Monday, February 11, 2013



                                     Posted by Vic and Patti Labutes on Feb 7th, 2013
Twenty years ago Patti's husband, Rick Tenenoff was taken captive on January 31, 1993.

 My first husband, Rick Tenenoff and our co-workers Mark Rich and Dave Mankins were kidnapped and never seen by us again. There was sporadic contact with the guerilla rebels the first year and many efforts to obtain their release over the ensuing 8 years. However, these efforts were unsuccessful and their memorial service was in October, 2001.
Many have asked me, ‘How is the Kuna Church doing these days?’ In answer to that I think of I Corinthians 3:6. We missionaries planted the seed of God’s provision of eternal salvation through the death, burial and resurrection of His son Jesus. After the kidnapping, some Kuna believers took on the task of watering the seeds in the fertile Kuna soil. A Kuna couple from a different village moved to Pucuro and continued teaching the Word. It hasn’t been an easy time, but it has been profitable in that there are many Kuna now trusting in the finished work of Christ.

Today, 20 years later there are many Kuna believers trusting in the finished work of Christ.
The complete Kuna Bible will be revised and printed in the near future. Kuna Literacy classes are on the rise. Things are happening! It is so exciting to hear of the maturing Kuna church not only in Pucuro, but on the coastline and along the Panama/Colombia border. Again, God is faithful!
Please pray for the upcoming Kuna literacy classes.
Please pray for the translation team as they fine tune the final draft of the Kuna Bible.
Please pray for Vic and me as we serve and teach at the Missionary Training Center.
Thank you for your prayers for us and the Kuna church!
Patti (and Vic too)
*For a book about the kidnapping of Rick Tenenoff, Mark Rich and Dave Mankins see: Hostage
**For a testimony from one of the hostage-takers who became a believer, see this post from Mark Rich’s parents: Forgiven
***For more updates about the Kuna people see: Kuna People Group Mission News
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  1. Not sure why someone would struggle with this testimony Betty. It is a tribute to the goodness of God in the continuation of the work. I go to I Cor.3:8: "I planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow." We are not told how long until the harvest comes, only that we are to plant or water. I can only marvel at God's grace in all of this. Thanks for posting this. I love reading about God's faithfulness.

  2. Sometime I am overwhelmed at some people comments and others...they leave me wondering, what did I say to bring this response about. Won't even try to control others response...Thanks Bill, glad it encouraged you.

  3. Betty, I remember the five missionaries who were killed in Ecuador back in the fifties. So many of that tribe have come to know Christ as Savior since then. It took God's love for the families to forgive and to continue the work there, but the harvest has been amazing. Nate Saint's son, Steve, lives here in Ocala, FL. His take on the tragedy is that it is part of God's story, and we can't judge the stories of our lives because they are not yet finished. Thanks for this post.

  4. Some struggle when they hear a story like this, because of a soft heart, or perhaps they have never endured hardship in any form and they have a faint heart.

    Missionaries who go forth to publish the godpel on the page or in the hearts of people are worthy of support. The church where I grew up was a missionary church, and each year we made pledges how much we would give for missionary support. As we married, we selected our special missionaries, and organizations some local and some abroad and still give monthly toward their support. You might consider a contribute button on your blog. Some with faint heart might like to give.

  5. Thank you Rehoboth for visiting my site. Your comment tells me you know how to look at the bigger picture of a situation. One I might add is how well those women are in light of all they have been through. Our mission ask us to man Gracia Burnham book table at several speaking engagements being held close to our home base. So we heard her speak four times, each time the Spirit of God was so evident as she spoke. Each one of them I talked about would tell you, there is nothing special in them except Christ. Sometimes there is great pain for the seeds to burst forth. Forgiveness speaks volumns to even the lost. Blessings my sister.

  6. Hazel, you are such an encourager to my missionary heart. Your understanding of giving, our talents, our money, our gifts is a blessing. We too came out of church where missionaries were always before us so we could see what God was doing all over the world. That only made us want to win souls more where God has planted at that time. Never in a million years would I have thought God would send us over seas...we told our pastor you preached us out of this church by keeping the needs before us of those lost with out a chance to hear unless someone goes. We have never regretted our years over seas and count it a privilige to continue to serve Him with New Tribes here in the states. Oh by the way, I like your take on why someone would struggle with this post. Blessings my sister.

  7. I believe this is a true testimony of faith - in a Sovereign God. He does the leading - you do the following.
    Blessings for you and your mission as you continue to work for Him.
    Linking in from Playdates.

  8. Prayed as I read...Thank you, Betty :)

  9. Janis, thanks for stopping by my site. Blessings to you also.

  10. Dolly, I seem to do that a lot lately. Easier not to forget. God bless you also.

  11. I think it makes any reader with the heart of God question if we're doing enough. My life is marked by excess. Their lives are marked by sacrifice and compassion. Surely they are closer to the heart of our Father.
    I'm praying for them and I appreciate you sharing the news of heroes the world won't get to know until we reach home...

  12. Some questioning is good for us but not the comparing that causes it. Comparing is more dangerours then a tribal location.
    Also I know missionaries who live in excess also, you see, we may be a strange lot but thats all...we struggle with the same things as anyone does. When I find myself sliding off into thoughts such as this, I don't have anything, or so and so need to do goodness the enemy of my soul has caught me, wrapped me up in When we were dorm parents in Bolivia we ask a vetern missionary to come speak to the teens. He did a great job until he begin to tell these young people they were "special" because they were MK. First of all the teen were only on the mission field because their parents brought them to it. If an Mk goes home thinking they are special it won't be long they are very discouraged. It is Him that is special and just wants to use all us Christians to spread the gospel. There are layers of guilt and especially pride that will render anyone non-affective. Now it has taken me a while to get to where I am now in my thinking. God gives each of us "special things" to do here on earth. Some of the most Godliest people I know are part of our team here in the states. Every time I am around them I am so humbled by their acts of faith.
    One more thought...I do think most of us have too much stuff. Walking around neighborhood I can often view people open garages, stuff full of stuff. And it's all I can do not to speak to them about it. Come on, rid yourself of the stuff that keeps you stuffed full of yourself. Then the battle begins in my heart...pride makes me judgemental...worry makes me jeleous and the list goes on.
    I so appreciate your honest thinking just read all it produced. But then again your comments usually do that. Thanks for being open.

  13. Thank you for sharing your heart at "Tell Me a Story."

  14. May we never be guilty of forgetting the blood that is being shed for His blood. Thank you. My prayers are with my brothers and sisters.

    Blessings, Debbie

  15. Debbie, very good point, the blood being shed for His blood...thanks for the prayers.

  16. I love what Rehoboth says about these difficult stories being part of God's story. Bless all these people and others like them who sacrifice so much to share the Gospel. Thank you for sharing this story by linking it up with Playdates with God this week.

  17. Betty-
    Reading this true account of the ultimate sacrifice made by so many who chose to go "Spread the Word" and paid such a heavy PRICE-it touches me and takes me away from my own world of Physical Pain as I realize suffering comes in so many ways to God's children.

    What a journey you and Ace have been on and yet God is still using
    your deep LOVE for HIM-maybe not in a place so far from the comforts of Home-but my friend, never doubt your words of love and support as you blog, or drop words on Facebook-you are still serving the Lord.

    Its my honor to love you. How could anybody read this story and NOT be moved!!

    God bless you dear Betty. Your love helps me bear up to the Pain I live with. Thank you for sharing this and I am deeply moved by this.

    love, martha

  18. You definitely poured into my heart. I have studied so much about missions for the past 40-ish years, in a variety of places. Read a number of books. And the Lord has moved me forward a number of times through the missions events ... I've so often said that when I was 11 years old it was the news in the paper that told about the Jim Elliot and others in Ecuador who had been killed. Even though I had NO connection with the Lord in those days, what I thought of then was that I wanted to grow and be a nurse and go to the Amazon area and help people. The insanity? I could NEVER have been a nurse and the snakes would have put me into true insanity... I'm terrified of them. HOWEVER, I had a heart for missions when I came to the Lord and hoped to do it from the time I was 22. Did it finally when I was 45 and would love to do it again and again. [The main place was Uganda, but Costa Rica and Morocco were short team or prayer times. STILL want to go wherever and would LOVE to go to Ecuador and see what I've studied.

    YOU sure caught my heart and attention and I'm living in "WOW" tonight.

    AND I know how the Lord plants seed, even when the bodies of the missionaries are used in a way that hurts them and so many others ... but HE will use the the seeds and they will not be destroyed. When the missionaries reach heaven, they will see so many of the historical ones that have gone before them... and they will be welcomed by the those who are there and will welcome you and the others who have served the Lord in that blessed fashion.

    I'm maybe not explaining my heart well enough and clearly enough, but YOU touched it significantly.

    Bless you.

  19. Laura thanks for having a site for us to share. Blessings

  20. Oh Martha, it's my honor to love you too. Your are a precious child of God who has been given a difficult lot in life. You use it to encouraged other, God never waste anything and you are not wasting your pain. Blessings my wise sister.

  21. Caryjo, you explained yourself well, your heart shows in every word you write.
    I laughed reading about your dream to be a nurse and your fear of snakes...I have seen my share of snakes and even had to do a little nursing. There is a great med book, Where There Is No Doctor...a Bible for where there is no nursing skills. You have encouraged me by your response. Blessing on all you do.