This past month has been quite a whirlwind and held a lot of surprises for us. Just a month ago I was writing about my upcoming trip to Asia Pacific, my bags were all packed and I was ready to go. I had been experiencing a lot of shoulder and arm pain so thought I might should have a doctor take a look at it and maybe give something to take for it while on my trip. No sooner had I mailed our last news letter out and I was diagnosed with 3 ruptured discs in my neck, with the doctor advising surgery as soon as possible as it was beyond what medication could help. Wow, what a shock that was to us and what a change of plans. Two weeks ago yesterday I had my surgery. The surgery was a success and my post op follow-up last week showed that everything was staying in place and “no loose screws” – ha. Now it is just taking some time to heal and no lifting beyond 5 lbs for at least 6 weeks. Probably one of my biggest challenges is swallowing as I still have a lot of swelling in my neck area.
We are thankful that even though my plans had to change, our co-worker Steve Rosengren was still able to make the trip. It was neat to see how the Lord supplied for his needs just a couple weeks before leaving and for allowing him to go. He along with our Wana co-workers and another of our western missionaries were then able to go into Wana and hold the Bible conference as planned. They all enjoyed studying from Revelation 1-4 and through this study each church was given the opportunity to evaluate themselves according to the 7 letters written to the churches in those first chapters. Our church leaders were also able to meet each afternoon for discussing church issues and also their united outreach into their broader Wana community. We are so grateful for how the Lord has opened up the hearts of the Wana people and for the many who are hearing the gospel for the first time. And we never cease to give thanks for the New Testament Scriptures which are now in their hands.
Another highlight this month is the new team of tribal missionaries which our Wana churches are preparing to send into another language group of over 80,000 people. This group has had “religion” for years but the gospel is still missing, so we are excited for this opportunity our Wana churches have to send yet another team out cross-culturally to be able to preach the gospel to this needy group of people. They will appreciate your prayers as just this week they have begun dialogue with the village head in regards to their housing and when they might be able to move in. This language is very related to the Wana language so we are hoping that language and culture study will move along a little more quickly than normal for them.
Jeanne and I want to take this opportunity to thank you so much for your prayers this past month. We are truly grateful for our partnership together with you as we seek to expand the reach of the gospel in Indonesia. By the way the doctor says I should be ready to travel overseas again by March so I am making plans for my Spring trip. I have put all the funds set aside for this past trip into a special account so I should be all set for this next trip. Thanks so much again.
Ed & Jeanne Casteel