James 4:15..."If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."
Prior to getting the twins we had planned on furloughing the summer of 2009.
Then after getting the twins we weren't sure when we'd furlough due to adoption issues.
But now, after weighing all the pros and cons of and praying about various furlough times, we've decided the summer of 2009 makes the most sense. Otherwise, with the adoption process we'd probably have to wait til the summer of 2011. We didn't want to wait that long to reconnect face to face with our friends/ supporters, and family.
So our plan, God willing, is to fly to Michigan the end of May 2009.
Then we will enjoy time reconnecting with our friends/supporters, family...; enjoy some family vacation time...etc...., and return to the Philippines the first week of August 2009.
We won't be able to bring James and Jerard with us on this trip since they are still officially our foster sons. It is hard to take foster children out of the country.
Please pray with us for the right family / individual to stay at our house while we furlough to take care of the boys. We have a some possibilities already of people to ask.
Please pray with us as we make plans, knowing full well, the final plans are all in God's hands....and that's just where we want them to be!
Proverbs 16:3 & 9 Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.............
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
It is normal for most missionaries around the world to spend most of their time for the first year or so on the field just learning the local language. In our case, this was not required for various reasons. One can get by using just English here.
But one cannot really get to know the people and the culture of the Philippines just speaking English. I can "get by" speaking only English but I cannot "excel".
I have asked myself the question, "How do I properly live as a Christian with and among the Philippine people?" I am convinced that the answer for me starts with learning to speak a Philippine language. Here in the Philippines, it seems that nothing says, "I appreciate and respect you as a person" quite as well as taking the time and effort to learn to speak in the local language.
For example, by learning the Cebuano language I am stepping outside of the natural Christian "ghetto" that we foreigners can so easily find ourselves living within. Instead of mostly associating with people like myself, I start getting to know Filipinos at a deeper level as I try to speak Cebuano and as they patiently help me learn. I develop new friendships and new involvements with people I would have never known by only speaking English. I start to understand more how Filipinos think, what they believe, what struggles they have, and how to better share Christ with them.
So for me, learning to speak Cebuano is synonymous with speaking words of blessing. I learn Cebuano because I care about the people that speak Cebuano and I want them to know that they are important to me and especially to my God.
James and Jocy are two very special friends we have here in Davao.
Recently they had a dedication ceremony for Beth Mari at their home.
The senior pastor from their church led the service.
Beth with Beth!
These two wonderful people have a ministry with the neighborhood kids and families and are planting a church. Right now their home is the church. James is currently going to seminary to get his degree in pastoring and counseling.
Pray for them as they continue to minister to their neighbors!
James, Jocy, and Beth outside their house.
Jocy, Beth Mari, and Beth
School has started for Mikayla, Kirsten, and Ben.
Their first day was yesterday, August 12.
Mikayla is in 8th grade, Kirsten in 5th at Faith Academy.
Ben is in 1st grade at home. He is enjoying homeschooling and has announced to me that I should homeschool him the rest of his schooling years. I told him we'd just take it one year at a time!!!
But I am enjoying homeschooling again!!!
Pray for each of them to study well, grow in wisdom and grace, and always seek first His kingdom and His righteosness all the days of their lives!
It's really a blessing to see Jerard interact more and be interested in playing!