Merry Christmas from Pohnpei, Micronesia! These past months have been a blur since we’ve been back on island so we’re a bit behind in getting out an update! We literally hit the ground running from the second we stepped off the plane and have been going ever since.
Right off we dived into planning, organizing, and running our Vacation Bible School program, which we held just weeks after arriving home. In spite of short term planning, God still gave us a great week! We saw quite a few kids come to know Christ throughout the week as well as other decisions. It’s been exciting to see these kids continue to be faithful to church, even when their own families will not come with them!
Just after VBS was the 2014 Micronesian Games, a sporting event held every 4 years in the South Pacific. Our island hosted the Games this time and it was especially exciting for us since Kaleo competed in the swimming events. We’re proud of our boy and enjoyed seeing him earn a bronze medal in the Men’s 100x4 Freestyle Relay!
The following week was our annual Youth Camp, which we again held on Black Corral Island, a small island several miles off the coast of mainland Pohnpei. Another exciting week as we saw 13 young people come to know Christ! Many more decisions were made for Christ throughout the week and seeing these kids grow in Christ has been a joy these past few months.
So yes, three major events just within the first 6 weeks of being back on island! We thought perhaps we’d have a chance to “rest” a bit after that, but of course things rarely work out as planned. For a moment here, I’d like to share a bit of my heart with you, our praying friends who have invested in the ministry here. Never in our nearly 14 years on Pohnpei have we experienced spiritual warfare as we have since we returned from this furlough. Satan has used gossip, jealousy, hatred, prejudice, and false beliefs to attempt to tear our church apart. This was kept hidden from the Boylstons while we were gone and then from us during our first weeks after our return; finally, in desperation, some church members met with us and the Boylstons to reveal the issues. It was a very difficult time for us as we had to confront the root of the problems; people were hurt and some left the church in anger. But during the same time, God was working. We could literally SEE Satan attack and God overcome, time after time. At the same time as people opposing us and threatening us, we were seeing miracles right and left. After nearly every service for a time, someone would meet me after to ask how to be saved. One night a young lady showed up on our porch in tears saying she needed to be saved. Several young men we have been burdened for made tremendous decisions at camp and have showing a miraculous change since! In spite of opposition, our little church building is often filled to overflowing for services and the alter is full. Through much prayer and anguish, we began to see hearts soften, past hurts forgiven, and enemies become friends. Please keep praying for the ministry here, for true revival and growth!
Our Bible Institute got off to a great start this school year and we are excited about this great group so eager to learn. The Boylstons have worked hard to put together a scholarship program with the funds that have been donated for students and as a result, students have been able to return who otherwise would have been financially unable to. This will be a landmark year for the Baptist Bible Institute of Pohnpei as at the close of this school year we will have our first graduation and send off our first graduates into the Lord’s work. One of our students is ready to leave after graduation to plant a church on his home island! Seeing the fruit from this ministry is exciting!
It’s been a readjustment back to island life after being gone for 10 months but we are gradually getting back into a routine. It’s tough developing a routine though when you can never predict the craziness of life here! Basically we’ve been on “power rationing” since we returned and only have had power at scheduled times. Often the same with water (though we’re not really sure why on the water). Working home life, homeschool, and ministry around the power “schedule” is quite a challenge! Thankfully, the island now has 3 new generators and are also installing solar power and promises that by the end of the year the power hours should be a thing of the past!
The kids were more than thrilled to be home again! They missed their friends and their pets while we were gone. The school year has gone fairly well in spite of the power challenges. Kaylinn started K4 this year and of all our 5 is the first to NOT enjoy video school. She’s our social butterfly and would much rather have live interaction. Katrianne started 2nd grade and is doing well. She loves school and art and joined the swim team this year. Kyler is in 4th grade and keeps life interesting on a regular basis. He loves the outdoors, swimming, and annoying his older brother. Kestra is in 5th grade and thrives in school. She’s usually ahead of everyone with school tasks and begs for extra projects. While she loves reading and studying, she also enjoys sports and the outdoors and has excelled in swimming this year. She’s also a huge help to mom around the house! Kaleo is a sophomore in high school, though school is usually the last thing on his mind! He’d rather be playing the guitar or piano, swimming, or hiking in the jungle. He had the opportunity this month to attend with several members of his swim team a youth training program at the FINA World Championships in Doha, Qatar. It has been especially tough on mom having our boy go so far away, but it has been a great learning experience for Kaleo.
Susan and Kaleo took on a new project since we’ve been back and that is a Wednesday night Bible Club for the children of our church. This has been a desire for some time and they decided to just jump in and do it! The Boylston’s three sons also help out. They have been averaging about 22-25 kids per week!
Thank you to each of your for your prayers and support. God is definitely working in these islands and we ask you please keep our family and the ministry here in your prayers. It means more than you can know!
Because of Calvary,
Rickson & Susan, Kaleo, Kestra, Kyler, Katrianne, & Kaylinn