Want to have your winter thrills expanded and enhanced? A glimpse at those working for The Luke Commission in North America will do just that!

These workers are not highly-paid or well-known. They do, however, have big jobs in the employ of The King. They serve joyfully and expectantly, knowing their “labor is not in vain.” They do not need a five-year plan or a healthy stock market to know their future is bright. Note these servants, one and all:

    • A North Carolina congregation where Harry and Echo spoke spontaneously gave their whole Sunday morning offering to The Luke Commission.
    • A talented technical writer in Ohio listened to a presentation about The Luke Commission. Afterwards, she tearfully said, “I’m going to take everything off my plate that’s not absolutely necessary so I can write grants for TLC.”
    • One lady in Idaho read the new TLC magazine and picked up her telephone. “I just want to thank you and your family for what you do in Eswatini. I don’t know what to say, because it has touched me so much.”
    • A husband and wife in Illinois attend statewide conferences, coordinating videos and huge displays about the eyeglass portion of the mobile clinics.
    • A worship team member in Georgia wept as she stood before her congregation and read Bible verses from last year’s TLC magazine. “It was not planned but so moving,” explained Harry. “Many were in tears before we even began to speak.”
    • A man in Idaho said, “God nudged me a month ago and told me to do something. I’ve argued with Him ever since; but this morning I quit, and now I’m at peace.” He handed a large personal donation to The Luke Commission.
    • In Canada, the VanderWals were guests at an informal gathering of Harry’s distant relatives whom he hadn’t seen since he was a child. “After we spoke and the boys recited their Bible verses, I watched the years melt away. We were all in one accord about the work God was doing through The Luke Commission.”
    • Shortly before Christmas, a pastor in Ohio told his people: “I usually don’t conduct business on Sunday morning, but I’m asking everyone who approves of taking $5,000 from our general fund to give to the VanderWals, so they can buy a HIV diagnostic machine, to please stand.”
      (This is the same pastor who says from the pulpit, “I can’t wait for that white, bald-headed doctor to sing…”)
      “All but two persons stood, and they were visitors,” the 80-year-old president of the missionary society told us. “It was so touching I was mesmerized. You expect some opposition, but it was like Jesus pushed a button and everyone jumped up,” she continued. “I have been praying for years that our church would become more mission-minded. I feel my prayers are being answered through Harry and Echo.”
    • A public school superintendent in North Carolina said to his students: “Some of us have been looking our whole lives for a purpose. Frankly, I’m envious of this young couple who have found their purpose and are living it.”
    • The Luke Commission now has physical facilities in Ohio, thanks to the generosity of a family there. Supplies and eyeglasses are stored for shipment to Eswatini, as local students volunteer their brains and brawn on behalf of the sick and poor halfway around the world.
    • Church folks in Ontario warmly greeted the VanderWals with a chili dinner. “They got their new projector up and running just in time for us,” noted Echo.
      A group of women, most with young families themselves, meet regularly to sew dresses and blankets for Eswatini. The ladies enjoy receiving photos of little Liswati girls in those dresses and proudly displayed the photos when Harry and Echo visited.
    • Harry and Echo attended a large medical missions’ conference in Kentucky, where Echo surprisingly met a former missions agency director who had encouraged her to pursue her missionary dream, first when she was in high school and later in college.
      “My gain at the conference last week was underscored in my divine appointment with you, Echo, when you put your arms around me and allowed us to be reunited after so many years of separation,” he wrote in a later letter.
      “Just going through your material was one of the richest blessings I received the entire week. Seeing what God is doing in and through the two of you is, by no stretch of the imagination, miraculous!”
  • A 10-year-old boy in Idaho has collected or bought more than 70 soccer balls to distribute at Liswati bush schools.
  • After a church-packed Sunday service with the VanderWals, a pastor in Idaho invited those wanting to give “the gift of your presence” to come to the front and pray. More than half vacated their seats, surrounding Harry and Echo. “The weight of so many people’s hands on my back, their commitment and support, nourished my heart for days afterwards,” said Echo.

And so the stories from home continue. More will be shared in the next update. Meanwhile, pray that Harry, Echo, and the boys will return forthwith to their beloved Eswatini, as we remember 1 John 3:2 – “Beloved, now we are the children of God.”

Gratefully in Jesus,
Janet Tuinstra for Harry, Echo, Zeb, Jacob, Luke, Zion