God Stories for this Season!
When Roy first came to us he was a true orphan with no known family. When he was old enough he accompanied me with some of our other boys on basketball ministry trips to different islands in the Philippines. He played basketball, did laundry, carried equipment, rode his own unicycle at halftime shows, and shared Christ with the fans. When age and two artificial hips forced me off the giant unicycle Roy took over that part of the show. He loves entertaining the crowds from the top of the giant unicycle! He has won talent shows and even rides small children on his shoulders (on the small unicycle) like his dad! This past Christmas, because of God’s goodness and some incredible circumstances, Roy found out he had a sister! She is married with three small children and he is an overjoyed uncle! This joyous and tearful reunion was one of God’s most precious gifts imaginable to Roy and us and his newly discovered family! (Picture is of Roy and two of his nieces).
Gary and Janet Friesen shared a house with us in the Philippines for 12 years. We experienced typhoons, coup d’état, a revolution, water shortages, and several robberies of our house. Gary and I played basketball for Christ many times including the first team to China after the death of Mao Tso Tung. Now Gary has invented and developed a unique and effective missionary tool called the Smart Box. It is a self-contained portable school of 20 computers which run on batteries and can provide the opportunity to teach children and adults however far they live from a town or school or access to education! As you read this letter Karen and I are delivering the first two Smart Box units to the Philippines! We anticipate many being reached for Christ as well as getting an education using this ingenious idea and soon, we hope to bring many more Smart Boxes to the Philippines!! You know my favorite verse… “all things to all men…” Being home in the Philippines with all our kids and friends reminds us of how God keeps blessing the efforts and sacrifices of previous years of ministry.
Tinalyn was always one of our hardest working, focused, and disciplined students and excelled in determination to become a wonderful school teacher. Now she, like Roy, has discovered family she did not know about! She had many new family members at her college graduation cheering her on! We thank God for these surprise stories of unlikely reunions of our kids with family 20 years later. (Picture is of Tina and a special friend).
Before leaving for the Philippines I was in Poland visiting my coach, mentor and friend of 48 years, Dick Helm. He was there representing World Harvest Ministries teaching basketball skills and sharing his faith when he had a stroke. At 85 years old, Coach still burns with the desire to share Christ and partner with us for the Kingdom of God. He has made a full recovery! Answered prayer! (Picture is of Tom and Coach in Belarus last year).
Being back in the Philippines and eating, laughing, singing and telling stories together with our kids and friends is a time of thanksgiving and celebration. Our kids are getting married, having their own children, and starting careers. I am holding a grandson named Shaun Thomas from new mother, Mary Ann. Our family is growing and for not having produced children of our own our tribe is getting bigger! (Picture is of Mary Ann and Eric and their wedding day).
I am reminded of Genesis 41:51-52 where Joseph said, “God has made me forget my hardship…God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
Thank you for praying for us and our precious tribe!
Tom and Karen Randall
Roy and two of his nieces
Tom and one of the Smart Boxes
Tom and Coach Helm
Tina and a special friend
Mary Ann and Eric)