SAMSON in Derre

Updates

One of the main goals of SAMSON is to be able to help missionaries living in villages with a wide variety of services and having the big truck and trailer allows us to be able to carry the tools to do just that.  Our first village visit of 2018 was a great example of this and we wanted to share a bit of it with you.

Our primary goal for the trip was to dub The Jesus Film into the Lolo language.  We have been working with this team for years to try to make this happen, and there have been many scheduling conflicts that have kept it from happening so we were very excited that it finally worked out for us to go.

RecordingThe recording process went really well for the dubbing and all of the people that did the various “voices” did great and enjoyed seeing their characters on the screen speaking their language.

It is always interesting to see the variety of people that come to do the recordings. From 8 year children to elderly men and women, some excited and some quite scared.  The little kids are always fun too as they are very timid, but have huge smiles when they see the child on the screen speak with their voice.  The adults even seem to get more excited about the kids than their own parts.Church recording

The local church was involved as well and agreed to do the shouting for the crowd scenes.  The over-all process of the recording went really well and everyone seemed eager to be involved. We had more people show up than we needed in the end, but were able to use most of them for a line or two.  Even the community leader, who stopped in to greet us and see what we were doing, was able to have a part. The video is now uploaded and at the quality check phase.  After quality check, it will get finalized so we can download it and begin distribution.  This process will most likely take a few weeks.

Cutting book coversWhile in the village we were also able to help with some other projects.  The vision God has given us for SAMSON is to be able to help out with whatever projects come up while we are there.  Serving as a family has a unique advantage where we can serve the whole family.  Marijane was able to help with some sewing projects for the family’s new house and she also helped with some laminating and binding of some materials the team is using for training and taught an art class for all 7 kids. The kids are blessed to have others to play with and share their experiences.  While we were there their laminator died, which put a temporary stop to the production of the training materials they are producing for the local church. We managed to take it apart and find the issue. It is not often you can fix an electronics issue in the bush, but God blessed us with a solution and we were able to get it going again.  Their vehicle had also failed inspection a while before we arrived because the back brakes were not working. With some help from my “phone a friend” contacts, were able to get this sorted out as well.  In the end this trip was everything we want a trip to the village to be.  Thank you for your prayers and support!

Mud   BrakesLaminator

Back in Africa!

Updates

We left Africa in April of last year after a lot of transition. The center we had been working on for the last 13 years was sold, we moved out of the house we had been living in for the last 7. We had resigned from Wycliffe and SIL in order to serve all of the organizations we work with better as SAMSON. It was a rough departure, but at the same time there was a peace that we knew God had a plan for us and this new ministry.

From April until the first week of December we were in the States sharing with as many people as possible the vision that is SAMSON. We really enjoyed each place we visited, the friends we were able to catch up with, and the new friends we met along the way.  The boys also enjoyed most of the trip even though it meant long hours in the car. I think we also put nearly 10,000 miles on Grandpa’s new motorhome, which of course added it’s own adventures and gave us a glimpse of what it will be like to live as a family in a smaller space.

We also had ministry opportunities come up along the way as well. Helping friends with car issues, driving a moving van diagonally across the US, and helping a neighbor get her house ready to put on the market were just a few.

Now that we are back in Africa, God has continued to confirm this calling and bless our socks off along the way. From a house-sitting possibility that gave us a free place to stay for nearly a month, to an excellent and secure place to park Samson for the last few weeks, He has shown us that He is the God of details, big and small. We have a friend that is a pastor in the area we have been staying and we have been been able to attend two services at his church during our time here. This past Sunday, he introduced us to a man on staff at the church that is going to be a blessing to this ministry for years to come. He grew up with a family that did trucking all over Africa and is a trucker himself. Not only that, but would you believe that he is currently working on his own design for a 4×4 motorhome? Yep. It has been incredibly encouraging to chat with him and get his input on all that we have been thinking about. He even drove across town to take a look at the truck and give us advice on things we might want to do and other things we needed to do. Just one more confirmation in growing list of “wows” God has pulled together for us.

The next few days we will prepare to head to Knysna, South Africa where we will get a bit of work done to make the truck ready for our family to live and travel in. We have been amazed at how God has worked out the details for this trip. We have found a place to stay relatively close by and at a rate that is extremely good for that area.

As always we are so thankful for all of you that have committed to join us on this journey. We are really looking forward to seeing how God uses us to bless the many ministries he is connecting us with here in Southern Africa.

Blessings!

 

 

Ending a Great Chapter

Updates

Our last couple months have been full.  I have thought several times that I should post this on our site, but I have been lucky to even get anything on Facebook. We have officially moved out of the house we have lived in nearly 7 years and handed over the center that we have worked on for 13 years.  It has been an emotional rollercoaster, but we are anxious to see what God has next for us!

SAMSON, the ministry, stayed busy during our final days in Mozambique.Kern Car I was able to help a missionary friend who was returning from a year away get his vehicles running after sitting so long. One of the vehicles, a small truck, was pretty easy to get going as it just needed the batteries replaced and an oil change. The second vehicle (in photo) proved to be a bit more difficult. The battery in this one was also dead, but when I replaced it, the vehicle still didn’t want to turn over fast enough to start the engine. After a few visits to the car over a couple weeks, the owner arrived back and I went to work with him to get it going. Turns out the water pump had seized so it wouldn’t let the engine crank. The owner was able to remove the water pump, find a replacement in town, and replace it and a few belts and hoses by himself. No paid mechanic necessary. THAT is what SAMSON is all about: helping people be able to help themselves. Next time he will be more likely to dig a little deeper and each time he will learn more about his car.

We were also able to help another friend when the went on vacation and the people who were supposed to let their dogs out of the house and feed them couldn’t get into the house. We joked that we now can add breaking and entering to our list of services!

The winner for strangest phone call I received was from a friend who is in charge of operations on a farm outside of town. He called just after dinner and asked me if I had the phone number for the local fire department. I didn’t. He told me there was smoke in one of their large freezers, but it was so thick they couldn’t go inside to try to find the source. I ended up finding an old respirator and heading out to help, “just in case” the fire department didn’t have one. Good thing! The fire dept. didn’t have one and the one I took out was good enough to get the job done. There was some damage done to the freezer wall, but it could have been a huge disaster.

I can’t list all the little jobs we did over those last few weeks. Most of it is a blur. I know I charged at least one A/C in a car and answered a lot of calls. Marijane also continued to work on the networking side of the ministry and connecting people with others involved in similar ministries. All in all, we ended well as far as SAMSON is concerned. If only packing up our house and moving out had gone so smoothly!

Clutch Gunk

Updates

JDI LandyLast night and this morning we got to help out our former director & his wife. They are Bible translators in working on the Meetto translation. They had begun a trip to do some consulting for another organization on an active translation and Church planting ministry in the village of Derre when they had to return to Nampula for various reasons. When they got back to Nampula the vehicle began to have issues and we wondered if it might be the clutch. We opened the clutch fluid reservoir to make sure it was full, and it had a layer of thick tar like gunk in it. I assume what happened is that the breather hole was allowing dirt in with the air and over time it had created a real mess. After cleaning out the gunk we could see and an attempt to bleed the clutch we realized that there must be blockage in the system as well. Time to phone a friend. The “N” in Samson is for NETWORKING and there is a reason for that. We don’t have all the answers, but if you have a big enough network someone will.

This time I called Brad, a mechanic with over 40 years experience and well versed in the issuesJar Adaptor created by driving in Mozambique. He described a tool they used in the States that hooked up to a vacuum pump and cleaned out the lines by forcing fluid through the system. I have a vacuum pump, but not an adaptor to safely suck oil, so as we talked late last evening I decided to try to make one out of a mayonnaise jar.  The lid was too thin to tap the threads we needed for the attachments, so I found a piece of metal thick enough to tap that I could silicone inside the lid. This is what the finished product looked like. We were able to connect it to the slave cylinder under the vehicle and suck the bad liquid out of the line. This wasn’t quite enough to clear it all out so we called in Aidan, my oldest son, to lay inside the car and work the clutch while we flushed the system.

It worked and they immediately restarted the trip they had begun yesterday.  Pray that the rest of the trip is uneventful for them and that they are able to help this team check the Lolo scriptures they are working on. The team is translating the book of Luke in hopes that we can record the Jesus Film in Lolo in March. That will be the first recording project for us as SAMSON.  Thank you for your continued prayers.

Lid of Vacuum adaptor.      Lid of Vacuum adaptor.      Finished      connecting

 

 

Why a Big Truck?

Updates

A few years ago it became clear to us that our time managing the center in Nampula would be coming to a close and we began praying to see where God would lead us next. After looking at returning to the USA or working in a different region of the world, we felt that God really wanted us to continue serving ministries in southern Africa – doing the support work we had been doing. Our focus up until then had been supporting Wycliffe ministries, while helping other organizations along the way. We really enjoyed being able to help the many organizations working in Mozambique.

There were many obstacles we could see to continuing working in this type of ministry here.

  1. With the sale of the center we would have no base with a workshop where people could come to have work done on vehicles and things like that.
  2. Most of the help people need is on location, like home repairs, audio recordings. Even vehicle issues usually happen closer to home.
  3. God is leading us to serve as a family. These types of projects can take weeks and we don’t want Jon to be away from the family constantly. It is not always possible for people who may need our help to accept a family of five into their home for a few weeks to get a project done. Living in other peoples houses is also not conducive to homeschooling the boys.
  4. The biggest, and certainly the heaviest, obstacle is the tools and equipment we need for doing vehicle and home repairs, construction & media recordings. Having the tool to get the job done is important, but it is the other things that come up along the way that can be frustrating. You can’t bring everything with you and if you go somewhere to do a recording and the person has a vehicle issue it is sad to say we could fix this, but that tool is in Nampula.

This last issue is a big one. As I sit here writing this, we are 500Km (310 miles) from home. We came here to visit friends and work on motorcycles and a few vehicle issues. I brought my basic mechanics tools with us; which is already more weight than one person should try to move. The majority of my tools stayed at home. In the five days we have been here we have fixed the things we came to fix, but the family has a significant problem with their solar electrical system. If I had a DC Amp meter, I could easily find the problem. I have one, at home. Then their fridge began acting up. I have the tools and supplies to fix it, at home. Two issues that are taking time and energy away from ministry for this family could be fixed if I had been able to bring all of my equipment and tools. Now the fridge will need to wait until he can haul it into the nearest city to get repaired taking time from what he should be doing and we will have to make some guesses on the solar system and hope we get good results. Frustrating.

One afternoon, last year, while we were praying about these issues, Marijane realized the solution, although at the time it seemed absolutely crazy. After this time of prayer she said, “How about we buy one of those big 4×4 motorhome vehicles that could carry all of your tools and equipment. We could travel to where people are living and help in any way we can and then move on to the next place. Then we would have a place to sleep, cook and eat and wouldn’t have to rely on the family we are going to help.”

After more prayer and much counsel from our leadership we began to realize that this idea could really be an incredible ministry for those serving in our region. We then began to talk to leaders of other organizations to see if they saw this type of ministry as a need for their members. The response we received was similar in every case, “Why hasn’t anyone done this before?” and “When do you start?”

In June of this year our family traveled to South Africa to look at options for buying or building a vehicle like this. I had found a company there that built them and wanted to visit it to see what it was like. We also saw a couple vehicles for sale that we wanted to look at them to see if they might fit the need and also to get ideas. Before we got to the factory that builds the vehicles, God led us to a Christian man who owns a company that also builds them that I had not heard of. It didn’t take long talking with him to realize he would be a really good person to work with. Leaving his shop I looked into the backseat of the car and asked the boys if they had realized what had just happened. “We met this man by chance, who turns out to be a Christian and builds the type of vehicles we have been praying about.” How cool is that!

We did go to the other factory as well, but I wasn’t really impressed. They made really nice furniture and the motorhomes were a sort of side business. I didn’t think they would be as good to work with. We also looked at another vehicle that was for sale, but it would have needed to be completely rebuilt due to an excessive amount of rust.

Our last stop on the trip was the MAN truck dealership in Johannesburg to look at trucks that we might be able to build a motorhome on the back of. While talking with the dealer he mentioned a client of his that might be interested in selling a vehicle that he had built. The dealer drove us across town to the office of the owner of the vehicle so we could talk to him. The vehicle was in Namibia at the moment, but he had loads of pictures to show us including many from the adventures he and his wife had taken in it. The boys were excited to see photos of places they recognized in Mozambique. This was obviously emotional for the owner and he really enjoyed the boys.

Boys on Bullbar

Since then we have been able to travel to Namibia with Marijane’s parents to see the vehicle and we believe this is the vehicle God has in mind for us. The total cost of this vehicle is half of what it would cost to build something similar and it is fully equipped with solar electrical and everything else we would need. The only thing that would need to be changed is the living quarters were set up for two travelers, not a family of five, so we have a plan to put in some bunk beds. The first builder we talked to is advising us and ready to do the work when the time comes.

The prospect of this new ministry and the cost of the vehicle seem completely beyond us, but God has confirmed again and again that this is where He wants us and the needs are huge. He has put this ministry in our hearts and we know he will provide for the finances and other details to make it a reality.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the ministry or the vehicle itself. If you would like to make Samson a reality by making a gift towards the purchase of the vehicle please visit our page at Shepherd’s Staff and click to donate to our Vehicle account. Thank You!

Shepherd’s Staff

Welcome!

Updates

Thank you for visiting our site to learn more about SAMSON.  The name SAMSON is really two things, it is both the ministry we are starting and “Samson” the truck that will be our family’s home as we serve.  This ministry is just a few weeks old, but we have been doing this work here in Mozambique for the last 13 years.  Please continue to visit us here and we will do our best to keep you updated as things progress. You can visit our WHY? page for a bit of an introduction to us. Our WHAT page will give you a glimpse into the heart of the ministry and the ways we can help those serving in our region of the world. Watch for our WHERE page that will explain more about the places we hope to serve and how God has led us to serve the region not just northern Mozambique like we have in the past. Thank you for your interest in what God is doing through us and our partners here.  You can also look at our Endorsements page to see what our partner organizations are saying about SAMSON.

Feel free to sign up for our newsletter here. You can also click here to visit the site of our sending organization, Shepherd’s Staff, where you may choose to donate to this ministry.