Monday, October 31, 2011

October 2011

October 3rd found Heidi in the the new buyer/shipper room at our support center up north. She was packing, weighing, and numbering cargo for the six flights we would have in and out of our village.
We were excited because, not only were we on our way to spend time with the Isnag, we were also taking the Lorenz family along for their first visit there. Lucas and Naomi, and their three children are praying about where God would have them choose as a ministry location.

It took three flights to get all of us and our groceries to the village. Thomas and Solomon are getting out of the helicopter as Pilot Brian prepares to unload the cargo.

When we opened our house we found that we had no running water. This isn't the best situation when you have nine people living in a house. Fortunately we had stored some drinking water and it rained hard that night and we were able to fill three barrels with water, so at least, we didn't have to carry water very far.

The next morning, Lucas and I set out to find the plumbing problem. If you want to find the plumbing problem head upstream. You are bound to find a leak somewhere.

It turned out that during the typhoon the previous week a tree had slid down the mountain and broken the main water line coming into the village. About 100 yards of pipe needed to be replaced and it was quite a job getting the new hose tied to the cable. Every time the hose got into the water the river tried to pull us all downstream. It took 5 hours, but in the end, the whole village, including the missionaries, was enjoying having running water again.

Heidi spent days working with the clinic medical workers and the inventory.

Jonathan had his language helper, Malana, come most of the days to help check Bible lessons and translation.
Carrie and Thomas entertained the Lorenz kids, swam in the river, and also helped check new medicine into the clinic inventory system.

On Sunday morning Lucas, Carrie, and Jonathan hiked to the village downstream so that Jonathan could teach the believers gathered there. It was a bit wet coming home.

In the afternoon we had a church service under our house and enjoyed the time of fellowship with our friends.

Heidi was able to complete a project she started last summer. In July she organized new school uniforms for all the kids in the upper and lower villages. With funds from generous donors, she was able to get the 240 elementary kids fitted, but we were short on shirts for the kindergarten students. We brought enough with us this time to finish the job. Heidi is pictured with two of the kindergarten teachers.

Heidi and Carrie in the yard.

When Heidi, Carrie, and Thomas flew out, 150 new Isnag songbooks came in on the flight and Jonathan was able to distribute them before he flew out. We were also able to fly in over 1,000 pounds of rice to help with a rice shortage the Isnag are having this year.

Heidi took our kids back to Manila to get them into school and then returned up north to accompany Jonathan on visits to NTM missionaries serving in other language groups.

Our first visit was to the Talbot family working in the Ga'dang language. We were able to spend several hours with them and hear about how their life in the village is going. They are busy trying to learn one of the hardest languages in the Philippines.

By the way, while we were flying into tribal locations up north, Carrie was on her way to Thailand where she participated in the Bangkok International Choir Festival. They were able to get in and out of Thailand without being trapped by the terrible flooding which has happened there. One day they went out to help pack relief goods (picture above), but ended up putting on a performance to encourage the government workers. The day after visiting the Ga'dang, we were on our way to the other side of the island to visit the Agta and the missionaries working there.

This is part of the village where Don and Char Epp, their children, and John Burbidge live.
It was really good to get out to see how the Epps and John were doing. They were in the process of learning language, building a medical clinic and putting in a village water supply. We are very thankful for teams like the Agta ministry team.

We also enjoyed spending some time with their kids.
After leaving the Agta we traveled by land to visit with the Talbots again before heading back to Manila to dump out my backpack and pack it again. Three days later I was on the road again with Dennis, Andrew, and Matt, three new missionaries who desire to work on northern Luzon in the years to come. I took them on a survey trip to visit the Northern Isnag.

We traveled by plane, motorcycle side car, and then van until we got to the last six hours of our journey.
Dennis and I ended up spending six hours sitting on a sack of rice. We were so crowded in that we couldn't move our feet. Heidi mentioned that prisoners of war have had to ride in discomfort, but usually were not asked to pay for the privilege.

On the way we drove through many dangerous places where the road had washed away. In one place a road had been bulldozed through a landslide making one big slippery mud pit. We were helplessly stuck, but a bulldozer came along and pulled us out.

The day after we reached our first destination we went out to meet the local officials and tour the school. We spend most of the morning talking to classes and singing songs with them.

We had wanted to go downriver, but a landslide had closed the road so we decided to hike upstream instead and survey an out of the way village. It was a beautiful area and the people said that we were the first westerners to visit their village. From what we could tell there were no believers in that village.

We tried hiring motorcycles, a dumptruck, a jeep, and boats, but were not able to get a ride to the village downstream that we wanted to visit. We were very happy to have a chance to visit the Baptist church in the town we were basing out of. Jonathan was able to give the morning message in a mix of Isnag and Ilokano.

Jonathan got home at the very end of the month. Just in time to see how brilliant Thomas is. While Jonathan was gone Thomas turned a computer keyboard into a wallet. Very cool! Thomas.

Jonathan was also in time to see Carrie's last few soccer games.

Carrie played the sweeper position and did a great job. During the last two games no goals were scored against her team. Great defense Carrie and friends!

At the end of the tournament, Carrie was awarded for being the best sweeper in the tournament. Good job! Carrie.

And that is what we did during the month of October. Thanks for praying for us.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The End of Summer

The Lord allowed us to spend most of June and July with our Isnag friends. If you haven’t read about our time in the village, please read the last two posts to our New Tribes Mission blog.

This is the story about what happened after we flew out to town. When we got out to town, we found out that some of our Isnag friends were at the hospital needing assistance. Heidi and the ladies headed down to see if they could help them line up the kind of doctor appointments needed.

By mid afternoon the next day the ladies had the appointment they needed and we were ready to head for our home in the big city and to the two conferences what we would be helping with in the following weeks. We decided to take the long way home so that we could show our visitors a couple beautiful beaches here in the Philippines and visit the old Spanish city of Vigan.

We knew when we left town that we would probably not make it to the beach that night, but that we could probably find someplace to stay the night along the way.

We did find a place and it turned out to be the worst place I have ever paid to spend the night. It did have a lot of atmosphere, loud, dirty, ugly. It was great because it made everyplace else we stayed look like a palace. I ask you, how many mornings to teenagers wake up early begging to go for a car ride? We were all ready to hit the road and a couple of hours later we made it to the beach.

It was nice to have a couple of days to relax and play games with the kids. After that we drove south to visit an old Spanish style city.

We toured in horse drawn carriages and visited a pottery making business, old bell tower, small zoo, and a weaving business. The Catholic church in the background was built in the late 1500’s.

Old bell tower

Thomas, Heidi, Carrie, and Jonathan

We drove south from Vigan and spent one more night at a beach before arriving home. At home, everyone quickly got involved in unpacking the house and getting ready for the N. Luzon conference which was only a couple of days away. At the same time, Carrie and Thomas were preparing for school and registering for classes which coincided with the N. Luzon conference.

Our good friends, Patrick and Miriam graciously offered to stay home to support Carrie and Thomas while the rest of us participated in both the conferences. We had a few different responsibilities during the conference, but our main responsibility was to provide a child care program for the children of missionaries who would be attending.

It was great to have Bethany and Jacob along. They were a huge help. Jacob taught the Bible story and made sure that the outside play area ran smoothly and Bethany was in charge of the craft area for the older kids. Several other people helped as well, both on Luzon and Palawan. Thank you Peggy, La-arni, Jennifer, Chai, Brenda, Steffi, Eli, Kyle, Wheng, Mayline, Elsie, Rebekah, and Veronica.

When it was all over we had the same number of kids as we started with. If that isn’t success I don’t know what is.

We moved home for a couple of days and re-grouped in order to travel to Palawan and do the same children’s program again for those serving down south.

As you can see, butterflies and moths were the theme of our programs this year. We studied butterflies and moths, colored butterflies, made butterfly books, and made string art butterflies during craft time.

A moth landed on my shirt served as a good illustration

The kids enjoyed lots of fun activities which included Bible story time, clay time, and jump roping.

Jacob teaching the Bible story

Heidi and Bethany with those who were interested in jumping rope

Clay time

Jacob and Bethany looking for just the right hat

After a month of travel, Jacob and Bethany bought their last mementos and gifts before leaving Palawan. We arrive home on a Saturday, had a farewell dinner with the Rivettes that night and they left on airplane the next morning.

Thank you, Jacob and Bethany for coming all the way to the Philippines to visit us and help us with the conferences. Thank you Rivettes for all you did to make their visit here enjoyable.