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Showing posts from 2005
from WebMD.com . . . "Viral gastroenteritis -- often called the "stomach flu" but not caused by the influenza family of viruses -- is an inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract (the stomach and small and large intestines) that results from an infection with one of a multitude of viruses. Common symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting." This is how I spent Christmas Day, feeling much better now. Chris even saved me a turkey leg, she is the best.

Y.A.F.C.

Yet Another Filipino Christmas Our holiday festivities began with a special luncheon for the street kid moms who help out with the Scholarship Program and who also atten the Mom's Bible Study. My mom was the guest speaker, giving the exhortation. This is our second Filipino Christmas. It has been a fun time of parties, gifts, and cooler weather. Next year we will be in the States for the holidays. From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year.

Mom is here!

Arrived safely this morning. She will be here for two weeks.
Going back in February. PRAY.

Best Friends

Something pretty amazing has happened. Eric and Faith have become best friends. Every afternoon they play together for hours. Now Faith just loves to be with Eric, and so she does whatever he does. She has become very good at making spaceships and robots with Legos. They play together so well, like they are best friends. For both Chris and I, and also for the kids, the hardest part of leaving the States was leaving our friends and family. We are blessed with family and good friends here. We still miss our loved ones in the States. Some have even made the journey here, like Jimmy and Beth Capone , and my mother will be here this Saturday and will stay for Christmas. We were worried about Eric and Faith finding friends here in the Philippines. I am so glad they have found a best friend in each other.

There are times . . .

when I really miss being in the States. Right now in Maryland the weather is getting very cold, and there might be snow in the forecast. I miss the smells of winter and the cool crisp air. I also miss the first world comforts that I have taken for granted for so many years. In that regard, I miss how most first world countries are usually much cleaner. I also miss living and working in a temperature controlled environment, where I am hardly every sticky with sweat or humidity. Also the Filipino way of doing things is different--not necessarily better or worse, just different. I guess I will go through this all throughout my missionary career. While Iloilo is my home, I still feel like a foreigner. While I love my life here, I am still a citizen of two worlds, calling two VERY different places home.

Great Expectations

Praise the Lord, Chris is pregnant. The baby is due July 29, 2006. This will be our first baby born on the mission field, right here in Iloilo. We are very excited, especially Eric and Faith, they are looking forward to meeting their new baby brother or sister. Thank you all for your continued prayers.

Last Full Day In-Country . . . Our Family

These believers, our fellow Christians here in this country that I cannot name--they are our family. They are being persecuted for their faith. Members of our family are going to prison, being beaten, being rejected by family and loved ones, and some have even been put to death, because of their faith. What are we going to do for our family? The Bible says we are all one body because we worship one Lord. The believers here, they are our flesh and blood, they are our family. We cannot neglect the struggles and plight of our family here. What are we going to do for them? PRAY First and foremost, we must commit to keep them in our prayers. We must pray for their protection, for their safety from persecution and the secret police. We must commit to pray that their lives and families would be blessed, that they would have everything they need to read their nation for Christ. We can also pray for this closed country, that the hearts and minds of the leaders will be opened so that th

Nap Time, Again. Day Four In-country

Today I joined my brothers and sisters here, and caught a few winks with them during nap time. Then the brother next to me starting snoring and woke me up, oh well. There is a sister here who was beat up by the secret police. They knew she was going to this secret location for this training, and they were trying to get her to tell them where it was. She refused, and was roughed up for her defiance. Also, it seems that every pastor I meet here has been jailed often more than once, and still they are faithful. I am teaching in a "safehouse" in the city. Some of the students have come from far away and they stay here during this week of teaching. Some live in this city and commute. We all arrive in the morning. This morning I was picked up by a different driver at a different location, and we took a different route to get here. We have prayer and praise and worship, then I start teaching. We take a mid-morning break and we also take the lunch time/nap time break. Nap

Nap Time . . . Day Three In-country, First Day Teaching

As I write this, everyone else is sleeping. We ate lunch, and now everyone is taking a nap. They are sound asleep, a few of the students are even snoring. My ride picked me up at 8:00 this morning. We joined the throngs of motor bikes and scooters during the Monday morning rush hour. We arrived at our location about thirty minutes later. I am teaching in a closed room, in the rear of a someone's house. All the windows are closed and curtains drawn. For security reasons, I am not allowed to step outside until the teaching day is over. I am so humbled to be teaching these believers. They look to me like I am some kind of expert, when they are an example to me. Their faith comes with a high cost. Going to church is not just a quick Sunday drive away. Several of the students in this class are serving as pastors, and some of those pastors have been imprisoned. These students are very serious about reaching their country for Christ. They are in the midst of a revolution. T

Day One In-Country

The first day in this country that I cannot name. I am in one of the largest cities in this place. So many cities in this part of the world I can only describe using superlatives. This place is so this . . . or there are so many . . . It is on of the most unique cities I have ever visited in the world. I have read about this place for many years, I am now here seeing this place with my own eyes. I found a free wireless network in a coffee shop. Their connection is very fast, and they are just two blocks from my hotel. Needless to say I will be visiting here quite often over the next week. Met with our contacts here, to organize the week's schedule. I will be teaching several leaders of their work here. I need to meet my driver in a different place each morning. Fortunately, since I have dark hair and brown skin, I do not have to wear a disguise when I travel to the teaching place. Other Westerners who come to teach must sear sunglasses, long sleeves, and wear a big hat.

Tomorrow I Go

I think I have everything ready for my trip to the closed/restricted country I mentioned in a previous post. I have removed anything in my bag, wallet, or luggage that could suggest that I am a missionary (business cards, magazines, etc.), and I have packed clothes that do not have a Christian theme, like a Camp Sonshine t-shirt. I am bringing only one Bible, and my Bible school teaching materials are gift wrapped. I am told this is not overkill, and that this country is officially very hostile to any kind of missionary activity, even the mere suggestion. I still find it hard to fathom that in this day and age there is still such a country that oppresses and persecutes the Christian church. Now some would say that this nation is a sovereign nation, and it has the right to conduct its internal affairs as they see fit, without foreign intervention. Bull. Oppressing a group of people simply because they are Christians is unlawful and ungodly. It is my privilege to be going to such

Worldview Changed

I was talking with G, one of kids who comes to Sonshine Center, the other day. G is about 14 years old. He has recently given his life to the Lord, opening up his heart to accept Jesus as his Lord and savior. His home situation is the pits. He lives in one of the poorest slums in the city. His mom is involved in various illegal and immoral activites, so he really does not like going home. Jesus Christ and the Sonshine Center ministry are the only bright spots in his day. He also helps Chris with the preschool as a paid employee, and he is doing a great job. He has a wonderful way with children, teaching and nurturing them. I told him there might be a future in the education field for him, that he should look into on going to school to one day be a teacher. He told me that he would rather be a missionary. He told me he wants to share with others about the love of Jesus Christ, and maybe one day go to another country as a missionary. A year ago when I met G he was confused, ad

Upcoming Trip

I will be making a trip to a "closed" country next month to do a one-week Bible school/training. I cannot name this country, suffice it to say that it is very closed and very hostile to the Gospel or any form of religion especially Christianity. While I am there I am to maintain the guise of a tourist, and if the authorities catch wind of my real purpose there, it could be somewhat uncomfortable for me. I am told the worst that could happen is that I will be placed under house arrest until my flight out, then my passport will be stamped denying me any future entry into that country. Don't worry, no going to jail, etc. I cannot bring anything with me that would somehow identify me as a missionary or as a Christian. I can bring one Bible, but no Christian literature. The teaching materials I will be bringing must be gift wrapped, rather then in a binder or such, or else the authorities would wonder why I was bringing this into their country. When they are wrapped yo

Black Market

In one of the smaller malls in Iloilo City there is a section I affectionally call the "black market." Pirated DVDs can be found there a plenty. Often they are selling DVDs to movies that are still in the theaters. It is no secret that pirated DVDs are a big business here in Asia. I was a bit surprised to see them being so blatantly sold, not in some back alley or on the street by some guy in a trenchcoat, but inside a mall! Just for kicks I asked one of the vendors for a copy of the latest Star Wars, Episode III, Revenge of the Sith. She found a copy, cost just 100 Pisos (under $2) and offered to test it on her DVD player in her booth. Honestly, it looked great, quality packaging with all the proper logos, the DVD itself even had interactive menus. I pressed play and was amazed to see a very good quality movie, good sound, good picture, etc. Then the Star Wars trademark scrolling prologue came up and I saw:         Эпизод III Реванш Sith The movie was in Russian. I

Wait

Today I learned, through the wisdom and counsel of a fellow missionary here in Iloilo, to let the Lord open the doors, and not try and push some doors open. In my zeal and excitement for something new and different, I was reminded to give pause and carefully consider before I fully commit, or before I commit to an extend degree. Waiting is not always easy, but there is purpose. As I have been reading in some John Maxwell books, success is not a destination, but rather a journey. There is purpose is waiting. Pause is part of the journey. I have a sense of anticipation because I feel the Lord is about to open new doors of ministry opportunities for our family. At the same time I must remember that I need to let Him open the doors, rather than push the wrong door open myself. "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27: 13, 14

Broadband is Here

Iloilo City is not as urbanized as Manila. It is much smaller, just over half a million people. We are considered in the provinces, and that means we lack many first world comforts and conveniences. However we do have several broadband services available in our city. All last year we did not have Internet service in our home. It was too expensive, and we found ways to manage without by going to wireless hotspots and Internet cafes. A new Internet service was made available for just P788 (about $13) a month. We signed up and we are so happy we did. It is not as fast as what is available in the States, but it is still pretty good, and I am able to share the connection using a wireless router, so Chris and I can both be on network at the same time. She uses it for homeschool and preschool planning. I use it to maintain our website, this blog, and email and communications. It is so nice to have high speed Internet in our home. It is a way to bring some of what we miss in the U.S

Like I Never Even Left

Walking around the streets of Iloilo it feels like I never even left. Taking care of business, running errands, going to the store, working with the street kids and the missionary staff here, it feels like I am picking right back where I left off two months ago. This place is so familiar to me now, it just feels like home. There has been some adjustment. We had our first power outage the other day, plus the bugs are back in force, then there is the cold showers. All in all I am glad to call this place home. I am still a citizen of two countries, and yet I am glad to spend most of the year in this place, my home Iloilo, Philippines.

Trip Log

I am not sure when I will be posting this. Perhaps from an open wireless network I stumble upon somewhere, or perhaps not until we arrive in Iloilo. Either way, I begin this entry to pass the time recording our trip back home to the Philippines. First let me say that I am very much looking forward to returning home to Iloilo. Iloilo is home, and I am looking forward to walking into our house again. We have had a very full and eventful time in the States. We got to see so many friends, family, and loved ones. We also had some fun times going to Hershey Park, baseball games, and even Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Most of all it was great to spend quality time with family and friends. We had a quick flight from BWI to Newark. The sky was clear and we were able to see the New York City skyline as we landed. We could even see the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. Whenever I see the NYC skyline, I always notice what is no longer there. This is especially noticeable on t

Fall?

We are enjoying this taste of Fall like weather. In the mornings it is very cool, almost jacket weather. This is the calm (weather-wise) before the storm. Just three days to go and we will be home. Honestly, I am still very much looking forward to going back. Now my tune may change when the heat of the Philippines hits me like a hammer, and when I have to start taking cold showers again. We have been blessed to share about our missionary work with family, friends, churches, and fellowship/bible study groups, and doing so gets us excited about what God is doing in the Philippines. It gets us excited to be going back. Three days to go.

Stuff

On missions you find out if you really believe all the stuff you say you believe, you find out if you really believe the stuff you sing about on Sunday mornings in church. On missions you find out it's all true.

Still Ready

Less than two weeks to go. We continue to have a blessed time in the States. I went to my first Orioles game last Saturday, even though my hometown favorites got shellacked, it was nice to go back to the ballpark. It has been a true blessing to visit with family and friends. This is what we have missed the most.

Ready

As of this writing, we have twenty four days left here in the United States. I have enjoyed my first Stateside furlough. I have enjoyed the comforts of this country like hot showers, cooler weather, public libraries, etc. Most of all I have enjoyed seeing family and friends, what we have missed most of all. It continues to be a wonderful visit here in the U.S. I was worried that at the end of our time here in the States, that I would dread going back, that I would become so used to the comforts and familiarity of our U.S. home, that I would regret having to leave it. Honestly, I am starting to feel different about that. I am looking forward to going back. Now my tune may change twenty four days from now, or actually twenty five days from now when I step off the plane and get hit by the heat of the Philippines, or when I turn on the water for my first cold shower. Right now I am getting excited about going back. So much of missionary life is simply everyday life, taking care of

8 Years

Last night Christine and I celebrated our eighth year of marriage. We went to the Candlelight Inn in Catonsville, MD. This is not only a great place for a fine meal, this is where we were married on that Summer day eight years ago. The ceremony was held in their covered deck, and the reception was inside the restaurant. I seem to remember that it was one of the hottest days of that Summer. Please continue to pray for Christine and I and our family as we continue serving the Lord wherever He leads. I could not do this without her. I am so glad I am not without her

Calvary International HQ

Chris and I spent the morning meeting with the leadership of Calvary International at their world headquarters in Jacksonville, FL. This is yet another reminder of why choosing Calvary as a missions sending agency was truly a godly decision. We are so blessed to be a part of a such a supportive missionary agency. We met with Tim and Nancy Lovelace, the Vice-presidents of Field Ministries. They were so encouraging and spoke blessings into our lives. We also benefited from their wisdom through their many years on the mission field. We then had lunch with the founder of Calvary International, Pastor Daniel Williams of Christ the Redeemer Church. Pastor David Sheffield also joined us. We were so blessed by them, their wisdom and encouragement (kudos to Lulu's for a great lunch!). We then had dinner and an evening of fun with other Calvary International missionaries. I am so blessed to be a part of a community of faith such as this. I am blessed to be with Calvary. There are s

My Wonderful Mom

We are spending a week with my Mom at her home in Florida. We are having a great time. My Mom is a gem, and the kids really love her. We also get to spend some quality time with my friend Jason and his family. Jason (Jack) and I have known each other since we were six, a very long time. They always bless us when we get together. They just got back from Australia, and they are seriously considering visiting us in Iloilo next year. Several friends have expressed a sincere desire to visit us in the Philippines, just like the Capones did in July. I am so blessed that these are even considering coming to our side of the world. My prayer is that they would put feet to this talk and make the huge step of faith, get out of the boat, and see how the Lord can make them walk on water.

Powerbook Heaven

I have been so blessed with a brand new Apple Powerbook. I am in Powerbook Heaven. It is a sleek and thin aluminum machine. The screen is a very wide 15". The keyboard is backlit so the letters light up when it gets dark, like the buttons on a cellphone. Once again I see how the Lord always gives us the tools we need to succeed. My other Powerbook is over five years old, and is still running strong. Chris is now using it for email and Internet. We decided to upgrade my computer for movie making and graphics. I fully anticipate to get at least four years out of this new computer before I even think about upgrading again. Thank you, Lord, for Your provision. What a blessing.

Camp Sonshine Maryland

Spent the morning visiting friends at the big Camp, Camp Sonshine Maryland in Silver Spring. Our camp in the Philippines is the first international extension of the Camp Sonshine ministry. Camp Sonshine MD is soooooo huge, with over 250 staff, and too many kids to count. My first summer there were only about 50 staf and about 200 campers total. Needless to say my first summer was a looooooong time ago. I must admit I kind of like the simplicity of Camp Sonshine Philippines. Our camp is so much smaller and I feel that all staff have more contact with the kids. Either way I am blessed to be a part of Camp Sonshine again. This last summer was my ninth summer with Camp Sonshine.

Apologies

I found out that several people have been keeping up with this blog and they are wondering why I have not been posting for so many weeks. I apologize for neglecting this blog and I will try and keep this more up to date. Thanks for reading. It is an encouragement to me to see that so many are interested in our family and our ministry. God bless you all.
Yesterday I was trying to talk God into sending be back to the U.S. I told him that I could take my computer and management skills and make a good salary, and then give a large portion of that salary to missions. Couldn't I make an impact through the money that I give? Would that not be a bigger benefit to missions and His kingdom? Better that I make the money and give most to missions, than someone else who will just keep it for himself. Could I not be a great blessing to the Sonshine Center and the staff here through my giving? I had a strong feeling of not wanting to live in a third world country. I miss the comforts, security, cleanliness, etc. of the States. I miss my American home. I find that I am getting frustrated with my Filipino home. We are leaving for the States in July. We return to the Philippines in September. I am afraid that I will not want to return. Later that day, God reminded me of a few things. We had a great last day of Camp with the street kid
Humility. I know this is one of the reasons why the Lord brought me to the mission field, to learn humility. I see how much pride and selfishness I have. It is time to be purified of these things. It is not all about me. Through many situations and circumstances, I feel the Lord is trying to teach me to be humble, to make myself more like Christ and be of no reputation. I must take on the nature of a servant, as just He did. This is no fun. This has not been easy. It is necessary. Please pray for me.
Dude, the Philippines is hot! I sit here typing this, and sweat drips off my arms. Bright and early in the morning, around 8:30, when the sun is high enough, it is already 95 degrees. Coming out from under the shade the sun is like a hammer, especially in the afternoons. I take about three showers a day, to rinse the sticky, thin film of sweat off my skin. While we are used to these kinds of temperatures in the States, what we also have in the States is the constant presence of air conditioners everywhere we go--in our cars, homes, places of business, etc. Not so here in the Philippines. We do have air conditioners in our home here in the Philippines, but honestly we hardly ever run them. Thankfully our family has gotten used to the heat. While it can get oppressive at times, especially when doing any kind of manual labor or lifting, for the most part the heat does not bother us. Even at night, we are now accustomed to sleeping with just a fan, even with the heat and humidity.
Last week we started praying everyday for Eric to find a friend here. Faith was fortunate in that she had Cora, even though she is a year younger than Faith, they get along very well, often disappearing off in their own world playing their little games. Eric and Faith are also very good friends.We started praying for Eric to have such a good guy friend here. Before we knew it, the Lord answered our prayer. Jandar is a two weeks older than Eric and he lives in the house next door, and they love playing together. This morning we heard him through our window saying, "eric, eric, are you awake yet?" As I write this he, Eric and Faith are running around outside in our courtyard. Yet again the Lord shows us that He cares about the little and big things. Actually for a seven year old boy having a good friend is not so little a thing. And more importantly He shows us yet again that things happen when we pray.
The calm before the storm. We are now in the midst of the calm before the storm. Here is our schedule for the next few months: -April 12 - 15, Camp Aklan -April 21-21, Camp Alibunan -April 24-30, Camp Bocolod -May 2-6, Camp Iloilo -May 15-21, Camp Guimaras (Christ for the Nations short-term team here) -May 23-27, Iloilo Compassion International Camp -May 30-June 1, Sonshine Center Building Work Days -June 2-5, Trip to Boracay -June 13, Preschool Begins -June 28, Sonshine Center reopens -July 4-15, Calvary International Discovery Missions Team visits -July 8-15, Jimmy and Beth Capone Short-term Missions trip Oh, and one more thing . . . -July 18, we leave for a two month visit to the United States I am told this is how it is every Summer, one thing after another. This is what the song writer refers to when he says, "A little less conversation, a little more action."
Before God will send you to the nations, He wants to know what you are doing to reach the world next door. We boldly declare we are willing to go to the ends of the earth for Him, how about to the ends of your school, to the ends of your workplace, to the ends of your neighborhood? Before you can go to the other side of the world, God wants to see you going right where you are at. Step out of your comfort zone, open your front door, and go to the lost world you are already in. But be careful. As was said in the Lord of the Rings, it is a dangerous thing stepping out your front door, because you never know where you may end up. If God sees you stepping out to your immediate world, He may just take you to the other side of the world as well.
A home. I love our home in Iloilo. It is a big airy home with bright rooms that seem to catch every breeze that passes by, and breezes are very valuable here in the Philippines. We have a welcoming receiving hallway that leads into a bright and open living room. We have a large dining room, with a huge table, enough seating for eight. The kid's bedrooms are upstairs and our family/TV room is also upstairs. The house is not really our home, it belongs to my Lola who will eventually will it to her son, my Uncle Ed. We do not own a home in the United States. When my children are older, there will be no home of their youth for them to visit. No home where they had their many birthday parties, Christmas mornings, etc. There will be no hometown for them to visit, with memories of elementary school playgrounds and high school sports fields. A part of me regrets this. A part of me wishes we would have a somewhat normal or traditional life in the U.S. with a home to raise our kids
What do I miss? We have been in the Philippines for about five months. What kinds of things do we miss? Many people know that the way to my heart is through my stomach, so naturally some of the things I miss are food related. Both Chris and I really miss Mexican food. We loved Don Pablo's and Taco Bell (not really "Mexican") We try and eat Mexican at least once a week, but it is not as easy to prepare since we have to make our tortillas from scratch. This can be a lot of work, but it is worth it. Chris has really impressed me by learning how to make many things from scratch, like Italian bread (very good and a hit with all who try it), different kinds of cookies, cakes, and breads. Of course we miss the comforts of the US. Since it is so hot here we keep our windows open 24/7. Few houses have any kind of thermostat or central air conditioning. Having your windows open all day invites more than just the breezes. It can get very dusty inside. Also, even with sc
Praise the Lord for windows. No not the computer operating system. One of the major pieces left in order to complete the renovation of the Sonshine Center building is Windows. We need 90 windows. An appeal has been made for individuals, groups and churches to sponsor a window for $333.33. Many people have come forward, pledging to purchase a window for the Sonshine Center building. Through these individuals coming forward, we now have 15 windows for the Center. I am amazed to see God moving on the hearts of people to give to a project that they have not even seen with their own eyes. We need 75 more. My prayer to the Lord is, "This is not enough." I am thankful for the 15 purchased so far, but we still need more. Our God is not a God of not enough. When I consider the total need, and how people have come forward to give, I am blessed, still I say, "More Lord." I am blessed and encouraged to see what He has done so far, but I know His work is not yet comp
The other day I saw a little girl sleeping. She was curled up in a ball, sucking her thumb, fast asleep. She looked so calm and peaceful, the way kids do when they are sleeping, in spite of the fact that she was sleeping on the ground on a sidewalk on a corner of a busy intersection. What appeared to be her family was a few feet away. They were filthy and looked desperately poor. They had a younger child with them, happily playing in the dirt. he was as naked as the day he was born. My heart is broken for such as these. A part of me wanted to jump off the jeepney I was riding and offer some kind of help. A part of me still wants to scoop up the little girl and take her home. The image of her still haunts my thoughts. I can still picture her family sitting on the sidewalk. I can still see her sleeping, her face like an angel. This motivates me to strive and work even harder for the kids at the Sonshine Center. I may not be able to help every street kid in Iloilo, but at leas
Chris and I have a new Ilonggo language tutor. Our first tutor, Rowena, was great, and we now have become friends. Her family came to Eric's Birthday Pool Party. She no longer teaches at the language school so we now have a new tutor. Our new tutor, Sam, is also great, but she demonstrates the challenges of learning an unwritten language. Ilonggo has a few strict grammar rules, but much of the language is formed around common usages. Since we now have a different tutor, we are learning her usages and idioms. In some ways this absence of strict grammar makes Ilonggo easier to learn. Just go ahead and speak, don't worry about grammar, mix in a little English, and usually you will be understood. Once I got over my perfectionism, I found I could speak and understand much more than I really know. And since I look Filipino (probably because I am Filipino), when I am on the street people already expect me to know the dialect. Most educated people here know and understand Engl
I love short- term missions. In college I went on five short-term missions trips, all five to Mexico. On those trips we would do street evangelism through dramas and skits. On my first short-term missions trip during my Sophomore year at Oral Roberts University, I led someone through the Sinner's Prayer for the very first time. I will never forget that experience. As a young teenager, I heard the call to foreign missionary work. I remember the night I heard the Lord reveal to me that I would be a missionary. On the short-term trips during my college years, I felt that call to missions strengthened and confirmed. The Sonshine Center has several teams visiting each year. This year, we have a team coming almost every month. I love when short-term missions teams come. I love to see people join the ministry, even if just for a week or just a few days. I love the enthusiasm and excitement teams bring. A husband and wife we are very close to will be visiting us with a team thi
The young girl who engages in prostitution has been coming to Center. I look at how young she is, she cannot be more than thirteen years old. She especially looks childlike when she is playing games or doing other activities at the Center. When I think about the men who take advantage of her, a part of me wants to find them and beat the living 5h!t out of them. Chris reminded me that we do not war against flesh and blood. Indeed in this and with many other situations, we war against principalities and powers, and strongholds of darkness. Also, our weapons are not earthly, or man made, they are mighty for the pulling down of these strongholds.
Happy 7th Birthday Eric! Today is my son's 7th birthday. I do not feel old enough to have a seven year old child. He is such a blessing. Seven fun years of t-ball and football games, watching him learn how to read and do math, going to Orioles games, going camping, now going all over the world. Today we will go to his choice of restaurant, go spend some of his birthday money, and watch Star Wars (his first time). Usually we would take him to Famous Dave's, for the passed few birthdays he had requested ribs for this birthday dinner treat, no equivalent of Famous Dave's here, but we will find something he likes. I am the richest man in the world.
We spent the weekend on the island of Guimaras having two days of children ministry with the kids there. A short-term missions team from Indiana came, and this was the main thrust of their trip. We held "mini" camps with the kids on the island, getting them ready for this summer when we will have a week-long camp there. I will be posting an update with pictures and stories on the website soon.
This week we found out that some of the Sonshine Center girls are no longer coming to Center, the reason being they have sold themselves into prostitution. Their family situation has become so desperate, their needs so great, they have sold their bodies to make money for their families. These girls are just kids, barely twelve or thirteen. I am filled with a righteous rage that men would take advantage of young girls in this way. My heart is broken that their families, often with their parent's consent, have taken this very desperate measure to make money. What can be done for the poor? Are we really accomplishing anything? My faith is encouraged by the story of Nomil. Nomil is currently studying in the States at Christ for the Nations Institute (CFNI). He came to Camp Sonshine Philippines many years ago, first as a camper, then volunteering as an assistant counselor. As he got older he was offered a job to work at the Sonshine Center as a paid employee. He is now studyi
I am sitting here in language school with one of my students, Sebastian. Some of you may remember that I teach English to Korean students. I volunteer at this school, in exchange I get Ilonggo language instruction. We are enjoying the new wireless network here at the school. Sebastian has helped us several times at the Center, and is wanting to come again to help minister to the kids. I never expected to come to the Philippines and minister at the Center with Koreans. They are such a blessing, it is great to have their help.
On the way to church there was a funeral procession. The person who passed away was not very rich since there was no car or hearse carrying the coffin. The simple wooden coffin was being carried by the mourners, being followed by some carrying flowers. What is striking about this is that the coffin was very small. A child had passed away. The most striking thing about this funeral procession, however, was that children were carrying the coffin. Children were carrying the flowers. The mourners were all children, no adults. No mother or father to grieve this child's passing. Not even an uncle or Auntie to assist in the burial. Just children. In a country were over half of the population is under the age of 18, there are so many who are fatherless and motherless. One such child was buried last Sunday.
Welcome to our weblog. I will be publishing stories, thoughts, and impressions about missionary life in the Philippines. Be sure to also check out our website for pictures and stories. We update the site about every four to six weeks. The blog will be updated about every other day, or whenever I feel like it.