Monday, April 30, 2012

race to the finish

It's 4:45 a.m. Saturday morning as we drive through the quiet city streets.
What was I thinking?
I'm not a runner.
But here Mark and I are on our way to a local charity run.

When Mark told me he was going to enter his second 10k race in two months,
I told him I'd come along to cheer.
Then somehow he talked me into participating.
NO! Not in the 10k. I'm not that crazy fit.

We pay our fees and get our shirts as dawn begins to break over the city

All participants gather, and the first order of business is a prayer, asking God to bless the run.

I glance over and see Manuel Vismanos,
the barefoot runner, a local legend.

Manny is a retired policeman from  Davao. He started running in the 60's and has always believed that running barefoot makes him move better and faster. 
Manny is also an avid mountaineer, and he climbs without shoes, too!


Mark and the other 10k runners start off without much ceremony - before we really expected they'd start.

Then a fitness instructor runs up front and leads the rest of us in a warm-up routine.  By the time the 6k runners have started, she's going strong; everyone is dancing! The warm-up gathers intensity before us 3k folks begin.  I'm feeling sorry for the 2k guys - they'll be worn out before they start!

A task force guard stands by watching the warm-up; these men with their huge weapons are just a normal sight in the community.  No one (not even I) blinks to see them here.

The 3k begins. This family made me smile.

The route takes us up a main street,

to an intersection where we stop to wait for a stream of traffic.

Then near the market, dodging chickens in the road, past fires burning in these cans 
to steam the mais, or sweet corn sold by street vendors.

As the route progresses, I realize there's a young boy keeping pace with me, walk/jogging beside me.  We begin to talk.  Jaybee is 10, and from Manila, and his mom was somewhere out in front.
We had fun sharing impressions of Davao, and he wanted a photo together at the end.

Jaybee and I.  I knew Michael should have joined us!

Manny comes in at 51 minutes

with Mark just 3 minutes behind him.

Snacks are served afterward - 
bananas, a rice porridge (with fish thanks, but Mark likes it!) 
and hard boiled eggs.

Manny and Mark had talked at a previous race,
 and he was gracious to pose with Mark for a photo.

But Manny wasn't the only one with celebrity status.
Lots of people wanted to pose with the Americans...

Thanks for letting me join you, Mark.
Maybe next year I'll be ready for that 10k...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Three years ago today
our family was commissioned for this work.

It's been three years of God's faithful provision;
three years of learning
and growing
and seeing Him at work.

We invite you to celebrate this anniversary with us!
Through your partnership and prayer God has made this possible.
Thank you!
And thanks be to God.

 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me 
to present to you the word of God in its fullness-
Colossians 1:25 NIV

french bread

We bake lots of our own bread since we tend to favor a slightly less sweet bread 
than is usually available in the stores around these parts.

I hadn't tried baking French Bread before, but when I found this recipe, it quickly became a staple.
It's an easy and quick bread, and has a bit of that tangy French-bread flavor without all the work of using a sourdough starter.
With NO fats and only 2 tsp of sugar, it's almost healthy! :)

if you live where I do, rise that dough on top of an ant trap!

French Bread

1 1/4 cups very warm water
1 1/2 tsp yeast
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups white flour

1 egg
1 Tblsp water

* Pour the warm water into a big bowl, and sprinkle the yeast on top.  Add the sugar, stir, and let it sit until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
* Add the salt and the flour, kneading it in until smooth and pliable; about 5 minutes.
* Let dough rise in the bowl for an hour, until double the size.
* Divide dough in 1/2 and shape into two logs; place loaves side by side on a greased cookie sheet.
* Cover and let rise for another 45 min. to an hour.

* Whisk the egg and water and brush over loaves.

if you don't have a pastry brush, a paper towel works just fine
 *Bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes, until the loaves are golden brown. 

*Serve warm with butter, or with sandwich fillings.  
If you're like us, you won't have to worry about storing leftovers!

Monday, April 23, 2012

shooting the breeze

A friendly mid-day game of pool

Filipinos are notorious for taking time for one another;
it's common to see people just sitting together by the side of the road,
at any time of day,
in no rush,
shooting the breeze.

Relationship matters most.

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life,
 and thanks to a benevolent arrangement 
the greater part of life is sunshine.
-Thomas Jefferson

Will you take time for what matters most to you today?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

on stage

This just makes me happy...
all these tie-die T-shirts drying on our line...

...and these beautiful ladies who created them...

...for this dynamic production presented by the high school choral class last night.

Elise is on the far right, front

The Grand Finale; again, Elise is on far right

Fabulous production, people!  Your energy was contagious.
I still think that a few of you earned P.E. credits up on that stage...

To God be the glory...
for all that creativity,
for the beautiful gift of music,
and for giving you the energy and abilities to perform like you did!  

May you always praise Him so whole-heartedly.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Monday, April 16, 2012

never know what you'll see

Michael holds a baby croc
While Michael's sisters were gone on their service trip, Michael had a taste of being an only child.  Not nearly as much fun as having his sisters around.  One day we decided to go re-explore the Crocodile Park together, the nearest thing to a zoo in Davao.

Here's a peek at some of what we saw...
(no  exotic squirrels today, like we've sometimes seen in captivity here!)

an imposing cassawary

just a little wary of the cassawary...

the most amusing of birds.  I could have watched him hop around in his rabbit-y way for hours!

I had to chuckle; where else would you see orangutans eating mango for lunch?

but this guy made me sad...

momma tiger well-enclosed in a chain-link cage

and her playful baby tiger...

playing under the bushes here behind this low rope fence...:eek!:

reminders of how very difficult the English language can be 

and of the culture of the tribes around us

couldn't get much closer!

and then there was the sleepy civet, whose presence helps in the production of the locally grown coffee...

in the gift store - anyone want to try some? I'm not brave enough, but we'd be happy to bring some back for you!  ;)

You just never know what you'll see at the Crocodile Park!

Friday, April 13, 2012

perched on stilts at the ocean's edge

Inday comes from a home like these,
 perched on stilts at the ocean's edge, 
sandwiched together in close community.  

 Before dawn each morning the fathers and the big brothers paddle their double-outriggers out to sea where they fish and dive, returning back home with food for their families along with pearls and edibles to sell. Mothers and big sisters search for shellfish on the tidal flats, care for their home, sell used clothing at the market, and weave intricate mats. The young children run the city streets barefoot, expectantly requesting a bit of food or a peso from everyone they meet.  

Afternoons find the fathers strolling the wharves to vend the family-harvested pearls, or building boats for their own use and for sale, repairing nets, and resting from the morning's work, sharing stories with friends who gather to relax. Come evening, young and old drink a soothing cup of coffee and retire early, falling asleep on woven mats, ready to rise before dawn again the next day.

But for Inday it’s different.  She makes a friend who helps her to get an education. Inday is accepted to college and studies dental hygiene.  She mixes with others, makes her way, finds a job and begins a new career, a more prosperous and hopeful life in the flurry of the city.

Not long afterward, the friend contacts Inday only to find that she has left it all.  The work, the city, the new lifestyle.  She has gone back to her home like this one, perched on stilts at the ocean's edge.  She is back with her family, in her community.  “It’s easier here,”  Inday says.  

Easier?  With a tin roof and worn out clothes and no steady income or running water? Easier?  With a local reputation for poverty, uneducated laborers for neighbors, and no hope of advancement or a better life?  


How could it be easier to be poor?  

Maybe my definition of poverty is too narrow.  Is poverty a gnawing hunger for food, never having enough to eat?  Is it sleeping on a cold dirt floor, or living under the dark shadow of a bridge?  Is it being clothed in worn out clothing, grown ragged with wear?

Or does being poor mean a hollow unmet hunger for relationship?  Or sleeping in a perfectly decorated house where hearts have grown cold, living under the dark shadow of loneliness?  Or is poverty wearing the latest fashions masking a spirit clothed in ragged weariness with it all?  

Two kinds of poverty. It’s hard to decide which one is more debilitating.

Maybe if true wealth is not entirely defined by the possessions we own, but also by connection to the family we love, by relationship with others who understand us and care about us,  then yes, living in a home like Inday’s, perched on stilts along the ocean’s edge could truly be better than alienation by affluence.
Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, 
for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.
Luke 12:15

*thanks to J for his insights on Inday's culture

Thursday, April 12, 2012

celebrating Easter...

the cross of Christ, 

the resurrection of our Savior,

and the fellowship of the saints.

Amy and Elise help to serve the evening meal
JR cooks up a batch of delicious peanut-ty pork stew...all on a 2-burner stove top. Lami! (delicious!)

Can't forget the rice.  :)
Together with some of my sisters in Christ;
sweet sisters who love Him,
and who have shown me such love, too.

There is a bond here, even when we don't always understand one another;
we have this common heavenly culture.
 All because of Easter, we share in the fellowship of the universal church.