World Harvest Ministries
2006 Prayer Letters
Take a peek at the first practice of the ďSankey Samaritan Orphanage Unicycle TroupeĒ! There are now nine boys and six girls who are taking up the challenge to ride for Jesus. We hope to begin performing halftime shows in the fall of 2006 when I return to the Philippines to take a basketball team on a ministry tour of the Philippines.
I finished one practice by riding Mary Rose on my shoulders. Soon afterwards two of the 14 year old boys were riding the younger ones on their shoulders! They want to become better on the unicycle than Uncle Tom. My prayer is that they will want to love and serve Jesus more than Uncle Tom as well.
My latest visit to the Philippines in November gave me great joy playing with the kids. I decided to celebrate their unicycle progress by taking them to their first movie ever. We took up two rows of the theater and I died laughing while I watched their reactions and wide eyed amazement at the huge screen in front of them. Their lack of theater experience resulted in many of the kids yelling and talking to the characters on the screen which was obviously a huge distraction to the many other patrons trying to watch the same movie!
We finished our day out by eating at McDonaldís where I was amazed to watch the younger kids share their burger and fries with the older kids who had the same order but bigger stomachs. They look out for each other, laugh at each other, and work together in pretty amazing harmony.
The first week of January means I have been serving the Lord for 30 years now! Watching the transformation of these kidsí because of a faith in Jesus reminds me how much I still love serving Him. Over the years I have received generous job offers to coach, do corporate speaking, or represent companies. But I cannot imagine doing anything else more rewarding than telling people about Jesus and seeing lives changed.
Thanks for your part in making it possible for Karen and me to aim for 30 more years of ministry!
Gratefully your missionaries,
Tom and Karen Randall
ďNow to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!Ē Ephesians 3:20, 21
Golf legend George Archer was on television, one shot in the lead on the back nine on Saturday at Turtle Bay in Hawaii with Hall of Famer, Hale Irwin, Hubert Green, Larry Nelson and other PGA greats in pursuit! The 1969 Masterís champion was 63 years old with arthritic hands and fingers, a stiff back from multiple operations, and an artificial hip to complicate and hinder his chances. Add a basketball missionary from the Philippines (who also had an artificial titanium hip) to carry his bag as his caddy and climbing Mount Everest might be an easier task to undertake. George and I are both tall, move stiffly on our artificial hips and enjoy a good joke. Our giggling between shots was contrasted by Hale Irwinís serious and concentrated efforts to regain the lead. Meanwhile, George was reminding me to stand closer to him while reading putts and giving yardages to get maximum TV exposure for myself!
Once in New York George called my hotel room and wanted to meet in the lobby in five minutes to go to dinner. We ended up at Yankee Stadium in a luxury box and Lance Armstrong threw out the first pitch! The dinner was good, too. And when I did my unicycle and juggling show for the PGA Tour Fellowship George volunteered his wife, Donna (whose wit and humor surpasses Georgeís), to climb on my shoulders and ride around the banquet room. (She did it!)
It was easy to love George and Donna Archer and we missed them when they retired at the end of last season to enjoy grandkids, travel and fishing. But it was devastating when George was diagnosed with Burkitts Lymphoma, the quickest growing and most aggressive form of cancer.
When Donna called me during the Pebble Beach tournament last month to let me know George had gone to their home in Lake Tahoe to spend the last weeks of his life I asked if I could drive up and see him. Karen and I drove the five hours preparing for the worst and planning to attempt to encourage and comfort the Archers. God had other plans.
Donna didnít tell George we were coming so when I came into the bedroom he was shocked and delighted. He put on a robe and for two animated hours recalled stories and experiences, and how he played his last round of golf a week earlier and I began to cry. At dinner George wanted to pray and since he couldnít eat he continued to talk about his peace and even his excitement of seeing our Savior Jesus soon! He said, "Iíve got my nose pressed against the window of heaven, my bags are packed, and my tee off time is ready."
Karen and I headed back down that mountain encouraged! The peace and contentment in Georgeís face confirmed again why we love sharing the hope of Jesus with as many as possible. What a privilege it is to look into the face of a person who is about to go into eternity with Jesus and see a bit of heaven in their countenance.
I will be speaking at the memorial service on October 25 in Gilroy, CA. Thank you for your support that makes all these ministry experiences possible.
Tom and Karen Randall
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Fatherís house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." Jesus, Book of John 14:1-4
Last regular fellowship meeting of the PGA season in San Antonio, Oct 21.
Mayorís Breakfast in Medford, OR, Oct. 25
George Archerís memorial service in Gilroy, CA, Oct 25
PGA Fellowship meeting at the Champions Tournament, Sonoma, CA, Oct 28
Missions Conference at Blossom Valley Bible Church, San Jose, CA, Oct 29, 30.
Tom leaves for two weeks in the Philippines, Oct. 31-Nov 11
Tom speaks at Gateway Church, Scotts Valley, CA, Nov. 13
Tom speaks at FCA Golf event in Ponte Vedra, FL, Nov. 18
"Help me Lord and I will thank you publicly before the entire congregation, before the largest crowd I can find." Psalm 35:18
The University of Oklahoma football team has the best winning record in the nation (76%) since WWII and is 60-7 the past five years. This includes three trips to the National Championship game! Coach Bob Stoops has enjoyed five Bowl appearances, a Heismen Trophy winner and a National Championship. Considering that OU is a public university I was extremely encouraged that he would organize a chapel service for his entire coaching staff, their families, and all the football players to begin the new season. When asked to be the speaker I smiled at another great opportunity to share Godís kindnesses to another crowd He found for me! Another invitation to speak to the entire athletic department and the coaches for all sports at the university reminded me of the privilege and opportunities that have come just in the last few weeks from being sent by you and the Lord to as many as I can find to speak to!
Another crowd I found was the 10,000 people registered to ride 560 miles in seven days across Iowa on bikes! (Known as the RAGBRAI).
The first night after an 85 mile ride a thunderstorm with 70 to 80 mph winds blew away many tents, bikes, and even killed one 27 yr. old man when a tree limb landed on his tent. We rode every stage discussing the storm and life with whoever was on the road that day with us. In the evenings I spoke to groups of men gathered around camp sites about how God has done many wonderful things in my life. Riding from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River was a great adventure besides having the satisfaction of being in good physical health considering my history.
I followed this experience with the privilege of joining my college coach and mentor, Dick Helm, to speak and work with kids in a basketball camp on the south side of Chicago. Coach spent twenty years in the NBA coaching and will also share his faith with the largest crowd he can find! Many campers came to Christ which is another encouraging result of taking opportunities wherever God provides.
Karen and I both spoke to coaches, wives, and campers for a week at an FCA sports camp in Pella, Iowa and saw many make a decision for Christ. The neat thing there was that many of the coaches and huddle leaders ministering to the kids were campers when I spoke there seven years ago!
But of course it was great to reach Minnesota and rejoin my favorite and unique group of professional golfers we speak to every Friday night as we tour the country together. (They call us "The Church on the Move"). This sub-culture of famous golfers gives me the privilege of telling them about Godís goodness every week.
Because of your prayers and support and the Lord providing opportunities I am fulfilling my promise to thank the Lord by telling as many as I can, even in the largest crown I can find, about Jesus.
Yesterday I met with the Mayor of Edmond (our hometown) and her staff and she asked me to speak at the Mayorís Breakfast with 400 people. I laughed and thought that that was the largest crowd I could find on that day and wondered how many more unique crowds might be ahead for me to enjoy telling about our precious Savior.
Looking for crowds to tell,
New Website for World Harvest Ministries!!
Go to http://www.tomrandall.org and see pictures of the kids at the orphanage, read about our visit to The White House, find out where in the world Tom Randall is, see pictures of the camp, and read our newsletters from the last several years! Tomís brother, John, has put together this website for us so we can communicate with you better. We hope you visit it often and enjoy what you see there. Weíll try to keep it updated with current information for you. Welcome to the Web!
I arrived at Rizal Re-Creation Center for the grand opening of the two new buildings and watched 1,000 people over the weekend enjoy evening basketball indoors under the lights and then move over to the adjacent building and go bowling, play billiards, ping pong, and darts! Of course I had to be a good host and participate in every activity the new buildings provided... and I loved every minute of it!
The daylight hours allowed us to move outside to the sand volleyball courts, soccer field, game pavilion, play Coconut Croquet (with coconuts instead of balls!), the ropes course, Frisbee golf, basketball, and badminton. We finished with a dip in the large spring fed pool, (keeps it nice and cool!) with an entrance by way of the 40 meter long water slide!
Because of your prayers and financial support we have developed a Christian camp that had 4,500 people as guests in April alone who came to enjoy sports and meet Jesus! Please celebrate with us the completion of facilities that is already attracting thousands more to an environment of physical and spiritual joy! I performed on the unicycles in the new gymnasium during the Grand Opening weekend. As I was floating across the new floor I could hardly comprehend what God has allowed us to be a part of creating!
During lunch the 300 people in the Dining Hall all had happy faces and satisfied grins while discussing the camp, its facilities, and the many activities available to their groups. When our kids from the orphanage were scheduled to spend the day they couldnít sleep the night before in anticipation of their day at Rizal Re-Creation Center.
It thrills us to be able to be able to provide these sports and recreation opportunities which creates a common ground to win people to Christ. We cannot thank you enough for your generosity that made this project possible!
Tom and Karen
When the flight attendant asked me to switch seats with Saturday Night Liveís Jimmy Fallon, Karen had to tell me who he was. In Tampa after meeting Vince Gil on the range she told me he was a country singer (Iím a Motown guy). But in February when I met Emitt Smith it was my turn to tell her about the NFLís all-time leading rusher. The year 2005 has us feeling part gypsy, part paparazzi but extremely excited about the opportunity to represent Christ in so many places to so many people.
At a small seafood restaurant on the intercostals in Ponte Vedre, FL I met the cast of the TV show, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and its star, Ty Pennington. They showed me the blue prints of their next project and show for production. Karen was devastated she wasnít with me since she watches their show whenever possible. When the apostle Paul said, "All things to all men by all means (and places)" he wasnít kidding! In fact I find great pleasure in the experiences and places and people that follow that single Biblical philosophy!
While telling a story in the locker room during the Outback Celebrity Pro-Am several players wanted to introduce me to "Tin Cup". Sure enough I found myself shaking hands with actor Kevin Costner who asked me if I enjoyed being the chaplain and if any of the players actually attend our weekly fellowship! You should have seen the smiles on the players standing around as they anticipated my response. (We had a 112 at our fellowship in Hawaii!) Yes, I love being chaplain, I love being a missionary, and moments like this remind me of the variety of people I meet, places I go, and unique opportunities I am given as an ambassador of Christ!
In Orlando a dear friend of mine gave me four tickets to the Orlando Magic/Miami Heat game. But another friend asked me to drop in and speak to 55 people who were meeting in preparation for planting a church in the Orlando area. I decided to do both things but after seeing the response and the Holy Spiritís presence among this group of people I stayed the rest of the evening talking about Jesus with them. They have such an appetite for His Word! I have found that even my love of basketball is no match for the joy I feel meeting and talking to people about Jesus.
At the highly respected Episcopal high school in Jacksonville, Fl where all the kids go on to college, academics are of the highest standards, and leaders are trained and produced, the priest was naturally anxious about a speaker he did not know. Iím not sure walking up with unicycle, basketballs, and wood carvings in my hand alleviated his stress. I was quickly made aware of the cost of the imported stained glass which enclosed the room. But the show went on, no glass was broken, no chalice spilled, and a bit of Jesus was shared. The next hour found me in a huge theater, 500 kids, a stage, microphone, and plenty of room to ride my first boy on my shoulders on the unicycle since surgery in December. It must have gone well because the much more relaxed and pleased priest had me take his religion class that followed!
I stopped at home on the way to Los Angeles and spoke to 65 northern college students building a Habitat for Humanity house on their spring break in Oklahoma City. So, instead of partying in Key West they were getting blisters and sleeping on a church floor and listening to some 51 year old speaker they had never heard of. The ingredients were perfect for the Holy Spirit to thrive and their response and questions kept me for hours. The next day Karen and I bought 30 pizzas, lots of water and soft drinks, desserts, and had a tailgate lunch from my pickup at the work site. Again, the ingredients of kids sacrificing, serving, sharing, the provision of food, being far from home, and gaining new perspectives caused a spiritual opportunity and the kids asked if I would tell them some more stories during their lunch break!
Finally, after five states, two islands, and nine weeks I was flying home to Karen for a break when I got bumped off my flight in Denver until the following day. Tired and disappointed I slumped into a taxi and took quick observation of the taxi driver. Talkative, foreign accent, slow heavy trafficÖ ex-professional soccer player from Morocco, last step of citizenship, wife and kids in Morocco, lonelyÖ The ingredients were right and I could feel the Lord focusing from above on our taxiÖ right place, right time, right person. Letís talk soccer and then citizenship and thenÖ.
I hope you know I love being a missionary and thank you for your prayers, commitment, and support that allows Karen and me to share Jesus with as many as we can in every place God takes us.
Tom and Karen Randall
Prayer Requests: Tom is making a quick trip to the Philippines April 7-14 to attend the grand opening of our two new buildings at the camp. One is the new covered basketball court with stage and the other is the new bowling alley! He will also be there to meet a work crew coming from Australia that will be working on a new church building near the orphanage. This church was planted through the efforts of the basketball team from Westgate Church in San Jose, CA that were there last November. Pray for safety for all involved in the work crew, for Tomís travel, and for the grand opening at the camp on April 10. Karen will be visiting her family in Michigan during the same time Tom is gone so pray for safe travel for her, too. Thank you!
On January 16, four weeks after my surgery and several days into physical therapy, Karen and I headed out for the first two golf tournaments of the year which were in Hawaii. But a very sharp pain in the area of my hernia surgery had me struggling to get through LAX to our gate. Unable to reach my doctor and not sure a six hour plane ride farther away from home was a good idea I prayed for the Lord to lead me.
As we moved through the terminal we ran into Don (PGA Champions Tour player) and Margaret Pooley who were heading to the tournament, too. They attend our Friday evening Fellowship faithfully and they have become dear friends. Turns out they were on our plane. But what added to the coincidental meeting was that Don had had the same surgery several months before and had complications that required a second surgery to correct the problem. When Don saw my discomfort he recognized the pain symptoms and advised me to see or call my doctor before flying. With the coincidences building expedientially he mentioned that he had just run into his surgeon who was also catching a flight to Hawaii, was at gate 72 and we should go see him immediately!
Dr. Lavor and his wife were happy to see Don who quickly introduced me and then explained my problem which seemed similar to his own which Dr. Lavor had corrected. The doctor then felt the need to tell us he had had a dream the night before that he was supposed to help someone at the airport before his flight! Don was still laughing as Dr. Lavor directed me to the menís room for a physical exam where puzzled men wondered why we were sharing the same toilet stall!
The doctor confirmed it was indeed a nerve pinched by the stitches that held the reinforced web in my stomach. He advised me to take a pain pill and keep moving and exercising hoping it would work its way loose on its own. If it continued for several more days to give him a call because he would be in Hawaii, too!
A day later, thankfully, the nerve released itself and the pain was gone. We had 85 and 106 players and wives, PGA officials, TV personnel, and caddies at the two Friday Fellowships! The whole experience allowed us to see how God still has a hand in our daily lives and needs as we serve in different places.
We are not only thankful for the enthusiasm of the PGA Champions Tour Bible studies, my successful surgery, and wonderful health care. We also had a fruitful trip to the Philippines in November to lead a basketball team and work crew for several weeks. At one basketball game after performing the unicycle and juggling act I sat with the barangay captain (a political authority) talking about basketball and then about God. He was old enough to remember watching me play in Manila years ago and still had the souvenir World Harvest T-Shirt I gave him then. This time he decided to pray and give his life to Christ.
Thank you for standing with us as we see God showing us His played out in lifeís coincidences. We pray that you are seeing God work in your lifeís coincidences, too.
Watching His plan unfold with gratitude,
Tom and Karen Randall
"The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it."
I Thessalonians 5:24
Dear Family and Friends,,
The year has flown by so quickly. We have felt the hand of the Lord so much this year and have prayed that you would, too. Itís good to remember what the Lord has done so that we can be even more thankful for His presence and His gifts to us. We count you as some of His most precious gifts to us!
January We started out the year 2004 with a wonderful trip to the Caribbean with five other couples on a cruise ship. We had so much fun getting to know each other better, exploring the ship and the ports, the men climbed the rock wall, the ladies shopped, we played cards, and laughed ourselves silly. What a wonderful treat that time away was.
February This month was back to travel for Tom with Champions Tour stops in Miami, Naples, and Tampa, Florida. Tom also managed a short trip in the midst of the FL swing to speak at Westgate Church in San Jose, CA. I joined Tom for the tournament in Tampa and then ended up flying to OK with friends to look at houses. We had had our home in Big Canoe on the market for several months and we knew we needed to find something else soon. We had looked in FL quite a bit but felt the wide open plains calling!
This was the month of Tomís big 50th! He read through hundreds of messages from you!
March Is there anything better than a wedding? Tom performed the wedding of David Duval and his beautiful bride at his home right on the beach in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. It was a lovely and moving ceremony followed by a reception there with Tom on the dance floor on his unicycle. Not sure how that happened! Tom spent the next two weeks in CA for Tour events in Valencia and Newport Beach. He was able to get in a few days for a Spiritual Emphasis Week at the Christian high school near San Diego where friends Randy and Julie Wright teach. Then it was off to the Philippines for Tom for a quick trip. He had a board meeting and checked things at the orphanage and the camp.
April We were in the process of closing on our new home in Edmond, OK so things were crazy at home in Big Canoe. We packed boxes, bubble wrapped furniture, said good by to dear friends, thought we had sold our house but it didnít work out, and then with the help of neighbors loaded up a huge U-Haul with all the stuff. Tom drove the truck pulling a trailer with our little pick up on it and I drove our car. We werenít quite The Beverly Hillbillies but it was an adventure just the same! Tom managed to fit in tournaments in Pensacola, FL, Savannah, GA, and Birmingham, AL while I unpacked. Thankfully, my dear friend, Jan Schier from IL came to the rescue and stayed a week helping!
May This month saw us with a quick trip to the tournament in Austin, TX followed by a time at a wonderful conference center near Santa Cruz, CA called Mount Hermon. Tom was the speaker at their special weekend for long time donors. We loved the time there and made some new friends. The rest of May Tom traveled to Des Moines, IA and to Louisville, KY for tournaments. My special thing was to get glassesÖ with bifocals. Am I getting older? Canít be!
June After Tomís quick trip to Grand Rapids, Mi for a tournament and a weekend of speaking at Cherry Hills Baptist Church in Springfield, IL we flew to Atlanta to attend the wedding of Josh and Kimberly Nelson. Josh is the son of Larry and Gayle Nelson who have become our dear friends on the Tour. Tom performed a beautiful service in front of 350 people at Peachtree Baptist Church in Marietta, GA. What a joy! Back home in OK we took a couple days to visit Bruce and Rose Lieztke at their home on Grand Lake in northeast OK. We had a fun weekend with them, Gil and Jeanine Morgan and Doug and Pam Tewell, all from the Tour. Tom shocked them all by jumping off a 65 foot ledge into the lake. He got a souvenir T-shirt for his efforts. The last tournament of the month was in Boston.
July Tom started out the month in Long Island, NY and then went to Dearborn for the Ford Champions event there. I went home to Saginaw, MI to visit family and met Tom at the tournament in Dearborn. Then home to OK to attend the wedding of Molly and James Larrison. Molly is the daughter of friends, Gil and Jeanine Morgan who live here in Edmond. I made a quick trip back to Michigan for family time and then met Tom in Chicago before we drove to Minneapolis for the tournament there. Tom was already in Chicago because the week before is when he made his famous ride across part of Iowa as a part of the RAGBRAI event!
August This month found Tom in Hickory, NC and then Portland, OR with a stop in Jackson Hole, WY to see friends. He finished the month in San Jose, CA where I met him later.
September We both attended the tournament at Pebble Beach which was such a treat in such a beautiful area! We were able to stay with friends, Kevin and Debbie Larkin, right at Pebble Beach, took rides down the coast in their convertible, and enjoyed the wonderful weather. After a fun weekend in San Francisco at my brother Donís home with his family I came home to OK while Tom continued on to Cincinnati, OH. He was planning on officiating at a wedding in Pensacola but we werenít able to make the trip because of the storms. Tom finished out the month in Raleigh, NC. Then, believe it or not, Tom took a week off!
October We drove to Houston for the tournament at The Woodlands and then made our way to San Antonio for the next tournament. We met Jan and Mike Schier there who came for the week! The men golfed, the ladies shopped, we took in the sights of the River Walk, the men golfed and the ladies shopped some more! On Sunday the four of us attended church at Oak Hills Church, the home of Max Lucado. What fun to be there and hear him in person. Tom made a quick trip to OR for a speaking event and then headed home to OK for a few days before our trip to San Jose. We attended the missions conference at Blossom Valley Bible Church there where Tom spoke.
November On the first of Nov. we were on an airplane to the Philippines. We spent almost three weeks there with two short term teams. One worked on the new gym at the camp and one was a traveling basketball team. I stayed at the camp with our friends, Joe and Ruth Mauk. I think Ruth and I set the record for non-stop conversation! I had a wonderful time with her and visiting the orphanage and old friends. This trip was a special time for me. We finished November with Thanksgiving in Edmond and a visit from John and Julie Hutchinsonís daughter, Stacey, from the Perth, Australia area. John and Julie served for two years in the Philippines with us. Stacey is all grown up now and ready for university soon but she wanted to take a trip first. We showed her all around here and then took her to New York with us.
December We spent the first couple of days in NY on Long Island with Tom speaking at Stony Brook High School. Then for the next two days we became tourists in the Big Apple. We saw two Broadway shows, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, Times Square, had taxi rides and generally had a ball! Megan Schier joined us for one day which added to the fun! Tom and I split up from there with him going to play some golf in West Palm Beach, FL and me to Michigan to see family. We plan on a quiet Christmas here in Edmond which we are looking forward to!
We are so grateful for the gift of the Savior in our lives. We have experienced His presence so often this year. My family faced the difficult decision to have my dad placed in a nursing home where they could better care for him with his increasing confusion. My mom is doing well with all the changes in her life. Iím so grateful for Alan and Michele and all they do to help Mom and Dad. Tomís parents are really doing well and seem to increase in their joy of life each year. Our brothers and their families add to our joy. We have enjoyed so many lovely moments with both family and friends this year. We treasure those times so much in the midst of our rather busy days. If the Champions Tour comes near you, please give us a call! If you get anywhere near Oklahoma City you must stop for a visit!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, too!
Tom and Karen Randall
The good news is that you are now owners of a bowling alley and gymnasium! The bad news is you will have to travel over 10,000 miles to bowl a game or shoot a basket.
It gives me real pleasure to inform you that your constant support and prayers has allowed us to complete the construction of a large sports complex at our Re-Creation Camp in the Philippines! The two large buildings will have a bowling alley, pool tables, and game room on one side and basketball, volleyball courts, climbing wall and stage area in the other. We hope to open in January 2005 and use this facility to draw and win even more to Jesus through the common ground of sports. Add this complex to the current facility (outdoor courts, swimming pool, ropes course, tree house, Frisbee Golf, horseback riding, snake handling, Coconut Croquet, and top spinning activities) and we will draw them in to hear the Gospel with very little persuasion!
I have loved Jesus and sports for a long time and I find great joy in developing a place to share both of them at the same time!
Every last Friday of each month my kids from the orphanage spend the day at the camp. I saw how excited and big their eyes got when they arrived and ran in every direction to enjoy the different activities. I realized we can give that experience to young people from all over the Philippines and Asia. And while their eyes are big we fill them with a look at the Prince of Peace.
Thank you for making this dream possible. Please pray we can win many to Jesus with this excellent facility God has provided for us through faithful people like you.
"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so that there will be
food enough in my Temple; if you do, I will open up the windows of heaven for you
and pour out a blessing so great you wonít have room enough to take it in!"
Malachi 3:10 (TLB)
On November 1-17 Karen and I are going to the Philippines and we ask for your prayers. I will lead a basketball team and perform my unicycle show at halftimes for two weeks as well as oversee a work crew to put the roof on the new buildings. Weíll also be visiting the orphanage and spend time with the kids and staff.
Gratefully your missionaries,
Tom and Karen Randall
When God Intervenes
I dipped my wheel in the Missouri River with 11,000 other enthusiastic, hopeful riders and headed east in the "Registerís Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa" (RAGBRAI). I talked and rode with a surgeon from Cleveland, with a pit crew mechanic from Indianapolis, a CPA from DesMoines, an architect from Denver, and a professor from Kentucky. The 90 mile first dayís leg finished in the small town of Lakeview (pop. 1,500) where I and 100 others paid $5.00 to shower in the car wash, $5.00 for a meal at the Baptist church, and $10.00 to the support vehicle to drop my tent and bag at my campsite. Then I collapsed on top of my stuff and went to sleep.
The next morning I threw my still packed gear on the truck and with a very sore bottom began the 72 mile second dayís journey. This is where God intervened. I fell just eight miles into the ride and was bleeding from my right knee and elbow. I stopped at a roadside farm to eat and bleed for a while when a lady rider greets me with "Magandang umaga, po, manong Tomas!" I was speechless. (Really!) How could she know my name and that I spoke Tagalog? She explained that she saw me fall, heard me mumble in Tagalog and recognized me from watching me play basketball in Manila as a young girl! Teresa was a Christian, knew I was a Christian, and was the only Filipina in the race. She now lives in San Francisco and is, of course, a nurse! She got her first-aid bag off her bike and bandaged my wounds as we laughed and spoke Tagalog shocking and entertaining the other riders who gathered around.
God so encouraged me by His intervention with this unique encounter that I rode 320 miles in the four days of the race I participated in and had the joy of leading three riders to Christ! I suppose three out of 11,000 is not great fruit but many Americanís arenít as desperate for Jesus yet. But I also talked with dozens of people during the ride or around the campsite at night where storytelling and conversation replaced TV or the computer temporarily. I enjoyed the physical challenge, the spiritual opportunities, and the intellectual insights of some very interesting fellow riders.
This leaves me in good shape for our trip to the Philippines November 1-17 to lead a basketball team and work crew. I hope to perform the halftime shows and share the Gospel at all the games we play. The work crew will be finishing our new multi-purpose gymnasium/recreation center at the camp we run south of Manila. Using sports like basketball, swimming, and volleyball to share the Gospel message is not only effective but great fun!
Thanks for your prayers and support as we enjoy the privilege of serving the King of Kings in these unique and exciting ways.
Tom and Karen
My next missionary journey is to a roaming people group of 10,000! The RAGBRAI (Registerís Annual Great Bike Race Across Iowa) begins on July 25th by dipping your back wheel in the Missouri River and finishes seven days later dipping your front wheel in the Mississippi River 514 miles later! 10,000 people start the race and ride to a designated town each day where there is food, camping, entertainment, rest and lots of people to visit and meet before starting early the next day to ride 70 plus miles to the next host city.
This sounded like an incredible environment to ride along in and take the opportunity to share my faith with people I meet during the adventure this unusual event offers. So, I was compelled to enter on my new 20 speed red Trex road bike with carbon forks! A sleeping bag and small tent will provide night lodging which still seems luxurious compared to the years of nipa huts, church floors, or beaches we slept on in the Philippines.
At first my team captain laughed when he found out I only began riding in May. Laughter turned to concern when he found out I was 50 and real skepticism took hold when the titanium hip was discovered during his phone interview. I tried to assure the young man that if there was no volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, coups or revolutions, terrorist ambushes, typhoons, floods, or landslides I was sure I would pedal the 70 miles to the next town each day. Not wanting to shake his confidence in me any further I neglected to tell him I was counting on your prayers and the Lordís encouragement to push me along when it gets difficult. After all, I am a missionary athlete and this event offers all the ingredients for an opportunity of outreach!
I do not intend to bother you for pledges per mile or emergency insurance premiums. I only ask that you pray that I get many opportunities to share my faith as I tell stories and meet people along the ride.
Other great news:
The orphanage, Sankey Samaritan Home, is now complete with a gymnasium, school, medical wing, dining hall, four family units, and a farm. Our missionaries, Toto and Babes Luchavez, (former spider handler, caddy, basketball player, and body guard) are doing a great job of managing the staff and kids. The kids are happy and learning and growing everyday.
Our camp, Rizal Re-Creation Camp, is in full swing serving groups of all kinds and winning many to Christ. The staff managed by our missionaries, Joe and Ruth Mauk, are currently hosting a work team from the USA and Australia which has begun the construction of our multi-purpose gymnasium which will also have room for the bowling alley and pool tables. We plan to finish this building project by November and enhance the sports ministry arm of the camp.
The PGA Champions Tour Fellowship has grown and 80 to 100 come consistently every Friday evening with many of the golfers now learning to give their testimonies when they speak around the country.
Both of us will be going to the Philippines in November to lead a basketball team and a work crew. Tom hopes to do all the halftime unicycle shows (2 per day) with the basketball team if his bicycle ambitions keep paying off! Karen plans on spending time at the camp with Ruth.
We love our new home in Edmond, OK! Thanks for praying for our smooth transition and for all the other details involved in our move. We are very grateful for the sale of our home in Big Canoe with the closing the first of August.
Your bike riding missionary,
Tom and Karen Randall
Ben Crenshaw is often referred to as "the best putter ever in golf" and is in the Golf Hall of Fame. He won two green jackets from Augusta for his Masterís Championships. And he will always be the main character in the dramatic come-from-behind victory at Brookline for the Ryder Cup Championship by the Americans led by Tiger Woods, Justin Leonard, and the late Payne Stewart. Ben was the Ryder Cup Captain and is a great leader of men. He is close friends with President George W. Bush and is the one who introduced us to the President and Mrs. Bush last September.
But my favorite thing about Ben Crenshaw is that at every Friday Fellowship, in every city we meet, he sits in the front to my left as I lead the players and wivesí Bible study. And when the tour recently visited Benís hometown of Austin, Texas, he and his wife, Julie, wanted to host the Friday Fellowship in their home. They had a catered dinner for 85 served around their pool!
Bruce Lietzke is also a famous golfer, well-known for winning lots of money and golf tournaments but playing in fewer and practicing less than everyone else. To prove this point the players once put bananas inside the head covers of Bruceís clubs after a tournament. Three weeks later when Bruce finally arrived to play in his next event the players quizzed him about his practice while at home. He admitted to fishing and coaching his kidsí sports teams and was sure he worked on his gameÖ.. But when the players grabbed the head covers off the clubs there were the rotten bananas right where they had been left three weeks earlier!
When Bruce and Rose Lietzke made a commitment to follow Christ they asked me to also baptize them. Facilities for baptism are very scarce in the various hotel banquet rooms we use from city to city! So, Ben offered to heat up his swimming pool in Austin so we could baptize Bruce and Rose, have the Fellowship and dinner all in one great evening!
Bruce and a number of players drew late tee-times that Friday but took extra clothes with them to the course so they could quickly shower and dress after finishing their 18 holes of competition. Everyone arrived in time for this important evening.
After explaining the meaning of baptism I took Rose and Bruce into the pool and dunked them! As we stood in the pool Bruce then gave a beautiful testimony of his personal relationship with Christ and how making Jesus the priority in his life has changed him.
The best part for me was watching the amazed and fascinated looks on the faces of Bruceís fellow players, their wives, and his family. As I caught the eyes of another famous couple listening intently to Bruceís testimony from the water of their pool, I thought what a wonderful setting after all for a baptism. The excitement was probably similar to that great day in the Jordan River a couple thousand years ago. I have done many baptisms in pools, rivers, ponds, and in the ocean and it is not so much the outside venue as the inward change that thrills me so much.
Thanks for praying,
Tom and Karen Randall
"Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Mathew 28:18-20
PS Tom and I are loving our new home here in Edmond, OK. We are closer to the airport, have enough flat areas around us to ride our bikes, and the shops are much handier. Please donít forget to update your address book with our information! Karen
Tom and Karen Randall
"It is good for people to eat well, drink, and enjoy their work Ė whatever they do under the sun Ė for however long God lets them live. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and enjoy your lot in life Ė this is indeed a gift from God. People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past for God has given them reasons for joy."Ecclesiastes 5:18
Stretching A Great 50th Celebration!
Karenís 50th surprise birthday party for me was represented by the hundreds of cards and notes from all over the world piled on our living room carpet. Thank you! It took me three days with pauses to laugh, reminisce, cry, and rejoice over all the relationships, personalities, and languages represented on that floor!
As most of you know I enjoy the Filipino tradition of celebrating birthdays over weeks rather than a single day. So I parasailed in the Atlantic, then soon after, body surfed in the Pacific. On the flight across the country I sat next to a business man who drank too much and was depressed. I let him join my 50th birthday celebration with a cup of coffee and the story of the rich man and Jesus in Luke 18. He asked me to pray with him to accept Christ into his heart and after landing checked into a rehabilitation clinic for five weeks. My birthday was really gaining momentum!
I was given four seats on the floor to the NBA LA Clippers/Mavericks game and celebrated by taking three good friends who all played basketball as well. But it was most considerate of famous golfer, David Duval, to ask me to perform his wedding the week of my birthday. This guaranteed that many celebrities could also participate in my continuing 50th party! With the band playing and the dance floor full at the reception, the groomís father, (Bob Duval attends my Friday Fellowship on the Champions Tour) produced a unicycle. To celebrate Davidís wedding (and of course, my 50th birthday) I rode his new stepson on my shoulders to the beat of the Village Peopleís "Y.M.C.A."
Well within the two week celebration window I flew to the land of birthday parties, the Philippines! Pastors, missionaries, friends, and all the kids and staff from the orphanage arrived at our ministry camp (Rizal Re-Creation Camp) for my 50th birthday. The vans arrived from the orphanage, the doors flew open, and there were children everywhere! We played basketball, beach volleyball, soccer, and tried the ropes challenge course. Frisbee golf, horseback riding, and "coconut" croquet provided more fun leading up to my friend and partner, Joe Mauk, un-caging and feeding the pythons!
Completely exhausted I sat in my chair watching the kids scream and laugh with joy then periodically coming to rest in my lap. After lunch we all headed down to the spring-fed pool and the 50 foot water slide for four more hours of laughing, screaming, swimming, and non-stop water sliding! My attempt to climb and slide 50 times into the pool was overcome by jetlag, fatigue, and age. Instead I happily say by the pool and told stories while watching the kids having fun with pure joy shining from their faces.
As my two week celebration comes to an end I think God for the privilege of serving Him and your generosity that makes it possible.
Your 50 year old missionary,
Tom and I have recently made the move to Edmond, Oklahoma. Weíll give you more of that story soon but for now please note our address change. Donations to World Harvest Ministries should continue to be sent to 9950 N. River Rd., Freeland, MI, 48623.
Tom and Karen Randall
The Big 50 - February 26
I admit there is something unusual about a 50 year old man who still enjoys riding a unicycle with someone on his shoulders and juggling basketballs. Sliding down the water slide at Big Canoe standing up is exciting but getting chastised by the 15 year old lifeguard isnít. I still enjoy playing Kick-the-Can at the orphanage until dark, spinning the ball for the kids, three hour Scrabble matches, or competitions on the practice greens during PGA Tour events with the players.
I suppose I must recognize that I have always had a competitive urge that is disproportionately large. I remember being in the lead of a cross country race in high school smiling and yelling at my mom, "Iím going to win!" because I couldnít contain the joy and satisfaction I felt in competition. I still feel the greatest loss after my hip replacement is the simple pleasure of running because it is such a vital ingredient to so many types of sports and competitions I love to do.
You know the joy I felt for twenty years going from village to village playing basketball two games a day and serving the Lord at the same time! Bringing the soccer ball out to ease tensions between Cambodians and Vietnamese at the Orani Refugee Camp in the Philippines in 1979 and watching competition and the love of Christ do in hours what politicians and governments could not do in centuries has been a favorite memory. On my 50th birthday I still recognize that God gave me this competitive urge and love for sport to serve Him and win as many to Christ as I can.
"They do it for a crown that will not last;
but we do it for a crown that will last forever." I Corinthians 9:25
The Rev. Joe Mauk is 50, is happily married, has five daughters, a seminary degree, founded a Bible school, directed an international mission, managed a resort, has a very high IQ, plays the trumpet, reads Greek, and is the best top spinner in the world. He has the only Saint Bernard (could feed a village) in the Philippines, a temperamental 20 year old pet monkey, and several large pythons. He also loves sports and competition and using them to win as many to Christ as possible.
For over 20 years Joe and I have enjoyed using sports and recreation to reach Filipinos for Christ. We also took our SCUBA certification training and dives as a team (he kicked my mask off at 60 ft.), taught each other how to slalom ski (busted eardrum and flipped the boat), hunted a deadly cobra (donít ask), and did fireworks displays (nearly took out the snack shack!). We like to go on runs, swim across the lake, play Frisbee golf, Coconut Croquet, Ping Pong, pool, and have water or dart pistol fights. And most of all we like to attract others using sports, competition, or recreation to hear the Gospel of our precious Savior.
Because of our friendship and desire to win others to Christ we invested in Rizal Re-Creation Camp and opened it last March. We are trying to provide every activity possible (after trying it first ourselves, of course) to be enjoyed along with the Good News that changes lives. And every month more people are coming to the camp to vacation, retreat, or have conferences. They do the ropes course, play beach volleyball, play basketball, go down the water slide, and a dozen other activities. And more and more are coming to know Christ.
Thank you for your prayers and support making it possible for a 50 year old to have so much fun in the service of the King of Kings!
Tom and Karen Randall
"I press on toward the goal to win the prize
for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14
PS We are building a climbing wall next on the property so picture this 50 year old with a titanium hip, reconstructed elbow and a crooked right leg crawling up to ring the bell at the top!!
Tom is turning 50 on February 26! So many of our special friends, like you, live all over the world so a party is a logistical challenge! But I would love for you to be a part of his special day by "showering" Tom with your greetings. Send him a card or an
e-mail to let him know you were thinking of him! Send them to our home address (10404 Big Canoe, Big Canoe, Georgia, 30143, USA) or to our e-mail at Tkrandall@aol.com. Iíll save them for him until the big day! Letís keep this our secret! Love, Karen
Dear Family and Friends,
Tom and I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We have had a wonderful year and pray that you have had one also. We have had the chance to see many of you this year and have done some new and fun things. Tom doesnít have a chance to include everything in our regular newsletter so I thought I would give you a few highlights.
January Tom made a quick trip to the Philippines to check on things at the Sankey Samaritan Home and then flew home to Atlanta by way of Chicago. Tom was inducted into Judson Collegeís Hall of Fame! This was the first group to be inducted and quite an honor. We enjoyed seeing old college friends and catching up!
February Tom was only home a day before he headed down to Miami for the first tournament of the year. He still is holding a fellowship gathering every Friday evening and loving it. This year was our fourth year and we have seen such great things happening. The new members of Godís family and new friends we have made have made it all worth it. I joined Tom in Naples for the tournament there and the one in Tampa. Then as a wonderful treat Tom and I both flew to the Philippines. I hadnít been back in five years, had never seen the orphanage or met any of the children. It turned out to be a wonderful time for me to see with my own eyes what the Lord has done for these precious children. The first day we were there our friends threw Tom a special 49th birthday party. They had invited 350 of Tomís closest friends! There was a basketball game in which Tom played switching sides at half time, Joe Maukís spinning tops presentation, Tomís unicycle show, special songs and dances by the children, and a wonderful meal of Filipino treats. A special treat for me was another week to stay with my good friend, Ruth Mauk, and help her figure out plans for a kitchen in their new house at the camp in Rizal, Philippines. People wondered how Tom could leave me there for a week on my own but I had a great time!
March I joined Tom in time to attend the Fellowship in Valencia, CA. He finished out March with a tournament in Newport Beach, CA.
April April took us to Florida for a tournament in Pensacola. The tournament the next week was in Savannah, GA. We met long time friends, Mike and Jan Schier, there and had a great time exploring old Savannah and watching some good golf even if it was in the rain! Jan had her first chance to try grits. I donít think that will happen again!
May This monthís tournaments took us to Birmingham, AL, Austin, TX, Kansas City, MO, Columbus, GA, and Nashville, TN. Yes, all over the place. But the nicest treat was a visit from Steve OíBrien. He met Tom in Kansas City and traveled with us for the next several weeks. Steve is from Australia but has been living in the Philippines for the last 11 years working with Tom. He decided that the Lord was calling him back "Down Under" but we decided a farewell tour of the USA was in order. I made him go with us to the Grand Olí Opry in Nashville to sample some real American music. He ended up being a fan of Montgomery Gentry!
June A nice treat this month was a visit from Liz Mauk, daughter of Joe and Ruth Mauk in the Philippines. Liz is a nurse working in CT and we think of her as one of our own. We had a great time shopping and doing fun things while Tom made a quick trip to Philadelphia for the Sr. PGA Championship. We had Steve drive our car to Grand Rapids, MI so he could take in some sights along the way while Tom and I took the easy way and flew there! We said goodbye to Steve in Michigan and we went on to Toledo for the US Sr. Open.
July You might remember that last year Kathy Randall, Tomís sister, went to be with the Lord. Her son, Mike, joined the Army reserves and Tomís oldest brother and his wife, John and Cyndi, threw him a big going away party at their home in Michigan. It was a fun time and so encouraging seeing how Mike has grown in this year. We just had one tournament this month but it was a major in Dearborn, MI. One of the highlights of Tomís year was meeting hockey great, Gordie Howe in Dearborn. But the best was a phone call from Tiger Hall of FamerAl Kaline asking if Tom would like to play a round of golf with him! They played 18 holes at the famous Oakland Hills Country Club along with Frank Tanana. Tom remembers jumping the fence at Oakland Hills to watch tournaments there and now he was playing it with a childhood hero! The next week we flew home to pack for our cruise to Alaska! We spent a week on a ship cruising the Inward Passage of Alaska seeing eagles, salmon running, beautiful mountains and glaciers. We went with Gil and Jeanine Morgan (who generously paid our way!) and had a most amazing time.
August This month took Tom to Boston, Minneapolis, W. Des Moines, IA, and Portland, OR for tournaments. In Boston Tom was able to kneel right on the driving range with a pro golfer and lead him into the kingdom! And he was even able to fit in a cross country trip to San Francisco. My youngest brother, Don, was married on Aug. 3 in the penthouse suite of the Fairmont Hotel downtown San Francisco atop Nob Hill. He and Diane Mailey were married there with 60 friends and family members as witnesses. Tom performed the ceremony which was really lovely. The view was amazing and the whole evening was one to treasure. My parents and my other brother and his whole family (Alan and Michele) got in several days of sightseeing and nice family times.
September The biggest event of this month was our visit to The White House for dinner with The President and Mrs. Bush. We happened to be there the evening of Sept. 11 and were able to hear how The President and Mrs. Bush had visited soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital that day comforting them and their families. Iíll never forget holding hands with the President while Tom prayed for our meal. What an experience! Tom wrote all about this evening in our Oct. newsletter so I wonít go on here. But it is one dinner we will talk about for a long time. Tom also went to the tournament in Cincinnati and then two in North Carolina where I was able to join him.
October Tom found himself back in California this month to do a Menís Retreat for Westgate Bible Church in San Jose. At lunch on the final day Tom looked around the room trying to decide where to sit. He found his spot and the man next to him groaned. He knew he had to ask Tom something if he had a chance but wasnít sure he wanted to do it. He turned to Tom and asked, "How do I become a Christian?" Tom was able to pray with him right there that day! He had been raised Jewish but now was a Christian and was baptized a few weeks later. Tom also flew to San Antonio for the fellowship before returning to CA to be at the final tournament in Sonoma. What a great year! After preaching in Redding he left for the Philippines to attend a board meeting of the orphanage and to give Pastor Joe Coffey and Jim Sankey (who the orphanage is named after) a personal tour of the work there. Then Tom flew on to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to visit Stewart and Meng Ginn. While I was in California to attend the final tournament I got a call that my dad had been admitted to the hospital with some heart problems. I flew home to Michigan and dad ended up having angioplasty and three stents put in. Weíre grateful that he is doing much better!
November Tom returned to California to preach several services at Santa Cruz Bible Church even though he had picked up something in the Philippines that left him feeling pretty ill. God supplied the energy to share at the church though. Expert care by Jerry and Arlene Hitchman really did the trickÖ again! Thanksgiving I flew back to Michigan to see family while Tom hung out at home enjoying the quiet.
December Tom traveled to Long Island, NY to share at Stony Brook Schoolís chapel and in the classrooms. Karen ended up at a ladies slumber party where she shared her testimony. We look forward to Christmas and a time of remembering just all that God has done this year. We pray that you will stop, too, and thank the Lord for life, for freedom, for health, and for your happiness. We love all of you and recognize what a huge part you play in all that we do. Thank you again for your prayers and your support. We cherish the friendships and the great memories. And the new memories to come!
Love, Karen and Tom
Guess Who Went To Dinner?
President George W. Bush leaned over the dinner table and asked me to pray! As the President took Karenís hand who was seated at his right and the First Lady took my hand I prayed for the leader of the free world, the three other couples seated at the table, our country, and finally, blessed the meal before us. It was September 11, 2003 in the private residence in The White House on Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington D.C. and it was not a dream!
When I called Karen to inform her I was taking her to meet and have dinner with the President and First Lady at The White House she predictably yelled, "What will I wear?" For the week leading up to this exciting evening with the President we talked, prayed, and prepared ourselves to meet Americaís first couple. We dressed in new clothes and worked our way through security gates and guards to finally enter by the South Lawn into the private residence upstairs of The White House where the President and the First Lady met us.
We sat for thirty minutes before dinner talking about politics, the Philippines, sports, and our faith. For days I had read Proverbs and selected Scripture hoping for the opportunity to represent thousands of other Christians in America and encourage our President spiritually. Karen glowed with pleasure and I felt relaxed and at home visiting and sharing before, during, and after dinner.
After dinner when the President offered to show us the Oval Office and the First Lady offered to show us the residence we both just grinned with delight. Mrs. Bush took Karen from room to room explaining the history of each room, the art, the decorating, and casually pointed out the Lincoln Bedroom, the Queenís Bedroom and the reception living room where the Dalai Lama had recently been received.
In the Oval Office I wandered over to a painting of a hymn ("A Charge to Keep I Have") with the scripture and verses written out below it near the Presidentís desk. He followed me and explained what it meant to him. I looked at the President and reminded him of a quote of his fatherís, the 41st President; "I think a man has to have a strong faith in God to be President of the United States." The 43rd President then looked at me and said, "I believe that sincerely as well, Tom."
Earlier in the day he and Mrs. Bush had visited Walter Reed Hospital after an early prayer breakfast, meetings, and a press conference. He was giving the wounded soldiers from the war in Iraq their Purple Hearts. He told us about a young man who had risked his life in battle and when the President asked where he was from he replied that he was from Micronesia. He then asked the young soldier how long he had been a US citizen. "Iím not," was the young manís reply. "You are now," the President said. By Presidential decree he gave the young soldier his US citizenship to thank him for his sacrifice.
In just over two hours of personal time with the President I enjoyed learning about his personality, compassion, character, and the tremendous respect he has for the office, this country, and the people he serves. It also gave me new perspective on how much I look forward to getting to meet and be in the presence of Jesus. How I need to prepare with excitement and care towards that great day! I enjoyed being in the presence of the First Couple. Imagine being in the presence of the King of Kings! Because of Jesus we can be citizens of heaven.
Ben Crenshaw, Hall of Fame golfer, is a longtime friend of the President. He is now playing on the Champions Tour and for the last year has been attending the Friday evening Bible study I lead. We have become good friends. He is the one that arranged for us to share this incredible evening along with he and his wife. Later that night after he had dropped us at our hotel Karen sat on the bed and cried. She was thankful for another great blessing from our precious King of Kings.
Thanks for your support that puts us in the position to have these great moments in ministry. We represented the Lord and you the best we could.
Your joyful missionaries,
Tom and Karen Randall
"Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us,
He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope."
PS For even more details send us an e-mail at Tkrandall@aol.com!
"I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises. Come, let us tell of the Lordís greatness; let us exalt His name together."
Recently Karen and I held my 49th birthday party in the Philippines with 250 of our closest friends! Filipino, Australian, Canadian, American and Chinese missionaries and friends traveled to Lucena City to a large church with a larger basketball stadium we built three years ago for ministry.
Our kids from the orphanage did several dance and singing numbers in handmade costumes to begin the festivities. We then had a basketball game with old teammates and opponents with families and fans enjoying from the bleachers. They provided me with two uniforms with my name so I played the first half with old teammates then joined old opponents for the second half! At halftime the old unicycles came out and I did the whole routine with Toto assisting and Steve OíBrien catching me off the giant unicycle. (Karen was persuaded to allow me to ride the tall unicycle). It was the first time I played basketball (and last!) with my new titanium hip replacement but my awkward movements and limitations only caused more laughter and affectionate joking from the guests.
During the feast of chicken, rice and a beautiful cake afterwards people came to greet Karen and me to get a blessing and share testimonies and stories of Godís hand in their lives and ministries. Jesus would have been so at home at this party!
Pastor Felix Bayani suddenly stood before Karen and me to tell his testimony and story. We met 18 years ago when Felix came to a basketball game and provided soft drinks he couldnít afford for my team after seeing and listening to the half time show. Touched by his generosity I became involved in Pastor Felixís desire to win unreached people groups and to plant churches in the islands, mountains, and far provinces. Felix and Babes had nine children, no steady income, and a clear leading to reach the island of Ambel and its fisherman almost four hours off the main island of Luzon. After winning 35 to Christ on Ambel we decided to build them a church for worship and small living quarters for a pastor. We hustled to get cement, galvanized sheets, nails, and tools across the rough seas. We made the bricks by hand, boiled water to drink, and ate shark, turtles, seaweed, and coconuts for four weeks.
Several years later Babes became sick and unable to pay for the hospital or treatment Felix called me in Manila for help. I instructed him to come to my doctor in Manila who was able to save Babes from her illness. During the treatments the doctor realized Babes was also pregnant. Can you imagine what you would be feeling after nine kids, a deathly illness, and already poor as dirt to learn that you are pregnant again? Then those shocking words came nextÖ twins!
Now at my 49th birthday party here were Felix and Babes who had traveled two days to present their eight year old twins for their godfatherís blessing and to tell their story again. As Karen and I marveled at these boys I realized we didnít know their names. With a huge smile from Felix and Babes they proudly presented their identical twinsÖ Tom and Thomas!
Tom and Karen Randall
"A friend is always loyal and a brother is born to help in time of need."
At 6í4" and 245 pounds on a dirt court going full
speed for the fast break lay up I watched with
interest to see how Steve would stop after the lay
up was made. His momentum carried him head
and shoulder first into one of the small squatterís
homes surrounding the court and shook the place
off its foundation! I laughed along with all the
villagers watching the exhibition basketball
game amazed that both the house and Steve
survived the collision.
Steve OíBrien is from Melbourne, Australia and has
been one of my missionaries for 13 years. One of
his many basketball trips with my team was to
Zamboanga where he was caught in an ambush
between Muslim rebels led by Rizal Ali and the
Philippine military. With gunfire and explosionsSteve OíBrien
going off all around him he took refuge in a hotel
until the battle was over. It was front page news in Australia. The next day upset parents and leaders called me for an explanation and demanded quick action to get their boys to safety!
The day after Steve first arrived in the Philippines to work with Karen and me as one of our missionaries I sent him on an assignment to the province on the island of Catanduanes with only a few pesos and some instructions to tell people he was sent by Tom Randall. He needed to find food and lodging along the way, too. He found his way to the island and began the construction of the church there! Later on this same island when drunks with machetes wanted to cut me to pieces Steve stood by my side to protect me.
We have played hundreds of basketball games together and it has always been Steveís job to break my fall and catch me when I jump off the giant unicycle after riding around the court at halftime entertaining the crowds. As I got older doing both the unicycle show and playing basketball got my hips too sore (and eventually would lead to a titanium replacement). Steve would play extra minutes to give me a rest before and sometimes after the juggling and unicycles. Playing two and three games per day for weeks we would travel village to village or town to town and Steve would sleep on any floor or beach God provided for us. He played while sick, sunburned, turned ankles, sore back, and caught me coming off that giant unicycle every time!
One time in Mindanao Steve got the worst rash in history between his legs (jock rot) and would sit facing the electric fan, legs open, just to get some relief and hopefully avoid infection. When fatigue hit me during the third game of the day and several players complained of headaches and muscle tightness and wanted to play fewer minutes, Steve sucked up the pain and insisted on subbing for me to give me a break! We still laugh remembering him waddling up and down the court in an effort not to rub his inner thighs together while running!
Steve would patiently watch while I would make plans and promises to build homes, churches, basketball courts, orphanage buildings, etc. Then I would turn to him and quietly say, "You can build this here, canít you Steve?" He would usually respond, "No problem, mate." Without the latest tools or equipment and with just a team of volunteers he would improvise, get everyone working together and buildings would get finished.
Please pray for Steve as he returns to Australia to serve the Lord and try to fit back in there after living in the Philippines for so many years. He has been a great friend, associate, protector, and missionary for the Lord and for me and I am anxious to see him do well again back in Melbourne. As a retirement gift we are bringing Steve to the USA for five weeks to stay with us, travel and have a wonderful vacation. Please thank the Lord and pray with Karen and me for this special friend and co-worker for Christ.
Tom and Karen Randall
"There are friends who pretend to be friends.
And there are friends who stick closer than a brother."
Iran Brown, the Maryland boy who survived the Washington sniperís bullet in September, has an incredible attitude considering his death scare. When reporters asked the 13 year old what he wanted for Christmas he surprised everyone with his sincere reply, "I have enough right now!"
On Christmas I found myself kayaking down the Belize River in Central America where I saw several crocodiles, a couple dozen howler monkeys, a huge snake, and two magnificent iguanas! After 10 miles and 2.5 hours of paddling, a lot of sweat, and arms aching I sat on the bank and ate rice and beans on a banana leaf. I was so happy and content and I remembered the Maryland boyís reply, "I have enough right now." I not only have enough right now I feel I have experienced more than I could have dreamed and certainly more than I deserved in my life! Karen and I took an evening stargazing excursion on a 100 year old schooner and found the constellations. After snorkeling over the reef in Cozumel, Mexico Karen and I took a motorbike for a ride throughout the city of Cozumel. Three countries in seven days to celebrate our 25th Anniversary on the 900 foot long, 10 story tall Rhapsody of the Seas cruise ship has left us refreshed and ready to tackle 2003!
I will start this year by interviewing a new couple who want to be our missionaries at the orphanage by this spring! I will be making a trip to the Philippines this month and another trip in March. Eric Jones (24) and Josh Nelson (24) are joining me for some missionary exposure and adventure the first trip. And Jim Sankey (of the Sankey Samaritan Orphanage, remember?) will join me for the second trip to the Philippines. Thirty-one Sr. PGA golf tournaments in 30 cities as chaplain from February to October mixed in with unicycle shows, mission conferences, sport camps, and a trip to Australia to finish the year has me saying, "I have enough right now!"
We are excited to start 2003 because of all the opportunities God has laid before us. We are able to take on this yearís challenges because of your generous support, your faithful prayers, and constant encouragement. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to begin year 27 of ministry with anticipation and hope.
Tom and Karen Randall
Dear Friends and Family,
Tom and I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We have had a wonderful year and pray that you have had one also. I know that Tom usually writes the World Harvest Ministries letter but I wanted to let you know some other things we have been up to in 2002!
JanuaryTom made a trip to the Philippines to visit the orphanage and to take part in a building project there with a crew of people from Australia. They worked on the building that is the school for the children.
FebruaryThe Sr. PGA season started with three tournaments in Florida. I joined Tom for one of them so we could celebrate Valentineís Day together. My parents, Peter and Dorothy Derheim, were also in Big Canoe for a week. It happened to be the week of our big snow storm which didnít bother us at all. We stayed in and played Flinch and Sequence all day!
MarchThe tour took us to California for three tournaments and I always like to go to the ones that are near friends or family! I took advantage of this trip to spend a few days with my brother Don and his two boys, Konrad (11) and Evan (81/2) in San Francisco. I got to see Konrad sing in his classí musical production and Evan score a basket in his first basketball game! What a great few days for a proud aunt!
AprilTom put a few miles on this month with a tournament in Florida, a weekend at a church in Minneapolis, a sports retreat he spoke at in Phoenix, and another tournament in Scottsdale.
MayAnother busy month with the tour took us to Birmingham, Al., Princeton and Clifton, NJ and Grand Rapids, MI.
JuneThis monthís tournaments took us from Akron, OH to Nashville to Baltimore. While in Nashville we got to go to the Grand Olí Opry. What fun! We saw quite a few acts and even though we arenít huge country music fans we had a ball. The highlight of the evening was Alan Jackson.
On June 23 Kathy Randall, Tomís younger sister, went home to be with her Lord. She had been fighting cancer for several years and her body was worn out from the fight. We attended a beautiful memorial service in Fowlerville, Michigan where many shared touching and funny stories of Kathy. We miss her very much but are so thankful to know that she is healed and sitting at the feet of Jesus.
On June 25 Tom and I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary. Itís quite hard to believe that so much time has gone by. We are so grateful for the years and for the love God has given us.
JulyThe Derheim kids threw Mom and Dad a 50th Wedding Anniversary party at First Baptist Church in Saginaw, Michigan where they have been members since before they were married. This is the church we all grew up in and Alan and I both had our weddings there. We hosted quite a good crowd and had a great time of remembering family times through a wonderful slide show that brother Don put together complete with funny one-liners!
This month we also enjoyed tournaments in Windsor, Canada, Dearborn, MI, Chicago, and Boston. Mike Randall ( Kathyís 19 year old son) joined Tom in Boston for the week. It was his first plane ride and he took it like a pro!
I drove home from Chicago with my good friend, Jan Schier, from Elgin, IL. We had a ball stopping anywhere we fancied! We ended up in Gatlinburg, TN and spent a full day in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park and another day in a craft fair that just happened to be in town! We took a long walk through the Opryland Hotel in Nashville before I put Jan on a plane back to Chicago.
AugustTournaments this month took Tom from Jericho, NY to Minnesota, to Park City, UT, to Des Moines, IA. I was able to join Tom in Park City, the home of the 2002 Winter Olympics. We were treated to a nice stay in a great condo with Bob and Peggy Gilder (pro golfer and Rookie of the Year last year). One of the activities that week that was offered to the wives of the golfers was horseback riding up through the cannons. Tom and Bob decided that sounded like fun so we all went! Tom thought he was Roy Rogers or something the way he handled his horse, pulling in and out of our line so he could talk to everyone there! The next day the activity was a ride up in a glider. I took the chance to try it and loved it! We were pulled up by a small plane with a tow rope and when we got high enough into the currents we were on our own. It was just the pilot and me and we soared above the mountains for 20 minutes or so before he came in for a perfect landing on the runway. Absolutely incredible!
This month my brother and his family came for a visit to Big Canoe. Alan and Michele and their three boys, Jakob (9 1/2), Luke (6 1/2), and Paul (3) have made this trip a tradition. We spent time at the pool, took a ride on the lake in the pontoon boat, and a new event this year, went horseback riding.
We didnít get in as many activities as we had hoped because Tom had to spend a couple of days at the doctorís. Tom was asked to come back in for a biopsy of the prostrate because a higher than normal PSA count showed up during a physical. We spent an anxious couple of weeks waiting for the news. It was good news and we are just watching things carefully for awhile.
SeptemberTournaments in Cincinnati, Winston-Salem and Raleigh, NC and Hawaii kept us busy and on the road for almost the whole month. Hawaii was special this year because Tom was invited to do the wedding of pro golfer, Fred Gibson and his fiancť, Rusti. They got married on a beach on Maui with the sun setting behind them, two Hawaiian musicians playing music softly on their guitars, and they released a dozen white doves! Beautiful!
Tomís oldest brother, John, officially retired from the Detroit City Fire Department after almost 30 years on the force. He is selling fire engines now and drove a new engine all the way to the Grand Rapids, MI tournament so we could show it off to the golfers!
OctoberWe finished out the year of tournaments with stops in Napa, CA, San Antonio, TX and Oklahoma City, OK. What a great year of ministry opportunities Tom has had. The Friday evening fellowship attendances went from 60 to almost 100 people and more and more are asking the really important questions. Tom has truly become the Sr. PGAís pastor as he found himself counseling at times of a sonís drowning, a heart attack of one of the golfers, a bad car accident that left a caddie with a severely broken leg, family illnesses, cancer scares, surgeries, marriage troubles, baby dedications, and weddings!
Tomís dad, Al Randall, wins a prize for a creative costume at the Sr. Centerís annual Halloween contest in Harland, MI. You wondered where Tom got his sense of fun? Tomís mom just laughs and lets him have his fun. I am trying to learn from her good example!
NovemberWe said a temporary good by to dear friends, Dick and Andrea Helm. Coach Helm was Tomís coach for three years at Judson and we have enjoyed having them just four houses away here in Big Canoe. But Coach answered the call of returning to the NBA as an assistant coach under Lenny Wilkins in Toronto, Canada. Coach and Lenny have previously spent 15 years in the NBA together. They will be there during the next two seasons and then return to Big Canoe. So now we are Raptors fans!
Tom did another wedding this month. Jim Witherspoon, an official that travels with the tour, married his fiancťe, Leigh. They married in a small but beautiful ceremony in Leighís Memphis home in front of the fireplace.
We love being home in our own house and not in a hotel or an airport! We enjoy our Chapel here in Big Canoe and love being a part of a community. A tornado ripped through Big Canoe taking out thousands of trees and doing damage to many houses and to our Chapel. But nobody was hurt and we are grateful for that.
DecemberThis month as we celebrate Jesusí birthday we will be sailing on a cruise ship somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico! We are taking our first ever cruise to celebrate our 25 years of marriage together.
We look forward to another year of serving our Savior and hope that our path crosses yours somewhere! We love each of you and are so grateful for the years of prayer and encouragement you have given us.
May God bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you and give you peace.
Karen and Tom
Don Pooley shocked the golfing world and many fascinated viewers when he won the prestigious Senior U.S. Open in a 5 hole play-off on Sunday television against the famous golf legend, Tom Watson. But itís the rest of the story that will give you spiritual goose bumps and makes Don Pooleyís reign as U.S. Open Champion really awesome!
Don and I met and got acquainted while spending the day body surfing and boogie boarding at the pipeline and North Shore of Oahu. We enjoyed sitting on the beach telling each other how we had come to Christ and prayed for how we could reach more for the Kingdom. He had recently turned 50 and was still new to the Senior PGA Tour but was ready to play in the tournament that week at Turtle Bay on Oahu, Hawaii.
Several weeks later Don had to play in the qualifying tournament for the Senior U.S. Open with 150 other pros. On the last day he was just one shot behind going to the 18th. He was trying for one of just two spots available to compete in the Open. Don birdied the last hole to get in a play-off and then birdied the first play-off hole to qualify for one of those two spots in the Open at Caveís Valley in Baltimore!
At Caveís Valley on Saturday Don shot the lowest round in the history of the Open with a "63" to climb into the lead! No player had ever won coming from a qualifying position in the history of the Open. But Don and Tom Watson fought all day Sunday for the cup before Don finished the most incredible and unlikely journey to the Senior U.S. Open Championship with yet another birdie on the 5th extra hole.
Don Pooley had become the 2002 Senior U.S. Open Champion and wanted to use it to share his faith in Christ! He comes to every Friday Fellowship, comes with me to speak when asked, makes calls to encourage others when needed, and is a great friend in Christ.
Not long after the Open his wife, Margaret, and daughter, Lynn, ran into me at the first tee at the Minnesota event. I congratulated Lynn on her graduation from college and inquired what she was going to do next. She was unsure but was interested in social work of some kind and the Lord nudged my spirit. I had been praying that very morning for a missionary for the orphanage in the Philippines so I threw it out to Lynn as a possible option to think about. When her eyes lit up and she showed immediate interest I knew the Holy Spirit was working.
In just a couple of weeks Lynn Pooley was on a plane to the Philippines to join my staff at the orphanage. Don and Margaret later shared with me that Lynn had dreamed of running an orphanage since she was a little girl!
She has become a valued addition at the orphanage and having a wonderful adventure with the Lord! The Sr. PGA Friday Fellowship considers her their missionary and prays each week for her.
I marvel at Godís imagination and the wonderful way He develops a story on the small steps of prayer and the faith of two men body surfing and joined in purpose to serve Jesus!
Thanks for making all these dreams and interaction with people possible with your prayers and support. The Lord is great and active so stay tuned for more displays of His imagination at work!
Tom and Karen Randall
Martin and Gracia Burnham were kidnapped on their 18th wedding anniversary at a small resort on the Philippine island of Palawan on May 27, 2001. The Muslim terrorist group Abu Sayyaf which has support from al Qaeda and other Middle East Muslims were the abductors. They wanted millions of dollars of ransom for the 22 hostages including Martin and Gracia.
Martin was a fine husband, father and missionary pilot. He could fly and land his small plane on roads, beaches, or grass runways between coconut trees if needed. He served the Lord faithfully and now he and Gracia would face a marathon of terror and captivity in the hands of Muslim terrorists. The terrorists led by Abu Sabaya began to behead some of the hostages including an American tourist also visiting the resort that fateful night.
As ransoms were arranged hostages were released but Martin and Gracia remained as well as new hostages that were abducted as they traveled and hid in the jungles of Basilan Island. Martin and Graciaís three children were flown back to Kansas to wait and pray for their parents release with relatives. We all prayed every day and watched CNN and the BBC for the small bits of information broadcast sporadically over the following 12 months. September 11 drove the horror of terrorism home to America and the large cell in the Philippines was no longer a secret to anyone.
Martin was tied to a tree every night and he always thanked his guards and said goodnight to them. He told stories, shared scriptures, cracked humor, and encouraged the hostages daily. As time passed the terrorists quit mocking Martinís faith and began to respect him more each day. The Burnhamís passed the time praying for and naming all the Christians they knew and thanked God for all of us they knew were praying for them.
The last month it was only Martin, Gracia, and Filipina nurse, Deborah Yap, held by the Abu Sayyaf group. Martin and Gracia would celebrate their 19th anniversary still waiting for the military to rescue them.
On June 7, 2002 over a year since they were kidnapped Martin and Gracia prayed and hung up their hammock to take a nap. A short time later they were awakened by the gunfire of attacking Philippine Rangers and caught in the crossfire. Martin would find his freedom in the arms of his Savior. He was shot and killed trying to shield and protect Gracia who was shot in the upper leg. Deborah Yap was also killed in the crossfire and it was finally over.
Gracia is home now with her children trying to begin the new chapter of serving the Lord without Martin. Please pray for our friends and fellow missionaries, the Burnhamís, as they reflect Godís glory in the pain and tragedy they endured at the hands of the Abu Sayyaf and the future they face because of their traumatic experience.
Please lift the Burnham family in prayer as you have for us for so many years. Karen and I were again reminded of the many experiences we faced in the Philippines but were allowed to still be together afterwards. Martin will continue to be an inspiration to me as I travel to the Philippines and serve with my fellow missionaries. His testimony, courage, and example are of a heroic character and a model for us to be reminded of while we serve the King of Kings. Graciaís poise, strength, and grace at the memorial service was a picture of Godís grace and her close walk with Him.
Abu Sabaya and some of his men were found and killed a week later nearby on the Philippine Sea still fighting with the Philippine military. New Tribes Mission continues to share the Gospel in the Philippines with other missions led to follow the great commission Martin died pursuing. World Harvest Ministries is one of them and we thank you for sending us.
Tom and Karen Randall