Reaching the Agta

It was a huge blessing to have a pastor come and encourage them, look at their ministry through different eyes, and just experience Epp life! Some highlights were the times spent around their kitchen table laughing, and being able to share the burdens of ministry.
Another incredible visit was from Wayne Derksen from their local church in Winkler. Wayne was a huge answer to prayer, giving up three weeks of his winter, to visit and work with them! Their windows, screens, and a portion of the roof were in desperate need of replacement before typhoon season and Wayne helped with this and also ended up becoming the P.E. teacher for the community as he taught volley ball to the neighbourhood. Wayne did get to experience lunch on the beach after a surf, coffee in the morning while watching the sun rise over the ocean, steak dinner while listening to the ocean crash against the shore, helicopter rides, fresh lobster….. etc ; Don and Char sometimes forget the privilege of being where they are and it was a good reminder that God has allowed them to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Abby continues to be a big blessing with teaching Thea, Koi and Zane. Because of this, Char has been able to work through language once again. Abby has been through a lot with the family, and she takes everything in her stride, and the family have enjoyed her as part of the team. The sad part is that Abby will be with them in the village only till the end of May! Then Don and Char will be looking for another teacher to join them.
A project that has been on the go for many years is now finished! Water is what controls the community, and without it, the community would move. The village’s water source comes from a spring 2km up the mountain. It has been working very well and Don and Char believe the clean water is improving the overall health of the community. However, they felt they needed a secondary source of water in-case something happened to the spring or the 2km of hose. This well is now available if ever there was a need. It was tested recently, pumping 85 gallons in 17 minutes, with much more water to go! It was dug by hand 27 feet down, then through coral another 12 feet. Many people were a part of this project, and all will benefit from the water if ever in need.
Char has moved into ‘the Centre’! All the medical work has been done under their house for as long as they have been in the tribe. Now, however, emergencies go to ‘the Centre’ where all the medical supplies are stored and where they can train someone in the community to look after the building. Local officials made an announcement that the building was a project for the whole community and encouraged the use of it! Char is at ‘the Centre’ two hours a day, from 2-4pm, which has already cut down on the interruptions which used to control the day. She will start teaching basic medical principles soon, like healthy baby and healthy mother classes, and have days for specific things like blood pressure checks.
An Agta friend that has helped them for years has also been helping with medical problems. Char continues to disciple her in medical things and have Bible studies with her and another girl. Saturdays are also a busy day for Char at ‘the Centre’ with running a kids club, where kids learn English. The kids she teaches are all friends of the Epp kids, who also enjoy watching movies all together on rainy days on their deck!
Recently, Don discovered a gesture that the Agta people use when someone does not believe you are telling the truth, showing this action means that what you are saying is “not a lie”, and is absolutely true! This is something that Don and Char are excited to be able to use in the upcoming Gospel presentation. The Agta are animated as they speak and tell stories. This is hard to copy or use properly, but it communicates to the heart of an Agta! Pray with Don and Char in these busy days in preparation for teaching! Pray that they will continue to find more and more cultural ways to speak to the heart of the Agta people, that their eyes and hearts will be opened to the truth of the Gospel.
The team are planning a large teaching event this summer. This event would be a full month, where they would do teaching every day and involve all the Agta being fed after teaching, having games, doing drama for the teaching, etc. The teaching is something they have planned for a decade, and as they plan for this summer, they ask for prayer for clear direction from the Lord! If the Lord wants the directions changed, or the timing to be different, or the methods changed, they pray that He makes it clear to them as a team!
Sadly a young man with a family just recently passed away from what Don and Char believe was TB. He was the father to one of Koi’s good friends, and son-in-law to Don’s language helper. They are praying for the Lord to preserve the people for them to have the chance again to hear the Gospel message. Pray, as the Gospel presentation gets closer and as the spiritual battle rages. They have seen more spiritual activity lately in the village and know there is a battle for these people.

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