Monday, March 1, 2010

Devotions and another 'Adventure'

February 22 – 28, 2010
Our co-workers in the APRC listened silently as Dan led devotions Monday morning, shared one of the stories of how his son Derick was used by God while an inmate in a state prison. They were touched by how God worked in response to Derick's prayers, and how Dan's life was affected as well, even though not one of them is a parent yet. We continue to be amazed at how God is using these experiences to help others understand how He can work in unimaginable ways and places. So many illustrations are available from those difficult years, only Heaven knows the possible results as long as we are faithful in sharing.

The next morning, Dan left for the office while I finished getting ready to be picked up for a monthly bazaar sponsored by the American Embassy Women's Auxiliary at the World Trade Center near Mall of Asia. Terri drove me, Johanna, and Naomi through lots of traffic to the other side of Metro Manila for this extraordinary sale of Filipiana. With an entry fee of 100 pesos, the variety of goods was incredible in this large exhibition hall: wood furniture, ceramic goods, glass, dishware, coconut products, hats, bags, candles, overruns of well-known brands of clothing, quilts, woven goods, jewelry, and lunch! We had a great day!

Ballroom dancing was different this Tuesday night, mostly attended by high school students from Faith Academy preparing for their very first dance at their school. It was a review for us, but much-needed (at least for me), as we brushed up on our waltz steps and Cha cha!

Wednesday started out busy for me, with a quick examination of the first draft of a budget for APRC. Olive had started with last year's figures and projected some small increases. Then we had Danny (who wasn't looking forward to this discussion at all!) sit with us as we all discussed each line item, what should fit in each account designation, and what the projected expenses might be for this fiscal year. All I did was facilitate, asking questions to draw out their ideas and help them try to think of everything that might be needed. And it was a really productive 2 hours before we went to the canteen a few minutes early for lunch! Feeling useful!

Dan's been canvassing opinions at lunchtime from the guys with recent/good haircuts. He's really wanting and needing a haircut, especially with the weather warming up. So, right after work on Thursday, we drove up Manila East Road to the SM Taytay mall and headed for the recommended barber shop, NewsBarbers. I'm glad I stayed to watch, as the barber asked what he needed, then took his time giving Dan got a precision haircut, as well as a head massage, for 100 pesos (just over $2)! (I did get distracted for a while, though, to watch a small boy get his haircut; he behaved so well!) From there, we went down 2 levels and had dinner at French Baker before going back through the walkway over the road (this mall is on both sides of the road) to Hypermarket for groceries. Home around 9:30 – successful evening!

Friday already (and halfway into our 13-week stay), we're starting to feel the pressure of making sure we get enough accomplished in the days and weeks remaining.

One of the APNTS students had been wanting to wash our car, for the extra spending money, and our car was definitely ready after last week adventure! He brought the keys back at lunchtime after cleaning the outside and the inside (mentioning how much of the beach we had brought back with us!) and we paid him P150 (less than $3.50, but he only asked for P130!). The car looked great, that was the good news. At the end of the day, when Dan tried to start the car, it didn't! Analysis: not the battery, since the lights and horn work... and probably not the starter because it wasn't even trying to turn? Many people had already left for home for the weekend, but Jarrett (American grad student) showed up on his way back to his dorm and suggested we check to see if Eric, the architect and campus general manager, was still in his office. He was and helped locate the 2 grounds maintenance guys who might be able to help. Long story short, they worked on it, texted Nanding, the man who had rehabbed the car after it was flooded during Ondoy (at the Camden House), and he agreed to come to our house on Saturday! The teamwork – Bayanihan – is awesome here! We got the car going (downhill jump start!) and went home, with Dan backing the car up on the ramp in our driveway, just in case! Whew!

Saturday morning, we'd had every intention of starting out early to attend a zone youth event, a scholastic competition that would include some Bible quizzing. But our plans would have to be on hold until we had reliable transportation! How cool is it to have a mechanic make a house call!! Nanding came early to assess the car problem, left to buy the solenoid, replaced it (twice actually, since the first one didn't work properly) and left when it seemed to start as it should... Encouraged, Dan texted DJ that we would come in a while and we ate the peanut butter sandwiches I had prepared the night before (that we would have taken with us to the youth event!). After lunch, we got ready to go but, when Dan went to start the car, it didn't. He texted Kuya Nanding about this and he returned again. This time it was determined that a new starter relay and further wiring check was needed. Since Dan felt confident that he could get it started by push or screwdriver hot wiring, it was agreed that Nanding would spend more time on the car Monday on campus.

We finally started out at 2 pm and, with DJ's texted directions, we made it the Agape Nazarene Church just in time for their first zone Bible Quiz! It was great fun to see six 4-person teams jump with their answers to Bible Quiz questions on the book of Luke! After 3 10-question rounds, we watched them take a general-Philippine-knowledge quiz too. 
The young people had a great time! And the car jump-started just fine so we could get home (parking again backed up on the ramp) for a creative dinner of Springfield, Illinois inspired, taco-burger-horseshoes and a quiet evening at home! Dan was very tempted to post a facebook status musing about eating Mexican flavored Horseshoes in Manila while we thought about friends having another cold day back in Illinois.

We Skyped with Erica twice this weekend, so good to connect with her and know what's going on with our mail and at our house in the States. We were sad to hear that because the weather there had turned a little warmer the large snowman our neighbors built last week has melted.

We made it to the APNTS campus with no trouble (after a downhill-jump-start) for church at ICF, joining Pastor Jason and the congregation for familiar worship songs and a continuation of study of the book of Mark and discipleship. And afterward, during Sunday School, quite a few people shared their own experiences of following God's direction, even when we're not sure it's His leading!

There were several Filipino District Superintendents attending this service; they and others will be on the APNTS campus during the next week for a translation project and for a training module.

We were glad to get an invitation to lunch from the Phillipses to join them and 2 of the, along with Keith; enjoyed a delicious lunch at TokyoTokyo at SM Taytay! We'd been talking all week of visiting Market!Market!, a large mall, and found that Keith and Jarrett were interested too, so after lunch we left the campus with them (screwdriver safely aboard) for this shopping experience!

This mall is huge – 5 floors of shopping (clothing, shoes, furniture, computers, phones, jewelry, everything) and all kinds of restaurants – anything you could possible need! And I finally found corn meal, something I'd hoped to buy so I can make cheese grits while we're here! It was in the large grocery store on a lower level! (I think the guys even enjoyed it – better variety than any other grocery we've seen!) In less than 3 hours, we covered all five levels, then browsed outside in the flower and produce market for a while. It was an adventure – and we all made it home OK!

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