Well, Dan was right. As he is at times. You may remember last month that we were waiting to cross off a ton of things on our to do/to finalize list, and between last week and this week, we have been able to. As the frustration of seemingly having noting settled, Dan said repeatedly, “you watch, everything will come together in a week”. Yep, it did, plus a few bonus blessings!
Where to start. Kids schooling. With the exception of a simple physical, the kids are signed up and ready to start Faith Academy in August. I’m actually looking forward to going shopping for uniforms in July! I keep trying to convince the kids it will be fun, and that they will appreciate uniforms when they wake up late and have to get dressed in 5 minutes. They are beginning to warm up to the idea of going to a “real” school again, I guess I won’t push my luck.
The workspace. We signed the lease on the apartment two doors down yesterday, we officially have a shop! Our lease doesn’t technically begin until June 7, but we have keys, and as soon as it is inspected by the landlord’s crew, we can move in. No more sewing machines or rolls of fabric in the house, yahoo! What will we do with all the space? Skating rink? It’s not out of the question!
And speaking of the business, we have nearly everything done to be completely 100% official, it seems like it has been a game, or a scavenger hunt, from the start. We bring in paperwork. We are thanked for bringing in said paperwork, now, the next task is to bring in more paperwork! We bring in the next batch. “oh sorry sir, we need signatures from you board on this”. No problem, we get the signatures and bring the papers back. “Sir, we need three photocopies of this document”. How I wish I was kidding. All that’s left (that we know of) is to have a board member attend a class about waste management, and then we will receive a sanitation certificate, which is our promise not to dispose of excess raw goods. Kind of a nice policy, but it is just one more annoying step to deal with. Someone told us a while back that leadership is simply handling one problem, then moving on to the next. By now, we should be super leaders!
We have our vehicles! Nope, that is not a typo, we now have two! A few weeks ago, we went to our friend’s mechanic with him to check on something. While we were there, the mechanic was showing us a Toyota Tamaraw that he just finished rebuilding. He had purchased several government surplus vehicles, and pieced them together to make a handful of drivable ones. He had one left, and told us that he was selling it for a really good deal, just to get rid of the last one. He is a strong Christian, and likes to do what he can to help the missionaries in town, so I have a feeling this was a special “missions rate”. After doing a bit of research, we discovers what a deal it was, so we bought it. Now, we had already committed to buying the cute yellow multicab, which we acquired lt week, so now we each have something to drive. The Tamaraw is more solid, and the multicab is great for zipping around town. After months of riding around in hot, smoky jeepneys and expensive taxis, we’ve been blessed. The kids also love the tinted windows on both vehicles, it’s nice to go somewhere and not be constantly stared at. We roll up the windows, turn on the aircon, and no one knows it’s a car full of white folks! It’s been huge for them, more than I realized before.
Speaking of blessings, there’s one more! (for today anyways, God’s blessings and grace pour out daily!). We just hired another helper! Our current helper, Vergie, has a sister, Rose, who was working in a nearby house as part of a full staff. Vergie mentioned offhand a few times that Rose was unhappy, she worked long hours for little pay, and the helpers were only allowed to eat leftovers, if there were any. I know this is a fairly common situation here, and while it is heartbreaking, putting a “face” to it was even more upsetting. Rose came over frequently to visit, and I told Vergie to make sure she ate when she was here. Dan and I have been talking about hiring another helper for a while, especially when the workspace is up and running, so we offered the job to Rose. Culturally, it’s not acceptable to hire someone out from another person, but Vergie told us Rose was quitting, so we jumped on the chance to hire her before someone else did. It’s an added bonus that they are sisters, and love the fact that they share a room (how many of us lord sharing a bedroom with a sibling while growing up?! Definitely different here!). Rose helps out with Aahil, Vergie’s 5 month old son, and I think 2 helpers can get 10 times the work done! It’s also nice for Vergie to have someone close by that understands “her” language and customs, etc. We’re learning though!
So, things are settling. It’s feeling more and more like home. We’re making friends, getting plugged in with different ministries, and getting ours closer to being a reality. I’m sitting in immigration at the moment, extending our tourist visas for another 2 months, hopefully for the last time. In a short time, we can apply for our business visas, which are renewable every 2 years. Yes, I will miss dressing up and sitting here for 2+ hours in a room full of grumpy, impatient foreigners every two months, but it’s a sacrifice that must be made. I guess the next “big” prayer request would be for favor when it comes to securing our long term visas. Next problem to solve! Yep, I am a leader!