This letter finds me having just returned from Asia Pacific last week. The jet lag is pretty much behind me now and I am starting to function more normal once again – not feeling like I need to go to bed at 12:00 noon – ha! Thanks so much for your prayers while I was gone – they were so much sensed and appreciated by both of us.
I spent my first few days in the provincial capital getting our flight schedule all finalized, getting the Bible conference handouts ready to go, and spending time with some of our missionaries in town. Our consultant team was also able to meet with one of our missionary teams during this time for planning and strategizing for the future. We then boarded our 10 place Kodiak airplane and headed for the tribe.
The conference was the largest we had ever had. It has been our goal for many years to have a better connection between all our Bible Churches in the Central Region and see fellowship take place between them. The Kodiak is able to fly over large bodies of water enabling us to connect with sister churches in the next province over. Besides folks attending from all our Wana churches we had representatives from 8 other tribal groups, as well as representatives from our national training center! We put both our helicopter and airplane pilots to the test but they were up to the challenge and did a great job!
During our Bible conference time we again studied from Philippians chapter 2 continuing from where we left off in April. We all enjoyed the study, discussion, and also hearing reports from all the different churches. Upon completion of the Bible conference our consultant team had opportunity to meet with a couple of the other missionary teams who attended the conference. This was then followed by a couple of days of business meetings for our church fellowship and the Old Testament Scritpure dedication. We even invited some government officials in for this and presented them with a copy of these Scriptures as well.
The final day was a big farewell feast. The day after the feast folks started to board the plane and helicopter to go home. We were staying on an extra day and as I was sitting out on the poarch I noticed a lady walking by who looked quite gloomy. She is a hard worker and always in the middle of all the food preparation. I assumed she was totally worn out from all the hard work and asked her if she was tired. She said, “No I am just sad that all our guests have to go home today.” Yes, they totally enjoy these times of fellowship together!
We left Wana and flew to the captial of the eastern district of our province. From there we drove by car to another one of our tribal locations to meet with the missionary team and church leaders. It is always such an encouragement to us to interact with these people and hear how God is working in their midst. From there we had our biannual regional leadership meetings, and then it was back to the provincial capital to meet with another of our missionary teams and tie up loose ends before my trip back to the USA. The Lord knew I was anxious to get back to Jeanne and gave us a strong 130 mph tail wind over the Pacific enabling me to get to Denver in time to catch the early flight to Kearney. I made record time traveling the whole distance in under 23 hours!
Jeanne and I want to take this opportunity to thank you so much for prayers for us and our ministry with the Wana people. We are very grateful for your part on our team as we work together to expand the reach of the gospel in this island nation!
God Bless you,
Ed & Jeanne Casteel