Wednesday, August 5, 2015

July in Pics

So...pictures at our house tend to have a theme....for some reason almsot all of them tend to centered around 1 to 4 children... and there is quite often our ever-present puppy sticking his face in. Here are some of our favorites from the month of July, starting appropriately enough, with our Independence Day group shot.

Muddy mayhem....
little heartbreakers...
Future K-9 Officer. With pal.
Future Cesar Milan spin-off show...The Dog Snuggler....

No words...
Asia...for one moment, actually not reading.
And Slater, in his words, just 'chillaxin'.'

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Despedida for the UK Short-Term Mission Team

Why are we all walking down the road...carrying children and assorted dishes of food? Well...good question--
This last month, NTSM, the nearby NTM training center for national missionaries, had a mission team from the UK come and help with their ongoing renovation. Over the last couple of weeks we have had the team over to our house for a meal, and gone out there to speak at one of their meetings.

They're a really neat group, and kept on working outdoors even through the monsoon downpours!
To celebrate them coming, and give them a Despedida (kind of a farewell party) many of the National NTM leadership and all of the students and staff at NTSM got together last Saturday--

We were invited too--- there was just one problem. The rain. It has rained almost non-stop for the last two weeks. Normally to get into NTSM, you have to drive over three fairly docile river crossings. We can normally even do it in our glorified station wagon. But after two weeks of monsoons, the river was swollen and flooded and there was no way to get across, even in 4x4 vehicles. 
So, we headed to the farewell luncheon the old-fashioned way....hiking on the muddy trail. Our kids thought it was a big adventure, and had a great time trekking through the rainforest. Some of the UK teammates and one of our NTM co-workers hiked out to our houseto help carry in the food--Rainy Season...It's more fun in the Philippines!

Skye spent the hike on daddy's shoulders, but the other three kept up with the others...and even tried to push the pace at times. :)
The kids always love visiting NTSM...lots of room to run and play....when it's not raining too hard.
We had a great time with our National NTM co-workers, and the departing UK team.
Tons of food...a bit of flooding, and lots of fun.
Oh, it was also our 12th anniversary that day...so we celebrated one dozen years with several dozen people!
The UK team gave a last singing performance...
The boys, as usual, got tired of sitting for any length of time...
There were last pictures taken with everyone who came and those who helped the mission team....
And, after lots of food, fellowship and farewells, we headed back out on our homeward hike.
That would be Skye...once again happily hanging out on top of daddy's backpack on the return trek. It was a muddy day, but a very special one--
safe travels to the UK team-- and come on back! (maybe during dry season next time... :) 

visitors/events

As we added up what has happened over the last month, we realized, no, we're not crazy. We really did have a LOT of visitors and events in just one month.
First...one month ago we all helped put on an event at NTSM--the nearby National NTM missionary training center. the missionaries put together a huge lunch, and all the local government officials were invited--so it was a pretty big meal, and lots of officials from our local 'barangay' attended.
Then, right after that, we had some veteran missionary friends of ours come visit us for several days-- they shared about teamwork with our new missionaries.
Then, the next week, we had some of our leadership visit-- they had individual meetings with all of  new missionaries, and in our group meeting gave some good tips on teamwork, and also how to grocery shop for months at a time when you are living in the tribe. Tip #1....buy enough toilet paper.

Then, we got connected with a couple who is serving on board the Logos Hope, the Operation Mobilization shop that travels around the world and does ministry wherever they put into port-- with a floating bookshop, lots of outreaches, and Buckets of Hope-- an inexpensive simple water filter that can be used to provide safe drinking water for whole villages. We got to have supper on the ship, take a cool tour where the kids got to see the lifeboats and stand on the bridge, and go deep into the ship.

A few days later, we had our hosts to our house to meet our new missionaries and share a meal.
Not long after that, we had the UK missions team to our house for a meal...it made 17 people for lunch when you include us...
Then field leadership, one of our church planting consultants and some international church planting consultants came for a visit and meetings with us and the new missionaries...
The day after that Brian went to NTSM to share with the UK missions team for one of their meetings....
Then, three days later we helped prepare a big meal for the send-off for the UK team...So, all in all it's been a rather eventful four weeks. Those were just the extra things that happened...we still had all of the normal things going on...So, suffice it to say, life is not getting boring....we'll be sure to write a post about boredom if we can ever find some examples...
But until then, at least we're staying out of mischief.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Vehicles, Visitors & Government Officials

Soo…what has 12 legs, 4 wheels, 5 doors and 6 smiles?

That would be our family inside our new (to us) vehicle!

After riding in buses and jeepneys and tricycles and taxis and doing lots of walking over the last 5 months, we finally have a car/van/wagon/not sure whattocallit…vehicle! But it runs.

We are extremely thankful to finally be able to drive ourselves to buy supplies, and also to have a backup in case of emergency. And, it is WAAY easier to get our kids around, get to the National NTM training center, and help the new missionaries--- so to everyone who was praying and helped us financially to get it….thank you!

We are finally feeling like our lives are ratcheting down to mildly insane after being freakishly crazy for our first few months in our new location---Our new missionaries are really doing a great job as they get deeper into learning the culture and language.

Besides studying language, our new folks are also really becoming part of the community and getting to know the National missionaries and trainees at the nearby New Tribes School of Missions.

And…we have had LOTS of visitors and events over the last few weeks.     
To start it off, we all got to be part of a large gathering with the national NTMer’s and local government officials. It was a huge lunch, and a good time of fellowship and getting to know our local ‘barangay’ officials.

Then, some veteran missionary friends visited us, and shared about teamwork with our students…then we had one of our mission leaders visit for a few days, shortly after that we had visitors at our house from the ship “Logos Hope” which was in dock close to where we live—They have a Christian bookstore on board, and also do lots of outreaches in the communities they visit around the world, so it was exciting to meet some of the crew members and have them to our house---And, they took us on a tour of the ship, which our kids LOVED—as they got to go on the bridge, see the lifeboats and explore the ship.


Then, a short term missions team from the UK arrived to help work at the nearby New Tribes School of Missions, so we have been out there regularly with them, and had the whole team to our house for a meal—AND, at the same time we have been interacting with them, NTM leadership and Church Planting Consultants from several countries came here to visit us and speak with us and our new missionaries, and they just left a couple of days ago….and the day after they left, Brian was out to NTSM sharing with the UK team and the National missionaries--- and….we have another meeting/potluck with them in a few days, and…(deep breath), suffice it to say we have not been lonely or bored.

In our spare time(ha!), Brian continues to work on curriculum development for the Culture and Language Acquisition program, Brooke is steadfastly educating our Fantastic4, and we are slowly working on our house—and all of the leaks that have suddenly appeared now that rainy season is upon us.

Life is crazy, but we are encouraged!
Thanks so much for your prayers and support!

Brian, Brooke and the Fantastic4

Sunday, July 5, 2015

4th of July Flashback

Flashing back to 4th's of July gone by...lots of good memories no matter which side of the ocean we were on!

2009 ---Missouri-- baby boys and a two year old Asia...three months before flying to the Philippines.

 2011--Celebrating the 4th on Mindanao....when we were living for 6 months in the guest house.

 2012--Grilling at our own house on Mindanao and teaching Wendel about crazy American culture! Good memories.

 2013--Still on Mindanao...with our too-cool-for-school, but not too-cool-for-patriotism 4-pack.

 2014--Virginia! We were smiling...but kinda sad that the hurricane in the area took away the kids only chance to see a real 4th of July parade for a lot of years...

2015--- Now...on our new island, with our new dog, and still waving the flag, no matter where in the world we might be....No matter where you are in the world, Happy Independence Day!