Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's Christmas Time in Manila

Celebrating Christmas was different for us this year. We missed having our sons, Charles and James with us. We are very thankful that they could celebrate Christmas with loved ones and that God provided for their transportation and work schedule needs.

[James with the Johnson Family]

Charles was able to travel from Boise to Oregon to attend a Christmas gathering with the Bamfords. With James we were wondering if he would be going anywhere right up until the last moment and then his boss gave him 10 days off and we were able to find tickets for him to fly to Michigan and spend Christmas with the Johnson family who very generously opened their home to several missionary kids. Thank you Johnsons!!! Thank you Lord, for allowing the trip to happen!!!

Here in the Philippines, Carrie and Thomas started their vacation by inviting several friends over for a cookie decorating party.

Can you guess which one I did?

Heidi volunteered our family to watch the young children of families who are in the Tagalog language study program so that the parents could have a chance to finish Christmas shopping or spend time together.

Five families generously donated their children and we spent three days reading stories, playing with clay, and getting to know some very sweet children.

On Christmas Eve, our friends the Spicers invited us over for dinner and games. We have known the Spicers ever since we moved to the Philippines 16 years ago, so it is lots of fun to spend time with them.
Thank you Spicer Family!

On Christmas morning I took my post at the front door at 6:30 am and started handing out Christmas candy. On Christmas morning the neighborhood children hit the streets and yell “Mamasko Po!” at every house hoping for a coin or a piece of candy. We prepared 250 small bags of candy and could have used about 100 more.

We are looking forward to 2011. Please pray that in January :
• the NTM helicopter will get its needed paperwork processed so that the flight program can open,
• the book of Mark will get its first check,
• two new families who will be working at Faith Academy find housing.

May God bless you and your family in the new year,
Jonathan and Heidi

Monday, December 13, 2010

Goods To Declare

Besides working on translating the book of Mark we, as a family, have had lots going on over the past few months. First of all, Carrie was asked to be on the girl's varsity soccer team. Good job Carrie! Over the season her team did very well. The season finished up with two tournaments. One was here in the Philippines, and the other was in Thailand. Going to Thailand was a very special treat for Carrie because she got to spend time with a friend of hers who moved there last year.

Carrie plays defense.

While in Thailand the team played soccer, had ministry time, and had tourist time.

It looked like Thomas wouldn't be going anywhere, but on very short notice he was invited
to go to an NTM ministry location in Northern Luzon with some of his friends.
He jumped at the opportunity and spent a week far from the concrete jungle we live in.
Would you believe these boys all have the same birthday?
After the Iwak church service, Thomas entertained some of the people by juggling.
It was something they had never seen before.

Thomas has joined the tennis team and has been making steady improvement. He now beats his dad on a regular basis.
Good job Thomas!

The kids aren't the only ones who have traveled. I made a trip to Bali, Indonesia and another trip to Mindanao, Philippines. The Bali trip was a training seminar put on by NTM. In Bali, I was surprised to find out that although most of Indonesia is Islamic, the island of Bali is mostly Hindu. There were idols and appeasement offerings everywhere.
The traffic drove on the left hand side of the road. I didn't try driving, but I found that crossing the street was dangerous enough for me. I have a lifelong habit of stepping off the curb looking to the left instead of the right.

The NTM meetings were very encouraging. We were trained in people group assessment among other things. My trip to Mindanao was for the Faith Academy School Board. It was good to meet the staff of the school there and hopefully to be an encouragement. Needless to say, I was glad when my travels were over and I could work full time on the translation.