried – will you lose it all? Will you enter the kingdom as one to whom the Lord will say, “Well done!” Or will you cross over into His land, burned and scared, with an empty hand? Is it gonna burn?

Our story begins about a month ago. Sunday morning as we were preparing for our weekly shopping and internet trip, we noticed a large group of important looking people, surrounded by aids and guards, hiking up our trail.

Last June a law was passed stating that nobody is allowed to live on government land any longer. We’d heard in the news about people in our area being relocated, and wondered if it would affect us. We weren’t sure since the local government officials granted us permission to move here two years ago. But, just as it should, the new law does affect us. We had two long meetings, and the conclusion was that, although we would have to move, they would help us find a new place. They told us they really like us and appreciate what we’re doing, and they want to do anything they can to make our move as easy as possible.

The next week we learned that all our students would have to return to their homes since big things are also happening in their area. That was a huge blow to us, but we had a very precious time with them before they left. Most told us that although they had come to learn English, they now wanted to stay to learn more Bible. But they had to go, and we were left all alone.

Since then place after place has been offered to us – for free. The locals have made it clear that they want us here. We did not expect such an outpouring from the community, but it has made the idea of moving so much easier when people are practically fighting over us.

Then, last Sunday on our way up the river, we once again met the general and a bunch of soldiers. They informed us that we had one week to move! That would be a challenge for anyone, but for us it meant moving all our own stuff, plus the school and all the buildings, the hydro, toilets, and solar system….in one week! With all our students gone, it seemed like a complete impossibility, but since that’s what the government wanted us to do, that’s exactly what we set out to do.

We tore into the place, packing as fast as we could, tearing apart buildings, and moving all our stuff down the trail to the river by foot. Jason informed us that we had two days to pack and dismantle each building. That sounded reasonable – until the end of the first morning. The sun blazed mercilessly on us, and there was so much to do. Our clothes dripped with sweat, and we felt like we were about to faint from the heat and intense effort. Energy waned, along with enthusiasm.

Then, just when we needed encouragement most, the angels arrived. As we were throwing building materials over the wall we heard clapping and a shout. We looked up and saw students hiking rapidly toward us, waving their hands and grinning! Seven more pairs of hands immediately swarmed the building. Courage and energy revived, and by the end of that day most of Mango Hall lay in neat piles ready to be transported to the river – huge, heavy piles, I might add.

“Teacher, when we knew you needed help, we could not stay away and leave you to work alone,” they told us when we paused for a break. The jungle messaging system is real effective here! The next day eight more came, and three more on Thursday. We never told anyone we needed help, and we never asked anyone, either. God knew we couldn’t do everything on our own, so He sent eighteen strong brown angels with black hair and shining black eyes to our rescue.

Christ has given us the model and laid a foundation strong; He has gifted us with talents – for the strength to build we long! All those who claim to love Him, they, too, will face God’s test To see if they have squandered life or sacrificed their best.

Thursday as we threw remnants of our buildings into the fire, we pondered all the work we had put into our jungle home. But how could we possibly be sad? What had we lost? Nothing but a bit of bamboo and leaves.  Because right beside us worked our students who love Jesus and want to tell others about Him. Students who used to be anything but Christians when they first came to us. And beside our students worked other young people we had never even met before, all working harder than anyone should have to work in such intense heat, and every one of them because they wanted to be there. We might have put a lot of effort into our jungle home, but we invested even more into our jungle people. We don’t need to fret about the loss of our home when we have souls preparing for the heavenly kingdom. What a blessing!

Things of a temporal nature steal our focus every day; Stop and take a breath – do you realize that ten souls just passed away? It’s time to stop the mockery, it’s time to awake and see: There is only a blink of time on earth – then all eternity!

Oh, Lord! We pray that every work and every life would be as gold, So that we would mirror the Master’s face till all the world is told! Though the wicked mock and reject us, empower us to stay true, And when our toil comes through the flames, we’ll give it all to You!

We can start over in a new location. We can build our houses again. We can teach more students. And while we are doing this, we can also know that we have students currently spreading the word about Jesus and His soon return to those around them. It is not time to pull back – it is time to push forward and expand our work for Jesus!

Our world is in a state of turmoil and expectancy. Many people are very afraid. Will you still have a reason to rejoice if you lose all the temporal things you have worked for? Will you have people by your side, ready to go to heaven with you? We pray that it is so. We have a work to do for Jesus. Let’s not waste our best efforts on things that are gonna burn.

Is it gonna burn – what you build in this life – is it gonna burn? Will you lose it all – when your work is tried – will you lose it all? Will you enter the kingdom as one to whom the Lord will say, “Well done!” Or will you cross over into His land, burned and scared, with an empty hand? Is it gonna burn?

Lisa and Sarah

Teacher, Teacher!

“Teacher, I made up my mind. I am going to be a vegetarian. I was reading in the Bible, and it said that Daniel was smarter when he decided not to eat meat, and Jesus was tempted about food in the wilderness, and there are several verses about taking good care of our bodies. I figured that if the Bible talks about it so much, it must be really important.”

“Teacher, I don’t think that there have ever been any missionaries to my tribe. I don’t know of any. All my villagers worship trees and other things and are very frightened of the spirits, and they need to hear about Jesus. I want to stay here for two years, then I want to go back to my village to start a school and teach them about Jesus.”

“Teacher, right before I came here, I went to visit the village where I was born. I had not been there in a really long time, but I found that it is a very beautiful place. They do not have Bibles, and they do not know much about Christianity. They built a church because they heard it was good to have one, but they have no pastor to teach them. They also don’t have Bibles, so they are confused about Sabbath and Sunday. I don’t think that any missionary has ever gone there. Someone must go and tell them about Jesus.”

“Teacher, I want to be a better person, and I want you to help me. If I am doing something that is wrong, please talk to me about it, even if it hurts me.”

“Teacher, will you come to our village and teach us English, and about the Bible? We don’t know anything about the Bible, and we want to know.”

“Teacher, will you come teach us about good and bad music like you did for your students? Will you go to our village and teach them too? We did not know that music was important, our people need to know this!”

These are just a few of the comments we have heard recently. There are times when we get discouraged and tired, but then we hear”Teacher….” and we are reminded just why we are here.

This school year has been made really difficult because of circumstances beyond our control. At times it seems that our school year has been almost pointless from a teaching standpoint. But when you really stop to think about it, our job really has very little to do with us. We are here, willing to be or do anything for God, but it is HIS job to convict hearts, and change people’s lives. So, whether or not we are able to teach consistently or not, the Holy Spirit still works on hearts, even when we can’t.

“Christ made full provision for the prosecution of the work entrusted to the disciples, and took upon Himself the responsibility of its success. So long as they obeyed his word, and worked in connection with Him, they could not fail. Go to all nations, He bade them. Go to the farthest part of the habitable globe, but know that my presence will be there. Labor in faith and confidence, for the time will never come when I will forsake you…The lapse of time has wrought no change in His parting promise. He is with us today as truly as He was with the disciples, and He will be with us “even unto the end.” 8T, 16.3-17.1

Water System for T.E.A.M.S.

“Hey what are you doing here? Are you buying that big roll of pipe?”  Was the question that was put to me as I was standing in the hardware store. Then I recognized who it was that was asking me. Oh…the headman of Sallawat with a truck! That’s when the events of the morning finally made sense.

Leaving the school after the sun was up because of the cold I headed for town to purchase some water pipe to put a water system in so that we can put in gardens. As I headed down the road something urged me to keep going… don’t rest and go fast! Why? I have all day don’t I? Then as I got out on the pavement once again something seemed to say “You haven’t checked Three Pagodas for pipe”. Well…I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to go and check,  so I turned the bike that way and went. All the way I was thinking, “this is just the wrong way , I never buy my things there!” And anyway I don’t hardly have any money on me, so I’ll need an ATM first.

Then as I was standing there looking at the pipe is when the headman addressed me. In a moment he was loading up a roll of pipe into the back of the truck and was off! But what was amazing to me was that the money that I had was exactly enough to pay for it. With nothing left in my pocket I headed back to Sangklahburi, praising God for helping me to get the pipe there. Now some of you might think this was a small thing,  but few know the road that it has to be brought up!

Latter that day after finishing everything I had to do I headed up with the rest of the pipe needed. with about three hundred plus meters of pipe on the bike. I was so thankful to God for impressing me to go to Three Pagodas first. With the extra two hundred meters, I couldn’t have done it without the truck.
Now why am I getting all of this? Well this last Sunday,  a new volunteer,  Francis,  came here to help. He is trying to get the gardens going and needed a water system so that he could do it. It is exciting to me to have for the first time someone here to help! Even for us it’s a lot of work but we can accomplish so much more.

By the way,  around the middle to the end of February, we are going to have a evangelism campaign. Please pray for us that we will be ready for this event and be a living example. And that God would give us the strength to accomplish what needs to be done before  then.

God bless
Travis

*T.E.A.M.S. stands for Travis’ English And Missionary School.

 

God is Good

Although the nights have been a bit chilly, our days are rather warm and pleasant. Soft breezes
blow through the banana trees…it doesn’t feel a speck like December does in America. But, in
spite of the distinct lack of the normal holiday coolness and the sparkling snow, we still feel the
spirit of unselfish giving in the air.
Just as our motorbike was on it’s last legs, and ready to retire, a very generous donation came
in for a new one! So, last week, Sarah, Travis, Destiny and I headed to Mae Sot on a grand
shopping excursion. Destiny and I rode in the trailer while Sarah and Travis rode our ailing
motorbike. When we came to the first steep hill, Travis gave it all he had, but pretty soon we
were swerving all over the road, trying to keep going forward, and finally he turned the
motorbike sideways in the road as it came to a pathetic halt. It didn’t take much prompting for us
to all tumble out, and begin our hike up the hill. Nobody wanted to ride back down that mountain
on an out of control motorbike and trailer going backwards! Travis was then able to coax the
motorbike to the top of the hill, pushing with his feet to encourage it. Unfortunately, this became
standard procedure on each steep hill we came to. We were rather relieved when we were able
to leave the steep mountains behind.
As we pulled into the guest house in Mae Sot, we could not help but notice that there were
some foreigners gazing out their window at us. That was not all that unusual, so we jumped off
the motorbike, primped a little, then I headed over to the office to get a room. On my way over, I
noticed another foreigner staring intently at me. That is strange I thought…I wonder if the trip
was harder on me than I imagined? I knew that I was speckled with mud, and dust covered my
clothes and hair, but what is so unusual about that?
I paid for our room, and then turned to go back to where everyone was waiting for me, only to
discover Sarah hugging the foreigner I had seen in the window! Wow…Sarah is usually pretty
shy!!! As it turned out, that foreigner was a good friend of Sarah’s from AFCOE, and the others
that I had seen were part of a group that was in Thailand doing evangelism. They told us that
when they saw us pull in, they just knew we were Adventists. We spent a delightful week of
great Christian fellowship with them. They drew us in just like family.
When we received the donation for the motorbike, I was not sure what to do because they had
sent too much money. But, when we went to buy our bike, we found out that we did not have too
much money, we had been sent the exact amount needed for the bigger bike. Goes to show
that even if I don’t know the current prices of motorbikes, God does!
The next miracle in my story was that when we got to the dealership, we asked them if we could
buy the motorbike using our passports. They told us that we would need a Thai person to help
us. So, Travis picked up the phone to call Phimpa and Rodney. Now, they live clear on the other
side of the country, and they do not get over to our area very often, but just at that moment, they
were rapidly approaching Mae Sot in their truck. So, they came to the dealership, and 20
minutes later, we were the proud owners of a brand new motorbike! Isn’t God amazing? Not just
a plain motorbike either. Because it is Christmas time, they put a basket on the front of the bike,
special handle grips, a rack and a helmet, coat, and a fan for our house…all “Christmas
presents from Honda”. Wow…now we have a super nice motorbike!

 

 

I am always so humbled by how God deals with us, his children. I think that he must have just
as much fun preparing these surprises for us as we have in getting them. God knows our needs, and he delights to give us more than we could ever ask or think. Praise God from whom all
blessings flow!

Our Greatest Challenge – by Sarah

“Pass me not, O gentle Savior, hear my humble cry…”  Vapor rose from nineteen voices blending together during morning worship.  Although huddling in a circle, rubbing our icy hands together, and trying to tuck our feet beneath ourselves where they might find a refuge from the penetrating cold, we sang with enthusiasm as the words warmed our hearts.

After several grand finale storms, rainy season departed and cold season found us mopping up leftover water from numerous leaks in our roofs and hanging our clothing out to dry a second time.  Long before light each morning, little clusters too cold to sleep gather around a fire on the hillside.  Everyone anticipates our daily work when we can get warmed up enough to endure our laundry and bath time.  Most days we still struggle to find the courage to pour enough icy cold spring water over ourselves to rinse off all the soap and get clean.  Then, teeth chattering, we run shivering back to our rooms, hang up our laundry, get dressed, and find another fire to stand beside.

Yesterday afternoon as the chilly water struck my skin with painful intensity, I remembered a strange fad I discovered when I arrived in America for my visa run a few months ago.  Everyone except me knew about it.  After several days of reading passionate discussions on the ethics of the cause and observing some rather strange behavior, I finally figured it out.  And I was troubled.  As I watched one young person I knew after another gleefully accept the challenge to pour a bucket of ice water over their heads on a hot summer day, I wondered what compelled them.  Did they truly care about helping other people, or were they motivated by the cheers and applause they’d receive from their friends for enduring a few moments of self-induced “suffering”?

Most Americans don’t know what suffering really is.  I’m learning, but compared to others I know I hesitate to call my experiences suffering.  Last hot season I could only dream of the luxury of pouring a bucket of ice water over my head – or maybe sitting in it instead.  We laughed about what we’d do if an iceberg floated down the river in front of our school!  Ice was a rare treat – strictly rationed when available.  We’d put one cube in our freshly filled water bottle and watch it melt before we could take our first sip.  But now that cold season has arrived, the ice bucket challenge has become more of a daily routine for us.

Our new bath and laundry area – we have the best water pressure around!
Our new bath and laundry area – we have the best water pressure around!

And what about the constant plague of itchy fungal infections, unexplainable rashes, and tropical sores?  What about malaria and dengue fever?  What about when you have four flat tires in one day or when the road is so bad you can’t get to town to buy food for months at a time?  What about the many things we are called to do that we don’t want to or are even terrified of, like teaching in another school or spending the night alone with complete strangers you just met beside the road a few moments before – because you can’t reach your intended destination?  What about scorpions and deadly snakes slithering through your bed?  What about sixteen-mile, one-way hikes over rugged mountains, through mud and steamy jungle, with leeches crawling toward you from all directions?  What about trails so slick you can’t drive your motorbike or even stand, so you must carry it on your shoulders up the uncleared jungle mountainside?  What about running alone after dark from infuriated drug dealers when you meet a tiger the size of a truck on the trail or being shot at as you drive your motorbike to and from town?  Do we even dare call such things suffering?

What about not completing your high school education until you were twenty-seven because you spent the years between 3rd and 9th Standards fleeing from another army?  What about becoming a soldier when you were only ten years old?  What if your first memory was of running from gunmen and seeing your pregnant aunt shot and killed?  What about the scars from bullets in your own leg?  What about walking past corpses on your way to school everyday?  What about being force-marched by enemy soldiers through minefields and watching your father die when he stepped on a land mine?  And what about all that with no access to the gospel, no hope for anything beyond your present reality?

As those around us cry peace and safety, we’ve forgotten our Christian war cry and lost our focus on the reason for our existence in this world.  When I first arrived in S.E. Asia, just under two billion of the people in this world had zero access to the gospel.  In the past three years that number has escalated to over three billion.  3,000,000,000 people with no church, no Bible, no missionary – absolutely nothing – to give them hope for something better than the service of fear and shackles of Satan.  We’re not gaining ground; we’re giving it away!  In America when I drive to the grocery store, I pass seven Christian churches.  Here if I drive the same distance, I pass the same number of pagodas, plus a spirit house in front of nearly every home and business.  I can travel hundreds of miles across the country and see no Christian church or stand on a ridge and look out over fifty villages completely untouched by the gospel.  While the world is on the verge of Christ’s second coming and billions are faced with sudden destruction, how can we fool around dumping buckets of ice water over our heads?

I ask you today: What about our Commander’s challenge to die to self, the greatest challenge we will ever face?  Will we really give up everything – our hopes and dreams, ambitions and even life itself – to gain more than everything in the next?  Will we prove His promises and vindicate His character before men and angels?  Will we obey His command to go into the whole world and rescue those held captive by Satan and his demons?

“Many who profess the name of Christ and claim to be looking for His speedy coming, know not what it is to suffer for Christ’s sake.  Their hearts are not subdued by grace, and they are not dead to self, as is often shown in various ways.  At the same time they are talking of having trials.  But the principal cause of their trials is an unsubdued heart, which makes self so sensitive that it is often crossed.  If such could realize what it is to be a humble follower of Christ, a true Christian, they would begin to work in good earnest and begin right.  They would first die to self, then be instant in prayer, and check every passion of the heart.  Give up your self-confidence and self-sufficiency, brethren, and follow the meek Pattern.  Ever keep Jesus in your mind that He is your Example and you must tread in His footsteps.  Look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame.  He endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself.  He for our sins was once the meek, slain lamb, wounded, bruised, smitten, and afflicted.”  Early Writings, p. 113.

“Would you enter heaven if you could without suffering, and dwell in the presence of that Jesus, who suffered so much for us, whose loveliness and glory is unspeakable?  Oh, it would be no place for you.  Any other place would be far preferable.  You would feel that you had no right there.”  Review & Herald, February 17, 1853, par. 12.

“Let us, then, cheerfully suffer something for Jesus’ sake, crucify self daily, and be partakers of Christ’s sufferings here, that we may be made partakers with Him of His glory, and be crowned with glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life.”  Early Writings, p. 114.

I stand with Christ and my fellow workers to challenge, not just three people by name, but everyone who reads this to a cause more grand, more noble, more worthy than pouring ice water over your head.  We challenge you to give your life to rescue those lost and bound in eternal darkness.  If we only would, we could rapidly end all sickness, wars, suffering, and death.  The three billion now beyond the reach of the gospel would hear and make their decisions, and we could leave Satan and all the misery he’s created behind forever.  Do you accept the challenge?

A Mission Marathon

“Where are you going?” He asked, then said, “did you notice you have a flat tire?”  A flat tire? Yes, the last of the air was rushing out. I had just left the school headed to town to get some much needed supplies. Since I had been gone for so long there was a lot of things that needed to be done and a trip to town was one of them. So turning around I made it back to the school and began to fix my tire. I had another tube for it so I put that on.


But shortly after starting out again on the rough roads,the tire blew again. So I went on to the next village to ask if anyone could fix it there. “No, we don’t have anything to fix it with here.” was the answer from everyone. So I continued on my way. In town I had the tire fixed and ordered a new stronger tire so that I won’t have to go though this again. Already I had gotten two flat tires in one trip!


I was just praising God for being with me on the way out as I thought about how as I was rounding a corner and looked ahead, I was just in time to see a tiger standing in the middle of the trail! When he saw me he turned and ran quietly of into the jungle. Or, when the chain came off the bike and locked up the rear tire and almost broke the chain. When that happened, God was good and I was near a creek where I could wash everything and fix it and make it out with out too much trouble.


So after buying everything I needed I came back and got the weed eater that I had brought from my parents place and a can of gas and headed up the road towards home. Just as I turned onto the road heading up here there was another explosion and my tire went flat. It was already getting later in the day, so I went back and fixed it with a totally new tire, thinking that I didn’t want this to happen again. So, after getting it fixed I started up the road again. Up and down the hills, through the rivers, through the mud, then just after I passed the ranger station, it happened again…the forth flat tire. I couldn’t believe it! Is the road really that hard on tires or what?


So after pushing it back to the ranger station I took my backpack, the weed eater, and the gas and started up the road. It was already late and I knew I would have to walk the last bit in the dark. When I got to the next village, it was already after dark, so I left the weed eater and gas at a friends place and went on with just my backpack.


As I was struggling up the last mountain I couldn’t help but think of just how good God was in letting the tire go flat at the only place along the road that I could leave it with safety! And, for giving me strength and determination to say that failure is not and option. We all face difficulties but do we allow the difficulties to overcome us, or do we overcome the difficulties though Jesus Christ? Every time we face problems they are for our good that we might trust in the only one that can save us from them. 

This is a time of thanksgiving where we are thankful for the harvest that the Lord has given us. And I look forward to the day when we will have that great thanksgiving party in heaven with our Lord and Savior. But are we thankful to God when in the middle of gathering in the grain the clouds burst forth in a down pour? When things are falling apart all around with tigers, snakes, flat tires and trouble on every side? Are we secure and have our faith wholly in Jesus? Or do we only thank him when things are going good when there is no risk of failure? We may never succeed if we only act when there seems to be no risk of failure. Our God is the God of the impossible and he delights to help us do the impossible…that which he has told us to do.

I hope everyone has had a great thanksgiving and is thankful to God for everything that he has done in their lives. And don’t forget to thank him for bringing you through the trials too!

 

          Travis

Jumping to Conclusions

Destiny and I were walking down to our house on Sabbath, hand in hand, enjoying our last day together for a while since I am now headed to America for my visa run. It had been a wonderful Sabbath, and we were both in a happy mood. As we approached the house, I saw something that made my heart jump, while Destiny reached up to be held… A snake, about four feet long lay on the ground right in front of the ladder to my house.

After the first fright, I noticed that it was not moving, and it’s head was all bloody. A dead snake? Left on the ground right where I needed to walk? My mind raced…we had been together all day, so who could have killed the snake and then just left it there for me to discover? Well, it must have been a student who wanted to scare me! I didn’t think that was funny at all, and I thought that I should go right up and tell them that jokes like that are not appropriate since they could cause heart attacks in unsuspecting women or girls! But first, I still needed to get into the house, so I sent Destiny back to Mango Hall to ask Jason to come and dispose of the snake, while I made as wide a detour as I could and still get up the ladder.

Jason was soon seen running down the hill, since Destiny had done a good job of communicating “snake” but had forgotten the dead part! When he saw the snake, he also noticed the lack of movement and the bloody head…but typical of Jason, he kept his wits about him better than I had and started looking around. He noticed some things that made him think that maybe the cat had killed the snake! Right about then, the cat made his appearance, and left no doubt in our minds that he was indeed the snake killer! He was so nervous and jittery, and was acting as if he expected to be attacked at any moment! Since it was a very deadly snake, I was really worried about him. (When Jason went to move the snake, we found out it was not dead, it just had a bad headache!)

Later, when I had time to reflect, I was so thankful that I had not gone to my students and chewed them out for their “joke”. How easy it is to jump to conclusions. Just because it looks to all appearances that someone is guilty of something, does not mean that they really are. When I stopped to think about it, I knew that my students would never dream of doing something like that to me! (Jason or Travis, yes, but not to me or Sarah!)

I believe that this is the reason that Jesus tells us to esteem others better than ourselves and to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to wrath. If we could all remember this, we could change our world!