Tsunami Relief

Max in Indonesia

(Click the map to view Max's location.)


New Trip Planned August 15 - 26, 2005

Contact Max if interested in going or helping

Frequent Flyer miles needed for some college students


Items on this page:

- Max's Mission

- Max's Story

- Current News from Max

-Tsunami Links

- Wish List

- Where to Make Donations


Max's Mission

  • Max left Tuesday, January 18, 2005.

  • Max goes to Hong Kong first. He will visit with old missionary friends and talk to some mission churches there.

  • Then to Jakarta, Indonesia on Sunday, Jan. 23 for two days of orientation training.

  • He has been in contact with the US Embassy in Jakarta, missionary friends from Hillvue Heights Church, and some zoo keepers working with the UN in cleaning the Banda Aceh area.

  • Max plans to go to the Aceh province to set up the water purification system to provide free water for the local people.

  • He plans to train a local person or relief worker to operate the water system and leave the system for continued free water supply for the area.

  • We feel that this will probably be an ongoing effort to assist Tsunami victims. On this first trip Max will observe many needs and ways to help. Upon his return he will communicate needs and ways to help to many groups.

  • This site will post updates as available.


Max's Story


            Growing up on the Asian mission field, I remember the water shortage in Hong Kong in 1963 when we had our water turned on every four days for three hours. We would then collect a bath tub full, and wait a day for the mud to settle. We would then scoop up a pail of water, being careful not to disturb the silt on the tub bottom, and boil it for 15-20 minutes to kill the bacteria. After cooling, it would be poured into a ceramic urn and one would still need some flavoring to disguise its taste. I still have an old black and white photograph dad took of me standing on the hard, dry cracked ground in the center of what was supposed to be the reservoir lake. In the following years, so much rain came during the monsoon season that land slides became common. On one occasion the hillside came crashing down, filling up the ground floor and coming into the second floor of the building across the street from where I lived, destroying nearly everything in its path. As the thick muddy water rushed down the street, I recall an outstretched hand and arm disappearing into the churn.

            In 1980 I returned to Hong Kong and taught English and Cultural Orientation to the Vietnamese “boat people” at Argyle 4 Camp. On weekends I would take the train up into China and travel around, carrying a few Bibles each time to give away as gifts. In the mid 90’s, I went to Kenya for a month, ministering among the Luo tribe along the edge of Lake Victoria. Here, there was no electricity, phones, recent newspapers, radios or TVs. The people still live in mud huts with thatched roofs and dirt floors. They carried water up from the lake in pitchers balanced on top of their heads. Much of what I did and saw as a missionary child has prepared me to cope with less than ideal living conditions. So as an adult, I am able to travel into primitive or disaster areas and work, live and minister without leaving my personal comfort zone.

            Immediately after hearing about the Tsunami I felt such compassion for these people, and the Lord filled me with a love for them. I had to repent for things I had said in the past, especially after 9-11 regarding those of a different faith. I started asking myself what I could do to help. After much prayer and discussion with my wife, the direction and purpose became very clear. I contacted a number of water purification system manufacturers and within a week a system had been donated that would process up to 12 gpm of clean safe water from a pond or stream. Much has happened over the past 10 days, too much to go into detail here. But contacts are in place, the filter system and passport are ready, transport for the equipment has been arranged, my food while there has been donated, along with a Garvin GPS, walkie talkies, tent, portable shower, tarps, a new tent, sleeping bag and mat, Starbucks coffee (so I can make coffee for all the aid workers who visit my tent) and money for a generator. (It is much cheaper to buy one there than it is to ship it) and the list goes on!

            After the system is up and running, I want to teach someone there how to run it, trouble shoot, minor repair, and turn it over to them to keep it going. I will return to the States and in my travels, solicit for teams to go over and volunteer. It is my desire to have set up numerous water system purifiers and clean safe water production in many locations over the next 8-12 months. In the January 10, 2005 issue of the US News and World Report, it states on page 20, “Of all the things that survivors need to stay alive in the weeks to come, clean water is most critical and can be the most difficult to come by.” It also quoted David Nabarro, head of the World Health Organization’s crises team who stated, “Perhaps as many as 5 million people are not able to access what they need for living. Either they cannot get water, or their sanitation is inadequate, or they cannot get food.” Dr. J.V. Raaman said, “The biggest requirement today is water, since all the water sources have been contaminated.”

            In closing, I want to encourage all to pray for these troubled areas. These people were created in the image of God, and Jesus told us to Love God with all our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves. When I picked up the water purifier, the person asked me, “Why are you going if you are a Christian?” I answered, “It is BECAUSE I am a Christian that I am going.”  He looked perplexed, then informed me that he was Muslim and most all Christians he knew would say bad things to him because of it. He was very glad to see and meet a “Christian” that wanted to help. Folks, this is our time and opportunity to show the love of Christ to a hurting world. I say we seize the moment with fervor, and love with intensity! If (since) we are the Body, let His hands, thru us, start the healing. I urge you to look up, read and ponder the following: Mat. 5:44-48 and Mat. 25:34-46.




News From Max during First Trip

February 7:

Happy Chinese New Year from Hong Kong,

 I am on the last leg of the return trip. I am staying in the village in Hong Kong where my dad, mom and I use to live. I arrived this morning from Jakarta and am very, very tired. This trip was either much more tiring on me than previous ones, or I am a lot older than I realize. (maybe a little of both)  Overall, however, the trip was a great success. I brought smiles to lots of faces of children who have been through hell. The pictures in the papers and on TV do not even come close to showing the vast destruction. The bodies are still being uncovered and will be for some time to come. Yet while standing literally on the ruins of their former homes and buildings on the coast of Banda Aceh, children were laughing and playing with the balloons I made them. The innumerable stories of loss, both material and life, just keep coming and coming and the burden can be nearly overwhelming.

Yet their is hope. This is a new day for these people and many of the youth here had never seen a foreigner. (seeing "Santa" brought lots of laughter) I hope to return to Aceh in a few weeks, refreshed and reinforced with other volunteers... ready to make a difference in the lives of many. I need to get some eager young (relative term) people who can help put a ball team together, maybe help build a basketball court and teach children how to play. I would like someone who can do puppets, and/or organize children's games. Some one who will help with coloring and art and music. We need to get these kids doing things together. There is no school yet in this area, as there is no place first of all, and the educational structure has pretty much been destroyed. There is too much time on their hands to think of the past, the sound of screams for help, the ability to do nothing but try and save oneself.

 Language is not a problem, a interpreter can be assigned to you. Don't let money be an excuse. If you want to serve, and have a willing heart, and an ear to hear the painful stories, I will help anyone I can to get the funds to go. Time is not an issue, I am looking for those who can spend just two weeks, or two months. ( Actually the Government will only issue 30 day permits last I heard.) So if the hardships of the conditions are not enough to stop you, and you have burning compassion to help others, or know someone who does, please have them contact me with the dates they would like to serve. It is the absolute hardest work you will ever love!

The area is primitive. The weather is just plain hot! Hot and humid. Even though there are many bodies left in the rubble, and daily they are burying more in the mass graves, seldom did I get a strong smell of death. Only then it was near the ruins, not at an IDP (Internal Displaced Person) camp. I think now that only those doing the location, removal and burying have that to deal with. Bathing is done with a pail and cold water poured over one's self. The toilet is a hole in the ground that you can squat over.... the deluxe models have tile around them and a barrel of water and pail so you can wash yourself afterwards, there is no paper unless you bring it. The water you drink is bottled and very warm. There is no ice, nor anything cold. After you bathe, just put your clothes on because they will not be any dryer by the time you finish dressing than if you actually dried off. Staying cool at night can be done by soaking your top cover sheet and ringing it out. By using a wet sheet the evaporation process will help keep you cool. Love rice. You get it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It will be served with something spicy and hot. (or do like many do and bring Gatorade, peanut butter, instant oatmeal and noodles etc.) There is no beer, wine or anything with alcohol in this province, and don't bring any, it is illegal. Depending of the actual area one goes to, you may or may not have any electricity. Some of the camps do, some don't. There are over one thousand IDP camps. In the lower main Islands, one would not know that there has been a Tsunami. Tourism and business goes on, and there are a lot of really cool places to go and things to do. Shopping is great! There, you are back in the modern world with all the trimmings. Remember this next team in your prayers.

 I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the aid and assistance of those who donated their help while I was there, and those who made this trip possible. Thank you Chris Cole, the room and information you gave was just what I needed. And to the Northwestern Medical Teams, thanks for making room for me, and keep up the great work you are doing. To the Swiss Army for transporting me back on the coolest chopper ride in the country. To my friends Curtis and Mei Lin for the encouragement and use of their facility in Hong Kong . To CiCi for her kind and generous heart, the financial support from the sales force at Heartland Resources, WCVK, Jim Johnson and a Sunday School Class at Living Hope Church, which all helped make this trip possible. For the frequent flier miles donated by Mike Merry, and to my pastor Steve Ayres and pastors at Hillvue Heights Church, my mentors in the Faith. Tim Holmes, thanks for the books, I will never view the sorrows in the cup of life the same. Most of all, to my family, Marge and Noel, for allowing me to fulfill the call on my life, their continued love, prayers and support, I love you all.
His servant,

February 2:

It is ten pm so it is about 9 your time. Guess your getting ready for work, or already there. I was suppose to have caught a chopper this afternoon to fly me back to Medan, but the person forgot I was waiting outside per his instructions. So when he saw me he apologized and set it up for tomorrow. I will fly back to Medan hopefully tomorrow, and pack the remains of the water system and get it back on a chopper to be delivered here in BA. The USS Mercy ship is setting up and they have a full repair capacity and I have met the commander of the ship and he told me to get it here and he would have the boys onboard fix it. Dr. Salvador, director of Northwest Medical Teams, who I have been staying with knows a IDP camp that desperately needs one. It is very costly to fly water into them. After I send it to him he can take it to the ship and get it taken care of. I am now ready to return home. I don’t care what you cook the first week as long as it isn’t rice. I have had it for breakfast, lunch and supper everyday I have been here, unless I fixed something else like my oatmeal. Thank Goodness I brought plenty of it. After I missed my flight today I met another group who invited me to stay the night with them at their post. The room I am in tonight is AIR CONDITIONED! I hope to get some sleep tonight. I have a sore throat, but otherwise feel pretty good. He is letting me e-mail you but it probably will not get sent until tomorrow sometime. That’s ok, At least you will have gotten news from here. I will call you from Hong Kong when I get there. Tell everyone Hi for me. I love and miss you and want to be there so bad, I feel bad that you have to do the farm work and your job too. I have made a lot of contacts but it isn’t easy getting around here. Things change everyday. Goodnight, max

January 30:

Whew! I heard from Max last night for the first time since Thursday morning. He is in Banda Aceh. WOW! He says that they are still having minor earthquakes now. He is "hanging out" with the Northwest Medical Team from Oregon. They have appreciated little gifts he brought like tootsie rolls, Starbucks coffee, and other small things we take for granted. We only talked a few minutes because he was calling on the cell phone and his service is sporadic and expensive. He had to leave the water system with someone in Medan because he could not get parts. He says he will just bring them on his next trip.  He said that the pictures on TV and magazines did not do justice to the devastation there. He has never seen anything like the destruction and turmoil caused in the area. The children and people in the camps love his presence as "Santa" as well as his balloons. Thanks for your prayers!

January 26:

Greetings in Jesus Name from Medan Indonesia. 

I arrived last night from Jakarta and spent the night in a boarding house here in Medan. It is located on the north-eastern side of Indonesia. It has a population of over 3 million and is the third largest city in the country. Although we are maybe 300 miles from the Aceh Province, it will take 12 hours by lorry (truck) to get there on the roads here. The people are most cordial and helpful. I keep hearing that "Americans are our hero's" and other such statements. (remind me to tell you what all was said, most I will not print). The only thing warmer than their welcome is the weather. It is HOT. It is Humid. I feel like I just got out of the shower and did not dry off, just put on the clothes and went on my way.  I stay soaking wet. I have changed every shirt I have and have finally submitted to the idea that I am going to be wet. Period.

 Good news is that the military (Indonesian Army) will transport the equipment to the needed area. There is a camp (over 1000 camps) that does not have a good water supply and needs this system badly. So this morning we unpacked the system and were preparing to test it and be sure everything was in place that needed to be. Bad news. The gorillas that work in baggage at the airlines were able to completely destroy most every part. The most fragile part, the light bulb came thru unscathed but the PVC piping looked as if someone had intentionally, (as if looking for explosive devices maybe?) broken each and every piece. The dark grey PVC pipe that is about 11/2 inches thick and only 4 inches long is busted in half. That is hard to do, even with a hammer. The part that connects each part to the other was broken, broken beyond repair. I cannot get over the damage. It could not have just happened.  Right now I have a person here looking for all new plumbing. Also, the quartz tube that the UV bulb is sleeved in is broken. The glass tube was inside a well packed and insulated stainless steel tube... busted. Packs of gum in my luggage was opened and of a five pack two remained unopened. Clothes completely repacked etc. Canned foods that I brought to give away were busted open inside the boxes and had spilled out onto everything else. So everything needed washing. I am missing the strainer and the tools and nuts and bolts that was taped to it, all that was in a sealed box that was taped and tied. Yet inside this undamaged box, was opened gum packages, missing tools and hardware parts, and busted pipes and PVC parts. Someone is mad about me being here. I think we all know who that force is. 

I am going to contact Hong Kong for another system. I hope that the system and the contacts I made there this past week now pay off. I will also e-mail the mfg. of the system I now have and see if they will DHL the parts to me. DHL delivers here and the place I am staying is very close to their office. So I may be here in this area for a few days as this arrives. I have been asked to speak at a church here tonight, and at this time I am just praying for His direction. I have learned from certain people (and with cause I don't call out names now), that the balloons for the children is MUCH desired. So I may go to Aceh just to minister love to the kids as I wait for the equipment to get here. I am confident of this, I am not here by chance, and the purpose for which I have been sent will be accomplished!!!!!!!! If the destruction was meant to deter, it didn't work. It did however, forge in the fire my determination to go forth at all cost.

 Pulling all stops, Max (dae dun made dis country boy mad)!

 Marge, please forward this to whomever you wish, But include the pastors at Hillvue, Nathan, Nikki, Bobby Frazier, WCVK,  pastor Phil Crandall, and Brian Veach (so he can share with his SS group that I spoke to at Living Hope.) Especially Curtis and Mei Lin, as it is the contact he gave me that is helping so much and housing me now.) I love you . Marge,Noel, Nikki, I love you all and wish you could be here with me. It is very hot, like Fla in the summer. I think we should all plan on coming here soon.

 WOW! Good news, the pastor just came in and told me that the person that was out looking for the PVC parts also found a UV light tube like the one that was shattered. They want me to go now and inspect it. He he he. Ain't that just like my On Time God?! :)

January 25:

Max arrived in Jakarta on Sunday, January 23. He could not bring all of the pieces of the water system (it was dismantled into four boxes) with him from Hong Kong. There was another friend flying into Medan on Tuesday, so he brought the last box.

Max stayed in a hotel for two nights to await his trip to Medan.  His hotel was attached to an 8-story shopping mall! He said that things were so cheap that you could buy a pair of nice shoes for $5.00! He met with many important people and learned necessary information about the culture. I cannot print any names or any more information about people for their safety.

They want  Max to return with a medical team of doctors and nurses. If you know anyone that is interested, please let me know. They also need children's entertainment. Of course, we all know Max's ability with magic and balloons. They have already scheduled him for the end of April. He will be available to speak at your group or church when he returns to get the real story.

We all know that the safest place to be is in the center of God's will. I truly believe that Max is right there. We also know that prayer works. My most sincere and pressing prayer is that the people he encounters will see Christ in him and that they will come to know the Lord.

Thanks to all friends and our family in Christ for your support and prayers.


January 22:

8:00pm  Last night I spoke to a Vineyard church group and then went into the "children's church" area and made balloons for the kids. I was asked to sit on the floor and the kids came around me and laid hands on me and prayed for me. It was so sweet. I told them that I really believed in the prayers of children, and related the story of Sheba's healing and the BGCA praying for her. The kids then went to a closet where they remembered something and brought out a gift for me.... a nice pair of boots. Italian. really nice ones. They were my size, too. They were so excited that they fit and were so happy to give them to me. Of course, they were climbing all over 'Santa' or 'Uncle' as they called me.

10:14am  Things have changed so much here in Hong Kong, I would have not recognized most of it. Where there were buffalo paths, four lane highways, where there were patty fields, twenty plus story buildings. where there was sea and fishing spots.... Industry, and tall office and residential buildings. A slow train has been replaced by a high speed one. WOW. Yet yesterday I managed to find an old shopping street where things had not changed a bit. hawkers with their wares and goods offered for a fraction of the price anywhere else. Old men still reading the morning paper and having a leisure breakfast. Today I found a few of the remaining small duck ponds and rice patties. I located an old friend of my dads whom I have not seen for 30 years. We had dinner together and covered a lifetime of events. Tonight I spoke at a church of about 60-70 Chinese and there was someone there who had been to my Uncles church in VA years ago. I have not had any contacts for the water treatment system, and today a person from Indonesia spoke with a friend who I am staying with and said that they have a water system but it does not work or they don't know how to use it. They really need one, and so I am meeting with her and her husband in the morning just before I leave for Indonesia. Soooooo much has happened, contacts I have met, it really is a God thing. This is way beyond me. I am only walking in the doors that He opens, and it is so exciting to see how this is unfolding. I will try and get you an update Tuesday or Wed.

5:43am  Global Hands has contacts with shipping companies which donate a percentage of space. They are the meeting point and used to do it for small missions and churches but have grown into an international op using all volunteers to get things done. It is amazing some of the things they have done. A school in India needed 300 chairs and desk and they did not know where that would come from, and within a week another school, University or something was remodeling and asked them if they could use around 300 desks and chairs. They contacted a shipping co. who donated the space and so now the school in India is able to open its doors. It turned out to be the only and last thing they needed and could not get due to the lack of funds. It is things like this they do. The mission house I am staying in has desk, computers, (old) beds, chairs, furniture of all kinds, all donated.
      Curtis is taking me over today to meet the director of this organization. also he is taking me to meet the travel agency which works with missionaries and charities to facilitate inexpensive travel.... at least by comparison.
     I know that this is the beginning of something, and that these trips will be ongoing. I feel that the blessing of the Lord will be in my submission to His call. So in time, some of these things will be.
Yesterday when I went to the prayer meeting, it was attended by upper level (CEO, Director etc) of a mobile phone manufacturer and distributor co. They gave me a mobile phone to use when I get to Indonesia. When I get there I simply purchase a Sim card that goes into the back and purchase a pre pay service. Prices range as to where you are calling so I will not be able to talk long but want one in case we need to contact someone in Jakarta. In case of emergency.
Well I have been invited for a morning prayer meeting, so I better get ready. I will write you later. love max

January 21:

10:08am New post received from Max: " When I got in last night no one was there to meet me. I had all six luggage and boxes, but it was late and I had no Hong Kong money. The phones at the station require a visa, MC or HK dollars of which I had none. So while I was standing around waiting for Curtis, a man I met on the plane Philip (that's the correct spelling) from Minneapolis spoke to me and wanted to know what was up. I told him I could not leave my luggage to go use the phone, so he watched it for me. Then when I phoned Curtis, I found out that he was there WED night not Thursday night looking for me. It is a good 45 min drive from where he lives to where I was, and so the decision was made for me to take the public bus. Of course there is no way he could have known about all the luggage I had. Anyway, Phillip who was here to visit his son at the UHK had the passes for the transportation and offered to purchase my ticket for me. So we both came out to the area of Fanling and met up with Curtis then. We both slept here at his place last night and went to McDonald's for breakfast. He taught me how to use the passes for the train and buses. Then he said good bye and went to see his son. I went street looking, so much has changed. Where I remember rice paddies, there is 20+story buildings and where there was a water buffalo path, now is a four lane highway. Sooo much has changed that there is little I even recognize, and that I can't even get my bearings with. Before we went for breakfast I tried to get on the computer, but could not get on line. Curtis just came in, we have been invited to a full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship luncheon. So  have to go now, I will finish later.

12:30pm  So as I was saying in the earlier post, Curtis came by but had to go back because of something, so I have a few more minutes. Anyway, I took a HOT bath today. The water comes from a water heater located above the tub. So it is scalding hot. there is no way to adjust it with cold water. You have HOT and you have COLD, which do you want? So I took a very hot bath today, most likely the hottest I can ever remember taking. Afterwards I washed my clothes and rung them out and hung them out to dry. At least it isn't raining out. I am really enjoying my little speakers that go with the CD player. Got some Rich Mullins going now. Well I gotta go, it's time.

7:09 I spoke today at a luncheon and will be speaking tomorrow night at a church. I am meeting some very valuable resource people tomorrow. One works with Global hands, an organization that matches up needs and supplies. ie, the desk that WKU were throwing away, well there are schools here in China, and Croatia that need chairs. They don't have any nor have the funds to purchase them. So Global hands has ships that donate their space to them for moving goods to needy places. Soooo, if you can find out if there are any more chairs, they could place them."

January 20:

He emailed from Curtis and Mei Lin's house in Hong Kong. They are the missionaries that took over Max's Dad's house in Fanling New Territories.  He had an almost 24 hour layover in Tokyo, Japan. Here is an except from his email, "I got plenty of sleep last night at the motel in Japan. Did you get the e-mail I sent from there? I am betting not. I wrote you a long letter but it took me over 20 minutes just to figure out how to get on line. the keys were not the same and they were in Japanese. Just as I hit the send button it cut off because I did not put more money in the slot. I walked to the temple in the city of Narita, just west of Tokyo. I took some pictures of the gardens and people. I got into HK tonight and now am at Curtis's place. going to sleep...It has been a long day." He also says that he can feel your prayers. Thanks you so much.


Tsunami Links

Wish List

  • Laptop computer (so Max can e-mail a journal and digital pictures to the supporters and partners of this mission)

  • Frequent flyer miles for a RT ticket or someone may want to purchase one outright. 

  • Cash donations (to cover expenses and the cost of shipping)

  • Most of all, PRAYERS, not only for me, but for this effort and those I will come in contact with both co-laborers and survivors, as well as my wife and daughter staying behind to care for Project Noah animals.

Thank you and may God

richly bless your efforts.


Where to Make Donations

  • WCVK radio station

  • Hillvue Heights Church (contact Bob Myatt)

  • Living Hope Church (contact Brian Veech)

  • Project Noah, Inc. - You can click the link below and make a donation with your credit or debit card through PayPal. Project Noah, Inc. can send you a tax deductible receipt.

No matter the size, ALL donations are appreciated.

Your donation will go directly to providing pure

drinking water to Tsunami victims.


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