Christmas Devotional · 22 hours ago

“Once a year the Christmas season strikes both the
sacred and secular spheres of life with sledgehammer force:
suddenly Jesus Christ is everywhere.

For approximately one month His presence is inescapable.

You may accept Him or reject Him, affirm Him or deny Him,
but you cannot ignore Him.

Of course He is proclaimed in speech, song, and symbol in all
the Christian churches. But He rides every red-nosed reindeer,
lurks behind every Cabbage Patch doll, resonates in the most
desacralized “season’s greetings.” Remotely or proximately,
He is toasted in every cup of Christmas cheer.

Each sprig of holly is a hint of His Holiness, each cluster of
mistletoe a sign He is here.

For those who claim His name, Christmas heralds this
luminous truth: The God of Jesus Christ is our absolute future.

Such is the deeply hopeful character of this sacred season.
By God’s free doing in Bethlehem, nothing can separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Light, life, and love are on our side.

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,
and they will call Him Immanuel – which means, “God with us.”
Matthew 1:23

from: Manning, Brennan. (1997). Reflections For Ragamuffins.
Harper Collins Pub. New York, New York. December 1 Reading

— Beth Symanzik



9 years · 10 days ago


it hit me a few minutes ago that today, 9 years ago, we landed in Davao.

It’s been an interesting journey. One which continues to unfold in various ways. I’ve learned to let go of my way and go with His way. He knows the way I take, the way each member of this family takes. And I rest in Him.



Humbled to be called on this missionary journey.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers!

— Beth Symanzik



Just As · 13 days ago

I awoke this morning from a dream in which I was sharing with one of my sisters who’d been telling me that she didn’t feel good enough to be accepted by Christ. I shared with her what God had told me:

“Just as you love Jerard just as he is, so I love you just as you are. Just be.”

“Just as Jerard melts into you when you hold him I want you to melt in to Me. Rest in Me. Just Rest.”

There is no “good enough” to earn God’s love – we just receive it as a wonderful gift, unmerited, from our gracious Abba Father.

— Beth Symanzik



Sometimes when it rains, it floods!!! · 20 days ago

We are in the ‘ber’ months and we experience some moments of cooler temps and also moments of torrential rain. This is what our street was like yesterday afternoon for an hour or two! (These photos come from a friend who lives a street or two up from us.)

James and a friend of his were swimming in the street!

The water came over our yard up to our house about 2 or 3 inches. Thankfully, not in the house!!!

— Beth Symanzik



All Saints and All Souls Days · 30 days ago

November 1 and 2 are big holidays here in the Philippines.

The cemeteries become like fair grounds with people camping by the grave of a loved one, vendors selling food, plastic light up toys, candles, flowers, balloons….families having reunions at the graveside of loved ones.

It’s quite a spectacle.

We walked around the cemetery where Jerard is buried yesterday. We placed flowers on his grave but didn’t camp out or have a picnic there, though we did enjoy some of the edible delights of the vendors.

Hopefully I can post some pictures soon. (The pics above are from a local website posted from this holiday weekend here in Davao).

Kurt took some photos on his tablet. I’m waiting for him to load them onto the computer. I’m really praying for a camera for Christmas!!!

— Beth Symanzik