Dear friends and family,
Greetings from Yap! It’s been a busy time for us since we returned from furlough last summer. Here are some snapshots of what’s been happening in the past year: the day-to-day as well as the highlights!
Shaped like a heart, the main island of Falalop and the other islands in the Ulithi atoll have taken a special place in our hearts as we continue to serve the people in this isolated region. PMA has been working in this community for over 40 years and as a result has become like part of the family. When there is a disaster, a critically ill patient, a death, or even if only to transport food and people, PMA is there. This past year, being available when people’s loved ones have passed away has brought us even closer to the community. These are sad times and we are able to show Christ’s love by ministering to the families or transporting the body and family members to their desired locations.
For the last 2 years, Amos has been helping to design and order a hangar building for our base in Palau. This has made for many late nights and some hard decisions that have permanent outcomes. But the Lord has been gracious to provide key people along the way to make it all come together, and we trust the Lord to continue to bring in funding as we walk this journey by faith. The building should be ready to ship before the end of the year. Before it arrives we need to have the foundation complete. He is able!
In the last 2 years, PMA has been requested to assist the Republic of Palau in an effort to patrol the waters for illegal fishing vessels. Funded by the Australian Navy, two or three times a year Amos flies to Palau, and together with the patrol boat scan sections of the waters around Palau for vessels. Sometimes they fly 400 miles out to sea. The efforts have proven very successful and several vessels have been apprehended.
Heidi’s third year of homeschooling completed (and she hasn’t lost her marbles yet)! Two of the kids are our pastor’s, and the other kids joined the group when Heidi found out they weren’t in school because of bullying or other issues. It has been a lot of fun teaching these kids, and a privilege to be able to guide them in the Bible and their education. Last year, our new PMA teammate Lana Ferguson and her kids joined us too; she was a big help!
Ces (on left) lives with us when she is in Yap, and goes back to her home island of Satawal periodically to lead a Bible study group there. She has become an auntie to our kids and is part of the family. Gabriella (on right) is another close friend who Heidi met through Ces, and she now attends our church and Bible study. Here they are teaching Heidi to make marmar(flower wreaths).
Michaela comes by almost every day to use her asthma machine and rest (her house has no electricity and she is often unwell). She loves reading her Ulithian Bible and has joined our church and Bible study. This local skirt (lava lava) that Heidi is wearing is made of banana fiber. It was a gift from Michaela and is a real treasure for Heidi.
This is the Ladies’ Bible study group. Every Wednesday, Heidi picks them up in our flatbed and they study the Word together at the PMA hangar. They are a wonderful group of ladies with a sincere desire to follow Jesus. ►
Summer 2017 Happenings:
Just for fun: Amos made the kids this floating dock in the lagoon outside our house. They play on it with their friends every day and get plenty of fresh air, exercise, and probably parasites. Their swimming skills have also greatly improved from the constant practice. What a blessing it is to live here and to have friends popping by to play every day!
Two VBS programs: The themes were “The I AMs of Jesus” and “Jonah” (you can probably infer from the picture which VBS this one was). Amos and his hangar crew made this big fish out of sheet metal for the kids to play in. It was a hit! Every year the kids in Yap look forward to VBS.
Youth Retreat: A team of young people from the U.S. came to help with this youth outreach. It was a great time of learning, relationship building, and fun. Churches from several ethnic groups on the island bring their youth together for this event.
Bible Training Workshop: This summer, 3 teachers from the U.S. came to Yap to teach and train people in the foundations of the Christian faith. The workshops were attended faithfully by Micronesians who found the content very helpful and even life-changing. Ten people accepted the Lord and many more rededicated their lives to Him at this workshop!
Baptism in Ulithi: A new believer’s Bible study group has been established in the outer island of Ulithi. Our local pastor travels with PMA regularly to disciple and counsel the believers out there. Recently, 11 people professed their faith in Christ and were baptized on the beach. Since then, more people have joined this group and have accepted Jesus into their lives. Please pray for each one of them to grow in their faith and in their love for Jesus and their neighbor.
A little cultural trivia: One of the important ways to show respect in Yap is to hold a little branch or leaf when you walk through the villages. It shows the locals that you aren’t trying to cause trouble. After 10 years here, we are continually fascinated by these cultural rules; there are lots, and we are still learning!
Thank you for your encouragement, your love, your prayers and your support! We don’t take it for granted, and we feel blessed to have you standing with us in this work.
Amos & Heidi Collins Tommy, Raina, Honora, & Theo