Thanks for your faithful prayers. We are safely back in Suriname. Our trip was long. We got up at 2:45 AM and arrived at the airport just before they opened. We were able to check our luggage all the way to Paramaribo, Suriname. The first sections of the flight went very well to Detroit, and then 2 hours later to Miami. We were on the plane to Triniday at 3 pm after a wait of 3 ½ hours in Miami. I had a very interesting conversation with two men during the flight. One was going to do work in Suriname, and had been struggling spiritually for a number of years. I could identify with some of his struggles and had a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with him. Another man spoke briefly with me, but then read a tract in detail twice before falling asleep through the rest of the flight. However, at Trinidad, our 2 hour wait for the flight was changed into a 6 hour wait. Fortunately they finally arranged for us to get a sandwich and drinks while waiting. Our plane appears to have been used for another flight, and then they waited for some passengers to arrive before we took off. So by the time we got our luggage, took a small van home, and unloaded our luggage (all arrived intact), we fell into bed about 5:30 AM.
We have spent most of the last few days getting restarted on the work here. I enjoyed the opportunity to preach Sunday morning. I was a bit concerned that my Sranantongo would end up being heavily mixed with English, but it was not a problem. Usually when we head to the USA, it takes a couple weeks before the Sranantongo completely leaves my English sermons. We also adjusted right away to driving on the left side of the road, although a few times I turned on my windshield wipers first instead of signaling for a turn (the directional signals and the wipers are opposite what they are in the USA).
On Saturday, I visited a young man from our main church with cancer who had been sent to Columbia for radiation therapy just before we went to the USA for our minifurlough. However, the paperwork was so delayed that he left for Columbia almost 6 months after the diagnosis. He returned to get his chemotherapy, but it is obvious that the cancer has spread into his abdomen and perhaps his liver. His abdomen is swollen with fluid, and he is wasting away. We prayed. I also had a chance to present the gospel to a nephew who was there.
We are readjusting to the heat. Coming back to Suriname in the summer is not bad, but we were in the USA during the cold long enough to start adapting to colder weather. It usually takes about 10 days to 2 weeks before the body starts to adjust back to the heat. Liz also developed a cold en route back and then some bronchitis, but seems to be recovering on antibiotics.
Yesterday we also had an excellent opportunity to witness. We had called the man who usually sprays for bugs (a necessity in the tropics) but he sent a nephew instead who also does the same work. So we had an excellent opportunity to go through the plan of salvation both with his wife, who rode with him, and the man himself. She is a staunch Roman Catholic. He told her: “this Sunday we are going to Dominee’s (Pastor’s) church.” He had actually helped his nephew get rid of termites at our main church several months ago, and knew precisely where it was. He had also worked on two of our other churches in the past.
This weekend, we will be meeting with the senior pastors of the four churches to look to the future. There are also a number of projects needed to repair the churches. The most urgent is the flooding we have had in the main church, where we need to raise the level of the floor. We would appreciate your prayers.
Safe arrival with all our luggage
Opportunities to present the gospel
Health and strength for the work
Our own spiritual growth
Independence of the churches ( the papers are still with the government)
Success in repairing churches
Continued growth spiritually and numerically in the churches