Greetings once again from Sanford, Florida. It’s great to be back home after another long trip to Southeast Asia. As always, this trip provided some new experiences and new opportunities to trust the Lord, ranging from fancy hotels to trail biking through mud holes. It all started, not with a bang exactly, but rather with a slow hiss. As the jet I had boarded was being pushed away from the gate, the ground crew noticed a flat tire that would need to be changed before the plane was allowed to take off. Normally that would take less than 30 minutes, but due to an intense lightning storm settling over the Orlando airport and chasing the ground crew back indoors, we were stranded on the tarmac for nearly 3 ½ hours, delaying our departure for LAX. That caused me to miss my international connecting flights, a domino effect that resulted in my arrival in Indonesia being a full 24 hours behind schedule! The airlines then felt compelled to provide for my unexpected lodging needs both in L.A. and Taipei along the way, at a couple of nice hotels which I would not have experienced otherwise.
A Traditional Dance performed by the Punan people
After arriving in the location of the first translation check, things went smoothly and over the next eight days we were able to check over 900 Old Testament verses for the Punan people group. Most of the verses were from the book of Exodus, along with other sections covering the history of Israel. All of the verses we checked are used in the chronological Bible lessons which the missionary team will teach to the Punan people in order to help them understand God’s plan of redemption and salvation for all people of the world.
Bob with Rachel Searcy and tribal believers checking
Old Testament Scripture in their language
Once the Punan check was finished I flew from there into another small airport where I was met by Tim Ullum, a member of the church-planting team who minister among the Kendawangan people group. However that didn’t mean that my journey was over yet – he had come to pick me up on his Suzuki TS trail bike, because that is the best way to travel into the tribal area. So, with my duffel bag and laptop computer strapped to the back of the trail bike and covered with a poncho to keep the mud off of them, we left civilization and semi-smooth roads. Over six hours later, I felt a little like a greenhorn might after riding a bucking bronco for the first time. Some of the road was fine, but much of it was more dirt and potholes than pavement, and then there were long stretches with no pavement at all – just dirt, gravel, and mud. In one section we had to ride through a muddy section that was at least 18 inches deep, which is especially challenging for the driver since he was basically driving blind, unable to see the ground at all. In spite of all this, the Lord kept us upright and free of mechanical problems until we reached our destination. By that time I was sore in several places and hoping against hope that somehow an airstrip might appear before I needed to leave there, sparing me the return trip over the rough road. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen…
Bob and Tim after making the trip interior on the Suzuki TS trail bike
The next morning we started checking the translation of the Joseph story from the latter portion of Genesis. This was the first ever translation check in the tribal language, as the missionary team is now gearing up to teach the chronological Bible lessons to the Kendawangan people toward the end of next year. Please be praying that the Lord would continue to work in the hearts of these people, who have not yet heard the Gospel. The native speakers that helped us evaluate the translation were enthralled with the story, thoroughly enjoying the account of how God raised Joseph from being a slave to the second most powerful man in ancient Egypt.
Bob with Tim Ullum and Kendawangan helpers checking the story of Joseph
Kendawangan became the 13th people group for which I have had the privilege of checking Scripture translation. It is a rare opportunity to be able to see how the Lord is working in so many different locations throughout the nation of Indonesia, drawing people to become His followers through the labors of those willing to serve Him in difficult circumstances.
Sharing a meal in the local traditional style – no furniture or silverware needed!
On the home front, Debbie’s mom continues to get weaker as the ALS disease takes away more of her physical abilities. She is now down to 85 pounds, but has chosen not to have a feeding tube inserted, which could possibly extend her life. We know that she very much looks forward to being with the Lord, where she will be free from all that now imprisons her. Debbie is reducing her work hours so that she can be more of a help to her parents during these difficult times.
Enjoying New Smyrna Beach with a special ‘Beach Buggy Wheelchair’
Thanks again for your interest and participation in our ministry, which has been proven once again by your perseverence in reaching the end of this rather lengthy update! Your partnership facilitates God’s Word becoming more accessible for the remote peoples of Indonesia.
Because of Calvary,
Bob & Debbie Clark