Sunday, November 28, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Called from the Pulpit


Yesterday I was preaching a message at the new little Adventist Church in Shea when a young lady appeared at the back of the church and started waiving her hands animatedly.  It was the wife of my translator, so he quietly excused himself to go see what was the matter.  I tried to continue my sermon without translation, but by this time my train of thought was pretty well derailed.  A minute or two later he whispered in my ear, "There's a medical emergency in Marurinau and they need the airplane to fly the patient to the hospital". 

Question to you - What would you do in this situation?  Do you continue preaching and finish your sermon hoping the patient doesn't die on you?  Or do you leave your audience hanging mid-sentence and race out the door?  I tried to strike a happy medium, closing off the message in a few well placed sentences, and with a closing prayer.  I must admit that it wasn't the smoothest conclusion, but it worked - and people understood

The young girl who came to inform us had run the 5 miles from Marurinau to Shea.  Fortunately and the kids with her didn't have to run back because we covered the 5 miles in 2 1/2 minutes.

The man was elderly (late 60's), had lost a fair amount of blood, had bloody saliva, and was feeling cold in his lower extremities (possible shock).  Joy sent me off with some IV supplies to start an IV, because someone had said that a nurse might be at the airstrip.  As it turned out she didn't show up.  Looking around at the villagers I could see the tense look in the faces of people who came to see the patient off.  They were deeply concerned that he might not make it.  One of the villagers turned to me and said, "We're sorry to bother you on your Sabbath".  I looked him in the eye and as convincing as I could be said, "Hey... That's why we're here...  We're here to serve.  It doesn't matter what day it is". 

After the patient and his wife were strapped in, I debated what to do.  I couldn't raise either of the two hospitals on the HF radio.  So I decided to go to the field hospital in Aishalton since they could get an IV going and monitor his condition.  The only problem is how to alert them I'm coming?

I decided to fly over the hospital and circle it until someone decided to come out.  Othere than a couple construction/maintenance workers who were milling around, it looked pretty desolate.  A couple minutes after I landed, the Medex showed up on his motorbike to find out what was going on.  I told him about the patient, and after assessing him he decided to keep him for the night.  Today we transported the same patient out to Lethem to the main hospital.  Please pray for Valentine P.

Not too long ago I had another interesting experience. 

Here in Guyana, the air regulations state that in order to be able to fly into an airstrip in the interior, you must first fly into the airstrip with another experienced pilot who has been there before. 

Every time our chief pilot Gary Roberts comes to Guyana we try to train on new airstrips so that we can increase the reach of our ministry.  Anyway, not long ago I was getting a new airstrip checkouts to Achwib and Sowariwau.   The airstrips weren't particularly difficult, and we finished the checkout back in Shea.  That evening Joy and I packed up our stuff and flew to Lethem.

The next morning my cell phone began to ring.  It was the Lethem hospital stating that there was an emergency in Achwib Village.  A young man had gotten his face sliced open in a drunken fight, and was needing to be flown out.

Immediately we responded by flying to the field hospital in Aishalton to pick up the field doctor before flying the 15 minutes to Achwib.  The boy had a huge gash on his left jaw, nearly down to the bone.  By the time we landed a huge number of people were standing around watching.  The doctor immediately started an IV on him and started doing an assessment of the injury.  Fortunately the knife hadn't cut any nerves or tendons.  It was basically a stich job. 

So back to the hospital we went where the boy would be sutured up. 

The next day the doctor told me that the wound had sutured up nice, and the boy would only have a thin little line to remind him of what had happened that night.  

We don't know when the call might come.  But God does, and its experiences like this that serve as reminders that the Lord is only but a step in front of us.

Must fly some boxes of medications to Aishalton, and then back to Shea.

God bless,

James

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

Sunday, November 7, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Expanding Fronts

This last Sabbath was our first worship service in the new church.  I was a little worried that we would get lost in the building, so I encouraged the members to invite a friend.  One small oversight...  I forgot that we didn't have enough benches!  Many people happily sat on the new concrete floor for the service. 

One of our church members is from a neighboring village five miles to the South.  This village (Marurinau) is staunch Catholic and has steadfastly opposed other church groups building a church in their village.  But we'll be starting a bible study group in the home of our member, and eventually this will include weekend services.  Who says we need a church building!  We are the church!

As time goes by I hear of other strange groups that are making evangelistic overtures in other villages.  Just recently we heard of a strange new group that has come to Rupinau just an hour away from us.  This group purports to have a prophet who has the OT Shekinah Glory following him around.  They've been handing out CD's of this guy preaching.  I listened to half of one message, which was just enough to determine that this guy was completely out to lunch.  But the sad reality is that many of these dear Amerindians don't have a firm bible base and they have a hard time determining the difference between a true and a false prophet. 

This week I plan to fly over to Rupinau to visit with the village toshao, but I also want to meet with the family that is getting all mixed up with these erroneous doctrines.

Please pray for our work.  Nothing comes easy.

Nothing...

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, November 3, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Church building Shea Style

Here are some pictures of the new church
1.  Carrying Sand five hundred feet from the sand pit to the church site.  We had 3 tractor loads of sand transported to the church site, but as the contractors continued to work, that sand disappeared in a hurry.  It became clear that we needed to get another 50 wheelborrows of sand.  The church members rose to the occasion.  Some of the members started at midnight, and others at 3am.  By the time I took this picture at 7:30am we were pretty much done with the sand and one of our members was goofing around carrying his wife in the borrow.
 
2.  We had to dig backfill for the stage area.  After the sand was complete we all started digging and filling in the stage area.  Some didn't have even a bucket, so they used old cement sacks, bucket lids, pots, etc. 
 
3.  This is the backfill compactor.  Fairly primative, but very effective!  After a while of doing this, the arms complain!  I would do this a while and then jump around and give my legs a workout.  Of course everyone thought that was the funniest thing in the world, and they laughed and laughed.
 
4.  By 9am this last Sunday we were all done and ready for breakfast!  Notice the new cement floor at the bottom of the picture.
 
5.  When our bible worker made the temporary doors, they were an inch to big.  As you can see in the picture, its no big deal if you have a Stihl 051.
 
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] It happened again

Well it happened again. 

I came out with a medevac yesterday only to find out that there's a mini-fuel shortage in Lethem again!  Had to overnight to wait for more trucks to arrive from Georgetown.  I've gotta do something about this, because this is getting crazy!

I'm excited to announce that the interior of the Shea Church is done!  Praise God.  In about two weeks, the roof was put on, the interior walls completely plastered, and the floor and rostrum poured.  The professionals that we hired from Aishalton to help with the project, did it for a discount since, the one guy is related to our bible worker. 

Most of our members pitched in, working long hours hauling sand and mixing cement.  Some of them worked 12am to 3am so that the contractors would have the sand they needed.  Now that's commitment!  The contractors themselves worked till midnight one night with a small generator and a couple bare light bulbs so that they could do the entire floor in one pour.  The next day the one guy showed up at the health clinic to get his fingers wrapped.  The lime in the cement had made his fingers pretty raw.

One day we hired the tractor to come from a neighboring village to get some loads of sand.  I was going to hire some guys in the village to come and help load the trailer, but there wasn't a sober guy in the village.  (Sigh)  That's one of the terrible scourges of our village.  It's become so bad that Shea has built up a reputation for being an alcoholic village.  We need a twelve step program in the worst way, especially for the men.  I'm dead serious when I say, that I don't know if a single day or night goes by that there isn't a party going on somewhere in the village. 

Since we couldn't hire any guys we had 4 guys pitching sand from 11am to 4:30pm.  It was brutally hot, but we were able to get the job done, by the grace of God.

There's still quite a bit of finishing work to do.  We've got an Out-house to build, the outside walls to plaster, paint, inside & outside, pews to build, chairs for the rostrum, a pulpit, windows to install, etc. 

We're hoping to have a church dedication by the early part of this next year.

Must run,

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, October 21, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] SMS from 881631851557@msg.iridium.com

shea update = church walls plaster today. zink roof also goes on today. trying 2 set up sm. engine pump 2 bail our well. out of water & lots of sandfls @

NOTE: TO WRITE TO JAMES & JOY, SEND EMAIL TO: ashjam7@yahoo.com
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Pictures from the Trip

Here's some pictures from our trip across the Caribbean to Guyana.

#1 - My cousin Luke and I somewhere over the blue green waters of Nasau
#2 - Lifting off into the golden sunrise of our first leg in our trek across the "pond"
#3 - The islands of Grenada
$4 - Home sweet home - Shea Village.
$5 - Reality hits - Time to bail the well.

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, October 10, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Correction...

I would like to correct a slight error in the previous GMR that I sent out.  Simple Church ministries website is located at...


Please contact them if you are interested in the idea of church at home.

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, October 6, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Flying to Guyana #3

After a week of hard travel we're finally back in Georgetown.  It's hard to describe the feelings of gratitude to God for bringing us safely over the 4830 miles that we flew in the last seven days.

Thursday (Sept. 23) - I had a lot of little errands to run, and things to wrap up before the trip.  Details, details details- so many details to look after.  I managed to get a test flight in with Gary Roberts to get a better feel for the plane.  And later that afternoon we ended up flying the airplane down to Laurel Brook Academy to check out the new airstrip that they have.  

Friday (Sept. 24) - The plan was to leave mid morning some time to get down to Florida before night.  But...  as normal, we severely underestimated what it would take to wrap everything up.  At about 5pm we lifted off and turned toward Leesburg Florida.   The flight down was pretty much standard until the last 60 miles or so, and then we had to dodge thunder storms the last little bit.  It was sure nice to have Jacksonville Center on the radio, and they safely guided us around the worst cells.

A very good pastor friend of mine (Milton Adams) picked us up at the airport.  He had planned to come pick us up at the airport at 3:30pm, but just as he was about to walk out the door, his computer happily announced that there was an email.  It was from me, informing him that I was delayed and would get in at 7:30pm.

Saturday (Sept. 25.) My cousin Luke and I had church with the house church that meets in his home.  I have to say that it's a very unique experience, quite unlike anything else I've experienced.  Milton is developing this house church movement presently they've seen an explosion of growth with over 11 churches started.  His website is www.simplechurch.com

Saturday night there was a flurry of activity.  We at much to do and very little time to do it. One of my big dilemmas was that I needed a Low Altitude Enroute Chart for the Caribbean. I had originally banked on being in Forida on during the day and on a week day.  

So I started calling around to see if any 24 hour Fixed Base Operators located near Opalaka Florida had any Charts to sell.  After quite a while of calling I was fortunate enough to find one who had a Caribbean Instrument Chart.  

After filling out our international flight plan and online customs departure, we headed for the airport at midnight.  The night was calm and the flight was smooth as glass.

Sunday (Sept. 26) - The flight to Ft. Lauderdale Exec. was breathtaking as we watched the lights of Southern Florida glide beneath us.  We picked up the Instrument Chart and 10 gallons of gas before we pushed on to Opalaka to finish our preparations.

I had forgotten what a huge airport Opalaka International Airport was, and trying to find our way around around the taxiways at night didn't help.  We managed to go down a couple dead ends until finally we found a 24 Hour Fixed Base Operator (FBO) and looked at a map.  

By 6am we had the airplane completely fueled and tested the auxillary fuel pumps to make sure they would work inflight.  Time to fire up and taxi to our departure runway.  One little snag.  We couldn't raise Miami Center on the ground.  Hmmm.  Ok - Try it in the air.   Several minutes later we were airborne and contacting Miami Center.  Soon they gave us a heading and we were climbing up to 9000 feet on our way to Providentialles Airport in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Second problem - I can't activate my flight plan.  It was a friend's GPS and I was so tired after spending all night awake that I was having trouble activating the flight plan that I had programmed the night before.  After a few minutes and prayers, the Lord helped us activate the appropriate plan in the GPS and we were headed toward the intersection we had been cleared to.  

Luke slept the first 45 minutes, and then we traded off.   It was sure nice to have another guy along to fly the airplane.  The airplane worked like a charm and the flight was absolutely incredible.

From Provo we flew on to Beef Island, stopping for the night and visiting a friend we had there.  Since the customs didn't open until 7:00am the next morning we decided to file our flight plan and fuel the airplane before going to the hotel.  It's a good thing we did that because the next morning we didn't get off immediately.  

To my knowledge I have never experienced mosquitos like at Beef Island that night.  They were absolutely horrible.  We didn't have much of a choice, and kept slapping as we moved.

Monday (Sept. 27) - 4:45 am the alarm goes off and the day begins.  We felt better than the day before, but both of us were thankful that we didn't have to do a one man marathon. 

As I processed our outgoing papers, Luke finalized his tickets for his return to the States.

By 8am we were lifting off for Grenada.  Once again the flight went really smoothly and we arrived in Grenada with plenty of time.  I was very glad to have a faster airplane because if I didn't, I wouldn't have made sunset in Guyana.

On the route from Grenada to Guyana, we weren't able to contact contact the air traffic controller at Trinidad.  I tried probably a dozen times without success, wondering what to do.  Other people appeared to be having the same problems as well, and since we could all communicate with each other we figured it was their problem, not ours.  We continued on our flight and soon they sorted out the problem.

We arrived back in Timehri Airport in Guyana 15 minutes before sunset.  All I can say is that the God we serve is an awesome God, and we are very thankful for his rich mercies to us during this long journey.

I'm thankful to be back in the village with my wife and kids.  They've been pretty sick, but God has been blessing them, and giving them just enough energy to keep going while I've been gone.

Thank you for all your prayers and moral support.

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, September 23, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Flight to Guyana #2

Tuesday Evening (Sept. 21) - After arriving in Salina we taxied over to a Fix Based Operator (FBO) to try and locate a place to stay for the night.  They were very nice and offered us the free use of a "crew car".  It turned out to be an crotchety old Chrysler, but we weren't complaining!

Trying to find accommodations wasn't the easiest.  Since we were going "economical" we decided to try Motel 6.  I guess I had forgotten what Motel 6's were like.  We looked at two rooms, but finally opted for a refund, and went to Days Inn.  Much much nicer. 

Wednesday (Sept. 22) - Next morning we slept in a little.  We knew we didn't have as far to travel to get to Collegedale TN. 

Because of weather we opted to fly further south toward Memphesis before cutting across to Collegedale.  We stopped at Jonesboro for gas, but after learning that the gas was $4.99 we opted to fly to another airport where it was only $3.59 a gallon.  When you fill up 45 gallons at a shot, it makes a huge difference.

By 7pm Eastern Time we were circling for landing at Collegedale. 

Thursday (Sept. 23) - Today we spent the whole day playing around with the airplane and testing it out.  Tomorrow we'll finish up our errands and fly toward Florida.  Luke and I will spend the weekend with a pastor friend of mine, and then early Sunday morning we'll shoot out across the water toward Guyana.

Thank you for your prayers.

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] Trip to Guyana #1

Here's an update on our long trip to Guyana.  

Monday (Sept. 20) - Everyone was working hard to get the airplane ready to go.  Our original goal was to depart early Sunday morning, but we kept encountering things to do. When it comes to airplanes, there is an endless list of things to do.  Mike, Larry, and Andy (the mechanics) did an awesome job getting the airplane ready to fly.

By 4pm Luke (my cousin) and I were airborn.  First stop - Mt. Hood.  I was going to scatter the ashes of my Grandparents on the eastern slope of Mt. Hood as they had requested, but true to its name, "Hood was under the hood".  So unfortunately we had to abandon the idea and turn toward Walla Walla

Enroute to my brother's house in Walla Walla, we dropped in to see a good friend in the Dalles. 

Tuesday (Sept. 21) - Day started at 3am.  Checking weather and planning the route of flight.  By 5:30 we were out the door heading for the airport.  As the sun was rising into the sky, so were we.  Our rout of flight - head South Westerly toward Boise and cut across.  Weather was absolutely fabulous!  Hardly a cloud in the sky.


Over the rockies we did encounter some turbulence which cause some airsickness, but we made it safely to Salina by nightfall.  Off to our left was a massive thunderstorm.  It put on quite the firework display.  

To be continued...

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

Monday, September 20, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Flying to Guyana

We're beginning our journey to Guyana with the new Cessna 182. 
You can track our progress on the internet through our little Spot Transmitter.  The link is
 
 
We'll have stories on our blog.  www.guyanaaviationevangelism.org
 
Thank you for your prayers.
 
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, August 18, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Stretched but not broken

We're stilling hanging in here.

Our two little girls are doing fine in Shea, except when it comes to sleep.  On average Joy and I are waking up 4 times a night to tend to them.  I pray that this doesn't continue too much longer.  We need some serious sleep!

There is a terrible fuel shortage in Lethem.  It's very difficult to get any sort of flying gas for a reasonable amount.  Those who do have will only sell it for $8 US a gallon.  We do what we have to do, but its cutting pretty deeply at this moment.

I wish the devil would lighten up and take a vacation, but no such luck.  When we got out to Shea we discovered yet another set of problems.  Sigh...  One of our members has become involved with another mans wife, and now the whole village has become aware of it, and are asking the toshao to stop work on the church.  We've had a good talk with all parties, and I think the immediate crisis is over, but the problem is still very serious.  Please pray for us.

We're working on getting more livable living arrangement.  We've already finished a shower house, and are working on installing a sink and some plumbing.

I need to run.  Thanks for all your prayers in our behalf.

Must fly...

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, August 4, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] "What is in thine hand?"

This is a very interesting question that God asked Moses in Ex. 4:2.  I'm sure Moses must have stared at his rod wondering if this was a trick question.

The obvious answer was that it was "just a rod", but strangely enough the rod turned out to be more than a glorified stick.  Throughout Moses' ministry you see the "rod" surface again and again, and in each situation it does extra ordinary things.

What does this have to do with our ministry?  Three weeks ago we returned to Guyana, minus an airplane.  We didn't have any good means of transporting ourselves out to the bush, and even if we did, we would be stuck without the disposal of an aircraft.  

Well the Lord has provided one.  There is a little Cessna 150/150 tail dragger that has been sitting on the ramp at Ogle Airport.  A week ago David Gates arrived in Georgetown for a few days, and to make a long story short he was able to take time from his busy schedule to check me out in this aircraft.  

Tomorrow we plan to fly down to Region 9 to once again take the gospel torch into the darkness.  It's not easy.  There seems like an infinite amount of things to do to get ourselves out to Shea, but I praise the Lord that we have this great opportunity.

And yes, some people may see this as simply a Cessna 150 with a bigger engine, but I have no doubts that this aircraft will continue to do many extra ordinary things for God.

We have to keep going forward with what is in our hand.

The second bit of good news is that we just received word today that the Cessna 182 that is being prepared up in the States has been officially approved by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority for work in Guyana.  When the airplane arrives in the country it can immediately enter into service.

We praise the Lord for his incredible mercies to us.

God bless,

James, Joy, Jenna & Julianna

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 3, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] "We're seizing your bus!!!"

I stared at the officer in disbelief.
"What?"
"We're seizing your bus!" the officer repeated  "We have orders from the Supreme Court of Guyana to seize this bus and take it down to the courthouse" the officer told me as he hopped in the front seat, and unlocked the sliding door so two other marshals could get in.

At first I didn't believe him.  Surely this was a huge mistake, or even worse still a scam.  Guyana is infamous for both, and I was not going to fall for their ploy.  It was late Wednesday morning.  I had driven down to the Guyoil Gas Station on Sheriff Street to pick up fill up our six gas jugs for the airplane.   David Gates, our director, was only a block and a half away, finishing up a conversation with some missionaries, and in a few minutes we would rendezvous and drive out to the airport together.

"I think you have the wrong people"  I said calmly "Who are you trying to locate?"
The officer pulled out a sheaf of papers and flipped to the back page he asked, "Is the license of this bus PJJ1896?"

"Yes it is."  I replied.  "Then we have strict orders to drive it down to the courthouse immediately"  The officer stated emphatically.  "It is under a levy from the Supreme Court of Guyana."

By this time the cars behind me were impatiently honking their horns for me to pull forward so they could get gas.  My mind was grasping for the right words to say to these men.  Finally I decided to pull forward, buying myself some precious seconds to come up with a viable game plan. 

"Look" I said turning to the police man "I'll need to drive over to the mission house to pick up the director of our program."

"NO!" the man shot back "We are not allowed to let this bus go to another location.  You must drive it immediately down to the Supreme Court, or we will seize control and take it down ourselves"

"Ok"  I said as I shut off the ignition "I'll do what you want me to do, but before I can go anywhere I'll need to make a phone call to the director.  My cell phone is out of credit."  I got out of the van and started toward the station to buy a phone card.

"Stop!!!  I'm warning you!  If you take the keys to the van we'll call a tow truck and have the van towed at your expense"  

Realizing that I was inches from a major explosion, I froze in midstride.

{Oh Lord!  Please give me the right words to say} I breathed as I slowly walked back to the van.

"Look" I said  "Calm down, calm down…  You have the wrong people.  We're not who you think we are.  But… I recognize that you have a job to do today.  You must insure that this bus goes down to the Supreme Court.  I assure you that I will drive it down to the Supreme Court, but you are making things very difficult for me.  I cannot answer all your questions.  So you must first allow me to drive a block and a half to pick up our director, and then we will go to the court house."

When the officer heard that I was willing to comply with their request, he relaxed and off to the mission house we went.

At my request, David and Warren came outside to try to talk with the marshals to solve the misunderstanding.  As they were futilely presenting their case, another light was beginning to dawn in my mind. 

Two years ago I was randomly looking through a little metal filing cabinet at the flight base when I stumbled across the original paperwork documenting the incorporation of Guyana Adventist Medical Aviation Service.  All of a sudden this flashed into my mind.  Maybe, just maybe this would satisfy the powers that be, and they would let us off the hook. 

Unfortunately they wouldn't allow us to drive anywhere else except the courthouse, so reluctantly, David and I drove the bus down to the courthouse and surrendered the key.  By this time is was raining cats and dogs, and the outlook looked pretty bleak.

On the way down town we asked the marshals what we could do to get the van "out of jail".  They informed us that there were only two people authorized to release the van was the court registrar, and the lawyer representing the plaintiff.   By the time we arrived the plaintiff's lawyer was on his lunch hour, so we decided rather than kill time waiting, to catch a taxi back to the hospital to try and find the document showing the incorporation of GAMAS.  Maybe he would see the light and let us off the hook.

We searched carefully through the cabinet, digging fruitlessly through file after file of receipts, letters, manuals, important documents, and the like.  Just before 1pm I found the precious documents.  David and I ran out the door to flag a taxi. 

The plaintiff's lawyer arrived back at his office close to 1:30pm, brushing right past us without a word and into his dilapidated office.   Soon his secretary came out and informed us that, "Mr. Chase can't help you.  You will need to get a lawyer to assist you in this matter."

Since we were less than a block from the courthouse, we decided to try the registrar. We showed our documents, explained our situation and asked for assistance.  This time they did listen sympathetically.  There appeared to be some disagreement amongst them as to what to do.  But in the end, the answer was the same.  "We can't release the bus without an order from the court.  You will need to hire a lawyer."

Sigh…

So to a lawyer we went.  The law offices in Georgetown are all within two blocks of the courthouse and so after placing a few phone calls we decided to go to the law office of Boston and Boston. 

Mr. Boston graciously ushered us into his office and invited us to have a seat.   After David and I explaining the situation to him he said that he would have to file an "interpleeder" document with the court to appeal the seizure of the bus.  He called in one of his secretaries to make some photocopies of our documents.  He then turned to us with a gracious smile, stating he could do it for a small fee of $180,000 Guyana dollars ($900 USD).   We were floored.  David explained the status of our organization as made up of volunteers.  The man didn't miss a beat, "Ok, I'll do it for only $150,000 ($750 USD).   Again David explained what we were doing and asked for consideration of this.  He then decided that he would give us his service for $125,000 ($625 USD).   David paused for a moment of consideration.  Then asking for $100,000 ($500 USD).  The man thought about it and decided that he could do it. 

As we walked out of the office it became clear that this wasn't going to be an easy  or inexpensive process.  We've priced around and the cheapest place wants $250 USD to take the case. 

It appears that we'll have to file an interpleeder, and get a court hearing.  The judge will listen to our case, and then allow the plaintiff to make his case.  The outcome will determine whether we get our van back.   This could take time since everything happens really slowly.

In the mean time we've had to hire multiple taxi's to take us to and from Ogle Airport. 

Please keep us in your prayers.  We feel that this is yet another way the devil is trying to harass us.  But God can work even situations like this to our advantage. 

"All things work together for good, to those who love God, and to those who are called according to His Purpose."  Rom. 8:28

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

Monday, July 26, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Dengue Fever

At times during our lives certain events happen which leave us scratching our head and wondering whether Romans 8:28 is valid, or whether it has expired.

A month ago our family drove 5 hours to Seattle Washington with every intent to board the airplane that would take us to New York, and then on to Guyana.  But after standing in an unbelievably long line, we encountered complications with the baby's paper ticket.  We tried to reason with the agent, and even offered to pay for an extra ticket so we wouldn't miss our flight.  But to no avail... 

Almost in tears we walked back to the car, and retraced the long journey home.  How come this happened? 

Here's just one reason...

A week ago our bible worker called me from Lethem, and told me the bad news.  He had contracted Dengue Fever.  Dengue Fever is spread by day feeding mosquitoes, and since the rains have been falling incessantly in Lethem, the mosquito populations have been thriving.  The illness includes strong fevers and body aching.  There is no cure for Dengue, and like a bad flu virus, it just has to be endured.  Certain strains of the disease are extremely deadly.

As I was listening to Jacob tell about his "woes" all of a sudden it struck me.  Two weeks prior we would have traveled straight from Georgetown to Lethem.  With the road to Shea washed out, we would have been stuck at the mission house Lethem, and almost certainly, most of us would be sick at this moment with Dengue.

But God in his mercy allowed two things to happen.  First he delayed our arrival in Guyana by two weeks, and then he sent such a deluge of rains that the only road from Georgetown to Lethem washed out, preventing traffic from passing.  So we've had to say here in Georgetown for an extra two weeks. 

God truly sees the end from the beginning, and occasionally he allows us to encounter trials and hardship if it will bring honor and glory to His name.  But at other times, in  mercy, He throws road blocks into our path so that we can continue to move forward in good health and with grateful hearts.

Please pray for our Amerindian bible worker (Jacob) that he would make a rapid recovery because he's been sick for over a week and he's still not fully recovered.

God bless,

James, Joy, Jenna, Julianna

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, July 15, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] (no subject)

We're back in Guyana. (Really, truly!)

The plane that was to fly us from New York to Guyana was delayed 1hr. 30min. due to president Obama's departure.  I guess everything grinds to a halt when the president drops in for a visit.

We eventually landed safely in Cheddi Jaegan International Airport at 8:30am last Friday, and stepped off the plane to be greeted to a blast of hot and muggy tropical air. 

After 16 hours of continuous travel with a red eye special to finish us off, we were pretty spent.  While Joy and the girls crashed at the hospital guest apartment, I decided to hit the streets of Georgetown to check off a few more items of my never-ending-to-do-list. 

By Friday, evening we were nicely camped out in the new "temporary" abode.  Little did we know that the dirt road that winds through the dense jungle and mountains from Georgetown to Lethem had been washed out at Mabura.  And from the pictures in the local newspaper, they haven't even begun to repair it!  The rains are still falling off and on, the local people say that it will be this way till the end of the month.

The bible worker also informed us today over the HF Radio that the road to Shea is also washed out in a couple places and only tractors with experienced drivers can pass.  The last one carrying school children took 3 days to make an 8 hour trip.  The Savanna's are saturated and in some cases flooded with rain.  Streams and rivers which used to be but a trickle during dry season, are now raging torrents.  Airplanes are the only transportation that can effortlessly get in and out.  There's only one other full-time pilot down in region 9 so even air travel is in short supply.

There is some good news though.  Malaria appears to be under control in Shea.   That is good because during rainy season with limited transportation, malaria drugs can be in short supply. 

Even more miraculous is the report that the new church has sustained almost no rain damage to the unprotected walls!  It's almost as if our Heavenly Father has allowed heaven's floods gates to open, but at the same time put a sheltering hand over the new church building.  It will still be many weeks before we can get the zinc up to Shea but with your continued prayers, the church will come through in fine order.

We praise the Lord for the progress on the new airplane.  I just got word that they are presently fitting up the wing tip extensions.  Once this is completed, it will be painted and the last items will be finished up and the plane will be ready to for its pilgrimage south.

It will take some time to get it approved by the Guyanese government for work in Guyana, but with each day that goes by we're getting closer to the end goal. 

What does that mean for our immediate plans?  We're going to see if we can arrange some sort of air travel to Lethem and hopefully Shea Village but this might be a bit of a challenge.  We're exploring all our options, and praying for direction. 

Take care,

James, Joy, Jenna, and Julianna

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, June 11, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] The Unsung Missionary Mechanics

In a society where too often cash is considered to be "king", I find it very refreshing to finds a few pockets of people who resist this notion, and are willing to freely give of their time and talents.

Two such individuals that I have very high regard for is Mike and Larry at Northwest Air Tech in Kelso, Washington.

Mike and Larry are both licensed airplane mechanics.  They've been working hard to prepare the Cessna 182 to fly back down to Guyana, South America.  Balancing commercial customers and volunteer work can be kind of tricky at times when bills begin to stack up, but that is exactly what these guys are doing. 

Multiple times this last few weeks Mike didn't leave the shop until 8:30pm or later, just so he could keep on this missionary project.  With the precision of a general surgeon, Mike has been cutting and fitting the leading edge wing cuff (seen in the picture).   It is truly a work of art and the picture hardly does it justice.

Larry on the other hand has spent a good majority of the last two weeks with his nose under the dash of the plane.  He's carefully removed all the 60's vintage electrical wiring and is meticulously rewiring the entire instrument panel (a true labor of love!!)

These men are not the kind of guys who draw attention to themselves.  In fact, very few people know what they're doing, and the sacrifices they're making.  They truly embody the true missionary here in America.

Many have asked us when we're planning to go back to Guyana.  We feel torn.  We would like to wait until the airplane is complete, but Shea Village has been without their health care worker for 3 months, and we feel we need to get back ASAP.  Later when the airplane is completed I'll most likely return to the States to fly it back down.

Blessings to you all. 

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

Sunday, April 18, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] News Flash! - Shea Church

We just received pictures within the last hour from our bible worker.  These pictures show the new Shea Church under construction. 

As you can see the walls and concrete columns are in place!  It's exciting to see the tangible results of a lot of prayer and hard work.

But right now the rains are falling in Region 9 and the bible worker is really concerned that they might soften the concrete blocks and mortar.

PLEASE -  take a moment right now to pray earnestly that God would hold back the rains until we can get a zinc roof installed. 

The good news is that that rafters for the roof is already cut and ready to use, and we have about $1200 USD in our building fund, but we need and additional $2743 USD to purchase the zinc sheets for the entire church and sabbath school building.  This also includes and additional 40 additional sacks of cement to complete the concrete work and the hire of a truck to take all the materials out to Shea.

If you would like to be a part of completing this exciting project, please email me personally, and I would be glad to share with you a breakdown on the individual costs. 

My email: ashjam7@yahoo.com

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Sincerely

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

Monday, March 29, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] The Littlest Ash

The Ash tree just sprouted another twig.

Julianna Elise Ash was born Friday evening at 5:59:50 at a water-birth center in Tualatin Oregon.  She was 9lbs 1oz.

Thank you for your prayers and support

James, Joy, Jenna, Julianna

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, March 24, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Flyin Home

"The journey of four thousand miles begins with a prayer..."

Every pilot who has an adventurous spirit and enjoys flying cross country, dreams of one day island hopping through the Caribbean.   It is truly a journey like few others, covering vast expanses of cobalt blue ocean, punctuated by an occasional rugged green outcrop.  While we carry an inflatable raft and life jackets for each passenger, we fervently pray that we never have to use them!  


Our journey back home began by skirting up the North coastline of Guyana, bypassing Trinidad and Tobago on our way to the island of Grenada.  The winds were very favorable, and at one point in our decent into Grenada we were approaching 180 knots! 

Brandtley and James flew the airplane while Joy took care of Jenna in the back seat.  At first Jenna was excited to be flying, but as the hours clicked by, her interest wore thin.  Several times during the course of the trip she became very airsick, and at one point she threw up all over her daddy's lap (what are dad's for anyway???).  She finally resigned herself to the trip, and in moments of sheer boredom, she took fiendish delight in kicking the back of James' seat.  


From Grenada, we swung up the chain of islands on our way to "Beef Island" (aka British Virgin Island).  There we met some really nice Adventist Christians that Brandtley had coincidentally met four months before on his flight down to Guyana.  They were so helpful to us, offering to driving us to and from our motel, and even taking us out to eat. 


The next morning we got a very early start.  We knew that the winds were going to be against us pretty much the whole way, and we wanted to make sure we had enough time and fuel to make it up to Florida before nightfall.  


We flew up to Grand Turk Island for a fuel stop and then turned Northwest toward Florida.  Just like we expected, the winds were pretty brutal, slowing us below 90 knots for some of the journey.  But we doggedly plowed on, and barely made it to Opalaka by sunset, and with our minimum fuel requirements.


Oh, what a blessing to be back on American soil again! 

The next day was Friday, so we decided to fly up to Collegedale to spend the weekend.  Since we got a late start, we made it into Collegedale airport just after sunset.  Evonne Richards from Gospel Ministries was there to pick Joy, Jenna, and I up, and we spent a most delightful weekend at their house. 

Sunday morning was clear, cold, and icy.  We got off a little later than we had planned, and enroute Brandtley filed an instrument flight plan.  These extra delays, coupled with heavy head winds, caused us to change our plans.  Our original plan was to fly to Rawlins Wyoming, but as dusk was fast falling and the fuel was getting low, we decided  divert to Laramie instead.

It turned out to be providential that we did, because the next morning soon after takeoff, the prop governor decided (on its own) to stop functioning.  While the airplane could technically fly, it was like driving a car that was stuck in first gear.  We hoped that it would start working again once it warmed up, but no matter how we fiddled with the nob, it refused to work.

Brandtley closed the flight plan and we returned to the Laramie Airport to try and troubleshoot the problem.  Three hours and many phone calls later we discovered what we already suspected, that we needed a new governor.  Hmmm...  What to do?

The mechanic Brandtley called happened to have a Brother that lived 60 miles East of Laramie.  After a few phone calls, they offered to drive the 60 miles to come and pick us up.  We ended up spending three wonderful days with them, enjoying their warm hospitality, sharing mission stories and pictures. 

Looking back now, it's pretty clear.  If we had continued on to Rawlins we most likely would have broken down in Rawlins and missed connecting with this wonderful family. 

Finally on Thursday the new governor arrived by UPS, and in a couple hours the airplane was back together and the new governor working beautifully. 

We were hoping to push all the way to the Pacific Coast, but once again the Lord had another little detour.  Several icy storms were rolling inland from the coastline with 50-60 mph surface winds.   So we opted instead to stop in Walla Walla for the weekend.  James' brother and sister-in-law live near Walla Walla, and were happy to have relatives drop in for an unexpected visit.

Sunday morning we awoke to crystal clear blue skies.  There was no rush since the weather was fabulous, and the flight relatively short.  Shortly after noon we touched down in Tillamook, Oregon. 

We praise the Lord for such a blessed trip.  What was supposed to be 6 day trip, turned out to be 11 days instead.  But we arrived back safely and that's what really matters.

During the trip Brandtley took a picture of the shadow of our airplane as we were flying through a thin cloud layer.  It was one of those Kodak moments.  The angle of the suns rays as it hit the water molecules, created a perfectly round rainbow around the shadow of the airplane. 

Sometimes we forget that God's promises are always surrounding us.  Even when we are suspended in a little tin can with not a hint of dry land in sight, God's faithfulness never lets us go.


God bless,

James, Joy & Jenna


James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
011-592-629-5141
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, March 15, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Final Days in Shea

Well we're back in the States (for a little while). It seems like we've been caught in such a whirlwind of activity which has taken our breath away.

For the last two months Joy was stationed out in Shea and I was riding back and forth on a motor bike since the airplane was out of commission during this time.

Many people have been asking about the church project. I'm pleased to report that the church project has been moving forward. But the devil is putting up a ferocious fight at every turn. One member from the Sand Creek Church came to Shea village to cut rafters for the church. But when he started cutting with his Stihl 051 Chain saw, that's when the problems began. The tree didn't fall right, and when he started cutting up the lumber, his chain broke three times in one hour. Finally in frustration he stopped and began to pray. After that everything began to go smoothly

The same thing happened with our bible worker. When our bible worker started cutting materials, the brand new Stihl chain that I had personally bought started breaking. He borrowed another brand new chain and kept on working. And then the rings on the piston broke. We bought him a new piston and rings and within a week he was happily cutting again. Then the piston and rings gave out again!!! Now it looks like the block might need to be replaced as well as a piston and rings. He borrowed another saw from our other bible worker, and now this saw has broken down!!!

Midway through the cutting, one of the villagers came forward and demanded that we give him some of our boards because we were cutting on his farm area. We had previously asked the Tosaho (captain) of the village for permission, but this person began making a big stink about it that we had to stop. Since we dare not give boards away for fear that the other villagers would try the same trick, we abandoned the site and found another area to cut from. Fortunately it was a bigger log and better wood.

The devil is challenging every inch of progress, because he knows full well that this church is more than just a worship center. It's a training center from which we're planning to reach the rest of the village and the surrounding villages.

So far we've gotten three tracker loads of sand and a load of gravel built up to start the concrete columns. We need about 4 or 5 times this, but everything takes time and effort since almost everything going into the church has to be carved out of the jungle and the ground in 95 degree weather.

The church members are all dirt poor and can't help much financially, but they've been working really hard, and one of the older ladies is carrying sand on her back in a nylon rice sack! Unbelievable!!! Sometimes they'll carry boards out on their backs for 3+ miles in the dead of night! If they get an early start they say they can do two trips (12+ miles)

Before we left, we gave the leaders $150 USD so that the work could proceed. One of the church members from Sand Creek has also come to help with the concrete construction.

During our final week in Shea we had a 7 night Spiritual Revival. Joy preached most of the sermons, and I filled in a few times. Again, we encountered difficulties. Half way through our video projector blew a bulb and stopped working. Fortunately we had a 21" Color TV, and so we just kept plowing ahead. We had a nightly attendance of 35 -50 persons. In a village of 350, that's not too bad! Even the captain/toshao of the village came out to see what was going on.

People are searching for real answers to their real problems. There is a terrible scourge of alcoholism and spousal abuse in Shea. About a month ago, most of the village was drunk, in celebration of republic day. What is interesting is that the toshao believes that this is a sign of a spiritual problem within the village. Even though the village is predominantly Catholic, and he's a staunch Catholic, he admitted that Catholicism hasn't made their village any better. In fact, things have gotten a lot worse, and people are starting to look elsewhere for the answer to their problems. This is why the devil is trying to throw all sorts of road blocks in our way. This is why other religious groups are trying so desperately hard to get their foot in the door. This is also why we have such mixed feeling about coming back for eight weeks.

But this is God's work, and we're only a small part of the bigger picture. In the next couple GMR's we'll tell you about the amazing 4000 mile trip home in a Cessna 172RG. We'll keep you updated on the new preparations to take a Cessna 182 back down to Guyana.

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

Monday, January 11, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Spending New Years Alone

Dear Friends and Family,

Christmas time was a very busy time for James.  It was the week after Christmas that he had to bring back the body of the baby that died.  (As mentioned previously)   It just seemed like one thing and then another was happening to keep him away from Shea, and Jenna and I had been alone for several nights.

The day before New Years I was dealing with another situation of a baby with vomiting and diarrhea who was very very dehydrated.  Fortunately, the regional hospital had sent IV supplies during the week.  I was getting my first opportunity to use them.  As I was preparing my equipment I felt the impression to turn on the radio.  Within a minute or so, James voice came through asking for me to respond.  I instantly felt relieved.  It was later in the afternoon, but I felt that if he came right away he would still have time to evacuate this latest baby to Lethem before dark.  After losing one baby that week I didn't want a repeat.  James told me that he had unexpectedly had to travel to Georgetown and that he was calling me from our flightbase there.  I was pretty shocked and disappointed.  Now, there was no way to get that baby out.  I would just have to deal with the situation by myself.  On the radio, I said, "ok".  Inside my heart just sank and I wanted to cry, but I had a baby to care for so I went inside my house and knelt down to pray for God to help me.  I knew that I couldn't deal with the situation alone.

Jenna stood by my side and watched as I tried desperately to start an IV on that baby.  I prayed and tried my best, but was unsuccessful.  Two veins gave me a flash of blood, but then I couldn't thread the catheter successfully and they blew.  "Oh no!" Now my heart really sank.  In the end, I had to give up.  Thankfully,  the baby was able to still take oral fluids and breastfeed although at ten months of age it was very weak and was having difficulty holding up it's head at times.  I wanted the mother to stay at the clinic so I could keep an eye on her baby during the night.  Unfortunately, the patient room is more like a tool/junk room and the bed has no mattress. (Mucking that out is a project I just hadn't gotten too.)  The mother didn't have a hammock either, so I decided to send her to the place she was staying.  I told her to bring the baby back first thing in the morning.  I also gave her rehydration drinks and medication along with careful instructions. 

I had been expecting a group called the National Association for the Prevention of Starvation (NAPS).  For those of you who aren't familiar with them, they are a mission group from Oakwood University that does relief and mission work around the world.  Anyway, I had made a big pot of lentil soup for them.  Well, since James had been called away (by no choice of his own) they weren't able to fly in with him, so I had this large amount of food with nobody to eat it and no refrigeration.  I asked the kids of this family with the sick baby if they were hungry.  They were famished.  So, I was able to feed them.  I gave them all huge portions and then just to be sure asked if they were still hungry and they said they were.  I felt a little bad because in the process of taking care of Jenna and the baby I forgot to give them more food.  The baby and 3 year old child looked especially malnourished so I knew they weren't getting enough to eat at home. 

Well, I thought to myself,  "The NAPS group won't be coming because James can't bring them and we have all the food they sent to feed themselves on their trip."  So, in the morning instead of waiting for the mother of the sick baby to bring it to the clinic I went out with Jenna to get a lady from our church to translate and we packed a large quantity of the food from those bins into bags and off we went. 

When we got to the house where the family was staying the mother was down bathing so we were able to take a discreet look around.  It was a thatch hut with a dirt floor and some clothes hanging on the walls.  I didn't see any hammocks or other sleeping mattresses.  A fire had just been put out near the door.  A couple of dirty looking puppies were running around the yard.  Jenna wanted to play with them.

When the mother came she had the baby with her.  Surprisingly, the baby had noticeably improved.  He seemed stronger and his fontanel wasn't sunken as far.  I was soooo relieved to see some improvement.  The mother told me he had been taking the fluid and medications.  Through a translator I was able to give the mother some vital education about her child's condition and about malnutrition.  I explained why it was so important for her to eat so that her baby would get what it needed from her breastmilk.  She told us that they had nothing in the house to eat, so they had given the baby tapioca porridge for breakfast.  She thought that this was a fine breakfast!

Wow! I was so thankful that we had been able to have food to bring them.  The family was particularly bad off because the father had been away in Lethem with one of the other sick children.  The mother allowed us to pray with her as well.

I felt good as we left the house, but I was still nervous about that baby.  I was also feeling sorry for myself because Jenna and I were going to spend New Years alone. 

Later that day I was preparing some lunch for Jenna and myself when a truck pulled up in the yard carrying 6 people wearing navy blue shirts that said, "NAPS" on them.  Now I was embarrassed.  I had given their food away.  They were very gracious and glad to help.  It was wonderful not to be alone anymore, especially, since they had brought a doctor with them.  The doctor, a young lady named Marlo, was literally Heaven sent.  It was such a relief to me to be able to talk with her about some of the patients I was worried about and take her to visit the sick baby and its sibling.  We started telling people that an American doctor was there to help people.  In no time at all people started lining up at the clinic to see the doctor.  So, that evening and all the next morning she saw people. 

When we visited the dehydrated baby she agreed with me that he seemed to be improved based on what I had told her.  We had a nice time with the NAPS group and one girl watched Jenna for me so I could spend time with Marlo seeing patients.  They even made an outdoor oven for me, for the purpose of making my own charcoal. 

Well, the next morning the infant had obviously started to worsen again.  Marlo tried to start an IV and it was just impossible.  We decided that that baby just needed to go out to Lethem, so NAPS packed their things and left a little early with the mom and baby.  I was sorry to be alone again, but was so relieved to know that infant would have more advanced care available.

So, you might be thinking, "Why didn't God answer my prayer for help when I was trying to start that IV?"  God did answer my prayer, just not in the way I thought He should.  God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  I don't understand all of the whys and wherefore's but God is working to strengthen my faith in Him.  He has a thousand ways of solving our problems of which we know nothing.  

                                                 "The Lord's our rock,
                                                      in Him we hide,
                                          a shelter in the time of storm."

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

Saturday, January 9, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Joy's World

Dear Friends and Family


Jenna and I just returned from 3 weeks in Shea. James has been in and out doing some medivacs and other things. I have so many stories to share from the last three weeks that I could keep you reading for an hour, but I'll try to keep it short.

Jenna has been getting a serious introduction to medical work for one so young. She loves to be in the clinic with me and sit on my lap while I'm talking to patients. She has a soft heart for sick babies and wants to hold their hands and play with them (much to the consternation of her mother!). I feel torn because I don't want her getting some of the contagious things that patients have, but neither do I want to give them the impression that we don't want to associate with them. So we've reached a compromise, and Jenna has been getting a lot of extra scrubbing in private.

My eyes are really being opened to the true needs of the people. I'm sure a bigger picture will emerge as we experience their culture more and see how they live.

So far, I'm a bit overwhelmed by what I see. The village has about 400 occupants, not all living within the village proper. Last week I had 33 patients.

I'm seeing what a terrible scourge alcoholism is. The parents with this problem spend more of their day drinking rather than farming. In certain families, all the kids are hungry and malnourished. The mothers drink home brewed alcohol while they are breastfeeding and don't eat healthfully themselves. Their babies are thin and malnourished. Then when they become ill they are really sick. On top of the whole problem of alcoholism is the problem of drinking water. We're supposed to be in the middle of rainy season, but it hasn't been raining. It's very dry and some families are drinking stagnant pond water. These ponds are very dirty and the cows and pigs also drink from these ponds. People don't boil the water either. They also don't wash their hands before they eat and eat with their hands. A good number of the kids under 3 appear to have worms.

One particular family lives out in the bush about 4 hours walk from the village center. They don't have a house, just some type of leaf shelter. They have at least 6 kids, all with sad eyes and dejected expressions. The parents are both alcoholics. We sent out the 12 year old girl for suspected Leishmaniasis. She had 5 sores on her legs, one of which she had had for three months and was over 2 inches in diameter. I tried treating the sores with some generic topical medication in the clinic, but it didn't seem to respond. So James took her to Lethem to get IV medication. I also sent out the 10 month old infant to Lethem with the mother from the same family as well because he was weak and dehydrated. He had had a bout of malaria and a couple of bouts of diarrhea and vomiting, all within the last month.

The 3 year old boy in the same family also has a sore on his leg, but I'm hoping it can be treated locally and we won't have to send him out as well! These children are so hungry. The mother confessed to me they had nothing to eat since the father had gone out a couple of weeks earlier to Lethem with the sick daughter. Thankfully, a group from the US had left two big bins of food and I was able to give them a whole bunch of supplies that will hopefully last the children, until the parents return. It just makes you want to cry when you see how some people live.

Most of the families don't live this way, but there are some who are destitute, and living in extreme poverty. The poor families appear to grow only cassava and bananas on their farms. There's lots of room for agriculture education.

There's currently a region wide outbreak of diarrhea and vomiting in children under two years of age. It has been so rampant that the regional field hospital has been running short of liquid medications. In Shea it appears that the problem may be slowing down. I've been trying to spread the word to parents to not wait to bring the children in for treatment. We had to evacuate 3 babies in the last month due to severe dehydration.

Two weeks ago we flew to a village 15 minutes flight away from Shea. Friday night the parents of a sick infant in Shea both went out to a drinking party. Concerned villagers told me the baby was getting worse, but the parents didn't bring it back to see me (for whatever reason). Sabbath morning James and I flew to Sand Creek to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the church. In the hours that we were gone, the baby took a turn for the worst. Still, the mother waited for us to return on Sunday. As soon as I arrived back in Shea, they met us at the airstrip and said, "Please come, a baby is dying, It's getting cold." I went up to the clinic to find this very dehydrated and weak infant. It had a fever, but I was still able to give it medication by mouth and it was still breastfeeding. There was also another child with a fever and abdominal infection who needed to go at the same time so James rushed off to Lethem with both of them. Unfortunately, we found out that the dehydrated baby died 18 hours later at the Lethem hospital. James flew the mother and baby back to the village for the funeral. I cried when they put that small box in the ground. That baby should not have died. I kept thinking, "If only I had IV supplies... If only we hadn't been out of the village... If only the parents had brought her in sooner... If only they had gotten an IV on the baby when it arrived in Lethem". There are a lot of "What-If's" in this kind of situation.

We have emphasized to the villagers that in future if we happen to be out of the village, to please try to contact us on the radio and we will come. We don't want to lose more babies while they wait for us to come back. The good news is that the 3 year old boy with the abdominal infection is doing better. He will have to undergo surgery at some future time to completely solve his problem.

Everywhere we go there are physical and spiritual needs. We're getting ready to come back to the States to have our second child. We're excited because we haven't been back in over a year, but we're reluctant to leave our post of duty.

Sincerely

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