Monday, September 28, 2009

housing update

We want to thank so many of you for praying for a home for us here. There had been no new available properties to view for about a month, but last weekend we viewed six different places, including one of the apartments below.

The one place we thought would be a good fit had been rented that very morning. But that didn't take God by surprise! And it's been a very good thing for us to wait. There have been real benefits to living right here on the center grounds.

We could be no closer to the school for the classes Amy, Elise and Michael take!

We are in the hub of all the action, so we are getting to meet lots of people, and the kids have the opportunity to get to know and play with lots of children after school hours and on the weekends.

There's always a soccer or Frisbee game going on in the field, or a board game being played, or kids who want to play Legos with Michael. Our apartment is usually full of kids after school.

If we hadn't lived in the guesthouse for this long, we wouldn't have had such a feel for how much is going on at the center.

The Lord has also used this time to help us begin to get our bearings, and to define what is most important in a home here. Though some days we feel the lack of space, and the desire to be more settled in our own place, we do trust that God's timing is perfect, and we look forward to see how He will provide!

Thanks again for praying for us. We thank you for praying that we would have patience to wait on the Lord, and to trust Him fully!
"But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied...and my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus!"
Philippians 4:18&19

Thursday, September 24, 2009

read all about it

For those of you who know our family, you know that we are avid readers.
Probably the hardest thing for us to leave behind was our books.
But we've been pleasantly surprised to find more books available here than we expected.

National Book Store is a chain that carries lots of English language books. Their shelves are well-stocked with a variety of material, including lots of classics. (Which makes Barbara happy!) Aeronautical books are much more rare. (Sorry, Mark.)

We also have access to the high school library

and the elementary/middle school library; both of these carry a small but great selection of reading material.
It was also exciting to find an OMF bookstore in town which carries a good range
of Christian literature!

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."
~C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

cultivating culture

Ate (Ah-tay) Bebe teaches the Filipino Culture classes here at the school.
(Ate is the title of respect for females older than yourself.) Each of our children take one of her classes, and they love it!

She's taught them a variety of fun things about the Philippines.
They've tried new fruits, danced some traditional dances, played rubber band games, sunka (a mancala-like game) and outdoor games, learned some Tagalog, and about Philippine history and customs.
Thanks for being a fabulous cultural interpreter, Ate Bebe!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

operation christmas outreach

This week we had the privilege of getting to help with preparations for a Christmas outreach event for the children of the neighborhood. The invitations were sent out last Friday for registration the next morning.
The response was amazing.
Early Saturday morning the children were lined up outside the gate, waiting and ready. Over 300 of them.

(We took some photos, but sadly we lost them between the camera and the computer.)

The organizers of the event have, based on information from the registration, bought supplies to pack gifts for each one of the children who registered for the event in early December. We had the joy of doing the fun part in helping to package the gifts!

We had an assembly-line going. We packed each bag with a pair of shoes, a water bottle, comb, toothbrush and toothpaste, a pen, a washcloth and towel, and the Biblical story of Christmas - in Cebuano.

We look forward to helping out at the outreach event, and to sharing more photos with you then!

Michael, Amy, Elise and Barbara A. (the administrative genius behind the outreach) pose with all the gifts we packed!
Thanks for letting us help, Barbara!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

a note of thanksgiving

For weeks after we arrived, Elise wished for a piano to practice on.
She had thoughtful offers from a couple of co-workers to come and use their home pianos, but it would have meant the complexities of a commute, and of trying to synchronize schedules.
Then the science teacher approached Elise and told her that there was an unused piano in the science room at the school (of all places!) and that, if she wished, she was welcome to use it after school hours.
Though Elise hesitates to use it when others are studying in the room after school, it is often available, and it's a place where she can pour out her heart in music.
It's just one more reason to give thanks!

Blessed be the Lord, because He has heard the voice of my supplication.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him!
Psalm 28:6&7

Sunday, September 13, 2009

i'm rich!

I've got $500!!!!
Just's really only worth $10.

I've been trying to collect all of the Filipino bills and coins.
I've got almost all of them now
(but I had to borrow a 1,000 peso bill for this photo.)

50 pesos equals about $1.
There is a 5 centavo coin that is worth only 1/10th of a penny!

by Michael

Thursday, September 10, 2009

shelf life

"No need to refrigerate the milk, Ma'am!"
Excuse me?

Yes! The milk and cream here are UHT, processed with ultra-high heat
for short periods of time, sterilizing them by killing the spores.
The products below are some I bought yesterday,
and their expiration date is February 2010.

UHT products are widely used to avoid the high costs of refrigeration.
Here are shelves of it in a local grocery store.

This milk has a shelf-life of 6-9 months (before being opened)
which is especially handy since refrigerators
are often very small!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


There are limitless opportunities to participate in activities around the center.
Here are some of the outdoor things we've done lately...

Mark and Michael play doubles with Mark's boss and his son

Elise plays a girls against guys soccer game

Barbara helps the youngest team of after-school soccer kids.
(No hands is such a tough rule to learn!)

Mark (above) and Amy (below) join in a grueling Ultimate Frisbee game

We're very thankful for a great community of people to serve with, learn with, and sweat with!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

random holidays

We have discovered that is is not uncommon for the President of the Philippines to declare non-working holidays just days before the holiday itself. For instance, it was declared on the 4th of September, that the 7th and 21st of September would be national holidays. These holidays are only for this year, they are not used in later years. The office staff have the day off, but our dad is working. We still have to do school!

Holiday announcement in Sunday paper.

By Elise

Saturday, September 5, 2009


When we're hungry for a taste of home, the Golden Arches is a ready option.

The standard burgers and fries aren't the only menu items;
how about a plate of spaghetti or some fried chicken and rice?

Though maybe not a gourmet treat, the hot fudge sundaes are just the same.
They are friendly and familiar!

This franchise had an upstairs where we found an unusually quiet spot
to savor our taste of home.


Thursday, September 3, 2009


The motorcycle is a pretty versatile contraption.

We're thinking that Americans have a lot to learn
about maximizing their capabilities.

Of course, balance is key.
(This photo was taken just before the bike fell over.)

Michael is trying to talk Mark into getting a motorcycle for our family transportation.
Who needs a minivan?
Surely all five of us could fit on!