GMI Bolivia Missions

Refiner’s Fire

April 15, 2009 · 1 Comment

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Dear Friends and Family,

I have been so far behind as is the story of my life and many of your's, having kids and now being in south American just made the chronic illness worse. However, it is better late than never, here is the latest update from our side of the world.

December 2 I had an accident in Nicaragua. We had engine failure and crashed less than a mile away from a unlighted airstrip in Nicaragua. After the accident my days were filled with concern for the well being of the passengers, what about insurance, will they cover the loss of the borrowed plane, what about the medicals bills, what did God have in mind. Why here, why now, always rolled through my mind. I have a problem, God always uses drastic measures to get my attention. I ask myself, God I am that hard headed? Help me not to be. I don’t want others too be hurt in the lessons you’re trying to teach me. I don’t get it God. I don’t hear or see the point help me know what you are trying to tell me. I want to learn the lesson you have for me. I will share with you some of the miracles that God did for us.

God has so graciously spared our lives I came out almost unscathed with only two cuts on my legs and a blood hemorrhage in my right eye, which left me blind in my right eye. After seeing an eye doctor I was unable to see any better even after laser surgery. And I resigned myself to the very real possibility of not being able to fly anymore. I said to the Lord my life is in your hands and the Lord gives and the Lord takes. By Gods grace my eyesight began to improve and after my recent check up I was told that both eyes have 20/20 vision. One of the badly injured passengers, Lilly, was taken to the hospital right away and heart broke I lifted her out as she cried, I hurt I hurt. I told that she would be alright not knowing what her future held, but know ing that God was in control. I feared for the petit young lady as they carried her away that night in a blanket that I had in the plane. I feared that she had spinal injuries and may be paralyzed for the rest of her life. The future seemed filled with storm clouds! That night I was up all night with the police. I stayed at the airplane for hours before they took me to the hospital to get the cuts on my face and legs stitched. The scenes of the event, the most feared of any pilot, engine failure at night! So many decisions were they right were they wrong so much hangs on the choices of seconds. Juan had hit his face badly on the yolk, the stering wheel, of the airplane because he didn’t have his shoulder harness on. At the hospital he kept repeating the same things over and over I thought for sure he would have brain damage and would possibly die that very night. All I could do was pray and place our lives in God's hands. By God’s grace everyone at this point including myself had survived the first night. I still remember sleeping outside thinking about how God has been throwing changes into my life. Here we go again, I felt like tightening the seat belt for the turbulence ahead. Again what does the future hold, what will I tell the parents, and what will tell the owner of the airplane that I had borrowed. I doubted that the insurance will cover me all the down here. What about my wife who is in a jungle village so far away? God how I am going to make through yet another trial? Lord, I don’t want more miracles. No more of the impossible situations, no more problems without solutions. But I know my God and I he knows me and will supply my needs. He controls the fire and the heat. Day finally broke and brought relief from the sidewalk that I slept on for a few hours on.

I have to tell you some of things that God did. I could right a book on all the things but I will be brief.

Lilly ended up having surgery on her intestines the first night and had a open wound, for many weeks she fought infection. The day I left Nicaragua I received word that she needed a life flight to Mexico for spinal surgery to keep her getting permanent paralysis. She had her life flight a day later. And they operated. The miracle is that she walking now and is ready to go to her post as a missionary in Bolivia. My understanding is that most times people never recover when the intervention occurs four days after the incident. Lilly’s intervention was two weeks after accident! She still has a long road to recovery, but the future is bright. A special thanks to those who have been praying and helped financially for the care she has received.

Juan was fine he couldn’t remember a lot of the recent events but then recovered more and more of his memory returned. That next morning as I looked at airplane I couldn’t believe that Juan was alive. God was so merciful to me! As I looked at the place were Juan hit his head and I saw the blood I knew he should be dead. But God spared our lives and like Job of old He said, do what you want but you can’t take their lives. Juan is in the states taking care of some medical needs. He still needs his implants for his teeth, his nose needs reconstructive surgery, and his legs are different lengths. Yet he is on the road to recovery as well! Thanks for all the help and the prayers with him.

Jerry, Richard, Ulisis had minor injuries. Poor Richard had his mouth wired shut for some weeks for a broken jaw and Jerry has surgery on his clavicle and is recovery and both are working back in Bolivia. Ulisis was the least injured of all with a small cut on the back of his head and now is back in Mexico.

That is the brief part of the story but it doesn't end there. What about the money what about the plane? What about the insurance? What about Nicaragua? Why did God allow us to land there as apposed to some other place? What did God want from me what was he trying to show me? To these some I have answers to some and others I do not. In the next email I will tell you more.
My friends, this last year made I have passed through some experiences that I had feared most. I almost lost a child and how was I to pay the mounting medical bills with no insurance. I am happy to say that God paid the bill! I felt like the school we had worked so hard to get going seemed to fall apart before my very eyes. And God though many miracles helped it survive! And now it going better that ever with Ruan and Tara as the directors. The aviation program is growing and doing well with DJ Knott and Dainel working we have now three airplanes flying in Bolivia. We have bought land for T.V station to move into the country and the building of there new media center is well underway. The insurance returned the money to the owner for the airplane. For the insurance company to cover the plane I had to have 25 hours in that aircraft and I had 29 and then the coverage included as far down as Panama.

The Lord is good we are looking to start our first Mission University of Volunteers training missionaries in education, nursing, mechanics, religion, communications, and food engineering just some of the degrees we are going to start with. I have made a down payment on another plane a Piper Aerostar 600 a plane that has two engines. To continue working with young people from all over Latin America training them in missions and helping them. We are praying for God's leading on this project. We know that God has done many miracles and will continue to do them as the sun sets on this world. The question is are you ready? Sad to say hard times are coming on all of us. This is no surprise the Bible has made that clear, however the more important questions is where are you? Are you in the Savior hands? Can you trust Him when you pass though the refiners fire. Are you willing to pass through that fire? Or are you avoiding it hanging on to the security that you have now and run from being inconvenienced with our time, our money, and our lives. We need now more that ever to trust God with our lives and give him permission to do whatever it takes to help us be ready when he comes in the clouds of glory! We have nothing to fear if we are in Gods hands! When you lay everything on the alter you have nothing to lose because it is all the Lord's. Jim Eliot once said “He is no fool that gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot loose.” The key is to give it before you loose it. Don’t wait until it is gone and then give. That means your life, family, house, possessions, money, and time it is all God's. He is the best portfolio manager of your life stocks. He will never cheat you. You never will loose. Although at times it may seem like only immanent ruin and destruction lies ahead for God it is nothing and He loves to do the impossible! The bible says in Luke 18:29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, 18:30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

Now is the time! God will not force you, but if you give it all to God. He will bless you. Put it all on the alter now and say God whatever you want me to do it do. And often times I find that I avoid praying this prayer but I shouldn’t. Tell God do whatever takes to get me ready for coming. I give you permission. That prayer will cause things to happen in your life that you can never imagine but in the end you will be thankful. May God bless you and may the Lord find us ready when he comes.

Your brother a struggling hard headed sinner who wants to be like Jesus
Jeff

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View a video from the December accident site. Further details to follow soon.

The warm welcome received upon returning to Bolivia

The warm welcome received upon returning to Bolivia

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