I was reading my Bible this morning and our many prayer partners and financial supporters came to my mind. I was praying for you, that God will bless your lives, families, businesses, and ministries. This is just a quick update to inform you of what God is doing in our lives!
We began services in Bolivar five weeks ago at New Life Baptist Church. The people in this coffee and sugar cane village are responding and are excited about a church in their area. We are averaging 45 to 55 each Sunday in the services. Keep praying for this new church.
We are gearing up for our next trip to Panama, preparing literature, DVDs, Bibles, and study books for the indigenous tribes, namely the Guaymi, Kuna, and Embera people groups. I have compiled five books thus far and have printed them at a cost of $2.00 per book. I have also made a DVD of teaching on the Second Coming of Christ. The Indian people may live in thatched huts, but most have a cell phone and many have a TV and DVD player! Basic necessities of life!
These DVDs have been a great teaching tool among the tribes! The chief’s son in Pintupo called me from Panama last week to thank me for the DVD. He said, “Now I understand what the second coming of Christ is all about!”
The Guaymi people are in conflict with the government of Panama because special interest groups want to move into the Indian reservation and start mining operations. This will negatively affect the lives of these people and ruin their land. The Guaymis have placed roadblocks on the Pan American highway which has resulted in violent confrontations with the Panamanian army. These protests have turned ugly and several people have been killed. Please pray that this situation will soon be settled and we will be able to continue our ministry there. We have received many invitations to come back and visit the many villages in this “comarca” (reservation).
The Kuna pastor, Lazaro, is awaiting our return to visit several new villages on Lake Bayano. Lazaro and I travel by piragua (canoe) and outboard motor to these villages, namely Dabardi, Ikandi, and Pintupo. We met with the village chief in Pintupo and asked for permission to start a church there. After a long pow-wow, he gave us permission to return, evangelize, and begin a ministry there. His son is already a Christian and is overjoyed with this turn of events. We will visit two more villages, Divarsikua and Tabarte, when I return in March.
During Easter week, I will be preaching and teaching in Laja Blanca among the Embera people in the Darien jungle. This is as far as the army will allow Americans to go due to the presence of guerillas with the FARC (the Revolutionary Army of Colombia). These indigenous people have also faced recent trials. Some Panamanian farmers have tried to seize and exploit their land for their own purposes, and force the Indians back into the jungle. The Embera people said, “We are Christians and we won’t fight. But we will pray that God will deliver us and protect our farms from these men.” At the present, the Panamanian government has ruled in favor of the Indians and the farmer-thieves have left for the moment. Pray for these Christian brothers. Their simple faith is a true faith!
Lynn and I are house hunting here in San Ramon. We agreed to raise the rent from $425 to $500 to pacify the owners and to give us a little more time to find a house. We have lived in a bubble for five years—rent has doubled and it is difficult to find a house that is not a trash dump! However, God will supply in His own time. It looks like we will be paying $700 to $800 for rent at the next house (when we find one!).
Lynn and I will make a quick 10-day trip to Chattanooga next week. We will be in Chattanooga from Monday, February 20 to Friday, March 2. The purpose of the trip is to get the 1999 Toyota Tacoma pickup that we have had for several years, put some literature and other things in the back, drive it to Florida to Port Manatee below Tampa, and ship it to Costa Rica. The shipping company will put it in a container and place it on the ship. When it gets to Limon, they will place the container on a tractor-trailer and pull it to San Jose, where I will pay customs and tag it. Shipping is $985 and customs will be $3500. This truck with 4 wheel drive will be a great blessing for the Panama work because the mountains there are very broken and steep.
I will also make a new DVD while in Chattanooga. I have to spend several days recording, editing and producing it. I will make 200 copies to distribute on my next trip to Panama in March. I also give these DVDs to the national pastors in Costa Rica. This has been a great help to them.
I have mentioned many things in this letter for one reason—I want you to pray for us! I covet your prayers over these plans and preparations that God will direct and supply. He is a great and wonderful Heavenly Father and will fulfill His will in our lives—of that I am very confident!
Working together for Christ,
Russ and Lynn Turner