Wednesday, April 28, 2010

VBS Team

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with a group of young men and women who are using their summer vacation to minister in the villages around Bontoc. Most of them came from Baguio, while some were from Bontoc and Can-eo. They came together to learn how to present a VBS program for kids in various villages. Once their training is complete, they will divide into groups and spend 3 days in each of the villages in which they will minister.

I was requested to facilitate some team building activities that would help them come together and work as a group. Although some much needed rain (and lots of it) prevented us from doing any outside activities, everyone seemed to enjoy the activities we undertook.

The riddle of the rope...

One group works to solve the Broken Squares puzzle.

Please pray for this team over the next week or so; their message, their unity, their health, and their passion.


Wedding Block Party

After our recent travels, we attended the wedding of our base directors' daughter, Hazel.

The wedding was a blend of current and traditional practices. As you can see in the picture below, while most of the dress was of modern styles, the usherettes wore traditional, woven tapis.

The marriage of two young people whose families have spent a long time in Bontoc made the reception at the home of the groom's family a block party. It was difficult to walk from one end of the street to another - no vehicles would be passing through until the party was over.

As people finished eating lunch, the gongs were pulled out and the dancing started. One by one, groups from different villages took turns playing rhythms according to their custom. As they played, people joined in the dancing. The bride and groom even joined in with a man following the bride carrying the train of her dress so it did not drag on the ground.
The wedding started at 9 am (okay, scheduled to start at 9, but much closer to 10). We left the reception around 5:30 pm and it was still going strong.

Congratulations Hazel and Zarjan!
May God bless your new life together!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Lita from Valley Cathedral has opened a small restaurant nearby to help create jobs and provide discipleship opportunities. Before we left Lita told us to stop at the Komeyabo for a soda before the long trip back to Baguio. What she really meant was a variety of pizzas, mango shakes, and ice cream! WOW!

The restaurant is nice, but the garden-like courtyard in the back was beautiful.
Taking in the beauty of the courtyard

Alayna and Annalise resting in one of the garden nooks

Lita and Lisa enjoying the garden

Greg, Lao, and Tom

After we ate, Greg drove us to the bus terminal in Manila. We really enjoyed having Lao along for the ride. He was among the sailors we met when we were at Valley in 2007. It was a great encouragement to hear how God is working in his life and how he has been able to share what God has done in him with his Muslim family in Mindanao.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fun at Valley Cathedral

As I said in our last post, we left the conference in Manila and headed directly to Valley Cathedral Children's Home. Unlike Manila, this is definitely on our list of places we like to visit in the Philippines. Not many places on earth are so permeated with love and affection.
Once again we had a great time playing with the kids, talking with the staff, and playing with the kids some more. As we were looking through our pictures, we realized that there were not as many of our trip this time. There are two primary reasons for this: I usually had the camera instead of Lisa and we were all too busy talking and playing.

Saturday afternoon, Greg took me to the village of Kakabay. Unlike most of my visits there, this time I had the opportunity to go with no ministry scheduled other than to sit and talk with people. I loved it! With Greg as translator, I was able to talk with Teresita, the widow of my friend Robuan.

Later I spoke with some young ladies who were busy making BBQ skewers. It was a community effort as some cut them to length, others rounded them, and still others whittled the points. I tried to put a point on a few when one of the machetes was not being used. There is a little bit of a knack required to do it quickly. I did not want to mess any up so I did not do it for long. They only get 3 pesos (about $0.06) for 100 skewers.
Diane whittling points on BBQ skewers.

Near them, a few boys were playing basketball. Greg challenged them to a game of 2-on-2. A few observations: it was fun, I am old, and sandals are not a good replacement for high top court shoes.

In the good news/bad news arena, Kakabay has a new well with good water, but as you can see in the picture below, the river is completely empty. (On the other side of the bridge, not in the picture, are a few pockets of nasty stagnant water littered with trash.)

Along with the numerous long-time friends we have at Valley, we made a few new ones. Don and Molly are long-time friends of Valley Cathedral Children's Home. Although we had heard about them before, this was our first opportunity to meet. They were both a great encouragement to Lisa and me. How fitting that when Don presented the sermon on Sunday, it was about encouragement.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Flame Goes Forward

The first week of April we traveled to Manila. Manila is not normally high on our list of places to visit. But this was a special occasion. YWAM is holding celebrations around the globe in honor of its 50th birthday. All of YWAM Philippines gathered for this special event. YWAM founders, Loren and Darlene Cunningham, were the primary speakers.

As I said, Manila is not our favorite destination. Our bus arrived in Manila 2 hours later than we had anticipated, but we still had plenty of time before the conference began for the evening. Since our hotel was only 50 meters from the bus terminal, I threw our large duffel bags over my shoulders and began hiking. (Consider a family of 6 traveling for a week, 5 of them females. 90% of our stuff was put into 2 large duffel bags too heavy for anyone in the family but me to carry. Good planning on somebody's part, but not mine.) To all of those who said the hotel is only 50 meters from the bus terminal - get a new meter stick! It is more like 150-200 meters. This would not have been a big deal except for the aforementioned duffel bags.

I was fairly well prepared with maps and directions (it did not look like 50 meters on the map, but eyewitnesses told me it was). We have found that when getting into a taxi in Manila, it is really helpful if you know how to get to your destination instead of hoping your driver does. For the first night however, we thought we would give the overhead railway system a try; there are terminals very close to our hotel and the conference. A family of country bumpkins and massive, pushing crowds trying to squeeze onto and off a train car that stops for less than a minute is definitely a recipe for a good comedy routine. But trying to make sure the entire family makes it onto the train or the entire family does not get on the train at the same time in such circumstances is not fun for the country bumpkin dad. We did finally make it onto the train - a new experience for our two youngest - and safely to the conference.

The first night of the conference was truly a celebration. Each region of the Philippines was represented by YWAMers from that region in cultural attire, music, and dance. For a nation about the size of Arizona, this nation is incredibly diverse. The first floor of the auditorium was too crowded when we arrived so we ended up sitting in the balcony. But when the dances began, nobody was sitting in the balcony; everybody was at the railing to get a better view of what was happening on-stage.
Besides the encouragement of the messages shared by our founders and others, we had a great time with other YWAMers. We enjoyed seeing some from the teams who have come to YWAM Mountain Province and from bases we have visited. We also got to meet some new friends in the process.

When the conference was over on Friday afternoon, a friend from Valley Cathedral Children's Home picked us up and drove us to Naic for the weekend. But that's another story...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

2 Front Teeth

Annalise has a new smile!

With so many things to talk about since our last post, I was forced to prioritize - cute won out.

The tooth has been loose for a few days and despite her desire to hold out until her Papa could pull it in June, at dinner tonight it would wait no longer. Annalise spent the rest of the evening drawing a picture and writing instructions for the Tooth Fairy regarding the emancipated tooth. She and Alayna are convinced that with proper instruction, the Tooth Fairy would take the note and leave money and the tooth behind. This process could be repeated 3 times for additional cash. I don't seem to remember it ever happening that way before.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


How could it be so?
It came without new dresses and bows.
It came without shoes of white.
It came without baskets of eggs bright.
It came without chocolate bunnies and marshmallow Peeps.
It came without jelly beans in great, colorful heaps.
Maybe Easter doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Easter...perhaps...means a little bit more!