Thursday, June 30, 2011

the first leg

Not only did we walk away from blogging during the course of the past three weeks, we also walked away from our home, and away from the island of Mindanao to another nearby island.

In fact, as the crow flies, our destination was only about 3 hours or so away.
But things are not always so straightforward in SE Asia.
All told, the trip took us over two days of travel.

(Bear in mind, we have co-workers who patiently go through this process regularly.)

Sorry we just can't say much more here about where exactly we went, 
but you can read our next newsletter for more specifics! **

some of the Bible Club materials

Mark had wisely paid the additional fee in advance allowing us to each check 20 kilos of baggage.  This was exceptionally smart since we had about 30 kilos of materials for the Bible Club alone!
Each of us packed some of it in our duffel, some in our backpack, and amazingly it all fit in.

Arriving at the Davao airport

meeting friends at the check-in counter

A very special feature of our trip was that we were able to travel the first leg with several friends who were going the same direction!  All told, there were 10 others we knew on the first two flights.

Though our first flight was running late, I had a great time in the boarding area with my friend Deb, discussing the goodness of God, and His complete sovereignty and trustworthiness.  We also loved savoring our friend Rita's yummy peanut butter bars, (thanks for sharing, Rita!) and laughing over the unique bathroom fixture (above)
Do you see the switch that turns on the faucet?  Somehow I just never would have thought of using a wired switch with bathroom plumbing...

Finally it was time to board the first flight

We reached Manila around dinner time and our family decided to go with a good ole' western meal, knowing that we might not get too much western food for awhile.  

Yum, that pizza sure tasted good.


 But pizza wasn't a good idea after all.
Not long after dinner, as we were going through yet another line,
Amy started not feeling well.
Soon Michael wasn't feeling too great either.

My earlier conversation with Deb gave me lots of food for thought
as first Amy and then Michael really got sick.

It was late at night, we were already tired, and our flight was delayed.
Which was maybe a mercy in the long-run.
It was about this time that we needed prayer,
so I emailed a few of you to please pray...

God  was good to us through our friends;
I know they were all praying for us as they watched the suffering...

Mary (next to Elise) had lots of energy for that time at night,
but she also came prepared.
She had saved the cute little white bag from the first flight,
and wanted to share it with Amy.
Boy, was that a great gift, Mary!!!

And God was good to us through strangers, too.
Like the little Filipino nun who quietly, kindly, sympathetically patted Michael on his back
as he was sick on the boarding ramp.
I'm pretty sure she was praying for him, too.

It was not an easy flight.
But in God's sovereignty He quietly reminded us of our utter, total dependence on Him.
Looking out the window at the sea and islands below, I wrote in my journal..."But 'The glory of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.' And 'The whole earth is filled with the glory of God.'  And somehow, someway, this suffering and this leaning on You and this presence of Yours in the very suffering lends weight and credence and truth to the message we have of hope in Christ."

At long last we landed, forged our way to our baggage and through one more of those lines,
and with help from one of our friends who spoke the language
we got into a taxi at 3 a.m. to head to a hotel where we would rest until our next flight in about 12 hours.

But that story is for the next post.

**Would you like to receive our ministry newsletters? Just add a comment to any post saying 'newsletter please!' with your email address.  I will NOT post your comment - we'll just make sure you get a newsletter next time we write one!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

we're back!

Michael, asleep on our bed at 4:00 in the afternoon

And Michael speaks for us all;
after an all-night flight
following 3 weeks away from home...

even The Energizer has stopped going.

But as soon as we catch a little sleep,
get on top of Mt. Laundry,
stock the fridge with food to re-fuel the family,
and sort through some of our thousands of photos,
(so you don't have to look at them ALL!!!)
we'll be sharing stories once again.

to all of you who prayed us through our trip!

Monday, June 6, 2011

we'll be back!

we're walking away for a few weeks...

I know it may come as a great disappointment to some of you,  ;)
but we've decided to take a break 
from blogging at earthenvessels 
 for the next few weeks.

We will be involved in some pretty major and time-consuming projects,
so we'll cherish your prayers.

God willing we'll be blogging again around the end of the month.

So, to all of our wonderful readers...
to all of you who care enough to spend time here with our family, 
and to pray for us so faithfully...

'palihog balik unya,'
which is Visayan for...
'please come back later,'

and we'll look forward to sharing with you 
stories from the coming weeks!

by grace alone...
♥ us5 earthen vessels ♥

Sunday, June 5, 2011

surfin' in the rain

It was Thursday morning
when Mark returned home directly after leaving for work.
"I made it to the end of the street, but from there it's just not passable."

I knew it was raining hard,
too poundingly hard on our roof to hear one another speak without raising voices,
but this I've got to see.
So I went out to explore, 
and below is what greeted my eyes...

Yep.  It was pretty wet out there.  Water up to the curb.

A few trikes and taxis were still forging their way through, 
but progress was pretty slow.

I couldn't walk  far without being underwater.

Up ahead I spotted movement in the water.  
This toad swam across the road and hopped up onto the pavement on the other side!  
I wonder if he's the one I saw in the cat food dish at our house the other day?

Not everyone was deterred by the rain. 
A friend said she saw someone in up to their knees.

Mark finally rolled up his pant legs 
and packed a towel and office shoes in a bag so he could get into work.

And yes, there really and truly were guys surfing on our street in the rain.

I'm sorry I didn't get a better action shot, but here they are waiting for a wave to break.  
Or maybe they were just laughing at the crazy woman down the street 
standing out in this rain with a camera.

Michael had no surf board, so he did the next best thing.

And as if the heavens hadn't blessed us with enough water for one day,
Michael had a friend over for some water balloon wars.

The poor cat. 
She was traumatized by all the day's water. 

We are thankful to live on pretty high ground. 

Not everyone has it so good. 
That street water sludge floods the homes
of more than one friend in the area when it gets so deep.

Thy fate is the common fate of all; Into each life some rain must fall.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. 
Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

Friday, June 3, 2011

feed my lambs

Last week we had a craft-day with our friends, Leanne and Christy.

But this wasn't just any crafting session.

We were working to prepare materials for a VBS of 150 children
in a village on another island here in S.E. Asia.

This will be the village's first-ever VBS!
And we are delighted to be helping to provide them 
with the materials for it.

  Leanne and I have actually been working together 
consistently for the past several months 
to plan and prepare most of the materials they will need.

I've never prepared VBS materials from scratch in a foreign language before. 

Let alone in TWO foreign languages!

It's been a fun challenge, 
and immensely rewarding.

We look forward to see how God will use this VBS for His glory.

The VBS will be from June 13 -17.  
Please pray with us that God will draw children to Himself 
by His Word!

'When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, 

“Feed my lambs.”'

John 21:15