Friday, December 17, 2010

A Day in my Life

Some people wonder what life is like for us living as missionaries in the Philippines. Our days are varied but this is what today was like for me:
  • Turned on the water pump so we could have running water
  • Checked email and Facebook for news of friends and family
  • Folded and put away laundry that had hung in our living room to dry
  • Quick breakfast
  • Family loaded up in 2 motorcycle trikes to government office for our weekly health clinic
  • Tested patients' blood glucose after Thomas monitored their blood pressure while our girls sang Christmas music and presented each patient with a Christmas ornament we made the day before
  • Went marketing
  • Walked the distance of about a half mile home carrying about 5 kilos of groceries
  • Washed the breakfast dishes while the girls played with the neighbor children in the courtyard
  • Filled our water purifier
  • Served Kool-Aid to our girls and their playmates
  • Gathered up the trash from our apartment and carried it down 2 flights of stairs and around the rice terrace and up the stairs to the curb
  • Went to visit a friend, Myla and her young daughter and infant son
  • Visited with the neighbors answering some of their questions about homeschooling
  • Comforted Annalise after a little boy that came over from a nearby construction site to join in the children's play punched her in the face
  • Talked with her about needing to be forgiving and kind
  • Warmed up leftover fried rice for lunch
  • Washed a load of laundry and hung it up to dry
  • Administered the last evaluations of term 1 of our homeschool
  • Walked to the post office to see if the letter from Immigration we have been waiting for has arrived or any other mail
  • Went marketing for some more groceries including 4 kilos of rice and powdered milk
  • Visited with a few of our health clinic patients that I saw while in town
  • Walked back to our apartment with about 8 kilos of groceries
  • Did some planning for our next school term
  • Searched online for clues to the foot pain Thomas is experiencing
  • Skype call with my parents
  • Celebrated the completion of the school term with a dinner of Thomas's homemade pizza and popcorn
  • Swept and mopped the floors

Hopefully through a loving touch, a smile, conversation...I shared Jesus today.
Lisa

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Photos, Phinally!

Okay, you can breathe now! I know you have been holding your breath in anticipation of some photos.

Below are a few photos from my trip to Baguio/Manila on October 21 when my bus was delayed by landslide after landslide. I wish I would have had a real camera, but the cell phone snapshots are all I can offer.

This is the first stop we came to. In the fuzzy photo above you can see there is a truck stuck ahead of the bus I am in. It is a beer truck on its way out of town. (No free samples were offered - for those of you who may be wondering.) This slide is within sight of the place a landslide blocked our way back into Bontoc last year. What you can't see in the photo is that there is a utility pole that is keeping the truck from plummeting over the edge to the river below.

Next it was time for our driver to attempt getting the bus past the debris. At first we thought he would make it okay since they had moved things around for the truck to get through. But after the first attempt and seeing how close we were to trusting that same pole, I decided to wait outside of the bus for him to work his way over/through the mess. When I got out, a chain reaction began and most of the other passengers followed.

The driver did an incredible job and cleared that obstacle. Perhaps it was helpful to get everybody off of the bus.
This was the next landslide. In the above photo, you can see some industrious men gathering the rocks and loading their truck. I think this was a private endeavor, not a public road crew.

Here you can see that although they were helpful, the men would not be clearing the road without some more horsepower. We waited for a loader to arrive. They cleared a path large enough for the bus to get through and we were on our way. When I returned a few days later, the pass was no larger.

There were two more slides. The first was so large a long line of traffic was formed on each side. Until that point I had not noticed that there was no oncoming traffic - it was all stopped there. Sorry, no photos available as there was no good angle to see the slide or the line of vehicles waiting for it to be cleared. The other slide was quite small and was only a few minutes' pause as they finished cleaning it up.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spirits of the Dead

Here in Bontoc, most people are not even aware of Halloween or the activities that accompany it. But tonight many will celebrate a holiday specifically for the purpose of honoring the spirits of the dead, All Saints Day.

The celebration actually begins with All Saints Eve. Many will spend the evening at the graves of their relatives burning candles and making offerings of food to their deceased relatives.

These celebrations are important in the belief systems of the people here. All Saints Day is widely celebrated. Our first experience with All Saints Day we were surprised that the only people who showed up at church (the holiday fell on a Sunday) were us and the pastor. My meeting with the police tomorrow for Moral Recovery Program has been postponed until next week in observance to the holiday.

Aside from the actual holiday, giving honor to the dead is practiced on many occasions. In one instance, we were talking to one of our patients from our health clinic. She mentioned that she had missed attending the clinic because she had not been feeling well. She talked about how her coworker said it was because she failed to make the appropriate sacrifices honoring the death anniversary of her late husband. She told us that she had gone to mass on that day and lit a candle, but had not offered the sacrifices.

Please pray with us that God will open the eyes of the people here who need to fall in love with Him and not fear and worship the spirits of the dead.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Calvinball: Game 2 of New Season

Our MVP Thomas pulled through with another victory at the BI field in Manila this morning. Despite the ever-changing rules, he was declared a winner in record time. Here are the game stats:
  • 6:45 arrived at BI
  • 7:25 found that processing begins at 8
  • 8:05 window 24, extension receiving "go to visa extension desk"
  • Visa extension desk "go to 4th floor office 401"
  • 8:15 office 401-"talk with guy with checked shirt"-office 419
  • 419 shirt guy, immigration lawyer- shuffles papers, says they are out of order and need 2 hole fasteners, then take to office 426
  • 8:25 rearrange and punch papers (this did not rattle him- he was prepared with needed hole punch and fasteners in backpack)
  • 8:30 papers resorted and organized by lady in 426 "take to 425"
  • 8:45 papers signed by checked shirt guy in 425
  • Window 14 to receive bill
  • 9:00 Window 13 to pay "take receipt to copier and take receipt to Window 14" (rarely is there a working copier on site)
  • 9:10 dropped off papers at Window 14 and waited for next step
  • 9:15 Window 14 lady came to lobby and asked what I was waiting for

The team is now on the way back home for a victory celebration and rest. No more games scheduled until notice of hearing arrives in the mail.

Lisa

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Safe from Typhoon

Thank you so very much for faithfully praying for us! We made it through the typhoon safely. There was a great amount of rain and wind that caused us to lose power at 4 p.m. Monday and therefore water as well. But amazingly our power has already been restored! Rain blew in through our apartment windows which caused some flooding. No lasting damage- just a mess and lots of work continually mopping up the water.

Thomas is on the bus traveling to Manila today with plans to submit our visa paperwork tomorrow. Please pray that we have all the necessary documents and the process is a smooth one. Pray also for safe travel. With the typhoon, landslides prevented his travel yesterday and have already disrupted his travels today.

Your prayers are so powerful. We are so thankful to have so many praying for us.
Lisa

Monday, October 18, 2010

Typhoon Juan

This is a recent photo of the typhoon we have been praying about. The white outline marks the boundary of the island of Luzon. It is the largest island at the northern end of the Philippine islands.

It is currently raining in Bontoc, but not terribly hard. We are located away from the coast and are offered some protection by the surrounding mountains. The coastal areas will likely bear the brunt of the typhoon itself while we in the mountains will need to contend with the potential of landslides.

Typhoon Coming

HUGE typhoon is heading our way. Appreciate your prayers...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wishing for Water

Growing up in the U.S., I gave little thought to water. I turned on the tap whenever I was thirsty or wanted to shower or just to brush my teeth. Whenever I wanted water all I had to do was turn the faucet and clean water flowed. Cold and hot water. Not so since May 28, 2008, when our family moved to the Philippines. Now there is not a day that I do not think about water. Usually it is several times a day. Even when there is tap water, we do not brush our teeth with it. We make sure we use purified water, so we don't get sick. We are cautious about using water. Reminding our girls to conserve it. Capturing the rinse water when we wash dishes, so it can be used for flushing the toilet. We can't count on a consistent water supply.

More than any other resource, I wish we had an abundant supply of clean water. Here in the Philippines and throughout the world for all people.


Lisa

Calvinball: Game 1 of New Season

In the end Thomas was able to navigate all the twists and turns of the rules of Calvinball to capture the trophy of 6 renewed I-cards. But it wasn't easy...
  • 8 am He took a trike to get a cab.
  • Took 20 minutes just to get a cab.
  • Rush hour trip across Manila. (Once he was sitting in traffic in front of HP customer service center. Seemingly mocking our recent computer struggles with our HP computers.)
  • In the first 15 minutes at the Bureau of Immigration, sent 5 places to get a document not listed anywhere but on the window:
  • Window 36
  • Window 19
  • Window 1
  • Then 2 offices on the 2nd floor.
  • Then to 3rd floor to recover our cards that had been confiscated but that office is moving and didn't have any power or computers.
  • Told to take his lunch and come back.
  • After another cab ride to get lunch, returns to 3rd floor to collect cards.
  • Back to Window 36
  • Then to Window 33 to get express lane bill
  • Window 41 to pay- on the 30 foot walk fees went from 3000 to 16029 PHP ($69 to $369)
  • Window 34 to find errors made by the BI in Baguio
  • Back to 3rd floor for second approval and annulment of Adriana's marriage (don't panic, just another error in the paperwork)
  • Went to bank building for final approval
  • Then at 3:30 p.m. Window 43 to submit for I-cards
  • Told to wait, cards to be released at 4:30 p.m.
  • Window 43- oops need Window 37
  • 4:40 p.m. DONE!
  • 10:20 p.m. sitting in bus terminal right next to rat superhighway waiting for the 12:15 bus to Baguio
I would say "And that's how it's done" except as with every game of Calvinball you just never know what the rules will be.

So stay tuned for next week's game of Calvinball. Will our Calvinball MRP Thomas be able to come through for the team again? Hope so as the stakes are higher. Winner gets permission to stay in the Philippines for 2 more years!

Staff sportscaster, Lisa

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Prayer Requests

With the breakdown of the computer I typically use for blog posts and other such things, I have not done such a great job keeping up here. But it is important enough to me to put these prayer requests before you:
  1. Lisa has been battling cold-like symptoms and tonight is developing a bit of a fever. The good news is, she has some very attentive nurses disguised as daughters who are trying hard to take care of their mommy.
  2. I have made arrangements to travel to Manila early tomorrow morning to begin another round of Calvinball (that's code for visa applications). I will probably be gone until Saturday afternoon. Our visas expire in November, so I cannot continue to delay getting the ball rolling.
I am not sure when I will be able to update you again about either of these requests. Just keep checking back.

Grace,
Tom

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Encouraging Words

One of our friends from Bontoc sent this email to us the other day. It is one of those things that just makes you feel good.

LISA AND TOM WELCOME HOME . YES SOMETIME LAST WEEK, I SAW YOUR FAMILY WALKING ALONG THE BRIDGE AS I WAS RIDING A TRIKE [motorcycle with a sidecar used as local public transportation] AND I SILENTLY SAID A PRAYER OF THANKS.


Grace,
Tom

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Sweet Ending

Our first week of school is complete. We:
  • started our study of the book of Mark,
  • solved various mathematical problems,
  • learned about the Wars of the Roses, Cosimo de Medici, Ferdinand, Isabella, and the Spanish Inquisition as we began our study of the Renaissance to discover the Mystery of History,
  • studied some of the marvels of the scientific world including birds, physical science and chemistry,
  • listened to different family members' music created with the keyboard, dulcimer, and guitar as well as, some of the composer Bach's pieces,
  • admired some of Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpieces,
  • joined Christiana as she starts along the Pilgrim way
  • read different literature selections from Ambleside Online including reading to see if it is true that All's Well That Ends Well
  • practiced hospitality
  • even got watercolors out and painted birds, this is noteworthy because I toted some art supplies all the way here over 2 years ago yet we seldom "get to" art
  • took a trip to the market for a real life economics lesson and exercise

All this in the first week.
Anticipating a great year of learning together!

Lisa

Monday, September 20, 2010

Garden of Grace Girls Academy - First Day!

Bontoc schools began the school year in early June. Michigan schools began right after Labor Day. Garden of Grace Girls Academy began this morning.


Adriana is a high school sophomore.

Alexie is in 8th grade.
(Grades 7 and 8 are not part of the Philippine school system.)

Alayna is in 6th grade.

Annalise is in 3rd grade.

The other day, Lisa figured out that there are 10 more years of homeschooling ahead of us. That puts us at exactly half-way.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Long Trip Made Longer

We are now back in the Philippines. There is still a 6 hour journey ahead of us before we make it home to Bontoc, but we are spending a few days in Baguio as we adjust to the different time zone and take care of some business.

On Thursday morning we arrived with all of our luggage (this is no small feat) at the South Bend airport. After saying "see you later" to family and friends who had come to see us off (one claimed he was there just to make sure we left) we boarded the plane and flew to Chicago. Because of time zones, we arrived about 5 minutes before we left. Here ends the "according to plan" part of our journey.

In Chicago, we were supposed to have a 3 hour layover. 10 hours later we began boarding the plane (for the second time). About 2 hours later we actually took off for Hong Kong.

The airline set us up with a hotel in Hong Kong because we would miss our connection due to the delay. That was a nice gesture, but it was rather thin on effect. When we arrived in Hong Kong, we needed to collect our luggage, go through immigration, go through customs, and make our way to the hotel. Fortunately it was connected and we did not need to walk too far. But since it was 2:30 am before we made it out of the airport and we needed to be back at 6:30 am, it was not particularly restful. We are thankful for the opportunity to shower and rest on something softer and more private than an airport bench.

When we returned to the airport, we went to a few different desks before finally finding where we needed to check-in. (Bit-by-bit, we are learning Filippino languages. But our Chinese is really lacking.) We rechecked our luggage and headed through security, arriving at our gate at the scheduled time. Again, our flight was delayed, but this time for only half an hour.

The flight was uneventful. My only ???? was when the stewardess asked if I would like tea and made sure I had a cup and stirrer but never returned with tea. Oh well...

In Manila, we did not have any wait to get through Immigration and we proceeded to the baggage claim area. Once again, a traveler's irritation arose. 2 of our bags were not on the plane. We filed the appropriate forms and headed for customs and the passenger pick-up area. No problem with customs.

Passenger pick-up, now that's another story. We had worked through a friend in Baguio to arrange a driver to pick us up at the airport in Manila and take us directly to Baguio (a 6-7 hour journey). Remember all of those delays? Well our driver had come and waited several hours for us to show up at the airport. He did not get the message of our delay until he was nearly back to Baguio. So there we are without a ride. Fortunately, we were able to make arrangements and made it to Baguio.

Last night, our missing luggage arrived where we are staying in Baguio. All of it seems to have made the trip intact.

We are thankful that God has brought us and our things safely to the Philippines.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Just 3 more days...

Our summer in the States has gone by so very quickly! Thursday morning we will begin our journey back to the Philippines.

Please pray for us as we:
  • pack and prepare for our travel,
  • say our good-byes to loved ones,
  • travel the about 27 hours to the Philippines and the 13 hours to our apartment in Bontoc,
  • and transition back to our life and ministry in the Philippines.

Thank you so much. Your prayers are vital to our family.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Thyroid 3 - Great News

Dr. D has been a real blessing to our family. He has called us through the weekend to keep us up to date with any news about the final pathology report. Saturday he even called to check-in on Lisa and to let us know that he was still waiting for the report.

Tonight though, he called with the news we had been praying for - the final pathology indicates that there is no cancer associated with the nodule removed from Lisa's thyroid.

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Baptism x 3

Sunday was a fantastic day celebrating a step in the journey of faith for 3 special people in our family. Annalise and two of her cousins, one from each side of the family, chose to follow Jesus' example of baptism and make a public declaration of their intent to follow Him.

The baptism was held at Life Action Camp on the shores of Clear Lake. The skies were clear and the water was warm. Our family as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were all there to celebrate with them and the others who had gathered to be baptized or support those who were.

Josiah was accompanied by his mom, Rhonda, as the pastor of their church baptized him. He was the first of the family to enter the water on Sunday.
Rhonda, Josiah, and Pastor Dan

Samantha had emailed me before we left the Philippines asking if I would baptize her while I was home for the summer. I felt honored to be given such a privilege. She was next to proclaim her dedication to follow after Jesus.
Pastor Dan, Samantha, and Thomas

Annalise has been talking to Lisa and me about getting baptized for a while, but we really wanted to be home and surrounded by those closest to her for this occasion. She was excited about sharing this day with her cousins. (She also liked being in the lake on a warm, summer evening.) Although many have helped her understand God's love for her and what it means to follow Him, it was I who had the privilege of baptizing her.
Pastor Dan, Annalise, Thomas, and Samantha

We are thankful for God's blessing on our families. How wonderful to see these young people proclaim their trust in His salvation!

Grace,
Tom

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thyroid 2

This morning Lisa had the nodule removed from her thyroid. The surgery went well and she is now comfortably resting at home.

During the surgery, a pathology test was performed which gave no indication of cancer. The final pathology report will be in early next week.

A portion of the right lobe of her thyroid was removed, but the other side as well as her parathyroid was unaffected.

Thank you for your prayers.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thyroid

Many fun and exciting things have happened since our last post and I hope to update all of you on those happenings in the near future. However, I feel it is important to let you know about a development for which we ask your prayer.

One of the priorities on our TO DO list for the summer was to have physical exams. During Adriana's exam, our family doctor, Dr. J, noticed that her thyroid is enlarged. He ordered a blood test and an ultrasound and referred us to another doctor, Dr. D, for further examination and consultation. He personally performed another ultrasound in his office on Monday. He feels that Adriana's thyroid appears to be functioning properly. He prescribed a course of action and we will meet with him in a month to validate that all is well.

While we were in his office on Monday, Dr. D was asking Lisa about family history. Lisa has some family history of thyroid issues and has had her thyroid levels tested. But that was some time ago and there were no problems noted. He examined Lisa neck then asked Adriana and her to change places. When he did an ultrasound of Lisa's thyroid, he found a nodule on the right side.

Later Monday evening, Dr. D called us to schedule a biopsy Tuesday morning. During the procedure, he took three samples which were wisked away by the lab technician. The results were not expected for 2-3 days.

Wednesday evening, while the kids were at VBS, Lisa and I went kayaking out on the lake. The weather was wonderful. We explored a few of the channels then just kicked back in one of the lagoons on the lake. It was very relaxing and gave us some time to talk about all that was going on. When the breeze moved us within hearing distance of a pontoon boat, the profanity of the boater's conversation made us decide it was time to head back in.

We were meandering as we paddled to the dock, when Lisa noticed her mom was waiting for us there. Since she gets up very early to go to work, we were a little concerned that she would be out that late. I hurried ahead to find out what was happening. Dr. D had called and had asked Lisa to call him back. Mom had her cell phone and a sticky note with his number so Lisa could call right away.

As I put the kayaks away, Lisa talked with Dr. D. He said that the biopsy results were inconclusive; cancer could not be ruled out. Because of this, surgery is the next step.

She will have surgery next Wednesday to remove the nodule. At that time, testing will be performed. When it is determined whether cancer is involved, we will decide what the appropriate course of action is.

As we wait for our consultation on Monday we have many questions, but we also have much for which to be thankful. We are thankful that Adriana's thyroid is healthy. We are thankful that the potential for cancer is related to Lisa's thyroid instead of any other organ. We are thankful for the course of events which led to the discovery of the nodule on Lisa's thyroid and that we are in the USA instead of the Philippines. We are thankful that Dr. J and Dr. D are our friends as well as our doctors.

Please pray for our family as we walk through this situation. We often joke that mommys don't get sick days - they are too important. Pray also for the finances of the situation.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Butterfly's First Solo Flight

One of Annalise's goals for our time at home was to learn to ride a bicycle without training wheels. On our second day at Lisa's parents, that goal was accomplished! She has been racing around since.

video
Great job Butterfly!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

So Far, So Good!

Saturday morning our friend Rudy came with his truck to help us move our small mountain of baggage so we could get on the bus to Baguio. When you have a family of 6 moving to the other side of the globe for several months, you have some stuff.

Here we are fresh and excited about the journey before us. We had a newer bus than we usually do and the six hour trip was without incident. So far, so good.

Because the rainy season has arrived, we planned a few extra days into our travel from Bontoc to Manila to avoid being trapped in the mountains by a landslide. We spent these extra days in Baguio.

While we were at the YWAM Baguio Training Center, one of the staff was preparing for her family's trip out of the country as well. She told us of a van company which could take us directly to our hotel in Manila.
So, instead of catching another bus to take us from Baguio to Manila, we decided to take a van. We were a little nervous when the van arrived over 2 hours late, but it worked out really well. I loathe trying to get around in Manila. (Loathe may not be a strong enough word to convey my emotion about that.) It was great that they took us (and the small mountain of luggage) to the front door of the hotel. Even with our stop for lunch, we made it in to Manila in 7 hours. So far, so good.

Wednesday morning, we got up early to get to the airport in Manila. The hotel had a shuttle (not free, but cheaper than we expected) that took us right to the airport. (Yeah! no need to get taxis in Manila!) So far, very good!
At the airport, we got our bags checked without any problems. Even though somebody said something about our bags being 7.5 kilos over, nobody brought it up as a problem. Maybe because we only checked 10 bags instead of the 12 allowed. So far, so good.

We then went to immigration. Here we hit a little bump. Because we have a 2 year visa, we needed to get an i-card. An i-card is an identification card that helps you get through immigration faster. But that only works if your i-cards did not expire 2 weeks prior to you standing in the airport with your family wanting to catch a flight out of the country for which you paid a huge sum of money. Fortunately, the folks at immigration helped us complete the paperwork for temporary i-cards. It was not as quick as it would have been if the cards would have been good, but it did not make us late either. So far, so good.
Here are my princesses waiting for our flight from Manila to Hong Kong. (Aren't they beautiful!?)

Here Alexie, Adriana, and Alayna are waiting for our flight from Hong Kong to Chicago playing a game the Filipino children call Chinese Garter. It is a jumping game using rubber bands.

Are we there yet? Our flight from Hong Kong to Chicago was a 14 hour and 31 minute flight! The video screen would often show updates. At this point, the answer would be "No."

It was a good flight with only some minor turbulence.

Somebody was a little tired while waiting for our last flight from Chicago to South Bend. But isn't he cute when he's sleeping?

She's always cute! Even after traveling 22 hours and 35 minutes - not including the 3 hours of check-in in Manila or the 13 hours of travel from Bontoc to Manila.

Indeed, they are cute too!

So far, so good. In fact, all of it went well. Often when somebody uses this phrase toward the beginning of a story, it foreshadows problems later on. But we are so thankful that God brought us safely home to a reunion with our family and friends. Even now we can thank Him because... So far, so good!
We were warmly welcomed at the airport. It was great to get the hugs we have been anticipating for so long.

When we got to Lisa's parents' where we will be staying during our time at home, the girls found this sign above their doorway...

God is good! We are so thankful for our trip and the great times we have already had being with people we care about and who care about us.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Heading Out!

In the morning we will leave Bontoc and take the bus to Baguio. Our bags are packed, so it is just a matter of getting everything - and everyone - to the bus. Six twisting, turning, and bumping hours later we should be there. Fortunately for us, the road is much better now than when we first came into the country two years ago.

Baguio is the first step of our journey back to the US for a visit. We will spend a few days there before making our way to Manila where we will begin our 22 hour and 35 minute journey back home.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

PNP, Over and Out

This post is a little bit late. It was over a week ago that this took place, but things have been moving so fast lately that it seems only a day or two ago.
Last Monday was my last appointment with the officers of the Bontoc Municipal Philippine National Police. My friend and companion, Steve, and I were both awarded certificates of appreciation for our work with them through the Moral Recovery Program. The certificate states:
In grateful appreciation of his invaluable service for the conduct of the Moral and Spiritual Recovery Program (MRP) that contributed to the continuous exhortation among the personnel of Bontoc Municipal Police Station to uplift their moral and spiritual needs.
They said that even before they knew that Lisa was bringing brownies - or that my exhortation was going to be very short because of the brownies. Later they also gave me an official PNP ball cap. But that was after the short message and brownies.

After meeting with them for the past 2 years, my exhortation was to put into practice the principles they have heard, not hear of God's righteousness and ignore it. (Read Matthew 7:24-27 for a more complete explanation.)

It has been an honor and a privilege to share God's righteousness with these men and women.

Steve and I with the members of the Bontoc PNP

I invite you to pray with me that God will protect the officers from anything that will bring harm to them physically, mentally, or spiritually. Pray also that Steve will be able to continue the work which we have been doing.

Grace,
Tom

Monday, May 24, 2010

Taking the Jeepney to Church

It is a real blessing to see the fruit of YWAM efforts from years ago. Sunday we again traveled to Maligcong Christian Fellowship. The church was originally founded through YWAM efforts and is now functioning independently. Pastor Augustin has told me the story of how YWAMers introduced him to Christ many years ago in his home village. He later went to Bible college and became a pastor. He and his wife, Evelyn, have been serving in Maligcong since the mid-1990s.

We took the jeepney over the mountain to Maligcong. Since I was wearing dress clothes, I had not intended to ride "top-load". But the inside was really packed and a little old lady, hunched over and using a cane came up - so up I went. It is not like I mind, though. The ride was beautiful and the weather was perfect.
This is inside the jeepney before Lisa counted 29+ people inside.

The top probably had another 15-20 by the time we left Bontoc.

When we arrived, Pastora asked the girls to lead Sunday School for the children. So Adriana, Alexie, Alayna, and Annalise spent the morning outside with the children. (The church is working on building a room for the children, but need funds to purchase the next phase of materials.)

My sermon was based on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - worshiping God alone. Pastor Augustin translated into the local dialect.
Afterwards, we had lunch with the Pastor Augustin and his family. At one point, Pastor's mother pulled her sleeve up a little and revealed that her arms were tattooed. As we talked about it, we found that she had the tattoos done when she was a young lady about Adriana's age by a man who traveled from village to village doing tattoos. Her tattoos were done using thorns and it took about two days.

She said that her tattoos were just decorative and had no real meaning but that the men could only get a tattoo after taking an enemy's head. She said headhunting continued through World War 2 when the men would stalk the Japanese soldiers.
Adriana was not interested in matching Lola Carlos's decorative arms.

Kennan, Alayna, and Asher

Friday, May 21, 2010

Check-up Check-out

This morning we held our last health clinic before our return to the US. We were a little surprised because we normally have about 20 people per week and today we had 54! Ten of them were first-time patients.

Throughout the 20 months of this ministry:
  • 608 different people have come
  • 1516 times
  • 364 have screened positive for hypertension
  • 216 have screened positive for diabetes
We have enjoyed the opportunity to serve the people of the Bontoc area. In cooperation with the Bontoc Municipal Health Office and our supporters in the USA, we have attempted to encourage physical and spiritual health within our community. In exchange for this service, our patients have become our friends.

Even though we were very busy today, it was a lot of fun. For the first two Fridays of the month, patients who attended were entered in a prize drawing. This week we drew from all of those names to see who would win the prize.

Vincent (he was holding the balloon in an earlier post) helped us out by drawing the name. Many shouts of laughter and teasing erupted when he drew his grandmother's name! But since he can't read yet, no accusations of corruption were made.

Some of the items in the prize bag were an Ilocano Bible and all the ingredients needed to prepare a healthy meal.

Vincent helping Lola Augustina inspect the prize

Innocencio - patient, mailman, and friend

Lisa with our friend Jeannie. Jeannie came to our clinic more often than anyone else.

Some of the staff of the Bontoc Municipal Health Office - and us and Jeannie

Our patients really enjoy it when our daughters join us. Many will ask about them when we come alone. Today Adriana and Alayna helped us out. Alexie often comes, but this time Adriana came and Alexie stayed home with Annalise who finds 1-2 hours a little too long to find enjoyable.

After the prize drawing, the patients surprised us with a thank-you song. Somebody had handwritten many copies of the words and distributed them to the patients awaiting their turn. Together they all sang to express appreciation to us.


video


It was a fun morning.