This has been a week full of drama. It started this day last week when Danny fell and ripped the skin between his finger and thumb. It was a deep cut that needed stitches, and with no ER around here, we had to do it ourselves. We have never done stitches before, actually Danny and I both skipped the class on giving stitches when we were in the New Tribes training, because we were too squeemish! Fast forward about 10 years and here we are in the jungle with Danny giving himself stitches, with no anesthetic, and me hopping around in the background trying to help. It is healing ok, with no signs of infection for which we are glad. That was the start of the week.
The next night, we heard footsteps coming running to the house, and we were told three men had gone out in a little boat but were now lost at sea. The boat had sunk and only one guy had shown up on shore. The question came, “Could Danny go to the next town over and try to see if there was anything he could do?”. With it being almost dark, and the waves rather big, we didn’t have much hope of finding the other two men. However an hour or so later Danny returned and I was so relieved when he said the other two had also turned up on the shore. They had been able to swim the whole way in to safety. Phew. One of the men who we knew quite well, is not a believer and has 9 kids. I was so relieved to know he was ok, and hopefully this incident will give us and others, an opportunity to speak to him about his need for salvation.
There have been many other excitements during the week. A team from N.Ireland came to visit and help out Paul and Cathy with their house. They brought goodies from home! Then during the week I got a phone call from my Dad saying he is coming to visit Isabela for her birthday in August! I was so happy to hear this surprising news!!
BUT….the very best news came last night. We have had a huge answer to prayer, and we want to give God all the praise and glory for what HE has done.
Many of you have heard the names of our good friends here, Lilibeth and Austine (full name Augustine). Actually when we have been in the States and N.Ireland, many of the folks in the churches at home have been praying for Austine. Lilibeth his wife (and my good friend) has been a believer for the past 4 years. She has really grown in her walk with the Lord, and she often prayed with us that Austine too would come to know Christ as his Saviour. A while back Austine had stopped attending the meetings altogether and would rarely talk or ask us about the Bible. We wondered what was going on in his heart, we prayed, you prayed and we waited to see how God would answer our prayers. Sometimes it seemed as though his heart was getting hard and we ached for Him to know the only Father who could heal his hurts and forgive him of his burden of sin. We knew Austine had had a difficult and sinful life, he had many secrets, many hurts and many regrets. Austine has been one of Danny’s closest friends since we arrived in the village. He has been a real blessing to us in so many ways and we have been so grateful for their friendship. We longed for more than friendship, we wanted to have fellowship together as brothers and sisters in Christ. What was going on in Austine’s heart? We didn’t know, his wife didn’t know, but the Lord knew and He has been drawing Austine unto Himself.
Last night, we heard, “Tao Po” outside, it was dark. My heart skipped a beat…another emergency or a late night visitor? Danny went out and I heard Austine’s voice. Normally they come inside ,we make coffee and we chat and tell stories. Last night I wasn’t feeling well and was planning on going to bed early so Danny and Austine sat out on the deck in the dark, voices low chatting away. I heard parts of the conversation, enough to know they were talking about God, and sin, and salvation and forgivness. I got up and sat in the room and prayed. “Lord please open Austine’s eyes to his need for You”. “Give Danny the words he needs to clearly communicate Your wonderful truth”. I didn’t know God had already answered our prayers!! Austine had come up to tell Danny that a few weeks ago, while he was alone in the house, he prayed and asked God to accept him as one of His children, and to forgive him of his sins. He said he has been at peace since then, and even though he is alone working out in the fields, he knows God is with him, and he can talk to him, and pray to Him at anytime. Danny was the first person he had told. When Danny asked him why he was just sharing the news with us now, he said he wanted his life to show the difference not just his words. When Danny came in to share the news with me, we cried, and prayed, and thanked God for answered prayer.
As I write it is late Sunday afternoon. We have just returned from a Sunday afternoon prayer meeting. (It is normally just for the men but they invited me this week as they had made some sticky rice dessert which I love!). Austine was there, he arrived with a few other guys, Bible in hand. Only Danny and I knew the change that had taken place in Austines’s heart but as he started to pray others too then heard the prayer of a humble sinner saved by grace. Their heads popped up, eyes opened, we all looked at each other as the realization came that Austine is now a brother in the Lord. When he finished praying there were tears, and “Salamat sa Dios”. (Thanks be to God).
Austine still needs your prayers, and we need your prayers too, as we seek to teach and guide him and others in their walk with the Lord, to live lives that are pleasing and honouring to our Heavenly Father.
So when I think back on this eventful week, Danny needing stitches, a kid who stood on a rusty nail, a few kids with scabies, three men lost and found at sea, some seriously hot and humid days, a bit of homesickness when I knew my mum couldn’t come to visit too…..when I think of all this in light of knowing that Austine got saved, everything pales in comparison. I thank the Lord that He allows us to be here and to have wonderful weeks such as this. We are rejoicing and praising God for answered prayer. THANK YOU FOR PRAYING FOR AUSTINE. When we told him that many people around the world had been praying for him, he bowed his head and said, thank you. It was a long struggle for him to give over his burden to the Lord, but praise God, He has had the victory.
|Austine, Danny and another believer Joshua. Now brothers in Christ!|