No matter where I am I have friends who are half a world away. I want to stay connected and keep my supporters informed. Some times I will be very busy and only update once in a while. Other times I might bore you with how much I have to say :) Just check back once in a while when you are thinking of me and see what I'm up to!

Monday, August 31, 2020

Well, let's try.

 I am going to attempt a new way of posting to possibly get more in.  I'm sorry if pictures don't line up with the description.  Well, so here goes nothing....

August has been filled with hard work and fun.

Jun is doing lots of maintenance at the farm in Palayan which is about 30 minutes away from home.  Twice this month I've been able to join him to see the work and progress.  This day Jun was using the weed whacker to cut back the grass.  It's a lot more work than just a lawn mower, but it's what they do here.



It hard to see the second bunch because everything is so green around here, but these are two of Jun's banana trees yielding good bunches!



Close up of one of the currently 6 bunches growing well right now.



Last fall after visiting some of Jun's friends in Leyte we were able to bring back a bunch of pineapple tops to attempt growing.  Of about 100 only about 20 have survived.  They also keep getting overgrown by the vines and weeds!



We have saved hundreds of papaya seeds and Jun is hopping at least 20 will survive.



There is cassava both close to harvest and still very young.. It takes about 3 months and grows to about 6 feet tall.


Jun is master of mixing crops to make the most of the land.  Here you can see the corn growing up around the banana trees.  There are also some coconut trees, guava trees, and even some mung beans somewhere.



We have also been able to go swimming a few times but no pictures because salt water and electronic devices don't mix well.  We tend to drive there, swim for about 30-45 minutes and then drive back all wet because there is no public restroom to store stuff or change in.  It is a good and free way to relax our muscles from the physical work and stress build up.


It has also been about a month that we have been going to Restored Heritage on Friday for a class.  To end the unit on food we made our own deviled eggs and tuna salad.  This unit did a lot with compare and contrast so we followed two recipes of each and I even made an additional one that mixed tuna and eggs!  They were also required to write out a recipe for me that included an ingredient list and the procedure.  It was quite enjoyable and now I have some additional Filipino dishes to try.


(If this posts well I will add photos from their presentations...and maybe a couple recipes they shared!)









Tuesday, August 4, 2020

July was here, but then it left.

(This is one of the communication pieces that I haven’t figure s out well on the iPhone, plus the program updated and has some flaws,  like I cannot preview the page or adjust photos.  Sorry for errors!)

It has been nearly six month and often I still find it hard to believe I’m married.  Sometimes I think no one has ever lived a life like mine.  Then I remember Ecclesiastes and “there is nothing new under the sun.”  It’s my own translation from memory, but that’s the idea.  That and there is a time for everything.  I’m doing a lot of adjusting but so is everyone else in this world.  We aren’t the first cross-cultural couple.  We aren’t the only missionaries to get married after living in the field.  We aren’t the only ones not able to do what we want because of COVID restrictions.  We aren’t the first to understand just how hard relationships are to keep alive.  We aren’t the first to have failed expectations.

Just like everything else there is also the list of positive aspects in our lives as well.  We aren’t the only ones who God has provided for both physically and financially.  We aren’t the only ones who have the opportunity to stretch new ministry muscles.  We aren’t the first to enjoy simple pleasures like running water and free drinking water.  We aren’t the first to have regular access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  We aren’t the only ones to have people coming to ask to participate in our ministry programs.

Some days I feel like I’m failing at everything.  I begin thinking things like... I’m a bad missionary.  I hate that I’ve given up so many comforts.  I’m failing as a wife.  I’m lazy.  Nothing works right.  Internet sucks!  People just don’t understand me.  I’m just stuck here.  Those days are rough, very rough.  But I get over it.  I remember I’m doing what God has called me to do.  While I’ve given up things they are just things.  No one is a perfect spouse but I’m trying to learn to do better.  It’s just some things that don’t work the same as they did in the US and I am still adjusting.  The internet really does suck, but again it’s just a thing.  The language and culture barriers exist, but both sides are working at understanding.  I’m not really stuck here.  I’m choosing to stay where God has placed me.


Financial Update:

We have 16 regular partners (including 2 churches) who donate every month or quarter.

We have set a goal of adding enough to be receiving $1500 monthly from our current and new partners by 2021.

We are approximately 85% of the way to this goal!

We are still looking for another 4 or 5 regular partners so let us know if you are interested.


Communication update:

We still have a stack of about 45 letters to go out but international mail to the US is still not being accepted.  Once they are sent I apologise for how long it has been in coming!

We will be trying to get a newsletter out this month via CTEN’s printing.

I usually can get email at least once a week sometimes more often (try Juagdanenglish@gmail.com)

My Samsung phone died and we haven’t replaced it yet so some tasks are taking a lot longer because the iPhone doesn’t work as well with the internet or my computer.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Is this the new norm?

Another month has passed.  What’s new?  The well is finished or at least it is functional and supplementing the need so we don’t need to “store” water any more, but we do occasionally have to haul in a few buckets when the flow is lacking or wait an extra day to do laundry.  Not so bad, but still very different.  Oh and the rains have started to fall a little.


We were able to visit a fair number of my students at their homes to share their semester end certificates and folders.  I was able to invite them to come on the permitted days to read and color in the Mission House.

We are also getting ready to pass out a few small portions of rice to some families we know are in need of help with essential items.  Some friends in another ministry on the other side of the island received a donation of flip flops that they shared so we are also in the process of determining who to distribute 60 pairs of the new footwear for kids!


It’s a different feel for me right now.  2020 is definitely a transitional year.  My family came for the first time, I got married, ministry is fluctuating away from use of my educational skills toward relational and mentoring.  There is still hopes to return to regular classroom teaching, but we may be turning more toward the mentoring side sooner than expected.

Right now we are still required to use social distancing, face masks, and youth are only allowed out on Friday and Saturday.  The regular school system will be done either by weekly modules or online.  When we visited homes earlier this month Jun talked with parents to see if their kids were enrolled yet.  Only about half of them were which makes me nervous for their future.  Jun and I will likely put something together as a way of accountability and support to the students we know are most at risk of not completing the next school year.  We are not sure yet what that will look like but we shared with families that they are welcome to come see us anytime if they need help with the modules.  I also let students know they are welcome to come visit when they are allowed out to read and color.  I’ve been having some easy educational worksheets out as well and a few of the kids have come and seem to enjoy it.  I’m also hoping to start back with the two classes that were smaller.  They were my more advanced students and generally more comfortable with me anyway so I talked to some of them and they seemed excited.


One thing I sent to myself during my US visit last December was a series of workbooks from Family Entertainment Network Inc.  It has activities and colouring pages based on many Old Testament characters and Parables of the New Testament.  They were originally part of a video series, but all I sent was the workbooks.  I’m so blessed that my mom bought and kept those books from back in the 1990’s because the copyright allows photocopies as long as they aren’t sold!  I’m going to start using these for some of the kids too.  I’m going to do a test run this weekend and visit an area that I know has a couple of the families close by and I’ll read the story of Abraham and Sarah while they color and do the activities.  I might even surprise them and read parts in Visayan!  No promises.  If nothing else I will just slowly share the pages with them as I can distribute them.


As always thanks for your support!



Praises!

We are continuing to be blessed in the ability to reach out even if it’s not the way I expected.


Prayers:

Continued directing from God as to what comes next.

I (Christine) have actually gotten sick twice in the last month.  Not respiratory so no COVID, but it seems to indicate a weak immune system right now and I t concerns me a little bit.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

COVID-19 and Lent

    This year has been a roller coaster of ups and downs and we haven’t even made it halfway through!  January and February were super busy maintaining a class schedule, planning a wedding, and hosting guests from across the Philippines and USA.  March was full of more classes, putting regular life back in order, and figuring out married life. Amidst all of this COVID-19 arose. One day in Sunday service the pastor asked us, “Kinsay ang ‘korona’?” (Who has ‘corona’?)  The people looked at each other nervously. He then proclaimed loudly that he had hoped everyone did because of having the ‘korona’ of life in their hearts. Everyone had a good laugh and “Amen!”
    Last night I read Nehemiah 8 and verse 11 says: “So the Levites quieted all the people saying, ‘Be still, for the day is holy.  And do not be grieved and sad’.” Now this is in light of Ezra reading the Book of the Law of Moses but over the last few weeks I have often thought, “Is God telling the world ‘Be Still!’?”  I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but here in the Philippines most things are closed until April 14th.  That is 2 days following Resurrection Sunday.  Is God making us remember to give up thing things of this world and remember what he said, “Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10)
    Believe me I understand this is a depressing time.  I cannot see, much less teach my precious students in this time, but I am doing what I can to still be the light to the world.  When reading last night I was using the Amplified Bible. Psalm 37 begins: “Fret not yourself … Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed.  Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart … Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself … (1a, 3, 4, and 7a)
    The inner teacher in me brings out one of my many dictionaries…
rely = to depend confidently; put trust in. (trust = reliance on the integrity, justice, etc., of a person)
truly = 1. in a true manner; faithfully 2. legitimately.
fret = 1. to give oneself up to feelings of irritation, resentful discontent, regret, worry, or the like 2. to cause corrosion; gnaw.
delight = a high degree of please or enjoyment; joy; rapture (= ecstatic joy or delight; joyful ecstacy)
also = in addition; too; further
Rely on and be confident in the Lord AND do goodThese are hard things to remember to do all the time, but if we remember to then we truly shall be fed.  I am trying to fret not as the world changes around me.  I DO NOT want my life to be full of corrosion.  It is easy to know God will provide for us, but it is another to depend confidently and trust that he will do so faithfully and legitimately!  And then we have delight yourself ALSO in the Lord.  Why ALSO and what exactly does it mean to delight yourself?  We cannot just rely on God, WE MUST FIND PLEASURE IN DOING SO!  I’ll be honest, I am not there yet. Oh I put my trust in God alright and depend on Him.  However, I’m certainly not confident about it because I’m pretty sure it won’t turn out how I would like.  I am most certainly not in ecstasy over what God is doing in my life.  I have a lot to work on if I want not just to be fed, but achieve the desires and secret petitions of my heart
I am going to make the effort to remember to “Be Still” and rest this Holy Week.  Often we cause our own stresses, but the next 10 days I want to forget everything else and REMEMBER who God is and what he did for ME (and YOU!) through his son.  I leave you with Zechariah 2:13 “Be still, all flesh, before the Lord, for He is aroused and risen from His holy habitation.”