We haven't had it since then because it hasn't been in the market again until today. The one piece we saw today did not look so good.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
The other highlight of the day was finding packages at the post office addressed to us. The girls are looking forward to Christmas when they can discover what surprises are in those boxes.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
We also improvised a bit on football. We don't have a TV here and I am not sure if we would have even been able to watch it. (The Thanksgiving Day game would not have been on anyway - we are getting ready to go to bed and it's only 8:30 am in Michigan.) So we watched the movie, We Are Marshall. We all enjoyed it. The girls probably enjoyed it more than a regular game, anyway.
One last blessing from home that was unique. Lisa's mom sent leaves she and Dad had collected from their yard and pressed. We used them to decorate our table. Since we have no changing colors and autumn leaves to enjoy here, they were a nice touch.
Although we could not be with family personally, I had the computer set up with slideshows of pictures throughout the years. I think we all appreciated having familiar foods, reminders of home, and the faces of those we love around us today. We have so much to be thankful for...
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Please pray for the students as they think about this lesson. I am so very thankful for this opportunity to share each week with this class of sixth graders. I am amazed that I have this freedom to teach the Word of God in the public school and I am loving it!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
After we said good morning, Lisa and I had exhausted our Ilocano and had to rely on translators.
After introductions, Gilbert lead us in worship.
After a delicious lunch of rice, pancit, and sardines, we watched a slideshow of pictures of the students since the last parent meeting.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Often when we see a new fruit we will ask the vendor what it tastes like. It is funny because the person you are talking to will inevitably have a different answer than the people sitting around them. It seems the vendor will say the fruit is sweet. Her companions will laugh and say that really it is sour. Somewhere along the way it gets decided that the fruit is sweet and sour. I don't know why we still ask; it just seems to be the thing to do. At least then if we find our eyes watering and mouth doing the funny little contortions that follow eating something unexpectedly sour, we can say that we asked.
I suppose that could be part of the fun on their side too. Perhaps they want to convince us the new fruit is sweet and that we should try some. Then when we do the puckered, cross-eyed thing they can have a new cultural experience - they may have never seen an Americano do that before. Or maybe they have and that is why the response is so consistent...
Well anyway, this fruit was sweet; no crossed, watery eyes or puckered cheeks. Of all things, it reminded me somewhat of saltwater taffy.
Let us know if you have any guesses.
Monday, November 17, 2008
My topic was stewardship. So to start off, I asked one of the officers to hold a 500 peso bill for me. After reading a few passages about debt and generosity, I asked them whose money it was that the officer was holding. I was relieved when the room full of armed strangers all agreed that it was my money. As such, the officer was accountable to me for how the money was used. In the same way, we are accountable to God for everything He has given us - which is everything we are and everything we have. He has told us how we are to use it. Therefore, stewardship is using what He has given us as He has told us. (I did get the money back.)
There are times I feel like what I am doing isn't making much difference, then something like this happens. God reminds me that relationships take time and often grow when you aren't watching.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Although English is spoken by many here, we feel we need to learn Ilocano to better communicate the message we came to give. Here is just a sampling to help you understand the task before us. It is not just the words but the meaning that makes you go "What did you say?"
Barking dogs seldom bite.
Notice the number of words needed to communicate this. If this is true, we have no need to worry about dog bites here. A good night sleep yes, dog bites no.
Ti táo a manákem, dína makíta ti panagdissó ti sakána ití dagá.
Kitáenna ketdi ti sumarunó a baddekánna.
A wise man doesn't see his foot on the ground, he watches his next step.
At home, there are all these signs to clean up after your pet. Not so here, there are numerous stray dogs and we have yet to see someone clean up after their carabou (water buffalo) that get walked on the streets to the different rice fields.
Naim-imbág ti matáy ta malipátanen ngem ti agbiág a maibabaín.
It's better to be dead and forgotten than to live in shame.
This says a lot about the culture especially when you become familiar with all that is done to honor the dead. Seriously shame is a big fear. When teaching it is difficult to get much participation because everyone is worried they might not have the "right" answer. Being seen crying is also shameful.
No awán ti ánus, awán ti lámot.
If there is no patience, there will be no food.
Meal preparation takes time. No fast food restaurants or microwavable meals...no microwaves either.
No sáan nga makaammó nga nangtaliáw ti naggapuánna, saán a makadánon ti papanánna.
He who does not look back to his origins will not reach his destination.
The village you come from is often part of your introduction. When we first came here it seemed where someone was from was emphasized more than even their names.
Di pay nalúto ti pariá simmagpáw ti karabása.
The bittermelon is not yet cooked and the squash jumped in.
Even after learning some Ilocano, we might need a translator! This supposedly means "Who asked you to join in?"
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Last week we talked about the difference between training and trying. That is where the disciplines come in. By considering the areas in our lives that need to be transformed, we can apply disciplines to help us train ourselves to change our behaviors and attitudes,
This week we talked about the discipline of joy. The author talks about his young daughter's expression of joy, the Dee Dah Day dance. When joy overflows in her, time for a Dee Dah Day dance.
If God is joyful, I want to be joyful. If the joy of the Lord is my strength, I am weak when I am without joy. If I am to rejoice in the Lord, then being without joy is a sin.
-----I have written, and deleted, something that was beginning to look like a thesis rather than a blog post. So I will leave you with a reminder to celebrate and fill your life with joy - have a Dee Dah Day.
Or as Uncle Remus would say, a Zippity Do Dah day...
Monday, November 10, 2008
Completely unrelated, other than it was experienced on the same walk into town, was an offer made to me today. While walking to the market, there is an area where people seem to gather and just hang out. I think a jeepney to another village loads there. During the day, there are always people sitting on the steps to a couple of stores. The people are of all ages and just seem to be hanging out. Whenever we pass, some are talking, some smoking, some chewing moma, (and if I am with Lisa, Adriana, or Alexie, some are staring/gawking).
One of the stores in front of which this collection of people gather sells packaged ice cream cones, popsicles, and such. Today, I was debating indulging in such a treat. There are other places I have found the same treats, but this store is ideal because it is on the way to the market and I am finished with the ice cream by the time we make it to the market - so my hands are available for eating then empty for carrying our purchases. A perfect arrangement in my opinion.
So today, I am walking along, thinking about ice cream and the rain falling. I am with Lisa, so I would really rather be on the other side of the street - but there is the thought of ice cream. As we approach the group, I see a man who reminds me of a pastor I have been trying to contact. Now my mind is bouncing around between ice cream, gawkers, the need to go to the ATM across the street, is that the Pastor Angelo?, ice cream sounds good, is wearing a raincoat on a warm day really keeping me dry?, that is not Pastor Angelo, time to decide about the ice cream before we pass, etc. Suddenly a man I do not recognize at all stands up from in the steps right in front of the ice cream cooler and approaches me with a clear plastic bag and invites me to join him in a chew. "Moma, moma, you chew with me." He was quite insistent. My mind was not there. I declined as we passed by. No ice cream today, I guess.
Then it hits me. What kind of missionary am I? Here I was invited to join in what seems to be a major pastime - hanging out, spitting on the sidewalk, and staining my teeth and lips red - and I absentmindedly dismissed my opportunity. I have never tried moma, but it is very popular here. It seems to be the chewing tobacco of the mountain people.
Perhaps next time...
Friday, November 7, 2008
A couple things we have noticed in our time here are the apparent lack of long-term planning and the low threshold for celebrations. We knew before coming that timeliness was of little importance here. It does not surprise me that I never hear the term "5-year plan". But it is almost comical to me how impromptu things can be. Last Thursday, the local government decided to make Friday a holiday so people could travel home for All Saints Day. It isn't like the holiday suddenly changed days. Earlier, we had been trying to coordinate our staff outing to the hot springs with the semester break at the school. Nobody knew when that would be, not even the students. Today, one of the SSM students who helped us at the clinic put it the best I have heard it. "In America, time is like gold. Here, time is like bronze."
As for celebrations, parades are popular here. Of course some are planned and communicated such as the Independence Day, Am-Among, and Lang-Ay. But there are several that just seem to happen that nobody knows about unless they happen to be in it or on the street when it happens. I cannot explain the basis for a couple I have heard about. They were over and nobody I talked to could really say why there had been a parade. As I understand it, one parade consisted of employees of various governmental offices - I don't know why.
Well today, we did not know about the parade until the police officers were positioning themselves to reroute traffic while we waited for the Municipal Health Office to be unlocked for our clinic. But we did find out that it was related to the Districts. Now back to my original statement - I had to forgo blood pressures for a while. While it would have been fun to watch the kids in their parade, we had a lot of patients. Many of them were teachers from the schools who are normally busy at the time of our clinic. So as the parade marched by on the street below, we continued on with our work - with one modification. It is nearly impossible to take blood pressures with a marching band outside your window. The faint thump noise made by blood squirting through an artery is no match for the drum corps. Once the parade was over, we were able to resume taking blood pressures. In the meantime, we just focused on testing glucose levels.
It did get pretty busy today. Fortunately, Alexie and Alayna were there to help. We also had two of the Student Sponsorship Ministry students volunteer to help today as well. One is a 1st year nursing student. The other is studying education with a major in science. She would like to be in nursing, but can't afford the additional expense. Jil, the nursing student, was supposed to have class today, but the college is still working through issues with registration so most classes have been postponed until next week. (Refer to the second paragraph.)
p.s. If you would be interested in sponsoring a student that is a part of our Student Sponsorship Ministry, please let us know and we would be glad to share more details.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
This is a real blessing in answer to our prayers!
While I do feel a twinge of sadness about the CR-V (I really liked it), I will not miss the insurance payments.
Thanks for your prayers.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
It was funny that we received an email after dinner this evening from Grammie warning us that the soup mix she sent was rather spicy. The email was a few hours too late. We all enjoyed the flavor of the soup, but we did need to work to take out some of the heat. In doing so, we realized that we have certainly adopted some of the practices here - to help cool it, we served the soup over rice.
Later, the girls danced around the table, literally, during an evening snack of dried apples that came in the package, too.
Thanks, Grammie and Papa!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I always think it is best to start a story at the beginning, so the lesson was on creation. The students actively participated which was so encouraging as Filipinos often act shy and remain quiet when asked a question. This is not to say it was like an American classroom. All the students remove their shoes before entering the classroom. They waited in their seats until I dismissed them and then stood to in chorus say "Thank you, madam. Good-bye, madam. Goodbye, classmates." before going home for lunch.
I am looking forward to returning each week and helping the students get to know the Creator of the beautiful mountains that surround them.
Monday, November 3, 2008
I think the President needs to obey God and the Bible. This would tell him what to do.
He has to be American so he doesn't kill us. He should be like us but a little bit higher.
He should be strong so he could fight. So if his guards didn't see the bad guys he could be saving himself so he could live.
He should be a good leader. A good leader shows us how to be good.
Just some wisdom from our 6-year-old to guide you when you step into the voting booth tomorrow.
Seriously, we encourage all in the U.S. to get out and vote. Ask God for guidance as to who should be the next leader of our country and vote accordingly.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.