Tuesday, June 30, 2009

World Class Loser!

It is a little known fact that missionaries are world class losers. I think I had better clarify that before a mob of angry missionaries starts throwing bananas at me. I do not mean that they are not winners. All the missionaries I know are great people. (Really, guys!) I say they are losers because they lose things. I am not trying to say that they lose things any more than your average person does. I mean when they lose something it could be anywhere in the world. They are world class losers.

For example: An office chair of ours was shipped from our tribal location to Manila. When we went to pick it up, we couldn’t find it. After a few weeks of looking for the lost chair we sent out an email asking if anyone had seen it. Right away responses started coming in: someone in Palawan said they hadn’t seen it there. A kind person in Colorado said that it wasn’t there either. A guy in Portland, Oregon said he saw some kids using it to climb up to the water fountain, and a retired missionary in Port Angeles, Washington said that an office chair matching the description of ours mysteriously showed up in the lobby of her retirement center a week ago.
You see what I mean, at least I’m world class at something.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop at office chairs. We lose fellow missionaries too. When we lose them they are world class lost: California, Colorado, Maine, and Norway just to name a few of the places we lose to.
This past month we said good-bye to the two couples in the picture above. God has moved them on to other ministries. Steve and Ja Whitney and Markus and Sarah Rosvik have been more than coworkers to us. They are wonderful friends who treated us like family. God has wonderful plans for them but we sure hate losing them, they are world class friends!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Alien fingerprints

Perhaps you have wondered why aliens are reported to have the habit of visiting at night and leaving without spending too much time. My experiences last week may prove helpful in answering these questions.

I suspected that the day would not be a normal day of translating when the person in charge of immigration paperwork in our main office put a piece of paper in front of me and handed me a pen. The paper said, “Aliens sign here.” “Me?” I asked. That was just the beginning. After signing our alien names many times it was time for us to turn in our fingerprints. It just so happens that the alien fingerprint ink is on the other side of Manila. So we went out to the street and took a jeepney to the dock.

We were in the habit of using a taxi every time we went in search of alien fingerprint ink, but the person in charge of aliens for our mission wanted to give us a bit of excitement. We were actually happy about this. We had heard about going on pleasure cruises and were happy that our turn had finally come. Besides, the price was only 65 cents each. Not a bad price for a cruise on the beautiful Pasig river.
Like most pleasure cruises, there were various ports of call and we enjoyed passing other boats along the way.
The most outstanding thing about the river cruise was that the last stop was only one block from the immigration office. We were tempted to take pictures of aliens being fingerprinted but didn’t dare. The people there are very strict with aliens and we wouldn’t want to be kicked out of the country.
After we had given away every single finger print we had we headed to the street to find a way home. On the way we decided to try some earth food. It was deep fried bananas covered in brown sugar. Earthlings sure do have strange tastes. The bananas were delicious, but with all the signing forms, traveling, and fingerprinting, I can see why many aliens prefer to make quick exits.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Life in the Big City

Last weekend was hardware weekend. Our van had problems and we also had plumbing problems. Now that we are not living in a remote village we just head down the street to a hardware store. This might sound boring compared to jungle life, but these trips are often interesting and there is much to learn in the cement jungle. For example, Chinese own many of the hardware stores and several of them still use rather ancient calculators like the one on the desk.

As you walk around the city you will see pink lines on the sidewalks. These lines run under vehicles, around telephone polls and along long stretches of sidewalk. If you follow them long enough, you will come to a men's bathroom. Just thought you might want to know. Sorry ladies, I guess the city budget wasn't big enough or they ran out of blue paint.

There are some nice things about garbage day here. First of all, you don't have to sort your recycling. The garbage men do that for you. Being trained in Washington, I help them a bit by pre-sorting my garbage. Second, you don't have to crush your cans. See video to find out who does the job. On the down side, if you leave your garbage can out, the neighborhood dog pack will get into it and make a big mess or your garbage can will disapear. So, you wait until you hear the truck to put out your garbage can out. Unfortunately, the truck seldom comes on schedule, so we feel like we have made a major accomplishment if we get our garbage to connect with the truck.