Thursday, August 11, 2011


Fri. July 29 – We started our morning visiting Aris Balala – who manages a Christian farmers coop of around 135 families. He is helping the farmers transition into organic farming! I mentioned that I had observed a lot of goats around and that quality goat milk and yogurt is very popular among people interested in healthy nutrition. I explained that making yogurt is rather easy and that I had never seen organic yogurt in the Philippine stores. Doy was all ears! Convinced that they would like the idea, he plans to talk with those in governing positions about organic yogurt production as a livelihood for village people! We stopped at the Economic Department to set up an appointment for Doy to visit with them about these ideas! Doy & Ann are also good friends with the Christian Governor of Cabanatuan. We stopped to visit with Maris at the school she founded and is the principal of. She is a college mate of Doy’s. Her husband is the National Treasurer of the Filipino Police and her family owns a lot of farming property. They plan to convert to organic growing principals! Weaving through the trees down a narrow muddy road in the mountains, we made our way to a beautiful spot over-looking the valley! This is the new home of Rod and Lolite who have recently moved to the country from Manila. They were very wealthy Realtors when the Lord told them to leave their business and go minister to the village people. They have a very quaint home, a large hut for fellowship and a separate home for those who might be in immediate need for a place to stay. They own a large amount of farm land and are also converting to organic growing! We were scheduled for fellowship with a number of brothers and sisters this evening, however, a brother in a desperate situation called for help. We cancelled the fellowship in order to be with him and his wife. We spent the evening listening as they poured their hearts out to us. This man “just happened to be” from Alabama. It was helpful to him to have a brother and sister from America as part of his support and encouragement! God’s timing is perfect once again. He has only been home for a short while and will be returning to Afghanistan in a few days!

Sat. July 30 – Doy’s cell phone wasn’t working, consequently he couldn’t make the contacts for us that he hoped to. Instead, of being out and about as planned, we spent the morning watching the movie Facing the Giants with his daughter, Jaimie. As always, the Lord’s plan and timing is perfect. Considering the possibility that God may be leading us to be in the Philippines more permanently is somewhat unsettling for “old folks” like us!  Thoughts of learning a new culture, language, etc…. can be somewhat overwhelming for even a young person! We’re not young! There is tremendous work that needs to been done and we know that we don’t have the energy that we used to have. Without Jesus these can seem like giants! As the movie unfolded the Lord spoke clearly to me that He is not done with us, that we can’t quit and with Him nothing is impossible! The brother whom we encouraged and prayed with last night owns a massage parlor and treated us to a massage this afternoon! We had fellowship at Doy’s with a number of people. The Spirit led our evening fellowship into a very powerful discussion about attempting to institutionalize God’s Kingdom work and uniting it with the world’s governments. We shared until 2 AM! The Holy Spirit’s presence was clearly leading the conversation. We certainly have the evil one’s attention!

Sun. July 31 - Brkfst @ Jun (June) & Mayetta’s (Myet) Savior’s. They made tea from guava leaves to use on Gary’s wounds. We had fellowship with local brothers & sisters who meet in one another’s homes. We met a Filipino couple who are home for respite from mission work in Saudi Arabia. We celebrated positive results with a young couple who have been trying to get pregnant for 11 years!

Mon. Aug 1 – Driving to Angeles City with Doy and Dong was a wonderful time of fellowship. We prayed, sang praises and shared hearts about many things. The car was filled with God’s presence! We stopped at Charisma Natural Farms run by Cynthia who was formerly a medical doctor who’s passionate about organic farming and organic Kingdom life! What a precious sister in the Lord! We have much in common and were thrilled to connect hearts! Spent some time sharing singing praises and praying with Dong’s pastor friends Eric & Elsa Domingo who minister to former drug addicts, prostituted women etc Shelter Power house. Arrived @ May & Paulo’s late in the evening. It was fun to reconnect. Some of you might remember my prayer requests for Feng when I was here last winter. PTL Feng went home, has a job and is doing quite well!!!! Thank you for your prayers for her! Gary’s wounds are mucho better! Thanks for your prayers!

Tues. Aug 2 – We ran errands in the AM and spent the afternoon with three of the girls at the RENEW shelter where Dotty & I spent 4 wks last winter. Kim met us at the gate, jumping for joy as she hugged me! As we entered into the shelter, it was obvious that Kim had something on her mind that she had to share. Even though she said she was nervous about trying to share in English she knew that the Lord was nudging her to share her heart with me. She poured out her heart for over an hour about how she felt the Lord had used me in her life, where she is now and where she desires to be in her life and walk with Jesus. Her love and passion for Jesus left me speechless. I was so humbled that the tears just started flowing as I praised Jesus in my heart for His Spirit’s work in her life! All glory is His!!! It was so cute when she said, “I’m shocked that I am speaking such good English!” Kim has started college since I was here this winter. She is studying Hotel Management. She is very excited and serious about her studies! RENEW has temporarily moved to a much smaller bldg and hoping to begin to build on their own property later this yr! They are excited! They also have purchased two new computers. The 100# box of knitting supplies that we mailed before leaving home has not arrived yet. I’m disappointed, but I’m reminded that God’s timing is perfect. I’m told that the delay is likely due to the typhoons. The girls gave me a small boxful of bags and purses that they’ve knitted and want me to sell for them in the states. They are beautiful! We went for a walk around the new neighborhood with the girls and children who were home for the morning. We spent an hour or two catching our breath and went back to RENEW to see the girls who were at school earlier in the day. Although he was not comfortable going into the bars, we went to Field’s Avenue in the evening so that Gary could get a glimpse of the Red Light District. Two of the girls from the shelter went with us. On our way back to the shelter, a group of fellas on the jeepney had schemed to pick pocket Gary. After an extended dramatic display in an attempt to distract Gary from his belonging, they gave-up in frustration. When we got off the jeepney a young man came up to us and asked if we were ok and if we had everything. He had overheard the “team” saying before they got on the jeepney, “Let’s get the old man!” All of Gary’s belongings were secured. I assured him that not only is he not “old” but that they didn’t know who they were messing with, for he is a child of the most High King!

Wed. Aug 3 – I went to the shelter this morning and was greeted by Kim who handed me a card that she’d made for Gary & I. It was great to reconnect with Loida, the social worker @ RENEW. She has taken on the role of learning more about knitting and teaching the girls! I am so thrilled! We went to the college with Paulo where he is the director of the social services department. It was fun to reunite with some of the people there and to introduce them to Gary. I learned today that RENEW has provided 40 students with scholarship! PTL!!! We ate lunch with a number of staff and students before returning to RENEW. Paulo remained with us for the rest of the afternoon visiting with some of the girls at the shelter before we had to fly out in the evening to return to Cebu. We were greeted at the airport by a truck full of our family members from Cebu! What a blessing!

Thurs. Aug 4 – We had fun catching up with Molong and some of our other family this morning. Before leaving for Luzon, I’d contacted a couple who developed a ministry called Project Mercy to arrange meeting with them. They are ministering to vulnerable over-aged youth These youth do not fit the standard curriculum available to students their age. Project Mercy has developed a curriculum that fits their needs. These students have been in gangs, convicts of various crimes, known addicts, prostituted, homeless, etc. They are using organic farming as training and teaching tools, as well as a possible means of livelihood for the students. Biblical literacy is integrated into the studies. Parents are also included in the curriculum. Through their curriculum they have discovered that they meet their discipleship goals in 6 mths vs. the three yrs. that they were exp. before they changed from the standard curriculum. They are not a private school, instead the government has recognized them as a research school designed to test programs for those who do not fit the standard curriculum. Their school has been opened for 2 yrs. There are no expenses for the students who attend Project Mercy’s school! We had a great visit over lunch about producing organic herbs and making health products from them as livelihood projects. I shared several samples of the products that I make. They are interested in learning more and we’ll go to visit the school and farm tomorrow. I’ve wondered through the yrs. why I’ve had such a strong interest in and spent so much time researching organic gardening and how to make these products. It seemed that there had to be more than a personal reason. I think I’m discovering why the Lord has had me on such a mission to learn. The Philippines seems to be a wide open opportunity for this. The people are in need of healthy food and products, the interest to learn is there and with more and more tourists coming in there is also a market.

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