I was reminded the other day that I haven’t updated in a while, and it was from someone who I look to as a parental figure, so I figured I’d better obey, right?! Good reminder though, I think sometimes we get so comfortable with our routines that what was once new and exciting is now just, life. I take that as a good sign though, it means we’re adjusting, right? In fact, looking back over the last handful of weeks, tons has happened! Why oh why did it take me so long to write about it all? Oh yeah, tons was happening.
First off, we are working on getting our first newsletter written and published, we will email it out. I thought it would be a lot simpler than it’s turning out to be. I figured, just go online and google free newsletter template. Ha! No such thing, most programs want to “streamline” the process for you, which makes for more confusion than clarity in my experience. But it’s coming soon, we promise!
A few praise reports and answered prayers to talk about! Dan has a new volunteer position at the local missionary school. The audio visual guru they had became sick and stepped down on very short notice, right before the end of the year plays, music programs, and banquets. Dan’s name came up as a possible fill in, and he was happy to do it. After a few days, the possibility of him continuing the position next year was presented to him. The big plus is we will get a significant discount on tuition for the kids to attend next year! Huge answer to prayer! The kids have mixed feelings, I think they are kind of enjoying the flexible schedule homeschooling has allowed, but we feel getting them into a regular routine with kids their ages will help them adjust even more. We would love continued prayer for them, they are still adjusting to the seemingly never ending parade of changes.
Dan and I went to Manila last week to buy some machinery for the shop/ministry, it was actually fun to get away! We have had a long standing hatred toward the city, fueled by some of the worst traffic in the world, one of the worst airports in the world, and dishonest people who seem to lurk around every corner. While we are still using subcontractors to produce our goods, we are in the process of setting up our shop space, and that requires machinery to do design work, prototyping, etc. We visited the “industrial sewing district” with a friend’s mom who runs a shop near Manila, she did the wheeling, dealing, and negotiating, while Dan bounced from shop to shop like a kid at Disneyland. After shopping, we retreated to Makati City, which is the financial district. If you were blindfolded and dropped there, you might not have a clue you we in a Third World country. Walking through Greenbelt, a mall that winds indoors and outdoors through a maze of tropical courtyards and coffee shops, we passed the usual middle class mall stores, and then we began to pass signs that I usually only see in the movies. Prada? Louis Vuitton? Harry Winston? Yep, they were all there, just to name a few. And yes, once again, it brought to light the huge huge disparity in incomes in this country. But, I have to admit, it was so nice to sit outside and breathe deep (one exception, smoking in public areas is allowed there, not so in Davao), enjoy the quiet (I think the small handful of jeepneys that run the routes through here are even quieter), and, in an area full of visiting Western businessmen and women, not be stared at. It is definitely a “bubble” of comfort in a city that is still very much in a developing nation. It has changed my view of Manila a bit though. I guess eating a huge old meal at Chili’s can do that. This was the second meal in a few days that was “American sized”. Good grief, I had forgotten how much our country eats.
I might have mentioned before, but we are officially a corporation! Sounds much fancier than reality, basically the government says we can do business here. Well, I guess that’s not such a minor thing after all, huh? Especially with how things tend to work here. We are now waiting for the local permits and tax ID number to legally operate, etc. Close. Very close.
Our house is feeling a bit more like home. We got our bamboo furniture that we ordered several months ago, but it was worth the wait. We bought some throw pillows, and some plants, ahhh…cozy! Oh, and we once again have sewing machines in our house! Guess it really wasn’t home without them, huh? Don’t worry, it’s temporary. You know how God’s timing has proved itself to be perfect over and over again? Well, it has once more. When we first arrived, Dan and I spent days driving around looking for workspace with no luck. We were told by several people that there was tons of industrial space available, it wouldn’t be a problem, etc. As It turned out, it was a problem. We adjusted our expectations, and decided we could work with a house or apartment just as easily, if the layout as right. We even said if we found a place we could live in, we could convert our place to workspace, since it has huge open areas that would be perfect. A few weeks ago, a “For Rent” sign appeared on the apartment a few doors down. We know the lady who lives there, another missionary, and we know she’s been trying to move closer to the area she works in. Long story short, it will be available soon, and we talked to our landlord about the possibility of renting it. He is totally fine with it, so it looks like we will be living about 100 feet from our shop! Close, but not too close. The way this place is laid out will also give us a few guest bedrooms upstairs, as they really won’t be functional for business. The upstairs bedroom is also huge, and with a little rearranging, we could easily sleep 6-8 people in there, dorm style. I guess what I am saying is, bring on the short term missions teams, we have a place for you! Or, just bring on visitors! The papers haven’t been signed yet, and we have no official date yet, but we are praying it works out.
We are still anxiously awaiting the day when we get to bring our vehicle home! The guy we are buying it from is still tying up loose end here, but he’s close, probably a few weeks from going, if that. This has been a lesson in patience. Once the idea of actually having a vehicle entered our head, it became harder and harder to live without one. But, the past month has been an opportunity to minister to the seller, who has been through a lot, and doesn’t know the Lord. He has commented several times that we are good people, we seem so happy, etc., and wants to know how we are so at peace here. The answer remains the same, we are full of the love and joy of having Jesus in our lives! We joke that we moved halfway around the world to minister to a white American. That’s what happens when you say, “use me, Lord”. Say yes without exception.
So there is a quick snapshot of the last month, I guess it hasn’t been so “little” after all. If we were asked for prayer requests, the main theme we’ve been feeling this past month is “limbo”. The business paperwork, the vehicle, the workspace, the kids’ schooling. Nothing is 100% settled right now, and while we know God is in control, it would be nice to cross something, anything, off the list. I love crossing things off lists. When I was younger, I would write to do lists that included tasks such as, “eat breakfast” or “get dressed”, just for the satisfaction of drawing a line through it. As close as we are though, I might be able to just toss the whole list in the trash soon. And, inevitably, start a new one.
On a completely unrelated note, The Avengers comes out in theaters today, a week or more before the US release date! We have a group of about 10 of us going tomorrow, yeah, there are pluses to living here! We will try and refrain from posting any spoilers, hehe!