First, on Wednesday night, Candyce came home, malaria and all! It was sooo good to wrap my arms around her neck and kiss her Africa-browned cheek. We went for a burger at Red Robin--her favorite--listened to as many amazing stories as she had energy to tell and then tucked her into bed.
The stories from the refugee camp at the Congo/Sudanese border were the most fascinating. God taught Candyce so much about His ways and His character as she stepped out in faith and preached the gospel to hundreds of Congolese refugees. She said it struck her deeply how these people literally had nothing--not even a place to call home anymore. But as Candyce and her group prayed, and the refugees cried out in response to the love of God, He showed up and met them in awesome ways.
Healings, deliverances and many conversions were the fruit of those two short weeks in the camp. As I said in an earlier blog, the local witch doctor attended all the meetings and was not happy about losing his grip on his "flock."
So he complained to the authorities and Candyce, Stephen, Will and Santos were escorted from the compound by U.N. officials.
Candyce also spent a lot of time at the YWAM base in Yei (south Sudan). She learned to cook African food, hauled water, mentored DTS students and came down with malaria while she was there. She told us about a guy at the base, a former witch doctor. His tales of the demonic realities of tribal life are shocking to those of us who live in western cultures.
We are glad she's home, and now we are waiting on Stephen to arrive. He's got to renew his passport, get a visa and then raise money for the trip to Oregon--for the wedding! In case you didn't hear, Candyce and Stephen got engaged when she was over there. And Greg and I couldn't be more excited about another wonderful son God is bringing us from afar. We'll give details on those plans as we get them :)
Big event #2 was Greg's 55th birthday. He's hard to shop for, the most content person on the planet. But in recent months, he's become a total Deadliest Catch geek, and spends several nights each week glued to the History Channel, rooting for his favorites on the Time Bandit. We actually know the parents of one of the crew members--MIke Fourtner--so Greg takes a special interest in Mike's activities.
So I contacted Mike's mom, Terry, and asked if I could book a tour of the Time Bandit for Greg when we are in Homer this summer. She told me the boat would be out tendering then (processing fish from other boats). I asked if she knew where I could get some cool Time Bandit merchandise. Wouldn't you know, her son designs and sells t-shirts and her daughter just happened to be coming to Portland with a load on Friday, Greg's b-day!
Terry gave me a call when the shirts arrived, and I loaded Greg up in the Miata for our mystery trip (he kept calling it a wild goose chase). He was totally stumped when we pulled up at Clackamas Junior College, where Terry works. I drug him up to her office and he still didn't have a clue until she held out a Time Bandit t-shirt for him to admire. I captured the moment in film ;)
Needless to say, he was surprised. And thrilled. Maybe someday he'll get to wander about on the now-famous crab boat and meet the notorious Hillstrand brothers and Mike.
Speaking of Hillstrand guys, Dave Hillstrand (one of the brothers who doesn't work on the Time Bandit) took me out fishing a few years back (on a friend's charter) and helped me hook a 175 lb. halibut. I guess fishing just runs in the family!