Our Children, Mikayla, Kirsten, and Benjamin started school today at Faith Academy Davao for the 2007-2008 school year.
Mikayla is in 7th grade.
Mikayla and Bear
Kirsten is in 4th grade.
Kirsten and Taters
Benjamin started Kindergarten today. He was so excited to be going to school for the first time.
A tired 'Sir Knight Ben'
Please continue to uphold them before the Father's throne in prayer as they continue to deal with cross-cultural adjustments, missing friends and relatives back in the States, and dealing with the every day issues of growing up.
Pray also for Mikayla and Kirsten to get completely over the fungal and bacterial infections they have had in their ears. Mikayla is now on her third round of antibiotics and ear drops. Kirsten's infection is finally showing signs of clearing up so she is just on ear drops now. They both came down with ear infections over a month ago. The doctor said it was most likely from swimming in dirty water.
We thank God for our children and for how well, overall, they have done with the move overseas.
Ben has turned 6!
He enjoyed time at Crocodile Park on his actual birth date.
We had a couple family friends over for his actual birth date party.
At Crocodile Park - Ben and Kirsten with a snake
Blowing out Birthday Candles
A good friend gave Ben a play castle and knight outfit that her boys were no longer using. Ben loves that castle. He's been sleeping in it at night! Sir Knight Ben!!!!!!
Because most of his buddies had been on furlough for the summer we also celebrated his 6th birthday with a beach bash yesterday. His buddies were back from furlough. The weather was great. They all played in the water. We had brownies and ice cream. Ben flew a kite. He had a good time, though he will tell you he's 7 since he had two parties!!!!
At the beach with friends
We haven't gone to the market as a family lately so we did that yesterday morning (Saturday). Specifically, we wanted to pick up some fruit that we have not tried much yet.
Above is a rambutan (the fruit, not the girl). This is a very tasty yet weird looking fruit. Almost everyone in our family enjoys it. It seems to be in season now and it is being sold everywhere around here. We purchased a kilo (2.2 pounds) for 25 pesos (about 50 US cents).
Mikayla and I with a pile of this hairy fruit
The inside of the rambutan
The seed inside a rambutan
The ripe fruit is opened by just squeezing it until a side splits open. The flesh of the fruit surrounds a medium size seed. I wish that we could convey taste somehow over the Internet but ...
A bowl of mangosteens -yummy!
Mangosteens are another fruit that we picked up at the market. We purchased a kilo for 30 pesos (about 60 US cents). This fruit is also opened by squeezing it. The best way to describe it is as a very sweet and little bit of sour taste all at the same time. Quite tasty!
The inside of a mangosteen
As I prayed today, I thought about the verse,
"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33 ESV)
It occurred to me that at certain points in my Christian life my mind and heart will emphasize the latter part of the verse, i.e. "and all these things will be added to you." But now as I think about the verse, and especially as I look at the verse in the context of the greater passage (Matthew 6:25-34, etc.), I see that if I emphasize the latter part of the verse then my emphasis is wrong. The whole point of the passage is that God cares for me so much that I do not have to worry about how he will take care of me. God does this so that I am freed to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.
So, instead of concentrating on God's promise of provision in these verses, I need to concentrate on the building of God's kingdom and righteousness knowing that my provision will be provided by God. The difference between the two different mindsets is subtle but significant. I have to ask myself, "Is my passion to build God's kingdom and his righteousness, or am I more concerned with how he will take care of me?" Or another "self-analysis" question is, "What do I think about more often, God's kingdom and righteousness or my own provisions?"
Of course, not one of us can just "do this" with enough self-effort and self-discipline, and even if we did, I doubt that we would be pleasing in God's sight. If I discipline myself to not think about how much I am worrying about my life by thinking about building God's kingdom, then I have still missed the point.
It is only by God's grace through Jesus Christ that I can truly, without effort, seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. And that is only because I truly do trust Christ enough that I do not worry about his provision because I know that he will provide, though I may not know how.
There is a wonderful freedom in this trust in Christ that allows one to be genuinely concerned with building God's kingdom and his righteousness. I want to experience this freedom more and more in my life. I thank my God that he is helping me to understand how much he loves and cares for me even through the hard times. As I understand this truth more deeply, I am freed to seek what he seeks, to value what he values, and to look at life through a biblical lens at little more often.
As Kurt mentioned, we really enjoyed the opportunity to worship with other believers in a church started because of scripture coming to the people in their own heart language.
Makes me more homesick for the day when we will be in Heaven and be part of ..."a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."" (Rev. 7:9, 10)
Here are just a few more pictures from that day.......
It was a thanksgiving celebration for the rice harvest service. These teens led the singing. Most of the songs were in English, though the rest of the service was not!
Dancing to the praise songs!
Ben really enjoyed the rice. He had two bowls full!
Mikayla and Kirsten helped another missionary pass out toys to the children!