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!