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.
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!
We are enjoying the church we attend and recently hosted a dinner with some other ex-pat friends who attend that church for the pastor's family and two other families from the church. It was really enjoyable getting to know them better and learn of some Filipino customs. We plan on doing this again, soon!
Ben and friends
We were told before we arrived that learning Cebuano was optional - that learning to speak the local language was a nice thing to do but not absolutely necessary. This is because many filipinos speak English, especially those working in a commercial setting such as a store. We would be able to get by without learning the local language.
This is true, depending on how one defines "get by". For sure, we can do fine in commercial settings with only English. But where we fall short is in the community. Many filipinos do not speak English well. As puti (white) in the community, we stand out like sore thumbs. Not speaking the local language only aggravates the distance.
Therefore, as a family we have been taking language lessons each week. Above our language teacher, Bibi, is helping us learn to speak Cebuano. I have asked my filipino co-workers to speak more Cebuano with me as well. Of course, at this point, that just means that our conversations are short and painful! But my co-workers are gracious.
It will take a lot of work to learn Cebuano well enough to start breaking down the distance between us and our filipino neighbors. "Maayong Buntag" means "good morning". Getting farther along in conversation beyond the pleasantries will take some time. Please pray for us as we learn Cebuano. We want to be all that we can be to communicate Christ to those around us. While we don't have much hope in changing our skin color, we do believe that taking the time and effort to learn Cebuano will go a long way in communicating that we care about the people we are living among - and that is important.
We have had the opportunity to live in the community while house sitting for some friends and colleagues. It has been nice to have a bit more room and feel more part of the culture. What great motivation to keep up our language studies!!!!!
We stayed there about 10 days and will be staying there for another two weeks. It is on the other side of the wall from the girl's school so needless to say we are very close to school and work!!!
House view from the street