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!

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!

Typhoon

While the middle and upper part of the Philippines are being hit by a massive typhoon as I type this, we sit here in Davao with sun, calm winds, low humidity.


typhoons usually hit the middle and northern part of the Philippines. We are in Davao in the southern part, to close to
the equator for typhoons to hit.

From http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/391446/weather/ruby-moving-slowly-across-phl-expect-second-landfall-over-masbate-pagasa

Typhoon Ruby (international name Hagupit) is slowly making its way across the central Philippines, moving west-northwest at 15 kilometers per hour, weather service PAGASA said Sunday morning.

In a 5 a.m. update, PAGASA located Ruby 40 kms northwest of Catbalogan, Samar.

At the rate it was moving, the typhoon was projected to make a second landfall over Masbate at about 10 a.m., bringing with it the danger of a storm surge of up to 3 meters.

Ruby had weakened slightly, and now has 160 kph sustained winds and gusts of up to 195 kph.

Nevertheless, PAGASA warned that Ruby was still dangerous as it was still a typhoon category cyclone.

Also, estimated rainfall within Ruby's 500 km diameter was from 10 - 30 mm per hour (heavy - torrential).

Ruby, as well as the northeast monsoon, will bring rough to very rough seas over the seaboards of Luzon and the Visayas; and over the northern seaboard of Mindanao. Small seacraft are warned agaisnt sailing over these seaboards.

Dolphins

Yesterday, while on a boat trip in Davao bay, we saw a pod of dolphins. A couple of them came and swam right along side the boat. It was so cool. God's creations are awesome.

One of the boat crewmen had us clap and as we did the dolphins swam next to the boat keeping up with the boat's speed. When we stopped clapping they'd go away a bit. This went on for a few minutes and then they all swam off.

While I've seen dolphins in the bay before, this was a first to have them swim along side the boat. So cool.