Thursday, December 23, 2010

news, Hannah and Ruth

I know some of you hear from Hannah and Ruth directly. If you already got this - just delete. Don't you get a little measure of joy in deleting something? smile. They are doing so well - keep praying for them. They just got a baby genet cat ---small, fits in Ruth's hand. Good for Ruth who loves pets.

Hi friends,
Yep, I'm finally getting around to writing another letter. I know we may seem like we've dropped off the face of the earth... but we're still here.
Much has happened in the 4 months we've been here. Ruth and I have both caught several babies. My first was so exciting. It reminded me of why I want to be a midwife.
My most recent excursion... I went on outreach up to the mountains with 3 of the other students and a midwife named Mary Gene who used to be here, but is now working to serve her own people up in the mountains.
We set off early Monday morning. After a jeepney ride, a bus ride, another jeepney ride and a tricy ride, we ended up at the mayor's office. We went in and chatted with him for a bit and ate Marienda -- "snack". Philippinos take a break from whatever they are doing and eat marienda around 10:30 A.M. and again around 3:30ish in the afternoon. I find it quite amusing. After our chat with the mayor, we took a quick potty break and met up with our motor drivers. We had about a 30 to 40 minute motor ride and then we met up with a team from the Department of Health that was going up into the mountains to pass out mosquito nets.
They had a big pick up truck full of mosquito nets. We loaded our backpacks in the truck and some of us rode with them. That way the motors only had 1passenger each and would have an easier time getting up the mountains.
The view from up there was absolutely gorgeous. Wow! No picture could ever capture it; but I tried.
We went to a total of five villages. The drill was basically the same at each village depending on what time we got there: Get there, take a nap, eat marienda, take pictures of the mosquito guys doing their distribution, eat, shower outside in the well (in our bathing suits. I finally know why they are called bathing suits rather than swimming suits:) ), go to bed. Then in the morning we did prenatals, baby check-ups, and baby immunizations. We mostly did the prenatals and Ate Mary Gene and Geneveve did the baby stuff. No matter what we were doing, we always had to have our marienda. Sometimes we even had to stop mid-prenatal and then come back and finish later. It was very laid back. No one seemed to be in a hurry for anything except marienda. It was quite funny.
Each village was quite different. At each one I could see myself living there long term. I didn't want to leave.
One thing I loved about the first village was the community bath time. I was thinking, "We need one of those at our house". They had this pool thing that looked like a baptismal; the water was pumped up from the well so it flowed continually. It was right outside the "health center" and the whole community used it. Here's a picture. Oh, they even washed puppies and pigs there. Everyone brings his own dipper and soap and scrubs down.
I definitely practiced a lot of Visayan in the last week. It surprises me how much I can understand and speak it now. Still not nearly as much as I would like to, but definitely more than I realized I was capable of.
One thing that made me frustrated was when someone came to us with a problem, and I had no idea what to tell them. People of all sizes and ages came to us for check-ups. Old men with breathing problems... children with who-knows-what. It definitely wasn't limited to women and babies. All we could tell them was to go see a doctor, which we knew they were not going to do as it would cost them a fortune just in transportation to get off the mountain. A doctor would be super useful up there. Maybe someday, when I'm finished with my midwifery training, I'll become a doctor too. Then I could do so much more.
Anyway, we had a great trip. No mishaps other than an occasional clothes-lining, toothbrush falling into slew water or flashlight dropping out the window. Moral: if you are trying to spit out the window and want to avoid spitting on a roof, get someone else to hold the flashlight for you. Don't hold it under your chin while trying to spit.
I learned how to cut open a coconut without spilling out all the juice. I'm surprised it took me until now to learn that. We saw two cute little monkeys. That made me happy. I didn't know they had monkey's here.
Oh, and we had rice at every meal. I thought it was yummy, but the after effects weren't so lovely on the other girls. Their systems are not so used to rice for breakfast, lunch, and supper. I was even beginning to get tired of it by the end of the trip. Oh, and we had chicken at almost every meal. At least twice a day. The food was delicious. The cook even taught us how to cook rice in a plastic bag. He said that usually when we goes to the mountains, he doesn't travel with pots, just plastic bags. He can cook all kinds of food in them. It is pretty cool.
On the last day, we went swimming in the river. That was lots of fun.
Then we took almost every mode of transportation again and got home in time for class. We have classes every day of the week because we are trying to get this next assignment done before Christmas. We jumped right back in to life here. It seems like such a different world. It was sad to leave, but at the same time, it's nice to be "home". Yep, I'm beginning to think of this place as home.

Prayer requests:
For this Christmas that we won't be too homesick as it is the first we have been away from home.
For wisdom in making good decisions
That our understanding of the language will grow.
That we will seek every opportunity to share the gospel and that people would be receptive. (the major religion here is Catholicism)
We are very thankful that God has kept us healthy.

Thank you so much for standing behind us. We wouldn't be here without you. Have a Merry Christmas!
In Christ,
Hannah and Ruth

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas!

December 2010 

Hello, from Cote d'Ivoire!  A friend said, "Everything that could go wrong – did."   I liked that, a nice summary of our start here ---but only physical stuff that will pass.  Do not get depressed for me, for I am not depressed.  When you have a mountain to cross, just do it one step at a time.  I was going to start out with WAWA ---West Africa Wins Again.  The humidity and dust sure can do a lot of damage in a year.  Life in Africa can sure disprove evolution fast.  Throwing time on things does not make them better at all.  This letter is full of the nitty-gritty of re-entering life in Africa. 

I almost forgot to tell you of our trip here to San Pedro.  First we had a flat tire - no big problem there.  (We were traveling with Andy and Becky and their group.) We heard a weird sound and steam coming from the engine ---I am telling Dan to be careful as he gets out to see what is the problem ---all sorts of stories of people getting burned with hot radiator water.  When he opened the hood, not only was there steam and smoke but actual FIRE to be seen.  I started yelling for all the kids to get out of the car NOW.  We got out and started walking down the road ---no good to keep 17 kids by the car waiting for it to be fixed and no place to get off the road.  On down a bit, we got a ride ---Gideon and I in the double-cab pick up, and all the rest piled in the back.  They thought it was great fun.  We went to the next town ---about 35 minuntes from where we were, and Dan and Andy picked us up there.   The kids were ready to hitch-hike all the way home.             

Someone had not tightened down the battery right, and it had shifted over to the brake line which had caught on fire.  After Dan crimped off the brake line which had gotten a hole burned in it, we were driving along with half-brakes when they all quit ---no brakes at all.  Then, we ALMOST hit the back of a big truck!!!  It was scary.  The truck was going slower than we were through a hole in the road - we could not slow down, no brakes, and no space to pass ---we did pass in the bush.  That is the closest I have ever been to a bang-up for sure.  So many prayers for us.  We had all sorts of adventure. 

For Thanksgiving, we did have a turkey, and Noelle roasted it outside.  It was yummy.  With the curfew going on (because of the uncertainty after the elections), we are not doing any late night get-togethers.  We had the mashed potatoes a different day and will have the dessert a different day.  That is a good way to do Thanksgiving - spread out the calories over a few weeks - smile. 

We do not have the Internet yet, but Dan is working on that.  That is the problem ---HE is working on it and not the ones who are supposed to be. 

I was drowning in dust - buried in dust, and yet I live.  The tornado (Ruth and Hannah packing, upheaval from Dan cutting his thumb, things not left in order)  that hit our house before we left was still here when we got back.  Every single room was waiting for me ---and I was tired and overwhelmed.  The kids swapped rooms around, grew out of stuff, and put it all in the hall for me to deal with.  It was all stinky and musty.  I wanted badly to sink into self-pity and discouragement, but I refused to go down that road.  Did you pick up that is all in the past tense?  Little by little things are getting back in shape. 

We arrived to a huge mess, and the water was OFF!!!!  The pantry water heater had leaked, and water was on the floor, and all the shelves were growing visible mold.  The rooms were all musty, and something was wrong with the electricity, so the lights and air conditioners would not work together ---take your pick.  We picked cool air.  If you turned on anything much - snap, off it would go.  Dan worked and worked on that - trying to figure out which circuit it was - then called an electrician ---on went the problem.  Dan changed all the lights - still snapping.  Bad box (They had changed that while we were gone.) We were supposed to be getting 45 amps --only getting 16.  So, fixed that.  Still a few kinks, but on we go.  Dan got a new box put in, and yesterday it was doing the same thing.  He has bypassed the box for now - I do not know what the next step to that will be, but we do have electricity.   

We moved everything out of the pantry to the porch ----remember no water. We got that room clean and Dan has painted it and everything washed, sorted, and put back.  The floor - all buckled up ---cracked that out and retiled the floor with whole pieces he had saved and broken chips to make a pattern. 

The FRIDGE did not work either ---the door would not even close!  Dan plugged it in ---light came on - no cool.  Meanwhile we are hot and dirty ---Gideon cannot be downstairs much, and he sneezes if I take him some places.  The back storage room was terrible for mustiness, but I burned a scented candle in there for a day and that is fine ---Praise the Lord for that!!!!  Dad took the fridge in town, and the guy got it working --only without for three days. 

Meanwhile every room is filthy ---the school room is so bad - all those mounds of papers and books.  And all is dusty and musty.  I sneeze a bit in there.  Now I have something going on with my eyes from the dust ---going to get some Murine or some sort of eye drops to help with that.  The school room is now in order and the kids are so excited to be able to do school once again - not. 

Think - windows, screens, blinds, patio, laundry, LAUNDRY ---all the clothes from the drawers ---most to give away anyway, all the towels from the bathrooms, sheets, kitchen stuff, --the living room rug was a MOUND of laundry ---quilts, couch covers, on and on.  It was overwhelming ---remember - no water.  We were getting water from the reservoir in the yard.   We took all the laundry down the hill for them to wash - a little money and a job gets done.  When we got the clothes back, the stuff stank - smelled like amniotic fluid to me.  I went back ---what did you do?  Didn't you use Omo?  Of course, he said yes he had.  Anyway, most of that I was giving away and was the sheets and stuff ---anything of mine went back for me to wash ---just use everything like a rag and then put it in the laundry for me to do later.  Our personal clothes were mainly in the hampers.  I told him it smelled like a hospital - stink.  He had used some javel/bleach---maybe that was it.  I think bad soap - or bad water.  Anyway, the blankets and couch covers should smell better.   

Then the water came ON.  Super - with full pressure.  Someone is playing with the water.  I got ALL caught up with laundry.  It was only on 2-3 days. 

Praise the Lord for HELP.  Many of our friends have helped with the moving of stuff here and there and cleaning.  Karoline still works miracles around my house.  It is so good to have her!!!!   It is also great to get rid of stuff ---we sure do know how to accumulate!  If it does not go in the room - out it goes.  There are so many needy people, and it is Christmas time ---a good time to give things away. 

Another great thing is the witnessing.  I took at least 100 tracts to the market and passed them all out while I was waiting on the ladies to cut the greens.  And here they say, "We don't just want this, sit and talk with us for a while."  I talked to two groups of men and Amie listened very well again.  Pray so much for her to get saved.  Seth has the fire as well ---he went out in the afternoon ---same thing.  It is so great to be able to talk to people - America is sad.  

On top of that we have the cutest little puppy, Sugar. She was trying to play with the kitten ---yes, that too - smile.  The joy goes on.  The kitten is only four weeks old - cute, small, female, black and white. 

I forgot to mention the political situation.  The elections in this part of the country were calm.  In the north, the rebels were hurting people and making them vote as they wanted them to ---therefore, not a fair ballot --so the opposition said.  There was no result given.   Everything is calm; there is a 7 p.m. curfew in place.  Keep praying for us.  Now both men have announced themselves president and are both in Abidjan at different locations.  The new man has the United Nations backing him; the former president has the southern part of the country backing him.  We do not know how they will solve that.  The curfew is off - all is calm in this part of the country.  

I forgot the other great news ---we get to eat our large salads, rice and soup, and mangoes - yum.  Susanna gets to ride horse 2-3 times a week.  She is having fun with that.  Now that she did not bring any jeans - I need to go get her some. 

Oh, and the water is back OFF again.  At least we are starting out a little better --more clean things. The pantry is almost done. The laundry is not behind, and the tanks are filled up.  Dan is thinking to put in a well with a pressure pump, so we can overcome the water problem.  Nothing like some middle of the night activity --I went out and got two buckets of water from the tank in the yard.  The toilets were disgusting.  If it were a man he could have left them, but not the lady of the house.  Hey, it keeps us fit, and maybe I will get caught up on the mail. 

The church needs help.  It is fun to be able to play the keyboard again with Seth on the guitar.  We brought out some full-size pianos, and it will be super to have one of those at church to be able to give piano lessons.  We want to help with the youth, ladies' class, and lots of outreaches while we are branching out to start a new work.  Mr. Paul is a great preacher and is doing a good job.  There is just too much for one person to do.   

Please continue to pray for Ruth and Hannah in the Philippines.  They are enjoying their time there, but are staying very busy.  It will be the first time that our family has not been together for Christmas, so please pray for them - and for us.  We know that they are where God wants them to be.  If you have not been receiving their letters, and would like to, please let us know.  They would love to include you in their email letter mailing.

Have a very Merry Christmas. Here is my Christmas card to you ---you may have seen it before; I have it framed on the wall.   The WORD did not become a philosophy, a theory, or a concept to be discussed, debated, or pondered; But the WORD became a person to be FOLLOWED, ENJOYED, and LOVED.  Wow, God with us.  Think of Christ and His love for us.  Have a Happy New Year as well!!! 


Joan and Dan, Ruth Marie and Hannah, Seth, Lydia, Susannah, Isaiah, Stephen, Rebekah, Josiah, Joseph, Esther and Gideon

The water is ON - Praise the Lord.  The electricity is off ---what is up with that?  Dan is probably working on something.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Job's faith

> I really did like this read.

> This is good for me right now.
>> Job's faith may not enable him to fathom the mysteries of God, nor to
> solve the riddles of his providence. He may not comprehend how these things
> are. But he knows that God is all-perfect and all-glorious, and he has that
> confidence in him which assures him that these things must be so. If he has
> sent affliction, this is not even a temporary interruption of his favour
> [sic] and love, though these are sure to shine forth again hereafter,
> clearly and fully. Nor is it enough to say that affliction is capable of
> being reconciled with the divine love. It is itself a fruit of that love.
> God is equally loving and gracious when he sends affliction and when he
> sends prosperous abundance.
>> From William Henry Green (1825-1900). "Confict and Triumph, the Argument
> of the Book of Job Unfolded." (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1999).
> 151.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Glad to be back

Skim and delete - informal about the trip. We need God just as much in the little details as in the big. Do you know what the danger of routine is? You feel like you can do it without God. Pray without ceasing.
> Hi there! THanks for praying for us --we arrived safely --I think we are missing one action packer and Andy and Becky a few - not sure.---we got it.
> We had adventure last night - smile. I'll make is short ---first we had borrowed a trailer to pull all the luggage, but Andy's car (which was to pull it) was in the shop with clutch problems ----no car. The mechanic came with a different vehicle and the guys had to make trips getting all the luggage from the airport to here where we are - the Jennings. Andy and Becky are staying over at WEC with their group. Meanwhile, I was going to bring all the kids here in taxis ---going to need two.
> So, we get in two taxis and take off. Right away I remembered we were supposed to find out the cost first ---they already had us on counter, which means they set this mileage counter - can drive all over the city with you and then charge you up a storm. It normally costs 1,500 to 3,000 cfa to get over there, but if you don't know.....So, I asked right away and he started talking about the counter and 5,000 ----or 1,500 each, etc. I said --pull over, pull over and we all jumped out --than I tried getting other taxis ---Abidjan is full of them and they were stopping. But the men - talking loudly - would not let me arrange anything. I'd say - stay back and let me talk to the driver ---before they could give him a head's up, this is our business and you'd better not budge in. Meanwhile, a car stopped - two Lebanese men and they were there wanting to help us out. Of course we are not all going to fit in their car. OH,----THAT IS A BIG OH, in leaving the airport I wanted to follow Dan's car to Jennings ---wasn't sure I remembered the way. He had already left. While negotiating with the drivers and the Lebanese men off I went to let Esther go potty in the grass. We ended up getting in with the Lebanese --always the chivalrous type to help out white ladies and children, and one taxi following. We only got turned around one time, but then found the place.
> They left their numbers - Dan to call. They want us to eat with them, etc. and help with finding a truck to take the luggage to San Pedro ---we'll see. Dan needs to call them --maybe God is providing for us through them - and I didn't get a chance to witness at all. At least when they knew we are missionaries they didn't want to smoke. Besides all that, I didn't have any cfa ---was going to get Dan to pay when we arrived. They paid off the taxi --probably way too much, and off we went.
> So enter the country. We were going to eat some airplane food ---kids are tired of that - no way. Ate popcorn and watched vegie-tales while they cleaned up and got cooler. The heat is not so bad - Gideon is sweaty and black on his knees and tops of feet. I took a few pictures.
> Our car is still being worked on, so we are hoofing it with taxis. I'm here with the kids, Dan and co. - whoever wants to go, went for food ---trying to get a phone working so we can talk with Andy and co.-staying at another place. We'll get together for dinner I'm sure.
> Okay, off I go. Have a great weekend.
> Love,
> Joan
PS. We got the cutest little bichon --small white puppy. Just what we need - right? YES. I was praying for that too.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Seth Won - but not big money

I am so sorry ---I just found you in another spot - so you have not been getting my little notes ----probably better for you?  
Hello to you - all our fine friends,  November 14th
We are on our way back from the National Bible Bee.  Seth did not win the big money, but he sure did win from God.  Last year's winner had a good talk about --ONE WORD ---THE one word worth the 100,000 dollars ---he went on more, but the idea was WISDOM. (And that is what we have been focusing on in our personal devotions.  Wisdom is more priceless than rubies.  And more than that - Jesus Christ.  Have you ever thought of wisdom being God's beauty in the Old Testament ---the personification of Jesus in the OT ---Wisdom - seek her.  Anyway, it is true ---you can go to all the colleges you want and get all the degrees you want, yet you can only get wisdom from God. 
We were disappointed for Seth ---he wanted to make it; but the fact is, all of these kids have learned ALL the verses (800).  It was the written test that was to decide the outcome.  Seth does not read as well as some and did not have time to finish the test.  Though he only left five - well, he didn't leave them,  just filled in answers-  all of the finalists were able to finish.  Most were girls (I think 2 boys).   Seth got all of the reciting exactly right ----and so did the others.  When time ran out, the judges had to take the top scores from the written test.   Well, that part of the stress is over.  We have had a great time.  That was the swankiest hotel we have ever been in and it was super to be with all these people of like mind.  
There was a man there whose ministry is "And God said."  He has a powerpoint put together of the awesome creation of God ---so many beautiful, amazing pictures to go with what he has memorized ---takes over 30 min. of God's Word memorized and goes with the pictures ---just so good.  I did not even realize what was going on ---thought it was a recording or something; then saw him down there speaking - no notes, verses put together ---Tim McKenzie.  It was good!!  
We enjoyed a "picnic" lunch (How is it a picnic when you are drinking out of goblets? ---at least there was chicken and watermelon.) with Tom Harmon and Bill Gothard.   They were each of them encouraging and challenging.  We enjoyed the pool, (I even was able to walk a mile in the exercise room.)  banquet, dulcimer music by Ted Yoder and speakers.  
Now, on to Africa --here we come.  Andy found out we can check in the luggage early and that everyone gets 2 carry-ons.  That helps out a lot --we should not have any excess baggage.  Anything that does not fit we will just carry. 
Off I go.  Thanks for all the prayer.  Seth is driving right now ---we go between him and Lydia.  See, we need MUCH prayer.  They are driving well ----we still can not relax though.
Joan and Dan
 It has been great ---we gained an hour ---helped us get here on time!!!  So, we stay up late on their time - but it is actually an hour later for us ---what a way to live.  We have been doing that since the time fell back too ---and now this is double.  It is nice for the brain though - fun.  Wish we could just live like that ---get up (late on the old time so feel refreshed and happy that you are actually getting started with your day an hour earlier) get your work all done - eat lunch late ---but remember you are really an hour early so okay with that; get the kids to bed on the old time if you feel like it and feel good that you are a whole hour early ---or get to bed late and feel good because it really isn't that late - - whatever.  Mixed up reasoning has been happening this week for sure with all the time changes ---and we are about to have a lot more.  

Andy and Becky wrote up the prayer requests so well; I am passing them along to you.  
1.      Ivory Coast is holding run-off presidential elections a week after we arrive.  Pray for peace and stability in the country.
2.     Traveling can get complicated at times.  Please pray for the children (and the parents) as they endure this 24 hour trip.  Pray that our bags (48+ check-ins) will all arrive in Ivory Coast when we do.  Pray that our vehicles will be in good running condition once we arrive in the country.  We still have a five hour "off-road-maniacs, dream come true" road trip to our home.  Please don't let that scare you from coming out for a visit.
3.     Our group includes three missionary interns (Julia, Nikki, and Calie) who will be assisting our families with the home schooling and various ministries.  Pray for their adjustment to the African life and for their safety and sanity while out there.
4.     Our shipping container arrives in Ivory Coast around the 8th of December.  Pray that the complication$ will be minimal.

5.     We really want to see God do great things in Ivory Coast.  Pray for His will do be done and souls to be saved and lives to be transformed with His Word.

Dan and I say a huge THANK YOU to those who pray for and/or give financially to our ministry.  May the Lord bless you exceedingly abundantly above all you ask or think.  He has already done that for us through each of you.  This furlough has been such a blessing.  Our hearts have been touched greatly by so many of God's servants.  We have enjoyed such great fellowship with you and listened to some great preaching---Always growing in the Lord.
You are officially invited to Africa.  We would love to see you all one day out there.  Please let us know if you are up to the challenge. 


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010


September 2010

If the calendar has scribbles all over it, you know it was a busy summer. That is what we are supposed to do though—stay busy in the Lord's work—just be careful we do not just fill time or let it pass. You know how kids look forward to birthdays and special events. Rebekah said to Josiah, "Calendars go really fast." Her way of saying that time is going fast. Redeeming the time is so important—buy it for eternity.

Four great books I read these few months are: A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael (thanks to Pastor Pierpont for striking that interest); One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven by Mark Cahill (You cannot witness in heaven—do it NOW); When Wisdom Turns to Foolishness: Solomon, One Man's Journey Away from God by Dr. David Jeremiah; and last, but of course not least, Sunset on Summer ("That was over so fast.") by our own Pastor Ken Pierpont. I would love to give you a little book review on each of these and how they so much blessed and challenged me, but you will have to find them for yourself. When do I ever have time to read—when I am nursing our cute little Gideon who is now seven months old and scooting/starting to crawl.

In July we (mainly the kids) were able to help out at two churches' vacation Bible schools. It was great—get the unsaved to come to you so you can witness to them (same as camp). I was able to pray with three kids for salvation. I continue to pray that these kids will grow and continue on. It is God Who gives the increase—our job is to plant the seed. We continue witnessing and planting seed almost daily to our unsaved neighbors, Vladimir and Anna from Albania. She said, "Everyone ought to have lots of kids." (My house is happier and runs smoother than hers who has only two little girls—who run the house.) I said, "No, no. You have to be following the Bible on how to raise kids— not that ours are perfect at all. If you don't follow the Bible, you will probably end up with a lot of brats." I continue to pray for them.           

We also did some fun stuff together—tennis at the park, roller-skating one afternoon, and a lot of preparation for Ruth and Hannah to leave home, which is a huge step for us. If you have sent a child away for college you have an idea. If you have sent a child on a foreign mission trip you have an idea. Now double that all by two. It was very hectic and a bit stressful. They sent a box of books and belongings through a Filipino company, and it was supposed to take six weeks to get there. You guessed it, it has not yet arrived. Dan is going to get a tracking number and try to find out what happened to their box—all their books, clothes—160 lbs of stuff for two years. Ruth and Hannah left on August 6 and have arrived safely in Davau. They are busy working in the clinic, watching, doing pre-natals, giving tetanus shots, recording deliveries, and learning a lot. It is great to be able to talk with them on Skype.

We have made a mistake once again, concerning where to send funds, for those of you who want to help them financially. The organization doesn't have a secretary, so it cannot handle individual gifts that come in. If you do want to help them, please send your gift addressed to them to: 617 Mulberry St., Winston Salem, NC 27101. A friend there will get the funds to their account. Thanks a lot—and sorry for the mix-up! Thanks, too, for those of you who have already sent something!! It is greatly appreciated!!!

Another huge thing has been the National Bible Bee. We had six kids involved in that—learning lots of verses and doing an intense study of Colossians. The local contest was on August 28. Seth was the local winner for his division and has qualified for the Nationals on November 11-13 in Schaumburg, Illinois. We had other kids who won the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th places in their divisions at the local competition. We are very proud of them all and amazed at all the verses they learned. It was  very hard to stay focused. We are praying that Seth will WIN (1 Cor. 9:24). If you want more information on this you can look at

Pray for the tract ministry that God will convict and work in lives through the tracts. Seth has been going to the bus terminal in the lower part of town on Sunday afternoons and has been passing out tracts and witnessing. We have also found that the hospital is a great place to pass out tracts. Our job is to take the TIME to plant seed. God has to give the increase. Which chop cut down the tree?  Was it the first? Was it the last? No, it took them all together. It IS God's will that no one perish.

We had three new meetings this summer and are praying that some might take us on for support. We have loved our time in America and watching God's provision all along the way. By telling you, we can glorify our Father Who answers before we even ask. After one of the services, a LADY came up and asked me if we wanted a new generator. (They did not know that Dan had been looking for one on craigslist.) Sure, we needed one. Her six-year-old granddaughter had won a generator in a raffle, and they did not need it at all here in America. Praise the Lord we came home with a generator.

We are excited to be going back!  Except for visas, for now cost $150 each, we are ready to go.  Lord willing, we are leaving on November 17th.            

Thank you again for all your prayers and interest in us. We really appreciate YOU.

Pilgrims on the earth,

Dan and Joan, Ruth and Hannah, Seth, Lydia, Susanna, Isaiah, Stephen, Rebekah, Josiah, Joseph, Esther, and Gideon


Blog:                                    email:

Sent from:                                                         Serving with:                                                               Serving in:

Evangel Baptist Church                                    Baptist World Mission                                                01  BP 393, San Pédro 01

16994 Telegraph Rd.                                        P.O. Box 2149                                                            Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa

Taylor, MI  48180-5108                                    Decatur, AL  35602-2149                                           225-3471-0982

734-946-5680                                                    256-353-2221                                                             336-354-5592 (US #)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ruth and Hannah - correction


Ruth and Hannah are on their way right now (Monday afternoon), to the Philippines.  Please pray for them.  They are excited about the group of girls they will be working with, and the work that awaits them there.  Please pray for health and strength, especially as they get into the new environment, etc.  We miss them, but are so happy they are wanting to serve God in this way.

In Him,

Dan and Joan Cuthbertson

Monday, June 28, 2010


Already, this is old news with us. God has answered many of these requests, and we are on the mend. Just in case any of you missed the news about Ruth and Hannah --THEY ARE GOING TO THE PHILIPPINES ON AUGUST 6. This will be a two-year missions trip where they will be working in a missionary-run maternity clinic for eight hours every day, apprenticing to be midwives. This "apprenticeship" is also accredited in America where they will receive certification as midwives. I had a single girl come out to help me in the clinic in Liberia, but I was not able to give certification. Since God is coming back so soon, they feel like this will be a great use of their time ---ministering and learning at the same time. They are both equipped to share their faith and lead someone to Jesus, and we are praying that God will use them mightily in the Philippines. Our home church and two individuals have given to help them with their expenses. Please pray that God will supply the remaining funds.

We have truly been PILGRIMS ON THE EARTH ---I really like that song: "We are only pilgrims on the earth, waiting for our Lord to come." We have been traveling this entire furlough and have just rented this place for the next five months. Does that sound like settling down to you? Well, it sounds great to me - even though we do have a trip up to New York in August. I WAS getting tired of the constant sorting and packing in the heat, but now I feel like there is an end in sight. Imagine Abraham traveling in tents all the time without even any books to read. We are truly spoiled. One of our churches - Faith Baptist in Palm Bay, Florida, - is sending out a container of Bibles and pamphlets of John and Romans, and we are trying to send out our stuff in there - lots to give away. Dan and Andy have been loading the container as well. This will help us all not to have so much to take with us.

We are "renting" - though it is minimal, a nice house with a POOL. Just thought I would capitalize that so you could see how God gives us cake along the way - and He does that over and over. Most missionaries go back to the field white --our kids are turning into brown bunnies. We are squished into three bedrooms, with some overflow into the living room, but that keeps the place picked up, and I keep getting rid of one more thing. There are so many of us, we do not have space for junk.

I know you have not heard from us in a while ---always lots going on. Joseph had a cavity, and we were looking for a dentist ---needed to get the tooth pulled. Then we found a very good Christian dentist - no metal, able to do a pulpotomy ---like a baby tooth root canal - saved the tooth (it is a baby molar that is supposed to be there until he is 12) and filled it with white composite. It still cost us $380. Question: "When was the last time you went to the dentist?" - like never? I wish we could have waited for African prices ---$10-$30 max. America, America.

Kids are in and out going to camp. That is a short blip for a lot of activity --sorting, packing, dropping off and picking up. We pray for them, and all the other campers, that God will work in their lives. A great book that they read and did reports on was Do Hard Things. You should get your teens to read it.

Seth's back ---he had a 2-inch cut from gouging it and it was gaping open. So, we decided to sew it shut down here ---this is after a week and a half, already starting to heal. Well, my friend didn't have any lidocaine (pain med). ---Seth said go for it, so I gave him three stitches. That is healed up now. I took the stitches out and am trying to put some oil that has vitamin E in it to help not have a big scar ---it is on his back though, and he is a boy.

This house just got the air conditioning fixed yesterday. I am quite happy about that!! Sorting and packing take on a double meaning in the heat. Dan just says we are getting ready for Africa ---though I did not want to get ready ahead of time. I set up a lawn chair to sit down with Gideon - did not have it set up right or something and the chair collapsed. I sat down hard on the cement and cracked or broke my tailbone. Well, there is nothing to do for that except I am just sitting easy and being careful.

Then there is Esther who did something to her knee (we didn't see her fall or anything), and she wanted to be carried everywhere ---to the table, to the bathroom, etc. We had it in an ace wrap and it only lasted three days. You KNOW we just wanted to carry our three year old around all day. Dan came back the third day, after she got up, and she smiled at him and said, "Look Daddy, I can walk!"

Meanwhile, we have unsaved neighbors that I am friendly with ---praying and witnessing to them. They have a little girl Esther's age, and she comes to play about every day. The mom has gone to church with me a few times, and Ladianna loves to come with us. So you can pray about that ---they are from Albania; the dad speaks English more than the mother. They understand salvation now, and it is their choice.

We want to line up more meetings, and Dan is looking for a good plan for a phone for these next five months. The number on our prayer card does not work. We do have two meetings scheduled but would like to fill up the months of Sept. and Oct.

Also, the Bible Bee has started again ---memorizing lots of verses. This year the focus is Colossians. It is so good to learn God's Word.

Gideon is great, so cute in his bouncy seat - a kind that hooks to the top of a doorway. He is rolling over and is the smilingest (I just made up that word) baby you ever (didn't) see.

God is good. Joseph's tooth does not hurt, I am sitting here without pain, Esther is running around, and Seth's back has healed nicely. On we go.

Pray for boldness always. I do not want God to come back and me thinking that I should have talked to someone. Talk to them today. I want to talk or give a tract to every unsaved person I meet. You might think that is a guilt trip coming on ---maybe. Just do what you should do. We know God is sovereign, and it is He that will draw sinners to Himself. Every Christian is in the army - like it or not. It is a whole lot harder to be bold for the Lord here in America than it is where we are in Africa. So, come on over and join us ---pick some fruit that is ready for harvesting.

What should we say? In His grip? Looking for His return? Pilgrims on the earth? Loving life? Praising Him? Burdens are lifted at Calvary? Thanks for your prayers? Take any closing you like.

Love in Christ,

Joan and Dan,

Ruth Marie, Hannah, Seth, Lydia, Susanna, Isaiah, Stephen, Rebekah, Josiah, Joseph, Esther, and Gideon

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I know you have not heard from us in a while; that would be called "Life on the Road." We WERE just waiting for the baby, and now Gideon Luke is already over a month old. We continue to praise God for a safe, smooth delivery and a very beautiful, healthy baby—9 lb. 3 oz. and 21 in. long at birth.

So much has been happening I do not know where to begin, what to tell, and what not to tell. This letter could be labeled “Praise the Lord for His protection and provision while He works on my attitude all the time.” First we went from Michigan to Florida, back to North Carolina, and then back to Florida where we are now. God protected us driving through a blizzard—the roads were covered in snow and it was coming down hard. In North Carolina the snow storm made the power go out for about seven hours. We thought that was not supposed to happen in America.

Also in North Carolina, Ruth was able to do chalk art while Seth preached a great message. I do love to hear Seth preach and watch Ruth do the chalk art. Keep praying that God will use them for great things. We had a great time at a week-long family seminar in Alabama with our mission. That was so useful to us to help get refocused.
On to our huge answer to prayer: You know Ruth and Hannah have been looking at Bible colleges. They have both been accepted to the Newlife International School of Midwifery in the Philippines, which is accredited in America. It is two years and is a ministry opportunity. They will be working there as missionaries while studying midwifery; the tuition goes to caring for the patients.

We arrived for a banquet in St. Petersburg, Florida, after a long trip and with a sick dog. (I just do not know how to keep this short and still tell you how God has taken care of us all along the way.) That same night our housing plans that Dan had just made fell through, as in, we did not have a place to stay at all. The vet even offered for us to park and sleep in our very small camper in their parking lot. We did not think we could do that because it was a cold night, and we would have been very tired Sunday morning. That meant we were looking for a hotel until about 1 a.m. and had a meeting the next morning. At church, one of our friends, Mrs. Stratis, invited us to stay in one of her apartments—a beautiful place at the beach with a heated pool; one that only God could provide. It was fun.

The next week God provided an empty house in Tampa for us to stay in, that belonged to a church there. It was great!! We needed a few things, so we went out immediately to get set up. Not far away we came to a moving sale and pulled in. There was everything we needed—4 sleeping bags, a queen size quilt/sheet set, camping chairs, and extras besides—great prices and stuff in great shape too. We have all the air mattresses and sleeping bags we need. It was so nice to be in a house with space for the kids to run around and do some school as well. Also, the people were so friendly and generous. We made some great friends and also had a meeting in their church. Sometimes missionaries are somewhere for so short a time that they make friends quickly at a deeper level. We really enjoyed our time with them.

On we went farther south in Florida for another missionary conference; God blesses us so much at these. We've had so many opportunities to share, preach, and be blessed. People have been coming forward and talking to the pastors, and at this church, Faith Baptist in Palm Bay, we were able to talk to the AWANA groups. Six or seven kids got saved, and that is the most exciting thing of all. Sure it is great when God takes care of us so well, even if I wish I knew ahead of time what He was going to do; but it is way better to see people getting saved or getting their lives right. My mom and the Messers (my sister and brother-in-law) were part of the conference. Also, a lot of people knew my dad, who is always great to remember and talk about.

Now we are at the Helm's house (Dan's sister Linda and brother-in- law Tom) enjoying some rest and relaxation. They have had us here for almost a week, and the kids are enjoying so much their very heated pool and the great weather. When you go through a hard time, know—this too shall pass; learn what you can, and go on. And when you are going through a great time, know—this too shall pass; praise God, and go on. Praise God in the hard time too, it is just a little bit harder to do.

We are all fine—no sickness at all, although a few aches and pains lets us know we are not getting any younger. Gideon is getting chubby—he is so cute. A good thought, though a sobering one—aches and pains are death whispering in our ears—you will die; are you ready?? Phil. 2—At the name of Jesus every knee will bow and confess that He is Lord. That is such an awesome thought.

Thanks again for your prayers. God has been answering!! Please continue to pray for Ruth and Hannah and their plans for the Philippines and for our plans to return to the Ivory Coast.

Love in Christ,

Joan and Dan,
Ruth Marie, Hannah, Seth, Lydia, Susanna, Isaiah, Stephen, Rebekah, Josiah, Joseph, Esther, and Gideon

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


   Finally a letter from the mom ---Yes, we have a baby boy named Gideon Luke Cuthbertson.  So, I've been in labor for a month --mentally that is --Ha!  No, really since I knew the due date and did not expect to go late, it was not nice waiting.  But we were busy and having a good time in the meanwhile.  Labor started with ctx an hour apart and nothing to speak of.  I'd say true labor started at noon and Gideon was born at 3:15 PM on Tuesday, Feb. 16th.  The girls were all in attendance as well as my mom, sisters Pam and Becky, and of course, Dan. All went well and he is a very beautiful baby.  I feel a whole lot better now that he is out than in and praising God that Gideon is healthy and so beautiful.

    Now we are in Alabama at our mission Family Life Seminar and have been here two days.  It has been so great and already beneficial.  I'm glad we came and it is just great to hear great preaching and teaching from God's Word.  A church here has us in their prophet's chamber and church apartment which are both beautiful.  We all fit so well and it is just a great time of enrichment and relaxation.  One great statement from today is "I must see every person and every circumstance as the Holy Spirit of God coming to me through that person and circumstance to make me more like Christ."  We all know that nothing comes to us except through Christ and yet it is sometimes easy to criticize, get hurt, get frustrated with people who aren't doing what we think they should.  So, let it rest, help people to change if you can, pray a lot,  but leave the feelings and frustrations out of it.

    Thanks for all your prayers!!!  We head to Fl on Friday and hopefully to warmer weather.

Bye for now,

Love in Christ,