Friday, August 27, 2010

A Quick Trip to the Village

After we spent a few days getting our house back in order, it was time for me to fulfil some commitments I had made regarding the Isnag work. Among other things, I needed to make sure the clinic was stocked with medicine, pay the clinic workers, distribute some of the new translations, and see if any more could be done regarding rice. Robert Smith, one of the new missionaries here, very kindly volunteered to come along on the trip.

We flew from Manila to a city up north. When we arrived there we found out that my language helper, Malana, was there. His wife had an attack of appendicitis and had to be carried downstream until they got to a place where a vehicle could take her to a hospital. Fortunately they arrived in time and she had a successful operation and was already recovering. We went to visit them and Malana was excited to be one of the first recipients of the newly translated chapters from Genesis and Exodus.

The NTM missionaries up north took good care of us and the next morning they dropped us off in a lot where people catch the bus going into the mountains. The bus didn't arrive for a long time, but several Isnag friends came by to visit us while we waited. These three girls have spent some of their lives in our village. Robert bought a round of ice cream sandwiches. Note the ice cream is served on a hamburger bun. You might want to try that at home some time.
We also spent a lot of time telling sellers of various things that we really couldn't buy what they wanted to sell.

After a couple of hours, the trip began. This section of road was also being used to dry corn.

The bus made several stops. This stop was for those that wanted to buy meat.

We also stopped for lunch. I must say the prices were very reasonable.

When we arrived at our destination, we were invited to stay in a friend's house. Chicken was on the menu and Robert helped with the preparations.

This is Warren. I haven't seen him in four years, so I was thrilled he came by to say hi. As a young teenager he fell from a tree and broke his leg. Heidi and Vicky put him in traction and worked on his leg for more than a month. Praise the Lord! he is a strong construction worker today. He came by to say thank you.

The next day was to be our hike into the village. Fortunately we were able to arrange for a truck to take us part way. It saved us around three hours of hiking.

It was a beautiful morning and it was great to be back in northern Luzon.

We finally got to a place where the truck kept spinning out and couldn't climb any further. That is where our hike began.

Along the trail we came to places where we could re-fill our water bottles.

There were quite a few Isnag who hiked with us. They were pretty thrilled that I had arranged a truck to take all of us part way.

This is the lunch spot. It is about half way from town to our village. On the way back, I opened my can of pork and beans and my can of sardines to go with my rice and when I turned around a dog was eating my beans. That is a very sad story and I hope you are not all depressed for the rest of the day. At least I did have sardines left to go with my rice.

This is the lunch Robert and I shared on the way in.

I also had time for a quick rest before we started the second part of the hike.

When we arrived in the village I didn't take very many pictures because we were so busy. We had to repair part of our roof that had blown down, fix the generator, tie up the radio antenna, stock the clinic, pay workers, and visit with many Isnag friends. It was very nice to be home again. I am really hoping that our family will get to spend some time in the village during the coming year.

We asked the people if anyone would hike with us when we hiked out and they said that there was a guy going on the day we wanted to go, but when the day arrived, the guy changed his mind. Robert and I started out on our own. I know the trail fairly well for the first one and a half hours. Then we ran into a guy that showed us the next section of trail. A few crossings down, we heard some yelling and it was a bunch of my friends who live way upstream. They were on their way to town and when they heard that I was ahead of them they rushed to catch up with us so that they could keep us from getting lost. It was a real blessing and they did help us a lot.
Another blessing was that it didn't rain on us and the river was running low and clear.

The hike out took us more than nine hours and we enjoyed visiting with the Isnag guys the whole way. At rest stops we shared our snacks with them.

About three hours before we reached town again I tripped and fell flat on my face. I sprained my toe and had to limp the rest of the way to town. In town we washed up, had chicken and rice for dinner, and re-packed our bags. We laid down for a short rest, but that didn't last long. The ride out of the mountains left at 2:30 am. We made it to the city just after sunrise and were on the plane back to Manila that afternoon. Just before dark I made it home.
Thank you for praying for me. I was pleased with all that we were able to accomplish. I forgot to mention that we were able to arrange for 120 pounds of rice to be distributed to the elementary school children before we left the village. God is good!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Return to Manila

On Sunday morning we went to the airport and caught our flight to Hawaii. The first leg of our trip took 5 hours. We thought we were going to have a ten hour layover in Hawaii, but we had read the ticket wrong. In no time at all we had boarded the airplane for the ten hour leg of our trip.

When we arrived in Manila we found that the traffic was just the way we had left it. The next morning we went to the school to register Thomas and Carrie. On Wednesday afternoon, while we were at the school, a storm passed through and dumped buckets of water on the area. When we tried to go home we found that the roads were flooded. I accidently drove into a deep spot and that was a big mistake. Water got sucked into the engine and the van died right then and there.This picture shows the spot where our van died. That is not our van. When our van was there the water was a foot deeper. As we sat there in the lake wondering what to do, the water kept rising and was coming into the van and covering the floor. We decided to jump out the windows and see if we could push the van out of the flood. Praise the Lord, Thomas, Carrie, and I were able to push the van to high ground. Unfortunately, the water in the engine caused a rod to bend and the mechanic says he will need a week to fix it.

We had to leave our van on the road that night. We had been enroute to our guest house but were blocked by the flood, so someone gave us a ride to our house. The electricity was out, but we had a loaf of bread and peanut butter that we could have for dinner and we found some candles and dug into our crates to find bedding and clothing.

We were about ready to call it a day when some friends called and said that the water was probably low enough and they were going to go to the mission home in their van. We decided to go along, not knowing that the traffic on the streets had become gridlocked due to the rain storm. The trip that can be made in 30 minute when there is no traffic took more than 4 hours. We got the kids to bed just after midnight. They had to be up to start their first day of school 4 hours later.

As soon as the kids started school, Heidi and I spent our time working on getting ready for the Northern Luzon conference which was beginning the following day. Many folks played roles in getting the conference off to a good start.

Our main responsibility was getting the child care program set up. Heidi had lots of activities planned and Ginny Olsen came alongside her and made sure the program ran smoothly.
We were amazed at how many families we have who are assigned or will potentially be assigned to Northern Luzon. These kids represent a big answer to our prayer for more missionaries.
The whole group enjoyed singing, Bible stores, crafts, games, and snacks. We enjoyed getting to know them.

We are very thankful that the conference went very well. The teaching was encouraging and helpful. The fellowship was wonderful. Hopefully our missionaries will return to their assignments encouraged to serve the Lord.

Leaving Olympia

After seven great weeks enjoying our friends and family in Washington and Oregon, we packed up our house in preparation for leaving for the Philippines and made a quick trip to Boise to visit Charles and other family members there.

We enjoyed seeing where Charles goes to church, lives, and works. When we toured Charles's work place he tried to convince us that the assembly work he does is harder than it looks.

It does look like it requires lots of mental effort. Thanks for the tour, Charles.

It was a special treat to get to spend our last days in the USA with Charles.

We also attended my cousin's wedding

And got so spend some time with my cousins. It was a real blessing to get to see these people. After we took this picture on Saturday afternoon we left for the airport. When we arrived we found out that our plane had mechanical problems and that we might have to wait until the next day for a flight. That wasn't great news because our flight to the Philippines out of Seatac Airport was at 8 AM the next morning. We considered renting a car and driving all night, but in the end the airline came up with a different plane.

One of our last beautiful views of Washington was of Mt. Rainer. We arrive late, but our friends, the Dodges, brought us our luggage and we were able to get everything packed and ready for our flight to the Philippines.