Will you consider joining us?

I know we sent out a newsletter already that showed the “numbers/stats/results” of 2017 so if you missed it here is the link – Changing Focus ministry stats of 2017. Here you see that in 2017 we made an impact on 9 islands with a total population of these islands being around 14,000 people. The largest of these islands is Ebeye where our base of operations is located. We are not able to reach every single person on Ebeye, but when we go to the outer islands we get to do just that. When we set sail with a team to do ministry on the outer islands, that are often 10+ hours of sailing away from electricity, refrigeration, internet, phones… ok I bet you’re getting the picture, we really get to make an impact not only to a community, but to every person on an island and in some cases, an entire atoll.

Sometimes we imagine just how much more we could get done with more people, more volunteers, more boats. Can you imagine just how much more we could get done?

In 2017 we were given the opportunity through the generosity of our supporters to reach the entire Atoll of Namu, giving away over 100 bibles. There are 4 islands that are inhabited in this atoll. The atoll is around 35 nautical miles long and around 12 miles wide at its widest. This does not seem like much but at around 5-7 miles an hour it takes a bit longer to get places. This atoll only has 2 entrances that can handle a keel (depth of our boat) of close to 10 ft deep. We achieved reaching this community with breaking it up into trips to the different islands. In the northern half of this atoll there are 2 inhabited islands that we visited in the first part of 2017 with the YWAM team from Kona. The first island we visited was Namu-Namu, population of 110. The second island we visited is called Majkin with a population 265. When we did these first 2 trips it was in the winter months and the ocean can be a bit rougher than the “normal”. I won’t kid you, it was a rough trip, especially for those that get sea sick.

But when you get there and you are told that they had not seen a missionary boat for 40+ years, then all the hardships, all the puke buckets, all the maintenance, all the money dumped into making the boat safe falls away. We are reminded that the very simple calling on our lives, away from our friends and more importantly our families back in the states, is really worth all the sacrifices we have made – to show these isolated people just how much God loves them!

The third trip to Namu Atoll happened later in the year, with a family from our home church Desert Song Community Church – Redmond, Oregon. Our wonderful friends Tim, Marci, Noah and Aaron Parks joined us on this voyage of 13 hours to get to the island of Mae, population of 124. Once there we did ministry for 6 days which included going by the government boat to the next island of Loen (law-in), population of 86. See some video of our time there here: Changing Focus Ministry Video. This video was made by Timothy Parks. Tim is a professional photographer/videographer, visit his page here: Timothy Park.  I think you will agree with me, that he is very good at his job.

So much is involved when I say, we did “ministry”. Living as a missionary and doing life with the people is so much different then just doing a short term missions trip for us. We now understand some of the culture, some of the why’s and why nots, the reasons why they are so shy at first and then when they get to watch you in action – especially with their kids, how the communities embrace us, then love you (most of the time) almost like family. For them to hear that we have lived here in the Marshall Islands for 3 years in itself opens doors and yes, the fact that we are good friends with a lot of the RIGHT influencers of this island chain also helps.

Yes, on paper it looks like we did a lot but in the whole scheme of things for us, we see another hundred islands out there still waiting to be reached with each of them having their own story to tell.  I am sure there are many islands waiting for the “first” missionary boat in 40+ years to come along. We know we need more help. More boats, more people. We have started the talk of getting land to build on so that we can have a place for others to live and do ministry here. If you have any inclination in your heart to do something, please let us know so we can help you with the next step. Reach us here: Changing Focus Ministry – web page.

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Atolls and islands visited so far

The country’s population of 53,158 people (at the 2011 Census[4]) is spread out over 29 coral atolls,[2] comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets.

When we heard the call to come to the Marshall Islands with a sail boat knowing that we would be a family of 4 doing ministry I knew right away we would not be able to achieve the YWAM Ships original goal of visiting every island in the Marshall Islands at least once a year. Katie and I did set out with a vision to go out from Ebeye (our base of operations) at least 4 times a year. That was a goal of once a quarter. I know it does not seem much but many of these islands are hundreds of miles away from us, being a sailing vessel this means long hours on watch and many sore muscles while just getting to them. We have sailed in every imaginable weather, and each time God has had His hand in keeping us safe. We have had months of strong winds knowing that we could not leave the atoll to sail to our destination because the seas were to big, but just at the last minute God calms the seas (enough) to make it safe for us.

The call whether to go or not is always the captains decision but ultimately God is the orchestrator for all things. And so far we have made it out to each time to meet our goals. So far this year (2017) God has allowed us to already achieve the 4 outer islands trips and it is only July! Praise God as He truly loves the Marshallese people! He wants us to take His love to all.

We know we have only scratched the surface and pray that with Gods help we will one day reach all the islands that are inhabited. We really hope one day that more boats will join us in this goal of reaching all the islands here. If you or someone else you know has a boat or time to invest here please let us know!

So far we have been to these atolls & islands:

  1. Wotho Atoll – Wotho Island
  2. Ujae Atoll – Ujae Island
  3. Lae Atoll – Lae Island
  4. Namu Atoll – Namu-Namu, Majkin, Mae, Loen (4 Islands)
  5. Kwajalein Atoll – Carlos, Santos, Ebeye, Bigej, Kwajalein (5 islands)
  6. Lib Island – One of the only 3 islands in the Marshall Islands
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Big team – Big news for beginning of 2017

Christmas 2016

I cannot remember a year that Christmas went by as fast as this past one. As a family we were blessed with a 4.5 foot “fake” Christmas tree from our friends on the Kwajalein base. With decoration sent from USA from our families we were able to make it feel more like Christmas even though it was in the 80’s with about 80-90% humidity out. The air conditioning was not working so it was warm and very muggy no matter where or what you were doing you were sweating!

Well two days after Christmas we got 4 visitors from Kona that were doing a DTS but now I am getting ahead of myself.

This year we were blessed to have the Fall DTS from YWAM Ships Kona ask if they could send a team to the Marshall Islands. Of course we responded as this is our heart for the Marshall Islands, to receive teams and give the islanders here hope which we receive thru the love of Jesus. David & Marisa Norris the leaders of this DTS said that it looks like it might be a large team, like maybe 10-15 students. Well long story short it ended up being 16 students with 2 team leaders. Praise the Lord with alot of knocking on doors and putting the word out that we needed space to put all these guys and of course God provided a space for each of them! Many thanks to Tony and Makiko Miaka for the use of the house which housed 9 of the team!

So yes a group of 18 from different places in the world, places such as the Netherlands, Germany, South Korea, Canada and of course the US of A came to do outreach with us for 10 weeks!

I think Katie and I have gain more insight to what it might have looked like for Jesus trying to create disciples from different walks of life and different countries. I have more respect for some of the stories told in the New Testament of where Jesus was frustrated with the disciples.

Anyway having this large of a group has been really incredible in regards to getting things done and a hidden blessing in that we don’t have a boat big enough to take a team this large altogether so we had to split the team up into groups of 9. The islands we were able to do ministry at were Carlos, Gugegue, Ebeye, Namu-Namu and Majikin in the Namu Atoll.

In splitting up the team we were able to make two trips to the Namu Atoll, and impacting 2 inhabited islands out of the 4 that make up the population of Namu atoll.

Here is the big news

In taking the first team of 9 to Namu-Namu we discovered that it was the first time in 40 years for missionaries with a boat to come and share the Gospel. This was a delight to our ears as it was a bit of a rough voyage going there and this news made it all worth it!


Namu-Namu as seen above was rather windy and rough

We gave out bibles to each household, did wound care, diabetes testing, good news clubs everyday (like a vacation bible school). Actually the truth is that I Scott did not get to go to Namu-Namu because the weather was so rough and I needed to stay on the boat doing anchor watch the entire time. God is so good though as when the government boat which came to pick-up the team came they said that they were having issues with their engine so told them to come back the next day so I could work on it. It turned out to be a great 3 hours of testimony sharing, working and friendship building. Trip back to Ebeye was 100% better than the trip going and only half of the people that got sea sick on the way there got sick going back.

Majikin Island
MAJIKIN – as seen above was so beautiful

Majikin is 12 miles east and a little south of Namu-Namu. So with it being closer to the pass it took less time for us to get there.

Majikin with a population of around 300+ people were again able to give away 1 bible per household along with the same things we did in Namu-Namu. The biggest difference to this trip was that the weather was so nice that much of the time we were able to leave the boat as a family and not worry about it. It was not until the day of our departure that the winds kicked up very strong and made thing interesting. But God is good and because we left when we did things were not bad at all. As I write this almost a week later the winds have not stopped but have increased since that day and has made the seas very rough. So we got out of there just in time!

Highlights of this last trip would be about 30 kids accepting Christ into there lives and the baptism of 2 of the team members and two Marshallese teens that decided to be baptized as well. It was amazing, stretching and so, so tiresome… but we would turn around and do it again in a heart beat. It is so cool to see all that God is doing here in the Marshall Islands and in the team members when they are here.

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YWAM Ships Kona – 2016 outreach team

To view a short video of the 2 months click here:

This July we received a team from YWAM Ships Kona that consisted of 3 students and 2 team leaders. While here we had the privilege of doing ministry on the Islands of Ebeye, Carlos, Little Buster, Santo/3rd Island. I will not speak for them but can tell you that in those 2 months we had days that were crazy full and others that had us doing the hurry up and wait thing. As with any outreach you get to experience community living, getting on each others nerves, learning how to cook new meals, how to eat new kinds of food. How to deal with cockroaches, rats, motion sickness (sailing), high humidity and thousands of kids pawning at you for your time.

Our family of course has an advantage over these team members as we have been living here for over a year now and try to experience all we can so that we can live and understand Marshallese culture. In this we can explain and teach those that come the how and whys that we often as missionaries stable thru when we get somewhere new. We are able to soften the impact that happens on both fronts by having the knowledge and understanding for them.

Please take the time to watch the video YWAM Ships Kona outreach team 2016 it will show some of the ministry that was performed but not all of it. There is so much that one cannot get into a 5 minute video.

Our family is so glad to be in partnerSHIPS with YWAM Ships. We will continue to build relationships and learn more of the Marshallese culture so that the next team that comes can have even more info and have more ministry opportunities in the future!

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Blessings do come in large packages!

Thank you so much Desert Song Community Church!


After many months of waiting and praying that all would arrive un harmed in the shipping container we were able to use our new dingy in ministry this past 2 months while a team from YWAM Ships Kona was here. This past January while visiting our home church, Desert Song, in Redmond Oregon, our Pastor asked the church to help provide a new dingy and motor which they did with much generosity! It has helped in cutting fuel costs and the amount of trips it takes to take teams and the gear that goes with them. No longer are we taking on water from holes in the floor and we also stay dryer on the ride from the boat to shore as this new dingy also rides higher in the water making it a nicer ride for us!

We were able to use the dingy in doing ministry on Carlos Island for a week. Many of you might recall that we were at Carlos a lot last year as this island offered shelter from the storms that we had last year. The winds made this island in the “lee” (the sheltered side of the island) of the wind that caused huge waves that caused much damage to the windward side of the lagoon last year. But this time the wind was not on the lee side of the wind and as a matter of fact we were on the windward side and got to ride out some pretty crazy stuff once again, but thank God the anchor held and we got to experience some amazing ministry on the island. We were also able to use the dingy in doing ministry at an island around 41 miles up the lagoon called Santos or as the locals call it 3rd island. With about a population of around 600.

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We’ve been here a year already!

Can you believe it has been a year already?
Kona, Hawaii

YWAM Ships Kona

We left Port YWAM in Kona Hawaii where we both had volunteered in positions there. It was a good time of building relationships and learning YWAM Ships Kona protocols which has come in real handy while here in the Marshall Islands representing YWAM Ships.

Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands

Majuro AtollWe arrived in Majuro the capital of The Republic of the Marshall Islands on May 1st which is Constitution Day. Our arrival was very receptive as we had several “yachties” waiting with their dinghies at the mooring ball ready to hand off lines to us! Once we cleared customs we set out to see the YWAM Ships Kona team that we had met and built some relationships with while in Kona! Three weeks went by so fast, then we sailed north to Kwajalein Atoll, more specifically the island of Ebeye, where we felt God calling us to base our family on our 60 foot sail boat Cloud Nine.

Ebeye, The Republic of the Marshall Islands

Ebeye Island

We set out to build relationships and really lean into God for His direction as to what he wanted us to do while here including working towards starting a DTS in Ebeye. As you can imagine, with a family of 4, we have life to live besides spending all day knocking on doors. We have school to do along with the general maintenance on the boat, otherwise things start to break down. So by the time we get done at the end of the day sometimes its actually the next day as many of the bible studies that we attend end around midnight or later! This should not be a shock to us as we had witnessed this in the Philippines, as the evening is cooler and most of the men are back home from work. The weather during this time was beautiful, almost a consistent 82 degrees with a nice wind around 15 knots from the northeast!

We got the word that a team was coming in the summer but we did not have a place on land yet to house this team. So we began looking even harder for a home, but to no avail. God knew what we needed and at the last minute (at least in our book) God made a two story house available for the team to use! God is good, Anij emmon!

Lae Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands

Lae Atoll

While the 9 member team was here we did an outreach to an atoll called Lae Atoll. Lae has around 300 inhabitants which we served faithfully in many ways for 10 days. We served them with a VBS (vacation bible school), wound cleaning clinics, food distribution, giving of reading glasses, clothing distribution and of course discipleship.

Carlos, Republic of the Marshall Islands

Carlos Island

As we left the atoll to return to Ebeye, the winds had picked up to over 20 knots and the seas had climbed to over 15 feet. Unknown to us, a tropical storm which did not pop up on my Grib files (satellite weather) was passing over the region or more so, right over the top of where we were going. To say the least, this was the beginning of a season of literal storms in our life. Every night was a night of waking to the anchor alarm alerting us that we were dragging the anchor! We were in a constant state of prayer, as anyone should be anyway, but more so because of the weather for us! In this time, we built relationships on an outer island that now is hard to reach due to it being on the windward side of the atoll, Carlos Island. God had plans for us to be there for them in their time of need, HE had this planned all along. While we were there, they were having high fevers on the island from a mosquito virus called Chikengunya, and we were able to provide acetaminophen for these people! Like I said, God had a plan. Around the end of October the storms started to be less frequent and less powerful as well which allowed us to install a mooring that allowed us to leave the boat as a family, because before we had to anchor and when on anchor specially with the winds we were having we had to always have someone on the boat to watch for the anchor slipping. Thru the gracious giving of one of our financial supports in the amount of around $2000 we were able to order all the materials to install this mooring!

Oregon & Washington, U.S.A

The Pacific Northwest

We had planned to go home for Christmas but during the year we had discovered that our batteries had gone bad, so the price of new ones was over $5,000. Then we received word that the church on Kwajalein Military base was going to pay for our batteries! So we put the word out that we were looking to go home and received a donation from our family that allowed us to fly home for Christmas. What a time this was driving all over to see family and friends. We figured that we stayed in around 7 homes during our stay and spoke to 3 churches and several Bible studies about what God is doing through us in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. While back home we had a goal of raising funds for a new boat tender/dingy to shuttle people from shore to the boat with as our older model was always leaking and to small for any large groups! We made our request known to our home church pastor and he presented this need to the congregation and by the end of the year they wrote us a check for an amount that covered the cost of the new boat and a motor for it which was around $6,000! God is so good.

Wotho Atoll, The Republic of the Marshall Islands

Wotho Map

Wotho Atoll, around 70 people and 16 households! We came here with a Nurse specializing ing the education of diabetes and with a bible to give to each house hold in the Marshallese Language. We held a clinic where we did diabetes screening and blood pressure testing. In doing this we were able to see that the people that live distant to Ebeye or any of the major cities live in a healthier habitat. They tend to eat more natural foods when they can thus showing that doing so helps keep them from obtaining diabetes. We also gave away food, clothing, medical supplies, eye glasses & misc donated items.

Ujae Atoll, The Republic of the Marshall Islands

Ujae Atoll

Ujae is one of those hard to get to places you have to go thru the only pass which is located about half the way up (10 miles) the length of the atoll then go all the way to the end and that is where Ujae Island is. Pictured above is the Island which is connected to the reef that makes up the atoll. We anchored just where you see the water in the lagoon (middle) is dark blue and where it starts to turn green just at the end where the island is. So your ship is right between both reefs! Anyway God arranged for us to have a great stay here while we pretty much did the same things as we did in Wotho. We did the diabetes screening and blood pressure testing along with the giving away food, clothing, medical supplies, eye glasses, and misc items that were donated for this trip. It was amazing to work with both of the churches on these islands. It is good to be part of an organization that is non-denominational because we would not be able to work with most of the people if it were not the case. Each of these islands have different specialties like handie crafts like the ones below. Wotho is known for there bags and Ujae is known for there fans and other wall hangings.

Ujae bagsUjae fans

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A lot of first’s for the Suderno’s!

OK ya this is our first Blog, our first time being in the Marshall Islands a resident, our first time hosting a team here, our first time living on a boat, just got thru our first Tropical storm – which just as it left us turned into a Typhoon! We are having lots of firsts here on Ebeye! Katie just left to meet the team arriving from Kona on Kwaj with the kids and while I type the boat is rocking really bad as the wind is not going the same way as the waves! It gets on you after a while.

We have been anchored off the Island of Ebeye since May 22nd. We have seen 3 tropical storms, Monsoon rains but not the calm lagoon anchorage that we have heard can happen here! This in its self does not seem so bad but since we are at anchor there is always that chance that the anchor slips or just stops holding. Thus we have to always have to have someone on the boat to monitor this. Yes we have software on the computer that tracks this but it still has to be done. And who ever watches the boat probably should be able to drive the boat incase something does go awry. Right now that is very limited as there are only 4 of us (Anderson has been MIA almost since we got here) so its been a challenge in getting to do things as a family on shore.

We totally feel that this is a spiritual attack from the enemy – as he knows if he can keep us from being on shore then we cannot get things done like we would like to. On top of the weather patterns has left doing night watches and storm watches and vary little sleep. So we are as parents at least on edge and frustrated so easily. We have totally be blessed by the people on shore more than we have had the opportunity to bless them and this is just not good in our book! We have had ups and downs making way for the now and the future YWAM Ships teams. We have been totally looking for a potential land base where to operate DTS schools and house teams. it has been a challenge as there are land owners and Kings and Queens who own land and so we are going thru the hoops and loops of those challenges. Just recently we were given word that a piece of property someone owns has been offered for us to use! The challenge will be drawing up an agreement so that we don’t fix it up then it just gets taken back from us. But God can do wonders! It is a beautiful location and Kate and I want to start a after school sailing program and it would be so helpful if we could do this from the lagoon side and vala this property is on the lagoon side with sand or at least it was until the storm, so not sure its still there or not. But this would be a tear down and rebuild a building project so funds would need to be raised and then people will have to come and build it!

We so believe that a neutral location apart from the churches will so enable us to do so much more than anyone else has been able to do here. You are either from that church or that church, hence we will not help or be a part of what your doing. There is such division within the christian communities here, not that there is none back home (cause there is) but that it limits the mind in what God can do as a community and as a people!

Prayer Points for us right now…

  • Health – spiritual and physical.
  • Finances – pray that we can garner more monthly support.
  • Pray for doors to open where Gods wants us to follow.
  • Pray for the current Outreach team that they have a incredible journey with God here in the Marshalls.
  • Pray that we the Suderno’s learn to communicate with our leadership better!
  • Pray that we see a community come together!
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