Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Good afternoon! We trust you had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. We enjoyed a quiet day at home and some badminton. We feel so blessed to have this time to do projects at home and catch up on some of the things that are pending after the past couple of months.

The men have been building a table in preparation for moving the washing machine out to our shop. The washer is really loud, so we'd like to move the noise! That invovles getting some kind of table to fold clothes on, so that is what the guys are doing. They've been enjoying the process, from all appearances.

This afternoon the boys have badminton training, so Garry and I are working on some office stuff. I'm attacking my inbox... and hoping to empty it out!

These days we've been thinking about God's blessings, how all of them are gifts. We never deserve God's love and care. We can never earn His approval. But he approves of us because we are in Christ and He blesses us because we are His children. Amazing! We pray you are enjoying His blessings today!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hello from Palawan! We are incredibly thankful that the annual inspection is finished and the paperwork was delivered to the appropriate office in Manila this morning! It's a huge answer to prayer to have that finished... not that an annual inspection is usually a big deal, but just now it has been a lot to think about:).

This week we baked many dozens of cookies, and this morning Garry and Kevin took them to our friends around town-- the security guys that watch out for our hangar, the airport manager, the hardware store that we a lot of our business with, the man who delivers our bottled water, and so on. It is fun to be part of this tradition of blessing those who bless us all year long!

The boys enjoy being home again and able to work in their shop. Kevin has been secretly making Garry a Christmas gift and Kaleb is trying to perfect a rocket he drew "blueprints" for at the beginning of the week. In between the important things of their lives we've also been doing reading, writing, and math!

Garry is still on a gluten-free diet and seems to feel better for it. In fact, we recently learned (thanks, Anita!) that children with allergy-induced asthma often have problems with wheat or gluten, so Kevin is joining Garry on his diet. I'm scratching my head about what to cook, but overall it's gone quite well. I was thankful to talk to a friend in Manila whose husband is also a celiac and she gave me some good pointers about cooking and local food. I'll be calling her again soon!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Good evening-- or morning-- to you! We are incredibly thankful to say that Garry has had two good days in a row. In fact, he looks better than I've seen him in weeks, so we think we are seeing the end of this sickness! He just has one more day of antibiotics to go and then another couple of weeks on other gastritis medication.

Garry has had some difficult days this week, and even worse nights. Our primary doctor is out of town, so we had to contact another doctor. This doctor believes Garry may have celiac disease and has recommended that he go off anything containing gluten for at least two weeks. In just a couple of days he seems to feel better, so we'll definitely continue to stick with the diet.

Badminton doesn't really have anything to do with this post, but I thought I'd post a couple of photos of the boys playing anyway:).

Our plan right now is to head home on Sunday and complete the inspection. We're thankful for a couple of guys that are coming to help! When that is complete Garry is hoping he'll be able to do a couple of flights before Christmas.

I'm hoping to get back to posting more often when we get home and hopefully get into a semi-normal routine!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Good morning! This will be quick as I'm headed to the aiport again, but I wanted to post a quick update. Garry found a great doctor in Manila who ran a huge number of tests. They found a nasty bacteria in his stomach and are giving him two different antibiotics for that as well as treating his gastritis. He has finished 4 days of antibiotics and has 6 more to go. Medication has traditionally made him feel pretty awful, and this time is no different.

Many of you have prayed for us, sent encouraging words, and offered helpful advice. Thank you! You cannot imagine how blessed we feel to be part of a team that is standing with us through this difficult time. We are learning new things about faith and grace as we walk through Garry's illness. We are also seeing our Loving Father give us good gifts wrapped in unexpected packages. Thanks for being part of the journey!

Garry is actually at our guest house in Manila by himself right now, where they are taking good care of him. The boys and I came to Palawan for a major badminton tournament. Those of you who have kids in a sports community may imagine what this meant to them, so we decided to get them here. They really enjoyed their play time and came home with 2 tropies and 2 medals for their categories! It was a good time with our friends here as well.

This morning we head back to Manila if I can rouse them from their sleep! We've all been missing Garry, though it's only been a couple of days. The doctor recommended that we stay in the city for at least another week, and we are doing our best to follow orders:). Our airplane needs an annual, which includes an inspection, so we are trying to figure out the best way to make that happen!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Good morning! We are leaving for Manila in about an hour, but thought I'd take this opportunity to blog a quick update. Some of Garry's symptoms have subsided, but he isn't regaining energy the way he should, so we are going to a tropical disease specialist in Manila. We'll try to update this page as we can while we're gone!

I thought you might enjoy a couple more photos of how high the water got a couple of days ago!The rains have stopped now... or there is a break in them! A super typhoon is headed for the Philippines, which usually means rain for Palawan! However, for now our yard is dry, maybe due in part to some drainage measures we've taken.

It's often amazing what your kids do. Kevin has surprised us by becoming an excellent barrista. He makes a lovely latte or cappuccino! The other morning he brought me an especially beautiful cup of brew!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Good morning! It's raining here... actually, they say it will continue to rain for several days! The yard is looking rather flooded, and water is seeping into the laundry room. Thankfully the rest of the house is slightly higher than the laundry room.

Flooding is somewhat common here because the area is not properly drained. In fact, few parts of the city have good drainage, due in part to the fact that we are so close to sea level here!

Garry is doing somewhat better, although something still isn't right. He started on a new 5-day treatment yesterday and we'll see what comes of that. We appreciate your continued prayers for healing, wisdom, and strength. The up-side is that since he can't do strenuous work he's getting caught up on some office work that's been waiting for his attention!

Kevin has been enjoying some great badminton lately. He has a great partner for the upcoming tournament and the two of them have been spending a lot of time practicing. He really enjoys his time at the court! His garden is also doing well... or it was, before today's flooding.

Kaleb has been enthralled with remote-control things since he was about 4 years old. His fascination continues and he's been busy trying to fix a remote control truck some friends gave us recently. He's also been playing some badminton and working on art projects.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Good afternoon! How are things at your house today? It's a beautiful rainy afternoon here-- a great day for working in the office! The boys are out at the hangar helping Garry clean and load the airplane. Then they are supposed to go to badminton class. While they're at class Garry and I are off to the doctor's office again.

Garry was able to complete a short flight this morning, bringing a language consultant back to town after he spent some time with our tribal team up north. Tomorrow Garry will take one of our missionaries home and bring another couple to town. We had to cancel flights for another language check.

This process is reminding us again that life is really about God-- about trusting Him and seeing Him accomplish His purposes. About truly believing that what He does is good, regardless of how it looks to us.

Well, I'm off to the doctor-- have a great day!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

We spent this morning running around to doctor's office and laboratories. While nobody has figured out anything conclusive, the consensus is that if the current round of antibiotics don't provide help Garry will have to go to Manila for more tests. We are hoping the antibiotics help-- besides the fact that we'd like to see Garry better there are a lot of flights scheduled and we'd like to be able to complete them. Pray with us for healing and God's clear leading.

Here is a cool video of landing at one of our airstrips. My brother made it when he was here to visit last February. Thanks, Jonathan! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Good morning! Another trip to the doctor has brought us to a new idea and another set of meds. Garry started a round of antibiotics yesterday and is back in the air again today. The doctor suspects an internal infection and possibly typhoid. Garry has a long flight day, so we're praying for extra strength to finish what needs done!

We're thankful we received the papers we were waiting for! Our representative in Manila made two or three trips to the office (a big time investment because of traffic and the location of the offices!) and received the papers late yesterday morning. Thanks, Rich!

Today Garry's taking one of our tribal teams back home. They've been out for a while and are very happy to be going home! Later today he'll head up north and pick up a language consultant and take him to his next location to continue doing language checks. Consultants are helpful to our missionaries in letting them know where they're at and how they can best study to improve their language skills.

Garry took this picture of a man with his new oven. This is a pretty complex oven, though made from mostly local materials. Some of the missionaries are teaching the tribal folks to make them so they can bake and cook without using a lot of wood or charcoal. It's really quite ingenious. Kevin would love to make one, if we were just settled for a bit longer!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Wow, another week has flown by!

Garry has been to Manila and is home again. He's finished his ice-cream therapy and while it did provide some temporary relief, he still isn't feeling the best. Now we're on a routine with doctors and bloodwork. Pray with us that we can get a clear diagnosis, good treatment, and for a fast recovery. The doctor suspects that it is malaria rearing its ugly head again, but he doesn't want to do a treatment until he finds out what kind of malaria we're dealing with.

On another note, we are anxiously awaiting some paperwork in order to fly again. Some of our missionaries friends took a bus for 6 hours and then hiked for a couple of hours to get home this morning... a big difference from a 50-minute flight! We are praying that the papers come through soon, though it could be as long as a week before they are finished.

These are some of the children Garry spent a little time with on one of his last flights. Aren't they adorable?! Children just like yours and mine whose eternity depends on hearing the Good News. Children who get hungry and thirsty and tired. Who love to play. Children with imaginations, dreams, and fears. Children.

One of my helpers was able to purchase some land a few weeks ago. It's been fun to see her excited about clearing the land, getting posts for the house, and getting a fence up. She and her husband and daughter currently live with relatives, in a small one-room house off the kitchen. While they enjoy their extended family they are really looking forward to having their own place!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Good morning! Yesterday Garry brought home his cell phone home and downloaded some pictures he's taken recently. These ones are of the new meeting building that they're constructing up north. Remember that this group of believers heard the Gospel for the first time just a few months ago, and now they are building a place to meet together and learn. Wow!

They've been blessed with some help from New Zealand, friends of the missionaries who have come to help with the construction project. We are excited to hear how these new believers continue to grow and learn!

Today Garry got a late start on his flight. It was pouring when we woke up this morning, so he waited for the weather to clear. Now he's getting close to home. The boys and I plan to meet him at the hangar to give the airplane a good bath and tidy things up. Tomorrow Garry heads back to Manila for meetings. (No, we couldn't plan our time for this week, due to flights that couldn't be changed-- which is why he's going back and forth!)

We trust you have a great week!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Travel and Ice-cream Therapy

We had a lovely time in Manila! I thought I'd share a few pictures of the big city... the skyline is really beautiful if you can ignore the ever-present smog!

Jeepneys are a common and easy form of transportation in Manila. Most are colorfully painted, so this one would be considered somewhat "dull". The jeepneys run certain routes, some of them less than 14 km from one end to the other-- but 14 km can take a very long time in rush hour!

This is the view from the top of our guesthouse... people, people, and more people everywhere! Someone told us that Manila is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, and that might be true. We haven't checked that out, though, so it may not be accurate. At any rate, Asia certainly is different than Latin America in terms of population!

We arrived home happily on Thursday and Garry spent Friday morning in the air. The next few days will be busy with flights, then he needs to go back to Manila for meetings in the middle of the week. Never a dull moment:).

While in Manila we did a lot of relaxing and were hoping that Garry would feel himself again by the time we got home. That was not to be. He came home still exhausted and we wondered why. We know that malaria is hard on the system, but this had been weeks already! Then one of our friends mentioned that a doctor told her that malaria sometimes uses up all your stored sugar and you need to replace it. In fact, the doctor recommended up to a quart of ice-cream or two a day! Sounds like a strange remedy to me, but we've been pretty desperate. So, yesterday Garry started his therapy with a banana split, followed several hours later by a small cone. Several more bowls of ice-cream later, he seems to be feeling much better! Maybe one of you knows something that would explain this... it sounds crazy to all of us who have been trying to cut down on fat and sugar for years-- but it seems to be working!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Good morning! Monday is in full swing here after a great weekend. Thankfully Garry is feeling much better and was able to take the guys on the survey flight. I think they've finished seeing what they went to look at now and are headed back home again.

On Saturday afternoon the boys and I headed out to the hangar to help Garry get things cleaned up and ready for the survey flight today. I finally took my camera with me! Kaleb's job is to sweep out the cabin and help wash the airplane, then clean up the rags and brush after washing the airplane.

Kevin helped wash the airplane then worked on waxing the windows. It was particularly important this time since the survey flight included a lot of picture-taking through the windows! Kaleb actually helped on the windows also, but I think it's sort of Kevin's specialty. By the time we headed home the sun was set and we were glad to be finished!

Sunday was a relaxing day for our family. We listened to a great sermon, played some badminton, picked up some milk from the dairy farm, and had lunch out. We are so thankful for God's day of rest, a day to be refreshed by Him and enjoy fellowship with one another!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Good afternoon! Garry is headed north with some visitors. They are friends of the missionaries at this location and will be helping construct a meeting house for the new believers there. The believers are excited about their new-found faith and it's encouraging to hear what God is doing in their lives.

The boys are at the badminton court, at the class they attend on Saturday afternoons. This afternoon they are also preparing for the upcoming tournament, so they were looking forward to their class!

These are some bananas in in our yard... we didn't plant them, but we are enjoying their fruit! Kevin takes care of the trees as well as his garden. Below is a new pineapple plant he just planted... the last ones were destroyed by the man who cuts our grass, so we hope this one lives to full maturity! Lettuce, cucumbers, peppermint, and bell peppers continue to grow for him also.

Kaleb has been busy drawing again these days, spurred on toward completing his newest art assignment-- a family portrait. That has gotten him back into drawing and painting again, and today he was diligently working on another picture of a knight. He's also still learning to make different paper airplanes as well as inventing a few of his own-- and Kevin has actually joined him in this pursuit also.

Garry is still a bit under the weather, though he has been able to complete his scheduled flights. On Monday he has a survey flight scheduled and Tuesday he needs to pick up some of our missionaries from a location to the south of the island. Pray that God gives strength to do what's needed and wisdom to know what isn't needed right now.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Isn't God amazing?! I wonder at the beauty that surrounds us every day and how slow I am to see it most of the time. The other afternoon I saw this cloud formation and it made me smile so I took a picture. To think that beauty is all over the world, even when there is nobody there to enjoy it! To imagine that God loves beauty and enjoys creating it. To think that we are His children-- adopted sons and daughters, co-heirs with Christ of everything! Wow!

Garry is flying the team to visit another location this morning, then bringing some of them to town. He's had to modify his flight plans this week, but it seems like things are working out. Tomorrow will be a long day anyway, but hopefully not too long.

School is moving along at home and the static of the radio is keeping me company even when the boys are working quietly. With neither of the girls here I've been back and forth to laundry, dishes, and some food prep this morning. Makes me appreciate them even more-- it is just a lot of work to keep house in this country of dust, screen windows, and many little animals sharing the house with us:).

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happy Monday... this must be my day to blog, cause I've hit it for several weeks in a row now! Maybe it's the feeling that I've left it for so long that it has become priority. Or maybe it's the new beginning of a week that motivates me. I'm not quite sure.

We had a relaxing weekend, trying to take it slow so Garry could recover from the malaria or whatever he had last week. He seems to be feeling much better now... at least I think so! He's on his way back from flying a team from the Faroe Islands to one of our locations. This group is here in the Philippines getting some exposure to missions and visiting friends they've supported for years.

The boys and I are back at school. Kevin's allergies are acting up again, so I'm suspecting that something in the office doesn't agree with him. "But what?!" That is the major question! He enjoyed working in his garden quite a bit over the past few days, making a new raised bed in a barrel and starting some new lettuce plants. He also transplanted some pineapple plants that a friend gave him. The green peppers seem to be winding down their production these days, but the cilantro is doing great.

Kaleb has spent the past several days dreaming about remote control airplanes, helicopters, and boats. This is a long-standing interest with him, one that pops up every once in a while. Since he doesn't have any of the above, he's building and flying paper airplanes of increasing difficulty. He's also been busy trying to fix an airgun that someone gave the boys... how does it pump up? What does this part do? and many other questions are floating around the house!

One of the girls who has helped us in the house is starting her own little business so won't be working here any more. She is, however, offering different foods for sale, so I'm sure we'll give her business! My other helper came to work this morning with chicken pox! She's at home now resting and deciding whether she'll go home to her parents or whether the 7-hour bus ride will be too much right now.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Good morning! We're having an interesting week here-- still raining most of every day, so the yard is great for floating boats! Garry seems to be getting over whatever he had this week, which is a relief because he was quite miserable for a few days! Kevin is feeling much better and has been busy in his garden. Kaleb is making boats, having tried all his ideas for rockets last week!

We're enjoying having Steve and Ja here. Steve is installing a large garage door at the hangar, and Ja has been helping me with some bookwork. We are looking forward to some time to discuss business and future plans when Garry feels a bit better:).

We trust your week has been good. Blessings to you!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Hi. this is Kevin. Today we found real milk, not UHT or powdered but real milk! We have lived here for 2 years drinking UHT milk and wishing for real milk. We have always looked forward to our few trips to Manila because we got real milk, but now we don't have to wish- we can get it, here!

You buy it in bags. all the cream is on the top of the bag. We put the bags into a pitcher. It is about a 20 minute drive and is the only dairy farm on the island.

Yesterday I asked the lady who works for us if you could get water buffalo milk. I had heard that it was not too bad and I thought that any thing would be better then UHT and powdered milk. She said, "no you can not get it here but if cow milk is o.k. then you can get that here".

I think I have drunk 4 glasses of milk today. It is my first time to drink real milk since January.

The dairy farm has been here for 20 years or something, and nobody has even heard of it. I am quite sure I am not the only one who has missed real milk!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Happy Monday-- where has the time gone?! Do you ever feel like you spend your life wondering how time has passed so quickly-- losing this moment worrying about the next thing on your agenda or the last thing that didn't go exactly as you'd planned it? I've spent so many YEARS, literally, living in the past or the future. But I'm slowly learning to savor the moment, to live in the present, to enjoy the reality of NOW! Truly, his moment is a gift from God, a special grace from Him!

Last week Ross and Lea came for some meetings in Palawan and we enjoyed great times with them. The guys were often busy with other business, but Lea and I had many encouraging chats over coffee, sharing our stories and the realities that God is working in our lives. I was so blessed by Lea's passion for God and her pursuit of the things that matter in eternity. Truly, when we seek God we bless others!

Some other friends were in town last week also, and we enjoyed catching up with them over dinner one evening. The kids enjoyed Monopoly together one afternoon. Since we started school early this year we're finishing up our first quarter! We're looking forward to a bit of a break from school... and time to do some business in town.

This week Steve and Ja are coming to help on some projects at the hangar and discuss projects that they've been working on. We have so appreciated their help and their friendship, and we look forward to some more great chats over coffee... or iced tea or plain water!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Good morning! How';s your day going? We are doing school here, enjoying a somewhat cooler morning since it's overcast. Garry is just finishing up an inspection on the airplane, and then we hope to have a cup of coffee and do some business. This is the Legend Hotel, a favorite coffee spot for us since they make a nice cup of coffee and great mango shakes-- adding milk, but no sugar!

This afternoon Kaleb is going to the hangar to work with Garry-- there's a flight tomorrow so he can help load the airplane. Kevin needs some extra time on school, so he and I will stay home.

Several of you have asked about Kevin's allergies and asthma. We are thankful to God that he is doing much better. Thanks for praying!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Someone brought to my attention that the wording of my last post was ambiguous, so and after having a good laugh, I edited it!

Garry's in the air again today, heading south with some passengers and bringing other passengers back to town. In fact, the people he is bringing back are two tribal people who need surgery and their companions. One of the doctors here in town is generous with his time and talents and will be taking care of these patients!

We are so blessed to be able to communicate by HF radio! Garry's airplane radio has had some problems over the past months, but recently he was able to fix it. I am so thankful for days when I can hear him clearly!

This weekend was a badminton weekend for us. The boys are enrolled in a 10-week tournament, and when we went last week they were the only players that showed up. Our friend Kuya Jonel told us that the organizers would text us when they were really ready to start, so we went to our neighborhood court to have a little play time on Friday, thinking the tournament would have to wait another week.

We were shocked when the girls behind the desk came to our court and told us we had a phone call! Kuya Jonel was calling to let us know that the boys were supposed to be on the court across town for their first game in the tournament-- he'd made a huge effort to find us. Thankfully it didn't take long to get there and the boys had a great first experience in a real tournament!

Saturday evening there was a "fun games" scheduled, so all four of us took part in that. While we enjoy the game, badminton is really about being together as a family and making friends. We realized this weekend that we are making friends and being treated as "one of the group" at the court. What a blessing!

We trust you had a great weekend and are experiencing a good beginning to your week!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Good morning! I'm still working through some of our random pictures-- actually the pictures Larry took a few weeks ago! Today I thought I'd post a few pictures of one of our relaxing routines-- Paraguayan tea is a great way to kick back and get some "talk time" together! Garry does drink terere also... I just happened to have the "guampa" when we took the pictures!

Garry did a short flight this morning and is already home! The boys and I are finishing up what we need to do this week, and feeling a great sense of accomplishment when we check things off our weekly checklist.

Belle's daughter is sick, so she's taking her to the doctor today. She's had a cold and persistent cough for several weeks, so I hope they figure out what the problem is! This week she began coughing until she vomited, so it seemed like time to get some help!

This evening we plan to go to the badminton court where Kevin will have class for a couple of hours. Hopefully we'll all get some time to play, but whether we do or not, we enjoy our time there!

Hope you have a great Friday!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Ever drink "filled UHT milk"? If you haven't, I don't recommend it. I had some in my cappuccino this morning, and that was a wasted measure of coffee grounds! Then I thought I'd "hide" it in our scrambled eggs. But, alas, it tasted rather sweet. Kody (our dog) enjoyed what we couldn't swallow! Since we always drink UHT milk, I picked up the carton not realizing it was "filled", and not having a clue what that means. It tastes like they added a lot of creamer to it-- yuk!

Anyway, after we'd taken care of the coffee and the eggs, we heard Kody barking and looked outside to see a chicken running from her. She "treed" the chicken in the netting over Kevin's garden and trampled the lettuce in the process. Kevin ran outside to rescue the chicken, but she got herself all tangled up and hung upside down on some vines-- She was quite angry, besides being very touchy after the incident with the dog!

In the end Kevin went and asked the neighbor to rescue his own chicken. When Kevin tried to explain the situation he responded with, "No, you eat your own chicken!" Eventually he understood what was going on and came and picked up his little bird.

The rest of the morning was less eventful, except a few cups of carrot juice that spilled out of the fridge and someone falling off the exercise ball into the corner of a cupboard! We're glad Garry's back from his flight now and things are coming together for his flight tomorrow.

I thought you might enjoy seeing the boys' school pictures, taken by a friend of ours. Handsome guys!