I trust the summer has gotten off to a good start for you as you learn to navigate with the virus restrictions and the limitations it has put upon some of us. Things in Asia Pacific are much the same and there have been lot of travel restrictions.
Airline travel was pretty much shut down during the month of Ramadan which was basically the month of May. Things have started to open up slowly but “rapid tests” are required for getting in and out of the provincial capital. We are thankful that our mission airplane can now fly again so is available to our churches once again. Some of our tribal churches are starting to meet again at their church buildings but our western missionaries have to be more careful to observe the social distancing expectations. They do not feel the virus has reached it’s peak yet in Asia Pacific but they, like here in the US, feel they can’t keep everything on hold forever.
Even through all that has been going on with the virus we are still excited about things that are happening. We have Wana missionaries serving on three different missionary teams who have started Bible lesson development. They have been doing “back translations” and sending to me to go over and then we have been able to discuss these over Skype and WhatsApp. Our own “Wana team” has also been working on revising the Creation to Christ lessons for new believers, and starting lessons on both the books of Ezra and Nehemiah for more mature believers. Along with this we continue to work on the Bible Translation. We have it all uploaded onto the “Paratext” software but had some checks to run including a spell check and lots of formatting errors which we are currently working on. It is quite a program and has its own checks for finding formatting errors, but sometimes it has been a challenge to figure out how to fix some of those errors. Little by little it is coming along.
This last month I enjoyed teaching through 2 Corinthians 3 with our Wana co-workers and now having one of them visiting back in the village and teaching it to some of the folks there as well. Another one of our co-workers is back in the village and teaching through 1 Samuel with those in his household – It has been fun to see 2Tim 2:2 in action:
…the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Over 40 years ago when we first moved to Asia Pacific – if we wanted to call the United States we had to go to the “Central telephone office” in town. They would place our call for us and when the call went through they would direct us to the correct telephone booth there at the office. We never dreamt that 40 years later we would be using the likes of Skype and WhatsApp, not only to talk into the cities and towns, but also into the tribal villages! Two of our largest Wana villages now have internet capabilities which allows us to talk directly to the village. This has been a wonderful tool which allows us to do some teaching and church business right from our office here in the USA. Yes, God said He would build His church – and even the corona virus shall not prevail against it. Thanks so much for your continued prayers as we work together during these difficult times to see the reach of the gospel to continue to expand in Asia Pacific.
Ed n Jeanne Casteel
The following just a few pics of some of the Wana children at play – they speak for themselves.