Transition is never easy. We've been living in packing mode and out of suitcases since early May - and to be honest its really old now....but thankfully, we are unpacking and settling into a house we recently purchased in the village of Goodrich.
The boys are registered for school and start August 27. They'll be going to Goodrich public school - high school for Ben, grade 11 and Oaktree Elementary for James, grade 5. Ben is playing American football this year and has had two weeks of practice. He's enjoying playing this sport which he hasn't played before.
James is signed up to play soccer which starts the end of August. Both boys are making friends and the lonliness they were experiencing when we first moved is easing up a bit with the increase of friends in the neighborhood and at church.
It is such a blessing to be together again as a family.
We are so thankful for the many items that have been given to us for moving into the house - furniture, friends who helped us move, clothing, dishes.... we are so thankful for God's provision and watchcare.
The minute the wheels of the airplane touched US soil at the Detroit Metro Airport, James was officially a US Citizen!
Immigration went well and we are ALL in the states - in Michigan. Happy to be together as a family again.
Today, May 28, we are leaving the Philippines after being here 11 years, 6 months, and 2 days! What a journey it has been.
Pray for our safe travels and good transitions!
We have emptied our house and moved into a mission guest house for our last few days here in the Philippines.
That made getting rid of refrigerators, furniture, air cons, and household items easier since we were no longer needing to use them.
We've visited Jerard's grave for the last time,
Talked with many to say '"so long"
James is spending lots of time with friends
I've had a last class celebration with my Bible Students. I gave them each a sarong as a symbol of remembering that God is our shelter and covering
I've enjoyed eating a halo-halo
We've been celebrating with friends, writing notes of appreciation, packing
And in 5 days we board a plane to start our journey to the USA. We are so thankful for the 11 years we've been here. It's been life-changing.
The process of leaving has been filled with so many blessings - James' visa approval, being able to get Kurt and James on the same flights Ben and I were already booked on, someone to care for our dog Lacie, the ease with which we obtained James' approval sticker for leaving the country from the Commission of Filipinos Overseas, selling off items, and many graces throughout our days
It's hard to put in words the halo-halo (mix-mix) of thoughts and emotions at this transtition time. But overall, I rest in God's leading and guiding. He is my Abba Father and He is faithful.
I look forward to the journeys God has for us. This journey has been filled with many ups and downs. I am so thankful we've taken this path and I rest in God's continued leading, grace, and love.
Our family went to Manila for the weekend. I've been wanting to see Old Manila, also known as Intramuros or The Walled City. This was part of our preparation for transitioning to the US – seeing places in our host country we'd like to see before we leave.
Looking at Fort Santiago in Manila on Saturday; the ingenious of man to build such strong structures, caused my heart to sing in praise to my Saviour and God.
Psalm 62 played in my head:
He is my fortress Psalm 62:2.
Oh God, You are my God
My lips praise You!
You are my rock and my salvation
My fortress, my strong tower
You are my shield and my strength, I worship you.
In silence do I find You!
My soul thirsts for You!
You are my strength and shield
I love You, my Abba Daddy!
I will not be greatly shaken
Shaken, yes, but always firm in Him.
Thoughts start streaming about my 11 years in this country. Looking at those strong rocks and amazing architecture, my soul blessed my Saviour.
I have entered my last 16 days here in the Philippines, and since May 1, knowing we leave May 28, I've been having a full range of emotions. Thankful beyond words for all the experiences, yet looking forward to coming to the states to be near family and friends. Though, I must admit, the transition will have many challenges to establish a house of our own for our family, purchase a car, decide what school to have our sons attend, where to live, etc.
This journey has definitely answered a prayer I started praying when our first child was born. I started praying that my children would not know just “white, middle-class, Americana.” I desired for them to see beyond the suburb. And we all have been blessed with that ability on our missionary journey.
We moved here in 2006 with no idea what was to be on our path in Davao. But oh, the wonderful people here I've fallen in love with, the stark reality of rich and poor, extreme poverty, extreme joy, rising to challenges and responsibilities, intense reeducation of what is really important. The being a “minority' and never really “fitting in”.
As I reminisce about the lessons learned on the mission field I have been shaken. In quietness and trust I've learned to wait.
I've been reshaped, remolded. I'm not the person I was 11 years ago. I have grown stronger by seeing so many ministries bear fruit and by working through some difficult and persistent trials personally, relationally, within our family, and with colleagues. And I've learned so much along the way. I've been driven by winds, pillaged by evil intent, laid waste by emotional traumas, and healed – in the shadow of my loving Abba's wings. My soul clings to Him and He upholds me.
A book is in the works on my missionary journey musings.
I have looked upon You, Daddy, in the sanctuary (Psalm 63:2).
Hewn from strong rock, tall tower reaching the heavens. Our day tour so hot, each of us so thirsty and drinking refreshing bottles of water. My soul thirsts for You, Dad.
He is my strong tower.
In the shelter of His wings is healing and shade and rest. He is my rock, my redeemer, my salvation, my fortress, and my water of life. In Christ alone.