Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Journey to the Philippines

I’ve known for a month and a half for sure that I was going to the Philippines this year as my mission. I, being as stubborn as I am, was in denial and said things like, “Well I’ll go if God provides the funds.” not really wanting to fly across the world to a completely new culture. He provided in big ways, so I said yes. My real hesitation was that I knew how challenging and uncomfortable this year was going to be. This year I was really leaving everything behind for a whole year. It is such a long journey to the Philippines. I don’t want to travel it often nor could I afford to. This year I feel like I am really giving up everything.

The trip here was so long. We traveled probably for 48 hours on and off. The first time I was able to lay in a horizontal position and sleep for more than a few hours was GLORIOUS! I felt like there were trials to get here and as soon as we reached our island the blessings poured in. I am in the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It feels unreal. The people have been so generous already with Mawi meeting us at the airport and driving us almost three hours to Malaybalay City where we live. I woke up this morning after sleeping in my new house feeling rested and refreshed. During morning prayer with our missions team (Sammy, Lindsey, Evie, Anders, and Rebekah) I couldn’t help but feel that I was experiencing a slice of Heaven.

This morning I experienced the freedom that marked the beginning of my conversion almost two years ago. I felt like I did when I walked out of the confessional after not going to confession for eleven years. I keep receiving scriptures like, “Create a clean heart in me, O God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.” And “I will create a new heart in you, and breathe into you a new spirit.” I truly do feel the new spirit he has placed in me. I feel alive so alive! I can tell already that this mission in Malaybalay City is going to be so fruitful.

We arrived at our new home on Friday the 3rd. The house is very simple, but very sturdy. It has three floors. The first floor you walk into from the front porch has a living room/dining room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. If you walk up five stairs on our spiral staircase (I’ve always wanted a spiral staircase in my house) you will see two rooms. As of right now Sammy, Lindsey, and the kids are in one room and Rebekah and I are in the other. From the main floor if you walk down three steps there is another big room that could be another living room and a bedroom off to the side. We are hoping to eventually use one of the rooms as a chapel. Right now we are trying to clean our house and get settled in. We are adjusting to the climate and sounds of our city. It seems so far with the climate, God has decided to give us paradise. It gets a little warm during the middle of the day, but there is always a cool breeze.

A few highlights since we’ve been here:

We didn’t have running water when we got here. We didn’t know how to flush our toilet and figured out that we have to pour a bucket of water into the bowl. We didn’t know where the grocery stores were, so our first full day here, Rebekah and I went on an adventure to find food. We found what we thought was tuna and some mayo to make tuna salad for the bread we already had. We also found some garbanza beans, bananas, oranges, an avacado, and chicken loaf. I picked out the chicken loaf and cannot figure out what possessed me to grab chicken loaf. There were other options. The only thing I can think of is I just read chicken and assumed it was like chicken in a can like tuna in a can. Our first meal was the tuna, bread, chicken spread (mayo), bananas, and oranges. When Rebekah opened the can of tuna she discovered that it was more like a tuna soup in a tomato base with potatoes. We laughed quite a bit with our cold soup straight from the can, bread, and fruit. Keep in mind we couldn’t quite get our stove to work yet. Sammy thought we were just kidding and really had another meal planned; we weren’t. When it came time for dinner we prepared the chicken loaf and had bread, avocado, garbanza beans, and oranges. Sammy decided we should “flame-kiss” the chicken loaf using a fork over the flame of our stove because we got it working. For the rest of the night we cracked jokes about the chicken loaf. I mean really what was I thinking? It was half bad though.

All in all our time here has been so blessed. We are meeting such wonderful people. We are slowly learning our way around. I am excited to learn what our ministries will be here. Please continue to pray for us. You are all in my prayers.