Monthly Archives: April 2012

God’s Little Gift

Colorful confusion!

Busy missionary moms need a substitute granny on occasion. One mom who is also the pilot’s wife texted that her pilot husband needed to fly into a tribal location which meant she needed to flight follow. Which meant she had to stay by her computer and radio while he was in the air to the village until he returned to the hanger. Which meant her daughter would miss her second day of ballet class. Unless a Lola (Filipino for ‘Granny’) would take her to class.

We are in the sorting, tossing, packing and re-packing stage of our preparations for furlough. It’s overwhelming with all the details of getting cargo shipped to the USA in a month, coordinating several domestic flights for remaining ministry as well as arranging our international flights. All very important, tedious, dry and boring details. All the plans being made then scratched and blocked for no other reason than to teach us humility. And the endless phone calls that end in frustration because the new information doesn’t match the information that was given yesterday that was very critical to us ending up in the United States – together. It was just not a good time for me to take off from all of that.

On top of that, my hair was dirty since I hadn’t planned on leaving the phone or computer for weeks! Or at least until that one room was completely sorted and packed away for the move. Also Chris needed to use the car we borrowed. On top of that I’m feeling burdened that we have two patients from the village in the hospital in a town three hours one way over broken roads and I hadn’t visited in over a week.

And she needed a lola. I’m the only lola here right now. So I washed my face and pulled my dirty hair into a clip, hitched a ride with Chris and his friend and headed to ballet class.

Ballet class! Excited girls of all ages and sizes flitted in colorful, bouncy tutus, tights and ballet slippers. Little beginner ballerinas hopping and twisting and pointing toes in a chaotic display of utter confusion! I smiled then laughed as I chatted with the mothers, dads and lolas in the sidelines snapping pictures at the little dancers every move.

And I prayed. I prayed for my daughter-in-law and my little granddaughters on the other side of the world doing exciting things that I miss forever. I prayed for the grandmothers (and the granddads) on the other side of the world missing forever this moment of beauty their little granddaughters were creating.

And, I thanked God for the gift.


Hospital Summit

Beautiful scene from the boat

God demonstrates His love and care for patients here through mission hospitals. Chris is privileged to serve as consultant with the local mission hospital. He joined hospital board members and administrative staff as four of the Baptist Hospitals met for a summit on the beautiful island of Palawan to encourage each other and plan for the future services at each of these hospitals. Please pray for missionary doctors and administrators as they seek to serve the Lord in the area of health care. Chris took these photos after the meetings:

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It Takes A Team

Repairs Being Made

This is our first look at the repairs on our airstrip and we were delighted that we could see all the work scraping off the grass and leveling the strip well past the little waiting area we lovingly call the ULA International Airport.

We are very grateful to the Lord for:

  • the many folk that gave sacrificially for all the labor costs and supplies for the repairs
  • our partner, that he could arrange his schedule in Australia to come back to the Philippines for the month of April to do the ground work and supervising
  • for safety for the village people working by pick axe, shovel and muscle power in the blistering heat  *Please pray for unhindered work on their farms as this is normally the busiest time for getting the land cleared and burned before planting
  • for our missionary pilot for his expertise in directing the repairs necessary and his willingness to hold flights until he could make the overland trip into the village to assess the situation first hand
  • for safety for Chris to travel the hazardous roads in a borrowed truck (thank you co-workers!) buying supplies and transporting people and those supplies so they could make the trip into the village
  • for all those who remembered to pray for the whole process and continue until the plane safely returns to our village and for the continued work God is doing among the Banwaon

After all, it takes a TEAM!


Ministry In Miles

Most envision a missionary teaching or studying the Bible at a desk surrounded by resource material with a squeaky fan blowing the bugs out of his face.

But sometimes he sits behind the wheel in a hot car barely moving over broken roads. Trip after trip, he sleeps in tiny hotel rooms with limited electricity, cold showers and sketchy food. Sometimes he shops, in scavenger hunt fashion, searching in four different cities ducking in and out of countless, dark, dusty stores that only stock one or two of the 90 needed items to get all the hardware for the airstrip repairs. (There is no one-stop shopping here!)

Chris traveled over 2796 miles (4500 K) in this ministry month. Not the usual miles racked up in the seat of an airplane. Road miles. The slow and painfully bounced, jerked and slammed to a stop kind of miles. ALL OF THEM. Literally.

The national highway that circles northern Mindanao, the island we serve on, is under major repair. Because it is majorly in disrepair. Heavy rains caused the road bed to wash out from under the asphalt surface causing a ‘peanut brittle’ effect. The road works crew then scoops up this brittle road one lane at a time with a bulldozer that tosses it aside while all the traffic uses the ‘free’ lane. And not in servicable sections like you might imagine. This roadworks project covers the entire national highway!

Actual forward 'speed'

V-e-r-y slowly uses the free lane. It is not at all unusual to sit 2 hours while traffic passes in that lane. Over and over again all along those many miles. Why?

Because the national highway is the only roadway that takes you around the island. Why would Chris do all those miles when the road is such a mess? When the driving and sitting all those hours causes leg and back cramps that wake him in the middle of the night? When he would rest at home just one night to turn around and make the painful trip all over again? FOUR TIMES in THREE WEEKS? Why?

Because it pleases God when missionaries work as a team. We share the privilege to serve Him as part of the New Tribes missionary team here on Mindanao, not just partners in the translation team for the Banwaon.

Chris first made that roundtrip in four days to take me and my two friends to the pick-up point for our road trip into the village by motor bike. Then he supply shopped before he came back to pick us up again. Then he slept one night at home and covered the same painful journey adding a day to pick up our partner to make his motor bike trip into the village to repair our condemned airstrip. Then he returned home to sleep two nights in his own bed only to turn around to do the three day trip again and three days back with the New Tribes Mission Aviation pilot who went in to explain the specific details of the repairs needed on the airstrip. All four of those round trips literally fill the three week time frame.

Supply buying and mobilization was Chris’ part of the teamwork needed to complete the repairs on our airstrip.

God knows just how to plug each of us into the team to suit His purpose and plant a church for His Glory.

A short video clip of Chris traveling a section of the national highway. Praise the Lord, the tires stayed round!


Happy Easter


Getting a Little Girl Medical Help

Little Miryami is thought to have TB

Our return began with us waiting for the drivers to load the mutur at 2.30AM.

Brilliant stars - photo doesn't do justice.

It’s very black in the jungle at that hour but the stars were magnificent! Once loaded, we said our good-byes and took off in that blackness.

We added a couple extra passengers on our return trip.

Midin is a young woman I met when she was only fifteen. Now she has four beautiful children. I was delighted when she visited me in the village with her daughter, Yami and Inay Ladinay, a friend and the village health worker. Quickly delight changed to concern as she explained that little Yami was suspected of having TB and needed a check up a year ago but they only had enough money for the trip back from the hospital. Could they ride with us to save on the cost to the hospital?

So Midin and Yami traveled out with us. The heavy rains that pounded our fun day at the river caused even more mud and swollen river passages. One beautiful thing the Lord arranged for a visit with Midin’s sister who lives along our route. They had only visited once since her sister left the village and she had never seen her little niece. We witnessed the tearful reunion as they hugged and chatted together at breakfast before we pressed on to the hospital.

Medical Assistance ministry could be our full time ministry here – easily! Midin explained to me her fear of all the unknowns – big city, language and procedures being foremost. The hospital is extremely crowded and everything moves so fast. The tribal people are not even sure of what questions to ask the busy staff. Traffic baffles them – how and when to move in it. Like many of us, they do not understand the medical terms or instructions that are either English or Cebuano, languages that are not theirs. Midin had papers thrust in her hand and had no idea what they were – prescriptions and x-ray schedules. No wonder they feel scared to be in the city! We are often confused by it all as well but we at least understand hospitals. Midin and Yami are waiting now at the big hospital for treatment and medicine and are a six hour trip for us to visit. They could be there at least two weeks as far as we understand it today.

Please pray:

  • for Yami as she undergoes the strange things they are doing to check her for TB
  • for Midin as a young mother facing city and hospital challenges for the first time out of the jungle
  • for the doctors to clearly diagnose her problem and get her the medical help she needs
  • for their care during this Easter week when EVERYTHING shuts down
  • for strength and endurance as they deal with this difficult situation far from home and family
  • for health to return to Yami
  • for their return to the village as quickly as possible

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Time in the Village

It was lovely to reconnect with my friends there.

Here are the highlights of our time in the village. It’s taking so long to get these completed with the daily power outages that a write-up will come later. I hope you enjoy the slideshows in the meantime.

One quick note: Thank you so much for your prayers. God blessed the planning and enabled us to do all the work as well as get in a bit of fun. It was wonderful to have two of my friends from the town accompany me so they could meet my friends in the village. His Grace affected all our lives in that short time. Enjoy these photos of our time there.

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