Thursday, February 26, 2009

2nd Trip North

We are excited to have a new team of missionaries ready to take the gospel to a remote area in northern Luzon. Moving into a remote area takes a lot of ground work. Without an airstrip, supplies need to be brought in overland. This isn’t an easy task when the village is a 4 hour hike from the nearest town and the roads that do exist are only passable 3 months during the year.

Recently, I went with Erik Peterson to visit a town north of his future ministry location. We wanted to see what kind of supplies were available and what kind of transportation went in the direction of the village and how close it could get before cargo would to be hiked in.

The day before I left the van battery went dead. As I worked with getting it fixed up these little guys kept me company. They were hoping I would take them for a ride in the van when I got it fixed. Talk about not being careful with strangers! Anyway, they ended up with some crackers, but no ride.
All my work on the battery didn’t pay off. The morning I was to leave on the trip, the van wouldn’t start. We live on a hill, so I roll started the van. After taking the kids to school, Heidi drove me down to the main road where we could buy a new battery. After getting the battery installed, Heidi took the van home and I started hunting for a ride into the main part of the city to meet up with Erik. I was hoping to ride a jeepney, but they were all full. I started praying for a ride and a taxi came along. Taxi rides here only cost a dollar or two, so I was thankful to have a ride. Traffic was very bad and so the ride took a lot longer than it should have, but I finally made it to the meeting place and Erik and I jumped in a different cab and headed for the airport.

After the van trouble and the slow traffic, I was very glad that we made it to the airport with time to spare. It was a good thing too, because when we presented our tickets, they said, “You are at the wrong airport, Sir.” The time of the flight and the airport were different that the ones we were given when we bought our tickets. So, I enjoyed my third cab ride of the day and we arrived at the correct airport and still had a bit of extra time.
The flight went well and an hour later we were far from the big city, glad to be in northern Luzon again. The road to the town we were going to was very nice. We rode in a van. I was glad that the ride only took an hour, because we were packed in so tight that I couldn’t move my left foot at all. (11 of us in a van that would have seated 7 comfortably.)
We found that the town we were surveying had a nice open market and several hardware stores. It had most of the basic things but not much else.

We spent a lot of our time trying to find out about transportation going south on a dirt road. The picture is of Erik questioning a jeepney owner. This particular jeep does make the trip and knew where the trail head was for the village Erik wants to go to. It was good information to get and may be useful in the future.

After learning what there was to know in town, we headed back to airport. Our plan was to spend the night in a hotel and catch our return flight the next day. When we arrived in town we met up with some missionary friends that I hadn’t seen in years. Carl and Ronalyn Stevens live in Northern Luzon and are doing a great work which has many facets. One of the main areas of ministry is a radio ministry that broadcasts Bible teaching in three different languages. They invited us to spend the night with them and took us on a tour of town and their ministry locations. It was a real treat of us to have good home cooking and fellowship with them.
There is only one airport in this city, so we arrived at the right one our first try. The scheduled departure had been postponed 2 hours and then another hour, but the additional hour wasn’t announced until 20 minutes after the flight should have departed. We were beginning to wonder.
The flight finally arrived, and after another taxi and jeepney ride, I made it home in time for dinner, thankful for a safe trip.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I took this picture while stuck in traffic.

Travel here can be very interesting and sometimes down right exciting. Last week I had to make a trip north to get paperwork done on our motorcycle and van. I traveled much of the trip by myself and that isn’t very exciting, but it was profitable because I was able to track down a long lost registration paper and get the papers up to date. I was also able to stop and visit several of our Ilokano friends and see some of our missionary friends.

Here are a couple shots of friends I visited along the way.

This past Friday, Heidi and I had an appointment across the city. We decided to take the light rail because we thought it would be faster than driving and probably wouldn’t be crowded in the middle of the day. Wrong! Oh well, it is exciting to travel in a group. You are all standing on the platform and the train rushes in just inches from where you are standing on the edge of the platform. If one person in the crowd nudged, the whole group would be over the edge like a bunch of lemmings. The train stops, the doors slide open, and the cars are just packed inside but somehow all of us on the platform manage to squeeze in. You hear about close fellowship, but here you get to try it.

As the train pulled out, an announcer reminded passengers to hold on so they wouldn’t fall down. I said to the guy jammed up under my left armpit, “There is no way we could possibly fall down.” He replied, “Too tight, Gasp!” or something like that. Some people just don’t appreciate close fellowship.
My new cell phone takes pictures, so I amused my self between stops. At stops it is fun to see how many more can squeeze in and if people wanting to get out will be able to make it through the crowd before the doors shut. (The arms in the picture are not Heidi's. They belong to other people. Ha, ha.)

Our meeting was with the brave man who volunteered to be our Tagalog teacher back in 1995. We really appreciated Henry and his wife, Cora. They are now involved in training church leadership and offer Bible school training classes in local church settings. It was fun to get to visit with them again.