Tuesday, April 30, 2013

the order of the day

Jane Austen
 from Pride and Prejudice:

"I should like balls infinitely better,' she replied, 'if they were carried on in a different manner; 
but there is something insufferably tedious in the usual process of such a meeting.  
It would surely be much more rational if conversation instead of dancing were made the order of the day.'"

It's prom season in the US,
but that means banquet season here in Davao.

 This was Michael's first year to get to attend, 
and he was a good sport to pose with his sisters before they set off on their separate ways.

The guys had a back massage line going...
how did you get at the front of the line, Michael?

Try all you want guys,
these two ain't no angels.

Meanwhile the high school met for a masquerade banquet,

though the masks didn't seem to get much use...

Lots of games and laughter,
food and skits,
friends and memories,
and...oh yes, conversation
were the order of the day.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

things not seen

Ann was just thirteen years old when she and her three siblings came down with the measles.  Raised in a quiet rural setting on this Filipino island, though the immunization was free, they never did get the measles vaccine.   

And it wasn’t just a simple case of measles.  It was serious enough to claim the lives of her two sisters, and to blind both Ann and her 15 year-old brother.  The doctor had hopes that he might help Ann to recover some of her vision, but Ann’s parents rejected the treatment, fearful that it might bring even more grief.

A few years later, after the death of both of her parents, Ann moved to the city where she found a job at a blind massage center.  She was trained to strengthen her hands to ease the tension from the shoulders of people she could not see.  Then Ann got pregnant, and though the responsibility was weighty, the new infant girl was her delight.    

Visiting her aunt, Ann left the baby with her for a short time to rest.  But while she slept, Ann’s aunt took the 2-week old baby and sold it to another family, believing that Ann in her blindness wasn’t capable of raising the child on her own.

Ann was in despair.  She quit attending church, angry and wounded.  She married a quiet, stable young man, also partially blind, and found some solace in his care for her, but two years later she’s still struggling with the loss of her baby.  She knows the child is living somewhere in another city, but not only will Ann never see her daughter, she will never hold her in her arms again. She says that she finds it so hard to forgive, yet a voice inside tells her that is what she must do.  

Ann is now at our local church with her husband, longing for comfort and peace.  She’s listening to the book of Job, trying to come to terms with God’s sovereignty and His ability to bring life out of pain.

And though Ann may never be fully comforted in this life, though all of her grief may not be erased, she has a hope that reaches beyond all this.  Her hope stems from God’s own searing agony, in willingly sending His own precious Child to a destiny of suffering, appointing Christ to bear the judgment for her sin so that even in her temporary pain, she might never know a day apart from Him.

God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.
 – Saint Augustine

 Ann trusts in Christ’s work for her.  She knows that her sight will one day be restored and her grief will be soothed.     

One day, outside of this brief window of time, the rest of us who rest in His grace will also be freed from our own physical pain and our own individual sorrows.  Because of that day, we can already by faith, in the midst of pain, praise Him for rescuing us from the domain of darkness through the voluntary sacrifice of His only Son.  

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

take a stand

"A family should be composed of one husband, one wife, and their children.  Do you agree or disagree?"

Elise's Bible teacher staged a walking debate for her class.  As he made various controversial statements, the students took their places under signs in the room labeled: "Strongly Agree," "Not Sure," and "Strongly Disagree." 

In the wake of all the recent news coverage regarding the definition of family, Elise was staggered to see many of the Korean students strongly disagree with this statement about the traditional composition of family.

Until the teacher asked them to defend their position.  Their response was, "What about the grandparents?"

Monday, April 22, 2013

to the Giver of the song

Michael on trumpet at last week's band concert
 Praise Him, 
sun and moon;
praise Him, all you shining stars.

the advanced middle school band - Michael in the back row, center, on trumpet
 Praise Him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.

the high school instrumental class - Amy on flute, front row, right side (looks like she dyed her hair red! she didn't.)
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for at His command they were created...
Psalm 148:3-5

Many thanks to an inclusive school,
and to a talented and committed teacher (thanks, Mr. B!)
for opportunities to make music together,
with the united goal of bringing glory to the Giver of the song...

*and thank you, Elise, for the photos! :)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

family reunion

can you find us 5 in this recent church retreat photo?
...by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God...
Revelation 5:9-10

 What a gift it is,
to fellowship every week with some of the redeemed
from other tribes and languages,

worshiping together with the people of this Philippine nation.

We long for the day when we can introduce you all:
our sweet brothers and sisters in Christ on this island
to all of our loved brothers and sisters from our homeland
in a never-ending fellowship of the children of God in Glory.

What a family reunion that will be!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

a state of inelegance

Filipino summer is here,
which means temperatures are high;
with the heat index it's been reaching 104F every day,
and not cooling off much at night.

What dreadful Hot weather we have!—
It keeps one in a continual state of Inelegance. 
–Jane Austen

Jane knew what it was like to live in the heat without air conditioning!  
It's truly draining.

And to top it off, 
we're also having the first series of water outages that I can remember since 2010. 
These have been short-lived, between 1 and 4 hours, 
usually in the morning until noon.

After washing the breakfast dishes this morning, 
we found that the taps were again empty.

And now,  8 hours later, we're still without water.
The lunch dishes are still piled in the sink
(to the delight of the ants!)
at 4:30 in the afternoon,
and I'm beginning to wonder about creative solutions
for cooking dinner with no running water - 
in fact with little water at all.
(You can see all the empty water containers we've used up already by the sink,
though we are working to be very sparing.)

You don't want to use our bathrooms right now, either.

Have no fear - the water will come back on, and we'll be fine.

But the absence of water really truly does make the heart grow fonder.
I am more thankful for running water than I've ever been in my life.

Give thanks with me for the water from your tap today,
but even more, for the living water
and the gift of eternal life, satisfying the deep thirst of our souls!

Jesus answered her,
 “If you knew the gift of God,
 and who it is that is saying to you, 
‘Give me a drink,’ 
you would have asked Him, 
and He would have given you living water.
John 4:10

Thursday, April 11, 2013

washing feet

This week Michael Card,
Christian singer, songwriter and musician,
traveled to Davao to share his music in concert.
He was interviewed on the radio by our friend, Vic, 
and when asked his advice for young artists,
he responded that:
 every song should wash the feet of the listener.

Michael's music and presence did that here,
encouraging us to lament our sin,
find grace in Christ,
and respond by washing one another's feet.

Our family had the privilege of meeting him in person,
 and he also came to sing
and to challenge the students of Faith Academy.

 Michael's been merging insight from God's Word
with beautiful music for 30 years.
I think he has washed lots of feet.

Michael and Michael
 Thanks for your visit to Davao!

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, 
you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  
For I have given you an example, 
that you also should do just as I have done to you.
John 13:14-15

Monday, April 8, 2013

like kids in a candy shop

Last Sunday afternoon some of us gathered at church for a card-making workshop.

We talked about the basics of design and color, and introduced stamping and lettering.

And then we acted like kids in a candy shop,

reveling in creating,

having fun sharing a task, and lots of exciting materials,

young and old, working together.

Not only did we create some beautiful cards,

we created beautiful memories!
Thank you, ladies, for a wonderful time.
Let's do it again sometime soon.

Friday, April 5, 2013

say cheese

I picked up three Red Lady papayas 
in the produce section of our local supermarket 
and carried them to the station where items being purchased are weighed and labelled.  

As I waited, I noticed a young store employee standing next to my cart,
which I had left behind at the papaya display.  
He was peering with curiosity at the items inside.  

By the time I returned, I found him holding the small block of mozzarella that I'd chosen,
reading the label to figure out what this mysterious American planned to purchase.  

I smiled at him, 
and he smiled at me as he placed the block of cheese back in my cart, 
probably wondering what in the world I'd do with such strange food. 

“The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”
-G.K. Chesterton 

Delectable Cheese Rolls:

Roll out 1/2 of the bread dough from this recipe for Yeasty Once-Rising Rolls as if making cinnamon rolls.
Spread lightly with softened butter.
Top with :
              a dusting of Parmesan,
              a scattering of grated Mozzarella,
              a sprinkling of powdered garlic,
              and a few dashes of Italian seasoning.

Roll it all up, and cut it just like you would for cinnamon rolls.
Rise for 1/2 - 1 hour on a greased cookie sheet, or in a 9x13 pan.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until golden on the top.
Serve with salad for lunch or with spaghetti for dinner,
and top it all off with one of those Red Lady papayas for dessert.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

let it glow

No, UFOs haven't landed;

it's just a bunch of guys who had a blast
out on a hot, dark night celebrating Michael's birthday...

with a few glow sticks for markers and team indicators,
and a very cool glowing Frisbee.

A little pizza and a lot of Mountain Dew and Gatorade 
combined with endless running and fierce competition
made for a happy group of guys.