Thursday, January 30, 2014


It’s strange really, this being back in the Philippines. A million memories and a thousand new experiences. I’ve been gone just long enough to see life here through more Canadian eyes, but not long enough for those eyes to be the only set I have.

The poverty. The dirt. The smell. The hordes of people. The friendliness. The rhythm of life. The community. The friendships. The traffic. The status-oriented culture. The utter impossibility of people dramatically improving their lives. The hope of the truth. The bondage of lies. The wealth. The potential.

It sinks in, and settles deep. These are familiar things, familiar places. These are people I love, and millions I’ll never know. Their pain is written on my heart in unfathomable ways. Their need is etched in my spirit. 

Their culture has deepened my perspective in unforeseen ways. Their community has impacted mine. They’ve changed me. 

I experience life as normal and sane and almost predictable. Buying apples for kids on the street on Christmas morning. Spending unforeseen hours figuring and re-figuring numbers.    Creating a menu from local foods and finding it normal. Missing rice when potatoes are served. An unexpected invitation for lunch on Christmas day. New Years with friends who provided an amazing spread. Airplanes and schedules and fuel burn feel like second nature, yet I realize I’ve been long outside of this. Guesthomes feel like homes and we move between them all too quickly. Buying load for the cell phones and finding a texting deal. Sitting calmly while the taxi driver navigates Manila traffic. Seeing a mouse in my room and simply pointing him out in the middle of a conversation. 

I hope I’ve also changed them. I pray the little things matter, because all I can offer is the little things. The problems are too big for me to fix:  many things don’t really need fixing. This is another place and it was never meant to be Canada. It is the Philippines.... and a part of my heart will always belong here, no matter where I wander.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Seaweed delivered and ER visited

I still haven't properly written up our visit to Mindanao, but life keeps happening, so I'm moving on. Last week we arrived back in Manila on Monday evening and Tuesday morning Garry and Dominic took off for Batangas. What's in Batangas? A seaweed farm! 

It was a beautiful trip and they had plenty of time to enjoy the scenery because their vehicle didn't go very fast. The A-Star arrived on Wednesday morning and the guys got right to work. The seaweed was delivered in rice sacks, which they loaded onto the heli. From there the seedlings were transported to Conception, and from there to farms on Conception and a couple of other nearby islands. A week later Philip reported, "The seaweeds are doing great. The people are so happy. They are all saying what good quality seaweed it is and how fast it is growing. This made a huge impact on the people and will no doubt be great for the furtherance of the gospel. The Lord is going to use this mightily to glorify His name and bring people to know Him. We  know it is still a long road ahead to recovery but nothing is to small for the Lord."

While waiting for the heli to deliver the seaweed Garry and Dom were treated to some great Filipino hospitality. They spent time with farmers and their families, went for a drive, and even got to tour a lighthouse that's over 100 years old!

The end of last week we spent on paperwork. This week was set aside for meeting with the aviation team in a number of various ways, and we've been enjoying that. God has given this team a lot of great gifts and we so enjoy spending time with them!

Tuesday evening Kaleb began complaining of a stomach ache, and by Wednesday noon he was in the operating room for an appendectomy! We are so thankful for good medical care here, and the experience has been as positive as surgery can be. Kaleb is recovering well and he should be able to go home tomorrow!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Going to Mindanao

Today I thought I'd post a few photos... First, a few days in Manila

 Dinner as a family

 Celebrating 23 years of married life:)

This is the reality of commercial travel... coffee out of paper cups (yeah, it was amazing coffee, but still. It's paper! And sitting cramped in aircraft seats, reading or playing a video game or planning the next thing that's happening.

Then we got to travel on our own little airplane...

And finally, our destination! 

Friday, January 03, 2014

Mindanao this week...

This week Garry, Kaleb, and I are in Mindanao! It's been fun to be back at an old home, enjoying time with friends and hearing what God is doing here. Though we've done some visiting, it hasn't gotten the time we would have wished because our week has been really busy. We came to help with some aircraft maintenance and bookkeeping, and those things have kept us all very busy.

The guys are doing an inspection on the airplane that flew 66 hours for relief work over the past weeks.    Since it came home from relief work it's been busy moving supplies and people, so it needed a bit of TLC. The inspection is coming along well, but they aren't going to be able to finish before we have to head back to Manila. So, we'll have to make a plan for that.... 

Seaweed seedlings
The rush to get back to Manila isn't to be in Manila.... it's to help deliver seaweed seedlings to the islands around Cuyo. The seedlings have a 24-hour shelf life between picking and re-planting, and the only available seedlings are far from where devastated farms are in need of them. So, Garry will drive several hours south of Manila to a seaweed farm to help organize and load the seaweed. It will fly direct to Conception, one of the islands that is centrally located and from which it can easily be transported to farmers on other islands. The logistics have been really challenging, but God is bringing things together and we are excited to see the farmers able to replant next week!