Wow it hardly seems possible we are already into the middle of summer. We were hoping that the Corona virus would be gone by now, but it seems it and some of the restrictions it has brought upon us are still sticking around. Things are definitely more relaxed now than in March and April but the care center where Jeanne’s mom lives is still under lockdown and the residents pretty much kept in isolation. We have only been able to see and visit with mom through the window. For the first couple of months they were gracious and opened the window a crack so we could actually talk with her but they are no longer allowing us to do that now. She cannot hear voices over the cell phone so we find ourselves just writing short notes to her on the white board and holding it up to the window, then doing our best to read her lips as she answers from inside.
We are really thankful for good technology we have had during this time. Our two largest Wana villages now have Wi-Fi capability so that has helped immensely. I have been able to get together with church leaders and others on WhatsApp and Skype which has been really helpful, not only for making plans, but also for studying Scripture together. And of course we have been using this technology for a number of years to do Bible translation and lesson development.
I mentioned in an email last week the fact that the Lord said He would build his church and then adding that even the Corona virus would not be able to prevail against it. Just recently, we had 22 Wana believers baptized in the outreach village of “Watu Buya” (White Rock). These people used to be very afraid of us and run away and hide from us, but now many of them have come to know the Lord as their Saviour and now our brothers and sisters in Christ! What a blessing to see what the Lord is doing in their hearts and lives and to see them make this public testimony of their faith in Christ.
We continue to work on our translation and lesson development projects. Getting the translation on to the “Paratext” software has been a challenge but I think I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We are now running some of the final formatting checks and trying to get all those squared away. We will then to have get all the copyright info for the pictures we used entered in as well. Besides this, my Wana co-workers and I have been working on a number of Bible lessons including Creation to Christ for new believers, and the books of 1 Samuel, Ezra, Nehemiah for mature believers. We also have Wana missionaries working in three other language groups and they too have been getting their feet wet in Bible lesson development. I have had the privilege of working together with each of these teams as well to help get them started down this path. This is also quite a process as I don’t speak any of the languages of their respective groups so after they are finished with a lesson they have to translate it back into either the Wana language or the national language so I can read through it and offer suggestions. These are challenging projects for a people who come out of “oral” cultures and not used to expressing themselves on paper.
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 really appreciate your being a part of our team making it making it possible to see the gospel preached in this region of the world and to see Bible translations and Bibles lessons prepared for these precious people.
God Bless you,
Ed & Jeanne Casteel