Wednesday, June 30, 2010

another man's treasure

In the U.S., it can be difficult or expensive to repair things. Some might say that the economy is based on a "disposable" mindset. In contrast, here in the Philippines, it can be very economical to repair a broken or damaged item.

a repaired plastic lawn chair, stitched together with plastic string

In many cases, you don't even need to take your broken item to a repair shop; the repairman will make house calls.
People are very creative in how they repair and in how they reuse things. Very little is wasted or discarded. We wish we had photos of all the recycled things we've seen in use!

These sturdy market baskets are made from recycled nylon string which is made from recycled plastic bags.

Coconut shells are dried and used for charcoal.

This woman below has collected sticks in an empty lot to sell as fuel for cooking fires.

We saw a tortoise shell used to form the body of a beautiful guitar-like instrument.

And we saw a young blind man agilely repair his broken guitar string re-using the broken string. He'd obviously done it before.

Below are just a few of the hundreds of men and boys who pedal carts around the city in search of recyclables. One man's trash is another man's treasure. They call out in loud voices as they pass to let us know what they are collecting. They are happy to take our cardboard, plastics, tin cans, and packing materials.
There are so many, they pass by many times each hour.

notice the seat on the vehicle above - made from a recycled office chair!

God's way is similar, isn't it?

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."
-2 Corinthians 5:17

He's in the business of redeeming what may seem, in the eyes of others, poor and useless.
Thanks be to God!

Monday, June 28, 2010

summer tan

Not everyone in the world is working on their summer tan.

On this part of the globe people pay money for the beauty of whiter skin.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

cat in the 'at

Or in other words, kittens in the ceiling...

In a spot where we have no attic access, a mother cat has delivered her litter of kittens. For the past week we've heard them crying and mewing up there inside our ceiling.

One day the girls and I were walking to catch a jeepney when we heard mewing in the bushes by the sidewalk. We looked in, and sure enough, there was one of the kittens, eyes still closed, all alone outside the wall of the house. Well, we couldn't just leave her, so we took her home and kitten-sat her for a few days.

Pusa (Tagalog for Cat) was a tiny scrap of life. She ate a little, slept a lot, cried in the night, and loved to snuggle curled up in a cozy wrap. We knew that we couldn't give her all she needed. The kids watched Pusa's mother take three kittens out of our ceiling and over the wall to the house next door. So we left Pusa back inside her mother's gate knowing that would be her best chance for survival.

Meanwhile, the other kittens are still somewhat of a dilemma. Do we leave them, trusting that the mother will make sure to get them all out? Mark's contemplating the possibility of having to cut a hole in the ceiling. Reminds me of the 4 men who were determined to obtain an audience with Jesus for their paralytic friend. No mention of a nest of frightened cats tumbling out of the ceiling along with him though...

p.s. we've been told that we "might" have a phone line on Monday!

Friday, June 25, 2010

one more celebration

Six days after Amy and Elise's birthday, we are now celebrating Mark's!

We decided to head for the beach for the day.
What we didn't plan on was the untypical weather.
The skies were overcast when we left home. When we arrived at the boat launch, the wind was blowing and we felt...COLD. That in itself was unusual.

We, along with a surprising number of other hopefuls boarded the boat, then almost immediately found ourselves surrounded by a drenching downpour. Despite the tarp overhead we were all very quickly soaked. The crew had us wear life jackets (another unusual happening) and they waited til the rain eased a little before heading out across the swells.
It was a fun but very wet ride!

Once there, we hoped the rain would, as usual, pass quickly. Nope. The kids got in the water just to warm up!

We all had the unusual wish for some cozy jackets.

Mark finally decided to give the snorkeling a try anyway, and we all found that it was clear enough farther out to see quite a bit! Rainbow fish, blue sea stars, angel fish, clown fish, and many other varieties as well as some fascinating coral was all visible.

Mark and Michael ready to come back to shore

Amy and Mark ready to go past the boom to explore deeper water

Once out of the water, we were all ready to head home to get warm and dry.
It was a wet but memorable birthday!
Happy Birthday, Mark, and thanks to all of you who remembered him with cards and emails!

p.s. yes, we are STILL without a phone line, and life goes on. we do look forward to having it resolved so that our communication can be more regular. but there comes a time when the best thing to do is just to wait on God's timing, and not fret. He's teaching us lessons in waiting on Him!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Saturday, June 19th, we celebrated Amy and Elise's 14th birthday. We give God thanks for the beautiful gift of our two sweet girls.
Amy, always full of fresh wonder at God's amazing world; always thinking about how to engineer some new invention.
Elise, always considerate of others and their needs; always thinking about how to design some new gorgeous thing for people to enjoy.
You both bless us every day. We pray that you will never know a day apart from God.

On the 18th, Michael and Barbara zipped to the market on a trike to find mga bulak (flowers) for the girls. We spent the equivalent of $2.50 (don't tell the girls!) and brought home a huge bouquet of 2 dozen roses.

We decorated with balloons and tissue paper (there are no streamers here!) to surprise Elise and Amy when they came home from VBS with a friend. Here they are walking in the door. (I know you don't like this photo girls, but I think it's cute!)

It's great to have a home we can decorate for celebrations!

And it's such a blessing to have two delightful daughters to celebrate!

The morning of their birthday we went to Garden Oasis, a hotel and convention center tucked away in a very unlikely area of town - a true oasis. Here we enjoyed a morning at the pool, which we had almost entirely to ourselves.

We did some swimming, and it was also a great pool just to play around in.
It was a fun morning.

We tried some of their chicken skewers and rice for lunch.
They look pretty!
We probably won't eat there again soon...

Amy and Elise baked their own two layer chocolate cake in the afternoon, and decorated it for all of us to enjoy that evening.

Happy Birthday, Elise and Amy!

"I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers."
Ephesians 1:16

"Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen."
Hebrews 13:21

p.s. we are STILL without a phone line at the house! Mark visited the phone company a couple of days ago, and they promised it would happen soon. We just don't know what "soon" means. So please be patient with us in answering emails and posting blogs - things are moving much more slowly without the luxury of a phone line!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

back again

After long last, here's finally a new post to update you. We still have no land-line at our house, and very little internet access. So you may not hear from us often til that's resolved. To obtain a phone line we must show a lease, but our landlord doesn't have an authorized version of the lease to copy for us yet. We are learning to wait.

Meanwhile, here are a few photos from last week. It was a busy time of packing the few boxes we had (thanks again, Gerald and Peggy, for those fabulous packing boxes!) and unpacking them at the house so we could take them back to the apartment and pack some more!

Michael disassembles beds to move to the house

Mark, Amy and Michael move the sofa from upstairs

Michael reassembling his sisters' beds

Michael's new bedroom!

Elise and Amy's cozy room, upstairs, across the hall from Michael's room

The "master" bedroom.
We were so thankful that the landlord had almost the whole house freshly painted for us.
We especially appreciated it in this bedroom which had been a bright neon green with a brown stripe. I wasn't sure I could sleep with that color around me!

Our family room.

While the rest of us worked on the move, Elise and Amy spent each morning last week helping at a VBS for MKs. Their main task was to help each group with the craft projects.

Here Amy runs the power point for the songs

Elise introduces the craft to the preschoolers

I (Barbara) even had the honor of popping in to

teach the Bible lesson on a couple of mornings.

Thanks for bearing with us! We look forward to being more fully connected again soon.
Happy Father's Day to all you dads!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

please be patient

We are almost completely moved into the house now, but it's taking a bit of time to transfer phone/internet lines. Please be patient while we have limited internet usage. We hope to be back in full-swing soon!

Friday, June 11, 2010

trading places

After 7 months in our little apartment, a house has become available for us!
It's even closer to the school and office, and it has much more space for the same rental price. For the past two days we've been doing intensive cleaning, and tomorrow we hope to begin the moving process.

Give thanks with us as you take a mini virtual tour of our new home...

Inside the gate is our lovely front garden...

The door on the left is our front entrance,
and a co-worker lives in the unit back behind on the right.
Josanne is on the very left, scrubbing and cleaning. She spent a lot of time with us the past two days, very eager to do all sorts of odd jobs.

Dayon! Come in!

The living area ceilings are high and airy - it's SO much brighter and cheerier than our cave-like apartment.

A view from the upstairs. Great color scheme, isn't it?

Everyone pitched in to help get things tidy.
Here Michael mops his bedroom floor, (yay! Michael now has windows in his bedroom)

...and our friend Bing helps to deep-clean the kitchen
(she was too shy to smile for the camera)

Look at that huge kitchen, and all of that storage space. We'll appreciate it all the more after the tiny kitchen we've had!

Elise scrubs spots off of the sliding glass door in the loft
(it leads to a spacious deck out front)

Our friend Alvi helped today, too.
She worked miracles getting the bathrooms clean!

Amy wipes down baseboards in the bedroom that she and Elise will share.
(can you still call them baseboards if they are just painted on?)

Jeremiah and a friend came to the gate this afternoon asking to cut the grass.
I told them I had no equipment for them to use, but that they could pull weeds.
In they came, and they pulled up a bunch of weeds.
Next thing I knew, they had whipped out a long knife and a scythe, and were "mowing" the grass!

Many hands make light work.
-John Heywood

Thanks to the many hands that pitched in and made the load lighter today!