Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

We started out 2008 with a visit from my Mom and Eric's tenth birthday. Then we helped build a new playground for the Sonshine Center. In April we left the Philippines for a Stateside visit. We enjoyed time with family, vacations to Myrtle Beach, Orioles games, etc. Then we returned to our Filipino home and continued ministering at the Sonshine Center. We closed 2008 with Christmas and a new addition to the family. This has been a very blessed year.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

From President Lincoln

An excerpt from his Thanksgiving Proclamation:

"I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands (guess he is talking about us missionaries), to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union."

The full text can be found here.
Category:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christ Has No Hands

A paraphrase from Fearfully and Wonderfully Made:

After the Second World War German students volunteered to help rebuild a cathedral in England, one of the many casualties of the Luftwaffe bombings. As the work progressed, debate broke out on how best to restore a large statue of Jesus with His arms outstretched. Careful patching could repair all damage to the statue except for the hands, which had been destroyed by bomb fragments. Should they attempt the delicate task of reshaping the hands? Finally the workers reached a decision that still stands today, the statue was fully repaired except for the hands. Formerly the unbroken statue had this inscription below it: "Come unto Me." Now the statue, minus the hands, bears this inscription:

Christ has no hands but ours.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Render unto Caesar

Jesus said render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. This still applies to us here in the Philippines. For the privilege of staying and ministering here in the Philippines we have to pay for our visas. With our current visa status we spend about $500 a year to stay in country, having to renew our visa about very other month. That is $500 per person, including the kids. Actually Danny gets to stay for free since he was born here. Good deal for him.

Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. Matthew 22:21

My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

For your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:8

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What is Poverty?

What is poverty? The gentleman in the picture (wearing the blue tank top) lives in Calajunan, the city trash dump area. In the picture behind him you can see the mountains of trash. He works in the trash collecting things like pieces of metal and plastics in order to sell to recyclers. He lives in one of the most awful places I have ever been. Even though I have been to Calajunan many times, I always nearly toss my cookies whenever I go. On the surface he would be considered among the very poor--that he is living in extreme poverty. Actually he is a very good father with a blessed family. Through his work at the trash dump he has been able to send his kids to college. His oldest son graduates this year while another son is just starting. He walks to work, it probably takes him about five minutes. He probably thinks that anyone who commutes ninety minutes to work each way is living in poverty.

Through the satisfaction he has gained from his hard work, being able to put his sons through college and offering them a brighter future, he is probably richer than most.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Manila, Almost Like the States . . . Almost

There are some places in Manila that are very much like America. We spent three days in the big city to attend the Calvary International Asia-Pacific Annual Meeting. We enjoyed Crispy Cream donuts, Starbucks coffee, and Eric and I even split a huge bacon-cheeseburger at TGI Fridays. The kids also enjoyed some rides at a local amusement park



Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

One Thoursand Pesos-Update

I mentioned in a previous post about how it costs P1,000 to feed our street kids each Saturday, and how we are looking for Filipinos to partner with us to sponsor a Saturday. Through our fund raising efforts, talking with friends, church members, and others, we now have all Saturday covered from now until end of 2009. Praise the Lord for His provision. These funds are from friends, businesses, and individuals here in the Philippines. All Saturdays are covered, we are now looking for sponsors for the Thursday evening afterschool Kids Club.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Four Years


This month marks our fourth anniversary of being on the mission field. Four years ago we left our home in America and started this next chapter in our family's life. Four wonderful years, full of ministry at the Sonshine Center, helping the poor and needy, teaching in Bible schools, making undercover trips into unfriendly places working with the Underground Church, seeing many family changes and challenges, watching Tuesday Morning Football, and even adding a family member. Four incredible years! While that may seem like a long time, I feel these four years have flown by. Also we are just getting started. So many of the other missionaries we work with here in Asia have been on the mission field for ten years or more, some almost twenty years. We are still baby missionaries compared to these missionary giants.

Purpose is our passion, not children's ministry, not Bible schools, not even foreign missions--purpose is our passion. Obedience is the one thing. We will stay in the Philippines, we will stay on the mission field until God tells us to do something else. Then we will do that next thing, whatever and wherever it may be.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

One Thoursand Pesos

At the current exchange rate, one thousand Filipino pesos (P1,000) equals a little more than $20. It takes P1,000 to feed the kids (around 150) of the Sonshine Center each Saturday. After Kid's Church on Saturday we try to send the kids home with a simple but substantial meal, usually something like soup and rice. Last Saturday we served arroz caldo, one of my favorites. For most of our kids, this meal will be their only meal of the day. We have also been trying to raise funds for this feeding program by seeking investors here in the Philippines. While many churches and individuals in the States partner with the Sonshine Center, we feel we should be giving Filipino churches, families, and individuals the opportunity to invest into the Sonshine Center.

So we have started a fund-raising drive, seeking people to sponsor a Saturday Kid's Church meal. Businesses and individuals can pick a Saturday to sponsor, example:

We hope to see plenty of these posters being displayed in people's homes and businesses around the city. We are off to a great start. A local Christian school, Alpha Crest Academy, has chosen to sponsor twenty Saturdays! They could wallpaper one of their rooms with these posters!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fragile Marriage

Last Sunday at Victory Christian Fellowship here in Iloilo Pastor Bong completed the preaching series on love. His series culminated with a repeating of the vows ceremony. Many couples from the church, including Chris and I, reaffirmed our marriages.


Marriage can be a fragile thing. If you treat it lightly, tossing it around like a football, it can become weaker and you can strain the bonds that keep it together. However, if you treat marriage like it is a fragile thing, caring for it, not taking it for granted, treating it gently, like it is a delicate, fragile thing, then it will not become that--something fragile--but rather it will become stronger, something that will stand the test of time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I am Thirty-eight

In the movie City Slickers the character played by Billy Crystal on his thirty-ninth birthday says, "Have you ever had that feeling that this is the best I'm gonna do, this is the best I'm ever gonna feel . . . and it ain't that great?" Henry David Thoreau writes "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." I believe that most men have their mid-life crisis at this age because they lack purpose. By God's grace I feel that I will escape this. Obedience to God's will is my purpose. As long as I keep doing that, then there will be no mid-life or late-life crisis.

I posted this earlier, but it bears reposting:



The one thing is obedience to God's will.

Well, now I am off to the Harley-Davidson dealership here in Iloilo to buy my birthday gift . . .

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Gut

Usually when I go back to the States I gain a few pounds from living large on American food. Portions at American restaurants are just huge compared to places to eat here in the Philippines. So here I am on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii back in April on the way to the States:
and here I am on the same beach a few days ago on the way back to the Philippines.
Pictures don't lie, it looks like I need to lose the spare tire I acquired in the States. Fortunately that is usually no problem here in the Philippines. We are much more physically active here, and since it is so hot, we do not eat as much. Chris, of course, looks as good as ever.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

Iloilo is Home

We arrived safely in Iloilo Saturday evening. We went to Victory for church on Sunday and then went to SM for lunch and shopping. Today, Monday, we got our cable TV and Internet turned back on, and also connected our Vonage VOIP phone. We also had our first power outage, lasting about an hour. Life is starting to go back to normal.

We are all hit pretty hard with major jet lag. It has never been this tough before. I thought that stopping over in Hawaii would take care of that, but alas we are still feeling the effects of traveling to the other side of the world. Please pray for our family as we adjust. Also pray for health. We are all starting to feel a little sick in various ways, so please do pray.

Thankfully we made it home in one piece, with no lost luggage. It is good to be home.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Jollibee!

I have known Jason Branch (the one standing next to the happy bee) since I was six years old. He and his family have also come to the Philippines twice. On their recent trip to Las Vegas they saw a piece of Filipino culture that made the jump from one side of the Pacific to the other, Jollibee! Jason even tried a burger yum, but he said it tastes better in the Philippines. For those of you who don't know, Jollibee is the Filipino version of McDonalds. It is a 100% Filipino company. For myself, I actually prefer Jollibee over McDo. In just a few more days . . . we leave on Wednesday, and will be back in Iloilo Friday.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Itinerary

July 16
Continental Flight 627 Baltimore to Houston
Departs 7:15 AM arrives 9:22 AM
Continental Flight 73 Houston to Honolulu
Departs 11:25 AM arrives 2:35 PM
We overnight in Honolulu (since it was such a good idea the last time).

July 17
Continental Flight 1 Honolulu to Guam
Departs 2:00 PM arrives 5:40 PM on July 18th

July 18th
Continental Flight 933 Guam to Manila
Departs 7:00 PM arrives 8:40 PM
We overnight in Manila

July 19
Air Philippines Flight 2P 991 Manila to Iloilo
Departs 4:30 PM arrive 5:30 PM

As of this posting, we leave in five days.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Iloilo Typhoon Update Number Five

The United States Navy has arrived in Iloilo to help the entire island of Panay in recovering from the typhoon. Here are some news excerpts from The News Today:

"Typhoon victims isolated from ongoing relief operations finally got some much-awaited relief goods with yesterday's distribution made by Americans soldiers. Two government hospitals in Iloilo heavily damaged by the flood also got assistance with the generator sets brought here."

"Yesterday, US Navy helicopters which came from the USS Ronald Reagan arrived at the Iloilo Airport bringing with them gallons of purified water for the typhoon victims in Aklan. The city is also expected to receive relief goods from the US government. Further, the US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will be providing P4 Million ($100,000.00) worth of essential relief goods through the Philippine National Red Cross, for immediate distribution in the most severely affected areas."

Here are soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines working with sailors of the US Navy unloading purified water for Iloilo typhoon victims. Aquafina anyone?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Iloilo Typhoon Update Number Four

I also spoke with Calvary missionary, Nate Shuck, on the phone today. He said that the city is a disaster area. He did share this good news, the communities of La Puz Sur and Delgado are doing OK. These are the communities where most of the Sonshine Center kids live. Their homes were flooded but the waters have started to recede. While these kids live in squatter villages and their homes are just cardboard and tin shacks, most of their homes were are still standing, praise the Lord.

URGENT PRAYER NEEDED: Many of you know Pastor Chris Patricio and his family, Nate told me the sad news that they have lost nearly everything because of this disaster. Their home was severely flooded and most of their possessions were destroyed. Please keep them in your prayers. Pastor Chris and his wife, Des, have two children, their youngest is just weeks old. They urgently need our prayers as they try to rebuild their lives after this tragedy.

The video previously embedded here has been removed, you can still view that footage here.

Iloilo Typhoon Update Number Three

Received another email from Nate, Calvary missionary in Iloilo. He said the waters in the city are starting to recede but now areas affected by the flood are covered in mud. Also food is scarce. The families we work with say they do not have any food at all. Supplies at the stores and markets are very low and price gouging has begun. There is some government food relief available so right now the staff is looking at how our street children and their families might qualify for some of that relief.

Keep praying.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Iloilo Typhoon Update Number Two

I got an email and a text message from Calvary missionary Nate Shuck. He said that power is returning to parts of the city. His house now has power and Internet service. A large majority of the city is now under a foot of mud. The Sonshine Center was not damaged by the typhoon. Also the building itself was not flooded. As far as the Sonshine Center staff, several of their homes were flooded, one house even up to the second floor, however all staff are safe and well. They are now in the process of accounting for the street kids of the Center. Most of the kid's homes were damaged by flooding but so far there have been no reports of any of our kids being injured by the typhoon.

On a personal note, Nate told me that our house was not damaged by the typhoon or flooding. As information continues to trickle in, I will keep updating this blog with that news. Keep praying!

Photos of the typhoon/flood damage can be found here.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Iloilo Typhoon Update Number One (Hopefully More to Come)

This morning at 4:53AM I got the following text message from fellow Calvary missionary Nate Shuck:

"Abegail n i r gud wer standed n boracay wen strm hit signal #3. Aklan no pwr, watr or cel signal. Road impassbl 2 iloilo 2day(day 3 aftr storm) wil try 2 get 2 iloilo 2mrw. Frm wat we heard staf n centr n ok shape bt iloilo direct hit n worst n region. Jst got signal wil b abl 2 updat mor once n iloilo. Al ok na. Thnx 4 prayrs!"

Just in case you don't read text, here is the translation:
"Abegail and I are good, we were stranded in Boracay when the storm hit, it was a signal 3. Aklan (Abegail's family home) had no power, water, or cell phone signal. Road was impassable to Iloilo today (3 days after the storm). We will try to get to Iloilo tomorrow. From what we heard the staff and the Sonshine Center are in OK shape but Iloilo had a direct hit, the worst in the region. We just got a (cell phone) signal, will be able to update more once in Iloilo. All OK for now. Thanks for (your) prayers."

Please continue to keep all our missionaries, Sonshine Center staff, and especially our street kids in your prayers during this disaster. We continually pray that the Lord would dry up the flood waters. If He can turn water into wine and even walk on water, then He is more than able to turn the flooded city back into dry land.

Pray

Our home, Iloilo City, has been hit by a devastating typhoon. Most of the area is under water and the entire province of Iloilo is dark due to a massive power outage. The Filipino national power company predicts that it may take weeks for them to restore electricity to the province. Please pray for the people of our adopted home, Iloilo. Especially pray for the street children of the Sonshine Center. Most of our kids live in squatter villages and their homes are nothing more than shacks made of cardboard and sheets of metal. I fear that many of their homes have been swept away by the floods. Iloilo newspapers like The News Today provide more details.

On a personal note, we have not yet had any contact with our friends and missionaries in the area. We have no idea of the condition of our home, if it is completely flooded. We return in about three weeks. All we can do is pray and hope for the best. Please join us in praying for the people of Iloilo, especially praying for the poorest of the poor that we minister to.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Almost Home AND Google Earth Updated Pics

We have spent the last three weeks on the road, traveling from Maryland to Florida and back, with a rest stop in Myrtle Beach. I am always amazed at how big the United States of America is. It is a big, beautiful country, blessed with so much. We do not have a car in Iloilo, we make do with walking and public transportation, so driving here in the States has been fun, even the eight hour road trips on interstate 95.

We have about three weeks left (see the countdown widget to the right). Honestly I am anxious for my home. Google Earth has recently updated its maps with high resolution pictures of the Philippines. Here is our house in Iloilo:

Those of you who have visited us will remember that we live on a college campus. My great-grandfather founded the Iloilo Maritime Academy. From those humble beginnings it has now grown into the John B. Lacson Maritime University. Living on campus also gives us the luxury of access to the university swimming pool, a great way to beat the heat in the tropics. Here is our house in relation to the Sonshine Center:


just about a ten minute walk away. Of course, on really hot days (like nearly everyday) that ten minute walk can seem pretty rough so we take public transportation (jeepneys).

So as our American sojourn comes to a close, my thoughts turn toward our Filipino home. I am looking forward to returning, in just about three weeks.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday, May 02, 2008

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Back Home Again in Indiana

I bet you did not know that I grew up in Indiana. I was born in Indianapolis and grew up in Kokomo (nothing at all like the Beach Boys song). We are currently traveling throughout my home state, meeting with churches and fellow missionaries. The teams that came and built the playground, the kitchen, and the stage at the Sonshine Center came from this area. We have been reuniting with those missionaries, and we have also been sharing at the churches that sent them. We are being overwhelmed with blessings at every turn.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Beautiful but Cold

Hawaii is beautiful but cold. For some reason I thought it would be as hot here as in the Philippines, not so. As I type these lines I am about a three minute walk from the Waikiki beach. Danny had a little trouble going to sleep last night we he and I walked out to the ocean and got our feet wet. It is as beautiful here as people say. We will be here just for the day. We head for the airport around 7:00 this evening, and our flight to Houston leaves around 9:00.

While I miss my Filipino home very much, it is so good to be back on American soil. There is just something about being in your homeland, seeing the Stars and Stripes flying overhead. We will arrive at our final destination, BWI, around 3:00 Thursday afternoon. Until then, please continue to pray for safe and uneventful travels.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

Itinerary


April 1 (this is not joke)
Air Philippines flight 2P 990, Iloilo to Manila
leaves at 2:20 PM arrives at 3:25 PM
Continental Flight 934 Manila to Guam 
leaves at 10:55 PM arrives at 4:30 AM April 2nd

April 2
Continental Flight 2, Guam to Honolulu 
leaves at 6:25 AM arrives at 5:30 PM April 1
You read right, we arrive in Honolulu on the first of April, going back in time.  We overnight in Hawaii.

April 2 (again)
Continental  Flight 72, Honolulu to Houston 
leaves at 9:10 PM arrives at 9:55 AM April 3

April 3
Continental Flight 226, Houston to BWI 
leaves at 10:40 AM arrives at 2:14 PM

We decided to break things up this time around rather than go with our usual polar route. As of this posting, we have about two weeks until we leave. Please pray for safe travels.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Not Future Missionaries

This is one of the greatest joys of living and ministering here in the Philippines, watching my children actively involved in the ministry.

Eric sharing God's love with the street kids as we visit the Delgado squatter village.

And here he passes out new flip flops to kids in Lambunao.

Faithy puts the finishing touches on the new Camp Sonshine Center playground.

They are not future missionaries, they are missionaries NOW.


Saturday, March 08, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Young Missionary

Yesterday Eric joined myself and the team as we visited the Delgado area squatter village. This is the squatter village immediately behind the Sonshine Center. The kids who live here are some of the poorest of the poor. The Sonshine Center staff does weekly visitations to these neighborhoods so we can pray for the families, find out some of their needs, and just love on them. Eric made a friend, and she would not let go of his hand during our visit. I guess she needed some big brother affection.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008