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Mission Trip to Central America - Fall 2006

(1)   We spent the Spring and Summer completing repairs to our other mission boat, Ephesians, which we hope to sell soon in order to pay off the balance on our 40ft trimaran Faith.  The progress was very slow because of my heart problems [read testimony in  our current newsletter - Click HERE ] but with encouragement and help from some of our friends we finally reached a place where we felt it was time to set sail again.

Debbie rolling paint on the bow of Ephesians.

New 'crew members' Kyle and Lorin Van Zandt helping out.

With plans to return to Guatemala we then began the process of gathering donated supplies from area churches and our many friends.  The response was tremendous!  We ended up with more than we could carry of Spanish Bibles, children's clothing, medical supplies, school materials, videos, puppets and ministry tools, toys and other gifts. 

Thanks to all, especially the following churches:  First Pentecostal Holiness, Holly Ridge COG, Pine Valley COG, Scotts Hill Baptist (all of Wilmington, NC area), and Calvary Baptist (of Winston-Salem, NC).  Many other individuals gave generously - the Lord knows and will truly reward.  God bless you !!

Some of the gifts from 1st PHC of Wilmington

Deb with daughter Marrissa and our UHaul full of 'cargo'

(2) [Aug 1st]  Our arrival in Key Largo, to begin loading cargo aboard Faith , was met with a disappointing surprise - families of rats had moved in during our absence and we had dozens to catch and much damage to clean up.  With the patient help of Kyle and Lorin, much prayer (and a half-dozen good mouse traps) we finally 'won' the 'war' a week later and began the challenging task of finding a place for everything as well as making Faith a home again.

Cargo of clothing and supplies on the deck awaiting a place below.

David working on the guest cabin while Kyle 'supervises'

Lorin scrubbing baskets

Kyle & Lorin ferry the cargo from shore in our dinghy.

(3) [Aug 11th]  The journey begins as we sail away from our quiet harbor, through the Snake Creek bridge, and along what is called Hawk's Channel towards Marathon, our final provisioning stop midway along the Florida Keys.  Light winds make for slow going but we use the time to continue stowing things below.  The 'new crew' also learns quickly to handle the boat and become an increasing help.

David explains chart reading to Kyle while Lorin steers.

"Captain Kyle" in command!!

We do have special moments to enjoy this unique lifestyle and most importantly to appreciate the beauty of God's creation as we stop along the way for a refreshing swim over a coral reef and a meal ashore.

The Van Zandts relaxing

Lorin watches a rainbow.

We enjoy a meal  ashore

(4) [Aug 14th]  Before reaching the safety of Marathon harbor we did have the opportunity to test our budding sailors with two fierce storms in the same day, the second bearing winds over 40mph!  Kyle proved himself a confident seaman, ready to take on any new task.  Lorin, on the other hand, seemed a little less "comfortable" but displayed the assurance any strong faith in God brings forth in times of testing.  As I have said throughout our sailing missionary years, even after loosing a boat during a storm at sea: the safest place on earth is in the center of God's will.

Lorin watches the storm's advance

(5) [Aug 16th]  Final preparations are being made here in Marathon.  All of the 'basic necessities' are here:  Winn Dixie, Home Depot, West Marine & Boaters World...oh, and don't forget, Wendy's!

Debbie and I take a bus back up to Key Largo to get our SUV and the ladies spend a day buying two months of groceries while Kyle and I make assorted repairs.  One unpleasant task has me going to the top of the mast (with Kyle and Debbie's help) to replace the anchor light and adjust the headstay.

Kyle and Lorin keep watch after cranking me up the mast.

Dave having a better view up top

(6) [Aug 21]  Key West at last, loading up the last of water and fresh fruits while we watch carefully the tropical weather for the right conditions to head for Central America.

[Click here for more of our journey on page 2]

(7As a preacher friend of mine likes to say, not only are the "steps of a good man ordered by the Lord" (Psa 37:23) "but so are his stops!"  Well, we had to stop a little while so Tropical Storm Ernesto could wander by.  Fortunately I was fairly protected, held in place by three anchors.  Debbie and 'the Crew' had more pleasant accommodations, being able to stay in a Van Zandt family friend's home on shore.  All of this was a part of God's plan, however, because Kyle and Loren met the pastor of the Keys Chapel (an Orthodox Presbyterian ministry) whose church had been given six cases of saline I.V.s.  We called a missionary medic friend in Guatemala and learned that since they just had serious flooding there, many wells are contaminated and dehydration is a great concern!  Now our precious cargo is even more precious and we are more anxious to continue on.  Say a prayer for pastor William Welzien and his congregation as they minister several or more times a week in Mallory Square, Key West, the southernmost point of the U.S.  Also, visit our missionary medic friend Bryan Buchannan's website at .  If you click here you will be taken to a powerful visual and sound presentation of the flooding and see images of the dear Guatemalan people we have a heart for.  Pray for the wonderful work of the Buchanans.

To page 2