March Update


Dear friends and family,

Happy Sabbath! We have been running all week, and the Sabbath rest is so welcome. The Caribbean Union has had a “reaping campaign”, a one-week evangelistic series, this week, and we have been walking in every night for the meetings. We were asked to give some talks on health, so for three of the nights we spoke for 15-20 minutes at the beginning of the service, on the need for water (2 nights) and the need for rest (1 night). O how we feel that need for rest today!

We apologize for the long delay in writing. It’s been busy. All three of us just finished antibiotic treatment for a skin infection that looked like impetigo. Alice and Grant got a bad case of koi bari (KO-ee buh-reeh) poisoning, or allergy tree as we called it before. It causes a fine papular rash that is intensely itchy and usually lasts for a month. No medications available here help. We tried a variety of steroid creams and antihistamines in addition to an assortment of essential oils, but nothing helped for more than an hour or so. Then Steven got some scratches from plants while cutting jungle and the scratches got infected. We think it was because the water level was so low in the river. It’s pretty clean when the rains are falling steadily, but there are some sources of pollution far upstream that get more problematic when there isn’t much rain (we would love to be able to test the water and see just how clean it is…). For a while we treated his infection with hot and cold water treatments and soaks in hot water infused with lavender oil (highly effective at treating many skin infections), but while the infection didn’t get worse, it kept spreading and didn’t really improve. Then Grant got the same infection on his legs. And finally, after treating Grant and Steven for a week or so, Alice got the same infection in the places where she had scratched the rash (oops.) We were getting so discouraged as we couldn’t find anything to heal our problems. We started praying earnestly about it, and finally our pilot in Georgetown and his wife were able to bring out some antibiotics (mupirocin and Augmentin) for us to try. This was in the midst of some plane maintenance and the threat of our airstrip closing for work. But the Lord worked out the timing and transportation. Soon the infection was under control, and now we have only a few scabs and scars to remind us of it all. We are so very grateful for the Lord’s care for us.

Two weeks ago Steven got to go with one of the villagers to the top of a nearby tepui called Waritmatepuh. The spelling might not be quite right. It was a beautiful trip, and he was able to help this friend understand a little better how to use a new (old) GPS unit, which he had gotten for some land surveying and mining.

Another thing that we have been blessed to be able to do for the people here is to provide some food for a couple families (both Ellimans) in poor health and who had rats and wild hogs damage their farms. The Elliman families have become some of our very good friends, and we are so glad to be able to share with them.

Steven has also been teaching a survey/crash course in math for some of the villagers who are going to take a national placement exam in a few months. We have discovered that most of the people here, young and old alike, have a very poor foundation in basic arithmetic. It has been challenging to figure out how to teach new material effectively while slowly patching up the confusion on addition and subtraction.

This was finals week for the school, and as an end-of-term treat the whole school walked up to Paruima Falls for a picnic on Thursday. It is a little over two miles’ walk, with tumbling falls to enjoy at the end. It would have been nicer for a picnic if there were a place other than a boulder field to sit and eat (the base of the falls is all large, sometimes sharp rocks, with water running underneath–we lost a container when it slipped down a crack into the rushing stream). Some boys helped us climb the lower portion of the falls, then Grant and Alice stayed at a safe place while Steven climbed a little higher with one of the boys. We had some anxious moments in the ascent and descent, and a few falls on slippery moss. I think we were all glad to get back to our base and eat lunch. We were tired when we got home–and the next day we were SORE! All the leaping from rock to rock used some muscles we didn’t know we had. :)

Today is, as you probably know, thirteenth Sabbath, and that means that the children’s division at the church puts on a special program for Sabbath School. Last time we attended one of these services Grant was not included because he hadn’t been there for the whole quarter, but this time he has been asked to say a memory verse for the church. This is going to be a long, busy day! The morning program starts at 8:30, baptisms will be in the early afternoon, then a potluck at 4:00. I don’t know if there will be a time for us to get home before evening. We are praying for rest in spite of the busy-ness.

W would like to thank you all for your prayers and pray you have a blessed and restful Sabbath.

In His service,

Steven, Alice, and Grant

PS = “We would like to know, what sorts of things would you like to hear most about our events here? Our lives aren’t very often filled with missionary-story-book miraculous and scary adventures, but we want to know what sorts of things we should talk about more. Let us know!”

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