Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Update: 2019 Launch... Back to Africa!

Alace & I with her sweet mom
Thank you for praying for the difficult situation with Alace’s mother in Ohio.  Her husband is now in a care facility that is better suited for his type of dementia.  Some legal matters are still in need of sorting out.

Mission Pilot Apprentices @ MAG
Praise the Lord for a fruitful season of training new missionaries!  Two years ago, our agency, Missionary Air Group, asked Steve to oversee a new apprentice mission pilot training program- the first of its kind.  This past month, we graduated the first pilot whose family is planning on serving in Bolivia.  In May, the next two will graduate- one going to minister to Russian and Thai (yes, Thai!) pilots at a training base in Alaska, and the other to Honduras.  Pray for the 4th and 5th graduate who may be heading to help in Gabon!  Executing this new program has been challenging- it’s great to see this fruit!
Alace, top right, part of the staff at JAARS "ICC" Program

Alace is part of a training team at JAARS, in the middle of a 5-week pre-field training of 25 new missionaries heading out to serve all over the world.  This is the third year of her participating- over 100 missionaries trained!We are excited as we help our daughter, Megan, to get ready for her wedding to John Lewis, April 13th!

Be expecting a lot more flying pictures in Africa in 2019.

We sense the Lord’s guidance to return, full-time, to Gabon in 2019- likely leaving the US at the end of May.

There are a lot of details to work through and some “re-launch” needs.  We'll be sharing more about this through our blog and your mailbox soon (make sure we have your current address!).

Thank you for your prayers!


Steve and Alace

Saturday, February 2, 2019

2019 Gabon Container Info

NEXT CONTAINER DEADLINE :  MARCH 1st, 2020 ~ Items accepted in the month of Feb.

(Jan 15, 2020)
Dear co-laborers in the ministry of the 
Bongolo Hospital,

Greetings friends! We so appreciate your help in the ministry at the Bongolo Hospital. Not only the items that you send, but your prayers.  The Bongolo Hospital is a shining light in the country of Gabon, but that means the enemy is also at work! 

I thought I would give you some prayer and praise items:

1.  Pray for wisdom for the new Over-site Committee for the Bongolo Hospital, composed of some former medical missionaries, American and Gabonese pastors and others.  Their role in to guide the medical work at the Bongolo Hospital.

2.  Pray that the head of the Gabon pharmacy will allow medicine orders from Europe to enter the country.  She wants them to only use non-generic medications, which are coast prohibitive.

3.  Pray for a project manager to coordinate construction and infrastructure projects.

4.  Pray for the health of Meladee Davis.  Paul (the director of maintenance for the hospital and mission station) have had to resign due to her health. Pray that another person would be found to replace Paul.
5.  Praise the Lord that Steven and Alace Straw have returned to Gabon to restart the aviation ministry which was on hold for 3 years.  They are living at Bongolo.
6.  Praise the Lord that Renee Valach is recovered from her repeated bout with Dengue which necessitated her being sent to Rochester, NY in mid- December. She is back at Bongolo.  Pray she won't have any more bouts with this tropical disease. Pray she'll gain strength.
7. Praise the Lord that Dr. Deborah Walker (pediatrician at Bongolo Hospital) will be speaking in the Toledo, OH area in March.  For those of you in this area, try to go and hear her.
8.  Pray for the PAACS program, the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons. It is a 5 year program that is accredited in Africa and the States. Look up on the web to get more information about his program that trains Christian surgeons. One of the new residents, Dr. Abraham is from the Hope Medical Center in Guinea, West Africa (missionaries Jon & Anja Erickson serve there).
9.  Prayer/Praise that there are new medical missionaries coming to help in the work at Bongolo Hospital, some through Samaritan's Purse for 2 years.  Pray that they may continue on as missionaries after that. 
10. Pray for the hospital finances.  The Gabonese health insurance hasn't paid for a long time ($500,000) and it was decided by the Oversight Committee that if they didn't pay by the end of the year, the hospital wouldn't accept it. A corrupt official from the health insurance has stolen a large sum of the money. Now they are not accepting the health insurance.  Pray that the government will pay their debt.
11.  Praise the Lord that people are hearing the Word of God and accepting Him as their Savior.
12. Pray for another missionary nurse to join as an instructor in the Bongolo Nursing School. There was no school this year, but one will start next fall. Pray that just the right student will be accepted in to the school. As some of the existing nurses retire, there is a need to replace them.


The packages for the Gabon shipment this year should be sent to ARK Transportation from February 1-28th. The 2019 -2020 Bongolo Hospital needs list can be found on the Alliance Women (Great Commission Women) web site.  The list below are the most urgent needs. We still don't need empty pill bottles.
1.  3 or 4" wide rolled sheet bandages. Please use a narrow length of sheet to secure them. They are almost out of these, so please put them as a PRIORITY.
2.  Dr. Wendy Hofman needs lubricant eye drops like Artificial Tears, Systane, Soothe, Theratears, and Moisture Eyes. Please, no drops that have naphazoline or "red out" in them.
3.  Blue OR towels
4.  Centrum (or similar with all the trace minerals) for adults and children. Please don’t send the round or gumball Centrum children, but the chewable ones.
5. Benadryl (generic is OK) pills. Make sure that the expiration dates on medication is a year out.
6.  TUMS or Rolaids (with Calcium)
7.  Delivery room or operating table covers made out of flat sheets (see instructions below*)
8.  Sterilization wraps, especially 36" x 36" and 48" x 48" (*see instructions below)
9.  Washable, reusable sanitary napkins
10. Money to buy dependable watches for the nursing students. I will buy them, but 'need money to help pay for them.  There will be about 15 students and the watches I have been looking at are about $35 each, which means it will cost $525. My home address is 41366 Scenic Highway, Bovey, MN 55709.  For those who help with this project, I will send you an e-mail showing what I bought.
Instructions for sterilization wraps: finished sizes wanted  are 12” x 12”, 24” x 24”, 36” x 36”. 48” x 48”.  You can make them out of gently used cotton and cotton/polyester material or  sheets or old cloth tablecloths. Don’s use flannel as it is too loose a weave.  Preferred colors are blue, green or white solid (others accepted though).  To make them, cut the material 1/2” larger than the size wanted.  They are to be double thickness, with the seams on the inside.  After sewing the two pieces of material, turn it inside right, then sew a seam about 1/2” around the entire square and then an “X” from corner to corner.  this way, when they are washed, they will stay in place.  Questions?  Call me at 218-245-2706.
**Instructions for delivery table sheets: use flat sheets twin or full size, any color, out of cotton or cotton/polyester. Fold sheet in half so it is 48” x 66” (twin) or 48”x 81” (full).  Sew or Zig-zag around the entire doubled sheet, including the folded side, close to the edge.   Then measure half way down (33” or 40.1”) and sew across the sheet.

1.  BOX SIZEThe packages should be no larger than a total of 72 inches (length + height + width) unless you have special permission.  Please limit different types of items to 3-4 per box and put each type of item in it’s own plastic bag for easier sorting at the hospital.
2.  COLLECTION LOCATIONSend the boxes to : 
ARK Transportation
          c/o Gabon Shipment- __________ (last name of person receiving items)
          17830 Englewood Drive- Unit 23
          Middleburg Heights, OH 44130      by MARCH 1st. You may also arrange for drop off by calling George Hurst, 440-891-0088.  If driving there, look for Unit 23.
3.  COMMUNICATION  linda.chae@att.net
-Church and address
-Contact’s name, phone number and e-mail address
-Total number of boxes sent.  Please label each box by letter and numbers, for example, if your church is in Plain View, Iowa and you’re sending 2 boxes, you might choose PVI#1, PVI#2.  Please include the two letter state abbreviation in your label as there are a lot of churches with the same name as First Alliance Church.
-The dimensions rounded to the nearest inch and the cubic feet of each package (multiply the height, length and depth in inches and divide by 1728)
-Category of items as one of the following: personal effect, medicine, medical equipment or food.
- List the items and quantities.  You can group items together.  For example, instead of listing 23 3” rolled bandages and 23 5” ones, just put 46 rolled bandages.  Linda C. will price the items, so you don’t have to do that. 
4. SHIPPING COSTS $15 per cubic foot.  Add up the total cubic feet that your boxes measure, multiply by $15, and send that amount to the Finance Department of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (8595 Explorer Drive, Colorado Springs, CO. 80920).  Include a note stating that the funds are for the Bongolo Hospital Med Supp./Shipping account, and write the number 09037-4340 in the memo line of your check.
5. OTHER: If you have items you think might be useful, but are not on the list, please e-mail or call Coleen L. at 218-245-2706. Please let other churches know about the shipment. 
Once again, that you for  your generous giving! Coleen

Gabon teammates work to unload a container at Bongolo