Dear Friends and Family
Here's a few of the most exciting events that have happened in the last six months...
Annointing a Toshao – Three weeks ago I received a call from the Amerindian Hostel asking me to fly a dying Toshao (or village captain) back home to Kurukubaru. The gentleman had come to Georgetown because of apparent liver failure, but sadly there wasn't anything medically that could be done for him. They urgently requested that I fly the man back home before he passed away. When I met him at the airport his stomach was swollen, his skin very yellow, and was visibly in intense pain.
The intriguing part of this whole story is that Region #8 is very strong Catholic area, and Kurukubaru is the central hub of Catholicism. The Jesuit priest who lives in Kurukubaru has a very strong hold over the hearts and minds of those in the region. They have strongly resisted our evangelistic efforts, and have made life difficult for our bible workers in the neighboring village of Paramakatoi. But now in an interesting twist of events they were turning to us for help.
Of course we jumped at the opportunity to help. On the hour and a half flight out to the village, I silently prayed for wisdom to know how to minister to the family and the other villagers. The health post had informed me over the HF radio, that the villagers were already at the airstrip waiting for us. Sure enough, when I landed at the mountainous strip, there were about 40 persons waiting to receive their toshao back home.
I cautiously inquired if the priest was around, since I'd never met the man, and didn't want an embarrassing confrontation. They told me that the priest was still in the village which was a mile away. Then I asked if they would like it if I had a prayer for their toshao. I explained that I was a pastor and would like to pray for his healing. They stood silently there like stone statues while I dug out my Gideon N.T. And a cap full of vegetable oil (since I didn't have any olive oil). Except for the sound of the wind across desolate looking airstrip, there was not a single sound. I shared a short sermon about the two types of healing in the bible. I talked about spiritual healing from the sickness of sin. I went on to explain that it was always God's will to heal our sinful hearts, and that we could have the assurance of eternal life. I also talked about healing from physical sickness and disease and that God was able to heal this man from his present illness.
I prayed for both types of healing and and anointed the toshao with vegetable oil. After the prayer, many people thanked me for praying for their leader. I haven't hear the "rest of the story", but I don't think it was a mistake that I was there that day.
New Van – After three months of pushing and incessant phone calls and visits to the different ministries, we finally got our new van released from the wharf with a duty free concession. What a tremendous blessing the van has been! It saves us huge amounts of time and money in public transportation costs. We were also able to save $7000 USD in importation duties. Guyana has extremely high import duty on even used vehicles.
Paramakatoi Church Project – We're about half way through the church building project in Paramakatoi village. I took out all the seats in my airplane and "trucked" in 52 sacks of cement from Lethem to Paramakatoi village. I also flew in 108 sheets of zinc for the project. For the last month we've been catching our breath. Our bible worker who is overseeing the project has been here in town. But today he flies back into the village on a government flight. On Wednesday I plan to take four other guys into the village and we'll push hard to finish the church in the next six weeks.
Chennapau Church Project – Just a week ago we heard that the village council at Chennapau officially voted to approve building a new Adventist church. The previous toshao had resisted our request for a church building, since he was a member of another church. But four months ago the village had elections, and providentially they voted in a new toshao who happens to be a fringe member of our Adventist group. He really wanted to be baptized in the last series of meeting that we hosted there, but couldn't because he was living with a woman who he wasn't married to. In this country, one of the requirements of marriage is having a valid birth certificate. This has been hard for those who want to be baptized, since they can't baptize them without being married, and they can't get married without having a birth certificate, and they can't get a birth certificate without months of paperwork and repeated inquiries. This man felt so convicted and sad that he couldn't be baptized into the Adventist group that he cried. The Lord must have felt compassion toward him because not only has he gotten his birth certificate, but he's also the newly elected toshao of the village. So now we're looking to start yet another church project in this village. But this will be very different from the last two church projects we've been involved in. The village of Chenapau has large green heart trees all around the village, so all we need to do is fell the trees and cut up the lumber to the appropriate size, and let it cure. It will be a relatively inexpensive church.
Shea Church Project – We've almost completed the whole church project. We just need to plaster the outside of the Sabbath School room and the church, and paint the walls. The we'll be ready for an official church dedication. Thank you again for all those who helped with this project.
Media Ministry – God has been quietly blessing our media ministry. As of this very moment we've burned about 9982 DVD's and about 400 CD's. We now have the capability of burning 4000 DVD's per month. The problem that I'm facing is lack of time. Time, again, and again seems to be our worst enemy. I'm finding it difficult to keep running this vitally important ministry and yet keep up with everything else. Please pray with me for a visionary person to come and expand this ministry, and send DVD's into dark and unentered areas. I'm also looking for someone else who can specialize in producing sermons in audio format.
Print Ministry – For a long time I've had a vision of running a print ministry here in Guyana. With the diverse culture that Guyana presents, we truly need to tailor our literature to the many various people groups. We have Black Africans, East Indians, Chinese, Americans, Amerindians, and Brazillians, just to name some. We have virtually every imaginable type of religious belief, including Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Bahai, and other off shoot Christians. Five weeks ago, a friend of a friend called me out of the blue from the States and explained his vision of seeing a print operation set up here in Guyana. We talked for over an hour and concluded our conversation with earnest prayer for God's guidance in this vision. Since that time, God has provided some of the equipment that we need, and a donor to help purchase it. At this moment there are two high volume laser printers, a folding machine, a paper stack cutter, and an industrial type stapler being prepared for shipping. By God's grace we'll be able to produce and distribute culturally sensitive literature. But once again, we need to find another godly person who can take on this full time ministry
I need to run. I'm presenting our second message on "How to Study the Bible" at the church next to the hospital.
James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
121 Durban Backlands
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842