With the lengthened days we are reminded that Spring is just around the corner! We are glad to get away from the cold cold of January and February and start to enjoy some nicer days. I just came back from Phoenix a little over a week ago and while there it was hard to imagine the northern states were having all the cold. I know why so many folks like to “winter” down there.
This letter finds me getting ready to get back into international travel as I prepare to depart for Asia Pacific in just two weeks. I will appreciate your prayers as this coronavirus outbreak has everyone guessing as to what it might do. Depending on the destination of travel, age, and health status, some missionaries are canceling trips right now, others on hold, and others like me just asking and seeking the Lord as to what I should do. So far it hasn’t appeared that Indonesia is being hit very hard by this virus but things are changing daily.
I have really been looking forward to this trip as we have a big Bible conference starting the end of this month where will be looking in depth at Philippians chapter 3. This will be followed by a week long seminar on Bible lesson development for our church leaders and leaders to be. During this time we will also be hold a youth retreat for the young people – so LOTS of exciting things happening that I don’t want to miss out on. But I really do want the mind of the Lord in all this so will appreciate your prayers for clear direction from HIM.
This past week we were able to send some of our church folks to an “ethno-arts” seminar to discuss ways to use tribal musical instruments, singing, and poetry for the Lord. We are hoping this will instill some new ideas into their minds how they can utilize some of their own muscial instruments and develop indigenous songs to glorify the Lord. They were quite excited about it so it will be interesting to see what comes out of it. Folks from many different church backgrounds attended this seminar. Our people noticed right away that some of the attendees were not yet believers – in fact some of those folks saw that our people had something that they didn’t have and were asking them questions. It proved to be a good opportunity for them to be witnesses for the Lord and build some relationships that might lead to further opportunities down the road.
Besides working on Old Testament Bible lessons, and preparing for these up coming meetings in Wana, we have also been working on getting the Wana Bible translation onto a new software program called “Paratext”. For a long time we have wondered how to preserve the translation and make it available for years to come and this is the answser to that question. However it means learning another progam and lots of hours of converting files from other word processing programs and finally getting it on to Paratext. A bit of a learning curve but it is coming along.
Jeanne and I want to take this opportunity to thank you once again for prayers for us and our ministry with the Wana people. Thanks for your partnership as we work together to take the gospel across the street and around the world.
God Bless you,
Ed & Jeanne Casteel
A few days earlier…
Trust this email finds you all well and enjoying the first month of Spring. I have been needing to get an update out but the last few weeks have been a bit hectic with lots of travel. First of all I want to thank you for praying for me as I have been preparing for this next trip to Asia Pacific. As of now all my needed funds have come in so thank you so much for praying for that. It is amazing how HE has always met the needs for my trip each time.
The last couple of months have been so exciting as we have now completed our third Kodiak airstrip and are able to utilize the plane to get teaching teams in to our locations. We just completed two very successful youth retreats in the villages of Wo’o nTowu and Paramba. This is something we have been praying about for some time as the outside world is encroaching so quickly upon our Wana believers and they have needed lots of help as they seek ways to raise their kids for the Lord in this new environment they find themselves. As I write this email another youth retreat has started and then while I am there next month we will have another one as well. The particular retreat they are studying out of Romans to gain an understanding about their position in Christ as believers.
I would also ask your prayers as with the Coronavirus outbreak travel is in question for many missionaries. Some are canceling, others on hold, and others like myself just asking the Lord to make HIS plan clear to me. We realize that we are in God’s hands and the safest place to be is in HIS will, so are just asking HIM what his will isn and then to trust Him in the answer He gives.
Below I wanted to share some pictures of the last youth retreat so you can rejoice with us.
God Bless you!
Ed n Jeanne Casteel