Thursday, December 30, 2010
Yesterday our family piled into the car and began to drive;
through, and then up into the hills beyond the bustle of Davao to Eden.
as we shed the heat and the noise,
leaving them behind as we entered the comparative cool,
quiet, and calm of the nature park.
There is no place like this inside the city;
inside our daily life...
for flowers and rocks, waterfalls and trees that silently sing.
They quietly whisper the melodic praise of their Creator -
songs that are too often drowned out by the din of the city.
For this reprieve, our spirits give thanks!
Four out of five of us end the afternoon with a dip in the pool;
and with the luxury of the touch of chill!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Mark and Michael have been doing a weekly book study together.
They have enjoyed two titles by Christian author Bob Schultz;
the most recent being the book "Created For Work."
The goal of the book is to provide boys
with tools for becoming young men of character, wisdom, and strength.
"It is better to trust in work than money;
God never buys anything
and is forever at work."
After one weekly study, Michael was inspired to begin some more demanding chores.
That's not always easy here; life is very different in this society.
But he began to take on the job of cutting our grass.
As you can see, though our yard is small,
so is his equipment.
No power tools going on here.
Michael also sent out emails to a few neighbors,
offering his grass-cutting services.
A couple of friends have hired him,
and he's been happy to have the opportunities.
On his last job, Josanne and GR joined him,
lending a helping hand,
and vastly enjoying watching their Americano friend at work!
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Sharing with you a few photos of our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day;
glimpses of memories made,
with hopes that your Christmas too, was blessed with joy and thanksgiving!
unique Filipino-style snowflake
ingeniously constructed out of recycled goods...
Christmas Eve anticipation
sorry, no photos of us singing carols in the dark on our deck,
trying to cool off from the 90 degree heat,
fortified with our traditional bottomless plate of Christmas cookies...
...a South American Christmas tradition
shared by a friend
(no, the hockey stick isn't traditional - just the pinata!)
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
There was silence as we viewed the next image on the computer screen;
photos from December 2008; our last Christmas in Savannah.
They were like glimpses out of a fairy tale.
The clean white hearth and mantel, decked with garland and soft shimmering lights. A lavish gingerbread house sprinkled with colorful candies. Our traditional ferry ride across the Savannah River to see the lights and gingerbread houses.
Lessons and Carols at the church.
An almost palpable glow of warmth in the crackling fire on Christmas Eve, surrounded by beloved family.
I felt a strange sensation; as though I were peering through some magical lens into another era, another world that was once home.
"We had better not look at too many photos; it will make us discontent."
Elise’s comment struck a chord.
What have we done to leave such beauty, such tranquility? What are we doing here in this sweaty, gritty, inelegant place, far from those we love?
With a sigh we looked at the last photo together. A few seconds passed in silence.
What have we done to trade all that... for this?
Yet that’s exactly what Jesus did. And that's what Christmas is about.
He left it all.
The wonder and beauty, the tranquility of His Father’s home, the companionship at His Father’s side. He became incarnate, leaving it all behind to come to this sweaty, gritty, inelegant earth.
“He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:17
He forfeited His culture of perfection to dirty His feet on our streets,
to taste our daily bread,
to communicate in our language,
and, beyond that, to lay down His life in ransom for ours,
to bring good news to the poor.
He left all He had for me.
Could I do any less for Him?
Amy broke the silence, and my heart swelled with joy to hear her words.
“I wouldn’t trade that house and that life for what we have now.”
Life here is not soft and clean and storybook-lovely.
It’s more like the stuff adventure novels are made of.
But I wonder now if we could be content with anything less than being part of this adventure. What have we done? We’ve just responded to Christ’s call; to bring good news to the poor…the riches of the Good News of the Incarnation to those for whom He came.
Thanks to all of you who have encouraged and partnered with us in responding to Him.
We miss you, but there's nowhere else we'd rather be.
Monday, December 20, 2010
On Sunday evening we had the joy of hosting our small church
for their annual Christmas party.
The party got started at about 4:15, when some of the youth
gathered to practice some special selections to play later in the evening.
Then we all headed outside to the driveway for games.
and then a 20-questions type of game.
Michael played with Kuya Alan,
trying to guess the Christmas-related word
taped to his forehead
by asking a variety of questions.
and headed inside for a potluck dinner.
After lots of delicious food, the Sunday School performed.
Even Michael had a part in reading the Christmas Story
It was a special evening.
Though we in many ways were more observers than hosts,
we felt honored to be included so warmly
in this celebration of Christmas.