Greetings from Mindoro!
I'm afraid that I'm starting to have trouble with sickness again. I had an
extraordinarily long, healthy spell. Lately, however, I've been getting
sick much more frequently than I would like. For the last two weeks I've
been fighting a nasty sinus infection along with the ever present malaria.
It makes my mind a jumble, and every task a marathon. But, the good news is
that I think I'm finally pulling out of it. If I can stay home and rest for
a few more days I should be set.
The last couple of updates you've had from me were quick notes that I wrote
to my parents and asked them to share with you. A couple of exciting things
have happened, though, since we last talked.
First of all, we had another baptism. Ida, our missionary in Pusog, started
studying with a young man from a village about an hour further up in the
mountains. Satan tried to stop the studies many times, though angry
relatives, personal problems, and even starting a legal suit against the
young man. Both he and Ida persevered, however, and during our Native
Campmeeting, at the end of April, he was baptized along with Ida's daughter
and 15 new Alangan believers. Ida is working with the young man and his
family, and we have high hopes of a new church being planted in his village
As an aside, the Alangan church, which we finished planting in 2002,
continues to grow. At campmeeting this year, besides baptisms, we had the
joy of meeting with two newly planted but vibrant churches. These were
planted by Alangan and Tawbuid working together, and in part assisted by a
Filipino layman living in the nearby lowlands. Often this work seems slow
going, but it is encouraging to see AFM's vision happening, with
self-replicating churches continuing to grow and reach the unreached long
after the missionary is gone.
That campeeting is what did in my health. The event is planned and run by
the natives themselves. I only participate as they assign me parts. This
year they gave me a number of challenging tasks, and I didn't get much sleep
or food. It was worth it, though, to spend that time with the more than 500
native believers that attended.
When we got home from camp meeting, we tried tackling the well again. As of
this point, we have very nearly given up. Various donors have given us
sufficient funds to hire a professional well driller, and he is supposed to
come in the middle of May. I hope and pray that he can make the well
happen. This is our last attempt, however. If he cannot get water we are
going to stop drilling.
One of the reasons that I have not been able to rest is that we had a
Filipino doctor come to our village earlier this week to hold a medical
mission which was attended by sick from throughout the tribe. The doctor
and I talked, and he was so impressed with my knowledge of medicine that he
asked me to see patients with him to relieve his load. After treating over
150 patients together, and my pulling a number of teeth as well, the doctor
called the village leaders together and asked them to start a formal clinic
for the tribe under my leadership, and let me train Tawbuid healthcare
workers. This is the very thing that I have been trying to do, with rather
limited success. There is an old clinic building in the village, built
years ago by the German government. I have been wanting to move my clinic
into it ever since I arrived here. The doctor convinced the village leaders
to fix up the old clinic and to staff it with the Tawbuid that I train and
under my direction. This is a dream come true. It is vitally important to
me that everything that I do be locally sustainable in the long run. My
medical work has been the weak point in this philosophy. I hope soon,
though, to be able to report that the Tawbuid have taken over the medical
work on their own.
Sabbath is coming, and I hope to get this out in time for you to read it
over the weekend. So I will close and send my letter. Thank you. Thank
you so much for your support of our work here among the Tawbuid!