Posts tagged #missionaries

Impacting Your Culture!

There is a great movie coming out this weekend – Woodlawn.

The movie is based on a true story of a small town set in Alabama in the 1970’s.  A gifted high school football player learns to embrace his talent and his faith as he battles racial tensions on and off the field.  This inspirational new “Christian” movie is all about learning to love and unify during a time of hate and division. Many “big” Hollywood names have shown up for this movie:  Sean Astin (The Hobbit, Rudy), Nic Bishop (ABC’s Body of Proof), Sherri Shepard (NBC’s The View, 30 Rock) and Oscar-winning Jon Voight, just to name a few.  This is not your old-fashioned low budget Christian movie.

I want to encourage you to go see it with your whole family.  Yes, I am hoping you will fork out the $10+ per ticket and see it in the movie theater.

I know you can wait and watch it on Netflix or rent the DVD, but here are a handful of good reasons to NOT do that.

1.  Supporting Christian movies sends Hollywood a message.  Growing up, there were very few Christ-centered movies.  Finally, Hollywood is acknowledging the 91+ million Christian movie-goers.  In the past, Christians were portrayed in movies as pedophiles, killers or strict-no-fun kind of people.  They are seeing us and hearing us now, so let’s support the effort.

2.  Going to watch Woodlawn is good for your whole family.  The movie is rated PG -  so take everyone.  Your older kids will enjoy a well-made movie and with good acting and your younger kids will be excited to see a “grown-up movie”.  But most of all, you can have a wonderful conversation afterwards about the truths and questions this movie is bound to create.

3.  Woodlawn is a good tool to reach the lost.  Nothing speaks to culture like movies.  Woodlawn is a natural bridge in conversation with someone who doesn’t know Christ.  This will make you relevant around “the water cooler” at work or at the playground talking to moms.  Aren’t you looking for a way to talk about Christ to strangers?  Here is your opportunity!

4. Christians need to unify behind the message.  Hollywood has the ability to reach millions of people for Christ.  People who have no faith will buy a ticket to a movie about football and not even know it is a Christian movie.  They will stay and be entertained by the good acting and moving story.  However, they will also take away a piece of God’s truth in the process.  We Christians have to unify our dollars and our influence behind messages like Woodlawn.  Then Hollywood will hear our unified voice and keep making more movies like this one.

5. Going to see Woodlawn helps endorse fellow believers.  We are blessed to know a few people in the faith-based movie-making arena.  Most of our friends are sold out to Jesus and really want to make a difference in the world.  They are not in Hollywood to make the big bucks, but there to impact culture in a way unheard of before.  They are missionaries in a field untouched by Christians in the past.  They are going head-to-head with the evil one as they impact a world that doesn’t know Jesus.  So by going to see Woodlawn and other movies to come in the next years, you are supporting a missionary in hostile territory.

I hope to see you all at the movies on October 16th when Woodlawn premieres.  Go and make a difference!

Check out the movie trailer!

~ Jeanna Young

jeanna.jpeg

When Jeanna is not writing, speaking, event planning, or homeschooling, she can be found scrapbooking her life,  redecorating her home, loving on her husband,  planning fun events for her kids or eating healthy to stay cancer-free!

Jackie's Journey: First Impressions

A year or so after moving into the Darien Gap in the jungles of Panama, I was asked by our field leaders to jot down my first impressions. To my surprise I read my notes in our New Tribes Mission Brown Gold Magazine months later in May 1973.  A few days ago I was going through some photo albums and found the same article I had written.

The purpose of the writing was to call attention to the desperate need to reach these unreached people tucked into little corners all over the world.  H.A. Roberts said, “The toughest challenges lead to the greatest triumph’s”.  The call is as imperative now, as it ever was then.  Here is that quoted article reproduced:

“HERE WE ARE!  Address: El Rio Pucuro, Nowhereland!

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   Our village carved out of dense jungle.  My house has a tin roof in the foreground.

Our village carved out of dense jungle.  My house has a tin roof in the foreground.

Only 26 days ago we flew into El Real in an eight-passenger plane and were picked up in the same dilapidated jeep that had met us 6 months before.  We headed to the waterfront, a short ride on a dusty, bumpy road that I viewed between my feet through the holes in the floorboard! 

We got as close as the jeep could go and then hobbled ¼ mile with 3 month-old Kim in my arms, 3 year-old Christina hanging on to my dress, three suit-cases, an infant seat to use in the floor of the dugout, and boiled water!

We traveled an hour to Yavisa for the night.  Next morning, at 5:00 a.m., we loaded the piraguas (dugout canoe) for Pucuro.  We ate fish and rice for breakfast and began our 11-hour trip upriver.

The winding river Pucuro!

The winding river Pucuro!

ours passed and I couldn’t believe the beauty I was beholding.  The jungle is plush, full and spattered with green and yellow blankets of butterflies all along the way.  The first six hours were quick and, other than cramped arms and legs from protecting Kim from the beating sun and being sandwiched between our household belongings, we all fared well.  The last six hours were a real battle against our dry river and a swift current!  No less than twenty times Ralph and the others jumped into the shallow water to push us over rocks, etc. that worked like a barricade to delay our long awaited entrance into the land of the Kuna people.

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   Dry season means shallow waters!

Dry season means shallow waters!

Just before dark I looked up and saw brown bodies silhouetted along the sandy break in the jungle.  My heart began to pound as I realized I was about to face a people that had consumed our hearts and minds for over three years!

Would they accept us?

Would they grab my baby and run into the dark?

What should I expect?

The verse “My grace is sufficient…” flooded my mind as I yielded to His wooing and relaxed!

As we pulled into shore at 6:30 p.m. the people swarmed all over us.  Somebody took Kim out of my arms and stepped away into the dark.  In the confusion Christina lost her shoe and I felt Ralph tug on my arm to head up the bank to our house.  I called in the dark for Kimi and somebody laid her in my arms while the others laughed.

As we meandered up a narrow, overgrown path to glimpse our jungle house, all I could hear was little Christina in her Daddy’s arms asking for her lost shoe!   

Oh, for the simple trust of a child! 

In a few moments we stepped into our new home.  The dirt floor was cold, mainly because I was wet from our trip in, but too, it was dark and the river had filled the air with moisture.  The following morning I opened my eyes to what looked like a storehouse with boxes, tanks, mosquito netting, etc.  Soon we were busy greeting people, finding suitcases with dry clothes, and hunting through canned goods and paper sacks for food to eat.

Now, 26 days later, I’m looking back to the first “Congreso” where I drank my first Indian “chicha” from communal cups, the first days of helping women sweep the village where I obtained my four blisters on one hand, the initial jolt of a hairy tarantula spider on my laundered sheet, the adjustment to the intense curiosity of the people, the initiation of washing clothes in the river, the perpetual problem of children urinating in our house, and the mixed emotions of a protective mother.

This evening, less than a month interior, we find ourselves with tape recorder in hand and a house full of Indians, struggling again to communicate the precious Gospel of Jesus with these still in heathen darkness.

 

New Tribes Missionaries 1971-1984

New Tribes Missionaries 1971-1984

Will you pray for tribal missionaries?

Will you pray for the many still unreached tribes?

Jackie's Journey: Inexplicable Agony Part 2

“When God wants to bring more power into your life, He brings more pressure.” (A.B. Simpson)

My husband’s increasing pain with no resolve had become a constant pre-occupation.  Pressure, by definition, is a continuing opportunity for others to observe our true character.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” II Corinthians 4: 17

Our appointment at the Center for Disease Control was early, and to get into the lab, we needed to walk past a zoo-like structure that enclosed a number of caged odiferous monkeys. 

They were loud and aggressive as we made our way to the foyer.

We were greeted by two of the staff that led us down a long corridor to a small room with jars of unspeakable contents lining the counters.  After a series of tests and reviewing the hospital reports, these research doctors, who had been so kind to us, both had smiles of success on their faces. 

“As incredible as this may seem, Ralph”, they started their explanation, “somehow, you have broken into a cycle only seen in animals, specifically horses.  You have strongyloides, a parasite that burrows into the intestinal wall… and eats it!  The reason the Coca-Cola gave you relief is because the parasite would not burrow its head in those few moments because they feed on sugar.  So you were able to sense a temporary relief. This particular parasite is literally eating your intestinal wall!!” 

Looking for a source of entry, one doctor asked to see Ralph’s feet.  Ralph’s heels were deeply cracked and the parasite had entered into his system directly from the contaminated soil in the Choco settlement he had recently visited!  As interested as Ralph was in the entire explanation, all he really wanted to know was “how do we kill the creatures?!” 

The good news was that there was a treatment…but…it was for horsesThe bad news was they did not know if it would work on a human…or kill him instead?!  They were very careful to explain that under no circumstances was he to take more than one teaspoon a day because the medicine was so toxic. 

We needed to stay in Panama City another week for them to run a last test to see if the medicine had worked.  After three days and no relief, Ralph looked at the girls, and me, and said,  “It’s me or the bugs!”  He, instantly, took the bottle, turned it upside down, emptying its entirety into his mouth!  My heart started pounding…

Who does that???

He seemed fine for the first hour or so, and I breathed a sigh of relief.  Then, abruptly, he became agitated and turned into the Hulk!  He grabbed my arm and yelled something unintelligible.  His wild eyes looked like the man who had broken into the house a few days earlier! 

 What had he done?!

This strong, gentle man had become forceful and alarming.

Fortunately, we were still in the city, but it was too late to call the doctors.  When morning broke we loaded into the borrowed vehicle and headed back to the lab to see if Ralph had done something irreparable!  He, however, was excited to let the doctors know that the massive dosage of the toxic vial had made him a crazy man …but not killed himThe real issue: Did it kill the parasites?!  

Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?  Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?  Why should any living man complain…”  Lamentations 3: 37-39

Needless to say, the doctors were horrified and shocked that he had taken the whole bottle, but were grateful that he had survived!  They were anxious to test him for the parasite.   We sat silently waiting for the test results.  If the parasites lived through the toxic exposure, there was no other treatment known to help us.

They quietly re-entered the room …gleaming!

Ralph had lived… and the bugs had died!!

During those days of excruciating pain, never once did Ralph complain.  He was not suffering…just ask him!   He gave thanks continually and even at his worst, submitted to the will of God.

“The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm” Psalm 19: 23 
Pressure is the great tester of our spiritual condition…  “The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.”  (William Booth) 

How do you respond to pressure?

Jackie's Journey: Inexplicable Agony! Part 1

Ralph raking the leaves in front of our jungle home.

Ralph raking the leaves in front of our jungle home.

The word that Americans were living on the Pucuro River among an isolated tribe located near the headwaters was big news to the people in a tiny Choco settlement about a day’s journey away by piraqua.  A young couple from this village had come to Pucuro for medicine for their little boy.  Ralph, my husband, and our partner, Jay Gunsteens, were eager to take some of our new believing Kunas on their first missionary trip to this community.

Young visiting Choco family.

Young visiting Choco family.

I remember the day they took off in the dugout and wondered how these remote people would receive the message God was bringing to them.  It was rainy season and the mud was deep as they arrived on the riverbank.  This secluded group of Indians had a few horses and cows and the ground was thoroughly contaminated.  Ralph, who had purchased combat boots for just this sort of occasion, was in his flip-flops! 

Darkness was closing in and the boys were invited to eat and spend the night.  The next day they were given an opportunity to open the Word and share God’s plan for their lives.  Ralph and Jay were well received and some of the townspeople even returned a visit to Pucuro in the weeks that followed. 

 

Choco village

Choco village

About two weeks after returning to our village, Ralph began to suffer with excruciating abdominal pain.  We committed him to our healing God.  The limited medical resources available to us interior had been exhausted.  Since we were soon due to renew our visas, we decided to take the three-day journey early and leave for Panama City to see if the doctors in the Canal Zone could help us.  The medical doctors realized he had picked up something unusual and, unable to find the source after a battery of tests, they sent us to Gorgas Laboratory, the Center for Disease Control for the military in Central America. 

Ralph was becoming increasingly restless and powerless to cope with the intense pain.  The Lab was our last hope.  We made an immediate appointment and to our surprise, they took us right in. 

Ralph had not slept in days.   The Lord had opened up a home on the military base for us to use the few days we planned to be in the city and we were so grateful for His provision.  

 

Military housing in the Canal Zone.

Military housing in the Canal Zone.

Ralph would walk the floor day and night.  The only thing that gave him a few moments of relief was when he would drink a Coca Cola!  I knew I had been called to this ministry, and I knew God was allowing this trial for our good and the benefit of others, yet this was touching one of God’s most faithful servants and I was stymied! 

Have you ever wondered why it is so much more difficult to watch the pain of someone else than your own?

Finally, one night, Ralph stopped pacing and laid down sometime after midnight.  I breathed a sigh of relief. 

About two hours later we were jolted by someone at the back door, literally, breaking into the house!  They had broken the window and were reaching their hands inside through the shattered glass to unlock the latch! 

Ralph was instantly on his feet yelling at the intruder!  As he left our room, he turned and said,  “Safety is in the Lord, Jackie!”  As he slammed the door shut, he told me to call the military police and stay with the girls!

Panicked and processing, I did as I was told and listened to the scuffle in the hall.  There were loud voices and then silence!  In a few minutes Ralph had subdued the man and tapped on our door to tell us we were going to be all right.  The intruder was a cocaine addict and knew someone that lived in this borrowed house.  He needed money and was desperate to get in! 

Have you ever had an intruder violently invade your place of safety?

Needless to say, we did not go back to bed, and as dawn shed light into the house, I was busily packing and “oh, so ready” to keep that Gorgas Lab appointment and head back to our home in the jungles of the Darien. 

Who would have thought that an ordinary family would sense more safety in a jungle house with no lock, a bark frame and surrounded by indigenous people, than in a thriving metropolis with all the amenities known to man?!

I learned a lesson that night: This experience drove home the truth that the promise “Safety is in the Lord” is an absolute reality given to those who walk with Him.

“The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in SAFETY by Him; the Lord will cover him all day long.”  Duet. 33:12

The world is too small a place to afford safety to a man that disobeys God.

Where do you find safety?

Jackie's Journey: "If You Can Imagine..."

Life had become routine in the Darien jungles of Panama. The sounds of Howler monkeys, the screeching of magnificent multicolored parrots, and the beauty of the bright colored Toucan had become commonplace.  One morning we woke up to find two little spider monkeys on the front porch crawling on the girls’ bikes! 

I still could not reconcile with: the colossal spiders, the over-sized scorpions, the copious species of snakes, the blood-sucking vampire bats or the jungle army ants!  Nor would I ever find harmony with the dripping humidity and the ever-present roaches, chiggers and mosquitos!  However, I learned to appreciate the large iguanas for their tasty eggs.

Daily the Kunas would greet us early looking for sugar or oil and a morning visit.  We had become part of the community, and they had begun to accept us.  We had brought medicine, oil, and sugar after all!

The Indians had, somewhere along the line, become part of our family and we had become attached to them and their way of life.  We had learned so much from them and were amazed at their physical strength compared to their small stature.  Their ability to take one bullet and return with a deer or two bullets and return with two deer was uncanny.  We, also, learned much from their survival skills in the dense jungle.  But their openness to listen to the truth of God’s Word after a year and a half of total mistrust and resistance was the most astounding of all!   

Watching the young mothers with their babies and the respect and trust these women had for the older women in the village was heartening.  We had grown to love these very special people and had developed a mutually fulfilling relationship.  As they came to know Christ, our hearts were full of gratitude for the privilege of serving the King in such a rugged border region. 

The women swept the village once a week during dry season, and it was an opportunity for Sue Gunsteens, my partner, and I to listen to the women chatter and hear the community gossip.  You didn’t want to miss the sweeping because you would then become the object of their conversation that day!  The sweeping stirred up the tuberculosis germs.   

The Lord had given me a verse during missionary training that I claimed as I swept.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future”.   Jer.29: 11

I was consistently on guard because of something my Uncle, an orthopedic surgeon, had told me while he was visiting us at Language School.  He spoke quietly: “Jackie, you carry the TB germ from birth; it lays dormant now, but could activate in the right environment or as you get older”.  I was 25, so I only had to focus on the environmental issue, I thought to myself at the time!  During Congreso meetings we knew we had reached a level of tribal acceptance when they offered us a gourd filled with “Chicha” and everyone would drink from it!  Needless to say, I did not want to offend by NOT drinking from that cup

 God’s promises are continually sufficient

The Lord used these powerful words of promise, in the verse above, to banish my fear and sustain me as we swept the village, drank the “sugar cane-sweetened platano (cooking banana) drink” and treated the TB patients in their homes and the clinic.   

He knew my future and had it planned. There was, therefore, no reason to be troubled.  My focus was not on my fear but the need to keep in harmony with Him, His assignment and His will. 

Are you ever preoccupied with the future and what it holds for your life? 

In a world full of uncertainties, it is easy to “roll into” the pattern of helping God design your future, rather than simply submitting to Him and His plan, which comes with assurance and hope!

Jackie's Journey: Scarred for Life

In the early days among the Kuna Indians in the rain forest of Panama, we found ourselves sitting in the weekly meetings of the “Congreso”.  It was here the Kuna leaders decided the village life and activities.  Occasionally, the Colombian woodcutters would join the group and then disappear down the Tuira River back into the jungle.

One afternoon we heard an outboard motor coming up the winding river toward our village.  I could hear the Kunas running to the shoreline and in a few minutes they were screaming for help.  The woodcutter had taken the motor covering off to replace a pin and had not covered the motor again.  He had ducked to miss a low hanging branch, forgetting the blade was still open!  The sharp edge of the blade had sliced into his face and the gash was long and deep, the cheekbone exposed. 

As he cleared the 12’ river embankment toward our house, I could see he was leaning on the men assisting him and there was blood everywhere!  Within minutes the entire village was in our front room, whispering excitedly, each seeking the sordid details.

There was no exaggeration here!  His cheekbone was protruding through the skin and the skin had slipped back toward his ear, leaving a huge gap.  He had taken the only available cloth in the dugout, which was loose cotton, and packed it tightly in the wound to stop the bleeding.

He was now seated on the bench directly in front of me.  He sat silently, calm and trusting.   Looking up, his eyes inaudibly pleaded for help and my heart stopped for a second while I contemplated my next move.  We headed for the rushing clear waters of the river to thoroughly cleanse the wound and remove the cotton. 

My adrenals were now on steroids as I mutely cried out to God for leading and direction!  It had to be sutured from the inside out or it would not hold together…I had sutured fingers, arms, legs (usually machete accidents), but never a face!  Once the gash was cleared of debris, it looked even more intimidating than before!  After a close examination and gathering up the necessary tools to begin this procedure, I laid everything on a cloth…and froze!

In that moment God spoke quietly to my heart, ““I have chosen you, Jackie…so do not fear, for I am with you; be not dismayed.” (Isaiah 41: 10)

I picked up the tweezers and began to remove the last of the stained pieces of cotton before scrubbing the wound and suturing the interior.  Just pulling the two skin flaps together was challenging, but the truth of the matter was…the scar was going to be massive and it was on a very handsome face!

It seemed like forever before I finally dressed the wound and gave him an antibiotic shot.  He never flinched or spoke a single word through the entire procedure!  My husband was sharing with him the entire time.  We prayed for his healing and he stood and left. 

He was not one of the regular woodcutters that lived outside our village, so I thought I would never see him again.

Months later we heard an outboard motor coming up the river and to my astonishment, God brought that young man through our front door!  We were thrilled that he had healed with no infection and the scar that was left was beautiful! 

He was grinning from ear to ear, and he laughed at my little faith!

I am often reminded of the day God “chose me” and told me not to fear, that He was with me and would do what He had called me to do.  Since I am a person whose battleground often involves fear, God’s words to me are profoundly meaningful!

What would you say is your battleground? 

Where are you struggling today?

 Have you identified a pattern in your life that pokes its head up regularly? Maybe it’s anger or bitterness.

Can you hear God’s voice?

when He speaks to you with

promise, rebuke, or instruction regarding your battleground?

John 9:31