Planting in Drought
Dear Family and Friends,
It’s been a few months since we came to Palawan to work on some maintenance of the aircraft. It seems the pace here is always somewhat more intense with so much going on. My main purpose down here has been to get the twin back up and flying, but the progress has been slow for a few reasons. Our helicopter pilot, Daniel left for the USA because his Grandma passed away and after he got back a few weeks later he promptly broke his arm so I am still doing all the helicopter flying. He still manages to help out alot despite having only one arm. Sean and I have been working on getting our licenses in the new Cessna 206 and we finished that up a few weeks ago. I was needing to change a mount that was corroded on the horizontal stabilizer a few weeks ago on the 206, but after pulling the tail apart and looking more closely at it I decided to reskin the left side because it was badly beat up and had been covered up by a rubber rock guard. So this took me a week to finish fixing the tail and get it back together. It will probably take me another couple months to finish the twin with all the distractions, but we’re enjoying seeing God at work here in Palawan.
Flying into the Palawan airbase (with no rain for a couple months)
Newly reskinned tail of the Cessna 206
Missionaries watching the Cessna 206 take off
We were so blessed with a visit from some of our videographer friends who came to help us capture this work that God is doing here in Palawan. They came all the way from central Philippines and Indonesia to volunteer their time and skills for God’s glory. That was an answer to prayer, and also a busy time as they interviewed all the Bible workers and missionaries and videoed all the projects over a couple weeks. You may have seen some of their initial short videos already on facebook. We are so thankful for this video team and their hard work so that friends like you can see how God is blessing through your prayers and support.
Volunteer video team (Creeytv and Tell Them Ministry)
The Hope Channel from Mindanao also come recently to shoot some episodes for their “In This Generation” TV series featuring PAMAS missionaries. We had a fun time with them as well and we pray the programs will be a blessing for many youth.
HOPE Channel, Mindanao pose for a goodbye shot with PAMAS team
Another big blessing came recently with our visitors from France: An experienced farmer and teacher, Daniel Garcia, and his capable student, Violaine Herisson (who has stayed behind in Palawan to help us keep things going). The agriculture seminars and practical demonstrations were held in both our Luzon and Palawan projects and many missionaries, neighbors and nearby church members also benefited from them. Many of us have become more serious about growing our own food now as we have learned new methods that give us hope that we can have more success in the future! With Violaine’s help and lots of prayers (through the middle of a drought), we’re already beginning to see progress in the gardens!
Planting and learning with teacher Daniel Garcia
Violaine and Ruzzel having fun planting banana trees
The garden after 6 weeks, with nitrogen restoring plants. Soon it will be ready for planting vegetables.
Gardening has so many blessings and can teach us so much. Of course there is the physical exercise, which brings good health (like we always say around here, “another day at the PAMAS Gym!” The membership is free and it’s lots of fun!). But there are so many spiritual lessons we can also gain from the garden. My recent favorite is from Jeremiah 17: 7,8 – especially as we so often face challenges and we get tempted to become anxious. Listen to this great lesson!
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water that extends it’s roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; But it’s leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.”
We pray for that kind of trust that keeps us from being anxious even during times of “drought” (which is a literal problem we have here right now with very real possibilities that our water will run out). With God’s help we try to bear His fruits (of love, joy, patience, peace, self-control etc) and trust in Him even when things may seem impossible. The key is having a daily relationship with God which helps us grow deep roots that keep us connected with Him, the Water of Life.
Speaking of drought and planting seeds, there are two small islands called Mangsee off the southern end of Palawan that are the last pieces of Philippine property before Malaysia. They have been requesting for awhile for us to visit and consider extending emergency medivac services to them in the helicopter. The main island is no more than a kilometer in diameter if it was a complete circle, yet around 9,000 people live on it- a very concentrated population for such a small island. Most of these people are fisherman or businessmen that trade stuff through Malaysia including drugs and who knows what other illegal products. They have no cell phone service and no medical facilities to speak of. The flight is almost an hour from our hangar. We see this as a possible open door to reach the people of this island who are in spiritual drought.
We finally decided to pay them a visit a few weeks ago. There is a missionary family on another island off the south end of Palawan that have been our contact people to verify and contact us for medical emergencies around many of the surrounding islands there. We often make a couple flights a week to those islands. We planned a trip to pick up the missionary there and continue on down to Mangsee to meet with the people there. It happened to be the missionary’s wife’s birthday the day before, on Sunday so Wendy and Daniel and Violaine and I left early and spent the afternoon and night with them. We visited a beautiful little, white sandy beach island nearby where we ate lunch and swam and snorkeled. It hadn’t rained for 2 months but we laughed that God finally answered our prayers and sent us some that day. We were all set up with our tents to spend the night on the island but finally decided it might be a bit too soggy so we went back to the main island to sleep. It was still a nice but brief getaway.
Small island where we had lunch and camped for the day
Getting ready to fly home after the visit to Mangsee (Dwayne, Wendy, and Daniel with missionary friends Roy and Shielah and local friend)
The next morning we flew to Mangsee and sat down with the leaders of the island and laid out what their responsibilities would be if we start doing medivac flights down there. They seemed very open. They need a lot of health education and this, along with the helicopter support could be a good opportunity to plant seeds of hope and show them a better Way. Please pray for a missionary family that will be willing to go and help them. The population is primarily Muslim and has five mosques on it and there is a small group of professed Christians as well.
Dwayne speaking to the people of Mangsee
Hard-core missionaries needed for this island in spiritual drought
You can see why we enjoy being here in Palawan even though we do miss “home” (in Luzon) after being away for so many months at a time. There’s so much going on, and though it has it’s challenges, it’s great to see and be a part of the progress here. We are blessed with such a great team of praying missionaries with varying skills, cultures, and backgrounds and this helps us to accomplish a lot all at once. With multiple church building projects, a new school, Bible and medical work, and flights going on, we can only praise God for what He is doing. And yet, there is so much more to do. As we’ve been planting (by faith) in the midst of another drought, we’re often reminded to pray for rain– not only physical, but spiritual. There are many areas still left to be reached and more Holy Spirit power is needed for the work to be truly effective. We ask for your prayers for more missionaries and for the outpouring of God’s Spirit on His work. Thank you so much for your faithful support for this ministry. You might also like to see the “Urgent Needs” below and help us pray for God’s provisions for the growing needs!
Recognition Day at Kabulnukan Adventist School