June 10, 2000|
I'm finally here in the Philippines! The trip, including lay-overs and stops took more 15 hours, which can really make you too tire to want to do a thing. I went from Detroit to Nagoya, Japan, and from there to metro Manila, Philippines.
My headset on the plane didn't work, so I couldn't watch the movie on the plane (Stewart Little). The stewardess tried to find an empty seat so I could watch the movie from a seat where the earphones worked, but they couldn't find one, so I looked out the window instead and discovered that the Alaskan mountains looked really nice. I have never seen anything like them before. They were all white, with just a little black, almost like someone drawing mountains a white sheet of paper using charcoal. They went as far as the eye could see.
June 10, 2000
It's very hot and humid in the Philippines just as I expected, and had been told. I just met my supervisor, Bill Weibe. He has blond-brown hair and a short beard. He and his family are from Canada, and his slight accent is Canadian, thought I never realized it before. He has a nice family and a drawer full of candy in his office. That's what's really nice, because I like candy. The only thing about his office is that there is a nice big window, and right behind it is a nice grey cement wall. I think I'll volunteer to paint it.
I don't really have any jet lag, but I still don't feel like running all over the place quite yet. So today I'm going to the "Mega Mall", the biggest mall in the Philippines. At the mall I'll see what the exchange rate really is by purchasing soda-pop. The people here (the other missionaries) think it's funny that I'm asking how much soda costs or how much taxis cost even though I'm not riding them, or drinking the soda... but asking helps me figure out the exchange rate better, because it is useless to compare money, because really, there is no comparison because the entire economy of each country is different from the other.
It's interesting that they don't have "good" peanut butter here. It seems like each country makes their own style of peanut butter, and no two are alike. The Filipino peanut butter is really, really sweet, so the missionaries here like States peanut butter for Christmas.
I can't understand anything in the language here (Tagálog). Everyone speaks a little English, but I don't want to speak English. I like to speak to people in their own language.
Anyway, the taxi's here to take me to the mall, so I have to go now.
June 11, 2000
I am the only World Team intern here in the Philippines from the States for this summer. Everyone else on my team never made it. So, I'm here, but not by myself becuase there are lots of people around. The missionaries always seem to be coming and going all the time. I'm staying in the World Team guest house in St. Ignasious Village, Manila, so I get meet all the missionaries from the jungle who are here to pick up supplies and from the city. I'm staying here (at the guest house) until July 17 or 18, and then I'll be going to the jungle to work with the church planting team there. Right now I'm doing language learning at the local language school on Tangdangsora Ave. I'm also doing visitaions with a local Filipino church, also helping with the youth group.
Hmm, in about five minutes I'm going on visitations. Mabye I can type out my schedule on internet. That way everyone can see what I'm doing and so on. I might even be able to put pictures there, but not ones I've taken. I did get a camera, but since I'm not used to having one, I haven't taken many pictures yet.
When the Americans were here (from the Spanish American War until a little while ago), they left behind military jeeps. The Filipinos used these jeeps for public transportation. After time they started making jeepneys just for people to ride in, and so now they make up most of the public transportation. I'll see if I can get a picture of one. (Quickly, and behind a palm tree, so I won't look like a turist). When you get in to a jeepney you give the driver your money and say something, like bayed-ko (or something like that) and when you get off you say paray (or something like that in Tagálog).
Anyway, have to go.
June 12, 2000
Today is independance day here (I think). I wonder what I'll do today. I'm suposed to be reading a book on culture, but I already read it. There is a nice "Mega-Mall" and they sell lots of really nice Japanese and Chinese candy. The also have a place called the Mongolian restaurant, in which there is a buffet. You put whatever you want in your bowl, but then you don't eat it yet, because it's all raw. You give them (the waiters) your bowl, and then they stir-fry all your stuff. It's really good. (as long as you understand proportions and food mixing). Some people put tons and tons of soysause and it ends up terrible.
They have "Milo" here, and they also have "Maggi" (You know, the bullion cube company). There are lots of clothes stores, and even poor people who live in shacks have nice clothes.
So far, I only know a few words in Tagálog. It's such a confusing language, only because they use both English words and Spanish words for a lot of stuff. So far all the Tagálog words seem all blured together a bit. The word kaiyo meand "you" and taiyo (emphisis on the yo) means "stand". But táiyo (emphisis on the ta) means "us". Ba-hi means "house" or "home". The numbers usually are said in Tagálog, Spanish or English, depending on the context.
Oh yeah, I saw a nice lizard yesterday. He climbed up a wall. He was really nice, and even sounded like a lizard should... you know with the soft thud sounds as he walks, and sticks to the wall.
well, I'd better go now.
June 13, 2000
Today was my first language lesson. It was fun. The teacher, Ate Dess, told me that I had very good prounuciation becuase the Spanish sounds are very close to the Tagálog sounds. The main things I have trouble on are the gutteral stops and the "ng" and "mng" sounds.
Since the best way to learn a lanugage is to hear it over and over, I went to the Mega Mall again today and listened while I was walking around. I still can't understand much, but at least I can hear the seperations in words now.
I'm supposed to practice what I know... but I haven't yet. I know that I will though.
June 14, 2000
Today I went visiting with the Crame Bible Church ministry team to "barrios" around town, where the poor people (squatters) live. What is interesting about Philipino culture is that everyone tries to look nice and have a clean, well decorated house even if they are living in cardbord shacks! Amazing really.
The people are very nice.They always offer something to drink when you enter their home.
With the ministry team from the Crame Church, I prayed for a lady and her daughter. I couldn't understand much, but it was great just seeing and hearing them pray. We are all still one Body of Christ even if the language and culture is diffrent.
I had four hours of language class today, and I'm learning very very slowly. But learning never the less. I can only really say good morning (Magangdang umaga po), yes(O-O), no(hinDEE), and a few other words.
Anyway, It's interesting. I also got to ride on the jeepneys again.
June 15, 2000
It's great here! I've already ridden on lots of jeepneys and visited people in poor places of the city. I know I keep saying that it's hot here, but it is! But fourtunaly not so hot that one can't get used to it. The Filipinos think it's terrible I'm alone, and are determined to make sure I'm accepted. It's really nice.
The culture here is a mix between the Latin american culture and Oriental culture. It is really very interesting and strange. Since Ecuador is of the Latin culture, and that is where I grew up, I understand a lot about the Latin culture. Knowing one of the cultures makes it a lot easer to pick out the other part. For example, the way people dress and have clean, decorated houses. The people always wear perfectly nice clothes. They will not even wear something if it is ripped in one tiny little place, becuase it makes them look like a low class. Even the lowest class people who have cardboard houses will glue old wall peper to the walls so the house looks better. This very nice tradition is not latin, so it is probably Oriental.
Another thing is about money and riding public transportation with friends. If someone sees a friend who is about to get on to the same jeepney they are on, they will pay for the other person before the other person even gets on the jeepney.
It is good to accept and give presents, but like in the oriental culture, all presents must be payed back with an equal value favor or present.
People here also have zappers. I don't know how they spread so far. They are exactly the same as the one I have. They are even made from the barbeque starters. They also use the snake zapping thing here, or actually, in the jungle hospital more than here, because there aren't many snakes roaming around the city. Snakes would probably get killed in city traffic.
By the way, Manila has about 14 million people, so the city traffic is really bad, and so is the pollution.
Anyway, I suppose I'd better go now.
June 16, 2000
I went to my language class again today, I really like it a lot. We even get culture discussion with other students and Filipinos. It is really a good way to learn. One thing that is interesting is the gift idea. Something is a gift even if it is not wrapped. In Ecuador it is the same way, but I just never realized that it was different in the States.
Visitations today went well. We visited some people in town, and I am still shy, so I let the pastor do most of the talking. I can pray though, so that is part of how I am able to help the visitations.
I was supposed to paint a mural yesterday, but Bill Weibe still hasn't bought the paint yet. The mural I'm painting is going to be being his office so he doesn't have to look at the grey wall all day. I hope he gets the paint soon because I can't wait to paint the mural. Maybe I'm just paint crazy. Every day I ask him about the paint, so he'll have to get it sooner or later just to make me quiet.. (ha ha) not really.. He'll get the paint as soon as he's done doing the other more important stuff like buying tickets to the jungle and so on.
Anyway, I suppose I'd better go now.
June 17, 2000
Today I went to see the world's smallest volcano with a small group from the World Team guest house. The volcano is called Taál. The volcano is very pretty. It is still active, and people are alowed to climb into it, but we didn't have time, so I just got to see it from the distance. I still think it's nice though. There is a little fishing village close to the volcano. It is said that the volcano somehow helps more fish grow or something like that. I wonder what the largest volcano in the world is? I really like volcanos becuase I grew up around them.
Margaret, the short term secratary for World Team came with us. She is really nice and the more I talk to her, the more I like her. She is a great Christian woman, and a wonderful friend. My supervisor and his family also came. None of them had ever been to Taál before, which was surprising because the family had been there for more than ten years.
Oh, by the way, on the way back from Taál we passed field after field of pineapples. None of them were ripe yet, but they were very pretty. I never knew pineapples were pink before they turned brown. They were so pretty I just had to take a picture of them. I know I was probably acting like a turist, becuase the man who owned the field was standing nearby, and he smiled and laughed when he saw me taking pictures. To him the field of pineapples was the most common thing in the world, but of course to me, it was diffrent and worth taking pictures of. He asked me if I wanted to buy some pineapples, because I seemed so interested, but I didn't get any.
Tonight I was supposed to on visitations with the pastor, and then stay overnight at one of the church member's houses. But she said that it would be better if I stayed at her house next week instead of this week. I think the visitations were cancelled becuase the pastor is sick. I hope he gets better soon.
Anyway, it's been a long long day, and I'm tired out and want to go to my nice soft bed.
June 18, 2000
Today is Sunday, and if you think that means it's a day of rest for missionaries, you've never been one. This morning I went to the 8:30 service at Crame Bible Church, which is all in Tagálog. I couldn't understand anything, but it was fun just sitting there. After the service ended at 11:00, I was invited to youth group which started at 3:00. Fernando's daughter said she would pick me up at 2:30 and we could ride jeepneys together to the church. I rode a jeepney home. (That is always fun.) I had a fast lunch, and about one hour to rest and change clothes. Then at 2:30, I was back out the door.
I just got home a little while ago becuase when I got back from youth group, I immediatly went to a Bible study. It's about 10:00 at night now. What a busy day. All I really want to do is go to bed, so
June 19, 2000
My fingers are still a little speckled with paint, but oh well. After language class today, I finally got to do what I've wanted to do for a long long time. I got to start painting the mural on the wall behind Bill Weibe's office. I painted mountains and a river, but the river looks all wrong, so after it's dry I'm going to fix it. then maybe I'll put trees and I know I'll put waterfalls where the pipes are.. but it will all have to wait until the background paint dries a little more.
The girls here, the (Filipino workers) kept comming outside to look at the painting I was doing. They all smiled and said it looked nice. I like them a lot. They are nice, and they are all Christians. Hmm, I think I should turn one of the mountains into a volcano.. I don't know... anyway, I'd better go before I write all my thoughts about what I should do to the mural..
June 20, 2000
Today I did language study, which I will be doing for a little while. I'm also learning culture, and figuring out how to catch a taxi and ride home by myself.
The bell rang, so it's time for supper.
June 21, 2000
Today I met some new people at language class. They gave me a ride halfway home. They are new missionaries with Assemblies of God. They are a nice couple. Inside their car they have this funny dog thing that looks like it's alive because it's head waggles when the car moves. I've never seen anything like it before. They had to stop at a bus rental place, but I didn't mind. It was fun just talking to them. I love to meet missionaries, and I love to meet anyone. I will pray that their ministry goes well, and that they can easily adust to the culture.
Tonight I went on visitation with Fernando in Libis, a town not far away from where I am in the guest house. We visited people who are squatters, that is, they own no land so they live on other people's land. Fernando took me to his home, which is only one room. One room and he has eight children! I wonder how they all fit.
So many people here have so little but are still happy. The houses are bare, they floors have no carpet. There are no piles of things on the floors. The houses are empty of material things, but are full of people. Even the streets are always full of people. Some playing, some talking, and other praying. Anyone is welcome to join in. It is a place for people and by people. But the people are still so poor. So many people here are ready to accept the gospel, and become Christians. This is truly a open field.
June 22, 2000
I'm starting to take taxis home from language study myself now. It's not really too hard. I think it would be really hard to find my way home on a jeepney, though. I bought a new umbrella in the market today. Ate Dess, one of my language/culture teachers helped me pick it out. It's silver and blue, so it will reflect the sun and keep rain off.
I painted more on my mural today. I don't get to work on it all the time, but I work on it when I can. I hope I can finish it before I go to Virac. When I paint the mural, it reminds me that God created the world like I'm creating a mural. He did it with only words; I'm using paint and water.
June 23, 2000
It's great fun going to a Filipino birthday. Today, I was originally supposed to go visiting to people around the neighborhood, but then the pastor told me it's Ate Lema's birthday today. She is 43. She was happy about it. No one brought her many presents, but she said that is okay. It's the people that count-- not the objects-- and she did get lots of visitors. Then, she invited me to stay for supper and worship team practice. I got to help her make the traditional birthday meal called "Pancit."
Pancit is a Filipino noodle made from rice. The Filipinos cook it sort of like spaghetti. First, you fry vegetables, chicken, and spices all together and then cook the noodles in chicken soup for extra flavour. The noodles absorb all the liquid and then it is ready to mix all the ingredients together. I help Ate Lema chop vegetables and stir (she has 4 kids who also helped).
When you make Pancit for your birthday, you make it for the entire neighborhood-- and that's exactly what we did. We brought some to church practice and to all the neighbors and to anyone around who happened to be hungry. Pancit is now my favourite Filipino dish; I even got the recipe.
June 24, 2000
Sometime I wonder why people are always fighting, but I guess I know the answer, it's because of sin. It is good to remember what happened and for people to see the destruction caused by war. That way, they might not be so quick to start another one. Corregidor was worth seeing, and it was a good experience for me. I loved looking a the big canons there too. I never knew that the canons were big enough for me to stand in.
There is one activity on Corregidor that is very fun. Everyone gets into a fort, or actually it's more like a tunnel. Then the tunnel is sealed off and there is a tape that plays. Down each side tunnel there are wax dummies that show what happened on the island. After a little while, they actually explode something and fill the place with smoke, so that the tourists understand a little better what it felt like to be in a WWII bombing. I thought it was a good idea of them to do that, and it was fun too. For lunch there we ate rice and barbequed meat. After lunch everyone was escorted back to the boat, and that was the end of the tour.
I spent the day there with the Weibe's. I picked up some nice pink and while rocks there too. Anyway, I'd better go now.
June 25, 2000
Anyway, after youth group I got home and went to a cell group where I played a game and helped with a Bible study. Then all of us in the group prayed for each other. It was a good Bible study and prayer meeting. If there is one thing I learned from going to the cell groups here, it is that prayer is very important. We spend more than half the time in every group I've been to praying. I think that is the way it should be in all Bible studies.
June 26, 2000
The plane ride from Manila to the island of Cantanduanes went very well. I rode with Margaret and Kathy Wasell, and her son Brogan. Margaret want to see the beach, and I'm here to see how church planting is done. The Phanistels and the Wasells live here in Cabugao, which is a little ways from the town of Virac. No one in Cabugao has phones, except cell phones of course.
There aren't may cars here, but lots and lots of Tricycles. Tricycles or "Tricies" as some people call them, are motercycles with a side car. They are fun to ride in, unless you are a very tall person. Because tall people would be very squashed inside one.
I'll be staying at the Wasells. So far though, I've been visiting the Phanestiels more than the Wassels. But the Phanestiels are going on vacation soon, so I want to spend time with them before they go.
Tommorow I get to go to the beach. We are all going to have a picnic there. I hope it's fun.
PART 2: Team Ministry JournalJune 27, 2000
Let me describe the beach. The beach had light cream coloured sand with a few nice palm trees bending slightly. It is a little cove, so it is mostly enclosed. The water is as blue as blue can be, and it is warm like bath-water. I forgot to bring my bathing suit, so I just waded in the water. The only thing are the sand fleas. If you sit in the dry sand for a little while, they'll come for you. So the solution is not to sit in the sand.
I climbed a palm tree while I was there. It wasn't too hard, and it was fun. I didn't go all the way to the top, though. On the way home I rode on the back of Randy Phanestiel's motorcycle. We were almost home, where he stopped, and everyone stopped. There by the side of the road was a small crowd of people. They were all looking at something. I pushed through and saw a giant fish, a whale shark to be exact. He was cut up into big pieces. The fisherman had been fishing and the whale shark got caught in their net. They were selling it very very cheap, because there was so much of it and it goes bad fast. The skin on the thing was more than an inch thick, and the fin was taller than my hand. I have never seen such a big fish in my life, and they said it was only a small one!
I guess were having fish for supper.
June 28, 2000
The rest of the day I spent visiting people and just going around town seeing things, like the basketball court and stuff like that. Everyone waves to me: they know I'm American and they like that. I gave some kids a piece of my hair that fell out. They laughed and giggled. It was fun, and somehow, all the kids in town know my name even though I never met them. Just goes to show that news travels fast in a small town, eh?
Well, i'd better go now.
June 29, 2000
This morning I went to the public highschool that is here in town. It is really amazing, but Randy Phanestiel, one of the missionaries here, was asked to teach the Bible to the students there. The school wanted to be sure the children had good morals, so they asked a missionary to teach. It was an answer to prayer. There is no church in Cabugao yet, the missionaries prayed for a door to open so they could teach the people about God, and now he's teaching school!
I sat in a lesson today. It was about God, and how He is Lord of all, He created everything, exists forever and does not change. The high school students were very attentive and took notes diligently. I pray that this ministry will really reach the people of this town. After school, I went back to visiting, and doing a puzzle at the Wasell's house. I love puzzles and so I just had to work on it.
Tonight is a prayer meeting, a missionary prayer meeting. The electricity was off, but that doesn't matter. We prayed for various things: for health, for ministry, for people in the town. I know that God was in that place. Now the prayer meting is over and I have a nice kerosene lamp to write this by. So if my writing's messy, I hope you understand why. Anyway, I'm tired and it's time for bed.
June 30, 2000
Today something very interesting happened while I was at the market. I learned a lesson: never get off a motorcycle on the side where the exhaust pipe is. I go burned, just a little on my leg as I got off and now I have a mark to prove I was in the Philippines! When I got back to the house the Wassels wanted to put ice on it, but it was too late for that because I had burned it hours before, so at this point, ice would make no difference. I did however put some cream on it. I went visiting today and showed off my burn. It always makes a nice conversation, and what everyone tells me is that no one ever rode a motorcycle without getting burned once. I guess that's true! Anyway, I'd better go.
July 1, 2000
Today I went to a nice Bible study. It's really nice that the Bible studies are all following the same lesson plan, so that the people are all learning the same things at the same time. It is really amazing. Each group is leaning about the Israelites and Moses. I am impressed because usually Bible studies are all different, each teacher teaches whatever they want, and the believers are not unified in that way. But when they all learn the same thing (here they are following "Firm Foundations") and so each believer can talk to the other believers about what they are thinking, and the other believer will understand because they are all on the same line. I think that all churches should have Bible studies like this. Actually, come to think of it, it looks like a cell church, with the church being the Bible studies, they are all unified, but in houses. Really great. Anyway, I guess you can see I like the Bible studies and the methods they use. I could go on and on about it, but that would get boring, so by
July 2, 2000
Tonight after church, I got to teach the youth of the town. We had a Bible study. I learned some new songs in Tagálog. It's only been a few hours and I still can't remember them, but that's because I can't understand them. I did learn a new word though. I learned "paginaoon" which means "Lord." That is a good word to know. The Bible study went very well, I taught the teenagers and kids how to make bracelets. They were very good at it, even though it is a very hard thing to do. Now I know that Filipinos are good with their hands. The bracelet had the colours of the wordless Bible, but all woven together. Everyone liked it, and we had a nice snack after. It is fun to talk to people here. I love they way they ask questions and want to know more about the States and my family. I also want to know about them and their family. I gave my testimony, but I really don't think it is much, but one girl afterwards told me that hearing about me and how my family is Christian gave her hope and if made her glad to know that there are others who are Christian even far, far away. It connects us together, like the church I went to this morning. I didn't understand what was going on, but I could understand prayer, and worship. I knew they loved and worshiped the same Jesus as I do. I understand that now and I see how Jesus links me to all Christians across the world whether they can speak my language or not, we are the body of Christ. It's just a nice thought...
Well, Id' better go because I'm going to Viga tomorrow: a place I've heard all about and can't wait to see.
July 3, 2000
Today I rode motorcycles most of the day: all morning riding on the back of Kathy or Chris Wasell's motorbike. We arrived for lunch in Viga. It is a very small town, just as I was told. The houses are small bamboo or wood houses with nice thatched roofs. Many have no running water or electricity. I, however, am staying with the pastor and his wife, Teng and Edna. They have two children: a boy and a girl. I don't know their names. Mee-Ann is also staying there. She helps teach the Christian kindergarten there. The kindergarten was just started one year ago. It began with 17 kids and this year it has almost thirty, and more are still coming. Before, the only kinder in town was the one run by the local animist group. They did not teach the children about God or Jesus. But this kindergarten, which I will be going to, is a Christian one that does teach the Bible to the children.
Edna cooks such good Filipino food. I love it. I don't know how she does it, but it is really good. There is always rice, because Filipinos always have rice for every meal, even breakfast. I like that, because I like rice too.
Hmm, that reminds me, I think it's time for supper. I'll go see what going on in the kitchen.
July 4, 2000
I learned a few new words today! "Ako" and "tapos na". When the students want something they reach out their hands and say "ako, ako". This, Mee-ann told me, means "me, me". That makes sense. The other one, "tapos na" means "I'm done" which is good to know. The kids would repeat this to me and hold out their assignment. Now I know what they were saying. They were trying to tell me they were finished. Anyway, I love the school. I'm going to have to get a picture of it before I leave.
This evening we are going to have a prayer meeting. Edna told me that prayer is one of the most important thing a Christian does. I smiled and said yes, because I know that prayers are very important, and it does more that I will ever know.
Time for supper again. Oh I love the suppers here!
July 5, 2000
Today we were supposed to have a prayer meeting, but everyone was out of town or sick. So instead, I went visiting on motorcycle.
I went to a "bagubuy", which means "small town". San Tolin, I think, is the name of the town. There was a lady there. She is 72 years old and she has had no food for two months. She was nothing but skin and bones, and she made strange noises when she breathed. Her name is Luma. Even as she is very sick, her family washed her feet and rubbed her legs trying to keep her comfortable.
After visiting, we went to the beach. This is a beach where a lot of fishing is done. Teng and Edna hired a fisherman to row us out to the fishing dock and back to the beach. They took my picture while I was in the boat. The wind was cool and salty. When the boat stopped, everyone was thirsty, so we bought eight pineapples, ate two, and took the rest back home on a motorcycle.
I am very tired from the boat so I'm going to bed early tonight instead of staying up with everyone. So, good night.
July 6, 2000
Today I taught kinder again. I forgot to tell you, but I did yesterday too. I discovered they have a nice bag of colored chalk. So while I told the story of Cain and Abel, I drew pictures on the board that corresponded to what I was saying. The children loved it.
For playtime in kinder today, we played Barrel of Monkeys. We are practicing for a demonstration for the kinder induction at the end of the week on Sunday.
I went to a ladies prayer meeting today. All of us sat in a circle on the floor and read the Bible, then we prayed. After the prayer meeting we had snacks. They consisted of cookies and strange black berries. The black berries are very black on the outside, and white on the inside with a small pit in the center. The way you tell if they are bad is you bite them in half, then, if you can't see a worm, it's good. No one told me this until after I had eaten five or six berries, but that's okay. At least I knew the rest of them were good, and with or without bugs, they tasted delicious and turned everyone's fingers purple.
Tonight I should be going to another Bible study. It should be great. But for now, I'm going to go talk to Mee-Ann about the States and computers.
July 7, 2000
Today I got to teach Noah and the ark in kinder. I used colored chalk again and drew lots and lots of animals all over the chalkboard. Then I took the blue chalk and gradually made the water get higher and higher until you couldn't see anything but the ark. Actually, all this happened yesterday, because it's after midnight now.
Tonight we went to the public elementary school induction. The mayor showed up and gave a speech, but I didn't pay any attention. I just sat there and drew cartoons for all the neighborhood children who were sitting behind me putting leaves down my shirt. I knew that they were teasing me because they liked me. So I drew cartoons for them and they fought over them. Meanwhile, the lady beside me kept offering me a swig of some nasty alcoholic beverage that was being passed around. I had to refuse several times. After the speech they started to play very loud music, dance, and pass around more alcoholic beverage. I did however shake the mayor's hand before I left. This experience, I learned, was a typical Filipino event, and I did not enjoy it, because I do not yet understand the culture. Drinking is part of the Filipino culture. It is something the church here has a hard time dealing with.
Good night. I'm tired, and my ears are still ringing from the loud music.
July 8, 2000
Today, all day was spent preparing for the kinder's induction which will take place after church tomorrow. There are no photocopiers in town, so Mee-Ann typed all the bulletins while I traced and coloured the same picture on to each one. This took all day.
This evening I went to a youth fellowship meeting where I told my testimony and taught the youth how to make bracelets like I did in Cabougao. Mee-Ann is very good at making bracelets and joked that she could make them for a living. Many of the youth are Christians, but their parents are not. This makes it very hard for them to live as a believer. Pray for them, that they can remain firm; and their families, that they will soon see that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
Tomorrow, we have to get up early for the 7:00am worship service so I'm going to bed right now.
July 9, 2000
Today was very good. After the service, in which I taught the children how to make snowflakes out of paper, we waited around until everyone arrived for the kinder induction we had prepared for so much. When the trucks arrived, everyone piled in and we rode to the Buenavista Resort where the induction would take place. At the induction, we played games and had a potluck (yum!). I got to try a "pili" fruit, which is purple and tastes a little bitter. The seed inside is very big and when cracked open, produces a nut which can also be eaten. In fact, those "pili nuts" are very good after being roasted in honey.
After the games and the food, everyone went swimming in the ocean behind the resort. It was there I found a very pretty rock. I think it's the prettiest rock I've picked up yet, and I've picked up quite a few. Everyone was tired on the way home, and there's still a Bible study tonight too. I hope it goes well.
July 10, 2000
Today I have to go back to Cabougau. Mee-Ann is going to be my "kasama" or travelling companion. We are going to take the jeepney down the dirt road to Cabougau. We should be there by lunch. I hope I get to go to the beach again because that is fun.
July 11, 2000
Yesterday I went to the local swimming hole in Cabougau. It is fed by a small waterfall. The water was very cold, but it was fun swimming in it, and it's deep enough that you can even jump in, which was surprising because it's so small.
Today we went to the beach. I rode on a boat with the Wassels all the way out to the coral reef in the ocean. The water there was so clear you could see all the big fish swimming around underneat the boat. Tomorrow I head for Naga city to meed Koleen and the COOL Team. I'll be taking a boat and a bus, and probably a motorcycle.
July 12, 2000
The COOL Team comes tomorrow. I guess I got here a day early. But that's okay, because it's really fun playing with the "French fries", as Koleen sometimes calls her kids. Koleen is very organized and gave me a notebook full of culture questions, maps, and a calendar saying when everything will happen. I'm impressed. She made one for every member of the COOL Team, and there are eight, not counting leaders, in the COOL Team. It must have taken her a long time.
July 13, 2000
I'm at Nanay Nina's house. It's above a re-starting church in Poro, which is near Naga City. Nanay Nina is poor. She has no running water, and no tiles on the floor. There are no screens on the windows but there is a smile on her face. For some reason, (probably a status thing), she made me eat first and then she and her son ate later.
The person we went to visit today was not home, so we went to the market to buy some fish, which Nanay Nina cooked wonderfully. I'm starting to understand the bone structure in a fish, so it's getting easier to eat without getting bones in my mouth.
The green mosquito net around me is very green. Here's some new Tagálog words I've been learning. olán means rain, as it seems to be doing a lot of that lately. Saging is banana, and there are those growing all over the place. Tubig is water which you drink. Gatas is milk, my favourite drink, in any form, even powdered like it is here.
Hmm, let me see, what else had been happening.... Well, the COOL team has arrived safely. And we all have a place to live and cultural questions to ask. All thanks to Koleen French who did a wonderful job.
July 14, 2000
Hello, it's already late, so this will have to be quick. Hmm, went visiting and told the people I was visiting all about why Americans are the way they are and why they seem to get more pay, but actually, according to economy, they don't. Because in the States, the cost of living is higher than it is in a Third World country.
Today I was able to participate in a funeral procession. The casket was loaded onto a car, and all the people walked behind it, with a band playing a dirge all the way to the Catholic Church, and then to the cemetery.
I taught a little girl cat's cradle and met the Grey family and eight of their children. One of the girls told me the entire Disney movie of Hercules because she had seen it so much she had it memorized.
An equipping meeting is being taught downstairs by Até Dess and Heather (from UK and Australia), Heather has been here 18 years!
July 15, 2000
The very first VBS led by the COOL Team was today. It went well, and I did the crafts. I taught the children how to make an origami fish. VBS went well, I mean the kids loved it! So other than that and preparation for the next one, nothing much happened today.
July 16, 2000
Yesterday I wrote my prayer letter and sent it via email to my brother. Hopefully it will work out nicely. Today in church I was downstairs in church, and had to share my testimony. I did, but my translator hardly knew English, so I kept my testimony short. There's a cockroach in my luggage. Squid for supper tonight. I've finally learned how to eat fish. Tonight is Bob French's meeting. His idea on the Church re-start sounds really good. Time to go.
PART 3: Final Ministry JournalJuly 17, 2000
Monday, the last day in Naga. Today I have to pack so I don't have much time to write. I got to play with Deborah, Lisa, and Junia French (missionary kids) today while everyone was out shopping. I also ate supper with the French's. I hope Nanay Nina doesn't mind. I ate her food too, but not much, since I wasn't really hungry.
We leave tomorrow morning early. The jeepney driver is very nice. His family all have very good jobs, but he's just a jeepney driver. He speaks English very well. We went to the falls today. It was fun. I stopped the waterfall by sitting in it, and it made a new one. I also carved a flute from wood, but it was just for fun. I did scrape my knee, but not much.
July 18, 2000
We flew back today. We got cookies on the plane. I sat next to a Filipino man. The plane was very colourful, Asian Air. Everyone took pictures and talked loudly about it. It's so funny sometimes the things people do. I mean, it was an AIRPLANE!
Anyway, we arrived in the morning. I got back to the guest house. Everyone went to the Mega Mall (well, not everyone). I stayed home and watched TV and read a book. You should have seen the way we piled all the COOL Team into the taxis to get home.
July 19, 2000
I'm getting closer and closer to the rice terraces. Right now I'm staying at the Wycliff guest house in Bagabag. It's nice at the guest house here. They even have a pool. I went to go for a swim, but I met a Wycliff missionary and her kids. We talked for a while and then it started to rain, so I never got a chance to swim. Oh well. I gave myself a tour of the Wycliff compound and saw the planes they have and the swing at the small missionary school.
The bus ride here wasn't bad at all. I sat next to a COOL Team member named Tracy. She slept on me most of the way.
July 20, 2000
A tight jeepney ride to the Douglas's (World Team missionaries) and an interview but it was worth it. The Douglas's gave us a tour of their Bible school in Ifugao. It was fun seeing the school that they train leaders and people. One interesting custom here is something called red beetle juice. The people chew a reddish root mixed with a spice and spit like chewing tobacco, but red.
We took a jeepney from the Douglas's to the hotel in Banaue, only eight blocks from the rice terraces. I'm tired and it's time to go to bed. Keith, a visiting missionary kid, likes talking about strange things, like aliens and the moon. He plays a lot of role-playing games. Well, good night.
Oh, just a second. I forgot about the museum of idols. Very fascinating. Really. It's the owner's hobby, and now he has a very nice collection. Most of the idols are black and wooden. I thought it was very appropriate. Anyway, I did like seeing the artifacts he had collected.
July 21, 2000
I talked to Tracy while walking through the terraces. She's interesting and doesn't mind listening to me rattle on for hours. That's good. She also likes to share my payon (umbrella) because it was sprinkling and raining on and off all the way back to the hotel. Walking down from the terraces was pretty, but now my legs are tired from all that walking.
The restaurant we went to was good. I had fried rice, just like I always have while I'm here. What is really amazing is that this restaurant even had real cow's milk. It hadn't even been made from powder the way all the other milk is here. I haven't a clue where it came from. Maybe the milked a caribou. I always wondered why the people here don't use caribou milk. At least it would make good cheese.
July 22, 2000
I learned a new quote today. "The pen is the crowbar to the mind." Mark Twain said that.
The entire COOL Team thought the bus ride was terrible but I thought it was okay. What happened was the COOL Team was bored so someone started reading "The Princess Bride" out-loud. But there was a German man who did not want to hear the story and gave them a hard time.
Anyway, then we had a flat tire, and while they were changing the flat tire in the middle of nowhere, they decided to change all the tires on the bus, which took about three hours. So, after the long stop, the bus driver took no pit-stops, which made the girls on the bus frantic. Finally, one of the girls begged the driver to stop the bus, and he did. She got off the bus with one of the team leaders, but as soon as they stepped off the bus, the driver took off again. The other leader became very worried and the rest of the COOL Team got off the bus before we were supposed to. So, we fit everyone into taxis and went to the Mega Mall with all our junk when actually everyone just wanted to go home and sleep (or scream).
Eventually everyone made it back to the World Team guest house in Manila, and I'm tired, so good night.
July 23, 2000
Sunday. Church was really good today. (Hold a sec while I get rid of this ant... okay.) The service was in English, and it was a very big wealthy church. I sat next to Leann Phanesteil. I think she is a very nice person and an excellent missionary.
To the mall for lunch. I ate with Koleen French who has a Korean parent. She took me to a Korean restaurant where we had Kimshe and squid and other Korean food. Koleen is always fun to be with. I borrowed all her money and she convinced me to buy a new Sunday shirt. Anyway, that's it for today.
July 24, 2000
I met the director of the baby center while we were there. He is very nice. He is also a teacher in a school in Chile. He has two sons. He wants to buy some MK books for his sons. His name is not Keith Frampton. Anyway, I talked to him and made a bracelet for a malnourished girl out of hair rubber bands.
After lunch, we went and did VBS at the Shining Light Orphanage home. They have a kiddie pool and everything. It was very fun. All the kids had sad faces when we left but it went very well.
July 25, 2000
Today we went to the birthing home. The lady there had a great speech and is so excited about what she does, which is caring for pregnant mothers and newborn babies. I watched the activities that took place in the birthing home for a while, and then went over to the orphanage next door. The children in the orphanage are very cute and playful, except for one who is always trying to escape any way he can, including climbing fences and screaming when people don't carry him out the door (he was two). The orphanage had a TV permanently on a Filipino educational channel, which showed Teletubbies three times a day (Ug).
After lunch everyone played with the kids at the orphanage, and then we went home. Not too many activities today, but everyone was so tired from all the hard work Koleen French has scheduled for us. It was good to come home and rest.
July 26, 2000
We also taught at the Scandinavian children's home which is located about a mile from the trash heap. It's incredible that people actually live on top of the trash. It is very dangerous and unsanitary, but the people have nowhere else to live. One girl cried when she smelled the stench of rotting trash and dead things. She couldn't believe what she saw. It broke her heart to see smiling, happy, playful children living normal lives on top of a trash mountain. People living in a place where no one would live but the kids still seem content and happy.
July 27, 2000
Today we went to a baby home. I played and coloured. It was nice. But what was really amazing about today was that one of the COOL Team members saw a baby born. She was so excited about it that she told everyone the same story fifteen times but she had such excitement in her voice that no one really minded. She liked the way the husband helped the wife and how she held the new baby. Now that COOL Team member (Chelsie) wants to be a midwife. I also saw Faith Academy today. I talked to the "drama photography and other" teacher. It was nice.
It might be good to send some missionary kid books to Faith Academy. The playground at Faith Academy is really great. It has three floors, a pole, ropes, tons of swings, lots of things to climb, a very nice double slide, etc. The kids loved it, and so did I.
We took a whole orphanage of kids to McDonald's today and we fed them ice cream and rice (believe it or not, in the Philippines, they serve rice at McDonald's). I fed my chocolate syrup to one of the kids who then ran off hyper so I made some origami out of the place mat and gave it to the kid who showed it to all his friends with a smile. The kids loved it but they were ready for a nap when it was time to leave, and so was I, so goodbye.
July 28, 2000
Today we went to the Church of the Black Nazarene. It was like seeing into the past, the way people rubbed cloth on the statue's feet, hoping to be blessed or healed by that cloth.
A short mother jumps to get her handkerchief to touch Jesus' feet. After jumping several times, she gives up and gives the cloth to her child. She then lifts the child over her head because maybe he can reach Jesus' wooden feet. The child cannot reach the feet, but he made a good try before they are ushered away so others can have a try at getting their blessing from the statue.
There is a big market right outside the church. It is called the Kiapo Market. It was a normal third world outdoor black market. Some people sold spices and magic amulets. I wonder if anyone actually thinks they work. In a fantasy book I read recently, it told about a world where magic of that sort was normal and actually worked.
During lunch at the Filipino restaurant called Jolibee's, I had Filipino spaghetti, which is a lot different from American spaghetti. Strangely, the other Sarah in the group also ordered spaghetti. That was funny.
They had some O.S. Card books, though. I mean, in the bookstores.
I don't feel like writing any more, so bye,
July 29, 2000
Today we, (the COOL Team) Went to the Birth home near the edge of Manila. The home is very interesting. I played with the kids in the orphanage next door instead of going to the birthing home though. I'm glad that was an option, because I really don't like nurse stuff, like taking people's blood pressure and asking them strange questions.
July 30, 2000
Today we went to a different church that we did last week. This church was very loud. I blocked my ears during the entire worship service. I really have sensitive ears. Other than the volume level, the service was well. I sat next to this new missionary there. She's really nice. Oh, I can't remember her name! I'll have to ask her next time I see her. She thinks I'm hyperactive, but I told her that I was actually only kinesthetic. She is really nice. After church we all went out to lunch, and everyone gave me their rice because they didn't want it. So I got lots and lots of rice, yum yum. Today, for once, I actually got to rest. This, I think is the first Sunday I've had in ages where I could actually take a nap! Oh yes, we did go to the mall again, just to look around. That is always fun.
July 31, 2000
Aug 1, 2000
Today I'm supposed to be packing to leave, but I've heard a rumor that my passport disappeared. But for now I'll ignore that and pack some more. That's what I've been doing all day. I did however go outside and look at my mural again. I really like it but I'm trying to think of something else to paint there. Unfortunately some ants are out there and they bit my foot, so I came back in.
It's so boring packing. Bill, my supervisor, came in and saw me packing and said that I pack like an MK, efficient and tight. I smiled, I like it when people say things like that. Anyway, not much happening. Koleen's kids called to say goodbye, they are so nice.
Well, I'd better get back to packing.
Aug 2, 2000
So today I went with the COOL Team to the orphanage again and taught the kids how to glue hair onto paper faces, just like at the other place.
Aug 3, 2000
Today I went with the COOL Team to the Gunderson Baby Home. It was like always: the kids watching teletubbies. Today, though, the person who started the ministry came and tried to sell everyone a T-shirt. The T-shirts looked nice, but I didn't buy one because I spent all my money at the rice terraces.
Aug 4, 2000
Today I sat all day at the US embassy from 8:00am-6:00pm. I do have a copy of my passport, but it is really a very bad copy, and the bearded man at the embassy doesn't believe it's me.
Every time I go to the window, I get more paperwork to fill out. I fill it out, and then I get more. It is all very boring and poor Mrs. Weibe is frustrated I think. I really don't mind staying, but I do have to get back for school, and I do need a new passport, but the French's are coming tomorrow and I'll get to see them!
Aug 5, 2000
Today I filled out an evaluation for Koleen who is running the COOL Team. I chose the essay question instead of the fill in the blank. Koleen said she enjoyed reading it, and will send a copy to my supervisor in the States. **link here (coming soon)**
I got to talk to the COOL Team as they packed. They are glad to be going back where they will actually have real showers and cool weather. I hope they have a good trip.
Aug 6, 2000
I went to church with the Framptons, to the really big church again. Afterwards we all went to the mall and I saw a movie. What really surprised me was that Frenando showed up and gave me a going-away present from Lema. I was really surprised. It was so good to see them again. The present is a little boat, like the ship in a bottle, except no bottle. It's very nice.
Aug 7, 2000
Well, again I sat all day at the embassy, only this time we ran into the Frenchs at the lawyer's office which has a big full wall world map on one wall. Koleen and kids came to the embassy after lunch. It is so funny how I kept running into them when I went to get a snack.
I told the kids story after story at the embassy. It really helped to have them there. I wasn't bored or worried at all. Stories are stories and kids are kids and put the two together and you can't go wrong. I taught them another annoying chant, too. "Hello, my name is Joe." They love it, but the parents will have to hear it continually.
The embassy man (with the beard) finally gave me a passport. It's only a three month passport, but it's good enough for now. I really wanted a real passport, but he wouldn't believe I'm who I say I am and so I could only get a three month passport. It's going to be hard to get a new one. Oh well. I leave tomorrow. That's sad. My mission trip has come to an end, but it went very well.