I use the word “work” ever so lightly. Yes, we are working. But, we love what we’re doing so much, there’s no way it feels like “work.” Here are some pictures to sum up the last few weeks:
Elena actually traveled really well. We knew Joseph would sleep the majority of the time, but we just weren’t sure how Elena would handle 4 long days in the car. She did GREAT! She loved being in the car and actually would ask us to hurry up and go while we were eating or taking a break! We made it back to PA on February 1st and looks like we won’t have to pile into our new van again until the end of March, at least not for such a long distance!
Last week, we represented BCM at Baptist Bible College’s annual Global Ministry Conference. This is the first time that we’ve represented BCM like this and we absolutely loved it. BBC is actually where my sister graduated in 2001 and we have students from there who attend our sending church, so we’re familiar with the school, but have never been there in this capacity before. BBC has about 500 students. I (Lisa) spoke in a dorm Wednesday night. The kids were given the chance to come to whichever dorm they wanted and hear a missionary speak for an hour. I had about 15 students show up and we got a good response from that evening!
A couple interesting things happened this week. The first has to do with this man pictured above: Dr. Ashkok Andrews from India. He was one of the guest speakers and he is not only an amazing, inspiring man, but he was a guest speaker at our church in Peru, Vida Nueva, about a year ago! He taught a workshop as well and Brian went to hear him speak and during the workshop he told this story: They work with getting girls out of the sex trade and when they rescue a girl, they take her to get a physical done. They rescued this one young girl and during her physical, she was informed that she was pregnant. She immediately wanted an abortion and nothing to do with the child. That same day, a missionary lady was in the same clinic, giving out information to the staff about unborn babies. When the girl left the clinic, this missionary lady caught up to her and showed her pictures and explained to her about her fetus. Just a few weeks ago, this girl gave birth to a healthy baby boy – thanks to this missionary. The missionary’s name is Carmen and she is a Peruvian, sent from our church in Peru! Small world, huh?
The second exciting thing was that the special guest for Thursday night was Gracia Burnham!
A few of you have said you are not familiar with her story, so here’s a brief summary: Back in 2001, Gracia and her husband, Martin, and their three children were missionaries with NTM in the Philippines. They’d been there for 18 years and Martin was a missionary pilot. They went to a resort, alone, for a weekend to celebrate their anniversary in May of 2001 and were taken hostage by a terrorist group called the Abu Sayyaf, linked to Al Quaeda. They were held for over a year and lived through 16 gun battles between the Abu Sayyaf and the Philippine military who were trying to rescue them, but didn’t know how! They ran through jungle islands and basically starved for that entire time. During the 17th gun battle, Martin and the only other remaining hostage besides the Burnhams were killed and Gracia was wounded, but rescued. She wrote a book called “In the Presence of My Enemies” that explains her trail much better than I ever could.
I was so excited to be able to meet her and the Lord blessed me with 45 minutes of a personal conversation with her! How inspiring. How incredibly humbling.
We really enjoyed our week and hope to represent BCM again in the future if possible! It’s fun encouraging people to step out in true faith and go into missions work, even for a short-term trip.
Now, where are we?
We are here! Well, picture this, but with a lot more snow! We are at Missionary Retreat Fellowship, fully furnished missionary housing at a reasonable rate. We absolutely love (!!) our home and are still working on moving in completely. I cannot possibly express to you how nice it was to walk in last Monday evening and have beds made, flowers on the table, and the heat on. We slept well that night.
We’ve had snow, but now it’s warming up, so Brian took advantage of it and took Elena sledding for the first time today. Joseph and I stayed inside and worked on this:
We are here in NE PA until the end of March when we head to NC for awhile. We have a few things on our plate, but for the most part, it’s pretty quiet. We’d love to set up times to meet with you, even if just for a meal.
Thanks for praying for us and keeping up with us! Happy Valentine’s Day!