|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
Monday, March 29, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
"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!
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!
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.
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.
James & Joy Ash
874 South McDonald SW
Monday, March 15, 2010
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.
James, Joy, Jenna
James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842