We would like to ask you to please pray about the following health issue that has arisen.
After three weeks of extreme fatigue when at times it has almost been impossible to put one foot in front of another, rapid loss of weight, night sweats where pillows have been literally soaked, and raised lymph nodes in the groin we took the big decision to charter Missionary Aviation Fellowship (Canada) to come from Lubango four hours flying time away. We decided to call MAF because Brian was took weak to make the triangular flight to Lubango via Luanda, and the small plane was a quicker and more direct option.
Brian has had a consultation with Dr Steve Foster at the CEML Hospital in Lubango, where he underwent a thorough investigation and had a biopsy on some raised lymph nodes in the groin. The doctor will be sending the biopsy to Luanda for tests which normally take up to 6 weeks to come back but he has requested that this be treated urgently so we are hoping for a quicker response.
The doctor said on looking at the gland that he removed that it was highly unusual and he suspects something worrying is going on in the body which needs further investigation.
We are totally numb with this news and Brian had to share this news with Debbie by phone as she remained in Camundambala, Brian is now back with Debbie at Camundambala having chartered the MAF plan to return this lunchtime.
Please pray that the biopsy will prove to be clear and that this is just some random infection that will pass, and that the Lord will put his hand on Brian and remove whatever it is that is causing such extreme symptoms in his body. We know He is able in His will.
In the meantime we have Mark Johnston and Steve Wilson arriving on Wednesday 17thand then Matt Coe and Huw Collings arriving on Friday 19th to make one big push in getting the new Primary School almost finished. We have been so looking forward to their fellowship. We feel that the Lord has permitted their visas to be granted and that the work they are going to do is a huge step forward in the school building.
We are currently looking at returning home for investigations and treatment in the next week or so.
So many of you have stood by us faithfully over the last 25 years and we would especially appreciate it if you could bring this matter before the Lord, that in His will complete healing will be given. We have been through so many trials here and believe that things in the assembly have turned the corner and that there is so much more blessing to be seen yet, we feel that we have so much more to give to the Lord in His will here at Camundambala.
We have recently returned from a 2month trip to Uganda. Our first as a family of 3!
Much of our time was working within the local assembly at Nansana. Paul had the opportunity to give Old Testament overview teaching on a weekly basis as well as ministering & Gospel preaching on Sundays & some opportunities in the open air. Currently the assembly are meeting in an elders home but we have started to look into purchasing land to build a hall in the Nansana area. This will require a lot of our time and we need a great deal of wisdom in dealing with this.
Sadly only about a month into our trip the political situation in Uganda took a negative turn. The arrest & apparent torture of the main political opposition leader, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu caused widespread anger leading to many riots to which the government responded with a rather heavy handed approach. This had a significant effect on our movements for a couple of weeks & unfortunately caused us to cancel some outreach plans. We did have some good opportunities within schools though and believe that the Lord blessed in salvation. Paul also travelled 4hours into the bush to visit a prison, which was quite an eye opener! a UK size prison cell would be home to approx 30-50prisoners depending on demand. Many of these men have been on remand for as much as 18months, potentially innocent men locked up for long periods of time without any legal assistance. We enjoyed our time there and shared the gospel via translator then left each prisoner with soap, a tooth brush and a Johns gospel.
Our trusty Land Cruiser, prior to our arrival, had a complete overhaul hoping that she would very reliable for our trip. Sadly this wasn't the case and over the 2month period we broke down 5 times! During a trip to a tea plantation to look for small villages the Land Cruisers temperature gauge wasn't working and the combination of a heavy load and steep inclines for long periods of time caused the engine to overheat quite significantly. This caused considerable damage to the engine and radiator and meant the vehicle was off the road for about a week. Heavy rain caused the electrics to go haywire one evening leaving us stranded on the side of the road again!
On a more positive note the Lord opened the door to bring hopebytheroadside to Uganda and we were delighted to start an advertising campaign within Uganda. We currently have a 12meter x 8 meter billboard on the main road leading to the international airport which is situated directly outside the UN base and another 2 smaller billboards on the road linking central and eastern Uganda. We have plans for 2 more on the Uganda/Kenya border. Please pray for this work.
Charlotte took it all in her stride, being only 9months old she was oblivious to the challenges facing us and kept excellent health throughout the trip. We are thankful to God that a brief health scare for Rachel with symptoms similar to Malaria, meant a day getting tests in a hospital in Kampala but it was just a virus and cleared up within 3days.
Certainly Uganda was quite challenging this trip but we are so thankful to the Lord for his guidance & protection. It was also a great comfort to know that during difficult days we had many friends & family at home who were praying for us.
Paul hopes to return to Uganda in December for a youth camp and as a family we plan to be in Uganda again early 2019. Please keep Uganda in your prayers
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Sao Joaquim da Barra where I was well looked after by Uncle James Crawford and his daughter Margaret. Margaret did all the driving and one day we travelled to Sacramento where we enjoyed a lovely time with Chrissie McSorley. We visited the orphanage that Chrissie looked after and now it is being renovated and will be run by the local council. We finished the day speaking at a fairly new assembly at Igarapava.
The rest of the week was involved in four assemblies in Franca where Uncle James did the translation. We had a special night on the Friday when the local council In Sao Joaquim honoured Uncle James for his help to the town an especially in his radio program over many years.
Our last meetings were in Guara and Ribeirao Preto were very well attended and the following day I was takrn to Descalvado where my cousin Janeta Waterson lives. I was able to visit their three children Janice, Bill, Anita and their husbands and wife. I visited four of the assemblies but I had no preaching engagement in their area.
I was then taken to Andrew and Alison Renshaw’s in Piracicaba where there are five thriving assemblies. I had a wonderful time in the assembly where the Renshaws worship having a number of meetings with them and I enjoyed real warm fellowship. I was able to visit a full time worker who works in the Amazon among the Indians. He had a serious accident on kneecap and it will be some time before he will be able to return to his field of service. I also visited the widow of Loiz Suaraez who was a highly respected full time worker.
I am now in Sao Paulo for my last week and I am staying with my cousin Anna, the oldest daughter of Willie and Leila Maxwell. Thank you for your prayers and notes of encouragement. [photo is of the Guara assembly]
Update on the situation regarding Carlos: Thank you to all who have prayed. The family have made a massive financial claim on Carlos which they know he will never be able to pay. Problem is that if any money is handed over it is basically admitting guilt and the situation will only repeat itself with every sickness/death in the family. Please continue to pray that the Lord will work in the hearts of the family concerned and that these unreasonable demands will stop.
I have been in Brazil for the past two weeks. I came mainly to see Uncle James Crawford who is 93 and has been in Brazil for over 65 years. I also have a number of cousins here and it has been good to catch up with them and their children.
My visit commenced in Rio De Janeiro where I was met by Walter Alexander. The first day was taken up with seeing what was once the capitol and I had a visit to Christ the Redeemer statue from which you got an excellent view of Rio. Sadly there is a lot of gang warfare in shanty towns in Rio where the very poor live.
On my second day I was taken to a town about 130kms from Rio in a place called UMEAS and I visited an old people’s home with about 38 residents and it doubles up as a camp site. We went there with a brother who is a builder and whose father donated the land for this work.
The next day Walter and I travelled to Vitoria where he and Elizabeth now live. Their son Stephen and his wife and family live in Vitoria as Walter & Elizabeth need a bit of medical care. I was there for three days and visited three assemblies speaking at each of them.
I then flew to Uberaba where Willie and Leila Maxwell spent a lot of time and I was welcomed by their daughter Leila and I sent a lovely time with Leila and family. One of her sons Alexandre is a full time worker and I was taken to Uberlandia on one of the nights where we had a lovely meal with Jim & Carmen Jardine before going on to one of the meetings in Uberlandia. Jim doesn’t keep well but he reminded me that the last time we met was at Newcastle. The meeting was a pack out with the brethren bringing in extra chairs.
The following night was in Uberaba where Alexandre has commenced a new work and that night there were so many that some were sitting out on the street and we had a very profitable time with them
I then travelled to Sao Joaquim da Barra where I was greeted by Uncle James and Margaret and my uncle has arranged meetings every night apart from one night so he is keeping me busy! It has been good to see the country where my relatives have spent so much of their time. I will be here for another three weeks and I value your prayers as I will visit cousins later on. The first photo is Alexandre is on the left and the second is the old people’s home.
Please pray for one of our elders, Carlos...his brothers wife having been ill for the last three months died. Her family have accused him and his siblings of killing her with witchcraft and have beaten him badly. They are demanding payment for the death, if money isn’t paid then they will take a life. D-Day is Sunday, please pray that the unreasonable demands of the grieving family stop and common sense will prevail. Carlos is one of the most meek and humble men I know out here, and he is the only one of his family who is a Christian. He has a wife and 9 children.
What a week we’ve had at Camundambala. An 11 yr old daughter of a couple in fellowship was struck by lightning as she returned from the river, just metres from safety of the house. Along with her 5 friends she was thrown to the floor, but she was the only one who never got up. We took her to hospital but she was obviously dead before they carried her to the Land Rover. We buried her last Sunday. This Sunday we had the joy of seeing 11 young people of the assembly buried in baptism in the river. All of them have come through the Primary School where they have heard the Gospel, attended Sunday School and made professions of faith. We have seen their lives change and some are the children of the first believers who attended bible class back in 1996 which is a special joy to us. Please continue to pray for the Lords work here.
Looking forward to another day in Edinburgh with the Gospel for Scotland team. 8,000 people attend the Edinburgh Military Tattoo show each night in August at Edinburgh castle. Many are from other countries. Yesterday was hard to describe. Over 30 Christians working together, most of them “young” and yet open and brave in their witness for the Lord Jesus. The weather was poor yet 12,500 John 3:16 bags were given out in the Royal Mile area of Edinburgh. The bags were everywhere you looked. If you can’t be with us today then please pray for the good seed of the Word of God as it saturates the centre of Edinburgh again today.
I leave for Brazil on the 15th of August to visit my uncle James Crawford who is 93 and who has served in Brazil for over 65 years. I hope to see the Alexanders and the Renshaws and my cousins some of whom I haven’t seen for a long time. No doubt I will be kept busy but I value your prayers that I will keep well during my visit and I will be a help to the believers I contact
Please pray for annual Holiday Kids Club at Hope Hall, Bridge of Weir.
For the past four years we have come to the city of Moses Lake for a two week event that includes a Vacation Bible School each morning for two hours, a separate Teen program in the mornings and afternoons, and then gospel meetings each evening. We use a 40x80 tent for the activities and live in caravans and tents in the nearby park. God has blessed the work and provided consistent positive feedback from a number that have come. This year so far there are four teens (16-18) that have told us of their having a clear understanding of the gospel and a confidence before God that their sins have been dealt with by the Lord Jesus at the cross. Each day we have close to 100 teens and kids that come for the VBS, and then the teens remain for the gospel and are accompanied by a number of other adults.
Myself and Tom Hoy share in the preaching at night, and I take responsibility for the Teen Class in the mornings. We have a team of 16 younger workers helping during the two weeks, ages 18 to 30, and do a book study with them early mornings too. Having them with us really makes the two weeks worthwhile
Pray that we would have wisdom to know how to maintain the contacts that are made, and know how God would have us proceed in the future.
As I write I am with brother Ross Vanstone and around 60 believers (young and old) in Lethbridge, Southern Alberta, Canada to help the local assembly here with a Seed Sowers distribution and Gospel Tent meetings. 38000, John 3:16 texts and meeting invitations have been distributed in the town and surrounding areas. Every morning in the first week, after a session of bible study, the teams were organised and for the rest of the day covered the area with great enthusiasm and efficiency. Ross Vanstone lived here for a few years at the end of the 1990’s and saw the Lord work and an assembly established. It has been some years since there has been a gospel effort in the area so the Seed Sower distribution is an extra joy for the christians here. The local believers have thrown themselves completely into the work with many taking a week of vacation to be involved. The Seed Sowers came from all over Canada and the USA and the joy of fellowship as we laboured together was a real highlight of the first week.
The tents meetings have now begun and have been greatly blessed by the Lord right from the start with extra seats having to be obtained to accommodate all who are coming. People have attended from both Lethbridge and the surrounding area. There are many unbelievers attending with the usual mix of problems but they are listening with great interest. Most nights there is 100 or more in the tent and afterwards many stay to discuss the gospel and ask questions. This includes a large number of ex Hutterites who have been converted and left the colonies and are currently seeking a place for fellowship. They particularly love to hear the gospel and are enthusiastic in their “Amens” etc during the meetings. We visited a colony about 2 hours away last week and a family from there have slipped away and attended the meeting on one occasion. This is a big thing for them as any involvement with christians outside the colony could bring real trouble for them. The Lord is clearly working in the meetings and the assembly here is greatly encouraged by the big numbers showing genuine interest in the gospel. Please pray that the Lord will grant us the joy of hearing of real conversions soon.
Several of the Seed Sowers here are asking if they can visit and join a similar Seed Sowers effort in the UK next summer. If you are interested in similar distributions in the UK please visit www.seedsowersuk.org and plans will be posted on the events page.
Week 1 of SCYC finished on Friday and we are thankful to Lord for His blessing. The campers all aged between 9 and 10 came from across Shetland and enjoyed a great week. Gordon McCracken spoke on God’s promises and the children enjoyed learning how they can trust God in any situation. A basic point but so relevant when many children are often let down by family. There was a great spirit of unity amongst all the workers and everyone worked well with each other. Please pray for the seed sown in their heart and gospel which has now gone into homes through these children. A new batch of campers has joined us today along with some fresh leaders and helpers, 97 children under the sound of God’s word. Please pray for this camp and for Adrian Fergusson as he speaks to them.
SCYC Week 1
Today is the first day of the first week of the Shetland Camp, with 94 campers mainly from non Christian homes coming under the sound of God's Word. Gordon McCracken will be leading them through various lessons focussing on God's promises. We are thankful for a great group and leaders and helpers who have come from different assemblies across the UK.
This is the biggest camp yet owing to the two extra dorms which have been created to accommodate the increased demand for spaces at the camp. Please pray for this week, for many of the campers this will be the main interaction with Christians this year.
After over a year of prayer and planning, the Lord made it possible to reach one of the local tribes with the gospel. They are a nomadic, hunting tribe, and have been responsible for many of the atrocities carried out in the areas we visit. They listened respectfully to the gospel, accepted Bibles and literature, and were happy to discuss plans for us to educate their children. Please pray that ongoing discussions with the authorities will lead to the school starting soon, and that the light of the gospel will bring lasting change to the tribe.
It was good to see our brothers and sisters in Luanza again, this time in more peaceful circumstances. Around 10,000 people fled from the surrounding villages, but they are now starting to return. We have had four meetings each day and are thankful for help given. There are many diverse problems and needs among the believers, but the Word of God is so relevant to all that they are going through. We had daily Bible studies with Kikunda and Kombe who are doing well, but prayer would be appreciated as they continue to rebuild their marriage.
In January, the village of Kabulembe was held by rebels, but peace has returned and we were able to gather with the believers there on Sunday. They are building a new hall, but the work has been set back after building materials were stolen.
Lots of progress since last post: spoon drains laid around the whole building, internal and external windows and doors installed
Internal courtyard needs to be paved yet, and 4 more rooms to be tiled. Praising the Lord for the progress and praying that He will send the right people to complete this project.
Please pray for our week of Gospel Outreach.
These pictures are from Tom Merriman who has been working on the school project at Camundamvala after seeing a request for help from Brian on this blog.
Here are the first tiles being laid in the shower rooms and toilets of the new school.
Drainage for one of the toilets and showers
Running the pipe work for the showers - using whatever you can lay your hands on.
This is just a small part of the substantial project which is progressing well with a combination of willing locals and visitors. I contacted Brian and Debbie after seeing the request to assist with tiling mid February, but there’s much more work still to be done after my 3 weeks!