We wrote our last letter to you the first part of March as I was making preparations to depart for Asia Pacific. We knew things were touch and go as we kept hearing of mounting quarantines and travel interruptions. We were praying and praying and asking the Lord what I should do. We finally decided I should continue with my plans unless the Lord specifically shut the door. Then about one week after our last letter to you we received a notice from the mission that we should avoid traveling if at all possible, so we took that as the Lord’s answer to push the pause button. Looking back over the past six weeks we realize what a mess I would have gotten myself into had I tried to travel and so glad for the Lord’s direction in this – “A mans heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps.”
With not being able to go to Asia Pacific I knew right away what project I wanted to work on. As I mentioned in our last letter for a long time we have been wanting to get our Bible translation put onto a program called “Paratext” where it can be stored and accessed until the Lord’s return. I had never used this program before so the learning curve was quite steep for me. After a few tries of getting it on and failing to do it right I finally got it figured out and as of last week all of the New Testament and Old Testament portions, along with a few Bible pictures, have now been transferred into this program. Part of the challenge was that we had done all of our translation on a program called Wordperfect. The mission had macro for helping to transfer “Word” files to Paratext but the macro wouldn’t work for Wordperfect. So we had to first get it converted to Word and then convert it again into Paratext. We will probably still have a few adjustments to make but thankfully the hard part should now be behind us.
As travel restictions continued to mount our Wana villages in south district were facing a crisis in getting medication. Thankfully they haven’t had any Corona virus but it is rainy season and with it comes lots of mosquitos and malaria, and the normal respiratory infections. They wanted our pilot to fly in an order of medicine but the plane had an inspection due plus the governor had shut down permission for our mission to fly into the province. With that we had to look for an alternate route. Thankfully we were able to purchase the medication from a pharmacy in the provincial capital and then two of our national co-workers drove for a full day taking it to a river where it could be taken by canoe to our closest Wana village.
From there it was taken by cycle over horrible trails up over the mountain ridge to the Wana villages in the south district. Our two national coworkers who had taken the medicine to the river had to pass through numerous check points on their trip where their temperature was taken. On the way home they were stopped on the road for the whole night as the police had closed the road down for the night. At one point late that night their time I received a text from them saying that they were hearing shooting in the woods beside the road. I told them the police were probably just deer hunting. I think that relaxed them some, however later we found out that the police were actually shooting at a suspected terrorist whom they thought was in the area – WOW! We are thankful they were able to make the trip, deliver the medicine, and get home safely.
Jeanne and I want to take this opportunity to thank you once again for prayers for us and our ministry with the Wana people. We know that even amidst the corona virus that the Lord is still building His church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
God Bless you,
Ed & Jeanne Casteel