Monday, December 28, 2009

We trust you had a wonderful Christmas. We did! We really enjoyed a couple of quiet days at home, lunch out with friends, and a bigger gathering at the guesthome for Christmas dinner. It's been wonderful!

Between celebrating we've had a few interesting moments. Kids love to come carol here, and we've had quite a few at our door. Kevin and Kaleb have enjoyed passing out candy to them and seeing their smiles.

Our spectic tank overflowed on Christmas Eve and people came and pumped it Christmas Day. They didn't seem to mind working that day, and we were VERY happy to have the septic tank empty!

Our field conference starts next Monday, but we won't be able to attend this year. We are sad to miss the fellowship, but are praying it will be a wonderful time for everyone who is there. There will be good teaching as well as updates on what is going on at different places on the field.

Last Tuesday we had a meeting with our co-workers from this island. We really enjoyed updates from several of our tribal locations. One report was from James & Kathleen. They are in an incredibly difficult situation with people who are in bondage to a local group and are not very interested in the Gospel. Pray with us for a breakthrough in this location. Pray also for James and Kathleen that God would give them encouragement and refreshment while they out of their location for several weeks.

Tomorrow the boys plan to join a badminton tournament. We are hoping it goes well!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Well, I tried multiple times to upload a really cool video, but it isn't working. So... maybe another time!

Today Garry's back at the airport, this time arranging the fuel that's there to receive our shipment later today. Because we have to truck it from a couple of hours north it's best to order 50 drums at a time, which we did. I think next time will be easier-- hopefully no trouble sending a FAX, getting things organized at the hangar, or other last-minutes surprises next time:).

A friend invited the boys over to make crafts for Garry and I for Christmas. I'm looking forward to seeing what they do, and it's a rare opportunity for them to do something elsewhere.

Kevin's little birthday celebration turned out really nicely yesterday. One thing he's been enjoying lately is downloading badminton matches to watch, so we did some of that yesterday.

One of the families who live on this compound is Costa Rican, but she spends most of her time in another city. Yesterday she was here and we were able to meet. It was so much fun to chat with Latins again and the Spanish was so beautiful! Their children are in a Christian school and she's been attending a Bible study to make her daughter happy-- it sounds like she's actually learning lots and seeking truth. She was explaining how she grew up Catholic but they never read the Bible, just "did their thing". Pray for her.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Garry's home! We have spent the past couple of days working on projects and catching up on office work. It's been good to have fewer program responsibilities for a few days. Garry and the boys are working outside, setting up a bit of a shop and making a desk for Garry.

I thought you might like this photo from our travels this fall... the boys and a pile of our junk. At least, when you've packed it so many times and carted it so many places it feels like junk!

I went to the open market this morning and I really have to take pictures. This town has beautiful, fresh produce! It's rather like a farmer's market at home, and I love seeing all the fresh stuff and bringing home bags full for a small price. I was particularly glad to see fresh pineapple this morning since I'm just hungry for some. Kevin makes awesome fruit shakes which we've been enjoying in abundance. The broccoli was also really nice this morning.

Tomorrow we're going to celebrate Kevin's birthday! I know, it was December 1rst, but that wasn't very convenient with company and checkout flying, so we just decided to wait. He wants to eat pork chops for dinner and have chocolate cake with cream cheese filling. I found the pork chops (they have great pork in this country too) and the cake is baking while I blog. so, hopefully he has a special day remembering that's he's now 15 years old!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I love a nice mocha! We get real milk here-- at least, much more authentic than the UHT milk we usually drank on Palawan. Chocolate milk costs only an extra 7 cents per liter, so we've been buying some of that. Thus, mocha is a nice option for a hot afternoon. I have a pile of work to do, but at least most of the piles are gone from the top of my desk!

Garry has been in Northern Luzon for a day and is now back in Manila. It sounds like he was able to see the new hangar and the guys are making plans how to best utilize the space and set things up. Tomorrow evening he should be home again and I hope to get the whole story:).

Meanwhile the boys and I have been doing school, trying to do some catch-up. They've been doing great at staying focused and being diligent. In fact, I'm amazed at the things they're learning. Kevin is quite sure that lots of exercise is key to his academic success, and it seems to be true-- he's been training hard and playing hard and is doing really well with his school.

Last night at supper Kevin was telling me about his training partner who asked him yesterday, "Am I a 'he' or a 'she'?" Kevin assured him he's a "he" and Jun proceeded to ask about several other people... apparently he had missed quite a few of those on his last English test and wanted to do some practice with a native speaker.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Garry and Paul are up in the blue skies again today, doing one more check at one of our airstrips. The guys have spent a lot of hours on the fuel system problem over the past couple of days and they have things working well now. And no, he isn't drinking his coconut milk now, that was the other day!

This evening we all plan to have supper at Brian and Baileys-- I think she's making enchiladas and Spanish rice. Kevin says it's bound to be good cause they're from southern California!

Last week in the city the boys did some rock climbing at one of the sports stores. They had fun going up quite a few times as they could each climb for half and hour for less than $2! These photos are from my cell phone-- if any of you know why I have a white line down the middle of them, please let me know:)

Yesterday my helper told me she is only going to work until the end of the week, then she's quitting. Thankfully we were able to talk through some things and she is planning to stay now. It's hard to find good help, particularly someone you can trust, so I'm quite relieved.

These days Garry and I have been reading about the holiness of God and how we enter God's presence based on the blood of Jesus-- his forgiveness and cleansing. We've been struck again with how serious God is about sin-- how when we choose disobedience it separates us from Him and brings serious consequences. We've also been awed again by God's amazing provision-- that through His Son, Jesus, we can live in close fellowship with Him and actually know Him. Wow! May we each take advantage of the privilege that is ours!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

All reports of yesterday's flights were good also... amazing how things are coming together. We spent a bit of time this morning getting organized for the guys to head north to check out the future helicopter hangar, finishing up some paperwork for Garry's aviation radio license, answering a few e-mails that he needed to take care of, and picking up some apples from town.

Paul and another one of missionaries here, Chris, joined us for lunch. The fridge was rather empty, so lunch was rather interesting. Kevin made awesome milkshakes, which cover over a multitude of missing items!

Now the guys are back at the hangar. I think they are working on a fuel system issue, but I'm not really sure at all. Hopefully it won't be a long afternoon since they hope to do a little more flying tomorrow and that always starts early.

I have really been enjoying having Bailey here. She's just fun and helpful. And Maycie is so terribly cute, to! Bailey's been doing a lot of the cooking and coordinating lately-- yeah!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Wow! What a beginning to this week! Garry and Paul have already been into all 5 of the airstrips that we regularly use here in Mindanao! We have had beautiful weather both yesterday and today, a huge answer to prayer. Wow, God!

Last time I posted Garry was in Manila getting his pilot license finished. What usually takes a few days and often a week was done in less than 2 hours. This was a direct answer to prayer-- thanks, God!

I don't know that much about today's flights yet, as Garry is still flying and I can't ask many questions on the radio. However, I do know that yesterday's checkout work went really, really well. All the guys seemed pleased with what they accomplished and how it went.

I've been enjoying catching up on some office work here at the guesthome where I'm using the radio. Bailey brought me lunch yesterday, which was a bonus. And both yesterday and today someone has made me coffee in the afternoon-- thanks, Gene! Yesterday morning started out rather stressful with my battery being totally dead and Garry's radio being off frequency. However, it's all worked out now and things are going well.

Yesterday I arrived home tired and with a splitting headache to find my house incredibly clean and the laundry all clean and dry and folded! I was so happy... particularly about the laundry since we've had loads of wet clothes for quite a while now.

I mentioned last week one of our tribal missionaries who was sick and couldn't even get a medical flight if necessary because of the weather. I'm thankful to report that she is feeling much better!

Well, Garry landed so I'm going home! it's always a good feeling to turn off the radio and listen to silence for a while:)!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Good evening! Garry was headed to Manila this morning, but his flight was cancelled due to bad weather. It has been raining here in Cagayan for 2 full days now, and I'm wondering if he'll be able to go tomorrow. Thankfully we have a nice place to stay. Actually, it was nice to have this unexpected day together to do some shopping for house stuff and just be together as a family.

He's going to Manila to turn in his paperwork for his pilot license... no, it isn't your imagination-- this time around getting his license back has been a lot of paperwork!

Today we got word from one of our missionaries that she is quite ill with fever, chills, and bad abdominal cramps. However, with the weather it isn't possible to have a flight now, so we're praying she'll get over it quickly.

Kevin's birthday is next week and I'm thinking we should do something about that... a little gift, a thought, something! I can hardly believe he'll be 15!

Kaleb is enjoying drawing again, particularly since he got some new drawing books.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Eleven weeks ago today we were in Manitoba, staying with Terry and Delores and enjoying our last couple of days with family and friends. The journey since then has been amazing! We are now basically settled into our new home, though there are a few boxes that still need unpacked and some spaces that need to be better organized.

Three weeks ago today we got keys to this house and signed the contract. At that time Kevin couldn't quite make it to the bathroom without a bit of help and steadying. Since then we have moved in, gotten internet connected, put fence around the house, had the downstairs painted, set up some makeshift desks, Garry has gone to Manila for meetings and continued to Palawan to get the airplane, flown the airplane to the local strip we will fly out of, had a checkride, gotten a neighborhood clearance (twice, since the first one wasn't right!), found a good helper, and started school. We are thankful that Kevin has also regained most of his strength-- at the end of last week he said he felt like himself, 3 weeks after he got dengue. Yes, it's been a crazy 3 weeks!

I was amazed when I unpacked our things from Palawan how musty everything smelled. It was rather awful! Everything had to be washed and/or aired in order to make it usable. I was also surprised when I opened our boxes from Canada-- they smelled just like our house there. Funny what smells do to a person.

Some particularly neat things have happened over the past weeks. When Garry went to Palawan to get the airplane we were praying for good weather for all the hours over the ocean. The day he flew to Mindanao the weather was beautiful and he could see for miles! The following day it began to rain and rained for several days straight. What perfect timing God had!

Ken, the SIL pilot who is doing some flying with Garry and who we are taking over from, called Garry last week and told him that they'd have to modify their flight plans because we are low on fuel and getting it delivered takes a while. Both guys were trying to figure out what they could cut out and still be safe and effective. However, that evening Ken got a call that because of an insurance issue the people whose hangar we use were shipping 20 drums of fuel here-- and we were welcome to use as much as we need!

Each day is an adventure-- a challenge and a great reward....

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The pictures of our new house are on the camera still, which is at the new house. So, they'll have to wait til next time. But, we love our new place and are settling in quite quickly. We're so thankful that it was partially furnished so we didn't need to buy everything to get set up.

Kevin ended up with a classic case of dengue fever. He is feeling much better now, but is still very weak. We're so thankful he is now able to sit up for a while and even walked around the house a little yesterday.

Kaleb is thrilled to be moving into our new house and is enjoying having his Lego to play with again. He's also been a big help, particularly with Kevin not able to do anything and needing lots of help also.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Good afternoon! I should be packing, but I'd much rather post a quick update:). Garry is out buying our tickets to return to Mindanao on Sunday. We plan to meet up with our car in Cagayan, which is pretty exciting. We'll be able to drive ourselves home after we pick up the car from the ferry!

Kevin has been sick again-- in fact, he has been sick a lot for the past couple of weeks. Two nights ago he got a high fever and started throwing up, which made us take him to the clinic. The doctor did some bloodwork and says he has a virus. She expected the fever to leave either today or tomorrow, and he is quite a bit better today. He does still have a low-grade fever so I guess we'll watch it and see if we have to continue with doctors or if he gets better on his own.

Our time here in Manila has been really busy. We really enjoyed dinner and a meeting with the NTMA families who are studying language and Brian and Bailey, who are also here. It was so good to get an update on where the other couples are at and just spend time together.

Garry has also been to the aviation offices several times. I've spent the majority of my week in the finance office working through a change of bookkeeping systems. Thankfully it's nearly done now!

On another topic, the man who was caught in a pig trap is currently missing. He got scared while in town and headed off through the jungle. However, he hasn't arrived where any of his family lives yet. Please pray that he will be found and for his safety as his leg isn't really up to hiking in the mountains.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

We did it--we rented a house! The owner accepted our offer and we are now proud renters as of November 1! We are very excited to know where we will live. We're also very thankful that the house doesn't need repairs beyond fencing in the yard.

Tomorrow we head to Manila for 5-7 days to finish up business there. When we get back we'll get moved in. Soon after that Garry will head to Palawan to ferry the airplane here, then we'll be flying again. Amazing.

The boys and I aren't feeling very good today, so tomorrow's trip sounds a bit long. The drive to Cagayan takes 2-3 hours, then another hour and half flight. We should be in Manila by supper time if all goes as planned.

It's raining again here today-- it seems to quite normal for afternoons at this time of year. The good side is that it keeps things cool. The downside is sour towels and wet laundry.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

So, the house-hunting and waiting go on. We looked at one of the houses again yesterday (this one!) and it is really nice. We're about ready to start negotiations on it, maybe. We're just not quite sure what God is leading us to do. There is another possible option, but we haven't been able to see it yet. Maybe today?

We've been sick this week-- Kevin and I the worst, though all of us have had slow days. I think it's a flu, but it may be changing water every couple of weeks-- it can make you feel pretty awful!

Garry has been busy in the office and has accomplished a lot of things. In fact, his inbox is looking remarkably well. He's also been checking through the NTMA stuff and getting things a bit organized here.

I think we're feeling what we call cultural fatigue-- not shock, just fatigue. It's basically the desire for something, anything, to be "normal". It's being tired of not understanding the conversations around you (the language here is different than in Palawan), wearied of figuring out where to get what you need. So, what do I miss? Friends/family that are far away just now, a kitchen of my own, being able to find my way around (Ok, so that's never been one of my strong points!), double-roll toilet paper, a walk-around phone, routine, grocery sales-- silly things, all of them. On the other hand, there are a million things I'm thankful for-- guesthomes (which are a million times better than hotels!), new friends, decent grocery stores, badminton courts, airplanes (the boat could be miserable!), and so many more.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Well, we saw 5 houses yesterday, and we don't feel ready to sign on the dotted line on any of them. One was really nice, but we're not sure about the price. There is also another possible option, but we are waiting to hear back from the owners whether they want to rent it out or not. So, the house hunting will continue-- or at least the waiting!

Garry spent the day with his maps spread all over the desk and his GPS out to program in different locations. He's getting a good idea about flying the airplane here from Palawan as well as the flights on the island here.

In between he took me grocery shopping-- well, it was really snack-shopping as we didn't buy any serious groceries since we're not cooking for ourselves yet. However, with a hungry 14-year-old in the house we were in need of some serious snack food.

The boys have been busy with table tennis. There's a table here and they've been enjoying practicing together. I even tried my hand at it this afternoon, but I don't think I'm very competitive at the moment.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Good morning! We woke up to the sound of roosters here in Mindanao-- wow, it's good to be here! We arrived on the island Saturday afternoon and spent the night at a hotel in the city. Then yesterday we headed here by road-- only a bit over 2 hours of driving, but the roads are full of curves.

It's house-hunting day #1... we'll see how many of these there are, but for now we're excited to get started. A friend here has been looking around for us and has several lined up to show us. We are looking forward to God's clear direction. We know we won't find a perfect house, but we want God's perfect will for us.

The pig-trap victim got to the hospital and seems to be doing well. No doubt the wound will take time to heal, but he is getting good medical attention now.

Garry took a picture when they were finished loading our shipping container, so I thought I'd include it today. He was able to go to our friends' house where our stuff is stored for now, and get his motorcycle this morning!

Also, I just checked on our boxes again, the ones we shipped from Canada. There has been some sort of confusion, because they are supposedly in Manila now! We are thrilled to see that! Now they just have to make a short trip to Mindanao, though we're not sure when they will be shipped to here.

Well, I need to get moving, so I'll close for now, but wanted to let you know that we are safely in Mindanao and doing well. Thanks for your prayers!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Garry's off on an emergency flight today. (Actually, Ben is doing the flight. Garry is riding along to do some recurrency checks with Ben.) A man was caught in a pig trap in one of our remote locations and needs medical attention. The traps have a spring-loaded bamboo blade, which had goen right through one of his calves and into the other calf. The happened yesterday morning and it was 3 pm before he was able to crawl to the nearst people for help.

When the guys got the call for the flight they were working on an annual on the airplane and had it taken apart. So last evening they got it back together and left pretty early this morning to pick up this man. As far as we know, the victim has not had a chance to hear the Good News of Jesus-- pray with us that he and his people survive to hear it and that they are ready to believe when they hear the Truth.

Yesterday I spent a good bit of time getting taxis and a hotel arranged for Saturday. Today I need to get ourselves arranged. It will be an easy move out becuase everything has to go with us. However, we have kitchenette here and have been cooking, so I have a little food that needs taken care of as well as wiping out the fridge and stove. We've actually eaten quite well here-- a mix of egg sandwhiches, chili con carne, and chicken burritos. I figured the fewer the meals the fewer ingredients I'd need to buy, and it has worked out that way!

Kevin was sick yesterday, and we're praying he feels better today. He seems to have a stomach bug, one which I'm also praying we don't all catch!

I also tracked the boxes we shipped from Canada. Unfortunately, they have not yet left Vancouver! It seems that they'll take a while-- the agent told us when we shipped them to expect 6-8 weeks for delivery in Mindanao. However, 7 weeks later they don't appear to be on a ship yet.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yup, you're right. I still haven't taken any pictures. I really should, you know. And when I'm home sitting at my computer I feel rather guilty about not having done it. Then I go out and promptly forget again!

We're having a great time here in Puerto. Most days:). It has been so good to spend time with Brian and Bailey and Ben and Suzy. The guys have been working on airplanes and doing lots of talking-- sharing ideas and thoughts and options. We ladies have not had as much time together, but I've had good times with both of them sitting and talking, doing a little cooking, and chasing kids.

Several other friends have been here at the guesthome also, and it's been wonderful to connect. It has been particularly neat to hear about the teaching up north among the Agutayen. Though the missionaries are not sure of the response of the people to the Gospel, they continue to teach the Word of God. God Himself knows how many responded in faith: yet is is hard to teach for months and come to the Gospel and receive basically no outward response. What a privilege to know that the Gospel has been clearly shared with these people!

We did ship our container last Friday and it should be arriving in Mindanao this weekend! We also purchased a car that will be shipped soon. God is working out so many details of our move that it is hard to keep track of all that has happened!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Hi from Palawan! We've had a couple of busy days here already. We enjoyed our trip down. While t the airport in Manila we realized that much of our "family time" over the past 5 weeks has been spent in airports. I really should add up the hours... maybe next time!

When we were landing in Puerto Princesa Kevin exclaimed, "Look, everybody is over there by the hangar!" Sure enough, our co-workers were welcoming us from the open hangar. Once we got our luggage we were excited to actually talk to them! They brought us to the guesthouse and we dragged our suitcases into our room before going out for supper with another friend from Palawan. She was leaving early Monday morning so were thrilled to share supper and catch up a bit.

Monday morning Garry and went out for breakfast due to my poor planning-- I didn't pick up anything to eat. then we headed to the grocery store and got some stuff for the boys for breakfast. Lunch we shared with Ben and Suzy and Brian and Bailey. We had intended to purchase roasted chicken from our favorite place, but they were out of birds. Oh, well.

Last evening we went to play badminton with one of our groups. We took our candy to share-- pasalubong. We enjoyed greeting everyone as they came in the door and laughed when one after another commented on how tall Kevin is (Kaleb actually grew as much as Kevin while we were gone!). Then I had to use the restroom, and in that little room I realized I am back in the Philippines, back to fitting in and doing things I once found odd. You see, there isn't running water in the bathroom, so I got my little bucket of water on the way in. Then, when I was finished I carefully doused the toilet and floor-- yup, I can do this!

This morning I decided to do a little cooking. I started by frying some hamburger. It smelled awful, which reminded me that I had forgotten to rinse it. Oh, well. It will still be Ok... sort of:).

And one of these days I'm going to take some pictures-- really and truly! (These are from Arizona, which is crazy!)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Good afternoon. The sun is peeking through the clouds this afternoon and we are thankful that it seems the Super Typhoon has missed us. We have seen some flooding in the news, but it appears that it is much less than last time. Our friends went back to their houses and checked this morning and everything looks fine. We are praying for others who were affected by the typhoon.

This week has been amazing. There have been so many times when we thought we were facing major delays and God worked it out better than we could have imagined. It's Sunday noon here now and we're packed and ready to head to the airport. (Yeah, miracles still happen-- things are packed and I'm sitting here with time to blog!)

We've enjoyed a fair amount of badminton in between business this week. The boys found another place to play, a court that is much closer to our guestroom. Our friends from Palawan have also worked it out for us to enter a tournament there without meeting the "normal" requirements to do so. We're looking forward to that.

I'll write next time from Palawan and let you know how things are going on the airplane:).

Friday, October 02, 2009

Friday already! I have been sending out some updates, but for those of you who do not get news elsewhere... Manila was hit by heavy rain and severe flooding last weekend. Garry helped drive for a rescue and clean up for some of our national friends. He could not believe the devastation. And no, he did not take any photos. I did post a link to a video of one drive on facebook:). And I will see if I can get copies of photos from anyone, though maybe the news is doing a great job of keeping you all informed!

Both families he helped are OK now. They will have to replace everything they lost, which will take time. One family has to rebuild part of their house. We are amazed at the way people are just rebuilding and moving on.

On a more personal note, Garry got his temporary pilot license today! He has to fly 10 hours then get an inspector before he gets his 2-year license. He was also able to get permission for some maintenance stuff. In between he has been in meetings:).

The boys and I have been doing our best to do some school. So far I think we have done remarkably well! Kevin is quite interested in atomic structure these days and Kaleb is working hard at writing and art.

Sunday we hope to head to Palawan if the typhoon is not too bad. We are looking forward to seeing our 2 other NTMA families there and working together for a couple of weeks before we head on to Mindanao. We also scheduled a container to ship our stuff next weekend. We will see how that goes!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

We arrived in Manila on Tuesday, Sept 22nd at 11 pm-- Yahoo! We are staying at the guesthome here and are enjoying seeing many of our friends. When we woke up on Wednesday morning Kevin commented that it feels like we're back home again... I guess we have spent a lot of time in the guesthouse!

Our trip back was great-- one of our best across the ocean. We flew with Asiana and were very impressed with their equipment and service. The boys enjoyed each having their own personal TV and video games during the flights and Kaleb actually enjoyed the food. We all did some sleeping during the 14-hr and subsequent 4-hour flights. The Seoul, Korea airport is lovely. And I wasn't in any restroom that didn't have TP-- which may not be amazing if you haven't' traveled overseas much, but it impressed me greatly!

For some reason jetlag has hit me the hardest, but I'm hoping it will pass soon now. Garry spent Wednesday getting his papers in order and headed to the clinic for some tests he needs for his flight medical on Thursday. Monday he plans to turn in his paperwork to the aviation department and hopefully get his pilot license and medical back. He also has a number of things he needs to check into while he's at that office.

We met our new co-workers Wednesday and are lookign forward to supper at the guesthouse togehter today. Both families have also invited us to their home for dinner next week, so we're looking forward to that.

But maybe I should back up to McNeal and our time there for a moment... we had a great time and really enjoyed connecting with many friends while we were there. We met a few new people there also, which was also a treat. Garry was also involved in quite a few meetings related to the Philippine flight program, which went well.

The photos on this post are from Arizona... Amy, who helped me get our prayer cards mailed and the boys doing "normal life" in Arizona.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wow, how the time flies! Most of our friends have their kids back in school, and we are back to school also (as of this morning!).

Our packing and moving when exceptionally well, though I can't say it was without its moments. Moving is always a bit sad-- it's hard to say goodbye and tie up all the loose ends of a life you've enjoyed for a number of months. We were incredibly blessed by many of you who stopped by to pray for us, who took time to say goodbye, and for the many who have sent encouraging notes as we left.

During our last weeks in Manitoba we enjoyed a lot of good times with Garry's parents and sister-- meals together, good laughs, and great memory-makers. We also did some dirt-biking, coffee drinking, camp fires, and timbit eating with friends.

We arrived in Arizona on Wednesday afternoon and spent the afternoon and evening with some good friends in Green Valley. Thursday morning they took Garry back to the airport to pick up our rental car and we headed out for McNeal, our flight headquarters.

We are getting settled in our guest house here and even got some school done this morning. Garry has been busy at the hangar, meeting with people and getting things organized for our time here as well as things we need for our return to the Philippines the 21rst.

As we reflect on our months of home assignment we cannot believe how blessed we've been. Thank you to each of you who have been a part of that!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Good morning! I just wanted to let you all know that we are out of our rental house! We are currently staying with great friends in Manitoba until September 9th when we head to Arizona. Thanks for your hospitality!

God has worked out the details of our move out amazingly well... from generous people who brought trucks to help return our furniture and other borrowed items to people who helped us clean, to the encouragement we needed to keep going.

Last week some friends generously sent us to Grand Forks for a couple of nights. It was a wonderful time with Garry's parents and together as our smaller family. It was really fun to just "play" for a while!

This week we're enjoying time with family. We also plan to take the boys for one more evening of badminton, finish some paperwork, sell our van, and do a number of other "last minute" things.

Thanks for being part of our journey. We are so thankful to be part of an amazing team!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Good afternoon! We think we purchased tickets... I say "we think" because we haven't received a final itinerary from the travel agent yet. Our plan is to fly to Arizona on September 9th then continue to the Philippines September 21rst. I'll let you know if those plans change:).

These days we're still enjoying great times with many friends and supporters. Last Saturday we hosted a coffee for quite a few friends from church. Even though we'd invited a number of people I was rather expecting a small turn-out. After all, it was a long weekend! However, about 70 friends showed up and blessed us with their encouragement and interest in what God is doing in the Philippines. It was a great evening!

Kevin and Kaleb are in an evening badminton camp this week, which has been pretty fun for them so far. It's a lot of driving back and forth, but we've been able to do business in the city each day so far. We'll see if we finish our business before badminton finishes!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

We've had a great week visiting with many of you as well as making plans for the Philippines. I could tell you about great meals and great conversations we've enjoyed, but there are too many people that are too closely related that read this blog. So, suffice to say that we've enjoyed amazing meals and incredibly encouraging times in the past week!

We're also looking into tickets for our return to the Philippines. We are planning to go to Arizona and continue from there to the Philippines. At this point we're not sure whether we'll be driving or flying to Arizona, but we're working on it. There are also a number of things that we need to return to those who lent them to us and some things to buy and pack for the Philippines.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I uploaded quite a few photos from our trip yesterday and today, so scroll down and check them out if you're interested!

Tomorrow I will try to get another post in...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

It's been too long, and once more I'm a bit in a quandary about where to begin. So maybe I'll start with now...

Garry is back at work today and the boys are enjoying another visit from Dustin. We continue to be amazed at the grace the family is receiving after Darrell's passing on just over a week ago. His funeral was a testimony to simply living out one's faith and investing in authentic relationships. His family continues to live the faith they're in the habit of living, and it's beautiful to see.

My parents were able to spend last week with us and we so enjoyed our time with them. I think they remain amazed at the amount of ice cream Kevin can consume in one sitting and the number of things Kaleb can think up in the course of a day. We enjoyed taking them to several badminton events as well as playing games, going out for breakfast, and talking, talking, talking! We were very thankful that they were able to meet many of our friends, and sad that they didn't see other ones. It was hard to say goodbye on Saturday, but a hard goodbye is a testimony to a good time together.

This week we're looking forward to dinner or coffee with several friends. We're also beginning to look into shipping our things to the Philippines and a timetable for leaving Canada.

In the Philippines plans are moving ahead in regards to where to place our support base and helicopter program in Luzon. At the end of the week one of our pilots will be heading to one possible location to look around a bit. Ben and Suzy continue to stay busy with the flight program in Palawan and a new baby. Congratulation, Ben & Suzy! Ben's also working on paperwork for 405, the airplane that we'll take to Mindanao when we return.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Good evening! I realize I haven't been online and posted the photos of our trip that I promised, so I thought I'd just do a quick update before I head to bed this evening.

Our past week was much different than we ever dreamed. Garry's cousin, Darrell Braun, collapsed near the end of a marathon last Sunday. Darrell and his wife Jolyn (who is a cousin on the Barkman side) have four children.On Monday we had the privilege of having their son Dustin, who's Kevin's age, come to our house for the afternoon. One day turned to another as we walked through days at the hospital and here at home with Dustin, hoping and praying, wondering what God's plan was. On Friday God's plan was clear as Darrell breathed his last here on earth. We have shared a small part of the family's pain over this week and have been privileged to be a small part of their support group. We've marvelled at the grace God's given them. We mourn, but not as those that have no hope.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wow, I hardly know where to start! I'll be posting more photos over the next few days, but first let me update you a bit on our last month or so...

Our trip out east was amazing! We had a wonderful time visiting family and friends. We were amazed and humbled at the generosity of friends. We were blessed by hearing what God is doing in different parts of the country. We were encouraged by our interaction with so many people. Thanks so each of you who made this trip amazing!

We were only home a week before we left again, this time for a few days at a camp to celebrate Garry's parents' 50th anniversary. We enjoyed seeing everyone, though we missed the family that couldn't be there. It was a great time to relax, canoe, jump on a trampoline with the kids, play some table games, and sit by the fire.

Throughout our trip I was struck again and again by the rich heritage we have from our parents. Garry and I were blessed to grow up in great families and to enjoy our time with them!

I'll be posting some different photos and a bit more commentary on our trip divided by dates. For today, though, here are a few photos of our time with family...

Monday, June 01, 2009

And here are some photos of Jonathan and Jenny and their family when we got to see them!