our work

Friday, April 25, 2014

Four-Wheel Musings

Today, my husband, two of our own children and five of our Mercy House kids went on an errand, a very mundane errand to the water district to drop off a sample of our home water supply.   We need a "water safety certificate" to complete the requirements to register Mercy House as an official "Social Work Development Agency".

In any case, as we were driving along in a light and VERY welcome rain (it has been so hot here), a thought occurred to me.

Most of my friends, family, blog readers and followers have never been to The Philippines.  Most have never seen the regular homes of the average citizen or the way the streets look inside of a barangay (neighborhood)  so, I grabbed my husband's iphone and took a
few pictures that I believe are very typical of the province where we live.

These are not the beautiful pictures of the beaches, fruit stands and outdoor restaurants that you can find all over the internet.  Those are also true depictions. The Philippines is a breathtakingly gorgeous country with places that rival Hawaii or Thailand as vacation-worthy.

These pictures are not those.

They are the "everyday".  These are the sights I pass as I go to the market, the dentist, church or the mall.

I think I had grown immune to how different these places are than those where I used to live. 

But today, I was reminded.

So, here it is.  A peek into the everyday, faraway:

Somebody's covered garage

A look down the street of what is considered "middle class"

A sari sari store. This is the place my kids run to when they have a few extra pesos!

A typical "middle class" home with a wall around it. No breeze gets in but for privacy, many forsake fresh air.

A patron getting off the jeepney,  the cheapest and most readily-available form of transportation here.

Folks hanging out in the barangay, chatting
And now, you've seen a snippet of what I see out my passenger-side window every day.  And as I sit here now, typing these last few words, I wonder "will they catch the beauty in the ordinary here?".   I hope you do. For me, it is inescapable.  People living lives, trying to provide for families, facing difficult decisions and carrying down these streets the same desires we all have: safety, happiness, good health. 
Walking these roads with the same pressing, inherent, undeniable need as every other soul:  the need to commune with his creator but the complete inability to do that without first coming face-to-face with His son Jesus.   
In a mansion on a hill or a cinder-block home in a barangay, we were all  created for RELATIONSHIP with Jesus.  Only He can truly satisfy. 

The deepest need and the loudest cry of our souls are answered in Him. 

If you are reading this post, from wherever you are, and simply do not "get" how anyone can believe that Jesus really is who He claimed to be, I urge you to send me an email.  Ask your hard questions.  I may not have all the answers but I will try to point you to the truth.  If you want to know more about what a relationship with the creator of the universe really means for YOU, message me.
He loves you.  He longs to meet your needs, clean your heart and give you an abundant and vibrant new life.    
Please let me tell you how!

For His Fame,

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Missionary Diet

 This photo was taken back in the states at my friend Anthione's birthday party.   There was a lot more of me to love.

This was taken last week at a restaurant outside Mall of Asia with one of our Mercy House kids who, if it was not totally inappropriate to have a "favorite" MH kid, just might be it. 

I have lost a noticeable amount of weight since our move to The Philippines in July of last year.   I am guessing about 15 pounds but since I never weigh myself, I can't be sure. 

I've had a few friends and family members remark about the change. So,  I'm here to share with you the top secret "missionary diet".   Just like the "masked magician" who unveils the tricks of his trade at the risk of being blackballed by his industry, I'm willing to take the risk of having all my missionary friends turn their backs on me.

So, you want to eat like a missionary?   Lose a few pounds?  Feel great on just five hours' sleep a night?

Here it goes:

1. Eat carbs three meals a day.
Seriously.  We eat local white bread (pan de sal) every morning and white rice with our lunch and dinner.  We drink little packets of nescafe called 3-in-1, which are just instant coffee with powdered milk and sugar already added.  It's like having doughnuts and a coke in terms of sugar.  Fast track to diabetes.  Isn't weight loss a symptom? I'd better google that.

2. Eat fast food.
No joke.  Fast food here is very VERY inexpensive and, with all the time we spend driving between various social welfare offices and non-government organizations, we probably eat McDonald's or Jollibee three times a week.  Fried chicken with rice. Fries. Coke zero.

3. Take your vitamins.
I take two flintstones every day.  The kids like the gummy vitamins our friends sent from the US but not the flintstones so, I take those.
With iron.

4. Get parasites.
Yeah. I did.  They're gone now (I think).  That was the real "kick start" of the weight loss.   I was waking up every morning and noticing myself looking thinner.  Delaying treatment of suspected parasites will result in additional weight loss.  Taking the 500mg of mebendazole slowed the weight loss down. Make a note of that.

5. Eat out in Asia.
The portion sizes here are shockingly small.  There are no free refills on drinks.  The adult meals are smaller than a Happy Meal in America. 

Of course,  this is written tongue-in-cheek and I do not seriously recommend anyone I love resort to carbs, sugar,  lack of sleep and parasites.   But what I am getting at here is that the changes in our life on this mission field are drastic.  And I could make better choices but, in truth, I am feeling better, stronger and fitter than I have in many years.

And I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for all of it.
Every bit.
I know He is sustaining me in a very crazy time of life.    I do not deserve the good health I am enjoying and am definitely convicted that it is time to do a better job planning,  cooking, stopping to eat what I make for others and getting enough SLEEP.

The missionary diet is not recommended long term.  It has manifest  out of sheer busyness and my own choosing of tasks over food and sleep.  

I know the warnings that will follow this post will be right.  Yes, it is important to eat and sleep well.

But the kids and the paperwork and serving my own family and trying to eek out time for friends and my husband . . .

It may sound like I'm complaining but I love this life.  I do.

I WANT to do all of the things I am doing.  I find JOY in them and in the people related to them.

And although I would never invite you to join us in our work just to lose a few pounds, come and try it for yourself.
You might find the side effects to be more of Him and LESS OF YOU!