February 14

Valentine's Day is the second biggest holiday in the Philippines. Some schools even cancel classes for the day. Schools that are open have valentine programs and parties all day!

(The school our girls go to is just having a normal day!!!)

Puti Dato

In this environment, all 'puti' (white skinned people) are viewed as 'dato' (rich).

Many times while shopping I have sales clerks take me to the higher priced items in the store only to look at me in disbelief if I walk away and don't buy the expensive item! Most recently I was looking for a gift for Ben to take to a birthday party. The sales clerk in the toy department kept pointing out the higher end remote control cars as an option. (In US dollars they would've been $40 - $80). I told him, "no, I can't afford that" a couple times. The look on his face was one of incredulousness - as if I was the biggest lier of all times!

Another time, while checking out at a grocery store, after the sales clerk rang up my order, the filipino lady standing behind me turned the cash register screen towards her so she could see how much I was spending!

Once, while traveling to Nasuli, our driver (a filipino) stopped at a rest area. Merchants were there and I heard the hat sales man offer a hat to our driver for 150 pesos. Then he came to Kurt and offered him the same hat for 300 pesos! "Puti Dato" in action!!!!!!!

A Little R-n-R

On a Saturday about two weeks ago we were invited to take a short trip in Davao bay on a 44 foot sailboat. We had a great time!

In the picture above we are eating lunch with two other families that went with us. At that point we were anchored about 100 yards from a small island (see below) which was located about 1/4 mile from a larger island. After lunch we took the dingy out to the small island and explored, snorkeled, and had a great time.

We were amazed at the ocean life that we saw (sorry, we didn't take the camera out into the water). We found at least three different kinds of starfish including briny starfish. Mikayla found a starfish while snorkeling that was about 12" across. We handled sea cucumbers, a friend was stung by a jellyfish, and he saw a colorful sea snake which most certainly poisonous (we are glad that he was not bitten by that). We caught a puffer fish. We found a lot of colorful things that we can't remember the names of, and we had an all around good time.

As a native Michiganer, I am amazed at how vibrant and brilliant the water and wildlife is here. That day it was like we were in a National Geographic documentary all the while being less than 10 miles from home. God has richly blessed the Philippines with an abundance of natural beauty.

The small island we visited

Hello and Thank You

Just wanted to say Thank you to everyone who visits our website, prays for us, sends Starbucks coffee, letters, packages, etc.....
It really means a lot to each of us here.
Philippians 1:2 - 11 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God.

Update on Ben

Well, Ben's stomach problems have not been identified but I can tell you that this week he has had no fevers and only 2 complaints of stomach cramps (rather than the 2 - 5 times per day he was complaining of)!!!!! God's healing power at work! Thanks for all the prayers!