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.