Sunday, May 30, 2010

peace child

This week we had the unique and exciting opportunity to hear Don Richardson, a long-term missionary with World Team who as a young man in 1962 traveled with his wife and infant son into the wilds of Papua. They went to share the Gospel with the Sawi tribe, well known to be headhunters and cannibals.

What transpired is unveiled in the amazing book Mr. Richardson authored called Peace Child. He is known as well for his similar books Lords of the Earth and Eternity in Their Hearts. All of Mr. Richardson's books focus on what he calls "redemptive analogy," the idea that every culture is embedded with some story, ritual or tradition which can be used to illustrate and apply the gospel message.

These were among the books we wistfully gave away before leaving for the Philippines. Never did we imagine that we would be blessed not only with hearing these incredible stories straight from the author's mouth, but that we would even have the honor of meeting him!

He shared "redemptive analogies" from several cultures: one that has "scape chickens" instead of scape goats, another that has a traditional "place of refuge," and another that practices a ritual of "new birth" to symbolize peace with a nearby tribe.

If you haven't yet read his books, we highly recommend finding a copy of Peace Child. It will instill you with awe as the story of God's mysterious work in preparing hearts for the gospel unfolds!

Indeed, when Gentiles who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts...
Romans 2:14

Friday, May 28, 2010

summer break

This was the last week of school!
We are officially on summer break now.

One day during this last week I substituted in the Kindergarten classroom again, since the teacher was called back to the U.S. for a death in the family.

Elise, Michael and Amy joined me in the afternoon, and I asked Amy to share some of her origami designs with the students. They loved seeing the intricate designs Amy has made.

The rotating 'firework'

The collapsing caterpillar and the drinking bird

And finally, Amy and Elise taught them how to make their own simple origami dogs.
It was a fun opportunity for our home school students to serve the school students!

Good teachers in schools for MKs are always needed! If you are a teacher, consider investing some time in an international school. I wouldn't be surprised if the benefits were far beyond your imagination!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


You won't have any success getting cash at this ATM.

"TUBIG" is the Cebuano word for water.

(Bring your own jug!)

Monday, May 24, 2010

service class

During the last semester, Elise and then Amy each took a one-quarter-long exploratory Service Class that met twice a week. About half of the class periods were hands-on trips, and the instructor's goal was to give the students a broader view of what poverty is.

Elise was part of the pilot class, so sadly we have no photos of her group. The photos that follow all include only Amy - but you can imagine Elise in all of the same contexts. Here are some of their observations from this unique experience.

Packaging craft projects for a local Bible School

Elise: "I was not very enthusiastic about the class when it began, but by the end of the quarter, I realized that it was really good for me, and that I had enjoyed it a lot. We had many opportunities to serve the school and other organizations, and we learned about lots of ministries: schools for poor children, church plants, orphanages, food programs for malnourished children, and much more."

Amy: "One Tuesday we walked to a small village near the Davao River. It was really neat to see how the people grew all of their food and made their houses out of woven matting. They raised pigs, goats, chickens and caribou. They grew corn and other strange vegetables that I had never heard of before!"

Elise: "Many of the people (in these poor villages near the school) farm as a profession. We sometimes passed out tracts and fruit to the children. It is really amazing to see where some of the people live. Their houses are built out of so may different materials that we would never think of using. Old canvas signs, used plastics and sheets of metal, grasses woven together, and many other things. Those walks were hot and tiring, but it was amazing to see the contentment of the people who live there."

visiting a nearby village

Amy: "Our teacher took us to a feeding program where street kids come for a meal. We helped give a small Gospel presentation, sang some songs with them, and then helped serve food to the kids."

serving food

Elise: "The first orphanage we visited was called Living Stones. It was owned by a missionary family, and run by Filipinos. We were let in the gate, and lots of little kids came flying out to greet us. Most of them were under 4 years old. We played with them and held them for a little while. We had a lot of fun singing together and playing games, even though they didn't talk much! I really enjoyed touring the orphanage, and playing with the kids."

Amy: "That was one of my favorite places!"

playing with the orphans

Amy: "After every class our teacher had us fill out a journal so we could think about what we had learned. I enjoyed many parts of the class, even though some things made me uncomfortable. It was challenging in some aspects, but it was a good class!"

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
1 Peter 4:10

Saturday, May 22, 2010

up to the eyeballs

may i be honest?

today i've had it UP TO MY EYEBALLS with living in another culture.

i won't go into detail, or else you would know exactly how petty i am being. it's not even about living in the Philippines...i think i'd feel this way almost anywhere in the world. i'm just weary of all the ways things are...different, and i'm missing what i left behind.

when the straw broke the camel's back at dinner time, i think i scared the rest of the family. (sorry you4.) which is actually pretty amazing when you think about it. they didn't quite know what to do with my culture shock because no one else has gone through this.


so i sent myself to my room for a time out, and to pray, because i am smart enough to know i need help with this. as I prayed, i was reminded of why i'm here. it's simply out of obedience to my Lord. that's it. and i was reminded of what He did out of love for me.

"He left His Father's throne above,
(so free, so infinite His grace!)
humbled Himself
(so great His love!),

and bled for all His chosen race.

'Tis mercy all, immense and free;
for, O my God, it found out me.
Amazing love!
How can it be
that Thou, my God,
shouldst die for me?"

-Charles Wesley

is anyone else feeling up to the eyeballs in circumstances?
will you join me in regaining perspective
by focusing our eyes on Him

instead of on the world around us?

"My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who reigns above,
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace,
Whose ev’ry thought is love.
For ev’ry day I have on earth
Is given by the King;
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow Him."
Keith Getty & Stuart Townend

oh, for grace to trust Him more...

Friday, May 21, 2010

coming untied

We drove around the corner the other day to find this cow wandering up the street.
It was only mildly disconcerting, though it might have been a little more startling had we been on foot.

Cows are typically tied up to graze for the day in empty lots all over the area.
This one just happened to break loose...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

tale of two sisters

Not much could delight this mother-bibliophile like the fact that
Amy and Elise have discovered the joy
of reading one of my favorite authors, Charles Dickens.

Amy began with Great Expectations, and her enthusiasm was contagious.

Now Elise is equally intrigued by A Tale of Two Cities.

This new trend should supply some good reading options for the summer ahead!

"I feel an earnest and humble desire, and shall till I die, to increase the stock of harmless cheerfulness." -Charles Dickens

Monday, May 17, 2010

wet laundry

It's raining buckets on my clean laundry...

...and I couldn't be happier!

Mindanao needs rain so badly.
The power outages (caused by insufficient rainfall to fill the reservoirs and run the hydroelectric power stations) have been pretty frustrating.

But for many farmers who rely on the rain for the survival of their crops, the drought has been devastating.
We're giving thanks for this rainfall!

"He bestows rain on the earth;
He sends water upon the countryside."
Job 5:10

Friday, May 14, 2010


Every place on earth has its trade-offs.
We have them here, too.

We may not have carpeting, or a vacuum cleaner...
but we do have some pretty cool brooms

We may have no microwave...
but we have a gas oven that works even during power outages

We may have no fresh berries...
but we have lots of fabulous fresh pineapple and mango year round

We may have no dishwasher...
but that just means I don't have to buy dishwasher detergent

We may have no public library...
but we do have 2 school ones, and we can even use them barefoot!

We may have no seasons...
but we do have a predictable 5:30 sunrise year-round

We may have no residential mail delivery...
but we do have food vendors who pass by the apartment selling snacks til 10:30pm

(sweet corn vendors)

We may have no master bathroom...
but we do have kids who don't leave toothpaste in the sink

We may have no Leopold's ice cream...
but McDonald's delivers only slightly melted hot fudge sundaes

We may have no hot water taps...
but our electricity bill is lower

We may have no garbage disposal...
but we do have neighbor kids who are happy to earn a peso for taking out the trash

We may have no radio alarm clock...
but we have aspiring musical roosters next-door

We may have no clothes-dryer...
but we do have a real washing machine

We may not have Jr. Mints...
but we DO have SMARTIES (all my Canadian friends, take note!)
when you eat your Smarties do you eat the red ones last?

I (Barbara) may not have the ability to drive...
that's what I get for never having learned to drive a stick-shift...i just can't fathom learning it around here; not the way this city drives!
but public transportation in the form of jeepneys, trikes and taxis is easy to find

We may not have you, our friends and family nearby...
but we have the luxury of sharing our lives with you through our blog

Thanks for taking time to visit!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

shy grass

Shy grass is a plant that grows here in the Philippines. It is very prickly and usually grows in grass. Shy grass blends in very well with the grass, and is so tiny, that we often step on it by mistake.

OUCH! It hurts to step on shy grass....and its small prickles are hard to get out of our feet!

An interesting aspect of shy grass is that when you touch it, its leaves quickly fold together.
We enjoy watching the reaction of the plant when we touch it gently with our finger, but dread stepping on it unawares!

-written by Amy and Elise

-pain modeled by Michael

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Election Day !

Today is election day here in the Philippines. There are currently more than 85,000 candidates for only 17,000 national and local positions and it is believed that the youth will have the swing vote in this election as 40% of voters are 18-35 and there are a potential 3 million first-time voters.

It will be the first national computerized election in the history of the Philippines and it is hoped that this will avoid irregularities seen in previous elections. It is possible that businesses and shopping malls may be without electric power today to ensure that there are no outages at the polling locations.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

beyond live

Last night the school presented their year-end concert, Beyond Live.

Amy performed with the Intermediate Band, the Middle School Combined Band, and a Middle School/High School combined band.
(In the photo above she is the flautist immediately to the right of the director.)

(Look for Amy below on the extreme right)

Amy has enjoyed the opportunity to play many varieties of music this year. Last night they performed everything from Spirituals to Philip Bliss; from movie and video game theme-songs to a Shaker hymn, Simple Gifts.

Simple Gifts
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

i am

I mean, really hungry? With no idea where your next meal is coming from?

If so, then the statement that
Jesus is the Bread of Life might be of importance to you.
You might identify pretty well with sharing 5 rolls and 2 fish with a lot of other people.

(this helper is passing around the 2 fish for everyone to eat)

In the dark?
Living with daily 3 hour power outages? (Including one outage during VBS!)
If so, then the statement that Jesus is the Light of the World might have real significance. You might identify very well with seeing blind beggars on the street and with their attraction to a man who could bring light to their world.
(these young people are acting out the story of the blind beggar)

It struck me today how very applicable the teachings of Jesus still are to the world. I wish that you could have heard the cheers and clapping of those 200 kids when the girl acting the part of the blind beggar knelt and cried out, "Salamaat, Hesus!" ("Thank you, Jesus!)

And I wish you could have been there to experience the electric excitement when the children learned that they would be given their own flashlights today. Then, when the announcement was made that these were RECHARGEABLE flashlights, the cheer was enough to bless any heart. Who has money for batteries? But a RECHARGEABLE flashlight!!! Luxury and bliss!

John 8:12 - "Jesus said, I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."

Michael with two new friends

Elise practices her Bisaya with friendly Filipinas

We are so very blessed to be here!
Next time you turn on a light, or eat a snack, thank God for what you have,
and for the greater, deeper blessing you have in the Great I AM -
the Light of the World,
the Bread of Life!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

bible club

Bible Club has begun! Jeepneys were hired to pick up children from the surrounding neighborhoods to bring them to the church.
Michael, Elise and Amy hitch a ride on the one from our neighborhood.
At the church 200 children sort into groups of 20, picking up their name tags and
hand-sewn water bottle carriers (that water is imperative in this hot, humid climate).

Then inside the church for a time of praise.
How wonderful to hear these children sing praise to God in their heart language!

After singing and a Bible lesson, they join their respective groups to do the Bible Story-related craft.

Elise poses with some excited kids from our neighborhood.

The smile speaks for itself.

Amy gives a bit of help and encouragement.

Michael poses with some new friends.

Prizes are awarded for Bible memory work.
The notebooks they received today are one of the items they need to start a new
school year next month.

Our help was not really needed, since the church has staffed the club very well.
But it's an honor to come alongside,
to watch and listen,
to love the children,
to pray for them,
and to see God at work through His people.

The morning is over, so the children pile back on the jeepneys...

...and wave goodbye until tomorrow.
(The group of children I rode home with live in the nearby cemetery,
in houses around the perimeter. They are literally at home among the tombs.)

Please pray for the hearts of these children, whose greatest need is the Savior!