Monday, September 30, 2013

birthday adventure

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.
"I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging,
 and it's very difficult to find anyone."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

It was my birthday; a day for adventure.
And though it may not have been everyone's first choice for a relaxing Saturday,
we all squeezed into a taxi, and headed for Samal Island.

The taxi driver left us at a little alley-way along the main road,
and we followed a narrow path through an ocean-side market area.
Clockwise from Top L: sorting tomatoes/ cart full of spare parts/ the butcher/ neon fish
 This man (above) pulled a huge chunk of ice through the market
using a metal vise-like tool.

We passed children playing, ocean-front homes, and a family hanging out the Saturday wash.

At the end of the path, Mark bought 40-cent tickets for each of us, 
and we boarded the passenger ferry.

Boys toting tiny packs of peanuts and squid crackers vended their wares to ferry passengers,
and the man in the seat beside Mark instigated a deep discussion about the persons of the Godhead.

But this was just the beginning.
The real adventure was yet to come.

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. 
-G.K. Chesterton

Stay tuned for more of our adventure next time!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

the art of communication

Art is an international language, 
understood by all. 
-Igor Babailov 

Sunday school was over, and it was time to head home from church.
As we reached the door, ready to leave, I spotted Amy and a little friend,
sharing a mutual enjoyment of art.

In case you're wondering...she was drawing elephants. :)


Thursday, September 19, 2013

remind me again

"Aio!" Five little voices chimed at my gate, 
so young, so expectant.  "Plasteek?" 
I knew they were looking for recycleables, 
and since I had some to share, I went to meet them.

Their bubbling excitement when I gave them old plastic bottles and tin cans made me smile.
Our trash was like treasure; pure joy.

They energetically worked together to divvy up the spoil,
counting it out and sharing equally with one another.
What will they get from this little bit of trash?
A few pesos?

I brought them some packages of cookies as a snack.
They opened each new package delightedly, 
sharing bites of the different types of cookies with one another,
glorying in the unexpected goodness of it all.
And as this little troupe of waifs left my gate, they all looked back with waves,
shouting "Salamaat Po!" Thank you! 

 I watched their companionship and care for one another,
and was reminded of how the body of Christ should look.

A band of people united in purpose, 
looking out for the welfare of one another.

A contented people, smiling at God's goodness 
even when we are not rich in worldly goods.

A people amazed by the treasure we find in Christ, 
and in His gifts to us each day, 
eager to share the spoils of His Word 
and the riches of His goodness with one another.

A people overflowing with respectful thanks
to the God Who abundantly provides all that we need.

I hope those boys come back soon;
I need all the reminders I can get.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


You'll remember that we asked you to join us in praying for Mark 
as he took on a job requiring lots of time, energy and grace.

Thank you so very much for your prayers!  Mark is done with the assignment,
and we are delighted to have him back home again safely 
after his time in a remote village in another SE Asian country for the past 3 weeks!

Thank you for your prayers for the rest of us here at home, too.
God has faithfully answered your prayers, and we are grateful.

 I can't tell you much about Mark's work,
but during those three weeks, he ate rice and fish
for pretty much every single meal,

he took lots of cold bucket showers and 
hand-washed his clothes in a tub,
yes, this is the sort of bathroom Mark used for 3 weeks...
 he had lots of time to practice a little of the local language,

 and time to work and fellowship together with fellow-believers, 
all laboring together for the glory of God!

 We give thanks for the opportunity he had to go,
and we give thanks to be all together again!

Where thou art,
 that is Home.  
~Emily Dickinson

Saturday, September 14, 2013

faith comes by hearing

Esther is a sweet, soft-spoken Filipina Christian who loves to attend church, 
where she hears the words that equip her for every good work. (Eph. 4:11-12)
Esther was just 12 years old when she came down with a bad case of measles. The doctor urged her father to take steps to save Esther's sight.  But Esther's mother was also very sick with another disease, and since their family had very little money available, Esther's father had to choose which one of them would receive medical help.

He chose to help her mother.  Esther's mother died.  And Esther lost her sight.

So then faith comes by hearing, 
and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17

Being blind, Esther is unable to read God's Word.  For her, faith literally comes by hearing.  That's why she loves to come to church, to hear the Word, and to be reminded of God's care for her.  And that's why it's so exciting for Esther to have received one more way to hear.  Last Sunday, the church gave an exciting tool to Esther; an Audibible.

Audibible is a hand-held audio player in a sturdy case, capable of holding hundreds of hours of high quality audio content.  The Audibible was designed and developed as a cost efficient, durable tool to meet the needs of those who do not or cannot read.

Because the Audibible is solar powered, it doesn't require any costly batteries to keep it powered.  
A solar-powered device works great in this sunny climate!  
Esther receives her new Audibible, enabling her to listen to the Word in Cebuano
Audibibles are widely used to distribute God's Word in the Philippines. This is a country where, despite a high level of literacy (officially 92.6%), most people do not read.  One reason for that is that most available books are written either in English or in the national language. I don't know about you, but if I didn't have literature in my first language, I wouldn't be reading much for pleasure!

In addition, the Filipino climate and conditions are unfriendly to books.  Heat, humidity, and frequent flooding cause warping and molding, and hungry termites destroy what's left.  (That's such a sad truth for those of us who love books!)

These tough Audibibles, available in many languages, are a fabulous way to distribute the Word of God to many people who otherwise would not, or in Esther's case, cannot read it. May much faith come by hearing!

*Many thanks to Amanda C. for your labor of love to package and send Audibibles this direction!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


On this hot, busy work and school day,
I'm reminiscing about the delightful day not so long ago 
when our family visited Kawasan Falls in the mountains of Cebu. (June 2013)

How refreshing to hike through this quiet, natural area,
and to explore waterfall after waterfall along the path!

Some we hiked over,
some we climbed into,
others we leaped from.

All of them were beautiful.

We have gone over the top on security. 
Stop already. 
Life is risk. 
Be prudent, take precautions, 
but live. 
– Peggy Noonan

We aren't jumping off any waterfalls today,
but even here in this moment,
in the middle of tropical heat and the load of responsibility,
may I fully live,
enjoying God's goodness in this day...
God's goodness in this moment.

I came that they may have life
 and have it abundantly.
John 10:10