The past few weeks have been interesting when it comes to our options for food! Most of us here ran out of eggs, cheese, etc. a long time ago, and as we made bread and other things, we ran out of flour and other staples. Our diet has mostly been pasta noodles with butter, plain arepas with butter, casave, and corn cakes for breakfast. We have been so thankful, though, that at least we’ve had butter and salt to add a little flavor!!

God (as always) has continued to be so faithful, however. It seems that on the days I am most worried about what we are going to eat or how I’m going to feed Isabella or even those days when I am weary of lacking protein or fruits and vegetables, God sends a sweet reminder that He is the One who provides for ALL of our needs! On more than one of those occasions over the past couple of weeks, someone has knocked on our door with a small fish to cook up or bananas from the garden or some other little bit of variety to our diets! Last week Keila shared a couple of cans of tuna with us, and boy, did we feel like we were eating high on the hog! Now, I must admit that I still miss ice cream (and think about it almost every day! 🙂 ), but I am just continually blown away at the blessings God bestows on us when we are so undeserving. We are so thankful for how He provides!

Today we have even more reasons to be thankful! Mike and Keila arrived this morning from an overnight trip in Esmerelda, and though we weren’t able to fill everyone’s lists, people were replenished with flour, powdered milk, etc. Some even were able to get some eggs!! We also heard great news that the fuel the village has been waiting for will be arriving soon!!! We’re celebrating by running the generator an extra hour today…another blessing!!!

For many different reasons, it’s sometimes hard to see the blessings from where we’re standing, but they are always there! We cling to the promise that He is our Provider, and He never lets us down!

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On Saturday, Josh took me on an adventure to gather honey from the jungle. What an experience! We, along with Davey, Priscilla, Bernave, Yoneida, Tanya, Chorino, and Ophelia, set out mid-morning in a little canoe, buckets in tow, and excitement in the air.

Chorino and Davey knew where they were going and after spotting the bee’s nest from the river, we pulled up and climbed over the bank to set to work. Priscilla, Yoneida, Tanya, and I got to sit and enjoy each other’s company while the guys did most of the work. Actually, I should clarify that–Chorino did most of the work. The whole process was absolutely amazing! Josh caught it on video and once we’re back in the States I will try to post the video. It was one of the coolest things to watch.

Let me tell you, there is a lot of work involved in getting the honey! I’m sure I’ll forget some of the steps, and I might not say them in the correct order. You’ll just have to wait with baited breath to see the video. Suffice it to say, Chorino climbed that tree so many times to get things set, smoke the nest to put the bees to “sleep,” and get the honeycomb. Once he did all of the work, the hive just fell apart out onto the bank of the river and honey was just pouring down like rain from the tree!

We rushed down to collect the giant chunks of the hive. It actually helped that it fell into the river because it put out any fire remaining in the nest and also helped wash some of the bees away. This particular type of honey is made from an all-black bee. They don’t sting, but they bite…and they are still territorial!

Once we gathered as many of the chunks as we could, we set out again…and enjoyed our spoils along the way. To eat the honey, you’d take chunks of the hive and find the “pockets” of honey. You’d just poke a little hole and suck the honey out. It is the sweetest honey…so delicious!!! There are, however, some pockets where the honey is sour–watch out for those! It is definitely an unexpected flavor when you’re enjoying the sweet, sweet honey!

Click here to view pictures from our excursion: Honey from the Jungle

I will try to get the video posted as soon as I’m able. It’s really neat!

Just wanted to post some random pictures! I’m trying to get some video posted, too, but our upload speeds are so slow, I don’t think I’ll be able to do it!

These are pictures of Isabella, one of our many game nights…this one with a smaller crowd, and our favorite bananas. They are called askaneema and they are perfect. They are smaller than the bananas in the States and much sweeter. The perfect size (not too big and not too small) and flavor! This is definitely something we’ll miss. All of the different types of bananas come on stalks like that and we hang them in the house until they ripen. Yum, yum, yum! We also posted a picture of a stalk of plantains…something else we’ll miss. Though you can buy plantains in the States, they’re just not quite the same as fresh from the Gardens. 🙂

Please click the following link to view the pics: Family, Game Night, and our Favorite Bananas

As we approach Halloween and all that accompanies it, please read and consider the following true story as told by Chief Shoefoot (Bautista) to my father-in-law. Chief Shoefoot is a former witchdoctor, one who was extremely powerful in the spirit world. Many years ago he came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and was powerfully delivered from a life of bondage and fear to a life of freedom and joy in Christ.

I am known as Shoefoot in your country, but, as do most Yanomamö, I have many names or rather nick names, as we Yanomamö guard our real names closely. One of my favorite names was “He has a mouth,” and now that God has given me much opportunity to speak for HIM, I think it is the best one for me. It was funny how I got this name. Shortly after Pepiwä (Joe Dawson) came to work in my village, my brothers, along with other men started working for him. He and Millimi, his wife, always wrote our names down on little white pieces of stuff that looked like bark, but was much thinner. Anyway, they always wanted a name for each of us. Pepiwä asked my brother what my name was and my brother did not want to tell him, so he said, “He’s got a mouth, ask him!” Well, Pepiwä wrote down, “He’s got a mouth,” and when it was time to get paid, he called out, “Here is the pay for He’s got a mouth.”

We all looked at each other, then my brother remembered what had happened and pushed me forward to collect my pay. From that day on, for years I was called “He’s got a mouth.” But in my village most people call me Bautista.

My friend Mikiwä asked me to tell him the story of what happened on one of our trips with my good friend Mark Ritchie who helped us Yanomamö tell our story in his book. [Spirit of the Rainforest] Well, we were going around telling stories of how much my people suffer in bondage to the spirits, and in one place, I forget exactly where it was, but it was in the state called Michigan, we were speaking to many students. My friend Gary was telling my words in the nabä language for me. After we finished one talk time, we were told that the people had made a house to scare others with and they wanted Gary and I to go in there and see it. Well, I had no desire to go in a house just to be scared. I have known enough fear and now that I don’t have to live in fear, I have no desire to put myself through that for anything. Gary also did not want to go in, but he and Mark thought it would look badly, it would look rude, if we did not humor the young people who had worked on this house. So we went in.

Imagine my surprise when we went in and I immediately recognized a demon’s house that I had gone through as a novice witchdoctor so many years ago in the rainforest. This was part of my training and initiation and I had spent much time in this particlier demon’s house. I turned to Gary and told him, “Oh, I have been here, this is, and I told him the name of the demon house.”

He said, “Bautista, this was just made up to scare kids and make money. Stop it already; let’s just get through it as fast as we can.”

“No,” I told him, “This is his house. From here we will go into a long room–trapped in the walls will be people’s faces, frozen in terror, shreaking in pain.” Sure enough, from that room we went into a long narrow room, and it was just like I told him. Of course, in this house, it was just a replica, not the real demon’s house. The faces were just masks and the screams were just coming from a box that traps people’s voices, but it looked enough like what I had seen for me to know beyound a shadow of a doubt that this was patterned after the spirit’s house I had seen.

We continued on, going into 7 or 8 rooms. Before walking into the next room, I told Gary what we would see there. By this time, Gary was translating for the young people who were supposed to be helping us get scared, and instead of us being scared, our guides were turning even whiter than they had been when we started on this game to scare us.

“We had no idea,” they told Gary and Mark. “We got the plans for this house from the the place of many books. [library] Listening to their agitated talk, I thought again of how my people say that after omawä [satan] taught my people, he left them with the demons and went to the land of the nabäs to teach them about himself.

As Shoefoot finished the story, he commented, “It is so sad that your people are really turning from the Lord and learning about omawä. Do they really think that they can turn their backs on the Living God and escape the life that I had and for the most part, my people still have?”

We tend to fall in a trap of thinking that this world is all that there is. Don’t let yourself be deceived. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God…” (Ephesians 6:12-13) Are you wearing your armor?

Thank you to all of you who sent birthday greetings yesterday on my birthday! Everyone here set out to make the day extra special for me, and I felt so blessed.

The day started with skype calls from family back in the States and ended with a very unique surprise party! I say unique because half of the family planning to attend were quarantined by the doctors just an hour or so before the party! My extremely thoughtful sister-in-law, Jenny (Ryan’s wife), planned way ahead and had sent cake mix and ready whip and party supplies down with Josh’s parents in August…and an extra-special treat as a present — Peanut M & Ms! Keila made a pie, too, and I just felt so blessed by everyone’s thoughtfulness.

On top of all of that, once we returned home from the party, some of our Indian friends came over with a cake they had baked to help us celebrate! We had a fun time drinking coffee, eating cake, and playing games! What a blessing!

Behind all of the planning of the parties was my wonderful husband, who also brought me flowers and surprised me with a great present for when we return to the States!

 

Birthday Flowers

These are the flowers Josh picked for me for my birthday!

 

 

Unfortunately, the influenza Josh’s dad mentioned in the last post has hit our village. The doctors are claiming it’s swine flu and quarantined part of the family because of exposure. Do be praying for protection over the village and quick recoveries of those who have become ill. From what I’ve heard about the swine flu back in the States, this seems to be hitting people a bit harder. Please also pray that this will not affect our ability to travel in a couple of weeks when we’re scheduled to return home.

As always, we so appreciate your prayers!

ps…Josh’s birthday is one week from today (November 5)! If you think about it, I hope you’ll send him a note and let him know you’re thinking about him!

Earlier this week, Josh took a trip with his dad upriver to another village. Here is what Josh’s dad had to say about the trip:

"Dear praying friends,

Today we returned from visiting the village of Maweni. Josh, Abraham,
Alberto and myself went up there to try and encourage our good friend
Paquito Rivas. He was one of our seminar students and we heard he was
going through a hard time. We were finally able to get enough gasoline
together to make the trip. It was good to get out and visit with him.
We had a good meeting with him last night and then again this morning.
I think he was encouraged by our visit. Please pray for him. He is a
good guy and loves the Lord and wants to live for HIM. He asked me to
remember to pray for him and his family. "We live in a village where
there are many witchdoctors and it is really hard to serve the Lord,
but I truly want my life to honor HIM."  He told me.

Speaking of witchdoctors, for those of you who have read Spirit of the
Rainforest, by Mark Ritchie, you know Jungle Man's son has deer spirit
and runs out of his house and village and is gone until the visitors
leave. His name is JeMoshawä. Alberto, one of the guys with us, is
JeMoshawä's brother in law. We had got in yesterday evening. We hung
our hammocks and Alberto left to head across the village to see if his
brother in law was still there. Paquito had made us supper and he came
to call us. As we were leaving, Alberto came back in saying his
brother in law was there and had agreed to see me. We agreed it would
be better to let it get later so there would not be that many people
around, so we went to eat first. JeMoshawä and i had been best friends
when i was about 10 years old but i have not seen him since, as every-
time i have ever been in his village, he somehow (through the spirit
world???) knows before hand that we are coming,  he gets agitated and
leaves and is gone until we leave. So when i heard he was still in the
village and had agreed to see me i was excited and prayed asking God
to give me the words that would penetrate the bondage that he is held
in that he might clearly hear the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. After
eating, we made our way over to his house and i was tense as we walked
into the dark house. We paused inside the opening, letting our eyes
grow accustom to the darkness, the shadows of the swinging hammocks
grotesquely exaggerated by the flickering light provided by small
diesel fuel flares, giving a fitting backdrop for the tenseness i felt
as i waited to be shown to JeMoshawä's hearth.

Since i have never been in his house before, i had no idea which one
of the 5 different hearths was his, so i assumed when Alberto made his
way to a lone hammock swinging in the center, that we were approaching
JeMoshawä's hammock, although i did find it strange that he would be
in the center. Well, it was not his, and Alberto was only asking the
kid in the hammock where his brother in law was. I was disappointed to
find out he was gone and knew once again we had missed him. His wife
assured us he had only just stepped out and we should wait. We not
only waited, but sent a kid to find him and let him know we were there
waiting for him. after a long wait, the kid came back in saying he
could not find him anywhere. We returned disappointed to the little
house where we had hung our hammocks for the night.

The next morning at first light, JeMoshawä's brother, Cojolomöshicö
walewä (fishing worm eater) (Hey, i don't name these guys)  came to
the house with a message from his brother. "I am telling you that my
brother was overcome by deer spirit and fled while it was still dark."
he told me, "he will not be back as long as you are in the village,
but he did leave a message for you and ask me to tell you that
anything you were going to tell my brother, tell me and i will give it
to him 'with the words that you tell me.'"

I feel confident Cojolomöshicö walewä will give the message i left for
him to his brother. I spent a long time giving him the salvation
message. I started with what the witchdoctors know about heaven, hell,
the Supreme Being and His beautiful land. Then using what the Bible
tells us, I filled in the blanks of how we can truly know that HE is
not the enemy god, but a God who loves them so much that HE sent HIS
only Son so that HE could live a sinless life and would be put to
death to provide the sacrifice for our sins. HE rose from the dead to
show us that HE truly had conquered satan! Cojolomöshicö walewä
listened very attentively and assured me he would tell it to his
brother just as I gave it. Sometimes the yanomamö are amazing in how
they can give back something verbatim almost as good as a tape-
recorder.  I pray he does so this time and with God's HOLY Spirit
calling, that not only JeMoshawä gets saved but that Cojolomöshicö
walewä would accept Christ as his Saviour as well. Pray with us!

Also please be praying; There is some kind of bad influenza hitting
the yanomamö, not in our village yet, but over on the Orinoco river, 6
died in one village, and we think 8 in another, but numbers are hard
to nail down, suffice it to say, many people have died over there. the
gov is finally starting to move, we are so stymied without fuel,
normally we would have been over there as soon as we heard about it,
now all we can do is notify the proper people and hope they do
something.  Again, we don't have a lot of information but it does
sound real serious.

Thank you all again for remembering us in your prayers!"

Our Return Date: As I had shared in a post almost a month ago (Oct. 6), Josh and I have prayerfully been considering returning home a little early because of some medical work I need done with the pregnancy. Thank you so much for praying for discernment in this area! We have decided that we will return home early to have the medical work done in the States. Though our tickets have not yet been changed, we are planning to leave here  toward the middle to end of November, in time to have the medical work completed. Please do pray with us as we wrap up our time here in the village. It is hard to believe that our time and current ministry here are nearly complete! Over the next few weeks, please pray for:

  • Our Ministry — Please pray that the ministry we have with the people here will be effective and fruitful. We so cherish the relationships we have built, and we pray that God will continue to work in their hearts and lives that they might take up the torch in ministering to their people.
  • Transition — Please pray also for our transition back home. Weighing heavy on our minds is the need for work! Please pray that Josh will be able to find a job quickly. At this point, we are not picky, and we are keeping our options open. We are hoping that Josh might even be able to find someone hiring for the holidays while he looks for something more long-term. If you know of anything or have any suggestions, please send them our way! (joshanderika@me.com)
  • Medical Insurance — We also covet your prayers as it relates to medical insurance. We still have not heard word on whether or not we will receive COBRA, though even if we do, we are very concerned about the cost of it. We would be thrilled if Josh could find a job that offers good medical insurance, but if that opportunity doesn’t present itself, please pray that we will figure something out. During pregnancy, the medical costs certainly add up quickly, and we have already experienced with Isabella the astronomical prices of labor and delivery…and that was with insurance!
  • Expenses from the field — We still have some remaining expenses from our time serving here. Please pray that we will be able to pay those expenses off quickly. We would love to be able to return home without the weight of that debt.

As always, we know that God is our Great Provider. We trust that He already has the details figured out, and we rest in that. Thank you so much for partnering with us in prayer and financial support. We know that we wouldn’t be able to minister here without your partnership, and we are incredibly grateful for you!!

E-mails: I have heard from a few of you that in the past month or so you sent us an e-mail but never heard anything back from us. Now, I admit that communication isn’t my strongest asset, as some of you know, 🙂 but I have really been trying! To some of you, I did respond, but it seems you never received the response, and to others, I never received your initial e-mail! The internet isn’t quite as reliable here, and we have had some trouble with our e-mail program. I apologize if it seems we’ve neglected you! If you did write but didn’t hear anything in response, please send your e-mail again! We so want to keep in touch with you all! Just bear with us–things are a little different here than in the States! 🙂

Temperatures: Some of you have asked about the temperature here. In all honesty, I don’t know what the temperature outside in the sun is. All I know is that it is HOT! 🙂 We do have a little thermometer on our porch here, which as I’ve shared before is part of our house. The top part of the porch is all screened, though, so it lets in a breeze (when there is one). Here on our porch, the temperature ranges between 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. When it’s 80, it feels cool! Imagine that! Right now as I’m typing, it is four o’clock in the afternoon, things are starting to cool down, and the thermometer says 95.  It’s hard to imagine returning to Chicago temperatures of 20-30 degrees in just a few weeks!

Getting Sick is Just NO Fun: Thanks to those of you who prayed for me while I was sick. I didn’t have a chance to write much about it because I was sick in bed! The other night I was up all night with terrible pains in my stomach which left me running to the bathroom all night. The following day, I couldn’t keep anything down, and was just plain miserable! At one point we were very concerned because the pains in my stomach were so incredibly intense, part of me wondered if contractions were starting! Praise the Lord that I am feeling much better and the baby seems to be just fine–kicking away! I think that any type of stomach bug is just intensified when you’re pregnant because there’s a little baby in there pushing all of our organs in the wrong directions! 🙂 I’m still feeling a little weak just because I haven’t been able to eat much yet, but I am definitely getting better. Josh was a wonderful husband and took care of me in such a tender and loving way. I am so thankful for my husband!

I suppose I should wrap things up for now. We have some more pictures to add, so I will try to do that soon! We are so honored to share this journey with you!