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!

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Typhoon Odette and Other things

 December in NorthEastern Bohol brought Typhoon Odette.  She was the worst any here have seen in nearly 40 years.  We are now one month later and getting to an alternate normal.  I have to say the Filipino people are very good at working with what they have available.

God blessed us with a week to dry out  again and so many were able to get tarps up to replace missing roofs and in some places school classrooms and health centers have become "home".  Then one week after Odette the rains came in force to re-soak many.  Despite a week of heavy rains, relief goods started to arrive about 10 days post storm.  Since then most families have been receiving rations of rice and canned goods to support them.

Due to extra year end support we were able to supply my approximately 80 students with a hygiene pack each at our rescheduled closings.  We might try to determine another distribution in February, but it's hard to know what families really need the help versus just willing to take free stuff.  Due to this most of our "relief efforts" are going into support funding of projects already underway by those who have a way to determine who really needs the help.

This Thursday marked five weeks and I just finally got the last of my books out in the sun yesterday (Jan 21).  That means I will make my goal of having the Mission House ready for the kids to come back to read and play games in February!  We are still without regular phone/internet service and no electricity at all.

Jun and I had hoped to move into our house my our second anniversary (Feb14), but God provided Odette to redirect that plan.  Our house was flattened so we were able to let those neighbors use our newer materials to rebuild shelter for them as we have the Mission House available to us still.  So our one house is now two houses and sheltering almost a dozen people.

I will likely begin regular class again in March, but we are taking this time to pray over what that might look like.  Perhaps God is using this break as a way to open the door for the next step he has planned.

Many are asking what we need in response to the recovery.  Our two greatest needs remain the same as before the Typhoon... #1. Prayer #2. Financial Partners.  I am thinking of starting an official prayer link/chain but am at a loss of how to do that.  It would be nice if I could have a central place to add and update specific prayer requests and allow people to respond.  I know many of you pray for us, but it's hard for me to know who and how best to connect.  We have a dream of mentoring and financially supporting youth through at least high school, but that would require a lot more financial partners than we currently have in place.  We were going to try starting at least more intentionally mentor when we moved to our new location, but who knows how long off that will be now.  We have put off deciding which to build next (mentoring dorm OR new house)

until at least June/July as we need to reassess the budget and start anew with savings for it.  If anyone is interested in sponsoring youth in the future, you can let us know now.  If you are ready you can become financial partners now to help us get started building up the capital funds, otherwise we will be sure to contact you directly when the time comes to determine how many students we can sponsor.

If I can get my regular newsletter out in time look for ways to get linked the ministry in these more specific ways.

In the mean time, thanks for your prayers and concern!  Be blessed so you can bless others!

~Jun and Christine Apatan

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

September and October

 Wow!  We say "time flies when you are having fun." I guess I've been having fun!

In early September I started working with three wonderful ladies to prepare for this teaching term.  We had the 6 classes planned, but only 4 have worked out. The other two have to wait because Covid cases are running high in that area.

Now we have had more than 60 kids come over that past six weeks for Narnia and The Greatest Journey.  Also 5 high school kids who are working on grammar with us.  The last class I do solo (well Jun helps me sometimes) in Mabini and we have had 30+ contacts there.  Including the two times we met before the other classes were cancelled we have hosted more than 100 students.

Three of the four curricula are new so it has taken a bit more effort on my part to be prepared.  I couldn't have done it with out the class assistants.  We are taking next week off from classes to meet as teachers and prepare for the second half of classes.  I have invited their families to come and eat with us on Saturday so I can share with them how much I appreciate their willingness to spare their loved ones to help in our ministry.

All the time the ladies and I are planning and teaching Jun is our transportation when off site.  He was somewhat happy when the two new classes were put on hold because he has started planting!  Every week he adds a new batch of corn so it will come to harvest at intervals instead of all at once.  In between he is planting things for the long term like coconut and banana trees as well as some other local fruits that we could, Lord willing, beginning to eat in 5-7 years!  He is also sowing various vegetables for our own consumption.  I expect a bountiful harvest come the new year and spring... as long as the rats and karabao don't destroy them!

Please thank God with us for a growing group of kids and teachers to work with.

Also for the rains that have come to allow things to be planted and begin growing.

Please pray with us over the continued processing of my visa updating.  One step at a time, but still many to go apparently.

Also pray with us as we approach the season of Advent that we will know how to share our resources and handle the expectations of those around us.

Thank you and have a wonderful rest of October!

Thursday, August 12, 2021

The world kept turning...

 Last weekend I was struck with fever.  It was preceded by a week long headache and reached 102F (39C).  For two days it was a battle to get it down to 100, finally it broke but wouldn't give up!  Three more days of 99/100 and this morning I finally woke with my normal 97!  My life and actions were stalled, but the world kept on turning.

My husband was a great caretaker, but I'm happy to be back to normal.  Today I rode with him to our house to see things...

Each side needs details, but the big sections of wall are up.  It will take time yet to trim them all and fit the small cuts, but it's looking like a house now.

Seed Life is also showing signs of growth...

Coconut to be planted soon...

Alugbati.... A local version of spinach that is delicious!

Bell peppers almost ready to spread out.

This excites me!  It is one of three cacao plants!  I don't know how long before it fruits, but we will eventually be making our own cocoa powder and maybe chocolate trials?

I've never seen the vine before, but Jun tells me it what the locals call sinkamas which is what we call jicama.

One of about a dozen banana saplings Jun has on the border near the house.  Eventually he hopes to have a couple hundred ... Let's see how long that takes!

Jun tossed a handful of our old seed corn, but only a few sprouted so it will become chicken feed instead of being planted.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

June and July: Class Closings

 We've been busy the last month or so with lots of good things. Classes in Juagdan finished at the end of June so it was time to sort out all the students' work and make sure everything was graded. There were over 50 folders to prepare and two different certificates for most of them. It's fun stuff, but lots of work in a short time. The first week of July we then had our closing party! Thanks to all sorts of donors we were able to give great prizes and have delicious snacks. In honor of the one class we ended with popcorn and a movie (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe!). The Mabini class took a few extra meetings to finish and so we just hosted a dozen of them at our new place to celebrate three different groups of students (4 participated in all 3 classes!). Now I will take the rest of July and part of August to set up the lessons for the next term. I am hoping to finally add some classroom assistants so I can add back a class in Guintaboan as well as perhaps starting in Cagting already!

Jun has been busy doing various tasks on our property. Still doing bits and pieces of the building, but also preparing the field for planting. We had a visit from the municipal tractor to down all the jungle grass and break up the soil. Jun is hoping it can come again, but he might just have to spray lots of weed killer. He started in a small area to test out some sweet corn and mongo beans. Once planted he will go back to building more consistently. Lord willing, financially we are hopeful to be able to have enough saved to drill our well in October. It's a little more expensive at the start, but higher potential of a safe drinking water source! Although we will always have the purified water for any visitors🤓

I will try to post pictures later today...