Thursday, April 29, 2010

around the block

Michael and I took a walk around the block the other day.
You can get a feel for our neighborhood by joining us for a look
at some of the photos we took along the way...

Papaya Tree

Sifting for things of value

A wall (like MANY in town) plastered with political posters.
(Nationwide elections will be May 10th)

A Banana tree! These ones are cooking bananas.

A squatter's makeshift dwelling. The roof is a big political poster.

A sari-sari, or neighborhood shop where you can buy small portions of candy, cleaning products, etc.

And our friends, Josanne and Michael.

We'd love for YOU to come and tour our neighborhood someday!
Come on over - we'll show you around!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

play ball!

Last Friday was the end of the elementary baseball program

Michael won't be joining the minor league anytime soon,
but he had fun and learned some new skills

Coach Jeff hands him his award at the ceremony

(Thanks, Donald, for the photos - without you we would have no record of this event!)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

same sufferings

Our sweet next-door friend Mae
has battled a bad cough for months,
and she has been diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Mae is unable to continue in her work,
so she's gone home to the country to rest and recover.
Mae's sisters Anne and Joy continue to text us
to keep us updated. Mae texts, too, when she
has load.

We know that their resources are very limited,
yet each message we get from them just requests our prayers.

"...know that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world."
1 Peter 5:9b

Saturday, April 24, 2010


At 7:30 this morning, Elise, Amy and I joined others at the school to help with the registration process for a neighborhood VBS coming up in two weeks' time.

Children had lined up outside the gate as early as 5 a.m.

Many at the front of the line were familiar faces of children who come to our home asking for work!

Our co-worker, Barbara A. (on the right) had returned from her new assignment in the U.S. to coordinate and administer the VBS, along with many Christians from a local church which will host the event.

The girls and I helped to take photos of each child as part of the registration process.
We took photos of 204 children, and sadly, another 100 or more had to be turned away, since there was no more room.

After having their photo taken, they registered,

...were fitted for a t-shirt size, and given a packet of Bible verses to learn before coming to the VBS.

This was an important day for many children, who look forward to this event all year.

Josanne and Anna were near the end of the line,
relieved to have arrived in time to have a spot!

Please pray with us that the hearts of these children would be impacted by the Gospel, and that lives would be transformed as a result of His love and His grace!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Before we left the U.S., upon our arrival in the Philippines, and over the course of the past 9 months, we've gone through various stages of CLI, a Cross-Cultural Living Internship, in order to learn how to live more effectively in a culture that's not our own.

“Many people mistakenly believe that when they have finally mastered a language,

they have also learned the corresponding culture.

The tragedy is that because they operate with this misconception,

they never learn… the silent language of culture.”

(Lingenfelter, 2003)

Recently we took a week's course with various other co-workers who are new to this culture, and the time spent in hearing from Filipinos and other Westerners who have lived here for many years was especially valuable. The following glimpse into the Filipino culture is just one of those important insights we need in living here...

“The Filipino ‘yes’ puzzles most Westerners. A ‘yes’ could mean just that; but it could also very well mean, ‘maybe’, or ‘I don’t know’ or ‘if you say so’, or ‘if it will please you’, or

‘I hope I have said it unenthusiastically enough for you to understand I mean ‘no’.

In his desire to please he cannot bring himself to say ‘no’ openly.

This is why an invitation to dinner has to be pursued and reconfirmed several times,

otherwise a casual ‘yes’ is not deemed binding; the invitation could have been extended as a matter of courtesy;

or the person invited and accepting just could not find the proper way to say no,

so he says ‘yes’ to stall, hoping to find the right excuse when the invitation is extended a second time,

hopefully through a third person to whom he can say no without qualms.

(Roces, 2006)

Michael actually learned in his Filipino Culture class last week that a Filipino "Maybe" is actually a very polite but definite "No."

We're continuing to learn and grow,
by grace alone...

Monday, April 19, 2010

to cap it off

Remember your old bottle cap collection?

Here's Michael's.
He worked for weeks, gathering a dozen or so each time he'd go running in the nearby cemetery with Mark. He'd find them as we walked down the street, and collected from friends who had sodas.

He'd wash them and sort them and count all 135 of them.

But all too soon it grew old, and he gave the lot to the recycle man the other day.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

it's a sign

Not your everyday, standard billboards...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

little joys

During a recent group meeting, our family enjoyed
caring for some of the little ones...

Elise and friends read a book of nursery rhymes

Amy pushes two delighted toddlers on the swing

Michael tosses the frisbee with a kindergartner

Elise reads that book...AGAIN!

Even a child is known by his actions,
by whether his conduct is pure and right.
Prov. 20:11

Monday, April 12, 2010

breakfast is ready

Texting is the most common form of communication here in the Philippines.
Land lines are too expensive for many,
and cell-phone calls cost more than texting.

Everyone texts - even us.
But not all texts are equally interesting.

I got this one on Saturday morning from Mae, who works next door:

Yes, you read that right.
She had a gift of freshly cooked spaghetti for our breakfast
waiting on top of the wall that divides our properties.

I admit, we didn't eat it for breakfast.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

waking in glory

Wednesday evening, Barbara's sister Shirley went to be with her Jesus,

and woke up in Glory.

"But as for me, I will behold Your face in righteousness,

I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake."

Psalm 17:15

"On either hand we behold a birth, of which, as of the moon, we see but half. To the region where he goes, the man enters newly born. We forget that it is a birth and call it death. The body he leaves behind is but the placenta by which he drew his nourishment from his mother Earth. And as the childbed is watched on earth with anxious expectancy, so the couch of the dying, as we call it, may be surrounded by the birth-watchers of the other world, waiting like anxious servants to open the door to which this world is but the windblown porch."

-George MacDonald (from the Musician's Quest)

"He will swallow up death for all time,
And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces..."
Isaiah 25:8

Shirley died peacefully holding her husband's hand. The family had surrounded her during the day, singing to her and ministering to her spirit, even though she wasn't able to respond. Thanks so much for your prayers for Shirley and for her family over the course of the past few weeks.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

school's out!

The school year in the Philippines begins in June and ends at the end of March, with a two-month summer break for April and May.

According to some, these are the hottest two months of the year;
a great time to be on vacation if your school has no a/c or fans...!

(Don't get excited, Amy, Elise and Michael. You've still got 6 weeks of school left!)

Monday, April 5, 2010

greatest good

Josanne and Michael
visit us several times a week; sometimes daily.
Josanne is the only little girl who comes to our gate looking for work.
She's sweet, and is always so delighted when we give her jobs. She sometimes comes alone, but often with a friend.

Michael is quiet and serious, and likes to work.
One day I had the two of them prepare mga gulay (vegetables) for dinner.
They were very happy scrubbing and peeling and cutting up the carrots and potatoes.

Another day Josanne brought two friends along to ask for a job,
we had them wash the car.
(Our car has to be the cleanest in town!)
As they worked, a Filipina friend who was in the house with me translated some of their chatter. Josanne was giving instructions on how to wash the car.
"First you wash this part, then you scrub this..."

Can you even begin to imagine children of 8 and 10 years old wandering the streets each day looking for work? I find myself wishing that I could give them regular employment; make it possible for them to go to school; 'fix' things for them. But though we can encourage them with some work,
and demonstrate something of God's love,
yet we are not and never will be the answer to their deepest need.

So I want to approach serving them with an attitude of how I can listen, learn, see, and come alongside of them. I want our outlook to be assets based, not needs based; acknowledging and honoring what these children have and then building on that.

More than anything, I want to help them to see God as the source of all good. To look to Him, and no other to meet their need!

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.
Psalm 73:28