Many Happenings, I haven't fallen off the grid or anything. Ben and I landed July 30 in Davao and it feels like I've been busy ever since.

Ben, Mikayla, and I left Davao the beginning of June and spent 8 weeks in the USA. Mikayla is staying in the USA and brought her cat with her.

Ben, Mikayla, Kirsten, and I had a great summer in the USA.

It was so healing and refreshing to be with family and friends again,

to shop easy, to not be hot and sweaty all the time.

Ben learned to drive

And so did Mikayla!

We have three young adult drivers in our family, now! Kirsten already had a car but Mikayla needed one. My sister offered her a car at an incredible deal so we flew out to Boston in June and drove the car back to Michigan.

Mikayla and Kirsten are in the USA now living with their Grandpa. Both are working, and college will be starting up in September for them.

We toured Boston with my sisters in June,

went to a family reunion in Wisconsin in July,

and had time with friends and family. There are to many pictures to share but here are a few....

It was hard to say "see you later" to the girls.

This is a tough time of parenting in my life as my young adults are 'leaving the nest' to journey into adulthood.

It's harder, too, I feel, because of being half a world away from them.

But Ben and I boarded our plan and headed back to Davao.

It was nice to spend time in the USA but because we don't have James' immigration visa yet, we need to spend at least one more year in the Philippines while we wait for the US government to issue his visa for him to travel to the USA.

In the meantime, Kurt and I have been spending time in the USA to help our daughters transition from the Philippine culture to the USA culture. It's a huge shift - 3rd world to 1st world. I spent 5 months in the USA in 2016. Kurt spent 2 months earlier this year, and Ben and I spent 2 months over the summer.
For Ben, it was his first time back to the USA since he was 7 years old. He loved all the opportunities he had to fly drones, shoot guns, learn to weld, drive tractor and lawn mower and four wheeler, and see places like Boston, Ludington, Wisconsin.

It was also fun for him to shop and find clothing his size. He's not a big guy but he's tall. And it's hard to find clothes that fit tall bodies here in the Philippines!

It's amazing to me how many families I've run in to where one parent is in one part of the world, the other parent another. Military families face that often. And it seems prevalent in the mission community as well. Philippines largest export is its people. There are many "overseas foriegn workers" (OFW) here because many people obtain nursing degrees, move to the USA or Europe, get better pay as a nurse there and send money back to their family in the Philippines.

The taxi ride from the airport to our rental house reminded me again how much I have to be thankful for. I love this country and the people here. There are so many needs. The poverty is everywhere. But so are blessings, friends, deep faith in God's provision, and so much more that is hard to put into words.

It was good to see Kurt and James again. I've been catching up giving James hugs, kisses, and tickles.

Ben and James started back to school August 2nd. It was with mixed feelings of excitement and apprehension that James started school, and drudgery on Ben's part, except for sports and friends. Ben is a starter on the boys volleyball team.

I'm really enjoying teaching 10th grade Bible, a survey of the New Testament. I enjoy the study and preparation, I love my class of 19 tenth graders. They are so engaged, eager, and willing to learn. They ask great questions and have done well, overall, on their memory work and reflection papers. Hopefully soon I could post pictures of the class and me teaching. I just need to get my husband to come with me to class some morning!! But here are some of the materials I am using.

I'll tell more of what's been happening here in my next blog!