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.


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.

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.


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.


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.