Sunday, November 14, 2010

We are in Norway!!! Although it rains 300 days a year, Bergen is a breathtaking city, surrounded by mountains. We were warmly welcomed by a Norwegian church, the home church of former YWAM’ers Iselinn and Eileen Thorsen. These sisters did their DTS’s in Panama, and both had served as staff on the base. It is a testament to the wonderful relationships that had been developed over the years, the welcome that we received in Bergen.

Wednesday night the church had a prayer meeting, so the day we arrived we were busy settling we also prepared for leading the 2 hour long meeting. We were so blessed to ask the Lord to bless this church, this city, and this country, alongside the Norwegians that we had just met. Listening to them pray, in their language reminded me of the scripture “every knee will bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.” One main prayer concern that arose was the amount of drug addiction in the city. Heroin addicts had taken over a local park, and were a focus of our prayers. In the next few days we had the opportunity to meet some of the addicts, and pray for them personally. We also met a faithful woman who has been working with them for 27 years. As you can imagine, she had heartbreaking stories, had been beaten up many times, yet continued to love on these people unconditionally, showing them that they had value in the eyes of our Lord. Through her ministry many lives had been changed, and she showed us the importance of staying faithful, even through very difficult circumstances.

We joined a local church in handing out hot chocolate and serving waffles to passersby, and had opportunity to invite people to the service, talk with them about their beliefs, and pray for them. We also did a survey in a local mall, asking people about their spiritual beliefs, and sharing our hope in Jesus. We were amazed at how open people were.

Sunday we were in charge of the church service, and David Tracy shared a message on evangelism. It was very powerful and challenging, and some of the students had the opportunity to participate in leading worship, speaking about what's happening in YWAM Panama, sharing about our time in England, and giving personal testimonies.

The DTS school went onto the rest of the week in Norway, and Dale and I left to attend the wedding of our son Kellen. So the whirlwind of living on this Christian journey sweeps us off of our feet again. More pictures to come!!


Our DTS outreach team has arrived safely in England! We are staying at the YWAM Base at Holmsted Manor in West Sussex, 40 minutes from London. (Check our their webpage at We arrived in London Tuesday morning, and after picking up Pam Tracy, David's grandmother, (who will be joining us for our 7 week mission trip), we headed out to the base.

It is beautiful here! The base was bought by YWAM in 1975, and is the 3rd oldest YWAM base in the world. We are staying in an old, English manor, which was built in 1891. It is a strikingly beautiful property, and is especially beautiful this time of year with the changing leaves. It's nice to experience some fall weather after the tropical heat of Panama!

Our team is doing very well and we are all excited to be here! We were especially encouraged when we met with the Holmsted staff upon arrival, and were told that our coming was a direct answer to prayer. One year ago, Darren and Amy Haase came to England to take on the position of base directors at Holmsted Manor. During the last year, they have revamped A LOT on the base, physically and spiritually. Before their arrival, the base was going through a lull, not involved in too many ministries, and lacking staff. The Haase's answered God's call to come here, and have experienced the Lord MOVE in starting new ministries, creating new vision, and more than doubling their staff in August alone! So much excitement fills these walls, and we are the first outreach team they have received since all of these changes have taken place!

Of course, all of these changes and vision take a lot of work, and so the base has been praying for teams to come and to help. One ministry in particular that has been heavy on their hearts is to start a preschool. Their desire is to affect the next generation, to teach them the ways of the Lord, to show them who He is and to pass on the legacy of the knowledge of the glory of God.

The woman who is at the forefront of this vision is Andrea, whose heart for children and their families is incredible. She told us that a few weeks ago, she was realizing more and more that God wanted this preschool, and that the place for it was to be in a big old building that was once used as a garage. It's the perfect place, with a walled-in lawn outside for a playground as well. But the building is overgrown with mold, is full of all kinds of odds and ends, and would take a LOT of work to clean out and get in shape for a preschool. She was praying and feeling discouraged. The very next day, they received an email from a YWAM outreach team, who had heard from the Lord to come to England...US!!! What an encouragement this was, and also for us to hear this story, as it confirmed to us that this is the place we were to come at this particular time. Praise God! We are so thankful to serve a God who speaks to us and guides us, and what a privilege it is to serve and be part of His master plan!

Therefore, the team is all bundled up in hats and gloves and has been working hard cleaning out the building and praying and interceding for the preschool. We are so excited to be part of this vision, to help the base in any way we can, and we are being so blessed at the same time!

Another task we helped with the first day was to harvest apples from YWAM Holmsted's orchard...the team helped to gather over $2000.00 worth of apples! We were privileged to taste some of the fruits of that labor through the apple crisp that was served last night. :)

All in all, we are doing well...still recovering a bit from jet lag, and working outside a lot in the days which makes for good sleeping at night.
We want to thank you so much for your continued prayers and support. Praise God we have raised about half of the amount that is needed for our group of eighteen to be able to come to Europe! We are going to be proceeding step by step in faith for the rest of the funds to come, to continue on the path we feel God has laid before us. We will keep you updated as we go along

Thursday, September 16, 2010

DTS in full blast!!

Here in Panama we are currently having our first Discipleship Training School. This God-loving team of 11 (plus 2 children) students began their lecture phase in Chilibre, Panama. We travelled to an Embera village deep in the jungle to bless the work begun by their own indigenous leader who taught us about their culture. We have been in Bocas del Toro now for three weeks. In that time we have had a new teacher come to share not only their knowledge of God, but their life experience. It's a YWAM principle that you must live what you teach.
The students have been learning to hear the voice of God, reliance upon the Holy Spirit, and understanding what it means to have a christian world view. Most importantly the students are learning the character of God, and their role as a child of the Most High. We have painted a mural in the local nursing home, and prepared a special meal for them with beautifully sung worship songs. We will be working with the Indigenous people in the jungle by having a day of teaching on creation with songs, crafts, and pictures.
In Costa Rica we celebrated the 50th anniversary of YWAM, and the DTS learned that true worship is a lifestyle of gratitude for all that we have and for all God does for us everyday. We also had the honor of doing a drama for the opening ceremony which included dancing and costumes from many different cultures, including the indigenous from Panama.

One Saturday we had a prayer walk. We walked all over the property, and to the neighbors' huts. We prayed for people to be healed and prayed blessings on their families. One young woman named Amalia was moved by the prayers and repented of her sins and accepted Christ as her Savior. She was so filled with His love that tears streamed down her face as she was immediately baptized along with some students above a waterfall behind her house. It was obvious the glory of God shone through each person. It would truly take another several pages to share all that God is doing, and we are overwhelmed with gratitude and awe.
All discipleship training schools go on a two month outreach to put into practice all they have learned. After much prayer we believe God is directing us to Europe. Please pray for provision as we follow his leading to minister to orphans, areas abounding with prostitution and human trafficking and areas that once were Christian, but have become darkened through belief systems that no longer rely on the God of the bible. Pray that we can reclaim the heritage of the fear of the Lord as we travel and minister abroad.

Prayer requests...
For help to disciple Amalia and her family, and other new believers here.
For provision for the outreach
For our son, Kellen, and his fiance, Ashley. Their wedding is in November.
For all the students and staff, that the world would know we are Christians by our love.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

We had to put a picture of Lydia. She was so excited about the "catch" she asked to have her picture taken, again and again!! This animal is very valuable, we thought that the family loved the meat and was excited to eat it. We found out the next day, they canoed over an hour away where they were able to sell the meat for $3 per pound. More poignantly, Lydia comes to visit whenever she sees Dale leave without me. One day she said to me that before she had Jesus in her life, everyday she was only sad. Now she said, with a big smile, she finds joy in her heart. Praise God that though they have very little, he is able to fill their lives with joy.

A few months back I wrote about a 9 year old who had fallen out of his kayuka (spanish for canoe) and died. We came home late one evening to find his father wailing on our front steps. After asking around, we were shocked to find that many of the children who ride to school in canoes alone, and live on the water do not know how to swim. After talking with the parents, we realized a lot of the parents did not know how to swim. So when the YWAM DTS from Panama City contacted us about doing part of their outreach with us we were overjoyed to find out they had several certified swimming instructors. So it was with great fun that the kids jumped off our dock and got their first swimming lessons. I laughed, because the teachers come to the school very dressed up and neither of them knew how to swim. So as the kids practiced their strokes in the water, the teachers practiced theirs in the shade of our boat.

Two years ago we suggested to the indigenous that they plant some rice down on the marshy part of the land we own. When Dale came up for last summer, it happened. When we were gone, they got to work!! So it was a special time when for three weeks the rice harvest came in. We had the good fortune to have YWAM Panama join us with their Discipleship Training Team. They helped pick the rice. For those who don't know, first they walked around and cut, or picked off the rice. Next they put it into big bags and beat it with a stick to get the rice to fall from the small stalk. Then it was laid out in the sun for days to dry. After that they again beat it with a stick, but eventually carved a little stool with a bowl in front to beat it. This mixture was then thrown into the air, where the wind would blow off the chaff, and finally, rice to eat. The neighbors helped, the family of Tboo came from two hours away, and from 1/2 bag of rice seed came 20 BIG bags of rice. Then entire field is now being cut, and a new crop put in for February.

Dr. Vijay Aswani

The family of Tboo, our worker, came to help with the first rice harvest. With them were two grandchildren they hadn't yet seen. One a very sick little boy, 19 months old, who had never walked or talked, with severe malnutrition. We gave them the pills we have for parasites, and prayed for help. That very night, Dr. Aswani called from Panama City, and was on a plane within 48 hours. Olejo is doing better, and even has taken a few steps. However, until the Ngobe understand the need for clean drinking water and sanitation there will be many like him.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

School bathroom project

A movie by Andrew Burkett

We love Andrew's videos, check out all we worked on.

Back to Panama

Now back to Panama. Our arrival at the end of July heralded a flury of activity. Teams came from Oregon and Colorado, friends came from St. Lukes, Chuck came from Florida, and Merry Hayes and kids from Panama City. All chipped in to work through the rain to start building a bathroom for the school next door, hold a vacation bible school in the village nearby, and a worship service under the multi-purpose building. With the floor down, we christened the multi-purpose building with the Colorado team. They got to hear the waterfalls by night, and also a wild monkey on the loose downstairs.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Reanna the worshipper

Reanna is doing her Discipleship Training School with Youth With a Mission Costa Rica.


Never to be forgotten, Kellen Daniel.

Shiloh, Josh, Eden and Isabelle the baby

Our second daughter loves being a Mom, and is the baker of the family. Josh is a gifted photographer, and the grandkids? Of course, they are perfect!!

Lindsey, Mark and Sadia

Next in line, our beautiful grandaughter Sadia. Oh, and of course her parents, our daughter Lindsey and Mark. Sorrrry guys, that's what happens when the grandkids come along!!!

Josh, Erin, Josh, Jordan and Josiah

Here's our oldest son with the first grandkids Joshua and Jordan, and their younger brother Josiah.

Family News

It has been a while since we have had a chance to update the blog. So much happens in our lives that we have simply not had the time to update it as we would have liked. Dale made it home safely eventually, and we were able to spend some very much needed sabbatical in Ohio. Spending time with grandchildren, children, extended family and good friends has a way of recharging our lives. Going into miissions later in life has many challenges, one of which is the life long relationships which have already been developed. When young missionaries enter the field, they are just forming many of those friends. Ours already existed, and continue to flourish because we value all of those relationships immensly. As my son-in -law would say, "enjoy the eye candy" they are our favorite faces!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Please Pray for Dale and the Panama area.

We would really appreciate all prayers concerning the safety of the people in Panama right now. There was an earthquake in November that caused floods and landslides. Dale is still there, in Bocas del Toro, and there is a food and gasoline shortage because of the traffic conditions of getting supplies to the main island. Here is a little article on the earthquake:

Five people died in flooding and landslides in western Panama provoked by heavy rains. Hundreds fled the province of Chiriqui and thousands were cut off by washed out roads in Bocas del Toro. The provinces are located along Panama's northern coast. Civil protection official Armando Palacios said victims in Chiriqui included a child and three adults killed in an mudslide. He said 600 people were evacuated in the province after two rivers overflowed their banks. Another person died in Bocas del Toro, Vice President Ruben Arosemena told journalists. In neighboring Costa Rica, more than 3,000 people were forced from their homes by flooding. In Bocas everything runs on small little boats with outboard motors. Gasoline comes in the same way as the diesel fuel, and so far the little gas station that normally sells gas to the boat drivers has been closed. Forrest didn't know if he was closed due to lack of fuel or because of some kind of damage to his facilities - but in any case the guy is not selling gas. Normally gasoline comes in via a giant cayuco carrying dozens of 5 gallon gas cans, and so far that has not happened, either. There's one other gas station on Isla Colon and Forrest didn't know if they were open or not.

Things are better than they were when this article was written, but it's still very difficult.

Family From California!

The Philips family offered to come and stay a month with us in July and help with ministry. Linda was an artist and was more than happy to sit and paint or draw with the Indigenous kids. She even gave a couple of the older girls a few materials to keep painting or drawing in their homes. Steve was a paramedic. He was a great help to Dale while they worked together to get the roof finished on the building and other things around the base that needed to be done. They had two kids, Jacob [17] and David [14], who were very helpful to us as well. David knew some Spanish, so he got along with the Indigenous very well. They both liked to fish and even made us a lobster trap that we put at the bottom of a mangrove. We worked with the Indigenous a lot during this month, holding church services and planning things to do with them. They had a great gift of hospitality and we were happy to have some of their new friends to come and spend time with us. We also got to share our faith and our purpose with a girl who was touring the Bocas del Toro area and spent the night at our house.