Kaselehlie! Greetings from beautiful but rainy Pohnpei!
March 17th marked one year since the mudslide. One year since our life drastically changed. We are truly thankful to those of you that have followed our journey and prayed for us and with us along the way. Your prayers are much needed and we could not have made it through this past year without them.
I know many of you are wondering how things are now with our current living situation so I’ll try to update as best as I can. We are so thankful for how far things have come since the early weeks and months after the mudslide. As you probably know, we went without power for a bit and without water for a much longer bit. We basically “camped out” in our house for several months. Fortunately now we are a good bit past that stage though we are still far from “normal”. We’ve had multiple delays in getting the back dug out and a retaining wall put in. Until that is complete, we cannot do too much by way of repairs on the house itself since there is still a risk of further damage. It would be a waste of time and money to replace floors, doors, and windows only to have them destroyed again if another storm should happen before the back is repaired. It would take too much space in this letter to explain all the delays, but living in a smaller, developing country limits the companies that can do the work. And the companies that are capable of doing the work, have an already full schedule with prior contracts. In recent weeks, we have finally received some good news with one company that is a strong possibility of doing the work; however, we are still hung up on government paperwork as new permits have to be obtained, which can be a long process at times. We thank each of you that have given financially to this project. The responses from our supporters has been overwhelming and we know we are truly blessed to have each of you in our lives. How can you pray at this time? Pray that permits would be issued quickly, rain will hold off till the work is done, and that we can complete the digging and put up a strong retaining wall to prevent this type of disaster from happening again.
The ministry is going well. We never want our focus to be drawn away from the Lord’s work here, in spite of the trials we’ve faced with our home. In March we held a week of revival services with Evangelist Randy Chovan. Brother Chovan has been with us several times in the past but this time we were blessed to have his wife here as well. The week of meetings were a great blessing. We saw between 400-500 in attendance each night and the altar was full at the closing of each service. Many decisions made for Christ and we saw many accept Him as their Savior. Please pray that God continues to work in the lives of those that came to know Him through that week. Pray for growth and discipleship through the months to come.
One of the challenges in any ministry is saying goodbye to families. This year we have seen several families in our church move on to the States for work. Their absences are strongly felt here. But we have also had several new families join as well. Due to the ever increasing growth in our church, we continue to realize the desperate need we have for a new building. We are hoping to see that become a reality in the near future.
Just ahead of us we have our summer youth camp and Vacation Bible School ministries. These are always an exciting highlight of our summer. Youth Camp will be held June 17-22 and our theme is “Here I Stand”. Please keep the young people of Pohnpei in your prayers. These teens face challenges and temptations that so many of us cannot even imagine. We pray God will greatly use this week of camp in their lives. Our Vacation Bible School will be July 15-19. We’re looking forward to a fun, western theme this year as we teach the children about the saving power of the Gospel. This is a ministry that often brings in many unchurched children in our area and often even entire families. Please keep both of these ministries in your prayers. We're looking forward to seeing what the Lord will do in the lives of these young people this summer.
Many of you have also prayed for our son, Kaleo with his recent illness. Just before the revival meetings Kaleo had to have a wisdom tooth removed. What we thought would be a basic procedure turned into quite the ordeal. There ended up being some complications resulting in bone damage and a serious infection which led him to being admitted in the hospital for a time. Several weeks passed but he just couldn’t seem to shake the infection which seemed to travel throughout his body. After passing out three separate times, he was once again admitted. The recovery process was long and difficult, including a setback due to a reaction to one of his medications, but we are thanking the Lord that he is fine now and back to his normal, active self. The FSM is sending him along with three other swimmers to the World Championships in Korea next month, which is also the the qualifying competition for the Olympics.
Thankfully, our other children have not had any health issues lately. Kestra and Kyler are looking forward to youth camp this summer as well as Katrianne as this will be her first summer old enough to attend. She is very excited about the opportunity to go this year. Kaylinn is looking forward to a whole week of fun at home with Mommy while the others are all at camp.
Other ministries of the church continue to thrive. We just finished yet another semester of the Baptist Bible Institute of Pohnpei. We’ve lost several students this past year due to various reasons but hope to see some new students this upcoming semester beginning in August. The jail ministry continues on Tuesdays. Our church rotates Tuesdays with two other churches on the island. The Wednesday children’s Bible Club ministry has suddenly seen a drop in numbers as a large group of the children “graduated” and are now entering the youth group. Susan and Kaleo were sad to say goodbye to so many of their regulars in Bible Club and Sunday school but praying for these children to continue to thrive and grow in the Lord in youth group. With Kaleo most likely leaving for college soon, Kyler has stepped up and began assisting with Bible Club. He is proving to be quite good with kids as well and enjoys using his ukulele talents during singing time. He’s also being given full-time “game duty” as all the kids agree he comes up with the best games.
I know many of you are wondering when our next furlough will be. The original plan was to schedule furlough around the time of bringing Kaleo to the States for college. However, the mudslide situation has changed that. I am currently unable to leave here until things are resolved with the house. Once we have more progress made, we will update you on furlough plans.
Thank you to each of you that continue to pray for us, our family, and the ministry here on Pohnpei. A special thank you to each of you that have helped us with our home repairs and kept our family in your prayers through this difficult time.
Because of Calvary,
Rickson & Susan, Kaleo, Kestra, Kyler, Katrianne, & Kaylinn