Christmas and New Year Thankfulness

We have enjoyed a nice Christmas and New Year break with our family and friends.
As I've journeyed here in the Philippines, living in a third world country where poverty and need abound, the 'need' for things dies and the blessings of time with friends and family rise important to the top.

I am thankful for hugs, laughter, time with friends and family....

I'm thankful for the fun things I see...
like a backhoe being towed on a raft across the bay

like the resourcefulness of piling as many people on the boat
as possible to make the trip across the bay....

I'm thankful for car ferries and trips across the bay to another island....

I'm thankful for many lessons learned in giving thanks in all
things that I have learned from Filipinos. Relationships with
others are so important and joy is abounding no matter what
the circumstances of life are....There is a saying that it does no
good to complain, just accept what is...Maba-badtrip ka lang Pasensya na lang. Ganyan talaga, e. (It will just ruin your mood. Just be patient. It's the way it is)
This is good to a point. It also reminds me of what 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

and I am thankful for my Saviour, for His love for me,
for time to reflect on His goodness, for the beauty of this
world He created, for the joy of watching a beautiful sunset...

Steve Green's song, Rest, based on Psalm 23 plays through my mind often. Times with friends and family, relaxing on a beach, playing games, walking through a village...daily life....no matter what the circumstance...God woos me to rest in Him.....I challenge each of us to remember this...

Rest, the Lord is here,
Refuse to fear, ENJOY HIS LOVE...

and as Psalm 23 reminds us....

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

May this new year, 2015, find you enjoying His love for you no matter where you are or what you are going through.

2014 Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy New year from us to you!

We are thankful James' adoption was completed. Now we are working on his immigration papers for the USA and hope to come to the USA the summer of 2015.
This raises many transitional issues for us. The Philippines has been our home for almost 9 years. We love the people and this beautiful country, yet we feel a pull to return to our passport country. Our children need to acclimate to the USA culture for college and beyond; we miss our family and friends.

Quick updates on us -

Mikayla has been busy tutoring Koreans in English and helping teach 8th grade Bible class at Faith and helping with the first grade reading groups. She begins online university in January majoring in elementary education.

Kirsten is a junior and doing very well academically. She really enjoys academics, logic puzzles and listening to music.

Ben is a 7th grader and has gotten quite tall this year! He enjoys computer games and is learning some computer programming.

James is in 1st grade and doing well. He enjoys playing minecraft and cooking.

Kurt stays busy with software development. He's been working on a system for a large maternity center here in Davao. It is being well received and may be used in other medium to large maternity clinics here in the Philippines.

I've been homeschooling James and have taught Creative Writing and Music Appreciation exploratories at Faith Middle School.

We thank God for the gift of His Son, Jesus, who's birth we celebrate this Christmas season.

Blessings on your holidays!

Cookie Recipes

James and I studied a few countries and their Christmas traditions this December. James enjoys cooking so we made the following recipes - hope you like them! We do!!!

Brazilian Coffee Cookies

1/3 cup margarine or shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup white sugar granulated
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 T. milk
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 T. powdered instant coffee
Mix all the ingredients together well. Make 1" balls and put on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a sugared glass bottom. Bake 8 - 10 minutes at 400 degrees farenheit. Yum!!!

German Spice Cakes
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup honey
2 eggs 3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. allspice
1 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup candied orange peel or mixed fruit

Mix all ingredients together well.
Roll 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured board. Cut into squares or fancy shapes. Bake 10 - 12 minutes at 400 degrees F. While still hot brush cookies with icing. Store cookies in covered container for one week to mellow OR eat right away (like we did with some of them) - both ways they are excellent!

Water

Water.....


It's a precious, life giving commodity.....

When we lived in the USA I took water for granted....turn on the tap, water comes out.


Not so here. There are times city-wide the water is not flowing.
And we have times the water pump system for our house breaks down - and we revert to taking bucket baths and using a minimum of water for washing dishes until either the pressure of the city water system builds up high enough to get water into the house or the water pump system gets fixed.

Recently our water system for the house was broken. We had about 2 1/2 days with no water flowing in the house during the day. As I was washing dishes the other day with about 12 ounces of water for the washing and about 36 ounces for rinsing, I was pondering verses in the Bible that speak of water....and I was also pondering thankfulness, how easy life is in the USA, and contentment.

John 4:14..."The water that I will give him will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

Did you know in Genesis 1 and 2 water is referred to ten times!
There are 625 references to water in the Bible.
Water is referred to as life giving (examples - Psalm 1:3 He is like a tree planted

by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,)

It's a covering, (Psalm 18:11 - He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water.)

It's a metaphor (_Psalm 22:11 I am poured out like water,_ )

It's life-giving (_Psalm 23:2 He leads me beside still waters..._)

It's ministry (Matthew 10:42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple,
truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.")

Water is a life-giving, eternally refreshing love and mercy from Christ our Saviour....

Revelations 22:16 "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star."
17 The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come;
let the one who desires take the water of life without price.*

Thinking about the love of my Saviour for me helps me rest in contentment and thankfulness as I walk through the moments of daily life.

1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain

1 Thess. 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I am so thankful for our life here in the Philippines. I'm thankful for the many experiences we've had and continue to have. I thank God for all the ways He leads us.


But to be honest I am tired emotionally. There is something hard about living on the mission field - hard to put into words - unless one has lived overseas - one website calls it emotional exhaustion "The exhaustion is more than physical it is emotional, "compassion fatigue." You feel drained. You feel used up.
You feel overwhelmed by the needs people come with. It is not that you don't want to help, you just do not have what it takes
to help any more." (http://www.missionarycare.com/brochures/br_burnout.htm)
Not furloughing for 9 years hasn't helped with that. Though we don't regret our non-traditional approach to missionary life. The care and fostering of James and Jerard and the adoption of James has been worth it. But most of us are ready to get to the USA, to re-establish connections and relationships with family and friends.

And I am thankful for His Word, His life giving bread and eternal thirst-quenching water of life.

All these thoughts cascaded in my mind as I did dishes in a scarcity of water, thanking God that He never runs out, He never sleeps nor slumbers, He sustains and He provides the water of life.

Alleluia, what a Saviour!!!!

Christmas Carol Party Game

Being somewhat of a creative English language usage nut I have been looking up games for some Christmas gatherings we are going to have here with friends. I found this really fun "name that tune" game....try it out.


Translate the Christmas Carols

(from http://www.nicksenger.com/blog/translate-that-christmas-carol)

Example: Soundless Nocturnal Timespan (answer: Silent Night)

1. Move Hitherward the Entire Assembly of Those Who are Loyal In Their Belief.

2. Ornament the Enclosure with Large Sprigs of a Berry-Bearing Evergreen.

3. Vertically-Challenged Adolescent Percussionist.

4.First Person (Singular) Experiencing an Hallucinatory Phenomenon of a Natal Celebration Devoid of Color.

5. Majestic Triplet (First Person Plural).

6 The Yuletide Occurence Preceding All Others.

7.Precious Metal Musical Devices.

8.Omnipotent Supreme Being Elicits Respite to Ecstatic Distinguished Males.

9.Caribou Afflicted with Vermillion Olfactory Appendage.

10.Allow Crystalline Formation to Descend.

11.Jovial Yuletide Desired for the Second Person (Singular or Plural).

12.Commence Auditory Reception, the Celestial Messengers Produce Harmonious Sounds.

Check out more at the above listed website! Blessings on your holiday plans!