Thursday, December 27, 2012

Home in Manitoba...

We finished our time in Pennsylvania making more memories and regretting that the time was so short. We enjoyed every moment with my parents, but there simply were not enough of them. And that's a good problem to have, really, when you think about it! We also reconnected a little with various people that we would have liked to spend more time with. All in all, we left wishing we'd had more time and with a deeper appreciation of the friends we have in Pennsylvania. Hopefully we can head back there soon!

We drove home straight through, a bit over 30 hours total. We were thankful for good weather for most of the trip, just a bit of snow and icy roads for a couple of hours. Quite amazing at this time of year! Gas prices are also down a bit, which was a blessing.

We got home in time to see Dad Barkman and Donna before they left for Texas, an extra blessing. And on Christmas Day itself we got to spend the evening with Brenda. Kaleb is busy biking and Kevin is at badminton camp for the rest of the week. In fact, Toby Ng from the Canadian national team is staying with us for a few days while he runs the camp for high performance!

It's good to be home in Manitoba:), though we miss our friends all over the world. I guess that's life in this world-- you can only be one place at a time! But eternity's coming!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Still doing PA

Thursday morning, and we've been in Pennsylvania 2 weeks! It's been a really amazing time so far. We shared at Puzzletown Church on Sunday and so enjoyed being back with that group of friends, worshipping together, and hearing how God has been at work here! We were amazed at how these friends have kept up with what God is doing in the Philippines and in our lives despite the distance. We really enjoyed Pastor Jon and his wife.

Family Christmas this week with my parents, my Gram, and a great aunt. Breakfast out with a friend. Bowling with my parents. A Christmas party with my Gram at Blair Chalet. And at least a million cups of coffee with good, long talks.

We've also been helping my parents sort through stuff, going through family memories from several generations. It's incredible to me to think of the lives already past and the small amount that's preserved from a relatively long life. Life here is, after all, quite short. What we do every day passes quickly into oblivion: yet the reputation of people remains-- friendly, caring, or grumpy. And our grandchildren and beyond will likely simply summarize our lives as a basic response to the circumstances of our lives. It challenges me to see life as a cup half full, to smile often, to simply care.

I also added some photos to the posts below-- scroll down to check out a couple photos of Kevin's 18th birthday and our first days in Pennsylvania!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Partying in Pennsylvania

We arrived in Pennsylvania early last Thursday morning: 2 am, to be exact. Your parents are really the only people's home where you can do that! Having left Manitoba at 3 pm on Tuesday, we were quite happy to be done driving, besides being thrilled to see my parents!

It's been particularly fun for me to be in Pennsylvania enjoying favorite places, reliving memories from my years living here, and enjoying hours and hours of catching up with Mom and Dad. As family we're enjoying my parents also-- evenings playing Skip-Bo, long coffees during the day, and the daily interaction of lots of people in one house! It's good to be here.

Next Sunday we'll be at Puzzletown Road Bible church and we are looking forward to catching up with friends there. We're also excited to meet the new pastor and his wife and hear more about what God is doing in that part of His vineyard.

We're all enjoying the unique beauty of Pennsylvania. The history in this area is readily apparent, and we love checking out the unique architecture and enjoying the beautiful views. I'll leave it at that for now-- after all, there's coffee to drink and a limited time to interact with my parents!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Kevin turns 18!

On Saturday Kevin turned 18 years old! He chose his favorite meal to share with family and finished it off with brownies and ice-cream, then invited a few friends over for cake and ice-cream. A major milestone, and I don't even have pictures... maybe I'll find some yet and add them later:). Today Kevin is taking his road test for his drivers license, another milestone. No doubt about it, we have a young adult in the house now... though he's still in grade 12!

Being a good mom I thought I'd recount some of the major milestones in his life, the ways he's grown, and the things we love about being parents to Kevin. But on second thought, I realised that I'd better be an excellent mom-- keep those particular thoughts to myself!

We are heading out to Pennsylvania to visit one of our churches and spend a couple weeks with my parents! I'm excited to see my parents and spend some time in my old home territory. My parents are going through some of my grandparents photos, and I'm hoping we get some time to sit and hear them tell stories about growing up and their lives. What a blessing to hear our parents recount the faithfulness of God to our kids!

Garry's been doing a million things lately as he pursues setting up an aviation Safety Management System for NTM Aviation. Thinking, learning, and passing things on.

We recently sent out an e-mail update about the new believers in Menti, sharing more of the story. If you didn't receive that and would like to, enter your e-mail address on the right side under "sign up here to receive our newsletter" and we'll send you a copy. God is good and the ways He works are amazing! What a privilege to be a small part of it!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Scrapbooking, animation, & badminton

Sometimes God sends us something really fun, a gift. Such was a scrapbooking weekend for me! A friend invited me to a scrapbooking event, a whole weekend to scrapbook, hang out with other ladies, and relax. What a blessing! I enjoyed connecting with friends that were there and making some new friends. I enjoyed the scrapbooking and love having a bit more of our boys' life photo documented. The time to simply be creative (at least as creative as I am) was really energizing.

Kaleb hasn't been scrapbooking, but he loves to express his creativity through Lego animation. He recently built a whole town and filmed a fun short story. I was pretty impressed with how well he did at the story line, animation, lighting, and movements. He hopes to enter an online contest with his film, which will be a new venture for him. Creative.

Kevin's creativity is often expressed on the badminton court as he tries now strategies and new shots. He had some great opportunities last weekend to try new things and practice what he knows as he played in an open tournament in Winnipeg. He did well, placing 3/4 in two events and making quarters in the other. Kevin also loves to be creative with story, but that's for another post.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Evening with Grades 5-6

Our evening with the Grade 5-6 kids on Wednesday was a blessing! We were thankful to the club leaders for inviting us to share a bit about missionary life. We enjoyed the kids. We felt God gave us something to say, and it was well-received. Our theme for the evening was that being a foreign missionary is about knowing and obeying God Himself, and that foreign missions takes a TEAM to accomplish. Once more, we are blessed.

I'm back in the office this morning, catching up on a pile of stuff that needs attention. It seems I spend a lot of time here, but the pile is continually replenished. It's a good thing I more or less enjoy office work. And I love being able to keep in touch with friends who live far away, though at the moment I'm not doing much of that.

I just realized that Christmas is just a month away. The celebration of Christ's birth that so often becomes a marathon of decorating, buying, and events. We had a little family chat about Christmas and our priorities for the season. Everybody's favorite part? Hot chocolate and long talks in front of the tree! Which means I'd better find some hot chocolate and maybe we'll be looking for a tree. I'd like to get a real one, but we'll have to check into that. And we're heading to Pennsylvania for a couple of weeks, looking forward to seeing my parents & grandma and spending time with friends there!

Both Kevin & Kaleb have been sick this week. It's rather interesting to watch the progression of a good winter cold/flu. Quite different than the same thing in the Philippines, it seems to me. So, on to handing out pills, reading books, and enjoying the quiet that sickness inevitably brings!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Menti update

Following is a short excerpt from a message I received from Elise after the teaching on Friday:

"The mood was somber as Dave began to talk about what Jesus suffered on the cross, and how it fullfilled the scriptures which they have heard about...the ram that God sent as a substitute for Isaac, the Passover lambs which were sacrificed by the Israelites in Egypt, and many more. 
As they heard about each one, and Dave carefully questioned them to make sure they understood, they would nod, and gasp and say, "Banar! Yes! It's true! I believe it!" 
And as it all came together in their minds, that Jesus was the long awaited Redeemer, and that He had done everything needed for their salvation from their helpless condition, they just couldn't hold back from expressing all they were thinking. 
The normally quiet J** said, "Yes. This is to be believed, not just on the surface, but deep into the liver (the heart)."
"Yes," said M**, "Right to the poot atey- the source of the liver, the heart of hearts."
P*** burst out with, " I believe it! Jesus is the Saviour! Our ancestors said this thing is the way to God or that thing is the way to God. But they were WRONG!! THIS is the way! I believe it. I really believe it! Jesus paid the price for my sin. It is finished!"

What an amazing testimony to God's grace and the truth of His Word! How amazing to hear how God is working in hearts as they understand the true message of salvation! Praise God with us. We are so very thankful that God allowed us to be a small part of what He is doing in Menti by providing air service for this team while we were in Palawan. 

Today I've been busy preparing to share with the grade 5-6 group at Blumenort Kids' Club tomorrow evening. We are looking forward to what God has in mind for that time and praying that He gives us words that communicate truth to those that attend.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Friday in Menti

The snow really is beautiful. These days when I look out the window I can't help but ponder how far we've come. From the green lushness of the Philippines to the pristine whiteness of Canada. From being relatively comfortable foreigners to somewhat uncomfortable locals. From part of a rather small team to part of a large team. It's been quite the journey, and continues to be a journey.

We were excited by an e-mail we got from the Philippines this week. It reads, in part, "Friday 16th  November, 2012 is a very special day for the Palawanos of Menti. For the first time in their village, they will hear about the death of Jesus Christ on their behalf....  They have no doubt that Jesus is their Deliverer, but they are waiting with baited breath to see how He does it." 

Missionaries in Menti have been working toward this day for years, and we are excited with them to see what God is going to do on Friday and over the next weeks and months. What an incredible privilege to know these missionaries and tribal people and to have a small part in their receiving the message of salvation! Wow, God!

As we pray for our friends in the Philippines, we miss them. At the same time, we are so thankful for the years we had there and the privilege of meeting and working with so many incredible people (who are all about as "normal" as we are!).

Closer to home, Garry has been busy on the phone and in the office this week as he has been pursuing several things for the safety department. We love being part of the technical aspects of NTM Aviation and being part of people's lives in various ways. 

Blessed. That pretty much sums up a huge part of the reality of being involved in ministry, of living life with the Church, the Body of Christ. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Winter Storm

We woke up the other morning to a layer of snow, winter storm warnings, and icy roads. I knew this was coming, but I'm still getting used to the reality of winter arriving. Kevin was just getting comfortable driving, and now he'll need to get used to slippery roads. At least for a while. Kaleb thinks riding his bike in the snow is great fun, though, so at least one of us is very happy for winter's arrival!

Garry just downloaded some photos to my phone, and I thought this one of a visit to the gravel pits was fun... and a reminder of warmer, longer days.

I've been thinking about culture lately, asking questions of you, my friends, and learning lots of things! I'm realizing in a new way that our experiences shape us and change us. And that in a community where there is a lot of history, there is an incredible amount of intuitive understanding of the way each other think. While people don't all think the same, in a small community people have years to learn how one another think, and there are a lot of things that simply don't need said! Personal histories are not as quickly recounted as so many people in the community lived through that history together.

Garry has been busy with safety things since he got back from Denver. He's processing and praying through some of the challenges we as an aviation organization are facing, and God is giving him direction. It's amazing how God continues to work, lead, and guide as we seek Him for the big and the small things of life. It's incredible to know we can constantly lean on God's wisdom and direction, and He never tires of giving grace, strength, and direction. Imagine, our situation is never "too much" for God!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Denver & Home again

Garry got home from Denver late Friday night, and we've been busy catching up since then. He had an amazing time in so many ways.... he spent a lot of time with a couple of other guys in mission aviation, men who have been doing safety for a bit longer than he has. He met other believers who are serious about bringing faith into the workplace, though they work in a secular environment. He connected with a few people in the aviation safety industry, several of them Canadian. Plus, he learned more of what it means to do an aviation audit.  All in all, it was a profitable week!

Just before Garry went to Denver a friend of his took him flying! Garry learned to fly at Harv's over 30 years ago, and the two of them have remained friends as well as us becoming family friends. Garry was thrilled to do some aerobatics and have fun, something he almost never gets to do in an airplane.. Thanks, Harv, for a great time!

Kaleb did get a bicycle and he's been busy trying new tricks on it. He's built a sort of track on the yard that I'll have to post photos of after I take them. He loves the challenges of balance, speed, and technique that it takes to ride around his track and balance on narrow items.

Kevin played another badminton tournament over the weekend, and made top-level quarters in every event. Not the win he was hoping for, but good results. Beyond playing, he had some great opportunities to interact with people, opportunities to share hope, faith, and love.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Lead Auditor Training & City Driving

Garry is enjoying his time in Denver and learning lots. This morning they are doing a mock interview that they'll later watch and evaluate based on what they've learned this week. Tomorrow it will be testing.

Besides what Garry is learning, he has had opportunities to network with quite a few interesting people. Both people in the  aviation industry and people in mission aviation. As he seeks to develop a helpful safety program for NTM Aviation, it is crucial that he connects with others who are doing the same thing and have already learned some of what we need to know. We thank God that these connections are beginning to happen! And I'll have to share more when he gets home and I can get the whole story!

Last evening I took the boys to the city to look at bicycle parts to fix the bicycles they brought from the Philippines. Then we took Kevin for his badminton training. I find driving in the city even more stressful than grocery shopping. The rules of the road are so different here, and people drive FAST.... at least compared to the speeds we're used to on the crowded streets in the Philippines. It's a journey, something I'm willing to do because it's part of our calling, part of learning to live in this country. I'd like to model doing this learning well and with conviction as Kevin is also working through this process: often I simply do it with conviction and sometimes with a lot of emotion. And maybe that is OK: maybe I'm modelling something that matters as I walk through life with a sense of God's presence and empowering. Maybe weakness is a reality for all of us, and how we respond to our weaknesses being exposed is important.

I guess what I've been thinking is that life matters: not only life in a foreign, exotic land, but also life in North America. What matters is how I respond to God, people, and my circumstances. What matters is that I walk in grace and humility. What changes lives is my obedience in the everydayness of living and working and relating.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Travel and Tournaments

Our time in Saskatoon was really good! Hard, but good. So many things happened that reminded us that we were there for more than badminton, that badminton is simply a context that God is using to grow His kingdom! Travel both ways went remarkably well, though we had a near miss in Winnipeg at 3 am when someone drove through a red light and almost broadsided us. After that we weren't sleepy at all.

As far as results, Kevin did well. He made second round in mixed and lost to a very strong pair who took second in the tournament. In men's singles and doubles he played semis in the consul round.

Garry is in Denver this week, learning more about doing aviation audits! I talked to him last evening and it sounds like he is learning lots and making some great connections. This training is helping him know how to better focus his energy on safety in our flight programs. Opportunities in a unique context.

Here at home we are working hard at school, Kevin is taking some driving lessons, and Kaleb is trying to get his bicycle from the Philippines working. I am also trying to get caught up on some house stuff, putting things away that are still waiting for attention since our shipment arrived two weeks ago. We are all ready for some routine, though routine itself seems quite elusive.

Life here is very much life in the Philippines in the ways that matter. There are seemingly endless opportunities to bring the reality of God to bear on our lives, and that process affects those around us. We share His truth with the people around us, and they choose what they will do with it. The need for that truth is profound in every life, just as it is in our lives. And another similarity-- what really matters is how we interact with friends and strangers, and that isn't really appropriate fodder for a blog!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Yup. I'm in Saskatoon, sitting in yet another badminton court in yet another city. It's weird, really. I, who hate to drive somehow volunteered to bring a van of people to Saskatoon. I thought it was about 5 hours away from home... it's more like 10. But somehow it seems this is something God is doing. Why? I'm not sure. In fact, I'm not even sure WHAT He is doing, but  it was clear to both Garry and I that Kevin and I should come here. So, God has a plan. What a good feeling. What a comfort!

With the way life is, I was pretty overwhelmed when I realized how far we were coming. (My preference is to not drive to the city, which is a mere hour away!) With the way God is, our "riders" did most of the driving! With the way life is, I had never even considered that it could be truly cold and snowy. With the way God is, we drove through some snow and there's some on the ground here, but it's all been fine.

We've enjoyed this week with Garry's sister and her family from Texas. What fun to get together, to see our sons hang out together, to spend time talking and catching up. What fun to simply be family, to walk a bit together on the journey of life towards God.

Garry heads out to Denver for a seminar on Sunday. More about that next time. For now, I need to go watch a game:).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chaos and Order

 The crates finally arrived in our garage on Monday morning! I thought maybe the smell of the Philippines would have accompanied our things, but the most prevalent odour was definitely from the fumigating process!

There are a lot of ways unpack things. It doesn't seem to matter how you do it, those neat packages that arrive at your destination turn into a rather large mess that needs to be cleaned up! I've tried various ways of unpacking, and to date my preference is to get everything out and organised by room. Then we take the piles to various rooms and put things away. Rather messy in the central "unpack space", but it seems to work. (And it keeps the mess more or less in one place.)

Thankfully, the mess in our dining room is now cleaned up! I still have a couple of rooms with piles, but most things have found a resting place for the next while!

Each of us got things from the crate that we've been missing, things we wanted to use right away! Kaleb found his Lego collection which has become a small town with a crowd running away from McDonald's for an undefined reason. Kevin has a pretty impressive display of badminton trophies and memorabilia. I'm enjoying my coffee grinder and Garry is thankful for the tools he brought. In the end, though, it's still just stuff. Things we use and enjoy, but just stuff that is here today and gone tomorrow.

As we finish another week of school today, I'm thankful that things are slowly getting more settled. We've been enjoying the curriculum we're using this year, which is a gift in the middle of so much chaos and change. Friends have taken me for coffee and dinner and I've been blessed by their insight and encouragement as they helped me make sense of a life that is so often foreign to me. Texts encourage me to hang on to Jesus, and phone calls remind me of what's really important in life. A friend invited me to scrapbook for a day and I was blessed. Some moments are peaceful and some have been chaotic, we've been tired and over-extended, we've been blessed and excited, we've been both homesick and thankful to be here. I guess it's the way of life.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

More stuff...

More stuff! That's what we're getting at our house! Our small shipment from Arizona arrived in Fargo on Tuesday morning, and we picked it up that afternoon. As well as getting our things, we also had a great evening with new friends. Bret & Sheri took us to a great Mexican place for dinner and we LOVED connecting with them, hearing their hearts for what God is doing and the things He has taught them along the way. We arrived home around 1 am, tired but blessed and encouraged.

Thursday our shipment from the Philippines arrived in Winnipeg, and Friday afternoon we went into the city to present our paperwork to customs for clearance. It all went very well, and we are expecting our crates to be delivered to our home in Kleefeld on Monday morning!

This is the first time that all our belongings have been in one country since we got married 20 years ago! It's pretty cool... and somewhat scary. We've never really "settled down", we've always been between places, on our way somewhere at some point-- whether that was anticipating a home assignment in a few years or headed back to the field after home assignment.

So, getting all our "stuff" in one place feels significant in some interesting ways. But it is, after all, just stuff. Neither our identity nor our value is wrapped up in the things that are arriving at our house, though hopefully some of them will help us be more efficient at what we feel called to do.

Garry is looking forward to having a few more tools here. I am looking forward to having a fully-functional kitchen and the boys are looking forward to having some of their favourite things to use and enjoy.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Opportunities sometimes seem endless. Opportunities to love people, to serve people, to invest in eternity, to be a part of what God is doing. It's really one of the most amazing things about being God's children-- He is continually growing us while giving us opportunities to be used in His epic plan!

Garry had a lot of wonderful opportunities while he was in Arizona, opportunities to encourage, bless, and admonish. Opportunities to be a part of what God is doing through NTM Aviation. Opportunities to be a part of making plans for the future of NTM Aviation and especially for the Safety Program we are just beginning. Please continue to pray for us as we ask God to unfold His plans, to bring clarity, and to keep our hearts focused on Him alone!

Kevin also had opportunity to play a badminton tournament last weekend. Besides playing he had opportunity to interact with a number of people, some of whom assured us that there are opportunities to invest in people's eternities through badminton. While the badminton community is a very moral community, it doesn't seem that there are a lot of Christ-followers there, so the opportunity to live out faith in a meaningful way in that community is huge.

I had an opportunity earlier this week to spend the morning with moms of preschool kids. What fun to see little people running around and also to interact with the moms a bit.

Life. It does, in fact, provide endless opportunities to live in faith and grace. As we rub shoulders with friends and family we can either help push them toward God or draw them away from him. We can focus on what He is doing or we can center our attention on the circumstances of our lives. We can spread hope in a God who has good plans for us, or we can share our unfinished stories without hope. Opportunities. Every moment we're taking an opportunity for good or evil.

Saturday, October 06, 2012


Kaleb was playing around with the camera the other day and got this photo of the full dishwasher.... rather unique and a good reminder of all the little up-sides there are to this move. Here are a few tangible things I LOVE about being back in this country....

      • the dishwasher!
      • hot running water
      • the dryer (when it isn't shrinking clothes)
      • less dirt, dust, and noise
      • the local library
      • fall colors
      • higher speed internet
      • landline phone
      • sale papers (yeah, I'm a bit weird that way)
      • unscented laundry soap
      • frozen vegetables
      • wide roads with a limited number of potholes

The list goes on and on, because we live in a country that specialises in comfort and efficiency. And many "luxuries" are relatively inexpensive here. These blessings can be a distraction to us also. We can lose our desire to get out of our comfort zone because we've made our spaces, our lives, so comfortable that we shrink from new things and places. It's a challenge and an opportunity. 

As I think of the things I'm enjoying, most of them are things that are neither priorities nor eternal. Friends on both sides of the ocean are amazing. Both continents teem with opportunities to share the reality of God and walk in faith, grace, and truth. So, while our lives have changed drastically, in some measure nothing truly important has changed, just the dressing of all we have known has taken a new shape.

Next time I hope to share a bit more about Garry's trip and our plans for the next couple of months. God is up to something big, and we have the opportunity to be a part of it! Thanks for walking this journey with us....

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


Fall, it's beautiful. This morning the boys and I were sitting in our living room, watching colorful leaves  tumble to the ground. Simple beauty. Incredibly relaxing to watch. I was reminded how blessed we are. We are loved by the Creator & Sustainer of the universe. We live in abundance. We are blessed by friends who care about us and push us toward God.

I've been amazed once more at the way God has created us with an ability to adapt, to change, to grow.  Thinking back a week or a month, every task, every moment, was such a stretch. Today I realised there are a number of things I can do intuitively, places I can be (not necessarily get to!) without a lot of stress. It hit me that I've passed a marker of adjustment-- I can actually conceive doing more than surviving here: I might actually LIVE here. I can begin to think about bigger things than getting through the day, at least at times. It's amazing, really!

Garry gets home tomorrow evening, a time we're all eagerly anticipating. His time in Arizona has been blessed, and we trust He has also been able to bless others. We are looking forward to getting our shipment from the Philippines later this week hopefully, and our stuff from Arizona should arrive next week. Life was never meant to fit into neat little boxes, but the bit of order we're getting is a huge blessing!

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Lately I've been doing a lot of blabbering on my blog, so today maybe I'll just share a bit of what is going on in our lives. We do, after all, still live normal lives even with all the upheaval we've been in, the silly things we do, and the many adjustments we're making!

We had our first hotdog roast in Canada just before Garry left. It was fun to sit by the fire and enjoy the warmth. We love watching the fire, and there's something about sitting by a blazing fire that makes conversation flow.

Garry is in Arizona this week, meeting with numerous people and enjoying being part of life there for a short while. The guys have come to some helpful conclusions about the future and Garry's priorities for the next while. He has enjoyed a lot of time just talking to people, hearing what is going on in McNeal and what God is doing in people's lives. It's always amazing to hear the God-story of another person's life, to realise that somehow God is working in and through and around all of us! How privileged we are to be part of the only truly epic story!

The boys and I are getting quite ready for Garry to come home already. We've had a busy week with school and badminton and a little bit of company. We've enjoyed reading aloud and listening to music. Kaleb has been building a fort out back. Kevin has been training hard and has gotten back to blogging.

We got a call this week that our shipment from the Philippines should be here on Wednesday or Thursday! When Garry gets home he'll have to go to Winnipeg while it clears customs, or some such thing. Then they will deliver it to our house.... and I'll let you know how we get it unloaded, it might be an adventure all its own! I'm actually looking forward to unpacking the crates and seeing what's in them as I was pretty sick when we did a lot of the packing.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pain and honesty

Pain. It's a part of living in a fallen world, not only because we are fallen, but also because we are humans that need to grow and learn. Even Jesus learned obedience by the things that He suffered. Why, then, would we fight the pain, try to hide the struggles we face, and pretend that maturity is all about prosperity? It isn't. At least not in my Bible, and certainly not in my life.

In fact, over the past 7 years since God challenged us to live in a new level of faith, we've also felt more pain and suffered more hardship. The pain seems to come in direct proportion to the joy, the struggle in the same measure as the faith. In Psalms we read that we will face hard times then call upon God and He will answer us and we will glorify Him. I think that's the point-- that God is glorified when we call upon Him and He answers. It's the middle of the story, the wait between the calling and His answer that is hard. And we have the incredible opportunity to walk through that part of the story with God Himself as our firm foundation and with family and friends who choose to walk with us.

Once more I've come back to the blessing of walking this journey together. And that is only possible when we are transparent in godly ways, when we share the truth of our story. And when we see the truth of our individual stories, we will also see more of the real glory of a God who cares and delivers.

Since I've used up my latest posts rambling about thoughts, I've forgotten to mention that Garry is in Arizona for the next week and a half. He is in meetings regarding the future of the aviation safety program and various other things in NTM Aviation. We personally and as an organisation are asking God for clarity regarding His plans and ways. The explanation would be yet another long post, but I wanted to let you know what we're up to in regards to the safety program. The boys and I are home, getting into a new school year and still trying to corral life into a bit more order and routine.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Speaking Manitoban

Somewhere along the line, I think we've forgotten how to speak Manitoban. We can still string the words together, but communicating is an altogether different story! I've been wondering lately why that is, and I've come up with a few theories that seem reasonable:

  • In Asia, body language is paramount, and it seems it's the words that matter most here
  • We've been working with a team of pilots from the US, so while we think we're still speaking the same language, the meaning of our words and the way we communicate has changed-- not to mention how international our bigger team has been, with members from multiple countries
  • So much of what we all talk about is no longer familiar, so we are struggling just to grasp the main ideas and subjects
In the end, I'm sure it's a mix of all of the above. Like my friend who refused to ride with a Filipino because he was flirty: in reality, he raised his eyebrows simply as an affirmative response to her question! We have become accustomed to a very limited amount of personal space and privacy, yet those are highly valued here. (And I apologise profusely to those of you I've back into a corner by standing too close-- thankfully I don't think there are too many of you this time! My mom once told me that if somebody took a step backward when I was talking to them, I should never follow-- I'm trying to remember that!) 

Non-verbal communication is very important in Asia, and as such it is key to watch people when you talk to them and respond to their non-verbal cues, not so much the verbal ones. Here communication seems to rest mainly on the words that are spoken, and much of what we "hear" in the non-verbal is either unimportant or we misinterpret it. Still, there seem to be some non-verbal cues that I'm missing... when I'm in a 3-way conversation I often hear people respond to one another in ways that don't make sense to me, and I'm trying to figure out what's going on that I'm missing. 

So, yes, we are still on a journey of cultural adjustment and language learning. As our instinctive culture has changed over the years, we find that no matter where we go we need to learn things. There's a certain sense of wonder and adventure in the learning, a joy in each discovery, and a deep contentment in knowing this is a journey God has planned for us!

Sunday, September 16, 2012


As we make the transition back to Canada, I am being challenged and stretched in so many ways. One way is a changing perspective on pain, suffering, and challenge. As people reach out to me, I am appreciating the power of walking together in a new light. I am seeing in a new way the power of being present, of simply sitting with one who is in pain.

God Himself is in the business of being present, of walking us through hard times. In the moment of pain, He simply promises to be there. He doesn't promise to change our circumstances, but He promises to change us and grow us as we allow Him to do so. He promises that He knows all things and that His plan is good: He doesn't explain His plans or expect us to understand His ways. In fact, He says His ways are so far above us that we cannot understand them. He says we see through a glass darkly, and He doesn't promise to illuminate our current circumstance.

So I ponder this walking together, living daily as the Body of Christ. And I'm seeing that walking together is about pursuing God together, about holding onto faith ourselves. It's about functioning as a Body, lifting up the weak and admitting that sometimes we are the weak. It's simply being there and knowing God is there. Bearing one another's burdens.

Together. It's a beautiful concept and an even more incredible reality!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


I'm thankful for many things, and thought I'd share just a few of them:

  • A God who never tires of our new beginnings and is always the same, yesterday, today, and forever
  • A house to live in and that we get to stay here for a while
  • Family-- our immediate family and extended family
  • Friends who brought us groceries... a LOT of groceries 
  • That things change, and in a while we'll be settled in and everything that seems new right now will be "old hat"
  • A supportive church family
  • Friends who bless us with friendship, prayers, and encouraging words
  • Warm clothes (yes, already!)

I've been pondering lately what it looks like to deal "well" with stress (the outside stresses of change, death of a loved one, family changes, etc.). Thankfulness is one thing that I don't think ever hurts, and in some amazing way, it heals. Running away from our troubles doesn't seem to change them. Admitting our reality doesn't make it worse: in fact, I believe God loves to hear us pour out our hearts to Him and then we can listen while He pours out His heart to us. And in the middle of our pain, we often find friends we didn't know we had, receive gifts from people we didn't know would offer them, and find strength to carry on when we didn't think we could. Never mind that stress grows and changes us!

In reality, I haven't been doing a lot of pondering lately. Mostly I've been trying to get our school year planned, doing some cooking and housework, meeting with a few friends, hugging random strangers (a most embarrassing moment that turned into a blessing), wishing I had time to sit down and blog, and the million other things every mom does. 

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Grocery shopping in Steinbach

I know that for those of you who have been shopping in Steinbach for years it isn't any big deal. In fact, it's a small town (more or less). It's quick and simple for plenty of people.

For me, on the other hand, shopping is still a major event: shopping on 10% Tuesday is a test of endurance. The stores are too big, the options are too many, and my experience is too small! I would hate to know how many times I walked back and forth in stores this morning, looking for things in aisles I'd already been down: I shudder to think how long I spent standing in front of displays pondering prices and comparing the options. And I hope nobody asks me exactly how I felt by the time I'd finished shopping and putting things away this morning!

You see, it isn't the "big things" that are mostly hard. What makes transitions hard is the sheer volume of new things you have to deal with. Grocery shopping for instance: multiple store options, prices, store layout, brand differences (or lack of difference), the number of ways you can buy things-- canned, frozen, fresh, the fact that I have no clue if I can/should ask a store employee for help finding something, new things like rain checks if something on sale is out of stock,  chip credit cards, and the ease of returning items... and that is just the relatively short list of what makes grocery shopping challenging. (Not to mention that I'm not sure I can find the store from my house yet, given my severe directional challenges!)

Apart from the trauma of shopping this morning, we are doing well. We moved into our new house over the weekend, and we're getting things settled, figuring out how to use the various spaces and furniture in our house. We are loving the yard and simply having our own space is a treat. It's been fun to unpack and find things we'd forgotten we have. Kevin tried his hand at grilling yesterday and we all enjoyed the results.

Saturday, September 01, 2012


Friday. Most weeks I welcome Friday with a special smile. This week, it's suddenly here. Since Mom Barkman moved to her mansion just two weeks ago, time is a strange thing. Days are endless, yet short.  We keep moving and doing, but so little gets done. I guess it's called grieving, and I suppose it's a full-time job for a while.

Grieving the loss we feel without Mom here where we can see her, grieving the life we left behind in the Philippines, and trying to adjust to life in Canada.

At the same time, rejoicing in the hope of heaven. Thankful for the rich heritage Mom passed on to each of us. Thankful for family and friends who gave us a warm welcome back to Canada. Thankful for the many tangible blessings we have. At some level we're excited about what's coming next, what God is up to in our lives.

And while we're processing, life goes on also. Meals, laundry, and cleaning for me. Errands to run, people to call. Garry is starting to work on aviation safety things. Kevin started badminton with the provincial team last weekend. Kaleb is busy riding his bicycle and making amazing technic inventions. Both boys have spent some time working on a turkey farm.

Last evening we started moving into our new home in Manitoba! What a blessing Emery and Bev have been to us, from moving out early to leaving so many things that make the transition easier. And besides that, they're just cool people!

Since we haven't really been taking any pictures since we arrived home, I thought I'd add a couple from our trip to North America.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A bigger goodbye...

On Friday noon  Mom (Barkman) moved into the presence of Jesus. I'm sure it was a happy reunion, Mom and Jesus, because they were always good friends. And I think as we make plans to remember her life, Mom is maybe just sitting at Jesus's feet,  enjoying in a new way the thing she enjoyed here on earth. We are beginning the journey of grieving, but Mom is full of joy and her hope is fulfilled!

We spent Saturday packing up and talking with family, then left Arizona early on Sunday morning. We hope to arrive home on Tuesday afternoon. Funeral services are planned for Thursday morning, a time to celebrate Mom's life and the way she impacted us and so many other people.

Mom was a woman of strength and character. She lived life to the fullest, passionate about God and her family. She hated gossip and loved to hear what God was doing. She enjoyed a well-organized home and loved to see things really clean. She was proud of her kids, all of them. She loved her grandkids and was proud of the way they were turning out. She prayed for all of us family and so many others fervently and often. She spent time in the Word, continually growing in her love of Jesus. Last time we were home she told me she was getting excited about heaven in a new way. I think she's really excited about heaven now....

The tears fall, but the sadness is mingled with joy as I realize that Mom fought a good fight and finished the race well. She left us a beautiful legacy. Thank you, Mom, for making sure I knew I really was part of this family....

Friday, August 17, 2012


"Can't get comfortable, 
Can't get settled in..."

I love that song! I love the truth it presents-- that what we really long for is heaven, what we really need is God Himself, and everything on this planet falls short of our deepest desire. Thanks to those of you who reminded me that no matter how long or short we've been somewhere, it isn't really home!

I mentally committed myself to blogging through this transition, so here goes nothing! We finished our trip, arriving in North America on Monday night. Tuesday morning we had a buffet breakfast at our hotel, and the culture shock began. Everybody was moving so quickly! While we were staring at the food, trying to decide what to eat, we got pushed out of the way multiple times. Ah, yes-- hurry up!

We stopped for groceries, and that wasn't as bad as I had expected. Armed with a list, I made my purchases relatively quickly. I guess being here 4 months ago does help! When we drove on to the freeway Garry started out at 60 km an hour, the fastest we can usually drive in the Philippines.... the cars whipping by us made us laugh.

We are in a nice house here in Arizona, and I was shocked by the size of it. The closet in the master bedroom is big enough that I unpacked in there. (And no, it might not be bigger than your closet!) Cupboards abound and there are plenty of drawers. The dishwasher works well, and if I take a glass out of there and it's still wet, it's safe to fill it up and drink the water. I don't have jugs of purified water on my counter, and I can brush my teeth with water from the sink. Speaking of sinks, there is hot running water in every one.  At night we have 4 outside doors to lock, but I'm not sure that locking them is really expected (haven't quite figured that one out yet!)

We've been waking up around 3 am most mornings and are ready for bed by noon. I guess we didn't really schedule in jet lag very well since this is our week with our co-workers from the Philippines! Fuzzy minds, sick tummies, and a desire for a nap are pretty much constants at this stage.

I need to get some lunch  on the table, so I'll continue this later.... until then!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Since we decided to move back to Canada nearly a year ago, we've become familiar with "The Question". You know, the one that doesn't have a proper answer no matter which way you cut it. The one that seems simple enough, unless you're the one being asked. The question that makes you stop and take stock.

"Are you excited to go home?"

Yeah, that question. After all, the whole question is loaded. It starts with "excited". What does that mean, anyway? Like jumping up and down, can't wait? Or like do I see possibilities ahead of us? Ok, I'm excited for what God's going to do. That's as far as I can manage.

"Go." It's brim full of leaving and saying goodbye. It means an ending to something, a leaving behind of something. Am I glad to leave this life behind? Umm... not really. I mean, I won't miss the potholes in the roads, the ants on my counter, the geckos that keep me awake, the roar of roosters and dogs, the loud music in malls, the getting stared at when I go out. But am I happy to go, to leave? No. When it comes right down to it, I've been living my dreams and we love our team, our friends, our life. What would make us want to go? I'll be happy to arrive, to see my friends, to begin a new venture. That's as much as I can manage.

Then there's the "h" word: Home. What makes Canada "home"? Having spent nearly our whole lives overseas, why would we expect to feel at home in Canada? What makes a place home, and have we created a new one in the Philippines? What's home, and will we arrive there? Some of Garry's family is in Canada. We have great friends there, people we connect with and know and appreciate. We have an amazing Church Family. Those are the things that we think of when we think of Canada. We think we can make Canada home. That's as honest as I can manage.

So, I'm not sure Canada is home or that we're excited to go. Mentally swap places with me (us) if you can, and let me know what you think.

Meanwhile, it's time to finish the trip!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hong Kong

We're sitting in the Hong Kong airport pondering all that has happened over the past weeks and days. Thinking of the goodbyes and looking forward to the hellos at the other end. A chapter of our lives has passed. Incredible. I knew it was coming, I thought a lot about it. But still, now that it's really finished, it doesn't seem possible. I find myself teary-eyed, thankful for the amazing friends and experiences we've gained and sad that it's over. I can't help but wonder what kind of a chapter will follow that one!

I realized this morning that we haven't lived in any other country for 7 years since we've been married. (Venezuela was a close second with 6 years.). Kaleb has spent over half his life in the Philippines, and Kevin nearly half. We've learned a lot about faith in the Philippines, and we've grown in our understanding of both grace and discipline. We've seen God work. We've been part of an incredible team. We finished what we went to the Philippines to do, and we have seen God answer the prayers that we began praying when we moved there 7 years ago.

We have another 11-hour flight, then tomorrow we'll be in Tucson. A new chapter is beginning, complete with new friends (and some old ones!), new opportunities, new challenges, and a new country. God will prove Himself faithful once more. We will continue to grow and learn and change.... at least I hope we will!

Stay tuned to be a part of this new faith adventure with us...

Thursday, August 09, 2012


You may have heard on the news about  the flooding in Manila. But's it on the other side of the world. It's easy to lose the impact this kind of rainfall has on individuals, on families, on the community. Each of the many people who has lost a home is a real person. A person like you with a father,  a mother, probably sisters and brothers and friends. In fact, living right here in Manila I haven't felt the impact. The rain has made it hard to go out. I feel tired and grumpy because the sun hasn't been out for over a week (until this afternoon!)

This was the view out the window when we arrived last Wednesday afternoon. A week later, this is how things looked on the street. As I sloshed through water that was mid-calf deep,  heading toward a dry house and a hot shower, I thought about the people around me. Some have lost their homes. Some have homes with water running through them. Some have lost families. On a city-wide scale, it's hard to appreciate the devastation. On a more personal level, I begin to understand.

Still, we are in a safe place. Our guesthome is relatively unaffected, beyond everyone being stuck inside listening to the pounding rain. We're enjoying time with friends and have ventured out a few times. We're blessed and encouraged as we hear what God is doing in various parts of the Philippines. We're challenged to pray when we hear how the evil one is attacking the work God is doing. We're blessed to be a part of it all.

Garry made one more trip to the government aviation offices on Monday and said his goodbyes there, leaving small gifts in the various offices. We're also taking care of paperwork while we're here-- closing our bank account, making sure our exit papers are in order, and the many other things that need done before leaving a country.

This evening we're headed out to play badminton again with our friends. Good times.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Opportunities & Experiences

It's beyond understanding some days that we left Mindanao and Palawan for the last time. For the foreseeable future, these places will only be visited in our memories. We've had so many incredible opportunities, so many great experiences there, and it's gone for now.

One of the last things we did in Palawan was stop at a Vietnamese restaurant for coffee. Our waiter didn't speak much English, but he tried really hard. He told us he'd immigrated from Vietnam and had only been in Palawan a short while. Palawan, where so many of our friends are struggling to find work, the place quite a few want to leave because of lack of opportunity, is the place this man had chosen to immigrate to in hopes of a better future. It's all in your perspective, isn't it?! And our perspective is created by our experiences and our responses to them. They brought my coffee in this cool little handmade drip cup... how many people have experienced that?!

We've been in Manila a few days now, and we are enjoying our time here. We've said a couple hard goodbyes here already, but mostly we've been saying "hello" the past few days. We've spent a fair amount of time at the badminton court, doing our best to make good use of the opportunities God is giving us with friends we've met through badminton.

Tomorrow the northern Luzon NTM conference is starting here at the guesthome, so we get to see all our friends from Luzon! This means that in our last 2 months in the Philippines we will have seen almost every NTM family that is on the field. With the way our works are spread out, that is truly amazing! Orchestrated by God. A gift.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


 We've done it before, and we'll do it again. I think we are better at packing then we've ever been, but we like it less. Maybe it's that some of the excitement of going somewhere new has worn off. Or maybe it's that we're just tired of the process-- sort it, pack it for multiple places, mark it, go somewhere else, unpack it, organize our new space, and then the cycle starts again!

I have a couple of coffees today, saying goodbye to friends. And in between we hope to get the house pretty much cleaned up. Garry is cleaning up some office stuff, ending his phone plan, buying cell phone load, taking Kevin to do some errands, and doing the actual packing. Tomorrow there will be enough last minute things without planning the day full! And, somewhere in there I'll have to bake something, my little therapy for times in transition.

The boys are doing their last table tennis lesson and sorting through their own stuff. And this evening we hope to have one last badminton time with our badminton friends.

I've been reading lately about thankfulness, about focusing on what God IS doing instead of becoming discouraged at what He is NOT doing. Our desire to control things gets in the way as we strive to figure things out, then make God fit into our expectations. And He never does! He is the one with the cosmic plan, the eternal purposes, the infinite wisdom and understanding. And it's His plan He's working, not ours. When we realize that, we begin to count blessings instead of disappointments. And in the process of counting blessing we are changed. We begin to appreciate His gifts instead of moaning about what we wish we had. We begin to appreciate His love, His plan, His grace, His goodness. And that is always a good thing!

What are 5 things you're thankful for today?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I decided to carry on a bit more with the idea of transition and change. And since this morning is yet another "last", I thought maybe I'd share some of my thoughts on the "lasts".

This morning Garry is headed north with Jason to one of our remote locations. If all goes as planned, this will be his last operational or training flight in the Philippines. Likely his last day at the hangar. The location where he's going has a special place in our hearts, because the Gospel was presented there for the first time when we lived in Palawan. The missionary families who have served there over the past 7 years have all been good friends. The tribal church there is growing and maturing. However, it's currently raining at that locations, so we might get to do this all again tomorrow! One way or another, Garry has already done his "last flight" into many locations.

Yesterday we finally finished our school year and are going into "summer maintenance" mode! When we start school again we'll be in Manitoba. I can hardly believe that another school year is done and homeschooling overseas will be a memory from now on.

Last Sunday we took Kevin's badminton coach and his wife out for lunch. Our last time with them as a couple, saying goodbye and reminiscing on some great times together. Thanking them for the help they've been to Kevin.

Quite a few of our missionary friends have been in town while we've been here, so it's been a series of goodbyes in that arena also. First one, then another, have returned to their remote locations. We've been avoiding saying goodbye as we realize that we might see them again here or there: and that we'll for sure have eternity together!

Yesterday we sent out an update, the last one we'll do from the Philippines. Favorite restaurants and favorite places are getting their last visit.

Yet, while we do so many "lasts" we are reminded that we are moving into something new. God is doing something new in our lives, taking us to new places and new experiences and new people. I always love the fact that each goodbye brings a hello, each ending is a new beginning. It's a tiny reflection of the reality of eternity-- life is circular, not linear.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Transitions. They happen to all of us, but some of us seem to be gifted with more of them than other people. Moving to a new house is a big transition. Moving to a new town is bigger yet. Transitions bring with them lots of opportunities to grow, change, and live by faith. I think this is true primarily because life feels out of control when we are in transition.

Our current transition includes a few facets, each of them challenging: Garry's job is changing, Kevin is a senior this year and making major decisions, and we're moving halfway around the globe. Join us in this journey as we see God prove Himself faithful and sufficient in the midst of monumental change!

This transition began in May when we started tearing the house apart and packing up. Decisions about what to keep here, what to send to Canada, and what to sell or give away were mostly easy. However, there are always items that are hard to decide on. What does this mean to me? Will I use this when it's winter half the year? Is this worth the space it will take in the crate, or should I leave it behind?

We moved out of our house the middle of June and left Malaybalay the end of the month. We'd lived in Malaybalay for nearly 3 years, and it was hard to say goodbye to friends, favorite places and activities, and leave our dog behind. 

Now we are in Palawan, repeating part of the process as we say goodbye to friends we've known since we arrived in the Philippines nearly 7 years ago. Though we haven't lived here for the past 3 years, we've been back several times and maintain a lot of connections. Puerto Princesa has a lot of special memories for us as a family, and it's hard to think of leaving here.

Next week we head to Manila to repeat the process there. We have many friends in the badminton community as well as missionary friends there. There are several places that we've visited several times a year for the past 7 years. Memories, connections.

Goodbye. See you later. I hope I come back some day. I'm really tired of saying those words. In fact, we are all getting tired of saying goodbye. Even as members of the same family, we respond differently to the sadness of saying goodbye. We experience the changes differently. We feel various "lasts" differently. But one thing is common-- it's hard.

As we walk through these realities, we are reminded once more that heaven is our true home. We are encouraged to know that God never wastes any pain that comes into our lives. We are blessed to be reminded how many friends and memories we've made over the past 7 years. We are thankful for the incredible experiences we've had here in the Philippines, seeing God do far beyond what we could have imagined. We are glad to know we have friends and family waiting for us on the other side of the globe. We are blessed by the constant assurance that God has good plans for us. We are humbled by how far God has brought us and the things He has done in our lives. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Monday madness

As a teenager one of the reasons I wanted to grow up was so I wouldn't have to go to school every week. The endless cycle of trying to get moving on Monday morning and getting so excited for the end of school on Friday bothered me-- I wanted every day to be the same or something. I'm not sure what I wanted, but I do know I envisioned life as an adult not having the same weekly cycle. But it does, at least for me right now. School days and weekend days. Schedules throughout the week, and a little more time to breathe on the weekends. Only now, the time to breathe on the weekend isn't quite as much as when I was a teenager!

Yesterday evening I sat down to plan my week and realized how many things I want to fit into just a few days! As I think about the fact that I only have 2 weeks left in Palawan, my mind starts reeling under the number of things I wanted to do here that haven't been done. It's a good reminder to find my center in God, to focus on Him and let Him work out the details-- I certainly can't figure out how everything can or will fit in!

You may have noticed that I'm not posting much about our everyday lives right now. It's not that things aren't happening, it's just that at the moment I can't find the words to express daily life. We are blessed to be staying in a nice guesthome here in Palawan, yet it is not home. Things are a bit disorganized and chaotic, despite my best efforts to organize them. Jason and Jen's checkout is going really well, but now that I have neglected to write about the first part of checkout, it's hard to start at the beginning. Plus, our internet is very poor, so when I get to posting here I tend to do so quickly. And my energy is still really low after having dengue, though my energy is not as bad as my brain, which seems to function at half speed these days!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Friday and the week is nearly gone. Amazing how that happens... Monday you think you have a long week ahead, and suddenly it's gone. Despite the way it's hurried by, it's been a good week. Garry and Jason have done a lot of flying this week, basically completing the checkout process in a couple locations. Jen and I have done some flight billing together. The boys have put in good days of school. We've seen several friends that we hadn't been able to catch up with until now.

But is that really the way to define a good week? While we are called to work and to do the things God has for us, what we do does not define us as people. We are defined by God, and His definition is always worse than our greatest fears and better than our wildest dreams. His redemption defines us, and as His creation we have value. And as His creation we love to accomplish tasks and connect with people and explore the reality of the God of the Universe. And I think that's good.... it's rewarding to do what we were created to do and there is no greater blessing than the opportunity to know God and live out His plan for our lives!

Friday, July 06, 2012

The Empanada Lady

When you move into a new place you invariably wonder with whom you will connect and how it will happen. Sometimes I think God smiles at the many ways He surprises us.

The Empanada Lady was one such surprise in Mindanao. She came by my house selling empanadas (vegetables and chicken wrapped in a thin crust and fried) soon after we arrived in Mindanao. I bought a few empanadas from her, and she came back.

In fact, she continued to return throughout our time in Mindanao. She came when it was sunny and hot and other days she arrived in the rain. Sometimes I gave her a cold drink or a piece of fruit. Often I simply bought her empanadas. Sometimes we chatted in broken words.

The Empanada Lady has two small children and her husband drives a motorella. They live with her in-laws, which doesn't always sound like it's the best situation. Nearly every afternoon she walks around town, selling the empanadas her mother-in-law makes.

Over Christmas I gave The Empanada Lady a small bag of food, ingredients for a spaghetti dinner, some fruit, and some drink mixes. When I gave her this small token of my friendship, she cried. I wondered why. Months later she explained to me that they had nothing in the house for their Christmas Dinner. They planned to go to her sister-in-law's house, but weren't so sure they would be welcome or fed there either. Then she came to my house, and the small gift allowed them to stay home as a family and enjoy a special dinner together. I never would have guessed!

Just before we left The Empanada Lady brought her kids. They brought me a beautiful little wall hanging, a reminder of them. Precious children, living in less than ideal circumstances. Yet loved by God. Pray with me that His love reaches out to this family in days, weeks, months, and years to come.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Goodbye, Scout...

We are loving Palawan, heat and all! Really, we're loving the people here, the people who were our first friends when we arrived in the Philippines. It is good to be back! Having Jason and Jen here is a bonus, a really nice way to say goodbye to this island.

Garry and Jason have been into several locations already, and the flight checkout is going very well. Tomorrow they'll be back in the air, headed south to several of our other locations. I spent part of a morning with Jen while she did radio flight following, mostly talking and doing a little work in between:).  

Since I didn't really get to blog through moving out of Mindanao, I wanted to continue blogging about some of what happened the last weeks while I was in the hospital and until we left. Leaving our dog Scout, was hard. The goodbyes were much easier knowing that he'd be staying with friends of ours. Thankfully, he and their lab Maggie got along well right from the start. I'm sure they're inseparable friends by now.... which doesn't mean we don't miss Scout, simply that we are content with where he is. 

It's funny how we cling to things, how one goodbye simply piles on another.... losing Kody was hard, more so because she suffered. But this goodbye was hard because it hit spots that were already raw from so many goodbyes, so many last things, so many closing chapters of our lives.