It is still a challenge to get used to the different food that we have available here in the Philippines. We miss the food that we aren't able to get here (american hamburger and fries, mexican food, chicken pot pie, american salads, pizza, etc). We did find a pizza place that is a little like what we are used to and we had a family pizza night. It is the biggest pizza we have ever had but has a very thin crust. The girls really enjoyed it as you can see!
This is the cutest picture of Felicity and Grace. They have lots of fun playing together and are so sweet together. John, Lindsey's brother, took this picture in the back of Sammy & Lindsey's car.
Here the girls are playing in our yard in the evening. There was a party at the neighbors house across the street and all the kids came over to our fence to watch the american family in the yard. There are not a lot of white people here and we really stand out in the crowd. The girls like all the attention they are getting and are starting to make friends in the neighborhood.
Most of our transportation is done in our car (that was loaned to us by a generous family). Sometimes we get to ride in a multi-cab which the girls really like to do. Here we are riding with Maricel and Jonah (the ladies who help us at home) to a desert day location (to pray and read scripture in nature).
The waterfall at our desert day was gorgeous! Picture courtesy of John Dold.
This is an older picture from our weekly Bible Study that we do in Isla Bonita. This picture was taken when the short-term mission trip from Benedictine College was here. They stayed a week during the first week of Lent and it truly was a blessing and gift to all of us here to have them visit us. We all experienced a renewed spirit for missions during this time.
At the beginning of Lent the book Kisses From Katie popped into my head one morning (its been on my list to read for a long time). I thought 'how am I going to find this book'? Books are much harder to come by here and I didn't want to spend the money on my Kindle. A few hours later we were at Lindsey's house and we told them we like to read (and miss the access to books we had in the U.S.). She offered to let me look through a box of books she had upstairs and, guess what, there it was! I was so excited. So I started off this Lent reading this book which is now one of my most favorite books. I highly recommend it to everyone! It really helped me with my perspective in missions and I was inspired by her example of holiness as a 23 year old who moved to Africa and adopted 13 girls.
We really enjoy visiting the Monastery that is about 15 minutes down the road from our house. The monks sing so beautifully and the mass is in english (as well as the homily). We have visited a few times to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and the gorgeous views.
Normally on Sundays we go to our local chapel which is all in the local dialect (visayan). Recently we visited the monastery as part of our family retreat. We spent 3 ½ days praying about where and how God is calling us to serve here in Malaybalay. There are many opportunities to serve in many different ways, which at times can be overwhelming. It is so important to keep prayer as our main priority to help us discern our service as missionaries.
Reading Kisses From Katie really helped me to better understand how we can serve here in the Philippines. I can relate to so much that Katie talks about and it has been so helpful to hear about all that she went through when leaving the U.S. She still misses things and says that her life is hard. But also very good and blessed. I really admire her yes to the Lord. She reminded me that I must say yes in little ways everyday. It's not about trying to change the world but allowing God to work through me and loving whoever He puts in front of me. It's really all about Love. It's funny how overwhelmed I can get and how often I forget this. I can't rely on myself here but on Jesus who will give me the strength to face it all. I must take it one day, one person at a time. I must love whoever the Lord puts in front of me in that moment. It reminds me a lot of how Mother Teresa lived her service to the poor.