Monday, December 30, 2013

With December.....Comes Babies!

The month of December started off with a bang! Our clinic has been bursting with babies being born over the last four weeks! My time has been busy with the 6 babies I delivered and all the check-ups in the following days & weeks. Six very unique different births, but ending in six beautiful healthy babies and six wonderful moms that I had the privilege of becoming friends with!

Here's a few pictures of these cuties as I saw them on their check-ups...



Somewhere in the midst of this busy month, there was Christmas....and the reminder of another most wonderful birth centuries ago! It has such a new meaning to me after being in the midwifery world! Merry Christmas to all of you!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Faith is a Burden

This is not another song about the mountains 
Except about how hard they are to move 
Have you ever stood before them 
Like a mustard seed that's waiting for some proof? 

Well, I say, "Faith is a burden 
It's a weight to bear, it's brave and bittersweet 
And hope is hard to hold to" 
Lord, I believe, only help my unbelief 

Till there's no more faith and no more hope 
I'll see Your face and Lord, I'll know 
That only love remains 

Have you ever heard that Jesus is the answer 
Or thought about the many doubts you hide? 
Have you wondered how He loves you 
If He really knows how dark you are inside? 

I say, "Faith is a burden 
It's a weight to bear, it's brave and bittersweet 
And hope is hard to hold to" 
Lord, I believe, only help my unbelief 

Till there's no more faith and no more hope 
I'll see your face and Lord, I'll know 
That there's no more faith and there's no more hope 
I'll sing Your praise and let them go 
'Cause only love, only Your love remains 

So I will drive these roads in thunder and in rain 
And I will sing Your song at the top of my lungs 
And I will praise You, Lord, in glory and in pain 
And I will follow You till this race is won 

And I will drive these roads till this motor won't run 
And I will sing Your song from sea to shining sea 
And I will praise You, Lord, till Your Kingdom comes 
And I will follow where You lead 

Till there's no more faith and no more hope 
I'll see Your face and Lord, I'll know 
There's no more faith, there's no more hope 
I'll sing Your praise and let them go 
'Cause only love, only Your love remains 
Only love

~ Andrew Peterson

So much I could say to expound on these lyrics. But I'm not. Just going to let them stand alone this time and say AMEN.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Are You a Rebel?

Thank you to everyone who responded to my email for prayer for the fighting & unrest on our island. As you can see in this update, around 140 of the hostages were rescued yesterday after a week of being held by the rebel group. The government army has retaken control of many parts of Zamboanga. However around 80,000 people have been displaced from the fighting. We also had 2 small bombs go off in the malls here in Davao where I live, on Monday.

I hate when fear overtakes conversations and becomes the focus of everyday life. 

There is no room in love for fear. 
Well-formed LOVE banishes fear. 
Since fear is crippling, a fearful life 
—fear of death, fear of judgment 
is one not yet fully formed in love.
1 John 4:18 (MSG) 

I've been thinking about the rebels who are fueling these conflicts. I imagine them as PEOPLE who have concerns, worries, & hard choices to make, just like the rest of us. People who may have had some really hard luck in life. People trying to define themselves in something, someway, some name. People wanting recognition, community, & success. People trying to make a living & put some rice on the table. People going along with the pressures of friends & family. People maybe trying to live out their convictions & beliefs. People who have hurt other people in the pursuit of all these things.

When my eyes go back over that list, I find that I'm not so different. I've secretly & openly desired recognition & success. I've fought hard for community to happen. I've had some things happen in my life that just seemed like pure hard luck. I still struggle with trying to define myself & my actions in some way that will seem "right." I've allowed myself to be pressured by others to do things I wasn't really sure I agreed with. I am continually trying to live out my beliefs in ACTION. And there is no doubt that I have unknowingly AND knowingly hurt, stomped-on, & tried to overshadow others, in the pursuit of all these things. 

Who am I to even approach judgement of them? Past being "rebels", past being people who shoot at others, past being Muslims...

....they are just like ME. 

And it's kind of a funny thing - when you see someone broken, searching, & confused, just like you can be, doesn't it make you want to LOVE them? And when you understand people, where they're maybe coming from, why their life heart is beating the way it is, how can you be AFRAID of them? 

Love & fear just don't mix, in my opinion.

So friends, let's pray, love, & care about both the hostages and the rebels holding them, the Christians & the Muslims, the men carrying guns & the the men carrying hurt victims, and the people displaced without homes on both sides of the conflict.

And let's dissipate fear by replacing it with knowledge of THE love that can fill it.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Reminder of a Package

Look what got dropped off at the clinic this morning!! 

My box FINALLY made it!

Across the huge Pacific Ocean on a freighter...through customs in Manila, boated from island to island, driven across land, and finally found its way to our little clinic despite the rather obscure addresses around here.

What an abundance! So good to have all my own textbooks, my hammock, favorite scarves, some tea, and a few favorite pictures of course.

Simple things that I didn't think much of when I packed them back in the States, but funny how exciting it is to get them now.

Getting this box reminded me of the first time I got a package when I lived in Africa. It was two months after arriving in the country of Tchad, and involved a very adventurous journey to another village to pick up my package. (You can read about that trip *here* and *here*)

I still remember that it was from my college with notes from other students and a bag of peanut butter M&Ms from some dear friends. How incredible it was to get a package from home after living in the remote African bush in a hut. It was like from a different world.

Within minutes of opening that package, I passed out and it was the beginning of a long chain of events that ended in emergency surgery a day later (read about *here* and *here*) and a month of recovery from the surgery, typhoid, and malaria, and a nice scar on my abdomen that I can still look at daily.... remind me of that 1st package.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Same God

Was listening to the song below and thought of a friend who I would love to say those lyrics to. Life can be tough. Especially in the last few years, I've seen how hard it can be after college for so many of my friends. There is this disconnect between everything that school offers and tells you, and what life is really like when you're pushed out into the world, everyone telling you what a success you'll be. Suddenly the community is gone, you're alone and floundering to meet that success. The feeling of being ALIVE and excited about God and how He is working in your life, starts to fade to a memory...and the everydayness of life sets in. 

But God really is the same God you used to jump over mountains for in high school. He's the same God you followed to a foreign country to serve. He's the same God you'd sing to in emotion-moving college worships.

He's here in the now. He's here in the broken successes and confusion about the future. He's here in the midst of your loneliness. He's here through watching all your life plans not pan out the way you expected.

And He's going to be the same God who brings you out of it. The same God who teaches you what true success is. The same God who reveals what this season was for. The same God who shows you the ULTIMATE path He has for you. 

The same God who loved you from the very beginning....all the way to the end.

Do you trust me? I promise it's true.

Back to the wall, scared you'll fall

What you going to do
Day and night,
Don't know why its like the worlds' against you
You're praying for a break through

There was a day
When your faith couldn't be held down
God was near enough to hear every word
But somehow you wish He heard you right now
Don't you know

The same God who was with you then is with you now
The same God who led you in will lead you out
So take all the fear and doubt
Go on and lay them down
The same God, the same God is with you now

Can't you see
Everything happens for a reason
There's a time, there's a place
For every season
He knows what's best for you
So don't be afraid

The same God who was with you then is with you now
The same God who led you in will lead you out
So take all the fear and doubt
Go on and lay them down
The same God, the same God is with you now

~ Newsong

Saturday, August 31, 2013


"Ate Bebe, how do I get to the Adventist church on jeepneys?"

That question resulted in this map and a 20 minute explanation of jeepney routes, fares, and a few key phrases in Visayan, from our language teacher Ate Bebe. I decided to visit the church that is downtown today, and maybe try the further one by the Adventist hospital when I'm feeling especially adventurous. Ate Bebe is so awesome, and gave me directions to both.

Being the only one looking for a church on Saturday morning instead of Sunday, church-going has become my time to really get up my courage and venture out solo in the city. Last week I went to an Adventist church just down the road that I could walk to from my house. It was a great experience, but I want to visit all three churches in the city eventually.

This morning I headed out, jumped on a jeepney, and surreptitiously studied my map in my purse as we headed downtown. The Filipino people I've asked help from have always been SO helpful and's just a matter of breaking the barrier and actually asking! I think most of the time they are just as shy of me as I am of them. So eventually I just asked the driver if he could help me know when to get off. He smiled so big and was so happy to direct me :)

The church was packed and the service was a mix of English and Visayan. I just think it is so neat that wherever I go in the world, there most often is an Adventist church and community to connect with. What a blessing. 

Afterwards, I was determined to try and connect a bit with some of the people...which is sometimes a bit daunting because I was the only white person in the entire church and people were constantly stealing glances at me during the service, with kids just outright staring. But I made my first friend!! So excited to make some connections outside of the clinic and program I'm in here. I asked a young lady, that looked about my age, to help me find my way back home. We ended up walking a ways together and chatting about why we were both in Davao. I heard a bit of her story about how her family is Catholic and when she became Adventist a few years ago, they told her that she was no longer part of their family. Just recently, though, they are becoming more open to it, and she hopes to travel back home soon to visit them. 

She got my number to text me next week when she's on her way to church so that we can meet up. So maybe I won't have to wander alone anymore :) Although I do love exploring!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Go, Move, Do!

I'm currently reading, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.

It is an incredible resource for the mission-minded. I haven't gotten very far in it, but I already want to share a few quotes from the introduction.

"North American Christians are simply not doing enough. We are the richest people ever to walk the face of the earth. Period. Yet, most of us live as though there is nothing terribly wrong in the world. We attend our kids' soccer games, pursue our careers, and take beach vacations while 40 percent of the world's inhabitants struggle just to eat every day. And in our own backyards, the homeless, those residing in ghettos, and a wave of immigrants live in a world outside the economic and social mainstream of North America. We do not necessarily need to feel guilty about our wealth. But we do need to get up every morning with a deep sense that something is terribly wrong with the world and yearn and strive to do something about it. There is simply not enough yearning and striving going on."

"We want to say as loudly and as clearly as we can: GET MOVING! We believe that the coexistence of agonizing poverty and unprecedented wealth - even just within the household of faith - is an affront to the gospel. You see, what is at stake is not just the well-being of poor people - as important as that is - but rather the very authenticity of the church's witness to the transforming power of the kingdom of God."

I feel this kind of stuff deep down. And sometimes it feels like so few others are feeling it deep too. If they did, there would be a lot more MOVING going on. What are you doing for people? Like really DOING?

Sometimes I just feel almost a burden for people. I want to see change happening in this world. Yeah I know it's never going to be all perfect with a bow on top, but there's no excuse for lack of action. Jesus' example on earth was so much an example of ACTION.

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:18

I'm not saying you should all jump on a plane overseas because that's where you need to be. I don't know where you need to be. But I hope YOU know. Or if you don't, you're askin' God. Just please please don't let excuses about unsureness, fear, or "busyness" be a reason for inaction. There's just TOO much in this world staring us in the face, to not act. Look for real need. Look for the people being overlooked. Look for the relationships that need reconciliation.

These kinds of thoughts always seem to bring me back to seeing the big picture of life. Remembering Who I'm working for, focusing my day to day things on the full picture of who God is calling me to be, what He is calling me to do, and where He is calling me to go.

Here are just a few more quotes that I love, from some of those giants in the mission field.

"God isn't looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him" 
— Hudson Taylor

"Sympathy is no substitute for action." — David Livingstone

"We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first." 
— Oswald J. Smith

"If ten men are carrying a log - nine of them on the little end and one at the heavy end - and you want to help, which end will you lift on?"  
— William Borden

"You can give without loving. But you cannot love without giving." — Amy Carmichael

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Kadayawan 5K Run

Danielle and I joined a few others and ran a 5K early this morning! It is the first race I've ever run in. How great to have it be in the Philippines! This run was part of the Kadayawan Festival which is a local celebration and thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest and all good things in Davao City. They especially celebrate some of the things Davao is known for - Mt. Apo, the highest peak in the country; Durian, the king of fruits; and Waling-waling, the queen of orchids.

I got a good look at Mt. Apo last week while we were staying on an island across from Davao, and it looks massive, towering above everything! I hear we can climb it as an overnight trip, if we hire a professional guide.....just have to convince some others how fun that would be :)

Anyway, over the last few days I've gotten a better feel for the city and how to get places, and this run helped me even more. And who doesn't love a good Filipino warm-up dance at 5 in the morning! And people sneakily taking tons of pictures of us :)

That would be Davao City for DC, not District of Columbia :)

We are Awesome!

Our runner's kit given to us at the end included bags of soy sauce & vinegar, powdered milk drink for preschoolers, pork lunchmeat in a can, noodles, and Mangosteen tea! Mmm...tasty :) 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

First Glimpse

Our lovely home in the Ladis Lawa neighborhood....shared with 16 girls at the moment!

Roommates: Rahel (Germany), Danielle (Minnesota), Dieneke (Netherlands), and Me!

Our corner of the house

Don't need much in the way of bedding here!

Personal space for all 12 of us that are here for two years

Where eating happens

Where food happens

Lounge area

Our BIG mango tree

Back laundry alley

The fun laundry machines: which involve more than just pushing a button!

 Shoes stay outside

Part of our yard that I'm scoping out to hang my hammock

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Email Me!

Because of the nature of the work I will be doing here in the Philippines and other important reasons....I will not post all my stories on this public blog. If you would like to receive the more sensitive updates, stories, and pictures from me, then please contact me and let me know so that I can add you onto an email list that I will send to from time to time.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


6 airports
5 security checks
28 hours of plane travel
12 hours of layover

And we have ARRIVED!

Traveling was a great bonding experience with my classmates :) By the end, we were all sleeping on top of each other and sharing food.

I will put up some pictures later of my new home. I'm living in a house of 16 girls! It doesn't seem as full as it actually is since some are always on shift at the clinic or sleeping at all hours of the day. The life of midwives!

Today we went to church with the directors of our program. They were singing "Nothing is Impossible" as we walked in....which happens to be one of our Big Lake theme songs from years past! It was really hard to refrain from doing all the motions and punching the sky like we do at camp. Although I don't think anyone would have minded. It was pretty lively singing with some beautiful dancers in the front, playing tambourines.

Later today we went out for donuts at a mall. There are guards everywhere we go, and it was interesting to watch them check our car (twice!) for bombs and then scan us as we entered the mall. I'm guessing they are being extra vigilant since some car bombs went off in Cotabato City a few days ago (which is on our island), killing some people.

So going to church today really helped me feel like I've come home -- singing songs I love and worshiping with everyone. The other activities that have made it feel like home have been getting to play some sports! There is an academy here where all the missionary kids go to school and they have some community sports going on over the weekend for whoever wants to show up. Yesterday I went out for some basketball, and this evening we played volleyball and ultimate frisbee. Then after getting connected and talking with some of the people, I found out that there is soccer too!! I missed it this week, but am really hoping to jump in and try it soon. I hear it is all men, and they play pretty intense, but hopefully they still might let me join in :)

Everyone keeps warning us how we are going to get slammed soon with assignments and work. So I'm happy to know that there are these sports groups that I can get out with sometimes, to get out and MOVE every now and then.

It is fun right now, to just sit around our house and listen to all the 2nd year girls as they come back from clinic shifts, talking about the births they helped with. I'm getting antsy to jump into things! Tomorrow we head out to an island to hang on a beach overnight while having more orientation. And then we have quite a few "get to know you" parties coming up with the other students and Filipino staff.

So much fun stuff. So happy to be home.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Travels Begin!

Together at last! After creeping on each other on Facebook for the last few months, it was so fun to see everyone in person finally! These are my classmates that will be traveling to the Philippines with me and spending the next 2 years living, eating, studying, learning, working, and midwifing together. We will meet up with 3 more classmates once we arrive in Davao City.

It has been neat to hear everyone's stories of how God opened doors and brought them to this point and I feel blessed and privileged to get to jump into this adventure with so many others who share similar passions and love for missions.

We've all been getting antsy over the last few days....having fun getting to know each other....but dying to get on that plane and finally ARRIVE! 

Tomorrow morning that will begin. Talk to you all again on the other side of the Pacific!

Thursday, August 1, 2013


It was such a privilege to be able to speak a few weeks ago at the North Cascade SDA Church up in Sedro-Woolley, WA! I loved connecting with so many wonderful, supportive people. I am now also lined up to do the sermon at the Scappoose-St. Helens SDA Church, this Sabbath (Aug 3). If you're in the area, come on over!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Going WEST!

The flurry of leaving Tennessee left me off my blog for a while! My friend Pamela, cat Mowgli, and I made the long trek West and just arrived yesterday in my hometown of St. Helens, Oregon! Here are some highlights from our awesome roadtrip.

Lots of driving! Lots of sunsets and sunrises!

Fireworks on the 4th of July in Missouri

A full car

Farmers market in Kansas City



Big skies!

Our hosts in Denver!

Driving through the Rocky Mountains


Mowgli in Arches National Park

Camping out by Canyonlands National Park

Travel life

More cool skies through the desert


First time on the Grand Canyon north rim!

Mowgli and I at the Grand Canyon!
Grand Canyon at sunset


Zion National Park

NEVADA -- Our least favorite state :)

Camping out in the desert for a night

Driving into Yosemite National Park

Back into the land of streams and lakes!!

Love the clear water

Our highest elevation on the trip!

Most expensive gas up in Yosemite

Yosemite Valley

In the Mariposa Grove by the roots of Giant Sequoia tree

They are giant!

A cold jaunt in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge

Visiting Sonya at PUC - my first college

Napa Valley vineyards

First look at the Pacific Ocean on the California coast!

Mowgli on the beach

Driving through Central Oregon

Home! We made it!