Saturday, March 26, 2011

It's Saturday afternoon and I'm back at my favorite coffee shop... I really don't live here, but it's about the only chance I have to blog! Somebody told me that my last post sounded like the grass is greener on the other side of the fence (as in, our years in Palawan were not always easy). That isn't how I feel. We are loving so many things in Mindanao. I simply feel blessed to be enjoying Palawan as much as we are because it is a stressful situation living in a guesthouse for a couple of months. Positive memories and knowing how to get around here are making this time easier than it otherwise would be.

Brian and Bailey are doing a great job in Mindanao. I talked to Bailey the other day... it was so good to hear her voice and simple catch up a bit. I also got to talk to Maycie, who is talking even better than when we left a month ago. Bailey has been busy with radio and the kids lately. Brian thinks he found a truck for hauling fuel...

It is great to be here with Josh and Candy! We are really enjoying getting to know them-- working together lots and hanging out some. Candy and I have been working on some program bookwork lately and it's been fun to do that together. Josh has done several operational flights by himself lately, and they have a full flight schedule for next week also. It is incredible the way God is bringing things together to get Josh optimum flying experience in so many ways!

Kevin and Kaleb are pretty excited to join a badminton tournament tomorrow! Kevin is partnering with a guy he partnered with in his first tournament on his 13th birthday-- that's a long time ago when you're 16! Kaleb is partnering with a friend of his from here. He and Jom have spent a lot of hours making paper airplanes, driving remote control cars, and doing other fun stuff besides loving to compete and partner in badminton.

We are borrowing back our old truck while we're here, which has been a blessing. The alternator went on it this week, so Garry has spent a bit of time running around town trying to get parts and get it fixed. Thankfully it seems to be working again!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gotta love that silly face! It's one of the things I've been enjoying lately-- good laughs. Life is too short to be too serious. The joy God gives is deep and it allows us to enjoy the fun, silly, and funny moments of life!

I had dinner the other evening with a friend that works here in Palawan. It was great to chat with Elise, catching up on what God is doing in one another's lives. God is opening some pretty amazing doors for her... doors that are opening via relationships. In fact, it seems in many ways that relationship is how God channels much of His energy. He changes us as we get to know Him. He shows us His love when we spend time with Him. He directs our course as we know Him. What an amazing thing to be in a personal relationship with the God of the Universe!

Garry was in Manila overnight and got back at noon today. Now he's helping Josh finish up some work on the airplane. It was so incredibly easy for him to run to Manila from here-- just a quick 5-minute drive to the airport instead of a 3-hour drive! While in Manila Garry learned an interesting piece of trivia-- there are about 45,000 registered taxis in the city (plus a lot of unregistered ones!).

We are really enjoying Palawan... it is a bit hard to pack up and "move" for 2 months. Yet we came with assurance that we were doing the right thing. We have been surprised by what God had in store for us here... so many places bring back fun memories and we realize how comfortable we are here. Yesterday we as a family were discussing cultural stress and how much less of it there is here than in Mindanao. It's an interesting thing... being in a town with a hundred or more white tourists means nobody stares at you on the street. Most people in stores have a higher level of English here than in Mindanao. A lot of small things like that add up.... and I'm sure it is also because we lived here for 3 years, while we've only been in Mindanao just over a year. Home: a lovely place in so many ways we do not comprehend til we leave it!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The coolest thing happened yesterday... the lady who helps me came to work all smiles, "Ate [ma'am], my daughter's teacher told me that she made a mistake. She was confused by similar names and gave my daughter the wrong grades. She will fix it, Ate!" Thank you, Jesus! I wonder if some of you prayed when you read my blog post? I've been praying. I'm sure she's been praying.

Garry and Josh went flying yesterday, and Josh did a shuttle flight himself while Garry waited at one of the locations. Another milestone... when they got home they started work on an inspection and found a possible problem that they want to fix before it gets serious. So today they have the engine open and are hard at work.

Here are some photos with our friends at one of our favorite courts in Manila. The guy beside Kevin is the top junior singles player-- he destroyed Kevin:). If we look a little tired it's because we took this when we finished played one night at 11:30. Too late, that's all I can say! Kevin started training with his first trainer again yesterday and had a really profitable time. Kaleb is pretty focused on BMX biking and climbing trees at the moment.

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours with one of my prayer partner friends. Flower and I met rather randomly at a coffee shop several years ago and began praying together. A few months ago we picked it up again, now usually meeting via phone. However, since we're in Palawan we got to meet face to face and seek God together. What a blessing!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday. I've actually had a little internet a few times, but I haven't gotten to blogging until this afternoon. It's amazing how quickly our lives depend on technology... I am reminded each day how many things I do on the internet, one of the biggest being staying in touch with our parents. Kevin also does several courses online, so he is having a hard time getting his school finished each day. There is internet in the library on base, so we can go there to do stuff... it is just quite different than having a good connection at home!

Garry is riding along today-- Josh is flying! They had a call for an emergency flight this morning, but didn't leave until the weather cleared after lunch. The weather here still isn't great, but it is workable now, thankfully! And I guess the weather on the other end is good.

I have a lady helping me while we are here. She was telling me the other day about her daughter's schooling. Her daughter gets nearly perfect grades on every paper and every test (we're talking pre-K here as the girl is only 4 years old!), but when she got her report card her grades were only in the mid-80's. Apparently someone more important has a daughter who "needs" to be at the top of the class. As parents, their only recourse is to move their daughter to another school. And these grades matter dramatically-- an education is the only way people have a chance of breaking out of poverty. It broke my heart to think of the pressure on this little girl and how hard she's trying only to be thwarted by issues of status and poverty.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday. The week is nearly gone... a good week, if you're evaluating. I was reminded today that we have so little insight into what is an accurate evaluation of what is "good" or what is "bad". Our eyes are so often focused on the temporal-- comfort, health, possessions, tasks at hand. But the eternal God is writing our story and holding our hands each step of the way!

School days are marching past, some easily and some with a bit of struggle in between. Our school set-up is less than ideal where we're staying, but the boys are finding comfortable places to do the work that needs done!

Garry has been doing a lot of flying with Josh! Here is Josh after his first solo at one of our locations! Way to go, Josh! Garry and Josh are enjoying flying and are thankful for the good weather they've had to accomplish a lot each flight day.

I'm at a coffee shop for some quiet and some decent internet. The speed of our internet at home makes it almost impossible to blog... what a great excuse for a good cup of coffee at a quiet spot! I came in a "trike"-- a motorcycle with a small sidecar attached. When he stopped for me the car was full, so my designated spot was behind the driver. Ten km an hour can feel quite fast when seated side-saddle behind a stranger, hanging on to an overhead handle and ducking under a low roof. Halfway here I realized I could have simply waited for another trike...

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Good afternoon! It's sunny and HOT here in Palawan at the moment. Actually, the sun is lovely, though the humidity is much higher than we're used to. Kevin went running this morning and after less than half an hour had sweated more than he does in a full afternoon of badminton. Amazing what it does to our energy levels as well!

These are older photos, from when our friend Darren was here. There was a huge tree on a cliff just above one of our airstrips. The guys wondered when it would fall... it fell a couple of weeks ago and the tribal guys are busily cutting up the wood to use. Check out the size of that tree!

Garry and Josh did some more flying this morning. In between their practice they got to have a snack with some of our missionaries.... based on prior experience I'm quite sure they had a wonderful visit and heard about many of the things God is doing in that location, not to mention enjoying some good food! I'm excited to hear all about it from Garry when he gets home!

Kaleb is enjoying having some kids around that are a bit closer to his age... in Malaybalay he is nearly always the youngest, and here he is the oldest one of his little group of friends.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Friday morning and we are settling into our new "home" in Palawan... even though it's only for a couple of months, with what we need to accomplish we are doing our best to settle in and get organized. We have a nice guesthome here, and we are in a little house that that is nicely furnished for longer stays. It's a huge blessing!

Garry and Josh are flying today.... actually, Garry has done quite a lot of flying here already, but this is the first time he and Josh have headed out of town. It sounds like they're having a profitable morning.

The boys and I are doing school (I get a break while Kaleb does art). Kevin played badminton with his friends the other evening and is anxious to do so again this evening. It's been a pretty crazy few days for all of us...

We arrived Tuesday and started unpacking, then enjoyed lunch at Josh & Candy's. We ran to the grocery store (which is always a LONG venture) after lunch, then got home in time for supper with Manfred & Nadine. We had planned to meet Ben & Suzy in the evening, but they were too busy with packing.... so we had a short chat and headed for bed.

Wednesday evening we enjoyed pizza with Ben & Suzy and Josh & Candy. In the middle we took Kevin to play badminton for a while since the other kids are all under 8. Thursday Garry did some flying and the rest of us tried to get our "normal" routine started. Last evening we went to the missionary "community dinner" which was really fun and a time to reconnect with a few people we hadn't seen yet. This morning Garry went flying.... and that's the story of our time in Palawan, so far....