Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Blood, Sweat, and Tears!

This is from my archives, I was reminded of it this morning during one of our sessions.

If anyone asked me for my opinion ( yeah right! Like I'ld wait to be asked!) on what it takes to be a career missionary, I would answer, "Blood, sweat, and tears!"

It takes years to learn a language and a culture well . A language is picked up long before the culture is truly understood. In most cases, the missionary can attend a language school to learn a rudimentary knowledge of the language, but there is no class room to learn the culture. When dealing with a tribal language it is much more time consuming and the culture of course is totally alien to the western mind.

To learn a tribal language, one must become child like and follow people around and try to imitate sounds with out a clue as to their meaning. Eventually, you will begin to hear the different individual sounds and can transcribe...well, thats another whole blog!

To learn a culture is an important task for the missionary and it takes time, and, as I said, "Blood, sweat and tears!"

BLOOD? Yeah! You have to learn the cultural way of dealing with death. You have to find out their way of mourning and caring for the dead. This can be very different in each culture.

Take the Sanema tribe, I remember the first time I was invited to a "funeral". I walked to the village and found a spot around the huge fire being built. I saw the women screaming and crying and slapping themselves in dispare. I saw them bring out the body wrapped in it's hammock and, I saw them place the body upon the pyre. There is no smell quite like the smell of human flesh being consumed by fire.

At this point, the witch doctor really began to whip it up. I saw the women even more excited. This dancing and crying went on all day...all night... until, at last, the fire was allowed to die.

Not over yet though! Now comes the most important part! The most vital thing one must do for their dead loved ones...the drinking of the bones.

The women scraped through all the cinders, sifting through their fingers every last little bit. Careful to catch each piece of bone left. Then these bits of bone are taken and with a primitive mortal and pestle, are ground to a fine powder. Once this is prepared, it is added to a banana drink and stirred in.

Now, all the immediate family members of the deceased come forward and begin to drink the bones. They pass the gourd around solemnly from one to another. The tiniest baby must swallow some as well. NOW, they can relax and rest in peace! Their departed love one will now be ok!

By drinking the bones, they have guaranteed that their family member will live on in them. Now they will have eternal life by being part of the living. And when the living die, they will be consumed along with them by the next generation.

Why is it important to know this? It might explain to the missionary that the father who refuses to allow you to fly the sick child out to town for medical treatment isn't being a monster. No, he loves his child too much to risk him dying out among the "criollos" and being buried! For who would drink his bones? Who could guarantee the continuation of all the ancestors contained within the child? It is an act of love in his eyes.

We may think it morbid, but...it is actually the nature of man to desire life after death and if no one is there to explain the true path God has set for us to achieve it, this is their feeble attempt to acquire eternal life for themselves.

SWEAT! You bet, sometimes you have to work with them physically to gain their respect. In some cultures, you need to understand why they DONT seem to work at all! It is all part of how you will communicate truth to them in a way they comprehend.

I remember a group of visitors making an observation once about Ye'kwana men.

"They are so lazy! They sleep till noon and then sit around in their hammocks the rest of the day while the women do all the work!"

DUHH.. I thought! So would you if you had been out running through the jungle hunting all night and knew you had to go back out tonight since you weren't able to bring home meat for your family!

TEARS! You need to know what hurts them. You need to be with them in their times of mourning. Sit with them as an old, loved one slowly dies. Or as a newborn infant fades away.
I learned from the Indians, tears are not always visible. The worse hurts stay inside. The pain is for you alone and can not be shared, as this would cheapen it. So, if you don't see tears...thats serious pain!!!

BLOOD! Literally, sometimes. I once flew out to town to donate blood for a dying indian. No one else with his blood type could be bothered. I gave so much blood I nearly passed out. And I gave again in a few days. I wanted to give more but they would not let me. His father placed his sons hand in mine and said, "He's your son now too. He has your blood now."
His father had never wanted to listen to the gospel until that day. He is now a believer!

SWEAT! I have seen my husband work with them. He helped them build the school. He helped them build the dispensary, he helped them cut the airstrips they needed so the plane could get in to take out medical emergency patients. I have seen his shirt soaked as he worked hard in the sauna like environment of the jungle. I have seen him go days without sleep caring for the sick. This speaks volumes.

TEARS! How many caskets have we built? I remember one baby we were hand feeding , drop by drop as we could not get in an IV. We were unable to fly our plane out due to government problems and red tape. We called for the health department planes, but they were BUSY flying assembly members to Angel Falls for a vacation. When the baby died, my husband built the tiny casket. Jewel lined it with a blue gingham material and Jayde sang Jesus Loves Me in Ye'kwana at the funeral.

We are by no means, SUPER missionaries. These stories could be repeated over and over again by a number of missionaries. I just feel they need to be put in writing so that others can know of the many things God is doing in Missions today. Often times we act as if the God of the Old Testament is dead and no longer works among us. Or we read of great missionaries of the last century and wonder why God is not doing the same great things today. He still is! I have witnessed it.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

On The Road

We are traveling and will be at a week long conference held by our mission. This is held each year for all furloughing missionaries and is intended to give us a chance to take some of the shock out of "re-entry".

Especially for the children. They so enjoy being with other missioary kids and realizing they are not the only ones going through the same adjustments. It s a week of great fellowship for all.

I will not be blogging much this week. I will re-post some older posts, for all the new readers.

But do check in! You never know when something interesting might happen here at The Jungle Hut!!!

Friday, July 27, 2007


Isa. 2:3 …and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths:

Twenty four years ago God called a young couple to the mission field. God had chosen the pathway for our lives and ministry. He has also chosen to change our path at times in ways we had not foreseen. We are the Vernoy family and for the last twenty years Venezuela has been our home.

We went to Venezuela following God’s leading. Our first path led us to the city of Barquisimeto.
It was necessary that we establish churches, a bible institute and a camp ministry. We began working with the Carlos Arce family and as we learned from them, and worked with them, we saw many of these goals come to fruition to the glory of God.

It was our desire to train Venezuelan pastors to do the work of God. We were able to help establish a Bible Institute and be involved in the beginning stages of this great ministry.
The first year started with eight students. That was 18 years ago. On June 25th 2007 we graduated over 12 seniors with an enrollment of over 100. Since it’s inception almost 50 have graduated into the ministry.

Many of those men who have graduated over the years are now pastoring churches that they have started. Out of the church where we first worked in Barquisimeto there are now 8 organized churches and 20 missions. Now, each of these eight churches has Bible studies of their now and are now helping to start other churches.

Other ministries were begun also. Men's camp, Ladies camp and youth camp which has allowed for the spiritual growth of the church families.

After ministering for 8 years in the city of Barquisimeto, God showed us a new path for our lives that we knew nothing about.

We were lead into the jungle ministry among the Ye'kwana indians. A new language, a new culture, a new way of life. God’s purpose for directing us down this new path was
that we might teach the Way, the Truth and the Life to the indians of the Chajura river.

We worked to established the Good Hope Baptist Church and to train Pastor Victor Hernandez, for the working of the ministry. Along with the bible teaching in the church , God also gave us a medical and aviation ministry through which to reach the indians in various villages.

We learned to deliver babies, pull teeth and stitch wounds, to name a few. The church grew in numbers and in grace. We were able to train the Indian believers to travel with us to other villages to evangelize and hold medical clinics, as it was our hope to establish churches in at least three new villages.

But once again our path was changed. We were forced to leave the jungle ministry before we could see these plans come to pass.

Political pressure from the government of Hugo Chavez has caused most all mission work among the Indians of Venezuela to cease. We do not always understand why God allows our paths to be blocked, but we do know that he will show us a new path.

Even though we were not allowed to remain in the jungle ministry that does not mean that God has stopped working among the Ye´kwana. During our last service in Chajuraña, Pastor Victor said, “They can take the missionaries out of our village, but they cannot take the Holy Spirit out of our hearts,” He went on to preach of the need to follow in the footsteps of the missionaries and to practice what we had taught them. Saying that we, the missionaries, had left our footprints that they might follow the right path which leads to God.

Since our departure from the village in Dec of 2005, the believers continue to meet and preach the Word of God. New souls have been added to the family of God. The Annual Pastors Seminar was held last year in the state of Amazonas, and for the first time all teaching was done by the Ye´kwana pastors, attendance was the best in years. They have taken the responsibility and are carrying it well. They are walking in His pathways and we rejoice for them.

The Ye’kwana Christians are continuing even under difficult circumstances, often cut off from one another and under pressure from the government to return their old ways they are thankful that missionaries have left them with the word of God in their language so that they can continue to follow God’s path. They have continued, on their own, to stay true to their faith. It is their own faith and not one imposed upon them or else they would have abandoned it. Instead, they are sharing their Christian faith with others.

But what about our path now? Where would God lead us?

We have prayed long and hard seeking God’s will for our future ministry. Our hearts were broken that we could not continue to work among the Ye´kwana, but we also accept that God’s path is best.

We have had our eyes opened to the needs of the country of Paraguay. The independent Baptist churches of Paraguay are few and in need of training. We have peace in our hearts to go to the country of Paraguay and begin again. Pray for us as we go to a new country to begin a new work. Establish churches, train pastors and reach the youth of this generation that they may be prepared to reach the next.

We now realize that God allowed us to spend time in Barquisimeto in order that we might be able to take what we have learned and done there among the Venezuelans and reproduce that among the Paraguayan people.

In our last annual Independent Baptist Conference of Venezuela we saw what God has done in the country of Venezuela in raising up national leadership. The attendance was over 3000 each evening. We were able to look out and see trained pastors and lay workers, many of whom had at one time been our students. We witnessed Venezuelans committed to reaching their country, we have even seen some attempt to minister among the tribes as much as the government will allow. We realized that while there is still much work to be done in the country of Venezuela, there are now national pastors able and willing to meet the challenge.

And so ends our path in Venezuela.

The new path God has shown us is one of rich rewards. We will be relocating to Asunción, Paraguay in the summer of 2008. At that time we will be joining fellow BIMI missionaries Brian and Jackie McCobb who happen to be our daughter and son-in-law. The McCobbs are the only BIMI missionaries serving in Paraguay at this time, so there is a great need as we begin this foundational ministry of starting churches, discipleship training, Bible Institute and camp ministries.

The pathway before us is new and exciting we are anxious to see what God will allow us to be part of. Although right now we do not feel our path leads to another tribal work, we are aware of the great need among the tribes of Paraguay and our prayer is that we may be involved in the training of Paraguayans who will then reach out to the tribes.

Pathways, we do not know the many twists and bends that may be ahead of us but we do know God will guide our steps even when we can not see, even when we do not know where the path ahead may lead us in this life.

We know where our final destination lies...and that is enough!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Latest Details on Abbie!

Jackie and Abbie went in to be checked by the Doctor today. Abbie weighed in at 3.850 kilos (8.5 lbs or so). This is a good weight as she has probably lost a few ounces already, as most newborns do. She measures 18 1/2 inches.

Jackie had to get the shot since she is rh- blood and Abbie is +. All is well. Both are fine.
Elena is getting used to "sharing" her parents.:) Brian looks good and sounds good on the phone.

Love the gorra de 7 estrallas!!!

Baby News!

For news on baby Abbie, scroll down!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Been There, Done That!!

Threw away the red t-shirt!

From Cox & Forkum Editorial Cartoons

The Ye'Kwana Hammock Method

Welcome birth junkie.com readers!!!

I have been asked to elaborate on the Hammock method I mentioned!

If you notice, in this picture behind Jackie, you will see a plaid hammock strung up. It is a hammock chair. You can hang any hammock in this way, or use one made specifically like this.

During the final stages of labor, when it is time to push, you can use the hammock in one of two ways,

1) The mother herself will sit in the hammock and use the sides to pull herself upright during the push. Or she may squat in front and use the hammock to grab to lift herself. This allows you to use gravity and the strength of your own arms. The husband would then be knelt in front and ready to receive the baby. This is the method Jackie and Brian used to deliver Abbie.

2) The other method is used more for labor up until the final stage. The husband would sit in the hammock as the wife squats in front. Usually with the trunk of a banana tree to sit on. Banana trunks are soft and squishy,thus more comfortable for the mother. During each contraction, the husband will help the mother to stand by holding her firmly from behind , under the arms. Thus, his strength and gravity do a lot of the work. If this method is used up until delivery, someone other than the father will receive the baby. (Usually, the missionary!)

Hmmm... they say the missionary forces their culture on the Indian... seems my kid took the Indian culture all the way to Paraguay with her!!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Abigail Faith McCobb

Thanks to my son in law,
for being a mid wife (husband?)
and a photographer!

My newest grand daughter!

Jackie and Abbie.
Jackie used the hammock to push.
Just like the Ye'kwana women!

Elena meets her new sister!

She's here!!

Abbie is here!!
Born 5 minutes ago!
Cutting the cord now!!!

Praise God for His Incredible Goodness
and Blessings to Our family!!
Born at 5:something

More info: Brian delivered Abbie himself at home in an unassisted birth. I talked to them both briefly two minutes after the birth. Jackie sounded good and said Abbie is perfect.Brian sounded very excited and proud. Abbie even let us hear her healthy cries. I hope to get pictures later and will post as soon as I can. They need to rest and bond right now.

Prayers ,Please!

Guess what I am doing?

I am web camming with my daughter who is in labor. She is in Paraguay and I am watching her contractions from here. Keep her and Brian in prayer today. She has decided on a home birth. She watched so many Indian ladies deliver in the jungle, and had a bad experience in Costa Rica with her first, she rather be at home. Read all about it!!!
Happy Wife

UPDATE : 2:30

Jackie has decided to lie down as she looks to be in early transition now.

Update: 3:30

I have lost my web connection with Paraguay. Still waiting. I think it will be later this evening. Just a hunch!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday Funnies

Proverbs 17:22
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:
but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

My favorite is.. "Don't be so open-minded your brains fall out!"

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Container is here!

Our container has left the port in Miami and is being loaded on the truck now. Should be here by this evening . We had nearly a two month wait in Caracas and our friend who works there as a customs agent was shocked by the amount of opposition our container encountered. She has been working there for nearly 20 years and had never experienced anything like it.

They made our stuff be opened and re-packed more than once and told her it was because we were missionaries and missionaries are "known" to transport drugs. Here we go again!! Of course, every time they open the seal, it costs us money. They even made her have her picture taken along with all of our boxes. She had never had to do that before. And they knew we were missionaries and were very antagonistic. She thought that was odd. Not me!! Been there , done that, and got the T-shirt.

News Round Up from Venezuela

Taiwanese diplomats to leave Venezuela

Venezuelan visas for the members of a Taiwanese unofficial diplomatic delegation will not be renewed, reported Wednesday the website of a Taiwanese newspaper.

For its part, the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted "unfriendly atmosphere" in Venezuela.

In addition, Taiwanese state oil company CPC Corp claimed that the Venezuelan government asked it to hand over its stake in two local deposits, AP quoted

I found this at:
Venezuelan Politics

We Don't Care Where You're From

Teodoro Petkoff, the Editor of the TalCual newspaper published an article (it's an Editorial, of course, but writing "the Editor of TalCual wrote an editorial" doesn't sound nice) in which he criticized the Chávez movement of neo-racism. It seems that when the pamphlet-bearing youngsters were arrested, the interrogation was in the way of "where are your parents from?". In other words, the government wants to know if you are a "true Venezuelan" because if you or your parents are from abroad, then you're not.

First, let's start by saying (Petkoff said this too) that us Venezuelans have a long tradition of accepting people from wherever they come. Arabs, Jews, Spaniards, Italians, Germans, etc. have been received with open arms. Nobody asked "Tarek William Saab" if his name was Arab before voting for him to the Congress first and then to the Governorship of the Anzoategui state. There was another top Chávez official (a former Minister of Foreign Relations) with a very English name: Roy Chaderton. A leader in the "Alexis Vive" group (linked to the left, both figuratively and textually) is the son of an immigrant. In other words, the Chavista prosecution of sons of foreigners doesn't stand the smallest inquiry.

But there's something beyond the fact that we're all descendants of foreigners in a certain degree: the Cubans in Venezuela. The Venezuelan government pays Cuban nationals a salary in exchange for work done in the country that could be performed by Venezuelans. Part of that salary doesn't even go to them but to the Cuban government, that limits their freedom of living wherever they wish.

But since we're not racists, lets just say that our country loses dollars and the chance to reduce unemployment every time a Cuban medic or sports trainer (I've known good trainers and not-so-good ones) is hired. Xenophobic people that support the government tend to overlook this. They just make a big fuss when they spot a racist Chavez critic. The difference is that they're the ones that have the power to incarcerate people.

The nature of most Venezuelans is probably why Petkoff brushes off* this neo-fascist movement. Even so, we need to keep our eyes on this. Dictators just love to dictate (sorry) what is "local" and what is not.

Venezuelans, fleeing Chavez, seek U.S. safety net

MIAMI, July 16 (Reuters) - A surge in the number of Venezuelans seeking asylum in the United States has some drawing parallels with Communist Cuba in the early 1960s.

As populist President Hugo Chavez tightens his grip on the world's fifth largest oil producer, wealthy and middle class citizens are fleeing, just as their counterparts did soon after Fidel Castro seized power in Havana more than 40 years ago.

In 1998, the year Chavez was first elected, just 14 Venezuelans were granted U.S. asylum. That number jumped to 1,086 in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The Venezuelans seeking asylum are just a small part of a big exodus, according to Venezuelan activists in Florida, who say some 160,000 Venezuelans are living in the United States illegally or on overstayed visas.


"If you have young children, you want out. If you have assets that have been seized, or may be seized, you want out as quickly as possible," Roett added. "If you have land that will be expropriated, leave sooner than later. As the alta (upper) bourgeoisie becomes more and more of a target, you want to leave before Hugo Chavez shuts the door."

The number of U.S. asylum grants put Venezuela in 11th place, well behind nations such as its neighbor, Colombia, and deeply impoverished Haiti. But more Venezuelans were granted asylum last year than were natives of trouble spots like Iraq, a country reeling from nightmarish levels of violence.

Asylum is granted by the United States to people who are unable to return to their homeland because of credible fears of persecution. Cases may be filed by individuals or families.

The high rate of approval for Venezuelan asylum applicants has angered the Chavez government and those who see it as a back-handed stab by Washington at his socialist policies and defiant anti-Americanism. Venezuela today is not a despotic state, and granting Venezuelans asylum is a way to embarrass its government, they say.
Hat Tip to;
A colombo-americana's perspective

The Jungle Grapevine!

Yesterday we received a phone call from a dear indian friend. He is a teacher in our village and was in the town of Ciudad Bolivar for a Teacher's Conference. He called my old Venezuelan cell phone which I had left with my nephew. Jason gave him my number here and what a joy it was to hear his voice and get caught up on all the people in the village.

He told us that the church is continuing well under the leadership of Pastor Victor. What a blessing to hear this! He also mentioned that there has not been any medicine in the village for several months. Another friend was just brought out by canoe to the hospital as the government could not send a plane. Typical.

As far as he could recall, no medical flights have been done in our area since we had to leave with the plane nearly two years ago. He said they only come when they want something, like votes!!! Or to talk bad about the missionaries.

He told me the Christians continue to have prayer meetings in Maripa and Bolivar, and that they had been praying for us. This made me cry. They are worried for us!!! He says that he will not be able to continue much longer with the teaching as he could not agree with the "indoctrination" they are asking him to teach.

All was not good news, the village " nurse", (trained by missionaries, by the way) was in Bolivar as well. His wife has been diagnosed with uterine cancer. They had started a round of chemo, but due to the wonders of Socialized Medicine, were not able to finish it

She was returned to Maripa to wait and die. I asked about pain medication. He said she had none and was just laying in her hammock. This is a Christian sister of mine and it hurts me to think of what she must be going through. Pray for Evelina and her husband Timoteo.

I also spoke with his 7 year old daughter on the phone. She practically grew up in my house and I was so happy to hear her chatter away and that she remembered us!! I asked her in Ye'kwana," Do you know God?" she answered, " EE!!! Wanaadi, dhowanaca!! ( YES! I know God!)
That made me happy to hear. Her mother is like a daughter to me.

After we hung up, I must admit to some tears!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Just Some Chit Chat about my Children

or...Proud mom bragging on her kids!

My children amaze me at how quickly they are able to adapt and become involved wherever they may be. They also show a testimony of their faith in the life styles they have chosen. This is the greatest reward for me as a mother. I can only hope that they may continue forth with a life of service towards others and a life of purpose.

We had a busy weekend. Starting off with the parrilla on Friday night. Saturday was busy getting both of my girls ready for camp.

Pastor (?) Joshua Vernoy 20 years old

My son who is a junior in college is very involved at his church. He is a Bus Captain and my two girls are helping him. He visits his area every Saturday morning and the girls are going with him to help as there are many Spanish speaking people in the area. Then on Sunday morning they go and pick up any one wanting to go to church. He averages 40 - 45 riders each week. It is good to see them involved in ministry so soon after arriving here in country! Josh also preaches on Sunday afternoon at a Retirement Home for house bound elderly people unable to get to church.They love him there!!

We are all attending the Spanish Church at West Gate Baptist Church. The Pastor just resigned and another student, who happens to be a missionary kid from our same mission, is the interim pastor. My son is helping him by teaching the mid week Bible Study. Josh began a study of the book of Philippians and it was very well done.

(Rn.) Jewel Leigh
age 17

This morning, Jewel left for Nursing Camp. She hopes to become a missionary nurse and after growing up with the dispensary and all she saw and helped with in the village, I think she will be a great one. She flew off at 5 am this morning very excited.

Jungle Bunny TEEN (?)
age 12

Jayde left by bus for teen camp . This is her first year as a teen camper and Dad was a little nervous. This is a church camp and she was so excited she re-packed her suitcase at least 4 times.

That leaves me with a week of quiet in the house as Josh works full time. I plan to spend it ordering my school curriculum for the girls next year of home schooling, 8th grade for Jayde and 11th for Jewel. I do get frustrated re-ordering books I already had, but that are left in the jungle!!!!

Jackie on her wedding day!
My oldest daughter, Jackie, is due with her second child any day now. Saturday, little Elena came down with the chicken pox. It is very hard to be here and not there in Paraguay with them. We are praying the baby's birth will hold off for a week or so until the worse is over!!!

Le Le with chicken pox!


I don't want to leave out my "other" child!! This is Brian, my son- in-law, missionary in Paraguay. We are proud of him as well, since he is the father of our grandchildren!

Brian and Jackie
Wedding Reception
Barquisimeto, Lara

Want a laugh?

Friday, July 13, 2007

A Landing in our Cessna in Chajudana

Wish You All Could Come!

Una parrilla con la familia!!!
And what's a parrilla without guasacaca!

GUASACACA (Venezuelan steak sauce!)

1 Med. Onion chopped
2 green peppers chopped
2 ripe avocados
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1/2 bunch of parsley
1/3 cup of vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1. cup of olive oil
* Throw all these ingredients in your blender, EXCEPT the olive oil. Add the olive oil slowly as it is blending. Let the flavors blend for an hour. Serve with steak, sausage, chicken, potatos, yucca...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The EVIL Missionary

I recently was called some pretty choice words on another blog. I will not repeat the language here, but, suffice it to say, that I am the scourge of the world and force Indians to get "saved". And so on and so forth. I wonder if these people feel the same about the Muslim "missionaries" now working among certain tribes of Venezuela.Talk about a religion that forces people to convert!!!!

I am posting a few fotos of some of the humanitarian works we did in the jungle. Much of tribal missions is about ministering to the whole man. Medical work is paramount as the government does nothing much in this area. We also built schools, taught them to read their own language ( so as to preserve this aspect of their culture) and to read Spanish. We worked with the Health Department and controlled malaria as well as tested and treated malaria, again, permission being granted through the Health Department. Missionaries trained local village nurses, lab techs for reading slides to test for malaria and other blood born diseases. We supplied the plane needed to transport the sick AT NO COST!!!We also did pre-natal care, as well as deliveries, and dental work.

Indians waiting outside for medical attention on one of our regular "clinics". These are indians from other villages who travel hours and even days knowing they will get help from the mission. We also traveled and provided medical care in the different villages.

We were granted funds through the World Health Organization to build a dispensary. This was also done under the supervision of the Health department. Interestingly enough, the Chavista governor at the time, flew out for a foto op him inaugurating HIS dispensary.

We also were asked to oversee much of the construction and equipping of the school. The funds came from several grants and were dispensed through the Health Department. We were glad to do this and the finished school was and is the SHOW CASE Escuela Bolivariana. The one shown on all the propaganda about what the government has done among the tribes. In typical bureaucratic fashion, the school was equipped with a library with shelves, but no books. A stove but no propane tanks, a freezer and two computers with no generator. And the school is supposed to be supplied food for the lunch program but.... it has been years since any food made it to the village.

The School Kitchen

6th grade Promotion held in the Church

Hosting inter-community games

Inside the school. Teacher trained by missionaries.
Paid by the Department of Education.

Two of the four sections of the new school.

The finished medical dispensary.

The small thatched roof hut behind the dispensary is for housing the family of hospitalized Indians from other villages.

Maintaining the airstrip used for medical flights.
Paid for by the mission.

Mission Planes.

Indian returning to village on mission plane.

And, yes, we also taught the Word of God and helped to translate it into their own language.

The Indians love music.

Church congregation at evening service.

Pastor's Seminar held for training Church leaders from several tribes.

Christ was also despised. So at least we are in good company!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Missionary Conundrum

I have often found myself in a difficult dilemma. Sometimes, as a missionary, one can not help but become involved in the lives of the people where one is serving. After so many years of trying to adapt, even adopting the culture, it is not easy to avoid opinions of the political nature. Especially when you see a government that is abusing the citizen. Even more so when you realize that many measures will endanger the Christian. (I do fear for the churches of Venezuela in the future and when I see some of the new reforms being spoken of, I especially fear for the children.)

When it comes to communism, there has never been a place where Christianity was allowed to flourish under this system. I see no reason to believe it will be different in Venezuela. Add to that all the new alliances with Iran and radical Islam, how can the missionary not be concerned? How can you not warn, or at least try to prepare, the congregation for the persecution to come?All this has to be tempered by the reality that our primary mission is to evangelize the unsaved and serve the people as our Lord would.

The dilemma is knowing when and where to draw the line. I have not always been able to do this. I have grown to identify so much with the people of Venezuela, I can not turn a blind eye.

I was encouraged as I began to research and found that others before me have experienced the same problem.

One missionary I remembered reading about many years ago, Howard Baskerville , seemed to feel as I. He was a missionary who served in Iran.

Howard Baskerville said that he joined his students and took up arms for the nationalist movement, "as a matter of conscience." He ended up dying, while actually defending the Iranians. He is buried in Tabriz.
I am not condoning violence. I do applaud bravery and the defense of the weak.

Until recently, he was considered a hero by the Iranians. Much the same as we American revere Lafayette, who fought with us in the revolutionary war, Baskerville was honored as the American missionary who fought with his students.

He died in the siege of Tabriz leading a student contingent, in April of 1909. He was buried there in Iranian soil.

The following are excerpts from a letter, written by an American missionary wife, to inform his parents of their son's deeds.

My Dear Dr. & Mrs. Baskerville,

You have heard long before this letter reaches you that your dear boy has laid down his life. It is almost three weeks since he resigned his position at the mission school, though he has come to see us six times since. The last time was last night. Just before starting to battle. He told us it was a desperate attempt to open the road and get food into this starving city. We had prayer together. Mr. Wilson praying only for his protection and commending him to God's care. Mr. Baskerville himself prayed only for others, "this city to be relieved," "the dear ones of the Mission to be kept in safety, and for peace to be obtained." - not a word of himself.

In the night a soldier brought a note from him, "Dangerous rumor that the Europeans will be attacked to secure immediate intervention. don't be on the streets today." The first Sunday after he joined the army he came to church and sat in his usual seat, - the second in front - and had quite an ovation afterward, the men pressing round him to shake hands. That afternoon he came to see us. I begged him not to be reckless, saying "You know you are not your own." "No," he answered, "I am Persia's."

And then of their son's death.

We carried him to our room and laid him on our own bed, and Mrs. Vannemen and I washed the dear body with the blood staining through his shirts and covering his breast and back. We found the bullet hole in front and back, having passed clear through, so small, so fatal. It had entered from the back and come out just above his heart, cutting a large artery. and Dr. V. says causing instant death. His face was bruised a little on one side,where he had fallen.

We dressed him in his black suit, and when all the sad service was done, he looked beautiful and noble, his firm mouth set in a look of resolution and his whole face calm in repose. I printed a kiss on his forehead for his mother's sake. A white carnation is in his buttonhole, and wreaths of flowers are being made. Our children made a cross and crown of the beautiful almond blossoms now in bloom.

The Governor came at once, expressing great sorrow, saying, "He has written his name in our hearts and in our history." The Anjuman (national assembly) sent a letter, saying they wished a share in doing him honor, and asked that the funeral be put off till tomorrow...

By Popular Demand

Since you asked! A few more fotos from the album.

Engagement Announcement Foto.

Marine Corp Ball