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!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Summer is HERE!

I really do try to post more often, but the thing is the internet isn't so kind to me.  Sometimes I have enough patience to spend an hour trying to load one page, but other times 5 minutes and I give up!  Sometimes it takes only two tries and I accomplish something.  Other times it takes weeks to complete a task.  I had found a sweet spot to sit in that received excellent signal most of the time (except for trying to upload videos...), it was such a sweet spot that if I moved just six inches one way or the other I would complete loose signal.  Now in the past two weeks I have run into two issues:  That spot is in direct sunlight so it's beastly hot AND it doesn't seem to be receiving such great signal anymore.

Being honest, I've mostly reverted to the stone age of handwriting my drafts for everything!  If I don't write it down then it doesn't happen.  By the time I get signal to work I generally forget things even if I do have them written down because I get so frustrated.  For the first time in my teaching career my lesson plans are handwritten instead of typewritten!  I should probably scan them and to save them, but oh well.  I am glad I've had more than 5 years of practice teaching so that I'm not as dependent on doing research because I don't even have a team of teachers to check in with unless I have internet!

With the beginning of April the kids finished the school year and I got to attend several closing ceremonies and experienced many firsts.  Catholic mass at a public university graduation.  Watching parents get to process with their graduates into the room.  Seeing proud parents given the opportunity to publicly don their children with the awards they have just received.  Many group songs and dances.  I even had the opportunity to be the "proud parent" for one of the young men in the compound as he was awarded honors for high marks and participating in Boy Scouts of the Philippines.

With school being out the kids are also around a lot more.  It got me to thinking and so this week we started some new classes just for the summer months.  The first is simply an hour class to come and play word games.  I have Scrabble, Bananagrams, and Quiddler to start.  We also had word searches and played hangman.  I will be doing some research to find more games as well... feel free to share if you have ideas.

A second option for the summer is the idea of pen pals.  I will take a month or so this summer to teach the idea and give them practice.  We will cover the basics of what writing a letter takes as well as what is appropriate to share and ask.  After this I will need help from my sponsors to match students here with people back in the US.  If you are interested please e-mail me for more details at: juagdanenglish@gmail.com

I also recruited two of the young people to help teach the little kids.  They will meet twice a week and cover basic English and Visayan for things like colors, shapes, parts of the body, and animals.  The first class we a hit and they ended up spending two hours together instead of my expected one!

Tomorrow I will be spending a day at a higher elevation in which I hope to be able to post more pictures... be on the look out!  (Again, being honest it might take two weeks even though I already know which pictures I want to post!)

Hope you had a blessed Holy Week.  Kristos Anesti!  Alithos Anesti!  Our Savior Reigns on High!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Photo Drop

Having fun doing classroom activities.
These shelves are full of textbooks and other fun activities to use during class.  Eventually it will become a lending library.

Multiple shelves were built and donated in honor or my good friend Craig.

Me and Mickeila in front of the mission house.
Their was a youth event in February that the Juagdan Church sponsored.


These are called Sea Grapes.  There need to be washed really good, but then you just dip them in vinegar or soy and they are delicious little explosions of saltwater in your mouth!

James is one of our youth and he did a special song as part of the praise.

Yes, that is a person up in the coconut tree.  He was hired by Kuya Jonah to harvest the coconuts on the property.

This is an example of a rice field that is still quite young.  I think they get about three harvests per rainy season.
Part of the Bohol Sea.  A sight I see regularly when I travel to Tagbilaran or just over to the beach at Guintaboan.

A visit to Panglao and this view is from the point in Doljo by where my friend has been teaching youth.

Another view off the point of Panglao.

Ate Amy is one of my local mentors and an excellent student!  She hasn't missed a class yet :)

Part of the beach at Panglao.  There were white sands for part of the beach but also larger portions that were all rocky.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Just roll with it...

Somedays I forget my skin is still a novelty to many around here.  I'll catch someone staring and automatically wipe my nose just in case I have a booger hanging out.  Then I stroke my hair to make sure it's not crazy.  When all is good I suddenly remember I'm "puti" aka white.  Directly in Juagdsan they are so used to it because there are three of us around all the time.  We met another single white lady who has been living in Panglao for 10 years.  She came to stay for a few days and didn't know we were there until later because we were away the first part of her visit.  When we finally met her commemt was, "I wondered why they weren't staring at me around here.  Now I know why!"
I'm contemplating this right now because I'm currently returning to Juagdan after a visit to Cebu to extend my tourist visa for what I hope is the last time (I should have the missionary one before this expires) and just caught a young man staring at me.  Then I realized several of the women were too.  The funny thing is now it just makes me smile or even laugh when I realize it is happening.
As stated above I had to renew again because my name has not appeared on the approved list yet.  Please be praying with me that it does show up in the next month. (If not I'm not sure what the next step is going to be.)  I will say that I've renewed enough times that it seems like a smooth process and this was the quickest one yet.  Only 2 1/2 hours!  It just means I might get home before dark this time. 😀
Classes are now 7 weeks down and I'm definitely in a routine. Although I will admit this past week was a bit rough because my routine was thrown off more than once.  One day when I was supposed to be doing a one on one tutoring session I was called away to meet someone for lunch.  (Thankfully the student understood and we just moved it to the next day)  Then Saturday we had a scheduled brownout.  That means no power from 6am to 6pm.  I wasn't told until almost 10pm the night before and didn't think about the fact that I had not printed enough worksheets for all my classes!  Yep, we still had classes even with no power. 😅  The first two classes it's no big deal because the daylight is enough. But the sun disappears shortly after 5pm and my last class is from 5-7pm.  Well we improvised.  The girls who are the most faithful showed up at 4pm and asked about class.  I was ready so we started early and only met for 1 1/2 hour instead of 2 hours.
Around here being flexible is a must.  Most days I'm good with it, but man did this past week suck it out of me!  I'm so exhausted and because of this trip I'm behind on both laundry and lesson planning so I don't know what I'm going to do!
It's okay I'll come up with something...hey "Do the laundry" is one of the things we introduced this past week!
Update:  Three days later... I did make it home before dark and had dinner with the family😁  Laundry was more than usual, but still done by noon along with lesson plans.  Laundry was even dry by bedtime!  But last night I forgot about Bible study...oops.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

About Valentine’s Day and Love

So this post isn’t really about my ministry or life here.  This is just my thoughts so I’m sorry if you disagree.

Really it’s just another day of the week today.  What is Valentines Day anyway?  Celebrate love with chocolate, flowers, and cards?  No, love is so much more than that stuff.  It isn’t all sweets and roses.  Love is hard and it hurts.  People say you can’t choose who you  love and that it’s all a heart thing.  I disagree.  I know love is a choice.  We either choose to love or not love.  Now I don’t think it’s either love or hate, but it’s to love or not to love.

I mean someone comes up to you and proclaims, “I love you!”  What happens?  Either way you have to make a decision cyision.  You might already know the person and have thought the same but never proclaimed it.  At which point you would likely decide to really let yourself go to them and love them with everything because you now know it’s a returned love.  Or perhaps you think, “Ew, gross.  No way.”  In which case you have already decided to not love them.   The third choice is that either your had not thought about it yet or do not know them.  In this case you will either decide you don’t want to love them or you will decide you can “give it a go.”
In that last scenario I would highly caution you no matter which decision is made.  Love has a price that ultimately costs your life.  It is something to not be taken lightly.  If you choose to love the person your lives will never be the same again.  If you choose to not love them and they really do love you their life will never be the same again.

Once you love someone, even if not romantically, they become a part of your story.  Now I’m not talking about adolescent lusting after that hot guy or gorgeous girl.  I’m talking about the people you truly love and let into your life.

Check out 1 Corinthians 13.  It talks all about love and what it is and does.  For example, love keeps no record of wrongs.  The thing you have to realise is that it describes perfect love so really only God lives up to that standard.  However, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to live up to that standard.  Not living up to that standard is why love hurts so much.  To really be able to not keep a record of wrongs is not an easy task.  To always persevere is also not an easy task.  Sometimes they just really irritate you and you want to shake them!  What we need to remember is that it goes both ways.  God expresses perfect love to us I mean he literally sacrificed his flesh and blood for us to have eternal life.  So, what does that mean for us?  It means we can’t say, “God, do you remember that time I didn’t covet my neighbour’s spouse?  Can I have some grace and get away with wishing my own spouse was like them?”  That’s just trading one wrong with another.  Still not perfect love.  It should be more like, “Hey God, you remember that time you helped me forgive my spouse for lusting after my neighbour’s spouse?  Can you help me through this next battle because I can’t live with out you.”

I let myself romantically love someone once.  Looking back it really was love because if it was just lust I would have let it go and moved on much quicker.  But here I am 15 years later and it still hurts to think about that time in my life.  I was of marrying age, we had similar backgrounds, he was a Christian, I was physically attracted to him, and his family had accepted me as one of their own.  He had responded with, “Okay, let’s give it a go.”  Then after a few months he must have decided either he didn’t love me or at least he didn’t want to keep loving me.  Thankfully I am still on speaking terms with his family because they are one of my supporters and they are wonderful people.  But I still feel awkward when around him or his now wife.  I still love him it’s just as a sibling in Christ rather than romantically.  But I am a different person because of him and that love.  I approach romantic love much more hesitantly and perhaps that is playing it too safe, but I have saved much heartbreak for myself because of it.  I’d like to have a romantic love for a man again someday, but it scares me just thinking about it.

Lord, I think you have some man you are preparing for me, but I don’t know who or where he is.  Will you give us both the strength to respond in love when your time is right?  I’m sorry if I’ve been too hesitant and wasted our  potential time together.  Please help him to be patient with me if I am not ready when he asks.  Please help me be patient until you reveal him to me and help me be ready for his heart when he offers it.  Help me understand that love crosses all barriers, but remind me so does lust.  Give me the grace, wisdom, and knowledge to tell the difference.
Amen and amen

Friday, January 18, 2019

Happy 2019!

December was so crazy as you can see I forgot to post the update I did write!

As said, the pageant went good.  Travel to Negros was good as well.  It was their annual conference, but this year was a special celebration of their 50th year.  All the pastors and wives were recognized as well as the missionaries.  I even received an official certificate of ordination as a missionary in their denomination.  It was exciting and exhausting all at the same time.

The last two weeks have now been focused on two major things:
#1. Official 9G missionary visa application
#2. Planning the first classes

Neither of these tasks are without frustration or complication, but the Lord is in control.

The 9G application has been submitted, return trip for interview is done, and now I wait for my name to show on the approved list.  In the mean time I just need to keep my tourist visa up to date.

Planning classes doesn't require the travel that visa does, but I'm still anxious. I ask that you be in prayer with me over this.  I think I am almost ready which is good because they start in 24 hours!  My big concerns are their high expectation of me and the potential mixed level of students within any one class.  Both are expected and I can handle it, I'm just nervous about getting things started.  I'm hopeful it is just that "first day of class" jitters.  I'm sure come Monday I will be even more exhausted than normal, but it's what I'm here for 😀

Hopefully next month I will have photo updates from all these events and joys to share about these first days of teaching and learning.  Be blessed and thank you for your support!