I Become an Elder at Redlands Community Church

At the time of nomination of elders and deacons for our church, one of my friends submitted my name, and I was elected a ruling elder for a 3-year term beginning in 1987. I had previously served in that capacity in four other churches (First PC (Presbyterian Church) of North Hollywood, Sixth PC of Washington, Eastminster PC of Bladensburg (MD), and the church council of St. James Church in Cape Town, South Africa). I had interested Andy Silman ((the pastor) in a computer program to keep track of attendance, much like the one I had provided St. James Church, and had been posting the attendance for some months. In early 1987, I suggested that we could use the computer in further tracking our people’s involvement in the activities of the church. He was quite enthusiastic about doing so, and I made the necessary additions to the program. The problem was to find out what people were doing what, and to motivate those not involved in anything to become involved in the activities of their choice. I tried to set up a group of volunteer "activity coordinators”, but it was hard to get anyone to step forward. Finally Andy asked one of the leading ladies of the congregation, the wife of an elder, to organize the work. She needed income. Would the church pay her? Andy thought we should, but the elders were 100% against it (the husband abstained). I don’t know if this had anything to do with it, but three months later Andy left us to accept a call from a large church in Zachary LA.

The PCA rules of church order allow a man who feels he has reached the age of retirement to request the status of elder emeritus. I felt that this time had come for me, so when we had good elder candidates for one more place on the session than there were vacancies in the new year, I requested that status, allowing all the candidates to be elected. My ulterior motive was that I wanted to take a long trip to Australia and New Zealand, which became our principal activity for 1988.

Four Months “Down Under”, Hawaii, USA (April 9-August 9,1988)

Mary Charlotte and I hadn’t been on a really long trip together since 1960, our last and only visit to Australia and New Zealand. Ever since that experience I had wanted to return and spend some prime time in visiting the whole of each country. I also wanted to visit mainland China, and thought the two areas could economically be covered in one trip. Sure enough, several air lines offered “circle the Pacific” special fares, but none of them reached all the places Mary Charlotte and I wanted to go.

Fritz and Anne Kalmey had been to mainland China in the spring of 1987, and Bob and Peggy London had spent three months in Australia in the middle of 1987 (I can’t say summer — it’s winter there when we have summer!). Their travel literature and what I could pick up from a travel agent gave me all the planning material I needed. Redlands Church contributed to the support of nearly 40 missionary families, and I thought it would be a wonderful idea to visit those in the areas we were considering and video-tape their life and work in their mission field. This included mainland China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and New Caledonia (French islands off the coast of Brisbane, Australia). Also Mary Charlotte wanted to go to Tahiti and Hawaii. None of the circle-Pacific fares included all these places, so I tried making two trans-Pacific trips — one northern Pacific and one southern Pacific. This was possible, and hardly more expensive! After much planning for the two-tour approach, I was faced with cancellation of one after the other of five of the seven missionaries I wanted to visit. We settled for the South Pacific only and added a 30-day USA Greyhound bus tour at the end, to visit friends and relatives on the way across the US from Los Angeles to Homestead. The final itinerary was: Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, more Australia (including World Expo 88 in Brisbane), Hawaii, USA and Montreal, Canada. We got half-price bus tickets in the US (as retired military), and reduced fare bus, train and air tickets in Australia and New Zealand by purchasing them before departure. I had purchased a Sony 8mm Camcorder in November 1987, and practiced with it at home and church. I took an ample supply of recording tape and was ready to record up to 24 hours of events and scenes.

The visit to Tahiti was a keen disappointment. The only really interesting part was a ferry trip to the nearby island of Moorea, and a bus ride around to the other side, where there was a lovely hotel, which we would really have enjoyed as our main point of residence, if we had only known of it. Trying to get back for the last ferry was an exercise in frustration, as the scheduled bus failed to materialize, and we wound up returning by taxi and plane.

The time in New Zealand was quite the opposite — very worth while. On our earlier visit (1960), we had concentrated on the tourist places in North Island, so this time we concentrated on South Island. Our 8-day transportation passes were good on buses, ferries and trains operated by the government, and these permitted us to go wherever we wanted to — from Christchurch to Mt. Cook, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Invercargill, trans-Alpine express from Christchurch to and from Greymouth, ferry to North Island, train to Auckland, and bus to Kataia (northernmost town). From our travel agent we got $50 air tickets from Auckland to Christchurch and return (the latter not used since we came back by ferry and train), so had very little transportation expense. In Christchurch we had the privilege of a delicious Sunday dinner with a university professor and his wife, who made a practice of entertaining overseas people that came to their church Sundays. In Australia we divided the time into three segments: Sydney, Hobart (by air), Melbourne (by bus and overnight ferry); 21-day bus tickets that took us from Melbourne to Adelaide, Perth, Broome, Darwin, Alice Springs, and Cairns (from where we flew to Papua New Guinea); and regular fare bus from Cairns to Brisbane (and World Expo 88), and Sydney — in all 41 days. In Sydney we visited Oliver (see left) and Helen Claassen, church-planting missionaries of our denomination who had visited our church several times, and then later we visited churches planted by them in Perth and Brisbane. [Oliver has recently become pastor at (our) Evangelical Presbyterian church! Here is a recent photo of their large family (see right)]

The real highlight of this part of the trip was our 15 days in Papua New Guinea. Mary Charlotte had read a novel centered in Port Moresby years earlier, and had wanted to visit the place ever since. Our church supported a Wycliffe couple, Carl and Jody Campbell (see at left their family in a much later picture), who lived in Ukarumpa, the large Wycliffe center in Papua New Guinea. Their work was in a mountain village that could be reached only by helicopter or a 20-hour hike. At the time of our visit Carl and Jody were scheduled to be at their village, which was neither accessible to us nor able to accommodate us. So they arranged for us to visit Hauna Village, a jungle place along the Sepic River where Marilyn Laszlo and her sister Shirley Killosky (see right) had labored for 20 years among the Sepic Iwam tribe to reduce their language to writing md translate the New Testament into it.

Port Moresby was a keen disappointment to Mary Charlotte. It was simply another port city, wholly run by the Papuans. We stayed overnight in a mission guesthouse (not cheap!), to await a Wycliffe flight to Ukarumpa the day after our arrival. That flight took us over some of the most rugged country in PNG, with passes up to 10,000 feet and peaks over 14,000. When we landed at the airport serving Ukarumpa, there were Carl and Jody! It seems that the helicopter’s rotor coupling had failed, and a locally repaired unit wouldn’t work. So the plane was grounded for nearly three weeks waiting for a part to he shipped in from the US. That part actually came on the same plane we did. So we had three days with them before the part could be installed and tested, and we video-taped their departure in the copter early Monday morning (after our Friday arrival). The five days in Ukarumpa, where we lived in the guest house, went very quickly, being taken up with video-taping the various facilities and people there, and in a lunch or dinner every day with one missionary family or another, several of whom were affiliated with our denomination’s missions organization MTW (Mission To the World).

The whole place exists for one purpose only — to support the 200-plus teams of translators working all over PNG and its surrounding islands. Most of the translators (including Carl and Jody) own their own homes there, which were all built by Wycliffe carpenters and electricians. Wycliffe supplies all the facilities one expects in a modern town — bank, schools, church, post office, stores, service station and garage, and repair and construction facilities for buildings and roads.

We left Ukarumpa Wednesday, June 11th, for Hauna Village (via Wewak, a city on the north coast), four hours in a 4-seat Cessna, arriving a little after noon at a grass airstrip about a 20-minute canoe trip from Hauna. Mary Charlotte was not at all happy to think of the canoe trip, but it turned out all right and we reached the “Hauna Hilton" without mishap. The compound for Marilyn’s activities is built on the only high ground in the village, which used to be the cemetery — the only reason the village elders gave it to Marilyn 20 years earlier. There are now three large buildings (main building, church and school) and several smaller ones (workshops, store, clinic, and men’s dorm for translators). All of these are built from local materials (except for obvious things as nails, cement, door and window hardware, glass, etc.) and largely by local labor.

After learning the language herself Marilyn started her translation work by choosing a dozen or so keen young boys (10-18) and training them in the art of Bible translation. Today these men are in the 30-40 age bracket, able to speak fluently in the trade language Pigdin, and to read and speak somewhat in English. Many can type, use the computer, operate electrical generators, power tools, motor boat engines, play soccer and other modern sports, and teach Sunday School and lead church services. As Mary Charlotte very aptly observed, “There isn’t anything these men can’t learn to do.” When Marilyn first arrived the village was truly stone-age. They had no clocks, no calendars, didn’t wear clothes, knew almost nothing of the outside world (a few of the men had been to Wewak), and were completely self-sufficient. They had a democratic form of village government, were monogamous, could handle huge logs weighing tons on land or river, erected large community houses on stilts above the summer high-water line, farmed high ground in the village vicinity, and subsisted on fish and vegetables, sago paste (from palm trees), and other forest products. Truly these people are every bit as intelligent as any race in the modern world. Six of the translators came to the United States with Marilyn for her year of furlough in November 1988. We had the whole group in our home in Homestead in February, and I took them around the area — to the Everglades, air boat rides and crocodile farms. At the end of the year one of the men stayed behind in Indiana to complete his high-school education in English. I made over eight hours of video-tape of our stay in Hauna village, and boiled that down to a 35-minute edited documentary, which I would be glad to loan to anyone interested.

Returning to Cairns, where we had earlier visited the Great Barrier Reef, we took the overnight bus to Brisbane, to visit the new PCA churches there, and to spend three days at World Expo 88. After Epcot, that left something to be desired, but some of the entertainment was really top-notch, in particular an aquacade which I video-taped in its entirety. From Brisbane, another overnight bus ride brought us to Sydney, for a day’s rest and an overnight flight to Honolulu.

Mary Charlotte thinks Hawaii is the closest place on earth to heaven, but my 15 months there in World War II have left me with a sour taste in my mouth for the place. We split our two weeks there between Maui (where we had a rental car to tour the island) and Waikiki (where we took tours and walked around a lot). On arrival from Sydney at the airport in Honolulu, I mistakenly look someone else’s bag, and had the ill luck not to have it examined at customs or even touch it myself again until arrival at our hotel in Waikiki. Mary Charlotte called my attention to the fact it was not our bag, but it sure looked like it. I assumed the transporter people had mixed up the bags, and called the airporter control at the airport, where I was told to give the bag to the driver of our limousine when he came for it. I did this without giving much thought to it, being more concerned for our bag, which had all our souvenirs und gifts in it. The next day we went to Maui and I didn’t get back to chasing down our bag until ten days later. The airporter people had turned the bag I gave them over to the airline, but mine hadn’t shown up. They suggested I call the airline. When I did so, they had my bag! On contacting Bob London upon our arrival in Los Angeles, he said he had been called by an Australian couple who said I had taken their bag, and gave me a US number to contact them. When I did so, I heard a long tale of calamity — the bag had contained $8,000 worth of expensive dresses the woman had bought to bring to the US for two weddings. The airport limousine driver had stolen their bag and substituted another for it. The woman’s trip was ruined and she was very unhappy with me. Three months later I was notified by a lawyer in San Francisco that she intended to sue unless I paid her the $8,000. My Homestead lawyer whittled her down to $600 (the airline’s maximum liability for undeclared baggage) which I paid a few months ago. Now I really don’t like Hawaii!

We had purchased 30-day passes on the US Greyhound Bus System. Thus we were able to visit many friends and relatives as we made our way from Los Angeles to Homestead. Particularly rewarding were the visits with Lew and Fran McCune (see left) in Los Angeles and with Lance and Cora Bowen (see right) in Visalia (CA). These were our closest friends from the many we had at the church in North Hollywood. Fran arranged a surprise party for us to which many of these friends were invited, and it was such a joy to see them all again. Cora and Lance took us to Yosemite National Park, where we saw the General Grant and General Sherman trees — two of the largest and oldest living things on earth.

We routed ourselves through Las Vegas, where Walter (Scotty) and Audrey Scott now live, on our way to Denver. The Scotts took us to Boulder Dam, which I had never really seen before and enjoyed immensely. In Denver we had a brief visit with Mary Francis and Paul, though it was somewhat painful. I also had a chat with the two girls, Nikki and Alicia, but young Paul (Indie) was away. Mary Jo and Clyde met us in Jackson (Ml) for a week in their Michigan summer home, where we showed them our videotapes of our “down under” odyssey. From there we spent a long day on three buses to reach Will’s home in Evansville for a week-end visit with Will, Judy, Mark, and Emily.

The final portion of the bus trip included a 36-hour ride to Montreal for two days with Austen and Elizabeth Dundas and their son Matthew, friends from our South African days. Elizabeth was doing research on her doctorate at McGill University, where Bobby Caruthers had done his doctoral studies. Before returning to England and South Africa, they spent a few days in our home in Homestead the following December. Our final stopover on the long way home was Epcot, where Mary Charlotte fulfilled her long-standing desire to see the hydroponics exhibit (which we went through twice). As our bus finally pulled into the station in Homestead, we were amazed to see over a dozen of our Homestead friends there to greet us with a banner saying ‘Welcome Home!”. It was good to be home, after 20,000 air miles and more than 20,000 bus miles.

Church Treasurer

When we returned from the Down-Under trip, we found that the church search committee had selected a former missionary to Jamaica, Mike Kennison, to be our new pastor, and he had been installed on July 1st. Mike was very different from Andy Silman in some respects, but like him a good Bible teacher and preacher. He had been married only a few months when he started his pastorate with us. Mike had been plunged into a church discipline crisis, in that the wife of one of the leading elders had made a formal charge against him of infidelity, and Mike had to act as moderator of the session to exercise the session’s responsibility as an ecclesiastical court. This took many hours of the session’s time, and Mike’s as well, and prevented him from having the normal period of adjustment to a new situation. The crisis was resolved. The man did accept church discipline and the marriage was saved, but the cost was high in delaying Mike’s ability to take hold of the affairs of our church. We were in the process of building the first unit of our planned church facility — a multi-purpose building that would be used as sanctuary for a few years but would eventually be a church hall for social and recreational activities. The building was dedicated on January 1, 1989.

I was asked in October to serve as treasurer starting that same date, and spent much of my time setting up individual giving and church fund records on my computer. I essentially performed a detailed audit of the church books for 1988 in preparation for keeping them in 1989. The lack of anyone seeking to fill the vacancies on the Session made me feel that I should give up my emeritus status and accept election as a ruling elder, as Mike was having many problems coping with a growing church with no previous experience as pastor. In addition to the responsibilities as treasurer, I once again became involved in the direction of the church’s spiritual life. I loved it! It gave me a real satisfaction to feel that I could contribute something worthwhile, and it kept me busy — that and the preparation for the next trip described below.

Missionary Video-Taping Trip 1989

Our remarkable experiences in the “Down-Under” trip of 1988 made me want to expand my video-taping to missionaries in other parts of the world. That we were both well into the seventies didn’t bother me, considering the fact that neither one of us had a sick day in the whole four months of the earlier trip. This time I had in mind eight missionary families, four in Africa and four in Asia (including three we had not been able to include in our 1988 trip). Mary Charlotte decided that she wouldn’t try to go with me this time, but she was interested in a return to South Africa. John de Kock sparked that possibility by writing to me that a Christian travel agency in Holland was offering a special around-the-world fare from South Africa through Asia, North America, Europe and back to South Africa; and gave me the telephone number of their branch office in Chicago. I got in touch with them, and arranged my transportation and Mary Charlotte’s on a special-fare basis.

A second objective for my trip was to deliver a desktop computer system (for publishing newsletters and the like) to a black Christian organization in Nairobi, Kenya. In August 1987, I had been given the assignment of meeting a black African Christian leader at the airport in Miami, and taking care of him through the week-end so that he could bring our Sunday message at the church. His name is Dr. Tokunboh Adeyemo (see left), general secretary of the Association of Evangelicals of Africa and Madagascar (AEAM). This is an umbrella organization of evangelical church and parachurch groups operating in the continent of Africa (the Madagascar Christians demanded special recognition which has since been withdrawn and the organization’s name shortened to AEA), a total of 50,000,000 or so persons. This man really wowed our congregation, keeping them nearly an hour overtime that Sunday morning, and they really loved it! During my Saturday with him, the subject of computers came up, and he expressed the strong desire to have one for desktop publishing in his organization, but the high cost was beyond their slender budget. I expressed an interest in helping him through our church but couldn’t do so at the time, having shot my wad, so to speak, for the Down-Under trip. When this new trip became more than just a fancy, I wrote to Dr. Adeyemo, and asked him if he had gotten his computer yet. His reply was “No”, and the need was even greater than before. Discussing this adventure with my session members at Redlands Church, they agreed to sponsor me for both the cost of the computer and the trip, by sending me as the church’s representative, at my expense.

That fall (1988), I had a South African friend in computer sales, Arthur Hughes, visit me in Homestead, so I wrote to him about buying the AEAM computer in Cape Town. He assured me that they could match US prices (since both countries got their hardware from Taiwan or Korea), and I set it up to pick up the computer hardware on our visit to Cape Town. Mary Charlotte would stay on after I left, and return to Homestead via London and the Emerys while I went to Nairobi and then to my eight missionary families. The tickets were all bought, visas obtained, and I had written confirmatory letters to everyone I was to visit, when I got a call from Dr. Adeyemo to the effect that I must buy the computer in the US and leave it in England to be shipped later. The reason was to permit exemption from the Kenyan computer duty of 125% of retail price. The purchase in South Africa would be repugnant to the Kenyan authorities, and the leaving in London was for the purpose of combining it with two small computers AEA was buying that would be on the same Kenyan exemption certificate with my computer. I had no choice but to comply, so called my friend in South Africa and canceled the deal with him (he had not bought anything yet), and then frantically searched for good buys in the US for the needed hardware and software. A firm in Arizona seemed to have the best all-around deal, so I ordered it 13 days before our departure. When it failed to show up in the four days promised, I called the company who said it had been shipped on time. Another four days went by before the company agreed to send me another computer by UPS air (the first one never was heard from by us), which arrived two days before my departure. This computer had only half its specified memory and couldn’t accommodate my software. Once again delivery of the memory chips was promised by UPS air, and they did arrive the morning of my departure. When I tried to put them in myself, the computer refused to start up. A panic call indicated that I must have bent the pins on one or more chips and they had to be removed and reinserted. I got Bob London to help me, and we got enough chips inserted correctly to accommodate the software but not the full complement. With two hours to spare I hurriedly packed the equipment and headed for the airport. British Airways took our seven items of baggage (we were allowed only four free), and charged only $140 excess baggage to London. However, at the London airport, the customs people wouldn’t allow me to take the computer cartons to the freight forwarder near the airport, saying they could come and get it but I couldn’t take it to them, as had been arranged. A phone call revealed that the man I had made arrangements with was out that day, and no one else could come. After I put the customs agent on the phone, they finally agreed that the computer would go into customs hold and the forwarding people would get it the following week (this was on Friday). The upshot of it was that the stuff stayed in England for nearly two months before Dr. Adeyemo could get his exemption certificate, and then the British wanted import duty paid on my computer. The equipment finally got to Nairobi in September, six months after I had left it, and I never did find out whether or not the British customs had to be paid.

South Africa

We had a beautiful time in South Africa, which I utilized to learn as much as I could about the desktop publishing program Ventura, which was available in Cape Town. We also enjoyed renewing fellowship with our many friends there, particularly Leslie and Radie Goatham with Laura Haas in the middle (see leftmost picture) and Cedric and Tyree Harris (see second picture on right) with their daughter and her husband in the center. We also enjoyed the services and particularly the inspired preaching of Frank Retief at St. James Church (see right, below).

We had been loaned a VW pickup truck with rear canopy by Austen Dundas (see left, with wife Elizabeth), who had a construction business in Cape Town. He was the man we had visited in Montreal, and from whom we had purchased our present Olds Delta 88. When it was time for me to leave for Nairobi, I delivered the truck to the place from which I had borrowed it, but had a mechanical problem which delayed me in making the delivery. This man had to take me to the airport in his own car. When I got my bags out of the back of the truck I hit my forehead on the corner of its door, nearly knocking myself out. We got to the airport in plenty of time (I thought). However, I thought my flight number was 310 and departure time was 3:40, whereas the flight number was 340 and departure time 3:10! When I checked in at 3:05, I was told I was too late. My friend said I had to catch a connecting international flight in Jo’burg, so they reluctantly held the flight long enough for me to get on it. How Satan delights in giving one a hard time when on the Lord’s business!

Nairobi, Kenya

I spent a week in Nairobi teaching Dr. Adeyemo’s wife Ireti and secretary Mary Kumasi how to use the Ventura program. They had attended a three-months computer course, so knew something about how to use the machines. Since neither of them expected to be the final users of the computer, their interest while high in the beginning dropped off quickly when we got down to the nitty gritty of setting up a publication. We had to use a borrowed computer, since the computer I had bought for them was still in England, awaiting the issuance of an exemption certification from the government of Kenya, to avoid the 125% import duty on computers. It finally reached Nairobi in September.

Ivory Coast

My schedule called for me to go to Abidjan for my first missionary family. That’s a six-hour flight plus stopping time, and the only airline to fly between the two cities is the Ethiopian Air Line, going from Nairobi 800 miles north to Addis Ababa before heading west. I crossed the equator three times each way going to and from Abidjan! Arriving in Abidjan I was harassed by a customs officer (who must have wanted a bribe) who delayed me an hour in getting to the airport building lobby. A phone call revealed that my contact John Weed had not expected me to arrive for several hours (old schedule). On top of that his wife Ruthie had just gotten home from the hospital and could not take care of me in their home. I had to stay at the Wycliffe guest house several miles away. In spite of these difficulties, however, I had a good visit with John and Ruthie Weed and their 8-year-old son Jonathan and 5-year-old daughter Valerie. John was engaged in church planting among Muslims in Abidjan with two other missionary families of our denomination. They had a new church with over forty attending. They baptized eight Muslim men the week-end after my visit. John drove me on Friday about 200 kilometers into the interior to meet John and Liz Steketee, Wycliffe missionaries in a town called Mayo among the Bete people of the interior. I had five days in their home and played uncle to their three: 10-year-old Barbara, 7-year-old Paul (with two front teeth missing) and 5-year-old Mary Beth. There was a big political gathering in the town while I was there and the drums beat night and day for three days! John took me on a 150km tour of the villages where he worked as a literacy specialist, a previous Wycliffe worker having translated the New Testament into the Bete language.

Back in Nairobi

My return flight to Nairobi on Wednesday was canceled due to an attempted coup in Addis Ababa the previous day, grounding the entire air line. I had no other way to get back there, and was contemplating giving up and returning directly to the US on a once-a-week flight on Friday, when the Ethiopian Air Lines announced a flight for Nairobi for Thursday. This flight, however, went through Addis Ababa, and got me to Nairobi too late on Friday to see Dr. Adeyemo. When it was evident that Sunday was the earliest I could see him, I had to cancel my Saturday flight to Uganda, where I was scheduled to vist Dan Herron and his family. I did see Tokunboh (see left), and was glad I canceled the other flight, because air line schedule changes would have fouled up the connection with my next missionary, Dale Williams, who was to pick me up at the Kenya-Tanzania border the following Tuesday. For the second Sunday, I attended the huge Nairobi Pentecostal Church and was a guest for dinner in the Adeyemo home (without Tokunboh the first time). He had led an all-night prayer meeting Friday night in his church that had over 500 participants! Benson, his chauffeur, had taken me to and from the airport several times, had picked me up at the Methodist Guest House where I stayed every morning and afternoon, and had driven me around the city including an afternoon at the Game Park and Culture Center. He was a dear soul, and I became quite fond of him. He had a 6-months-old daughter that he seldom saw, and a patient wife who put up with his 10-12 hours a day in his car. Each of the three times I left the country, I gave him all the Kenyan money I had left.


Benson drove me to the Tanzanian border where Dale Williams was waiting for me, and Dale and I headed for his home in the highlands of north-central Tanzania, where he managed a farm. Dale came from a Homestead family, well-known to a number of my friends there, and had spoken in our church just a few months before this occasion. He had recently married another Campus Crusade for Christ worker (Lee, formerly African editor in Nairobi for the CCC newsletter), and they had a 6-months-old daughter Beth Ann. The time on his farm was a rugged one, as the temperatures in May (equivalent to our November) often dropped near freezing in the early morning. Also the air was thin at 7,000-plus feet altitude. Being the rainy season, mud was everywhere, and much time was needed to clean shoes and sometimes hands when coming in from a ride or walk. The only electricity was from solar panels, used for dim tube light in the early evening, and to heat water for baths. On cloudy days, this didn’t work very well. Dale had no tractor, so his men had to cultivate their 98 acres of corn and 7 acres of coffee trees by hand. His ministry was largely performed on week-ends when he took the “Jesus" film, with Swahili soundtrack, to neighboring towns, villages, and schools. I went with him the week-end I was there. On our last day we took a half-holiday to visit the Ngora-Ngora game park, whose entrance was only five miles away from the farm, and which was located in the crater of a huge extinct volcano. We didn’t have time or money to take the tour of the crater, but visited the big lodge built on the crater rim, from which you could see elephant, flamingo, rhino, and other game animals through a 20-power telescope. They didn’t even show in my 3-power Camcorder zoom lens.


Benson was waiting for me at the border when Dale delivered me there at the appointed time, and I returned to Nairobi for a last visit with Dr. Adeyemo before leaving at 3:30am on a flight for Delhi (India) via Sana (Yemen) and Karachi (Pakistan). I took the very early morning flight out of Delhi for nearby Dehra Dun, where David and Eleanor Fiol have a ministry with a seminary. They had previously served over 20 years with a children’s home founded by a German mission a half century ago for children of lepers in India. David was born in Dehra Dun of missionary parents, and really liked living there. When we visited a nearby “holy city”, I felt as if I were at the very gates of hell, and had a powerful urge to get out of the car and run away as fast as I could! The traffic on the roads was so hectic and death defying, that I felt that I would have a nervous breakdown if I had to drive around in it just one more day! I got a lot of interviews with nationals involved both with the children’s school and the seminary, and returned to Delhi two days later.

Java, Indonesia

At Delhi I had a 16-hour wait at the airport for my flight to Jakarta via Bangkok. It was a boring time, but I did get letters written to all of my hosts and family members. Eating was not too good, but I managed to get by. Eventually the Thai Air Lines plane arrived and I was on my way to Jakarta. John Fain met me at the airport and we left almost immediately on a flight to Jogjakarta, where John had served as a professor at an evangelical seminary, the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Indonesia (ETSI). We spent two days there video-taping interviews with students and faculty members, including the president Dr. Maratika. One of these students was the number two man in a 250,000-member denomination which has as its goal for members for each to win one person to Christ every year. Then we had a 10-hour train ride to Cirebon, where John now lives and works, and I became a guest in his house with his wife Dawn and their children Marie (4) and David (2).

John is now assisting at a mini-seminary in this Muslim city among the highly Muslim Sundanese people of Indonesia (30,000,000 of them!), to train Christian Indonesians in elementary seminary subjects and techniques of church planting. ETSI has a vision of planting ONE church in each ONE of the 50,000 villages of Indonesia in ONE generation (by the year 2020). They call this the One-in-One-in-One plan, and have started 13 mini-seminaries like this one in Cirebon. They expect to found over 1,000 such before the project is finished. Incidentally, each graduate of ETSI must have planted a thriving church before he can get his degree! Over 425 churches have been planted. John picked up a flu bug two days before I was to leave, so he had to put me on a train to Jakarta by myself. I took a cab from the train station to Dawn’s parents’ house (they were on furlough), and a very early cab the next morning for the airport to get an 8am departure for Ambon, 1,500 miles to the east of Jakarta.

Ambon, Indonesia

Rosemary Bolton met me at the airport for Ambon, and took me to the Wycliffe center for my first night there. The next morning at 4am we left in a cab for the ferry dock to take a 4-hour ferry ride to the island of Seram. Here we took another cab for an hour’s ride over one of the roughest roads I have ever traveled to the village of Rouhua, where Rosemary is learning the language and beginning the translation of the Gospel of Mark. This tiny tribe, numbering less than 1,000, is spread over several villages on both the north and south coasts of the island, and Rosemary is the first white person to learn the language. An Australian couple came with us as chaperons, as they had never visited a primitive village in their 30 years with Wycliffe (they were not translators). Rosemary had me video-tape her as she went through her usual routine of recording something from the chief, working out a rough translation, and then polishing that translation through several sessions with her language helpers. The chief has informally adopted her as his daughter, which not only gives her tribal status but protects her from tribal Romeos. We stayed overnight, sleeping on the raised platform in a one-room hut. The tribe has a taboo on breaking the ground, so toilets are outside the village in the woods, along certain paths. The only water is a pair of taps, one in each of the two communal bathing facilities (men and women). We returned the next day, and I had a chance to get acquainted with Rosemary’s two girl roommates, and a family living nearby that opened their home to me for sleeping. [These homes and most of Ambon, including the church we attended there, have been destroyed by fire by militant Muslims over the past year. Rosemary lost all her furniture, her computer equipment, all her work with the primitive language she was developing script for, her PhD studies and her Bible translation notes. The Indonesian government has done nothing to protect Christians in that country, now being systematically driven out by these relatively few militant Muslims.] More video-taping of her work at home and at the Wycliffe center completed the week, and I enplaned for Sentani, near Jayapura on Irian Jaya (the other half of the island of New Guinea). In fact, Jayapura is only 100 miles from Wewak, so I was very close to Hauna Village.

Sentani, Indonesia

In Sentani, Jim Akovenko is director of aviation services for the Wycliffe translators on the island, some 27 teams. He operates five aircraft (and pilots one of them), which have to supply the translating teams with everything they need to live in the jungle — food, mail, medicines, dishes, clothing, furniture, fuel, equipment, etc., etc. Jim’s wife Sue also works in the Aviation Department as a general secretary and to run the computer, used for keeping records, for billing of transportation charges, hours usage for maintenance on all aircraft assemblies, and other items. Their two boys Jason and Joshua are in high and elementary school, respectively, and are really sharp kids. Jim took me on one of his flights to a village in the mountainous interior, so I could have both personal and video-tape recollections of my visit to Irian Jaya.

Wycliffe had been served notice by the Indonesian government that they did not intend to renew their contract in April 1991, when the current one expires. This could mean shutting down all the work in Ambon, Irian Jaya and other places in the country where Wycliffe teams are working. Negotiations are continuing to permit some kind of continuance for the more important of these tasks, and prayer is sought that God will bring that about.

Leaving Sentani on June 23rd, I flew to Biak where I had to wait 10 hours for my flight (from Jakarta) to Honolulu and Los Angeles. There I was met by Mary Charlotte and Lew McCune, with whom we stayed a few days. Although I did not know it then, it was to be our last visit with him, as he died suddenly in 1989. We also visited the Bowens in Visalia (by bus). They drove us to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park for the Fourth of July holiday week end. We then returned to Los Angeles and our flight to Miami, gratis from Continental on the basis of our Down-Under flights the year before.

We Move to Cape Coral

Ever since Mary Jo and Clyde began living in Alameda Isles north of Englewood (FL), we had enjoyed visits with them, at our house or theirs. But the 4-1/2 hour drive made it too far to do this very often, and we found our get-togethers to be on the order of one or two per year. When Margaret moved there three years later, this distance seemed accentuated. So Mary Charlotte and I had in the backs of our minds eventually moving closer, so that we could get together much more frequently. After all, we didn’t have many more years for family fellowship, and we wanted to increase our togetherness. This desire was suddenly sharpened by the situation in the church when we returned from our latest trip. Mike Kennison was not my choice for pastor, and though I had offered to help him in any way I could, I think he felt threatened by me more than helped, and gave me very little encouragement that I could have a deeper involvement than I already had. Also the chairman of the missions committee was a strong minded individual who insisted on his own way in everything, and I couldn’t go along with some of his policies. He had a mania for bringing in new missionaries for the church to support. We already had twice as many as we could properly relate to, and our support was spread so thin that we really weren’t much help to any of them. This man wanted to bring in two or three new ones every year! Mary Charlotte had her purse snatched as she was about to enter her doctor’s office, and this had shaken her up. It was evident that Homestead was deteriorating and the steady influx of Cubans, Haitians, other Latins, as well as blacks was slowly changing the complexion of the society from the kind we were used to. The crime level was steadily increasing, as Miami was recognized nationally as the drug capital of the US. All of these ideas seemed to come to a head in August, and we decided to start looking on the west coast of Florida. Mary Charlotte had a friend that had recently settled in Cape Coral, and she had heard good reports about it from others, so that was at the top of our list. We did look at the huge development of Sun City Center, near Tampa, but it didn’t appeal to either of us. We wanted to be near a PCA church, but that was not a limitation, as there are many on the west coast.
We visited our friends from our church in Maryland, Harry and Libby Shafer (see left), in Cape Coral on our way to Englewood to visit Mary Jo and Clyde, and decided to look at houses on our return. The very first one we looked at greatly appealed to both of us, and before we left we made a deposit on it. Our offer was $4500 less than asking and we wanted a 3-month closing date, which we thought would allow us time to sell our Homestead house. The owners accepted our time but compromised on the price and we had a deal by early September. I began to get our house prettied up for showing, and placed it with a realtor in mid-September. The very first people that looked at it made us an offer. We agreed on a price, but they wanted a 4-month escrow, as the wife was expecting in late December. Also they were buying under VA rules, which required us to pay the “points” (3% of selling price), and they were making only a $1,000 down payment. If the VA appraiser didn’t like the price, he could void the deal. I didn’t think we should tie up the house for so long with so many uncertainties, so we turned down the offer. That was the last offer for nearly six months! We had to borrow the full price of our new house at 13% interest, using our stock as collateral. But move we did on December 11, 1989, to 4008 SE Second Avenue, Cape Coral FL 33904.

I must confess that I have agonized over the question of God’s approval. Was I running out on a situation in the church, just because I didn’t like some of the set-up? Was our desire to be closer to my sisters the major reason, or was it a smokescreen? We had real problems in the following year, and I wondered if they were indications of God’s displeasure. It is difficult to know the answers to problems like these, as our God does not communicate as on a long-distance telephone. I have achieved peace of mind about these matters, for the reason that we have been able to cope. God does not promise to spare those of us that believe in Him from the usual problems of this life, but He does promise to enable us to cope with them, and we have.

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