Sunday, December 27, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] The first 13,000lbs.


We received the first truck load of 13,000 lbs of cement and rebar.  This will build the foundation of the new Shea Church.  

We also began leveling the ground in preparation for pouring the foundation.  A group from Brazil will come and help in the construction.  We're racing to finish the church by the end of February when Joy and I plan to return to the States for the birth of our second child.

We hope to launch an evangelistic series at this time as well.

Thank you to those who have prayed for us, and those who have helped to make this possible.  We'll post more stories and pictures as the church goes up.

God bless,

James

James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-629-5141
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Latter Rain

Guyana's weather is roughly divided into four seasons.  We have two dry seasons, and two rainy seasons.  Right now we're in the midst of the "latter rains" of December and January.

Last Wednesday when we arrived in Shea Village the rain water tanks were filthy, and the pipes connected to the health clinic gutters were broken and disconnected.   It hadn't rained in months and the wells were beginning to dry up.  I tried asking some of the villagers if it had rained recently, but the best answer I could get was, "Not really".

Hmmm.  What to do?

I decided to take a hours to fix the water tanks in hope that it might rain.  When I drained the scum water out of the back tank, a dead frog came out!  Yuck!  This called for more than a swab job.  Crawling into each tank I vigorously scrubbed them out with bleach water.  I then scrubbed down the gutters, and finally finished by fixing the pipes and setting everything back up.  What a job!  I thought it would only take a couple hours, but it ended up taking almost a day and a half to complete. 

When I finished the last tank on Friday afternoon I felt a certain satisfaction knowing that if it rained we would be ready to collect all the rain water, and that it wouldn't make us sick.  Around midnight that night, while we were sleeping, without warning the sky opened up and dumped on us for about an hour solid, giving us almost 1000 gallons of fresh rain water.  If you've ever heard the sound of heavy rain on zinc, you know that it is absolutely deafening.  It was like music to my ears!

As we were lying in bed listening to rain drops thundering on zinc, the Lord spoke quietly to my mind about the Latter Rain. 

Just before Jesus returns to this earth, God is going to send a spiritual rain shower to drench this earth (Joel 2:28,29).  Only those who have been cleansed from sin, emptied of self, connected to the word, and standing upright, will be able to receive the Holy Spirit when it is poured out. 

Now (in this apparently dry season) is the time to search our souls and to make a special preparation.  If we wait for the rains it will be too late. 

I invite you today to consider this little object lesson and to join us in praying that God would prepare each of us for that time. 

James

James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-629-5141
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Thursday, December 3, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Pictures

Picture #1 - New literature to our bible worker in Kopinang
Picture #2 - Dismantling a motor bike for transport in the airplane.
Picture #3 - Medivac from Aishalton Village - Woman with a difficult labor.  The baby was born soon after arrival, but the baby (last I heard) is still in critical condition.
Picture #4 - Loading the patient into the Ambulance in Lethem.



James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-629-5141
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Tale of Three Airplanes

This is the true tale of the three little airplanes.... (forget the three little pigs)

Six weeks ago I was driving the mission van around Georgetown when my cell phone rang. It was the chief mechanic who was doing the annual inspection on the Guyanese airplane I fly. His first words were "James - I've got some bad news for you". He then proceeded to tell me that they had found all sorts of metal in the oil filter, indicating that the engine was starting to break down. A thousand thoughts swirled around in my mind, but I distinctly remember thinking "Ok Lord... Now What?"

The answer wasn't long in coming. Two days later a close friend wrote me a one line email. "Praying for you, Do you want my airplane?" I didn't quite know what he was thinking about, so I called him up. He said that since I had flown his Cessna 182 two summers ago, the airplane had been mostly sitting on the ramp. In fact the airplane was presently tore all apart in its annual inspection. My friend was intending to sell it the moment it came out of annual. That's when he got the email about our airplane and felt impressed to contact us. He'd already had a couple solid offers on the airplane but told us that he was willing to let it go for half the market value if it would be used for mission work. When I hung up, I remember thinking "Great Lord! Now What?"

Later that day I happened to be talking to some people on Skype. Unbeknownst to me they had been praying earnestly that God would provide a Cessna 182 for us to use. When I related this opportunity to them, they were ecstatic. This set off a chain of events, and by the end of the day God had provided the funds to purchase the aircraft.

In the mean time I was still months away from having another airplane. Again, I wondered to myself "Now what do we do?" But God had already gotten this covered. Another close friend of mine had heard of the unfolding situation and felt impressed to bring his Cessna 172RG down to Guyana so we could keep flying. This last week and a half I've been flying in the new aircraft. It's been a tremendous blessing, and already we've done a couple missionary flights including a medivac of a snake bite victim.

So at this moment, the Guyanese airplane that I flew all last year is in Bethany (minus the engine). About a week ago some of our missionary mechanics pulled the engine off and when they removed the cylinders they instantly saw the problem. The cam followers were pretty beat up on all the intake cams and were wearing down the cam shaft lobes. What was causing this? Nobody is sure.

As I write this email the Cessna 182 is finishing up its annual and will soon get fitted up for its flight to Collegedale TN where it will get some huge tundra tires for the rough strips down here. Then it will be ferried down to Guyana.

I'll continue to fly the 172RG until the 182 arrives, and then continue the work with the Cessna 182. In the mean time we're working on starting a church building project in Shea.

We'll fly back to the States near the end of Febuary for the birth of our second child.

I'm always in amazement at how God provides for the work down here. He always seems to have just the right solution at just the right time. What an awesome God we serve!

Sincerely

James & Joy Ash

James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-629-5141
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Sunday, November 1, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Dragon was Wroth with the Woman...

Here is a fresh report that indicates how the Devil is working overtime to undo the gospel work in Shea.

The Church of Christ has been very active in Region 9 and is doing a strong evangelistic push into the villages. Wherever they go they preach a watered down gospel, and offer all sorts of material gifts (i.e. food, clothing, T.V.'s, VCR's, Bicycles, and even money itself!) Naturally thousands are flocking to the free "loaves and fishes" and are getting baptized. The sad part about this is that it makes a mockery of the true gospel, and feeds the covetous spirit of the poor Amerindians.

Just within the last two weeks a group from this church traveled up to Shea Village to meet with the Adventist members to get them to join their church. They met with the new Adventist believers and began to tell them erroneous teachings, such as 1) The Sabbath has been switched from Saturday to Sunday due to Christ raising on Sunday. 2.) Pentecost happened on a Sunday (flatly false) 3) The Law was nailed to the cross, therefore we need not worry about keeping Saturday Sabbath. They also brought out gifts and offered the Shea church members money if they would become baptized into their church! Many prospective Adventists were taken by their ploy, and at least one known Adventist member was "baptized" into their church.

Also they performed an instant wedding service for the deputy toshao and baptized him and his wife.

The new Adventist Members were confused and many were inclined to join the movement. Fortunately the leader (Sandra Rodrigues) sent a letter to Sand Creek telling them what was going on and implored them to come quick otherwise everyone (including herself) would join the Church of Christ.

A group from the Sand Creek Seventh-day Adventist Church set out immediately for Shea. When they arrived the Church of Christ group was just leaving. The Church of Christ people were planning to stay another three days, but when they heard that the Adventist members from Sand Creek were coming to town, they decided to leave early, promising to come back to baptize the others.

The group from Sand Creek has spent about a week with them doing bible study, and answering their many questions directly from the bible. Fortunately most of the members didn't apostatize, and the one who did confessed with tears his error and wants to be rebaptized. The members have also talked with the deputy and explained how marriage in Guyana works, and that they aren't legally married. Needless to say he's pretty confused as well.

The good news is that the group from Sand Creek helped the Shea members frame up the new temporary structure. This fulfills the Shea Council requirement of starting the building within eight months. This coming week, I'll be traveling with a team into Shea Village and we'll begin building the permanent structure..

I know this report may be shocking, but this underscores several important things.

  1. The Devil is not happy that the work is going forward in Shea, and he's going to do everything that he can to disrupt the gospel.

  2. The Church of Christ group has promised to come back at a later time to rebaptize the other members. We must not leave the Shea members open to attack until Joy and I can move there permanently. Please pray for the last documents to be written giving us permission to move out there.

    Part of the group from Sand Creek are staying in Shea until we can go back there to work on the church building.

  3. We must work diligently to ground these new believers in the word of God so that they will not be blown about by every wind of doctrine.

  4. We must move forward quickly with the church structures as it will encourage the members and send a statement to the community.

    While it is true that the devil is hard at work, it is also true that the Lord is even harder at work. We praise the Lord that a major disaster has been averted.

    Please pray for the work. We're moving forward together with NAPS to finish the first phase of the church building and prepare the way for the second phase when plan to come on a mission trip in December.

    Sincerely

    James Ash


James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-629-5141
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Thursday, October 15, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Man's Extremity...

Someone once said, "Man's extremity is God's opportunity"  If this is true, then the great news is that we are facing some awesome opportunities for God to work.  

About a week and a half ago I flew the airplane back up to Georgetown for some aircraft maintenance, and to do some errands for the church building project..  I was driving the van around Georgetown when I received the cell phone call from the mechanic.  His first words were, "James, I have some bad news for you".  He then proceeded to tell me that when they drained the oil out of the engine, that they picked up an alarming amount of ferrous metal in the oil filter.  This is concerning since it could potentially cause a break down in the engine.  The mechanic said that we would need a new engine or do a major overhaul, but flying it any further was totally out of the question.

I finished up my tasks in Georgetown and took the bus back to Lethem (13.5 hours).  Today I got the results from the oil sample we sent to the States.  The results conclude the same as the mechanic, indicating that we're picking up a higher than normal ferrous content in the oil.  Probably one or more of the bearings are disintegrating causing the foreign particles in the oil.

So where do we go from here?  The answer is forward.  We don't know how but God has miraculously provided us this opportunity to work in Shea Village, and we must answer that call.  

While we're praying for another airplane engine for the airplane, we'll have to rent or buy a truck so we can keep moving forward.  This is a critical time in our mission, and we can't afford to lose what God has provided for us.

Please take sixty seconds to pray for us right now so that we would have lots of wisdom to know how best to move forward.

God bless,

James, Joy & Jenna

James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-629-5141
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] First Delivery in Shea

We had a most wonderful time out in Shea Village this last weekend. We got there Thursday evening just in time to see a beautiful Savanna Sunset. The sunrise and sunsets in the bush are absolutely fabulous!

Since we weren't set up to cook, we ate dried fruit and nuts for supper. Both of us were tired from the long day, and fell asleep to the sound of a horse ripping off grass. In the middle of the night Joy woke up to what she though was Jenna snoring. As the noise got louder she realized it was
a pig grunting. The animals weren't too bad. Once James had to drive off a cow who was trying to eat Jenna's ark, and twice James had to chase a pesky rooster who started crowing right outside our bedroom window right at 5am.

Friday we spent the whole day cleaning. The floor was filthy and our stuff was pretty disorganized. We made banana bread and corn bread in our new oven. We praise the Lord for this little luxury in the midst of our jungle living.

Friday night James went to the meeting at the church and had a nice time there. Joy stayed back and put Jenna to bed. She seemed to like it out there, especially playing with the kids.

While we were making breakfast Sabbath morning, somebody came to tell Joy there was a lady in labor who needed her help.
The lady informed us that the mother was "passing out". So Joy went to help out. The clinic had a wooden fetoscope, but Joy couldn't pick up any fetal heartbeat whatsoever.
This was the third baby for this girl and indeed she was "passing out". She would hyperventilate then hold her breath and effectively "pass out" and stop breathing for 3 or 4 seconds. Joy was worried about how that might be stressing the baby out. So, she tried to help her keep her breathing a little deeper and more even. That seemed to help the problem. Joy was also able to get the father involved too, although he was more nervous than a cat on a tin roof! Joy's plan was to have James fly the mother to Aishelton or Lethem but in the end Joy ended up delivering the baby, in a hammock no less.

Thankfully, the baby started breathing on its own immediately. (Joy says - "Having no oxygen handy makes me nervous.") Everything really turned out to be just fine, thanks to God's help. So many things could have gone wrong, but nothing did. Joy did have a little trouble figuring out what to clamp the baby's cord with though. The clinic is so poorly supplied that there wasn't much to choose from. Eventually the cord was tied and cut. Joy says that in the future she'll have a delivery kit ready, so that when she's called on, she can just grab and go in a moment's notice.

Joy washed up and made it to church in time for the sermon. The church members had asked her to teach the children's Sabbath School, but they decided to do a group study instead. The dilapidated adobe church building that they're presently using was packed out. That little building needs more benches for the people they have. We didn't count but there were probably
thirty to thirty five people.

Sabbath afternoon Joy got her opportunity to do her Sabbath School presentation, during the AY presentation. James did a second sermon on the topic of the Second Coming accompanied by a "multi media" felt presentation. The kids really like felts and when we were done they got up and sang for us in English and Wapishana (their dialect). It was very sweet.

Sunday morning James got up at 5:30 to "fetch" boards for the new church. The people in Shea are not waiting for anybody. They have their plan and a
lthough they are poor they are starting to cut lumber whenever they have gasoline for the chainsaw. James came back about noon. He was exhausted and said he thought he had walked at least 10 miles. He carried out four boards. Those boards are extremely heavy too since they haven't dried out. At least the weather was dry and not raining!

When he did it before in Paruima he would sometimes slip and slide in the mud and that made it infinitely harder. Anyway, almost all the church members came out to help even the kids and the grandmothers carried boards which was very impressive! Joy felt a little guilty for not going herself. She cooked though and when James and some of the church leaders arrived back they were ravenous! The church members brought us a huge pile of plantains and bananas and sugar can and a few greens. It was very generous of them since this is what they use to survive.

When James came back and we got our stuff together we barely made it to Lethem before sundown.

Part of the reason for getting such a late start was that several more people came for treatment. One of them was a mentally ill girl. The family wanted Joy to do a physical evaluation on her so that they can send her to Georgetown. Joy doesn't think that her evaluation will count but she did it anyway to make them happy. This poor girl was so scared. She is really like a baby mentally. She can walk and feed herself and follow simple directions but that is all. She doesn't speak at all. They said she was normal until she was two and then something happened and she has been like this ever since. They couldn't tell Joy what happened exactly. This girl pinches and bites and wanders around and gets lost and eats dirt and other non food items. She also is not toilet trained and goes all over the house. The back of her hands are terribly scarred where she has bitten herself repeatedly. The family is at their wits end to know how to deal with her. It's such a sad situation it almost makes you want to cry. There is a real person inside that body because you could see her looking out at you, but it's like you can't reach inside the box to touch her.

So many hurting people in this world. Some cases are just more severe than others. James had a special prayer with the girl and her family. We'll have to see what happens in her future.

God bless,

James
James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-629-5141
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Today's Medivac Flight

It appears that the pregnant lady is going to be ok, but her baby is probably dead.  The medex at the field hospital in Aishalton said that the mother appears to be stable, but they couldn't hear the baby's heartbeat.  We prayed at the airstrip for the mother and baby and I flew her immediately back to the main hospital here in Lethem.  Tomorrow I'll find out what happened.

Thank you so much for the prayers and continued prayers for the family.  

James

James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-629-5141
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Urgent Prayer Request!

Dear Friends and Family,

I'm just sending a short note asking for you to pray.  James just flew out to bring a pregnant lady from Aishelton Village.  When they called asking for help, they said they could barely find a pulse on her.  So unless God performs a miracle, she won't get through.

Thank you so much!

Blessings,


Joy

James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-629-5141
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Friday, September 18, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Digging for water

Yesterday we began digging for our new well in Shea.

Shea Village has a problem with drinking water. The government has promised to dig some new wells for them, but so far they've not come through. Politicians here aren't any different than elsewhere. They make all sorts of grandiose promises until elections are past, and then they are promptly forgotten.

Some in the village have grown tired of waiting, and dug their own wells but they're pretty primitive. They're not cased, and don't have protective coverings to prevent contamination or small children or animals falling in.

The Health clinic where we will be staying at does have some rain water tanks, but they only work well during rainy season. When the weather turns hot, the tanks dry up.

So we realized right away that we would need to dig a well. Believe or not, this is the perfect time to do it because it's been really dry, and the water table has gone way down.

Yesterday morning we measured approximately 100 feet from the outhouse and started digging the ring. I got about 1" down and hit concrete. Opps! It was a left over project from a long ago. So we moved the site over about 5 feet and begin digging the 5 foot perimeter.

Since we were in a rush to get this project done we drew up a contract with the Toshao (captain) to hire 4 men to work on this full time for the next five days (except Sabbath).

The soil is hard clay mixed with volcanic stone and a little sand. It's pretty hard digging but definitely doable. The nice thing is that there is no danger of the well collapsing.

By Monday this next week they should be down about 20 feet and hit water.

What's so cool about this well is that a major path in the village goes right past the well, and when we set up our water tanks on the tower, we'll set up a faucet so that the villagers can help themselves. I just hope that when they come for water, that they'll stay and learn about the "Water of Life".

God bless,

James

James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-629-5141
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Riding to Georgetown

By the time you read this email, I should be on a minibus traveling 11 hours to Georgetown to pick up the airplane. I was supposed to leave on the big bus this morning, but unfortunately they cancelled it.

After a month of delays, the airplane is finally through with its annual, and tomorrow the official from Civil Aviation will inspect the aircraft. If everything goes according to plan (like we're praying) I should be able to do some test flights, and have the airplane ready to go by the early part of next week.

The Lord tells us in Isaiah 55 that His thoughts and His ways are much higher than our thoughts and ways. We wondered why God allowed such a long delay with the airplane.

One of the things we did recently is help with a Vacation Bible School at the Lethem Church. We consistantly had 30+ kids come out to the program, and even though Joy and I had never done anything like this, it sparked some ideas of what we would like to do in Shea. Now the kids are calling out to me as I pass on the road. It was fun.

Right across the street is a family of Jehovah's Witnesses. One of the ladies is dying of colon cancer. A couple days ago she was in such excruciating pain that she was praying for death. Joy has been going over there frequently during the day, and even at night to administer injections and bring comfort to the family. They are very grateful for her help. Two nights ago we baked the family a whole pan of cinnamon rolls. With six kids and five adults, I doubt they lasted more than 24 hours.

Please pray for us as we minister to these people.

God bless,

James

James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-629-5141
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Thursday, August 27, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Three Envelopes and Answered Prayers

We are really praising the Lord for his abundant mercy and grace. Just recently I went down to the Ministry of Health and picked up three envelopes. One was addressed to our ministry, one was addressed to the Regional Health Officer (RHO), and one was addressed to the Regional Executive Officer (REO). These three envelopes are the letters of permission from the Regional Health Services for Joy to become the health worker in Shea Village.

Two days ago I delivered the letters to the RHO. After carefully reading it over, he looked me in the eye and said "this is what we've been waiting for." What a relief!

The only thing that is slowing us down right now is the airplane. The airplane is presently in Georgetown going through its annual inspection. Please pray that there will be no major snags with this inspection. The inspectors from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority will go through the airplane, stem to stern and look at everything. During this inspection, they are constantly looking for any snag to remedy. The airplane could potentially be down for several weeks, or even drag out longer if they insist on replacing a lot of parts.

This is God's work and we are learning how to depend on Him.

I finished another small video on the bible work that we have going right now. Here's the link to the two video's we have on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JspZBbJvQCg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKwr3NHqazc

You can see pictures and read other reports on our blog - www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org

God bless

James

James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-629-5141
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Saturday, August 15, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Moving forward while we wait

We're still waiting for the final green light to move out to Shea Village. But in the mean time God has been moving in some truly amazing ways. Here's a couple examples.

Last Monday we received an airmail package with some donated funds for the bible workers. Soon after receiving the package, I went to the local store and bought some groceries to fly out to the bible worker in Aishalton village.

Allow me to pause the story for a second -- Our bible workers are an integral part of the gospel work in the interior. We give them a small monthly stipend, and in return they do full time outreachministry. The bible worker in Aishalton has a little chinese-made motorbike and travels from village to village meeting new people, studying the bible with interested persons, and supporting the new Adventist believers in Shea and Aishalton. Our other bible worker here in Lethem runs the TV station, studies the bible with people, and leads out as an elder in the local church. A number of baptisms, and the whole church in Shea Village is a direct result of their hard work and selfless sacrifice. These two bible workers are such an inspiration to Joy and I, and we're happy to do everything we can to support them.

So when the funds arrived, we immediately went to get groceries for the bible worker in Aishalton. As I was loading the airplane, I got an impression to call the Regional Health Officer (RHO) and ask if he had anything that needed to be transported to Aishalton. He almost shouted "YES!" Evidently the hospital in Aishalton was low on propane to run their refrigerator. They had thousands of US Dollars worth of vaccines in the fridge and they were worried that if they ran out of propane that the vaccines might spoil. So I ended up flying about 250 pounds of propane tanks. When I touched down, the Aishalton hospital administrator met me at the airstrip, beaming from ear to ear. So was I!!!

A day later (Thursday) the RHO called me again on my cell phone and asked if I could transport some of his health workers from Aishalton to Lethem for a workshop. It was too late in the day to fly them out on Thursday, but I promised to try and help them on Friday.

Back to Aishalton I went to pick up two nurses and a health worker. They were very grateful to take a 35 minute flight instead of an 8 hour bumpy road trip, and I was once again grateful for the opportunity to serve!

When the taxi came to collect them at the airport the RHO took me aside and asked if I could help with a medivac. A 16 year old girl with severe abdominal pain was in Annai, and couldn't travel by bus to Georgetown since it was too painful. Most likely it was kidney stones, or a possible appendicitis. I was planning to fly to Georgetown on Sunday since the airplane was due for its 200 hour inspection on Monday, but when the RHO told me about this situation, I decided to fuel up the airplane before sunset (just in case). Sure enough! Right after Sabbath School this morning I got the call. The RHO informed me that the family had traveled from Annai to Lethem and were ready to go. I met them at the airport and after preflighting the airplane, we departed immediately. Before we lifted off I prayed a special prayer, asking God to give us favorable winds so that we would arrive early. Usually the flight back to Georgetown is long and bumpy since you're fighting a huge head wind the whole way. But today was different. The wind for the most part stopped blowing, and at times we got gusts of tail wind! My ground speed edged up to 105 knots per hour, and we arrived over 20 minutes earlier than normal (which is absolutely phenomenal!).

The Lord had another small blessing in store for me. I had no transportation to take me from the airport back to the hospital, and I didn't want to hire a taxi on the Sabbath. So I prayed about it and started down the road in 100 degree sun. Soon a car pulled up beside me. It was the airfield inspector from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). I had flown her out to the Bethany Airstrip just a month before. She asked me where I was going and when I told her, she said she was going to going to her seamstress which happened to be close by! She also had wonderful air-conditioning! God is so good!

Joy and Jenna are still in Lethem. We're still waiting for the the letter of approval from the director of regional health services. The airplane is facing a 200 hour inspection on Monday. In one sense we're waiting on God. But ironically God is calling us to move forward while we wait. We count it a huge privilege to play a small part in this wonderful gospel work.

Thanks for your earnest prayers, and positive encouragement. You have no idea what this means to us.

God bless

James

James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-629-5141
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Answers to Prayer

Hi Everyone
 
We are pretty excited right now.  We just got back from a nice meeting with Medex Xavier (Regional Health Officer).  We delivered the documents and letters that he was requesting.
 
He then related to us what had happened during his trip to Georgetown.  Evidently, word had traveled up through the ranks of the ministry of health that an NGO had sent mosquito nets into Shea Village.  Evidently it had caused some serious waves, because  unbeknownst to us the Ministry of Health was planning to do something similar.  They had (and still have) 5000 mosquito nets neatly packed away into 150 large bales.  But for some strange reason, they've not given the final approval to distrubute the nets, inspite of a major malaria outbreak in Shea, inspite of the fact that there's 80+ cases of dengue fever in Lethem!  So with this background in mind, in steps this little NGO and preempts their project.  You can now see why it got their attention.  It basically thrust the issue of our move to Shea into the spotlight.  Word traveled up even to President Jagdeo himself!  The Toshao from Shea told him last week that we were helping their village through mosquito net distribution. 
 
The RHO is so frustrated with the situation of the unused nets.  He had a meeting yesterday about this, and is scheduled to have yet another meeting tomorrow.  He's also asked that James join him at the meeting!    5000 nets sounds like alot, but Lethem alone has 6000-7000, let alone all the villages in the interior.  It's hardly a drop in the bucket!
 
In fact, during our conversation, RHO Xavier took out his cell phone and called the director of Regional Health Services and requested that he immediately write a letter of approval so that we can start working in the region.  The director promised to fax it across tomorrow.  When the letter arrives the Medex wants to attach it to the documents we gave just him, and then immediately go with him to meet with the Regional Executive Officer. 
 
As we reflect over the events of the last three weeks, we're amazed at how God has led in each event.  The very day I was planning to fly from Georgetown to Shea, I took sick.  Then when I recovered there were two other flights that needed immediate attention, further delaying our departure.  When we finally did go to Lethem we were further delayed in trying to get the nets treated.  This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it allowed us to interface with the RHO personally, and for us to work together with him and his wife.  This broke down barriers, and now the RHO is anxious to help us get our approval and he's personally driving the process forward.  If we would have gone directly to Shea a week before, we would have short circuited the process, and it would have taken much longer.
 
The bottom line is that we wouldn't be where we are right now if people hadn't responded to our call to prayer.  Thank you to one and all who have stood together with us during this uncertain time.
 
James & Joy

James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-629-5141
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Sunday, August 2, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Mosquito Nets and Cassava Currie


Last Wednesday I personally delivered seven huge garbage bags containing 80 hammock mosquito nets into the care of the deputy toshao of Shea. When I told him how many were donated, he said that there would be just enough for each family to receive one. I had the privilege of giving each family their net. Wow! This will really help to prevent the present and future spread of malaria in the village. Praise the Lord!

Thank you for those who helped with this project! This is the core of need based evangelism. When we scratch where others itch they are so grateful! It breaks down barriers and opens hearts to the presentation of the gospel. We're itching to do that too! For now we're trying to share our love in tangible ways.

I spent some time on Thursday mosquito proofing the clinic with styrofoam. It's a pretty daunting task when you think of all the different ways those critters can come through the cracks and holes.

I had a real eye opening conversation with the Deputy Toshao. He related to me the story of how he had started out dirt poor, farming peanuts. Through back breaking hard work, he worked his way up the economic ladder. Now he owns the best shop in the village, and has a herd of 22 cows. He says that he hopes to have 40 cows by next year. I asked him how many other villagers raised cows. He mentioned that surprisingly very few people in the village own livestock. My curiousity was piqued by this anomoly and so I had to ask a follow up question. "Why don't other people follow your example and build themselves a better life?" His answer was really sad. "As long as they can grow just enough cassava to make their alcoholic currie they're happy."

Three weeks ago when I was working on putting in window screens into the health clinic we heard about a snake bite victim in the village. When I arrived at the hut the first thing I saw was a guy sprawled out face down in the sand. At first I thought that he was the snake bit victim, but the villagers assured me that it wasn't. As it turned out, the man sprawled on the sand had drunk too much currie and had passed out. About half of the villagers standing around the snake bite victim were drinking currie from old butter containers. One man was even slow dancing.

The devil has some deep strongholds in this village.

God's power can break these strongholds and we ask for your continued prayer for us because Joy and I know very little about helping people overcome alcoholism. A complete set of materials for a 12 step program have already been very generously donated. Would anyone be interested in conducting a 12 step program for the village? Seriously!
James

James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-227-2184
http://www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org/

874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Thursday, July 30, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] More Opposition...Please Keep praying!

Hello Everyone,


James took those nets out to Shea yesterday. I expect him tonight. He was going to continue work on the screen project and do some mosquito habitat spraying.


Please keep praying. The Ministry of Health found out we are distributing nets and called the hospital here to find out about it. Apparently, the opposition to what we are doing has spread or the troubler is just widening his net. The devil doesn't waste time. James hasn't even returned yet. However, the thing to remember is that God has the power. Perhaps this attack will actually backfire and turn out to be a lot of positive PR for the Lord.


Have a wonderful day filled with blessings,


Joy


James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-227-2184
http://www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org/

James & Joy Ash
Gospel Ministries International
Project Name: Guyana Aviation Evangelism

874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Monday, July 27, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] More News

Hi Everybody,
 
I hope you are well. I really want to say how much I really appreciated all of the prayers and concern for James last week when he wasn't feeling well. He was still trying to function even though he felt rotten. I begged him to stay in bed. God is the great healer and so James fine now. It did delay our plans and he couldn't get out of Georgetown until Friday.
 
We are staying with the Bible Worker at the TV station. He has been very kind and helpful in letting us stay with him and helping us learn how to get around here in Lethem. I never thought we would have the TV on in our house for 10 hours a day, so that is a new experience. :) They broadcast 3ABN, so it's really nice programming.
 
Today, we were able to meet with the regional health officer (RHO) at his home. He is in charge of health for the entire region. We had a very nice visit. We were able to discuss our plans to help Shea and the region as a whole. He told us he could use someone to do continuing education for nurses. That would be great since I enjoy teaching. He also needs someone to help with transporting supplies, personnel to do immunizations, and so on. He is a really nice Christian man with three children.
 
Sunday, James was disappointed. Because of the opposition to our coming that was started from a key person in another village, he decided to not go to Shea that day as planned, but to wait and talk to the RHO first. Well, the Lord, brought a blessing out of that. When we talked to the RHO today, he told us that he and his wife are trained to treat bed nets. Tomorrow he is going to show James how to treat all these nets James purchased last week. That should be interesting. They are going to suit up with personnel protective equipment. This substance is supposedly not harmful to humans. It makes a person wonder.
 
We tried to buy chemicals for net treatment in Georgetown before we left, but they were out throughout the city. The next order was due in one month. Even Ministry of Health didn't have any. Well, this RHO helped us find a place here to buy some. James is going to fly these nets to Shea as soon as they are finished.
 
We have a couple more hoops to jump through before the RHO can grant me final permission to work out in Shea. We are hoping the process won't take too long. Please pray for the barriers to be removed in this situation. God can work miracles and his timing is impeccable so we're counting on Him.
 
The captain of Shea Village, Larry, called this morning. He is very anxious that we come. He is wondering why the delay, since the village wants us to come so badly. He told us that the malaria problem is still an issue. It's a little hard to explain about why it takes so much time to go through the proper channels. Hopefully, our presence here in Lethem will help speed things up.
 
A 1 inch long unidentifiable creature just scuttled under my feet and a lizard just dropped something on my hand from his perch above. I think that's a sign I need to go to bed while I'm ahead. The eves are open on this house and surprisingly I haven't seen one bat. It's weird.
 
Thank you again for your prayers. They mean a lot!
 
Joy


James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-227-2184
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Sunday, July 26, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Moved South...

We finally made the move!!!


We'd been delayed and delayed with our move to Shea, but finally Thursday evening we decided to go for broke and get off before the weekend. Joy and I stayed up till 1:30am packing up our stuff. The next morning we both felt like we'd been run over by a mack truck, but we were determined to press on and leave for Lethem by the end of the day.


The hardest part was getting off by 3:30pm so we get down to Lethem by sunset! I don't think we could have fit more than a shoebox into that airplane. It was so full that when I opened my door after landing in Lethem, a couple items fell out!


We've had a wonderful weekend in Lethem worshiping with the believers there. Right now I'm getting ready to go to Shea to finish up some stuff before Joy and Jenna come to join me.


I just got an email from our bible worker in Aishalton that says that the Medex in Aishalton (who oversees medical work in Shea as well) is very upset that we're moving into town. He's trying to oppose us and create predjudice against us. We've been working hard to work through the right channels to make sure that no one gets their feelings hurt, but I guess we've offended the old devil, because he's trying very hard to stop this move.


I'm flying out to Shea today to meet with the Captain and talk about these issues. I'll deliver our mosquito nets and finish caulking the house to make it mosquito proof.


Please, please keep us in your prayers. This is a critical juncture in the move and right now we're in no-mans land.


James


James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-227-2184
http://www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org/


James & Joy Ash
Gospel Ministries International
Project Name: Guyana Aviation Evangelism
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Prayer for James

Dear Family and Friends,
 
This is just a short not to let you know that James, who is almost never ill, isn't feeling well at all.  It's not malaria.  Special prayer for him tonight would be much appreciated.  Thank you so much.
 
Joy

James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-227-2184
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Monday, July 20, 2009

[Guyana-Mission-Report] A Fire and a Miracle or Two

Hi everybody,

James flew the airplane out to the international airport tonight and Jenna is in bed. Since I have a little free time, I thought I would take this opportunity to write about the latest miracle we've experienced today.

I've been trying for sometime to get a permanent nursing license here in Guyana. Things have been moving very very very slowly. Lately, we had some original documents hand carried to Guyana. Our GAMAS representative here who deals with these issues took my documents down to the Nursing Council at Ministry of Health, July 16, to present them. The person who was dealing with the matter tried very hard to get our representative to give her the original documents. Our representative refused to let her have the documents and insisted that she have her secretary make copies, since we had had them sent all the way from the United States.

The rest of the story is that the next morning at 3 AM the entire Ministry of Health Building burned. That department keeps paper records, so everything went up in smoke. We have really been blessed because it would have been a potentially expensive, time consuming, headache to replace all of those documents.

However, we were not only blessed once on July 16, but twice. When our representative visited the Nursing Council Office he was given a receipt by the department for the application fees paid, which states that I am an "Approved, trained RN". For whatever reason, they hand wrote that in even though there wasn't a blank for it on the form. I've been informed that although my application has been destroyed, this receipt document will pass as a Guyana nursing license until the paperwork can be resolved and I am issued a formal license. I actually applied the first time for this license before I came to Guyana 3 1/2 years ago and was told one year later that more documents were needed. So, you can see why we are so happy.

God is ultimately in control. He has worked so many miracles for us thus far. I'm sure the next miracle is just around the corner.

Thank you for your prayers,

Joy

James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-227-2184
http://www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org/


874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Malaria Outbreak!

There has been a severe outbreak of malaria in Shea Village. Last Wednesday my father in law and I flew down to Region 9 to install screens on the doors and windows of the Shea Health Clinic. Three weeks ago when I visited Shea, there was a small outbreak of Malaria, but I assumed that everything was under control.

I assumed wrong…

When we arrived, the captain of the village met us at the airstrip with the grim news that the confirmed cases had ballooned from 34 to 84 in our absence. That is almost a quarter of Shea’s entire population! The captain said that this kind of outbreak is very unusual. In a normal year a couple people will catch the disease, but it never reaches epidemic levels.

The government has sent a microscopist to the village, and he is presently treating the infected villagers with medications. But he spends most of his day laying around the clinic waiting for people to show up.

Fewer than 10% of the villagers have mosquito nets for their hammocks. Some of the nets really need to be replaced since they have gaping holes in them. But the worst part of the crisis is that nothing is being done to control the mosquitoes and their breading environments!

So, what can be done?

First thing tomorrow morning, I’m going to call around to see if there is a fogger we can borrow. The chemicals are pretty cheap, but the foggers are expensive. In the mean time, while we are waiting to find out about the fogger I'm going to get a pump action sprayer and see if I can do some manual spraying with that. I won't be able to cover as much area as with a fogger, but at least we have to try. This would eliminate most of the adult mosquitos.

Second, I’m hoping to get some mosquito nets for the infected, this is going to be a little challenging since there are so many of them. Mosquito nets play a key role in controlling the spread of the disease. Depending on how many nets we get, we’ll probably focus primarily with infected individuals in healthy families. This is the highest risk.

Thirdly we’ll get some mosquito repellant for those with the disease. I noticed that the villagers like to socialize together in the evening after a long day’s work on the farm. They don’t realize the huge risk they are taking since the Anopheles Mosquito feeds primarily in the early evening.

Finally, I hope to do a little public awareness about the disease to help the people protect themselves against infection.

The challenge will be to get all these items together and fly them out to Shea by nightfall tomorrow.

Is there a risk of getting Malaria? Sure… There’s always possibility that I could be infected with malaria myself. But how can we effectively share the gospel if we remain a safe distance during their time of need.

I pray that God will use this crisis situation to open many hearts to the good news of the gospel. People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.

Please pray that God would place a hedge of protection around me as I go down
tomorrow.

God bless

James


James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-227-2184
www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org

James & Joy Ash
Gospel Ministries International
Project Name: Guyana Aviation Evangelism
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Incredible Weekend in Shea

I knew the moment the wheels touched down in Kamarang that I had six minutes to unload the airplane, pick up the Bible worker and be airborne.

As I shut off the engine, I scanned the airstrip for sign of the Bible worker. Far in the distance, I saw his lonely figure walking toward the airplane, without his bag.

I groaned - my goose was pretty well cooked. I had no choice but to overnight in Kamarang Village. I had just enough gas in the airplane to get to Lethem the next day. I would need to buy more gas, and pick up a few supplies before I could go on to Aishalton and Shea.

The next morning, I called my wife on the ham radio to ask what the weather satellite picture looked like. I could hear her voice faintly in the background static, but it was so faint I couldn’t make out her words. "Oh Lord, you have to help us get through!" I breathed. Almost on cue the static cleared for about sixty seconds and Joy’s voice broke through: "Everything is clear… clear in region 8 and 9… except for a few clouds around Kopinang" No sooner did she deliver the message then her voice was gone. "Thank you Lord!!!"

By 9am, we were airborne out of Kamarang, headed for Lethem with a quick stop in Kopinang to drop off Pastor Casey. Joe (Bible Worker) in Kopinang had just concluded a new evangelistic series and he needed the district pastor to conduct the baptisms and help organize the church.

We continued on to Lethem. Lethem is a South American Cowboy town of about 4000 individuals, bordering Brazil. They have many modern amenities, and most importantly gasoline for the airplane.

After fueling up, we were off for Aishalton. There, we dropped off a returning student and picked up Gregory (Bible Worker) and a Shea church member. The flight from Aishalton to Shea was only 13 minutes. By motor bike it takes 2-3 hours.

We landed in Shea just in front of a huge thunderstorm. We barely had time to unpack our gear and hurry inside before the driving rain hit.

About sunset, the church members gathered for a Friday evening service. The church building that the members are presently using is an old thatched roof house that someone has gutted for public use. During the heavy rains the roof leaks in like a sieve. I happened to be under one of those leaky spots when it rained, and needless to say I quickly repositioned myself! In spite of the bad weather, 15 people show up, half of which were children. Some had walked several miles to get there and had to walk back in the dark. Since Shea is so close to the equator, when the sun goes down, it gets dark very quickly.

Fortunately, someone had brought a truck battery, a 15 foot length of wire, and one lone light bulb. There in soft white glow of the 12volt florescent bulb, we welcomed in our first Sabbath together. What an awesome experience!

The church members at Shea are an exciting group of new believers. They all listened intently as I preached Sabbath morning on ‘How to be Ready for the Second Coming’. Gregory is teaching them some hymns out of the Adventist hymnal, but they don’t know very many yet. They love to sing, and really come alive when they sing the gospel songs in their dialect (especially the kids!).



Sabbath afternoon at A.Y. (Adventist Youth), Gregory taught them about stewardship. He emphasized the meaning of true stewardship as being more than merely giving money. I shared a couple stories and illustrations from my life. After the program finished something very special happened. The people didn’t want to go back home! In fact they did a little impromptu concert just for us! Everyone (including us) had to get up front and share a song or two. Several hours later we finally wrapped everything up.

Sunday morning the weather, and my emotions, were mixed. I could see that the weather was beginning to change for the worse and I was worried that I might not be able to get out. On the other hand, I really wanted to meet with the captain and council before leaving the village. Out in these villages, no one seems to be in a rush.

Eventually, the captain and council members showed up and we talked together outside under a cashew tree. We discussed the up coming move and the modifications that are needed in order to make the health clinic habitable. The building is in good condition but when it rains water comes through the windows soaking the floor. We also found out that the 30-year-old well outside only produces two buckets of water during dry season. Not good.

The council’s main question to me was "How soon can you come?". A day before we arrived they had just encountered a fresh malaria outbreak (34 people) and were desperate for a full time health worker. Fortunately, the regional health office sent some medical personnel to help test and treat the people. Things appeared to be under control by the time we left.

Malaria is an issue during rainy season in Shea Village, but most of the cases occur in the outer lying farm areas. Even so, we’re taking precautions and will be putting screens on the clinic windows.

I told the council that our plan is to be completely moved down by July 20. As we concluded our meeting together, we all bowed our heads and prayed for the Lord’s blessing.

The weather from Shea to Aishalton went from bad to worse and I ended up landing in a light rain storm, but there was sunshine in my soul. It was clear that God had moved in a mighty way over the course of the weekend and we were excited to be a part of it.

James & Joy Ash
Gospel Ministries International
Project Name: Guyana Aviation Evangelism
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842