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.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Just 2 More Weeks...

Two weeks from today we will be coming home! After two years living in the Philippines, we will arrive back in the States on June 2. We look forward to many special times with our family and friends before we leave to return to the Philippines on September 9.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Furry Creature

Hearing "furry creature" is okay if you are presenting me a cute plush toy. Not so much if you honestly mean a real live furry creature that happens to be a rat! Not so happy feelings filled me when I heard Thomas say last night, "Let's keep this door closed because there is a furry creature out there."

"What do you mean furry creature?"
"How big is this 'furry creature'?"

These were just a few of my questions followed by a proclamation that I will NOT be going out there until said "furry creature" has been evicted.

I am trying to not think about the other questions, "How did this rat get on our second floor porch, that we can only access by going through our apartment? How is it going to leave? If one can get there, will there be more?"

This porch is where our washing machine is located and where I hang our laundry to dry. Usually on a daily basis. Not today because I have no intention of going against my proclamation! Of course, we haven't had any running water since about 5:30 a.m. yesterday and I am not sure when we will have any. This porch is also where we store water for times like this.

This morning as I was having my quiet time and my dear Heavenly Father gently reminded me that I was to give thanks for everything, I struggled with how I could give thanks. Here's is my feeble attempt.

"Dear God, thank You that I have not seen this rat. Thank You that it is a small rat. Thank You that this is the first time, we have had a rat on our porch. Thank You for my amazing, loving husband that is willing to take care of everything that involves the porch including getting water for our family."

My thanksgiving was followed by trying not to be anxious but instead presented my requests to God. This didn't take quite as much effort. I know I want Him to get that rat off my porch and keep all rodents far from our apartment!
Amen
Lisa

Monday, May 17, 2010

My 7yo Preacher

Yesterday, Annalise and I were not feeling well so we stayed home while the rest of the family went to church. I was thinking the two of us would have our own worship time. We did, although it was not quite like I planned. It was better. I let Annalise choose a worship CD. We sang and danced together as we praised our Heavenly Father. The next thing I knew Annalise had her Bible and she was searching the Scriptures and writing notes. She said, "Mommy, you need to get your Bible because there are Scriptures to be looked up."

It was such a precious time together. To give you a glimpse, below are her sermon notes.








I am so thankful for how God is using my little girl today and His plans for her future.
Lisa

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Motherhood

Today I have been flooded with memories from my journey of motherhood. As long as I can remember, I longed to be a mother. As a little girl, I lovingly cared for my dolls as I pretended to be a mommy.

A few years after marrying the love of my life, it became clear that my dream of being a mother was not going to quickly become reality nor would it come without great sorrow. But God has been so faithful to carry me through the struggles of infertility and four miscarriages.
Today I am blessed to be the mommy of four precious daughters. Four gifts from God. Today I am remembering the sorrow and the joy of the journey of motherhood and thanking God for the many times He carried me through the sorrows and blessed me with joys. All are part of who I am today.

Lisa

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Digital Kid Photos

Kids and digital cameras can be a frustrating combination! Kids move fast in action, expression, and emotion. Digital cameras take time to turn on and focus. Even more irritating is the delay between when you press the shutter button and the photo is captured. A child can be out of site in that amount of time.This little guy came to our health clinic last Friday. He was brimming with excitement about the balloon and had a beaming smile to prove it. While his Lola (grandmother) had her blood pressure and glucose levels measured, he smiled and played with the balloon animal I had made him. Lisa got the camera out to capture the joy in his face. However, between the time the photo was initiated and the electrons were captured in silicon, the smile had vanished.

Fortunately, we did get to enjoy many smiles before and after the picture was taken. Perhaps the most enjoyable was when Lisa showed him his picture on the back of the camera. A video camera would have been needed to share that experience.

By the way, the YWAM Health Clinic has been going really well. Our average attendance has been increasing. Since it began a year and a half ago, we have seen 590 different patients with a total attendance of almost 1400. That's a lot of squeezed arms and poked fingers!

Before going on furlough we will hold the clinic 3 more times. Please pray with us for our patients:
  1. That they will understand God's love for them and His concern for every part of their lives.
  2. That change is needed for the proper care and healing of their bodies and souls.
  3. That they will forsake the pagan practices in light of the truth that sets them free.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Only One Month Until...

the six of us get on an airplane to fly back to the States! The excitement is building, as we countdown to the much anticipated reunion with our loved ones back home. We are looking forward to many experiences but on top of our list is being with our family and friends!