Monday, March 15, 2010

March 8 – 14, 2010

We already knew that this would be a busy week! Monday morning's staff devotions were my responsibility this week, having been “drafted” by Faith, who keeps asking others to take her turn! Anyway, since I was sharing my testimony, Faith said she'd choose and lead the music and bring a snack to share! We enjoyed suman, the Korean sticky-rice wrapped in leaf strips, sprinkling them with a little brown sugar (it's granulated sugar that's brown, not like the brown sugar in the States that includes molasses). God demonstrated his leading as all the songs Faith chose fit perfectly with the Scripture topic I used for my testimony.

After work, we went home to eat a quick supper before running out to SM Taytay mall. I'd decided that I just had to have a haircut; it's been 8 weeks since the last trim and I'd fought with the long bangs in my eyes all weekend at the beach. Dan decided to browse the mall while I was in David's, a chain of salons. Even after looking through 3 magazines, I didn't see anything to show the stylist, so I just had to rely on verbal instructions and hope he/she understood! A young man took me to the back of the shop for my shampoo; I feel relaxed just thinking about the head-rubbing! When he directed me to the chair for my cut, I was a little concerned that he looked awfully young to be the stylist, but no – she wasn't ready, so he gave me a shoulder massage while I was waiting. (This is a great service! I wish it would catch on in the States!) Ms Helda was finally ready and I gave her a brief description of what I wanted and she started in. I tried to make light conversation, but she was all business (or perhaps didn't speak real good English) and didn't even smile. The young guy was given instructions on drying my hair (at least he asked me a few questions about how I wanted that), then she came back for a little more trimming and thinning. I was done! Dan was done walking around the mall, so I paid for my cut (165 pesos, less than $4.00!) and we headed off for groceries...

Tuesday night we got to Ballroom Dancing class right on time and really enjoyed the waltz review and then learning the Samba! It's a little dramatic, but fun! We thought this was the last of a 6-week class, but it will continue (after it skips a week for a school break)!

We left our passports with the Field Office this week; time to extend our visas. It seems, though, that the Philippine government has changed its requirements (again, we hear) and we'll need to each get an I-card, more expensive paperwork, to remain in the country past our first 59 days visa... until April 12.

Wednesday evening, a few of us met at Greg & Terri's home for missionary prayer night. Even though we'd been on retreat together last weekend, it was still good to bring our concerns together and to God. The fellowship among this group is a real blessing. Dan and I picked up a mocha roll cake at Fortune Bakery on our way, so we could all celebrate Naomi Phillips' birthday together along with Melissa's cookies and Terri's coffee.

Thursday morning we tried a new Filipino favorite, Champorado. It's a chocolate rice cereal that comes in a packed of 5 servings (also available to order at ChowKing!); you cook it on the stove with water and sugar, served with a little milk on top. Not bad! It also seemed like we had an aviary this morning – the couple of sparrows who always chirp and chatter outside our dining room window had multiplied into quite a group of entertainers!

At APNTS, the Philippine District Superintendents were again on campus for training and meetings. David Phillips (the Field Strategy Coordinator) was aware that some of them needed to hear about Bible Quizzing so we were invited to have dinner with them at 6 p.m., in the dining hall, along with Keith Killen and David. When everyone assembled, at nearly 7, we enjoyed a great dinner of salad and pork strips in a mustard sauce, with rice, followed by ice cream and turon (bananas in lumpia wrappers, fried with brown sugar) - delicious! But then they had to hurry off to a meeting, so Dan will have to connect with them another day!
What a neat surprise we found when we got home! Our helper, Celia, had re-done a dried-up flower arrangement we'd had on a small table in our entryway, with flowers and plants from our yard – absolutely beautiful! We haven't seen her this week at all (leaving before she arrives and getting home after her work is finished), so I had left her a note thanking her for working so hard for us. I had also mentioned that we were having a dinner on Friday... And she also added some plants in vegetable cans on the window ledge over the kitchen sink – adorable! We are blessed to have such a good helper.

The last few days, we'd been getting up to a gray sky – unusual for this time of year, their dry summer season. The weather has been getting hotter...

Friday, we were pretty excited about the missionary potluck scheduled at Camden House (our place) for that evening! We'd chosen a brunch theme, because I'd been wanting to make cheese grits and they're perfect with other brunch items. The plan was to leave work an hour early to get home and finish preparing the grits and some French toast strips. But plans change, as we arrived at the office, Naomi Phillips invited me to join her (and Terri and JoAn) in a shopping trip to Greenhills with Toni Porter (Mrs “GS Jerry Porter”) - and her friend Vicky, who are here for a month while Toni teaches a Spiritual Formation class. I got permission to skip work and joined the ladies... And on the way, the gray skies gave way to RAIN – for an hour or so! It's the only significant rain we have seen in the last 2 months.

Greenhills is really a fun shopping experience, with everything - international clothing chains, restaurants, local and imported goods. Toni and Vicky were excited to choose things for friends at home, almost overwhelmed by the quantity of so much stuff! We had a great meal at Teriyaki Boy (yummy Crunchy Salmon Salad, with a mango shake – no surprise) and I was home by 2:30, with lots of time to cook and prepare for the evening party! I texted Dan to let him know that I was home and hadn't spent even 1 centavo (Toni even paid for lunch); I think he was duly impressed.

Everyone started to show up at around 6 and we had such a great variety of food – 3 different egg casseroles, watermelon and other fruits, scones, and Daniel Pape made waffles! In attendance were the Taylors, 5 Papes, Toni and Vicky, JoAn and Bob, Rovina, and Bev. We talked and ate, talked some more. Daniel continued to make waffles; the kids played games on the Wii... I think everyone had a great time!

Saturday morning was the rescheduled time for Dan to go to the campus to share about Bible Quizzing with 10 of the District Superintendents from around the Philippines. I'll let him tell you about it -
It was a good meeting as Dr Rigsby from the regional office was there to spend the day teaching principles and sharing methods of discipleship that can be used by all Christians. These were excellent tools and challenges. I look forward to getting some of his materials to see it more in depth. The topic of the day went very well with the emphasis we put on using Bible Quizzing as a tool for discipleship. I shared briefly about BQM and my availability to them in the next month. One DS spoke to me later and there is a real possibility of helping with a youth camp later this month on his district. He felt that my being here was God planned and I agreed. I am anxious to here from his youth leaders about this.

Before noon, I was already creating a brown rice salad (from leftovers, of course, adding shredded carrots, pea pods, canned chicken breast), when JoAn texted me and asked if we wanted to meet her and Robert for lunch at Wendy's at Santa Lucia Mall. Since we were planning to go there after lunch anyway, we said, “Great!” and put the salad in the fridge for another time!

We got to the mall early, so we wandered around for a while – it's huge! We met the Donahues at Wendy's and spent the next 3 hours eating, talking, and enjoying getting better acquainted. They won't be going on Home Assignment this year, but JoAn will travel to the States to help her daughter at the birth of the next granddaughter in early July! They've been here for over 10 years!

Dan's sinus problems while here have settled in his right ear and are limiting his hearing – he's finally gotten really tired of it so he wanted to get some help at The Medical City Clinic at Santa Lucia. We entered the clinic, full of patients, took a number, found the last 2 seats, and wondered how long this visit might take! But, an hour later, we'd seen Dr de Leon and had 2 prescriptions to fill! It seems that fluid has built up behind Dan's ear drum and he needs an antibiotic and continued decongestant to get it cleared up before we get on the plane to go home.

Back inside the mall, there was a mass wedding going on! All the shoppers were watching the cordoned-off area filled with seated brides (in cute white dresses) and grooms (in suits with red boutonnieres) -– wish I'd taken a photo! Wish I'd counted the couples too – maybe 100! There was a small string combo, and a speaker, hopefully giving them a great uplifting message about the blessings of married life!

We didn't watch for very long, as it was past 5 PM and we still had to get groceries! The Santa Lucia grocery store has a huge variety of stuff and we were able to get everything on my list. We hefted the 7 bags back through the mall and the department store to where we'd parked before lunch. It was already dark and we headed home through lots of Saturday night traffic. We heated up leftovers from the fridge... I guess it was a long day as Dan fell asleep on the couch around 9:00...

Again this Sunday, we attended church service at ICF on campus and Sunday School following. It's so interesting to hear from the members who are doing outreach in their neighborhoods and subdivisions. When Bible studies didn't seem to work, they shifted to “Scripture Search” groups and lots of people are attending!

Dan and I had a quiet afternoon at home; he spent some time under the hood of the car, still trying to locate the problem that's keeping the aircon fan from working in the front of the car... The youth group came, used the backyard (they must have been doing some really fun games too!) and left... Dan had offered to take me out for dinner at Mocha Blends, so I looked to see who might be on Facebook to invite to go along and found Keith. He was glad to get away from some intense paperwork for a while. We enjoyed the company and had some excellent sandwiches – they have such a variety on their menu!! We will be back...

Back at home, I baked a devil's food chocolate cake for Monday night – some of our office co-workers are coming over for dinner!!

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