Tuesday, December 29, 2009

samal island

Things have been pretty quiet this week after Christmas, so yesterday we hopped a boat to Samal Island (a 10 minute ride from Davao).

Amy found some pretty shells on the coral beach

Everyone enjoyed the beach-side pool, with a view of Davao behind

We all look a little red - it's only because we were under a red umbrella!

Okay, we look VERY red!

This passing freighter made us feel like we were back home on the Savannah River.

We never saw anything like THIS on the Savannah River though!

We enjoyed a restful day together away from the noise of the city.

The driver on our trip back.

You are cordially invited to come for a visit, and to join us on our next trip to Samal Island!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Breakfast with Friends

We enjoyed a great time of food and fellowship with some friends here on Christmas morning.

Here are the 'brains' (and hands) behind our Christmas breakfast!

We had twenty people in all, so we had to split-up. The married couples ate at one table, while the younger folk shared this table together.

Some of the delicious food.

Elise and Amy with some of their friends.

Michael with his buddy.

Dawn Prayer Meeting

While most of our family and friends back in the U.S. are attending Christmas Eve Worship Services, we headed out around 4:30am to the Christmas Dawn Service here.

The church has been holding dawn worship/prayer meetings all week from 5-6am. It's still dark outside when we arrived a little before 5am. In celebration of Christmas, the church is decorated with lights.

We found seats together. However, the church was full inside and outside (chairs outside the windows) by around 5:15. Probably around 500 people.

At the conclusion of the service around 6am, the sun is rising. It's Christmas morning. We remember that Christ left His place of honor to live and die as a man, in a sinful world, among those He loves so much.

in the flesh

"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory..."

John 1:14a

"Ang Pulong nagpakatawo ug nakig-uban kanato."
Juan 1:14a (Cebuano)

"Would that this one book were in every language, in every land, before the eye and in the ears and hearts of all men!"
-Martin Luther

This is our prayer, that more may know the Christ of Christmas, the very Word, the expression of God Himself.

We wish you a joyful celebration of His incarnation!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

city sidewalks

Just a few shots of some city sidewalks...

These friendly ladies were happy to have their photo taken!

You can find anything for sale on the street...

hair accessories and jewelry,

'crocs' and every other kind of shoe

This lady is one of many pineapple vendors on the street. We've bought fresh pineapple from her several times. She chooses one for us, cuts and cores it and pops it in a bag.
All for about 30cents.
(Though much other food is similar in cost to foods in the U.S., pineapples are definitely cheaper...and incomparably more delicious!)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

ho ho ho

"Our apartment is pre-decorated for Christmas!" observed Michael at lunch one day.
"The stair railing says, 'Ho Ho Ho!'"

Sure enough.
Leave it to a nine-year old to spot something like that.

And with no mantle, it makes the perfect spot to hang our stockings.

Maayong Pasko!
(Merry Christmas!)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

rise and shine

Our wake-up call is sounded every sunrise as the roosters who live in the yard behind our home crow loudly...'rise and shine!'

But apparently these roosters haven't been to Rooster Academy; no one has told them that sunrise is the ONLY time to crow.
So they practice all the time.

I woke to persistent crowing one morning and dragged myself out of bed to start the day, only to find that the sky outside the window was still dark. Checking the clock on my way back to bed I found that it was 3 a.m.
That rooster needs some NyQuil.

Come sunset, all of the roosters (maybe 10 or so?) make a huge clamor as they flutter and fly up into the tree behind our kitchen to roost for the night.

Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning...
Mark 13:35
(in other words, He might come at anytime those roosters crow!)

Monday, December 14, 2009

it's Christmas-time in the city

Beginning December 1st, and all through the month of December, carolers visit homes throughout the Philippines. Some groups do it just for fun - young people strolling along the street in the evening, singing carol after carol together. Others play instruments along with the singing.

Still others do it in hopes of reward.

These three boys (like many others before them) came to our gate last night. They sang the usual three songs: "Joy to the World" in imperfect English (which is much better than my Cebuano!), followed by a Filipino carol, and finally "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." At the end they will usually yell out "Advance Merry Chreestmas!!" repeatedly, hoping for us to acknowledge them and reward them with a treat.

These were two other boys who came last night. I asked if I could video tape them, and they were delighted to comply. I'm sorry that the picture is so dark.

And here's Michael cutting apart packages of peanuts in preparation to hand out to future carolers!

Friday, December 11, 2009

some like it cold

One thing that came as a surprise to us is that there are no hot water taps here. That means if you want hot water, you pull out the teapot.
The water in Davao IS safe to drink without filtering though - unlike in Manila. That's a HUGE blessing!

Initially we boiled water for washing dishes. (We haven't seen a dishwasher since we arrived.) But that becomes very time consuming. We now use an effective dish paste product that's fabulous on greasy or stuck-on food. Every once in awhile we still have the urge to wash dishes in warm water though. So we'll put the teapot on and remember the old days!

All of our neighbors hang their laundry out to dry.

So do we.
(Ours is in the foreground in the photo below.)

The difference is that most of them are washing their laundry by hand in a tub while we have the luxury of a washing machine (even though it is cold water wash only!).
Just doing our laundry makes me thankful these days.

We are also thankful for the water heater in our upstairs shower.
This unit is one you turn on manually when you want warm water. Even in a hot climate it's a real blessing to have the option of a warm shower.

"Wash me and I will be whiter than snow."
Psalm 51:7

Thursday, December 10, 2009

elf for hire

We saw these signs way back in July.
Awfully early to be looking for Santa's helper jobs...

Then we learned what an Elf is.
They are little delivery trucks like the one below!

(These would be lots more practical than a sleigh for delivering gifts in Davao - a city with no chimneys!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

joy to the world

It was our privilege yesterday to participate in a neighborhood Christmas outreach program. Over 300 children had registered ahead of time. Other children came as well, and a few parents attended too. A couple of local churches shared the responsibilities of bringing the children in, leading them in carols, presenting the Gospel, distributing a snack, and then handing out gifts specifically packaged for each child who was registered.

The event started at 3, but there were kids at the gate by 9:30 a.m.

Mark helped set up the sound system

Some of the children were so excited they hadn't eaten lunch.

"Joy to the World, the Lord is Come"
in Visayan

...let earth receive her King...

Elise with Ana

Sharing the Gospel

...let every heart prepare Him room...

Amy poses with a couple of new friends


...and serving milk and homemade cake for 500

Treasured gifts distributed by number

New sandals were an item in each gift bag.

And Heaven and Nature sing.

But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Matthew 19:15