Friday, October 12, 2012

Wendel

Meet Wendel. 

He's the reason we haven't been blogging.

Wendel is our language helper.

We actually met Wendel shortly after we arrived in the Philippines. He was teaching and language helping with our missionaries in Manila. In Tagalog. We worked with him closely the whole time we lived in Manila.

Now he has moved down to Mindanao to help us and the other new missionaries learn Visayan.

Yes. That means that he is fluent in Tagalog, Visayan, and English. And, he can coherently explain to bewildered missionaries what is going on in the wonderful world of Tagalog and Visayan grammar.

Why yes, since you ask....we are extremely jealous of his language skills. :)

Maybe you've noticed that our blogging has dropped off precipitously in the last few months. This drop in blogging activity coincided exactly with the arrival of Wendel to our town. Basically, he turns our brains to mush on a daily basis.

This would be because....well...Wendel gets to our house at 8 AM. We start studying with him in between teaching home school, running after several high-energy children, making sure food gets on the table, and taking furtive sips of coffee while absorbing new vocabulary and preparing first grader Bible lessons in Visayan.

Then, when Wendel is not doing language helping with us, he is working through the old Visayan grammar lessons and updated language acquisition material. Along with studying Visayan, we are working together to make a language program for new missionaries that has a good combination of time practicing language and learning culture in the community, time learning new words and grammar concepts, and  lots of time listening...and some time talking.

And this lasts pretty much all day long, all week long. Frankly, by the end of each day, our creative juices have been pretty much sucked out of our brain.

We are EXTREMELY blessed to have Wendel--- he already understands how to explain things to foreigners, has a great understanding of the grammar in the languages here, and has a lot of patience.

And, because he is a Christian brother, he is a great help in Bible lesson preparation, co-teaching, and he is also able to explain a lot of cultural things that we as Westerners have a hard time figuring out.

Thanks Wendel! Don't go anywhere, we have work to do!



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bowling in Visayan

Sometimes, ministry feels a lot like baseball. You strike out a lot.

But, sometimes, ministry feels like bowling...and you get strikes.

And, lately, ministry has felt like bowling, because, well, I've been bowling.

Wendel, our language helper, goes bowling regularly with his pastor, Michael. So, lately I've been joining the duckpin bowling crew.
It's a great chance to multitask. I get to practice my language, work on relationships with my language helper, get to know pastor Michael and whoever else comes to play, and oh yes, work on my duckpin bowling skills.

Well, at least the language practice and hanging out with friends was good.
My duckpin bowling skills leave a bit to be desired, as I was reminded earlier this evening. I didn't win a single game, and I had more gutter balls than I have room to write about in this blogpost.
But, I had a great time with Pastor Michael and Wendel, and hey, it's about the fellowship, not about who wins, right?

And, I will keep on saying that.

Until I start winning.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dessert First

I'm almost ashamed to say it...but I served dessert first tonight.  Honestly, before I had kids...I wouldn't have had a problem having dessert first...or just having dessert for supper and nothing else for that matter. But I think there is a command in the Mommy's Book of Laws that says you MUST NOT give your kids dessert first.  They can only have dessert if they have first finished all their other food.  I'm sure that's what "GOOD" mommies do anyway. 

But, I'm getting ahead of myself...

Last week...I got a text from my friend Pearl.  She had given birth to a baby girl...but she was extremely premature...only 6 months along.  She only weighed 1.3 kilos(not even 3 pounds) and she needed a lot of prayer. 
Precious Aivrel.
 
Visiting Pearl in the hospital.
On Monday AM...I woke up to a text saying that Aivrel had died. After texting back and forth for a while...I found out that the baby would be buried the following day. 

As Mondays are...We were crazy busy...homeschooling, languague study, laundry...and some new missionaries were arriving.  So, Brian went over in the afternoon to welcome them and to set up a time to take them around looking for houses.

Chaotic classroom/homeschooling.

Very studious!
I had 6 cups of coffee...and I went running with a friend later that afternoon.  I figured out around midnight...that the 6 cups of coffee had been a VERY bad idea...even if it was MONDAY!!!  Around 3 AM...I finally fell asleep.  Thankfully, I have a really awesome husband...and he let me sleep until 6:30 AM.  Yay! So, I was starting my day with about 3 1/2 hours of sleep.

We got busy with language study and homeschooling...it was just as hectic as usual...but I decided to severely limit my coffee intake.  My helper came for less than an hour but then had to leave to attend the funeral of a neighbor...

I left a little before 10 to go to Pearl's grandparents' house for the service...before continuing on to the cemetery.  It was a heartbreaking service and burial...  I canNOT imagine burying one of my children...  Please continue to pray for Pearl and her husband Dodong as they grieve the loss of their precious little one.
At the cemetery.
 I came home just after noon...to find that Brian had ordered some lunch to be delivered from Jollibee...but it was almost an hour later and it still had not arrived.  When it finally arrived...we fed everyone...and quickly tried to make up a list of houses that we know of in the area that could potentially fit a family of 5.  We got the kids down for their "quiet" time...  My helper came back to work.  Brian made it out the door to meet the new missionary and show him some houses. 

Wendel and I sat down to do some language study.  I got interupted about every 5th sentence.   One kid had to go potty...the other just peed all over the floor and himself...so, I had to give him a bath. On and on... one interruption after another.  Oh, and I forgot to mention the neighbors new pigs...every time the wind picked up...we got a huge whiff of nastiness. But we talked all about the funeral/burial that I attended...learning lots of new vocab and comparing and contrasting Filipino vs. American funerals...and I learned lots more culture. In the context of super-sadness.

Brian came home by the end of my session...and we finally kicked Wendel out the door. Just kidding...Wendel, we love you.  We had less than an hour before Brian needed to head back out the door to a missionary men's meeting...for which he was the "guest speaker".  I took a few minutes to relax...and then, Brian wanted some final prep time before he left.  So, I took over supervising the kids...and trying to get some more laundry done. 

He headed out the door...my helper right after him...and the kids decided that they wanted to wrestle...by the way...their combined weight is more than I weigh...and I'm pretty sure I have some new bruises.  I finally settled them down...and they let me read to them...  "Run, Run...as fast as you can...You can't catch me...I'm the gingerbread man."...  Ok...there went the settled down part of the afternoon.

They started asking me what we were going to have for supper...and of course, requesting PANCAKES.  I went and checked and we only have 1 egg.  We have needed to go grocery shopping BADLY for the past 4 days...and have yet to find the time.  It's raining...so, even if I was brave enough to cart the 4 kids down to my favorite Sari-Sari store to buy a couple more eggs...  we would totally get soaked...and it just wouldn't be worth it.  A quick look around the kitchen...and I realized I didn't have much to offer them.

But wait...I do have a tiny bit of ice cream...and bananas.  Yes, I am definitely going to serve my kids banana splits for supper.  I evenly distributed the ice cream into 4 bowls, sliced 2 bananas in half...added a dollop of peanut butter and some chocolate syrup...and voila...  SUPPER!!!  After they finished their banana splits...they were still hungry...I had a tiny hunk of summer sausage left that Brian and I have been hoarding...so, I sliced that up and handed it out to all who were willing....  They each got a slice of cheese...which is a real treat...and I heated up a tiny bit of mac & cheese that we had leftover.  I quickly made myself some spicy instant noodles...and finally got to sit down(Spicy food is always a good choice because our kids don't like it yet.) And..I took about 3 bites before the kids decided they wanted to try my noodles too...and of course, this was the first time that the kids actually enjoyed spicy food. And, that was the end of my supper.
A little later, Slater came up, stuck out his tongue and asked me, "what's this?" I said, "it's your tongue." He replied: "It's REALLY HOT!" :) Welcome to the world of spicy food, kid.

Brian came home from his meeting when the kids were just finishing supper.  So, I cleared the table...and then, left him to bathe the 4 darlings...  so I could write this post.  TOO MANY things that I wanted to get down before I forgot them all. 

Ok...just had a bit of a pause...to help get the kiddos to bed...and I'm back. 

I asked Brian how his meeting went...and what he spoke about...I know it's horrible that he's been preparing since last week...and I didn't have a clue what he was speaking about...  Guess what his topic was... MISSIONARY STRESS!!!  Ha.  The irony is killing me.

Apparently, there's a study on missionary stress. With the scale they use, anything over 200 means you have a 50% chance of ending up in the hospital soon. For first term missionaries, the score normally peaks at around...wait for it... 900. Hmm...This might explain a few things.

But, I'll just conclude this post with what he concluded his talk with...in II Corinthians 4: "Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweights them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unsee, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

This hasn't been an unusually busy week...it's actually, a pretty normal one...  
If we don't blog again for a while...you know why!  :)