Here, we are preparing for our third holiday season in the Philippines. As you can imagine, things look different in the Phils than we are used to back home. If it weren't for the constant stream of Christmas tunes pumped through the sound system of every mall/store in Davao and the Christmas displays put out back in September, I'd have to really find ways to remind myself that it really "Tis the Season". We're looking forward to a swimming party and potluck with our extended missionary family for Thanksgiving, and we'll probably celebrate Christmas or New Year's at the beach. Don't you feel sorry for us? Holidays in the Tropics are different - and good in their own special ways! But, I haven't quite worked through missing traditional holiday meals, smells, weather, decor, and get-togethers. Probably never will. I'm learning that human comforts come in all different forms. Some of them sneak up on me in unexpected ways and times - especially this time of year. So, while y'all are enjoying the real deal, we'll make our paper snow-flakes soon - even if we do it in shorts and tank-tops!
Now, because it seems we are updating the blog about once a month, I'll give you a run-down of what we've been up to this month.
The biggest and best news involved a 6 year-old birthday!
Nolan and I have been busy learning some parts of our new roles as part of the leadership team. Our days look quite different than they did when I was a student. We are working at readjusting to find our new normal. This month we've been doing quite a bit more administratively with the ministry than we had previously, and we feel good in these capacities. We've also been exploring ideas of how this organization can work toward nurturing the missionaries during their time here - it's called "Member Care" and already there have been some good steps. Our other major project is what we call "Integrating Midwives and Missions" (or Midwife Mobilization). All the work thus far has been behind the scenes, but hopefully we will have some more tangible results in the next six months or so. Stay tuned!
The kids have been busy with school, friends, legos, reading challenge, ballet, and karate - and the "Machete Club". Yes, mama is less than enthusiastic, but there is something about 9 and 10 and 11 year old boys that just needs to make weapons out of tree branches, and it just so happens that machetes are a common gardening tool here in the Phils. Somehow, those two things go together now. On a more educational note, the kids are excited to start Visayan language lessons next month. Nolan and I have been taking lessons for two years, but our teacher is booked and we've been asking her for a spot for our kids for more than a year - finally she has an opening!
This past week I went on an outreach to the northern Philippines (on Luzon island). I went up with a friend of mine to assist her in teaching Neonatal Resuscitation for midwives at two sister-clinics in the region. All in all 17 midwives received training to help babies who require a little start-up help after birth. You can see by the pics below that the scenery is breath-taking. The trip to the more rural clinic had me a little outside my comfort zone - ok, a lot outside me comfort zone - have I mentioned that I could probably be nominated for "Least Adventurous Missionary Ever". We encountered three mud-slides and had to wait for the road to be cleared for us to continue traveling. There was also a suspended bridge that would make safety coordinators in the States cringe. But, the view was AMAZING! And, the people so endearing. I hope to take the whole family back at some point.
|Digital slideshow personalized with Smilebox|
We've also spent quite a bit of time praying about two major requests. Many of you who follow us on social media have joined us in praying for Ethan, the 4 year-old-son of our Filipina friend and co-worker. He contracted Dengue Fever (a tropical mosquito born disease). There is no cure and is often fatal, especially in children. Ethan was healed by pure a miracle. His blood platelets had dropped to an 11 (normal is +150), he was in respiratory distress from his body holding on to extra fluid. He received several transfusions, was intubated and sedated. But, the prayers of the faithful around the world were heard and he is home and doing well now! The second prayer matter is a more private matter involving some of our neighbors who are having some severe family challenges at the moment. Although they are not Christians, they have taken Nolan into their confidence and requested prayer. I sincerely don't see a solution to their problems without the Lord doing a very mighty work. So, I ask you to pray. Sincerely, pray. Remember, pray. HE is ABLE.
Life Overseas Story of the Month: Recently Nolan and I were driving to a meeting with a friend. We were riding in our 1978 VW bug. Just as we were getting out of the car, I smelled a fire and looked around for the cause. Surprise - it was the back seat in our car! I ran for a fire extinguisher while my hero (Nolan) quickly pulled the back-seat out of the car and stomped out the fire! (Note to self: Fire extinguishers are not readily available in the Philippines - even at major malls.) Turns out the battery to our car is under the back seat and somehow it made contact with the metal springs in the seat. That creates a fire. Our own personal science experiment. We've now rectified that problem with a very thick rubber mat. No one was injured in our "science experiment" - and even the back-seat mostly survived. And, I learned that I'm a lot faster runner than I ever thought before!