Monday, May 25, 2015

Going Back to Africa

The tickets are purchased...

Cameroon- Just North of Gabon
Things are beginning to come into view for our next chapter.

As you can see, our destination is "Yaounde" as in Cameroon.  There will be three passengers- Sam, Alace and myself.  Each has their work cut out for us:

Sam... Senior year at RFIS!

Sam- Hamming it up for prom pics
After a great year in the U.S., attending Dallastown High School (honor roll!), he's ready to reconnect with his buddies at Rain Forest International for his senior year.  At breakfast on Friday, I asked Sam what advice he would give another mission kid coming back to the US and he said... "make friends right away".

Sam actually got this great advice from another MK and really took it to heart.  Upon arrival in the US last year, he started to dive right into connecting with old friends and new.  We're so proud of how he has transitioned and stayed so flexible.  It's not an easy thing for a teenage guy.  He's done it with grace and class.

Highlights from his year in the US:  Attending high school with 1800 other students; Homecoming dance; youth group leadership; driver's license; part time job; prom; honor roll student!

Alace... back to College!

As funding permits, Alace will be enrolling in counseling courses with Liberty University (on-line) to be more equipped in the area of member care.  She senses a need and desire to serve in the
Alace with our good friend Leanne
international worker environment in the area of counseling and care for individuals and teams.  This will take much of her time in Cameroon, but she looks forward to assisting as a volunteer at RFIS and being a small group sponsor for teenage girls again.

Highlights from this year in the US for Alace:  Having all he kids around more often; the "Homeyness" of the mission house; writer's conference; connections with old and new friends; after dinner relaxing around the outdoor fire pit; time with extended family; refreshment & renewal.

Steve... expanded role with SIL (JAARS)

I've been asked by JAARS to be program manager of their base in Cameroon on top of my role in Gabon.  This is something that I'm very happy to take for various reasons.  First, the base in Cameroon is where our Gabon aircraft comes for major inspections and maintenance- serving them will be a great way to give back.  Secondly, it is a larger program (3 aircraft; associated staff) where I can learn skills on serving a bigger team.  Thirdly, as our work in Gabon expands, this experience will serve me well.
Steve (middle) on a summer '12 visit to the Cameroon
SIL hangar

SIL has three aircraft- a Cessna 206, Cessna 207 (with turbine engine), and a Robinson 44 helicopter. There are about 5 international families and 5 or 6 national employees that support the work.  The base in Yaounde is home to the Cessnas and there is a remote base (Banso) where the R44 is based.  I'm really looking forward to serving the team to the best of my ability.

More details...

We'll be living on a compound where many Wycliff Bible translators live.  There is a daily shuttle to and from RFIS for Sam.  It's not far from the airport base and I (Steve) have a bicycle that will serve as my normal transport.  There is also a truck for our family use.  Our address will be:

Straw Family - SIL
B.P. 1299

We'll pass along more information on phone numbers, etc. when we get them.

NOTE:  We're still serving through the C&MA with "marketplace ministries" and you can support us through the same avenues (CLICK HERE to support).  We keep in regular communication with our Gabon team and serve in consultation roles and service rolls.  Steve continues to serve the team in Gabon as their container coordinator, translating documents and assisting the team's business agent in Libreville.

Thank you all, as always, for your support and encouragement.  This is an exciting journey!  We see how the Lord has worked with all of us, together, to establish a new work and, now, to strengthen it into the future.

Our chief pilot, Rob, continues to perform well and reports having all the support he needs with my assistance from a distance.  Alace and I look forward to visiting Gabon a time or two this coming school year to check in on the work there in person.

If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, please don't hesitate to ask.  Use my email:

Please don't forget to remember Joe and Megan in your prayers.  Joe will be starting his Junior year at Moody Bible Institute and Megan will be going into her second year at Nyack College in New York.

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