Friday, September 29, 2006

It's pouring outside! The rain keeps things quite cool... and the yard very wet! We haven't seen the sun actually shine since Monday or Tuesday, so I'm getting ready for a change.

This week marked one year since we moved to the Philippines. We've spent a little time reflecting on that fact this week, reminding one another what God has done in the past year. This year hasn't been easy and life here continues to challenge and stretch us. Yet in the midst of it all, God is doing what He promised: He is proving Himself faithful and powerful, He is building His Church, He is growing His children (including us!). Would you take a moment to look over the past year with us?

September: We arrived in the Philippines on September 26th. We spent our first days in Manila at the guesthouse, recuperating from jetlag and catching up with things on the field. The field leadership's vision for the future excited us as we stepped into a task we knew to be huge.

October: We flew to Puerto Princesa expecting to spend a couple of weeks there. Instead, we piled into a van the next morning and headed to Lada for what we thought was about a month. Garry and Jerry did an annual on the airplane, readying it for flights. We began to provide flight service October 10th. We found we enjoyed Lada and often thanked God for the opportunity to live there. The quiet and opportunity to work together were a gift.

November: We decided to bring a few more of our things to Lada since we weren't moving to Puerto Princesa yet. We settled into somewhat of a routine with our Philipino co-workers and househelp. Garry flew most days, we did radio work, billing, and a host of other things we hadn't expected. We began to see that what we'd come to do was bigger than we'd imagined! God faithfully reminded us that His commands are not burdensome and we caught a glimpse of letting Him carry what we could not do on our own.

December: Went to Puerto Princesa to find a house and take a short break. We got rained into a small town in northern Palwan, unable to leave for 6 days while it rained. God miraculously got us out the following week without mishap! We found a great house in Puerto and stored a few of our things there. We hoped to move right after Christmas. Once back in Lada we did a lot of flying and faced our first serious weather delay-- 4 days of continual rain! Christmas came upon us most unexpectedly, so we rushed to town and found some lights that we could hang around our bamboo house to brighten up the season. A trip to the beach and a fun meal at a local restaurant were a nice change from the hectic schedule we'd been keeping.

January: We began to catch up on bookwork, moved a lot of our things to Puerto and put them away in our house, and prepared for a team coming the end of the month. The deeper we delved into the books the more questions that came to light, until we had to put them aside for another intense time of flying and doing maintenance.

February: The team brought even more flying than expected. What a neat experience to meet many of them and hear their "God stories"! They did a lot of work in tribal locations and each spent at least a little time in Lada on their way through. On February 15th we piled into the airplane and moved to Puerto Princesa. Our new partners, the Schwabs, had arrived a week before us.

March: A 3-day safety course took us to another island and began to open our eyes to some of the issues involved in the flight program on that island. Our "break" turned into a marathon of technical discussions and government work. Back in Palawan, there was a lot of flying to be done. We began to see that living in a new country half way around the world is a big adjustment, and one that demands time--whether you want to give it or not. Cynthia was able to pass on some of her responsibilities to focus more time on homeschooling and household issues.

April: A course in Manila brought all the missionaries to town, meaning there was plenty of flying. We began to admit to ourselves that this program was going to be busier than we expected. Projections for the program had been less than half what we were flying every month! Jason began to ride with Garry on most flights. At the end of the month our coordinators from Arizona paid us a visit. What a blessing to begin talking through some issues and re-focusing. God desires to do this job, and we must let Him accomplish the work in His time.

May: Our main focus was Schwabs and Jason's checkout. Jason began to do some flying while Garry rode along. The checkout was a process and not an event. God gave the guys great opportunities to talk through things-- weather issues, loading decisions, etc. God gave Jen and I some great opportunities to talk about life in a field flight program.

June: Jason began to do more of the flights on his own. With less flying to do, Garry began to work through a huge backlog of paperwork and technical questions and concerns.

July: Garry was back in the pilot's seat for almost two weeks while Jason dealt with some paperwork on his pilot license. When Schwabs returned from a few days in Manila they took over all the scheduling of flights and related things.

August: Garry left August 1 to spend some time with the field committee and make a trip to the third flight program location. He had an informative time in both places and came home with a few questions answered and many more to ask. Near the end of the month our family headed to Manila for a short break and to return to the northern Luzon flight progrm location.

September: A little work in the hangar on northern Luzon grew into a bigger project and we enjoyed some family time there. We stayed in the "pilot house" which looks like it will be our next home. We had opportunity to talk to lots of people and gain a better understanding of different things related to the flight program and options that are before us. We returned home to begin paperwork on the airplane's annual and prepare for a visit from our technical coordinator.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

So much for flying!

It's been rainy all day, so the guys have been working on things at the hangar. Garry spent part of the day at home writing up a proposal to put a container by the hangar for fuel storage. The airport manager says he'll run the idea by everyone involved and let us know what we can do.

That means today's flight will be done tomorrow or Saturday, depending on the weather. Keeps us all flexible, I suppose! Garry's glad to get some stuff done in the office and have some extra time to discuss different things with Paul.

About 8 weeks ago some friends sent us a box from the US. It was supposed to arrive in 6-8 weeks, so I called the company yesterday. It seems the box arrived at the warehouse in Manila on August 28th, and they will send it on to Palawan when they have a container full. Their customer service representative kindly told me "No schedule yet, ma'am!" I suppose when it arrives here we'll know!

All in all, the rainy weather is relaxing and cool (79.5 degrees). A great day to snuggle up with a cup of hot chocolate and read or something!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What a relief to see that fat envelope of papers go into the mail. For Garry much more so than for me! He's spent the better part of 3 days getting the paperwork for the airplane's annual filled out and organized. Now it's on its way to Manila to be dropped off at the government office by a friend of ours. We're praying it is approved before October 6th, when the current paperwork expires!

We are having a good time with our technical coordinator. Today he went flying with Jason and will come to our house for supper. I made chicken tacos... hope he likes Mexican! Tomorrow Garry plans to go with them and they hope to spend some time at one of our locations.

Paul also blessed us by bringing some special treats... peanutbutter, Ranch dressing mix, Kraft macaroni and cheese, red licorice, M&Ms, and some special Venezuela "goodies" from my parents. It still amazes me how much I miss tastes of home sometimes-- just normal things that I enjoy cooking with and eating. My parents also sent the boys some fun toys and some puzzle books-- any of you into Sudoku puzzles?

As we find ourselves in the midst of a lot of things these days we are so blessed to know we are God's children and He has only good in store for us. A rather basic truth, and yet one that is easy to forget when life is busy and you feel stretched beyond your abilities! Yes, God is willing to sacrifice our momentary pleasure for our eternal good... and we can trust Him to do what is for our eternal good!

I suppose I should go get supper on the table!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

This is a man in Luzon carrying rice home. Rice being a the staple food here, many people grow their own. It's fun to see the rice fields and watch it grow!

We've all recovered from the cold and flu we had last week... at least mostly recovered! This morning Kevin went to the hangar with Garry to help close up the airplane after the annual inspection. They had a little problem with the brakes, but were able to finish up before a late lunch. Now Garry is working on the paperwork that needs to be sent to Manila in order to keep the airplane in the air.

Kaleb and I did some reading this morning and cleaned up what was left of the weekend's disaster-- ever have that feeling on a Monday morning?! I also enjoyed a cup of coffee with Jen and picked her brain about a few things.

Have a great day!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

It's been a crazy few days with the water issues and other things popping up unexpectedly! The water was actually only off for one day-- an unheard of thing for the water company to be faster than expected. It was a blessing, and we still have some containers of water we are trying to use up!

Garry, Kevin, and I have been sick since I last wrote. The cold/flu hasn't been awful, but bad enough to slow us all down a bit. Thanks to those of you who prayed for Garry and sent me some good ideas. When he got sick with the cold his cough lessened and seems to have disappeared. Thank you, Jesus!

The end of this week we've spent a lot of time planning. It's been good to sit down and name some "trigger points" for our next move. We now have a pretty good list of things that need to be done before we start packing! We've also been working through some bookkeeping issues with the flight program and getting ready for a visit from our technical coordinator next week. Sharing a few good cups of coffee have made the long talks seem shorter:).

Wednesday we had the opportunity to take the kids to a homeschool "organic gardening class" that some friends graciously offered. It was excellent and they have been busy with their new plants and new information!

Since last time I posted we've also had two (or maybe just the same one twice?!) furry visitors in our house. I screamed, of course, that being the only logical reaction to a mouse!

We pray you have a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Just a quick update on the water situation... This morning I woke to the amazing news that I could have a warm shower, since the water was back on! Garry told me I'd better hurry because it probably would go off again. I agreed and got in there in record time! However, the water never did go back of again-- yeah!

Kevin's sick this evening and the rest of us aren't feeling that great. I think I'll head off to bed and get back on tomorrow:). Blessings...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Today started like any ordinary day... breakfast, chores, school. Just as I was enjoying a relaxed reading lesson with Kaleb, Belle told me, "Ate (Ma'am), before I forget, there is a scheduled water outage in town from 3 pm today until 11 am day after tomorrow. At my house the water is only dripping now, so probably it will go off before 3!" I was so thankful she was here since we don't listen to the radio and don't hear news like that. Since we are the only one of our friends here that use city water-- the rest have wells so this won't affect them-- they wouldn't have thought to pass it on if they'd heard it.

Even with a few hours warning, I wondered exactly what I could do. We don't have that many large containers, and a day and half without water is a long time when you consider showers (even more necessary in the heat here!), flushing toilets, washing dishes... Having planned to buy some large boxes for storage anyway, Kevin and I jumped in the truck and headed to town to purchase a few. The girls began filling every available container, storing water in the laundry room and bathroom (or comfort room, as they're fondly called). Meanwhile the power was out for a while, making me wonder if we'd already lost our chance to collect some water (the water goes off with the electricity usually!).

At the hangar another story is unfolding... at the end of the day yesterday the guys found out that their compression tester is bad. This means they can't really finish all the work they need to do. Garry hopes to be able to get a new tester when someone comes from Arizona next week. Today they're trying to finish whatever they can before putting the engine back together for tomorrow's flight.

Garry has a bad allergy cough right now. Antihistamines affect him very badly, so that is not a good option unless it gets so bad he has to quit work to deal with the side effects. I'm looking for a good remedy... cough syrup or an allergy pill that doesn't make you sleepy (Benadryl, Dimetapp, nor Claritin work). Neva told me that kalamansi (a bit like lime) and honey is the local remedy. Any ideas???

Now I need to finish school and work on the flight billing for the month. Since we've flown over 50 flights this month there will be a bit of time involved in that! Blessings to you today!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

It's Monday afternoon and I think I've had enough of Monday:). Not that anything bad has happened today, it's just been a hard-to-get-going day! We started the day with a game of badminton then got into school. Kevin and Kaleb have a new electronics set and they've been amazing me with little circuits that run lights, fans, and little sound machines. Quite a learning experience!

Garry is at the hangar, working on a 50-hour inspection. (That's an inspection that is done after 50 hours of flight, not an inspection that takes 50 hours!) The compression test showed 3 low cylinders, so they are working through that. Garry and Jason are hoping to finish what they need to do in the next couple of days because on Wednesday Jason needs to begin flying for a family that is moving into the tribe.

It's rainy this afternoon, which is a nice relief from the heat. The boys and I have enjoyed a nice cup of iced coffee and a bit of "The Wind in the Willows". Who isn't warmed by the fun tales of the animals?! Now I'm back at the computer and they are looking at some books and considering which project they'll do next. Soon I need to head to the kitchen to make some coleslaw for supper. I'll add that to the leftover cincinnati chili from the other day.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Kaleb planned the blog for today-- he wanted me to post these photos of the Lego castle that he's been building! The castle is now finished and well protected, as you can see! While he has been busy with Lego Kevin has been conquering a lot of fractions and spending some time with Garry at the airport. The last couple of days have been long flight days for Jason, so Garry and Kevin have gone to help load and fuel. Yesterday Kaleb was even out there for a while!

Meanwhile, I've been working in the office and doing some cooking. Changing househelp means that my current help doesn't cook, so I've been back in the kitchen. I find it quite relaxing to cook and bake most of the time:).

Garry's busy preparing for Paul's visit and doing other necessary paperwork for the flight program here. He'll be glad when his inbox is empty also!

Monday, September 11, 2006

One of the things Garry wanted to do in Northern Luzon was to get a better idea of what is in the hangar there. He had looked through many of the files and most of the parts before, but the week we spent there gave him some more time to "poke around". It was good to clean things up a bit (not that they won't get very dusty again anyway!) and organize some of the rooms. The hangar, as you can see, has an open place in the front for parking one airplane and a closed shop on the side. Since the shop is not sealed, birds have become a major issue in trying to keep things clean.

While there Garry preserved the engine on our C180 that has been sitting in the hangar for several years. While he was looking through the logbooks he realized the propeller was out-of-date and needed to be sent back to the US for overhaul. Taking the prop off was not a really big job, but by the time the crate was built and it was ready to ship the process entailed quite a bit of time. Kevin was glad to have the opportunity to work with Garry a bit on that and other projects while we were up north!

Cultural tidbit: If I have an issue with my housegirl, the "kind" thing to do is tell someone else about it! That person is then obliged to talk to my housegirl. She would far rather I talk to a third party, who she can then tell her side of the story to and we communicate through this person. Even simple things like the fact tht I'd rather her not sweep the dirt out the front door are best communciated through a third party-- which is why it's a big advantage to have 2 girls working in your house!

Speaking of househelp, I'm learning some interesting things from them... rugs are meant to be used to clean up things that spill, a large dishcloth is best (the size of a handtowel for us!), if your hands are hot they cannot be put in water (so you can't wash dishes after ironing!), and if you don't understand what you're supposed to do the best answer is a simple "Yes, Ma'am".

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Good morning! It's been a long time since I've posted regularly, but I'd like to get back into the habit. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen just yet as my computer crashed the other day and we haven't gotten it back from the shop yet. We pray they are able to save the information on the computer and we'll soon be back in business. We're incredibly thankful for Garry's laptop!

We're home in Palawan again, enjoying being back in our own house! We had a wonderful and informative trip, but it's nice to be home! Today Garry's flying in preparation for doing some more checkout work with Jason tomorrow. I'm on the radio and doing school with the boys.

I hope to be posting with some photos of our trip soon, but we'll see what happens with the computer:). Blessings to each of you!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Today is the day we leave northern Luzon to return to Manila! Our time here has been both relaxing and profitable. We've enjoyed meeting the folks who will be our new team as well as spending some time with peeople that we will be servicing. We've also enjoyed staying in this house-- the one that will be our new home! We are really looking forward to moving up here in a few months!

In fact, we'd already been on the road were it not for the fact that the vehicle we're taking up is "off road" today. That means it cannot be driven into metro Manila between 3:30 and 7:30 pm. Since we did need to finish up a few things this morning and the trip takes about 6 hours, we opted to leave at 2pm. Boy, will we be glad for the air conditioning!

On the other hand, we are glad to be going "home" and back to "normal life"-- as though it exists! We've missed Jason and Jen while we've been travelling and will enjoy catching up with them when we get home. We've also been making plans for what needs done before we move and we'll enjoy doing those projects! We'll be packing up the computer, so I won't be blogging until the weekend... then we'll be blogging through our last months in Palawan and our move.

Thanks for standing with us! What a blessing to be part of a team-- we could never do this alone!