Friday, June 30, 2006


... A long, straight stretch of ground at least about 1000' long and 30' feet wide that is cleared of all stumps, brush, etc.
... Trees and brush cut down 50 feet on either side of the centerline of the strip
... A smooth surface-- undulations and bumps can quickly send a little airplane back into the air
... A clear approach, so you don't have to descend over trees right at the end of the runway
... Markers at the end of the airstrip, touchdown point, and at 25%, 50%, and 75% of the runway
... A windscock to give an indication of what the wind is doing
... A vasi board that helps the pilot know if his approach angle is correct (particularly if there are optical illusions on the approach into a strip)

Lamane, the airstrip we were just in to see is 1030 feet long and has a 2% slope for the first half of the strip and 5% slope on the last half. It had already been in use for many years, though it hasn't been used for quite a while. Just seeing the amount of work it took to get this airstrip back in shape gave me a new appreciation of what it takes to make a new airstrip! It was also really fun to see Garry figuring everything out and making great decisions for future use of that airstrip!

Did you ever think you knew exactly what you were saying, only to find out you hadn't communicated? This photo is of a "fort" the boys found behind the house we were staying in at the tribal location (they're peeking out the "door"). Inside there was some empty space, but some weeds had grown up as well. They hoped to clear out between the trees and under some of the vines to make a great hideout. Some tribal kids wanted to join them in the fun, which they were happy for. Sign language being what it is, the boys request to clear out the inside ended up in the whole patch of bush being totally knocked down! Oh, well-- on to another game!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Our trip to the tribe was a refreshing, wonderful time, though it had its share of "adventure" as well!

This is the airstrip sight before work began...Garry was able to survey it and clearly lay out what needed cleared away in order to make it usable-- quite a few trees, some brush, coconut trees (an expensive commodity here), and a house. For you pilot friends, the airstrip is 1030 feet long with a 3.5% overall slope, just within our minimums for the Cessna 185! The folks there went right to work clearing away the brush, buying gas and working with a chainsaw, and cutting vines away from a rock wall on one side of the airstrip. Garry and Kevin, with a bit of help, put up airstrip markers at both ends and at different points along the strip. They also set up a vasi board (used in the approach) and told the folks where to hang the windsock.

By the time we left a lot of work had been done-- in fact, it was beginning to look like an airstrip! No worries... the windsock won't stay where it is in this photo! Today our friend called and said that yesterday 53 people had been working on the strip and all the clearing work was done. They had also cut down the coconut trees, and the house was going to be moved today! (He said their bamboo houses are rather easily moved with some large poles slid underneath and 40-50 men!) Thus, when they've had a couple of days of sunshine and the airplane is available Garry will be able to go in and make the final check on the airstrip!

I've been having trouble with my internet connection, so I'm going to say goodbye and publish this now. (I was nearly done yesterday when I lost everything!) Hopefully tomorrow I can get back on and tell you about our arrival there and the housing and food situation!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Good morning! Our Sunday ended up to be a little crazy, and today we are leaving for the trip I mentioned at the end of last week. We are goign to pick up our friend who is coming by commercial jet from Manila, then we'll head out. We'll be back on Wednesday, and will be back in touch then!

Thanks for your prayers!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Good afternoon! Things are coming together for our trip to a tribal location next week. This morning one of the missionaries that worked there previously told us he is going to join us on the trip. We're excited to go together!

Jody is coming to town on Monday and we hope to head out late Monday morning and return on Wednesday. The guys spent most of the morning getting stuff ready for the airstrip there. We'll take a windsock with a frame to hang it on and markers for the airstrip. Kevin and Kaleb were helping Garry get these ready this morning. They'll put markers at the touchdown point, 25%, 50%, and 75% of the runway. (This helps the guys know how much runway they've used up when they land there.) They will also set up a vasi board, which has something to do with the approach-- that's what Kaleb is painting a circle for!

For my part I'm trying to get some food ready to go, since there aren't any stores close to this location and we'll be taking care of ourselves. I was thankful to hear that there is an empty house, furnished with a stove, beds, and linens. When we get back the middle of next week we'll let you know how it all turned out... I'm quite certain it will be an adventure!

Good afternoon! These are the beautiful girls that help me in the house, Belle and Deldores:). We've been having fun taking pictures! Right now Belle is ironing and Delores is sewing pillow shams. They also watched the boys for a while so Garry and I could go out for lunch and discuss some business... and just enjoy being out the two of us!

We are hoping to go to one of our tribal stations next week, so Garry is busy getting things ready for that this afternoon. One of the other things NTMA has traditionally done here in the Philippines is take care of radios and antennaes. Thus he is also checking into whether the materials for making an antenna are available here in town.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Hello! Last evening some new friends took us out to dinner. On the way we were reminded how "interesting" the transportation here it. So we thought we'd share a couple of photos with you. Above is a jeepny, public transportation that runs set routes and takes passengers around town. They say a jeepny is never full--there's always room for at least another person or two!

This is another common sight here in town-- a road lined with "tricycles". Tricycles are the most common vehicle in town, a motorcycle with a "side car" attached to it. Most are for hire, available to go anywhere in town for about 30 cents. We've seen these carrying amazing numbers of people, large cargo, and piled high with boxes or bamboo. In fact, it seems a tricycle can carry a lot more than our pickup truck!

Last night around 1 AM the power went off here, so we had a rather warm night. The electricity came back on around 4:00, just before Garry got up to get his day started! Today Jason took his parents to one of the tribal locations. Garry was on his way to the hangar when we got a radio message that their pump had failed-- if they couldn't get one on the flight today they'd be without water for about 10 days! So Garry went by the hardware store and purchased a pump and seals for them. Then he helped Jason get loaded up and on his way.

The remainder of the morning and part of the afternoon Garry spent in his office here at home-- taking care of paperwork details, communicating with headquarters, and planning an upcoming trip. This afternoon he headed back to the hangar to finish up a project there before Jason got back. When Jason arrived back in Puerto Garry helped him push the airplane back in, wash it, and take whatever cargo and mail there was to the guesthouse.

It's now a bit after 4 PM and we are ready to do afternoon radio sked. Then it will be the end of another day-- a walk at the sports complex, supper, a Bible story with the boys, and an early night!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Good afternoon! It's been a rather quiet day here at home... no radio and a rather normal school day! Kevin is working on fractions in math these days, and it's fun to see him learning new concepts and doing a great job. Kaleb got a paper airplane model from a friend and has spent many hours today trying to make a pattern for his own bi-plane.

Among other things I printed a book for Kevin... we are doing a homeschool program that has books on disk that we can print at home. It works out well here since we can get them ring-bound for under $1 each! Paper is also inexpensive here, maybe due in part to the fact that this a country that highly values education.

This afternoon I read to the boys for a while, then we decided we all needed a cup of iced coffee. Kevin makes a great cup of brew (either hot or cold) so we enjoyed that treat today!

Garry and Jason worked on the airplane all day, changing the prop governor and doing a return-to-service flight. The hangar here in Puerto is not totally set up yet, so everything seems to take longer than usual. Tomorrow Jason is taking his family on a flight, so they were glad to get everything done and put back together!

By the way... we got our "borrowed" water bottle refilled today-- no problem!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

This is a photo of Puerto Princesa from the air. It really is a beautiful city... although it seems more like a town:). You can see that we have a few large buildings as well as a bit of traffic. We'll have to get a photo of a tricycle, the main form of public transportation here. This is the main street in town. Although Puerto Princesa is right on the bay, from most places in town you really can't see the water. We live about a kilometer from here.

Garry flew all day today and the boys and I got back into our school routine. I also spent a bit of time working on our program bookkeeping, flight billing, and scheduling flights. A flight program is basically a small business with not only flying and maintenance but also accounting, legal paperwork, and the rest of the "support structure" that it takes to run any small business.

Kevin was able to play soccer again with his new friends! Kaleb actually got to try his hand at defense as well, which was rather fun to see:). Meanwhile Garry and I had a nice long walk around the track.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Good afternoon! We spent our last morning of vacation at the beach. The boys enjoyed swimming, and we liked just being out-doors. Our time in the car was spent remembering some of our fun and funny memories of life in Canada, Arizona, Panama, Paraguay, and Venezuela. We all agreed that we have lived an incredibly rich life-- and the adventure is not over yet!

This afternoon we started getting things ready for tomorrow's flight-- texting to get weights, arranging cargo delivery, and communicating with passengers. Everything is lined up now, so Garry and Jason should be on their way down south tomorrow morning. I hope to begin training a national lady to monitor the radio (part of the transition of our moving on to another island in the future).

Garry and Kevin are at the sports complex, hoping to catch a game of soccer with the boys that invited Kevin to play last week. Kaleb and I stayed home since I'd had my quota of sun for the day.

You know, when I began this blog I thought I'd blog about our days for a couple of weeks, then spend part of the month blogging about our thoughts and what God is doing in our hearts. Somehow those things are hard to communicate, so I keep on with the simpler things. How do you share the feelings associated with a medical emergency flight that could make the difference between life and death for an unbeliever? How do you blog through the daily propensity to be distracted from God-- the daily challenge to stay focused on God and His plan instead of on the issues that surround each of our lives? How do you share what God is doing in your family without saying things that your children might not want to be common knowlege? How can we adequately communicate the many burdens we share with you, our teammembers-- the changes many of you are going through, the challenges you are facing, the things that move us to pray on your behalf? Can the complex relationships on this island be condensed into a blog and understood? And yet, without sharing these things, I am really just going through a litany of externals, a surface-level explanation of what happens in our lives. Those are some of my thoughts today, the challenges I am facing in this daily journal of our lives.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! Kevin made Garry a cup of capuccinno this morning and delivered it in his Father's Day gift-- a new mug! What a blessing to have children, and what fun to see them honor their dad. Today we are enjoying celebrating the million ways that Garry's a great dad... the incredible ways he chooses to spend time with Kevin and Kaleb, the thousand things he teaches them, and the wonderful example he is to our sons. We also enjoy these opportunities to explain to our boys again that this is the work of God in our hearts-- all good things are a blessing from Him! (No, he didn't read this blog or he'd be embarrassed!)

Yesterday I went with another missionary lady to the beauty parlor. You'd probably laugh if you knew how many prayers went up over this little outing. (not about how the cut would turn out, but that's another story!).. you see, getting your hair cut can be quite an experience in this country! In the end, we had a lot of fun, and actually ended up getting a manicure and pedicure besides the haircut-- all for under $8! Then we had lunch at a little Swiss Deli before coming home. I was blessed and encouraged by Elise. I enjoyed hearing what God is doing in their tribal location and in her heart. I was blessed to spend time pondering God's goodness and grace in our lives!

Our church meets in the afternoon, so we are enjoying a quiet morning at home. We enjoy our Sundays and the way God uses this time to draw our attention to Himself. We are truly privileged to be part of what He is doing here!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Cultural enlightenment: Yesterday something happened that left me scratching my head... which isn't altogether unexpected when you're living in a foreign country. What do you make of this one?We buy our water from a company that sells you a certain number of bottles, then you pay each time you refil them. New bottles cost about $6, and refils are a $1. With the new water cooler, we have two different types of bottles, so I told Bel that maybe we should buy another bottle. "No, they are expensive," she answered. A long discussion followed, at the end of which she told me she would just "borrow" the bottle from the delivery man. That was fine with me, though I never dreamed it would work. But sure enough, I came home to an extra bottle-- a borrowed one!

When I asked how that works, since they sell those bottles to you to refil, she looked at me like I was crazy-- "I just borrowed this one until Monday, then we can refil it! You know, we buy water from them all the time!"

Yesterday we had another neat experience-- while we were walking at the track Kevin got invited to play soccer with some local kids! Not a huge deal when you live in a community all your life, a bigger deal when you're still new, and an unexpected blessing when you are very new, have no "connecting point", and don't speak the language! They invited him to come back and play again today, so we'll see what happens.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

KALEB IS 7 YEARS OLD TODAY! We had a great day just being together, watching him open his gifts, and enjoying having Garry home from work. One of our family traditions is to let the birthday person choose dinner-- Kaleb chose macaroni and cheese from a box (last one!) and we all enjoyed it. This, our first day of "vacation" has been lovely!

I went back to the doctor this morning and found out that I only have a few more days of medication! The men of the house spent a good deal of time in the shop, working on a tool cupboard. I also had some time to work on my scrapbooks!

The other neat thing that happened today is that Kevin got word that he's getting a Tagalog language course! He's looking forward to doing it for school, and Kaleb and I are planning to join him in learning a bit of Tagalog. We were trying to say "Good afternoon" yesterday (which I won't even try to spell for you!) and all ended up just laughing. Some of the consonants that they hear we just don't think exist!

This reminded me once more how privileged we are to be part of team that supports us and does so many special things for us. Thoughtful, kind things. Much-needed things. Encouraging things. Things that bless us and brighten our days! Thanks to each of you who are that kind of friends!

Have a great day and may God bless you richly!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

No pictures today... the internet connection is way too slow! We've had a good day with Garry working from his home office and the boys and I having a fairly normal day of school and housework. Garry and I did go to town today to go birthday shopping for Kaleb! His birthday is tomorrow, and though we had a couple of ideas, we weren't exactly sure what we would find when we went to town. We found a couple of small items that we think he'll enjoy-- we'll update you once he has them tomorrow!

This afternoon it's pouring rain! Rain here comes down by the buckets and can flood the yard really quickly. Last time it rained really hard the yard was under a few inches of rain. Then Garry discovered that if we opened one of the gates some of it would drain out into the alley... so we watched a great stream go through the gate! We love the few degrees drop in temperature, and it's a particular blessing right now when I am not supposed to be in any sunlight.

Kaleb made a game today, complete with a board, cards to draw, and paperclips for the people. It's quite ingenious and gives a clue into his understanding. The cards have interesting sayings on them, things he copied at random out of books-- some of which he couldn't even read! He loves to copy and then have read to him what he wrote. He also loves the artistic side of the game--drawing pictures of knights, castles, and caves!

Have a great day!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Every day isn't the same-- really, it isn't! But many of our days, just like yours, are rather routine. Today Garry did a flight to this tribal location. The missionaries there are coming out for a couple weeks to take care of some business. I was by the radio. The boys have done school and are now enjoying a little free time. My allergic reaction seems to be calming down (or under control) by the meds, which is a blessing!

The credit for today's photos goes to Norm Rice, one of our missionaries who does a great job with the camera! The lady is a Palawano. Thanks, Norm!

Today I've been thinking about control-- my desire to control and the stress and strain of trying to "make things happen". God is our all-loving Father who IS in control. Yet so often I want to be in control, somehow thinking that I could make things happen better than He is. It sounds insane when you say it, doesn't it?! Yet by our actions this is often what we say. What a blessing to rather rest and trust our Heavenly Father to do all things well, as He does so wonderfully!
Good evening-- or morning! Today was another of Jason's flights, so after Jason got in the air Garry came home and worked in the office for a while. I was so glad he was home because in the middle of the morning I began to be incredibly itchy. Because I'd already taken Claritin and Benadryl we decided it was probably time to go see a doctor. Despite the fact that today is Philippines Independence Day, we found a doctor open and only had to wait about a half hour to see her. God led us to a good dermatologist who said I must have a "photoallergy"... an allergy to something that was created when it was mixed with sunlight. So she put me on another allergy medication, steroids for a couple of days, and steroid cream. I am also not supposed to be in the sunlight for a week... pretty hard to do in a tropical climate!

When this all happened I was on the radio, so Garry found someone to take care of that while we went to the clinic. When we got home I felt pretty drugged by all the medication, so took a very long nap. I feel somewhat better now, in spite of the fact that today's "to do" list didn't get many checks!

This has been just another small reminder again priorities-- the things in life that take a back seat when something "urgent" comes along. That though we think we are indispensible and "have to" do certain things, many of them are not as important as we sometimes imagine. And sometimes maybe God is just trying to get our attention back on Him... how many "small" things does God send our way just for this purpose, but if it doesn't feel "urgent" we simply keep on with our daily tasks!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Today was a quiet day, although we spent a bit of time on the radio and e-mail trying to figure out flights for tomorrow. The man who fell from the tree still hasn't arrived from up in the mountains, so it looks like the flight schedule will stay as planned, after all. (This is a photo of the airstrip the patient would be flown out of.)

Garry and I were talking about the testing of our faith today. How our faith is tested to purify it so that we can grow to maturity. How God wants us to live in His reality and according to His plan, undisturbed by the ever-changing circumstances of life. How He desires to have many sons and daughters and for them to be conformed to the image of Christ. What an amazing God we have, and what an incredible inheritance He has prepared for us!

Neither of the boys felt very well today... don't know if it was too much sun yesterday or if we're getting the flu bug that is going around.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Good afternoon... it looks like the middle of the night to you, but I guess Blogger posts the time according to their time-- it's actually only early evening here! We had a wonderful morning at the beach... one of the blessings of living on a small island. As you can see, there were even a few waves today! We went with a couple of our teammates from town and enjoyed the time together.

The tribal man who fell from the tree is apparently still stranded on the mountain. They have not been able to find anyone to carry him down to the airstrip. It would seem that as time goes on his condition would become more critical, so he is in our prayers. Tomorrow morning we'll check back with the missionaries to see how things are going and whether they need a flight.

We got a message from my parents that my dad is doing better. He did have dengue fever, which provides an explanation for many of his symptoms. He is regaining his strength, for which we praise the Lord! When he gets stronger he will head back to the cardiologist to get those medications straightened out.

Yesterday after finishing my post I made meat pie for supper. (I love rolling pie crust because it gives me time to think.) I was considering this blog, wondering what direction it should take. What do you want to hear more about-- ministry, work, our family, our thoughts? What do you wish you knew? What am I talking about that is making you wish I'd quit already?! What seems strange or different about our lives? What seems much the same as yours? Do you like hearing about differences or similarities... or do you like to hear it all and draw your own conclusions? Do you want to hear about things that are a bit extraordinary to us, or the ordinary workings of the lives God has called us to? Obviously, our days aren't interesting enough to create an unending log of what we've done... If you have an answer to any-- or all-- of these questions, I'd love to hear it-- you can comment (even anonymously) or send me a quick e-mail.

As we finish our Saturday we wish you a wonderful day with your family...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Yesterday afternoon the boys went to the hangar and helped Garry work on a fueling system a bit. The guys have been fueling by pouring fuel from a 5-gallon jerry can into the tanks in the wings-- a pretty labor intensive way to fuel, particularly considering how many gallons of fuel it takes to fly an hour! Garry spent the morning working on it as well, and now its nearly complete!

I enjoyed a quiet afternoon working on flight billing and catching up on some office work.

The boys did some yard work before school this morning, while I wrote this blog (for the first time, that is!). I had trouble with my internet connection and a few other things, so we'll see if I can actually post it this time through. Kevin was also working on a story on the computer and it crashed when he was nearly done editting it. So much for time-saving technology!

It's been really hot here for the last couple of days... the kind of humid heat that makes you feel like you're swimming, without the cooling effects of the water! We're incredibly thankful for air-conditioning in our bedrooms so at least it's cool at night. There's a beautiful beach close by, where we are planning to go tomorrow. However, we just got a radio message that a man in one of our tribal locations fell out of a 70-foot tree, so we will be on standby for an emergency medical flight.

We trust you have a great Friday! May God's richest blessings be yours....

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Good morning! The internet connection wasn't working yesterday morning and there was was a brown-out most of the afternoon... but we are still here and blogging our way through the month! Without hydro there were many things we couldn't do, so the boys and I enjoyed a few good hands of Uno!

We are thankful that my dad is home from the hospital, though his platelet count is still too low and he is on complete bedrest. We appreciate your continued prayers!

One of the things Kevin really enjoys is when his dad has time to work in the shop with him! What a blessing to see him learning from his dad and the two of them working side-by-side! (Kaleb also joins in this equation often!)

Yesterday was a "no-fly" day, and Garry and Jason finished the inpsection. They also had time to talk through some of the upcoming flights and what's on our plates for the next while.

Bel did end up going to Manila, and she texted me yesterday that she's coming home by ferry and will be here on Monday. I'm thankful for Delores, who is here today, catching up on laundry and setting things in order:). The boys and I enjoyed not having anyone in the house yesterday-- a neat blessing when most days we have several people here! And since Jason and Jen invited us for supper, we didn't even have to cook. We enjoyed the evening with them and were reminded again what a blessing it is to work with friends!

My thought for the day: God's provision for us isn't about getting out of hardship and trials, but about having the grace to rise above and walk in peace and joy.

This morning we decided to re-arrange our kitchen/dining room area in order to better accomodate our new water cooler/dispenser! The fridge has been having a hard time staying cool, and nearly half the fridge has been full of water! Life in the tropics with a lot of people in the house means we drink a lot of water. Since we have to purchase all our water for drinking anyway, a dispenser is a great blessing!

The boys are busy at school, but they need some "mom attention" so I'll close for this morning. Blessings to you-- may you "rise above" today!

Monday, June 05, 2006

This morning I awoke to a call from my sister-in-law, saying my dad is in the hospital in Venezuela. We thought he had the flu, but it is actually dengue fever, which has complicated his heart condition. We're praying for my parents, and feel so far away right now. On the other hand, what a blessing to be able to use the phone and at least hear their voices!

Yesterday afternoon Bel (one of the girls that helps me) got a call from her family saying she needed to make a trip to Manila. It's a long story, and one deeply intertwined with local culture... but she left for Manila this morning. She hopes to get back soon, but since she doesn't have a return ticket it may be a while! Bel is such a blessing to me in not only accomplishing much of the work but in taking part of my load-- making the grocery list for the week, shopping, paying bills, and making sure the house is clean!

Jason did his first solo passenger flight today! It was a blessing to have Garry come home and share breakfast with us before heading back to the hangar. He also needed to take his cyle in to the shop here... the starter doesn't work. Now Jason and Garry are doing maintenance on the airplane. Jen and I hope to get together this afternoon to catch up a bit as well.

I'm finished with radio and traded the static for praise music. God is the ROCK in our lives, the reason behind what we do. He is also our sustainer, provider, and best friend.... the list is literally endless. We are safe in His hand and nothing essential to our well-being is ever at stake! A personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe-- who can believe the incredible privilege that is ours!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Monday. Another new week begun with a bang! Garry left for the airport a bit before six, while I was still trying to open my eyes and heading toward the shower. We needed to get some information from Lada before he took off, so we did some texting on the cell phones. On the cargo list they sent was "3 kilos patadyong"... I'll have to ask Garry what that is when he gets home! Then we needed to check weather at our first two destinations, one by phone and the other by radio. The guys were in the air close to 7:00 am. Flights have gone well, despite an hour break at lunch to wait for rain to pass. Jason was even able to get some practice at one of the more difficult airstrips!

This is our doberman, Kodiak (we call her Kody). She's great company for the boys as well as a wonderful watchdog. Something about this photo reminded me of how I felt about noon today-- a little sleepy and more like enjoying the sun than moving around a lot!

The boys and I have stayed busy here at home. Kevin has finished his school, as has Kaleb. They've also been painting their wooden airplanes they received last week, trying to make them look like true NTMA aircraft! I've taught the boys school, taken care of some business for this week's flights, and written a few e-mails. The girls are out doing the marketting for the week and paying bills.... a normal, somewhat quiet flight day with not too many last-minute changes or weather questions!
Good evening..... or morning for most of you! Sunday. A wonderful day to reflect and relax. A day that can bring joy to our spirits and new life to our bodies. Peace, refreshment. Part of our day has been like that... a great conversation with the boys about Bible study, a nice walk (no sun this afternoon!), and a little coffee break. We also had some business questions and a few arrangements to make for tomorrow's flight.

As I reflect on the past week, I see busyness. The running around, the company in our house, the many relationships can easily begin to own me. My heart's desire is to see God, to hear God, to listen only to Him. But when I allow too many voices in my life His voice is easily drowned out.

My other reflection today has been on joy. I want to live life in God's reality, full of His joy, thankful for His grace, enabled by His Spirit. Yet it is easy to lose that joy, to begin to experience our circumstances as our reality, to get caught in the here and now and lose sight of eternity. So those are my ponderings for the day...

May your Sunday be blessed and may you be a blessing to those you interact with!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Good afternoon! It's been a rather crazy morning here, so I am just getting to posting now. Yesterday afternoon the boys and I went to the "Baragatan Festival" (celebrating the sea and the fact that it's the #1 natural resource in Palawan) here in Puerto Princesa. It was fun to look around at the different handcrafts and the things different municipalities specialize in. We saw beautiful pearls (the jewlery of the average Filipino here in Puerto!), amazing woodwork, some great windchimes, and all different kinds of foods. It was a fun time to mingle with the crowds and just see what's happening. (I did think it was a bit different than going to a parade or local party at home in that we often felt like part of the display, being so much whiter and taller than everyone around us!)

Garry got home from his flight early in the afternoon and brought home with him a wooden airplane for each of the boys. One of the Palawano boys makes amazing models of Cessna 185's like Garry flies. Kaleb, particularly, loves these models and has been asking for one. These days Kaleb is into drawing and writing. He loves to make up a story, have us write it down, and then copy it into a "book" he makes of stapling the pages together. He also loves being outside, either working in the yard or playing basketball. While Kevin enjoys going to town, Kaleb's preference is usually to stay home, working on one of his many projects. He also enjoys being read to, and is beginning to read by himself. Kaleb's love of learning and contagious joy add a special light to our family. He loves to make gifts for all of us and blesses us with them!

When Garry got back to the hangar he spent some time helping one of the missionaires move his plane into the hangar... this is an experimental aircraft one of the families is hoping to use for transportation. But that's another story!

We enjoyed our Friday evening at home. We had tacos for supper and then worked on different things. Garry was getting his computer set up, Kevin is writing a story, I was chatting with my mom via internet, and Kaleb was drawing pictures and writing his latest "book".

This morning I got a cell phone text that the patient we were planning to bring to the hospital yesterday is travelling by land and ocean (4 hours on the ocean and 6 in a bus, I believe-- while experiencing heart failure!) She was nearly at one of our stations where there is a hospital nearby. It didn't take very long to get the information the missionary needed so that she will be well-cared for there.

Garry and I planned to do some errands in town this morning, but were interrupted by several things... the man who's working at the hangar needed tools, someone arrived from Manila and might need a flight (but his cargo is very large-- will it fit in the airplane?) and several main streets in town were blocked off for the festival. In the end, we enjoyed a cup of coffee together and headed home!

Meanwhile, the girls who help me were cooking some "ready-made meals" for some of our missionaries. Living in a remote location it's challenging to cook sometimes, and this is one way we can bless our friends! Today we made chicken strips that can be reheated easily and got some lumpia (much like egg rolls) ready to go. (..think chicken strips made from breast and back pieces-- from taking off the skin, to deboning and cutting up the chicken, to making your own breading!) We'll also add some cookies and a loaf or two of bread to the package when we send it Monday morning. These are the kinds of things that are easy to take to for granted when they're readily available at the local supermarket. In a remote location they are a treat!

Our days are filled with opportunities... opportunities to bless others, opportunities to grow, and opportunities to be a part of what God is doing! God tells us when we reach crossroads in life we'll hear a voice behind us saying, "This is the way, walk in it". What a blessing when we choose to obey!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It's still rather early here, but the day is in full swing. Garry got up at 4:30 to get an early start because they have a long flight day. After filing the flight plan, getting the load in the airplane and the passengers loaded, they were in the air before 7:00 a.m. Just after they took off the emergency medical flight is cancelled. There are no missionaries currently living at that location, and there has been a communication breakdown somewhere. We continue to pray for the patient and will wait to hear what happens with all of that.

This is Kevin with his latest wood-working project. He built me a step for exercise, which I've really enjoyed using! These days Kevin is busy with school, finishing up his school year. He enjoys math, writing, and reading for the most part. He's really practicing his basketball skills these days, trying to perfect his shot. When we walk at the track Kevin's also been doing a bit of running, trying to better his 1/4 mile time. His consideration of those around him is always a blessing, as is his ability to make conversation with anybody... not to mention the many other ways he brightens our days!

Yesterday Garry went to town to get some keys copied. He and Kevin went to everywhere they know that makes keys, plus a few new places that were recommended to them. Nonetheless, there apparently aren't any "blanks" to make the keys we need! So guess that goes back on the list for another day after new supplies have hopefully arrived in town!

My friend Nellie from Lada has been here for a couple of days and she went home yesterday. She brought her grandson to get enrolled in school and he is helping us on the yard here. When they arrived on Sunday they came with a bag of clothes, our first indication that they meant to stay with us! It was good to see her again, and the boys have enjoyed having Jeffrey here to shoot hoops with between working on the yard and school. We are blessed by the friends we've made here, yet we often find ourselves wondering what's going on-- cultural differences and lack of language have created more than one interesting situation!