Morning Walk in the Cemetery

Down the street from us is a gate that leads into a cemetery. Cemeterys here are like parks in the USA - people exercise there, have picnics, bury their loved ones, hold family reunions, sleep overnight at the grave site on special holidays, etc...

I enjoy morning walks there. First view is of the mountains (Mount Apo and a few others.) It is a visual reminder to me of my Saviour's love and care for me....even if there are clouds blocking a clear view of the mountain, He is always there - in every storm of life. The visual reminder is His loving grace to me.

I lift up my eyes to the
hills. From where does my help come?

2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.

The other amazing thing to witness in the cemetery is how the graves are dug - all by hand -

early in the cool of morning - spade by spade - earth moved to make room for the box and body of some family's loved one....

8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Embrace The Cross

One of my favourite songs, especially in this Easter season, is Steve Green's "Embrace The Cross". This is passionate song, reminding me of His suffering for me and my call to follow in His steps for His glory....My life is not my is His.

I am crucified with Christ Therefore I no longer live
Jesus Christ now lives in me
(Repeat twice)

Embrace the cross
Where Jesus suffered
Though it will cost
All you claim as yours
Your sacrifice will seem small
Beside the treasure
Eternity can't measure
What Jesus holds in store

Embrace the love
The cross requires
Cling to the one
Whose heart knew every pain
Receive from Jesus
Fountains of compassion
Only He can fashion
Your heart to move as His

Oh, wondrous cross our desires rest in you
Lord Jesus make us bolder
To face with courage the shame and disgrace
You bore upon Your shoulder

Embrace the life
That comes from dying
Come trace the steps
The Savior walked for you
An empty tomb
Concludes Golgotha's sorrow
Endure then till tomorrow
Your cross of suffering
Embrace the cross
Embrace the cross
The cross of Jesus

Championship Weekend for Ben

This weekend there was a karate expo at Abreeza mall. The Bushido Kai King's Sword Warrior club that Ben is in performed and had competitions. It was a well run, fun event.

The group of karate participants.

Friends warming up together: Justin, Ben, Martin, Mia

There was competition in team kada, long-stick, self-defense, and individual kada and long stick.

Ben received high scores for his individual long-stick

as well as high scores for the team competitions he and Mia performed. It was a fun event to watch.

Mia and Ben performing synchronized kada

Mia and Ben doing a synchronized long-stick kada

Break time playing with tops and good friend, Martin.

Walking with Justin back to mat for team kada

Ben and Mia with Sensa Nell and two championship medals each
for well-done performances in team competition.

OutDoor Education 2012

Every year the middle schoolers go on Outdoor Education. This year they flew to Manila to join the Faith Academy Manila Middle Schoolers on a 5 day adventure to Subic.
Kirsten really enjoyed the trip. It is a time for students to learn more about the Philippines, themselves, their relationship with Christ and serve.

At the airport before departure from Davao

at the beach - they released newly hatched sea turtles
into the ocean.

On the bridge leading to the school they ministered at.

Performing a skit at the school.

The group

Four friends enjoying God's handiwork at night

If you want to see more pics from Outdoor Ed, check out my facebook post!

Bolo Handle

One of the many benefits of living in the Philippines are the guys who come around to sharpen knives or fix fans. No needing to drive somewhere to find a shop.
Yesterday, the knife sharpener was on our street.
I asked him to sharpen our kitchen knives and our bolo.
He saw that the handle of our bolo was not good (it slipped off easily - not good when swinging it back to cut a shrub or something!)
he fashioned a new handle for us out of two empty 1-liter toyu (soy sauce) bottles that were made of heavier plastic than pop bottles.

He used one of the bottles as the core of the handle; melting the plastic over the flame of our propane burners and molding it onto the bolo knife blade.

Cutting the plastic melted onto the knife blade

Shaping the handle over the heat of flame

Cooling the handle in water

The finished product!

And isn't that what Jesus does to us? Puts us in the flame of trials to melt us into Him image; to shape us into His likeness! Refiner's fire!

Malachi 3 For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.
Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,...

1 Peter 1
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.