Dear Friends and Family,
July 17, 2013
It’s been awhile since we’ve written, and we’ve really been negligent in thanking many of you for your precious gifts you send us. We want to thank each one of you for your faithful prayers and support for this ministry. Your sacrifices and gifts make a big difference here.
We are presently in Palawan, filling in for our missionaries who are in the States for a couple months or so, working on visas. The Internet here is very limited.
I’m enjoying being back in Palawan where I can speak with the local people and see many old friends. It’s been three years since we lived here and our visits have always been too short to see too many people. Despite the challenges of serving in a very poor and remote area, it is also very rewarding to be able to help so much even in such small ways.
You cannot walk into a village without finding multiple patients. The people are really desperate, and Malaria and Typhoid are especially rampant right now. Missionaries are also regularly plagued with these diseases, but the locals suffer more because of malnutrition and low immune systems.
We had all the AFM missionaries over the other day for potluck at our place. We had quite a group. They were all out of the mountains temporarily anyway, and some were about to leave, so it was a perfect time to see them. We had a lot of fun getting to know the new SM’s and volunteers and catching up with the old ones. Many of them have been suffering with Malaria, Typhoid, and Dysentery and even while we visited several more of them began to fever and feel sick. They all had such great attitudes, though despite all the challenges they face working in such a harsh mission field. I really hope to be able to visit Kamantian while I’m here (though I’m not looking forward to Malaria again!)
I love visiting in the Palawano villages, seeing patients and helping with Bible studies and children’s programs. The kids are enjoying the Palawano songs I’ve been teaching them (it’s their first time to learn songs in their own native language). We also hiked into the mountains a couple hours the other day to visit a mission post where some of our missionaries serve and hold a small, informal school. The kids are so precious. They are well behaved and so anxious to learn! We have two local volunteer missionaries who take turns every week or so to hike up and teach and hold Sabbath services.
It’s been nice to have our friend Dr. Peachy (from Manila) with us for a couple weeks. She’s a natural missionary and a big help, especially for me with the challenges of seeing all the patients.
We are working on getting caught up with our missionaries and Bible workers and the different areas they are working in. It’s really rewarding seeing some familiar faces in the village and at church who have been baptized since last we were here. You can see the change in their lives by the smiles on their faces.
There is never a lack of things to do here. Dwayne stays busy with the never ending projects here around our project. He’s been working on rebuilding the truck, the motorcycle, fixing leaky roofs, and finishing various building projects. He’s also helping one of the local churches here put in windows and other projects that they have not been able to afford to finish for years.
There’s a lot been going on the last few months also while we were still in Luzon at our other project. Dwayne made multiple flights to Palanan (the remote, area on the east coast of Luzon) and Batanes (the northern most, small island above Luzon) taking missionaries and the pastor back and forth for evangelistic meetings and carrying supplies etc. We also took a medical group to Palanan for a couple days during the last days of the meetings. We held a Health Expo and medical, surgical, and dental mission. That was a big job but a lot of fun. The people are so isolated there since the only way in or out is by an 8 hour, dangerous boat ride on the open sea or by plane. (A big mountain range blocks them in on the other side).
Our new missionaries, Sean and Pris that we’re filling in for, were also able to do several medical evacuation flights here in Palawan before they left. The airplanes are a big blessing, even though they are limited to areas that are flat enough for airstrips.
We continue to get reports of urgent needs for helicopters both in Palawan and in northern Luzon. Two patients died this last month in one remote area alone because of lack of immediate transport to the hospital. Missionaries spend precious time and energy traveling far distances to get their supplies or to transport emergency patients to the hospital. We continue to believe that God will provide in His perfect timing.
Dwayne tackled and completed the huge project of building folding doors for the Luzon hangar before we came down here to Palawan. He’s also been helping a couple churches in the area finish their buildings. The other hangar apartment was also completed and Andriy, Tanya, and Anzhela were able to move in when they came back from furlough in the Ukraine.
This last month we held a Personal Spirituality Seminar in the local church near our project in Luzon, which kept me busy for several weeks. We focused on the importance of personal devotions and how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. It was good to see some church members back in church that had not come for a long time, and even our non-SDA worker attended with his brother for several nights. We continue to pray for that church and the revival of many members who are weak in their faith and not attending regularly.
We thank you so much for your continued, faithful prayers for the needs here, and for wisdom, health, and safety, and all the details of this project. Jesus is coming soon! We pray that we can be the instruments in His hands to accomplish a great work for Him.
Dwayne and Wendy Harris
Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services (PAMAS)