Thursday, February 24, 2011

We are in Manila! We arrived late yesterday afternoon... getting here is a bit of a process. We drove nearly three hours to the airport, then had an early lunch at Pizza Hut. Shipping some extra stuff to Palawan took over half an hour (turn it in here, x-ray it in another building, weigh it on this scale, pay at that desk, wait for this paper....). The check-in line was actually quite short, and we were in the terminal waiting area quite quickly. Our plane was delayed a bit, then when we got overhead Manila an hour and a half later we had to circle while waiting to land. The taxi ride to the guesthome was quite fast, only about half an hour.

Today Garry got his flight medical without any problems! He still has to pick it up on Monday, but he has done everything he needs to do and it has been approved!

I met a friend for coffee and lunch today and had a lovely visit with her. We talked about an awful lot of things in our short hours together and I was blessed and encouraged. Friends who seek God with all their hearts and encourage you to do the same are one of the greatest blessings God can give us!

And this evening we're taking the boys to play badminton at one of our favorite courts!

Monday, February 21, 2011

So, I still don't have any photos. They sit quietly on Kevin's computer waiting to be moved to mine. Techies we are not... But, I figured I can put something on here today, even if it is old.

We are leaving on Wednesday! We are excited to begin the "travel journey" for the year when we head to Manila then Palawan. We expect to be gone until the end of April, so we are trying to get things properly organized here. A house left empty for more than a couple of weeks is very likely to grow incredible amounts of mildew in this country, so we will have our helper come clean while we are gone. I'll empty the freezer, because last time we were gone it was accidentally unplugged and we lost a lot of food. We can't pay bills online either, so we are arranging someone to handle money and bills. Brian offered to take us to the airport, which is a long drive for him and a favor we are very grateful for.

Our new helper, Juliet, came today and it looks like it will work out well for all of us. She has worked for Italians and Latins before, so she is internationally trained... she asks great questions: "Can I use this toothbrush in the CR (bathroom) or is it only for the kitchen? Do you change your dishcloth every morning? How do you want the table set-- do you use placemats? Do you want me to wash the rugs?" A lot of little things that she has learned from different people that make training simple. Thank you, Jesus!

The boys are taking the next week off school, though today they don't think it's much of a break since they've been busy getting their things ready to go also. Kevin also made supper for us-- a new two-bean mexican chili recipe I found online. We invited Brian and Bailey to try our experiment with us:).

Our helicopter pilot continues to pursue getting his checkride... please pray with us that this process can soon be completed and he can begin his in-country checkout process so our missionary teams can return to their locations.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

No photos... I'll add some later today if I can get them from Kevin's computer. He's been using the camera and downloading photos.

We have spent a lot of time over the past week talking, thinking, and praying. God hears. He answers. Not always the way we had hoped He would, but He does answer. We feel a sense of peace and direction...

We spent the weekend in the city doing some much-needed shopping, primarily for clothes for the boys due to a generous gift for that purpose! We also enjoyed eating at KFC, going swimming, and going to a coffee shop.

Last week's flight to the remote location went well, and Brian is planning to head back there with the missionaries when they get a few dry days in a row so he can land safely on the airstrip. Garry did some flying yesterday in preparation for our time in Palawan. He enjoyed the day at the hangar with Brian, getting some things organized and talking over different things.

Our house helper quit unexpectedly on Monday, but God brought someone along that is ready to start work right away. Unfortunately she's sick today, but we enjoyed her first day of work yesterday.

Progress in getting our helicopter pilot licensed has been slow. His assigned check pilot was unavailable. His papers got lost. But it seems we're getting back on track now. Our helicopter pilot from Arizona was planning to come next week, so we are praying for unusual speed in the remainder of the process!

Next week we head to Manila, then Palawan. We'll keep you updated on progress... hopefully I'll be blogging again sooner next time!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Good morning! It's Thursday and the week has been calmly passing in a normal routine... that's a story. Reality is that it's been crazy since I last posted!

Garry is finally getting over his cold/flu, which is a huge relief. We've spent a lot of time coming up with a new, improved plan for going to Palawan, only to realize we had some major flaws in our plan. We planned out the weekend, then Kevin fell off his bike and hit his tailbone pretty hard. So, he can't sit down at the moment. School was going to be routine, but then... you get the picture! Maybe this afternoon we'll sit down and come up with a truly workable plan for the next few weeks.

Yesterday Brian called and said there was a possibility of going into one of our locations today. The missionaries are currently in town, so Brian needs an extra set of eyes to check things out before he lands. They were able to get in there this morning, and I'm waiting to hear how it went.

This week we also got our helicopter registration! Our helicopter pilot planning to balance the rotor when he gets the ELT installed, then he'll begin flying his ten hours to get his Philippine helicopter license. So, we are making progress on the helicopter. Our missionaries in Luzon will be thankful when it is fully operational and they can move back into their remote locations!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Monday morning always brings memories of struggling to catch even the simplest concepts in school and the thought that another weekend of fun was a LONG way away. Now weeks come and go so quickly that a weekend is always coming SOON! Funny how the passing of time changes our perspective... I think our perspective will change similarly when we enter eternity: then these seasons of life will all seem SHORT. Today's troubles will, indeed, seem "light and momentary".

Not that our present season even seems that hard. Actually, we are enjoying the moments. But as plans have changed and responsibilities have piled up a bit in the past weeks, it seems there is lots to do and not much time to accomplish it.

Last week Darren came to visit! He and Garry were able to fly into one of our locations. He shared how small this place seemed... and yet how interested God is in what appears small to us. This entire community has been transformed by the Gospel over the past 20 years. In God's perspective, that matters. Size doesn't matter, people matter.

We had a great time with Darren, sharing our lives and hearing what God is doing in their lives and ministry. He and Garry did different things together and we all enjoyed sharing meals, playing a game of Settlers of Catan, and chatting.

Garry is still trying to get over the flu bug he got in Palawan, but he is doing quite a bit better than he was last week at this time. We are thinking through our plans for the next few weeks... when is the best time to go to Palawan? Should we all go together, or should just Garry go again first? When will Garry go to Manila to renew his flight medical? Lots of things to think about... lots of opportunities for God to direct.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Tuesday already? The good news is that Garry's home! We were so thrilled to see him on Sunday afternoon! We all drove to the city to pick him up, enjoy lunch out together, and do a bit of business. We had a few errands we needed to do, and Kevin got to play badminton with his friends in the city.

Garry got home pretty sick... he picked up a nasty flu in Palawan, which he is trying very hard to shake. The flu, it seems, is trying very hard to hang on. Please pray with us for health.

As is my custom, I'm posting photos from last week... or the week before. Kaleb dug a fire pit in our back yard and we've enjoyed sitting by the fire several evenings. We found some good hotdogs (translated "not fire-engine red") that have been fun to roast. We also found marshmallows, which is a fun, unusual treat here. So after our hotdogs we've been making s'mores... lovely! And it is actually cool enough these days to enjoy a fire, another new experience for us here in Mindanao. In fact, it's been so cool that we have all found our buried sweatshirts to wear!

The nearly constant rain is making flights a challenge these days. It still feels strange to text Bailey and ask her what's going on with flights instead of being in the middle of the mix. But it feels good! They are doing a great job with the program here, freeing Garry up to do more travel and other administrative stuff that is keeping him more than busy.

We got our helicopter registration! We are thrilled that we have completed another step towards having an operational flight program in northern Luzon! There are still several steps before our pilot there can begin his field checkout process, but this is a huge answer to prayer!

This morning I got up and shrugged into my robe. I felt something tickling my leg so flicked my robe to get it off. A spider fell to the floor. Stuck to my leg was a large spiderweb. It's only been hanging since Saturday... but such are the bugs.

We got home yesterday afternoon and tomorrow we're headed back to the city to renew my drivers' license and pick up a friend from Canada who's coming to visit! Somehow between piles of laundry, school, and tidying up the house my thoughts aren't very coherent.