Dear Family and Friends;
So much has happened since we last wrote. By the time you read this, we will finally be in Guyana. The last few weeks have been a combination of packing barrels, visiting churches, final goodbye’s, and making the long haul to Miami, Florida, to ship our goods, and head to the jungle.
Just before Christmas, Norman Hansen, AWA’s pilot and project manager for the Nicaragua project, visited us. Norman was able to do some flight training with Darren in the Cessna 182 we have been using. Since this is the plane designated for Nicaragua, Norman was happy to get some time in it. While he was visiting, his team in Nicaragua was able to perform their first medical evacuation. They just received permission to fly in the country; this was very exciting for their project.
We are also very glad that soon the plane in Guyana will be operating again. We travel to Georgetown on January 10. Other than the annual inspection and a cylinder change done in October, the plane has been standing since Greg Van Fossen, the former pilot, left Guyana in April. 2016. You can understand our urgency to get down there.
The Lord has truly January 2017 been faithful. Our funding received a boost when a church donated $10,000 to help us reach our deployment goal of the same amount; this was a big step forward for us. We also inherited some donors from another missionary who was going to Guyana but changed plans. Since our visas run out on January 10, and we need to leave the US, we are thankful that as we step forward in faith, the Lord is providing the means. While we have not yet reached our monthly goal, we trust the Lord to stretch our resources.
We have been praying for divine appointments. We were at a friend’s house for lunch one Sabbath, when another guest at the meal was due to speak at his local church the next week. He gave us his speaking opportunity. We were able to share our stories and pictures with people we wouldn’t otherwise have met. This same gentleman offered to drive us and our belongings, to Miami, at his expense. From Collegedale, Tennseess, this would mean three days on the road (round trip) for him, as well as hiring a U-haul trailer.
Over the past months, we have been gathering a small mountain of things to pack into the 55-gallon plastic barrels in which we can ship things. Packing takes a lot of time as you attempt to squeeze the most into the space you have. It’s amazing what can fit into one barrel– books, toys, kitchen items, a sewing machine and serger, fabric for sewing, food that we can’t get locally, wipes and diapers (which make great packing material, water filters, and many other items for which we are grateful. In the end, we had seven barrels, jampacked and ready to go.
On the morning of January 4, 2017 (which happened to be Rosanna’s first birthday), our friend Richard Plank drove us to Florida. After a full day on the road, we spent the night in Orlando with some of his family, and then arrived the next day in Miami. We headed straight to the shipping company where we offloaded our seven barrels, washer, dryer and smaller items. Prayers were going up that we could get the things sent off smoothly. After two and a half hours, we had completed the task, and the paperwork was done. How thankful we were! The company even gave us a 13% discount when they heard about the work we are doing. We have just two days left in the United States. We are so grateful to kind people who have opened their homes for us during our travels. We greatly appreciate the hospitality of friends we didn’t even know we had.
We are enjoying the beauty of Florida and the warmer weather, but soon we’ll be in the humidity of the tropics.
Just yesterday, our last Sabbath here, we attended the Miami Springs SDA worship service for the first time. We were given a short opportunity to share and then sent off with a dedicatory prayer. How we need these prayers! Some people have exclaimed, “What an exciting life!” Our response is, “The excitement is in getting on the plane.” The real and lasting excitement in living in these places is to see how Jesus can transform people’s lives. May we see many people turn to Him through our small efforts.
Thank you for your much-needed support!
Darren, Joanne & Rosanna Lea
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