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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

hello family!

it's currently a balmy 80 degrees (or so) here, and sunny. beautifully sunny. and it's barely 8:30. we heard there is snow in denver and in the mountains near bozeman so i'm sure it'll be a rude awakening when we land in billings on sunday evening. (we kind of might deserve it though, after 2 weeks of perfect weather.)

it's wednesday morning, which means we have about 2-2.5 work days left. we have a lot to do, but each morning we walk into that building and proclaim our amazement at how far it has come. yesterday we began the cement floor. ron ordered a cement mixer so we didn't have to mix it by hand, but we did carry load after load after load of cement on these little wood and tin "wheelbarrows" that in and of themselves are not light. then add 4-6 shovel fulls of cement and you've got some sore muscles today.

we have so much help from the church members, people on the street, children, the pastor, his family, etc., that we don't even know what to do with ourselves. without them, we definitely wouldn't be as far along as we are. it's beautiful to watch them work on their church and claim it as their own. they're so proud of it and so excited to get it built and have a place of worship.

speaking of worship, we spent saturday with new hope having church with the kids and sunday we went to the foursquare church. ron gave a powerful message and we then blessed the children and pastor kena and his wife titu. that church is going to be a lighthouse for this community. that's already apparent and it's not even completed.

this week dona is working with the children to get new sponsorship letters and photos (mark is doing an amazing job) and we are rush-rush-rushing to get everything done in the next 3 days before we come home.

evan and i found out we can order ...... GRILLED CHEESE AND TOMATO SOUP from our hotel's restaurant and we started a new trend. it's almost as good as grandma's.

we have been earnestly praying for each one of you and we are beyond ecstatic to come share this amazing adventure with you. please continue to pray for our safety and health as well as the people we are connecting with here.

larissa

Round Tuits

It’s 4:30 AM here. A kamikaze mosquito has had me under attack for an hour or so – you know, the ones that buzz your ears -. Even with earplugs, I couldn’t sleep. So, I’m on the balcony looking at the stars trying not to wake Josh, my roommate.

We have gotten a lot done in three days. The roof rafters of eucalyptus are almost up. We resolved 220v tool problems and low voltage issues by slicing our American extension cords and wiring into the main line coming into the church (don’t try this at home). We hope to be putting up sheet metal today (maybe – this is Ethiopia you know and anything can happen).

Yesterday we had a pause in the building while we cut ‘Round Tuits’ for the kids. You know what those are – thin slices off a tree branch in the shape of a coin. When you get one, you never have the excuse of not getting something done because you didn’t get “around to it”. Anyway, I took these 2 inch wooden coins and wrote a name on one and a date on another and gave them to the hardest working lady I’ve ever seen – Lily. (She can use a handsaw faster and longer than any of us white guys – SERIOUSLY). And, she loved them. Once she had a few, then others wanted them. So, Warren made more and more –and we handed those out with verse references, hearts, smiley faces. Everyone loved them, and in the giving, we left smiley faces and warm hearts in everyone who got them.. We had time to drill a few with holes for necklaces and I’m sure we’ll drill a lot more today.

Warren commented that when I stared, he wondered about wasting time. But when he saw how they were received and saw the connection it made with people we couldn’t connect with because of the language, God showed him the time use was invaluable. (Me, I was just wasting time and having fun! Little did I know I was going to be a mini sermon illustration for us all).

So, as today starts, we are all going to try to remember that God wants to help us get work done, but he also wants us to see that he has plenty of time for us to get around to doing lots of other little things that show His love for people. We don’t have to wait and get around to it. I’m going to make Little Round Tuits for the whole team.

Thanks for sharing that Warren.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Photos









Here are a few pictures Steve Hovis took of the church we're building. Over the past few days we have the rafters up and are working on finishing the support for the tin "shingles."


We began painting yesterday, and hopefully we'll be able to finish the concrete floor. On any given day we have probably 10-20 Ethiopians helping us so immensely. Everything is coming along great, our team is wonderful and hard working. Thank you for all your prayers!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Greetings from Ethiopia

Hello family!!!

We are here and safe! It's mid-day Wednesday and we cannot believe how much God has already accomplished here. The church is coming along with so much help from so many Ethiopians. We are learning to do things their way and to be patient as usually, this isn't how we would do things. =] It's hard, but it's effective. They're hard workers and they know their matterials.

Dona, Pam and Linda are working at the orphanage planning the VBS for the kids. They are in awe of the stories and Evan and I get to share Philippians with them tomorrow. It's our favorite book, we are so excited.


The children are so healthy and so happy and have grown so much. There was not a dry eye in our group when we first met those beautiful faces.

Please keep us in your prayers as several of us have gotten quite sick from the water, bugs, and heat!


Love to you all from ETHIOPIA!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

the church

Dawit has sent us some pictures of where we'll be working these next few weeks. you can really get an idea from these three pictures just how simple everything is. there are no backhoes, no inspectors, no state of the art machines and tools to get the work done.

but can you see what there is?

people.



people who love God and love people and are so excited to build up this church and spread his word. and really, that's all you need.


pray for these people, friends. ask God to bless them, protect them, shelter them.

and pray for us as we step out of our comfort zones maybe a lot, maybe a little.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

ethiopia

hello family!

here we are, just a few short days from our departure and i just wanted to say hello and ask for your prayers as we begin our journey into this wonderful country.


as you probably already know, this team of 18 amazingly gifted and talented people will be spending two weeks in the tiny town of ambo, ethiopia, where we'll build a new foursquare church.

this is going to be a completely different trip than any of the veteran ethiopiaers have been on. you see, usually we work at the new hope orphanage with the children that many of you sponsor (and thank you, thank you, thank you).

but God's work is neverending and this trip we're branching out to the community of ambo to bring his light and salvation.

we'll still get to see the beautiful smiling faces of those precious orphans, and we promise to give them plenty of hugs and kisses from all of you.


i would ask that you would keep us in your prayers and on your mind over the next three weeks as we embark on this journey. please pray for our protection and safety, for our health, for God to go before us and make a way for us, for continuity and connection within our group, for our precious children at New Hope as well as the precious children of the community we'll be ministering to. let God speak to your heart and please just lift us up as we go to complete His work for the kingdom!


i'll be attempting to update everyone during the next few weeks, but in the past the internet has been spotty and sloooow. but of course, there will be plenty of pictures and stories when we return; but for now, here are some pictures from my previous trips.




blessings and love to each of you,
larissa

Friday, August 19, 2011

better late than never.

Late Friday August 19
Tagbilaran, Bohol

hello blog readers!
We spent today traveling from Leyte to Bohol. Again by land and sea. We had true Fillipino experiences this morning riding a packed bus and then a packed outrigger for several hours. The journey took us to the island of Bohol where IDEA's headquarters is located. Each island is as beautiful as the next. We really enjoyed our trip today.

Thursday was our last work day at the dorm. It was productive and was completed by a presentation from the school officials and teachers to thank our team. Government authorities were present. Students sang and danced. The deaf students danced for us and they have rhythm (more than I can say for some hearing folk). :) it was really amazing. We enjoyed Filippino food with the teachers and our construction teammates. We completed our evening with a trip to the pool and the water slide of death. It was bittersweet to leave our project and new friends. I am so excited, however, for the progress made on the dormitory taking IDEA several steps closer to having students move in.

We will spend tomorrow morning in Bohol before our long flights home begin in the evening. We will see you all soon. I hope you are enjoying Mark's videos, he is working very hard on them!
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters.
kate.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

street scenes.

video

tour of the pension house, cold water only.

video

paint covered and loving it.

Wednesday Evening August 17
Maasin City, Leyte

hello friends.
Another work day has been completed. We are continuing to make progress. Hallelujah! The work will be near finished when we leave but there will still be many details to complete. The construction team from Bohol will stay until the work is finished. They are employed by IDEA.

Our second day of bible class in the deaf school went well. We presented a short version of who Jesus is, what he has done, and how you can have everlasting hope through him. It was a big concept for a short time with students who have no base knowledge of Christ. Pastor Lawrence is an employee of IDEA. He is deaf and a master of sign language. He works hard teaching sign to several deaf adults in the community, give the deaf students lessons in job skills, and teach them about Jesus. He and his soon-to-be-wife will live as dormitory parents with the students. He is a fabulous story teller. He helped us tell the students the story of Jesus healing the blind man by making mud out of his spit and rubbing it on him. He substituted deaf for blind in the story, however. You should have seen the students faces, completely CAPTIVATED! They were amazed to say the least. it was a great hour with the students. They are so bright, many of them remember all of our names after only one day with them.

I cannot imagine what life would have been like for them before they we connected to IDEA and their deaf education project. Sign language is not readily taught in schools here. Deaf people in this country are ostracized from their communities, neglected, ignored, and have no ability to communicate with others. That was the case for many of IDEA's students. Some students were enrolled at age 5 but some as old as 16. Can you imagine having no ability to effectively convey your thoughts and ideas with anyone for 16 years!? Such frustration and hopelessness. It is wonderful to see them express themselves.

Tomorrow, Thursday, is our last work day. Then we travel to Bohol to see and connect with IDEA headquarters. Pray that we can finish well tomorrow. Pray for us to be quick, effective, and that we would enjoy ourselves. Again, we would be lost without your support at home.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters.
kate.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

two birds with one stone.

Monday Evening August 15
Maasin City, Leyte

hello friends!
Another work day has been completed. We have only three work days left. We have completed so much but there is still much to do. Would you support us with prayer for our productivity? We had a great day with our construction worker teammates. They are teaching us tricks of their trade and we are learning more and more of their language.

We have been sharing our stories/testimonies with one another during our morning devotional time. It is amazing to hear the ways God has been preparing each of us for this trip for many years, long before this project was conceived in human minds. We have gifts, learned skills, collected a praying community, and been anointed by God. All of these have come together for this experience and for such a time as this.

Tuesday Evening August 16
Maasin City, Leyte

HI.
Our Tuesday has been productive and life-giving. The electrical work continues and we were busy sanding and painting walls. We also got to present a bible lesson to the deaf students during their school day. We worked hard to present the concept that God created them, they are special, and deeply loved. A deaf pastor, Lawrence, told them the story of God's creation from Genesis 1. Most of the 20 students in the group had never even heard this story before. It was very fun to watch their response to the fact that God SPOKE the earth and sea and sky into being. They have very expressive faces and you could see the amazement in their eyes. I hope they left school for the day knowing that God made them, values them, and has a purpose for them. Would you pray for them today? Pray that they would understand what we told them, and that the holy spirit would continue working on their hearts. They are so beautiful, wonderful, and curious.

We are all so blessed to be here. We are such lucky people to be able to see this side of God's heart. Each Filipino we meet on the street, each student we encounter at the school, each conversation we have one another. God is speaking new things to us, breaking our hearts for his people, and giving us unspeakable joy. Like I said, we are so lucky.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters.
kate.

video overview ala "movie Mark"

video

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pictures on IDEA website

To see more pictures of the team at work, go to http://www.ideadeaf.org/idea-deaf-philippines/new-dorm-massin/ Please continue praying for the team and those blessed to call the dorm their home.
Thanks,
Christie

Sunday, August 14, 2011

ahhh, a day of rest.

Sunday Evening August 14
Maasin City, Leyte

The last two days have been wonderful and restorative. After a few long work days our team was ready to rest. Saturday we worked for half of the day, enjoyed lunch, and then went to a natural cold springs near the work site. We swam and jumped off the rocks, laughing with each other and making a spectacle of ourselves to the Filipinos that were near by. We then enjoyed a street fair happening in town. We ate BBQ meat on a stick, corn on the cob, and fried donuts. A true fair food experience!
Sunday morning we were able to attend church with our missionary friends, Francis and Laura. We sang worship and Pastor Ron taught. They honored us as their guests and we felt very welcome.
It is always so overwhelming to me to be in a place, half-way around the world, with infinite cultural barriers, but still worship God together. He truly is the same God yesterday, today, and forever. It is magnificent to see a small glimpse of how big our God is. He has not lost track of me and forgotten what part of the earth I am in. He is the same God whispering to my heart here in Asia as he is at home in the States. He is so breath-taking and powerful. He is one. And at home I often forget that. I confine him to a small box and only let him out when I need him. This morning in church I was once again confronted by his grace for me but also his grace for the people on the island of Leyte, the people on the other 7,000+ islands of the philippines, and the 6.5 billion people on the planet.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:4-6

We spent our Sunday afternoon on a nearby, tiny, island swimming and enjoying the beach. God's creation is amazing and we are truly enjoying it. We are so lucky. We took an outrigger to the island from Leyte. It was genuine Filipino experience.

Thank you for your continued prayers. We go back to work tomorrow on the dorm. Pray for renewed strength, increasing energy, speedy and effective work. Pray for our team's health, some are beginning to catch colds. Thanks!
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters.
kate.

Friday, August 12, 2011

whistle while you work...

Friday Evening August 12
Maasin City, Leyte

We just completed or third day of work and we are WIPED! When arrived to the dormitory was filled with dirt, the roof was falling down, and the ground were covered in trash. Our team has worked hard.
We shoveled truck loads of dirt into sacks and hauled them outside. We have removed loads of weeds, trees, rocks, and stumps from the back yard and laid some cement slabs in their place. Our team painted 150+ sheets of plywood which will become the ceiling and walls, hauled bags of cement, pulled wires for electricity, and shared our jobs with students who began to hang around and wanted to help. We moved more garbage than you produce in a year from the dorm courtyard. It was a seriously dirty job! And our team endured it like champions.

We have been working alongside a team or deaf construction workers. They are from the island of Bohol and work for IDEA. They do a marvelous job on the building. It is very fun learning to communicate with them. They are very patient and persistent with us. We got to spend the evening with them last night when all of us went to a small water park. It had the fastest waterslide we had ever been on. We had a blast together, sharing a meal and enjoying one another's company.

God is accomplishing so much through and in our team. You see how much work is done in the dormitory. It is so amazing to look around and see how many improvements have been made. It is beginning to look like a place students can live. It is so good for our hearts to look around while working and foresee the deaf students living there, able to attend school, hear the gospel, and be near people who love them. It is the reason we are working so hard.
God is also working in our hearts. Teaching us, challenging us, and showing us more of who he is. He is good, all the time.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters.
kate.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

90% humidity feels gooooood

Early Wednesday August 10
Maasin City, Leyte

hello!

We spent Tuesday traveling and we have finally arrived in Maasin City, Leyte. Our team has begun to joke that we are spending our entire two weeks traveling, each day saying "it is just a bit further", but never actually arriving. But we are assured the work will begin today!
Our journey on Tuesday took us by land and sea. We rode a "supercat" which is a very fast ferry boat, for 2.5 hours. We then had a 3 hour prayerful van ride. Any of you who have travelled abroad and driven with a local will understand when I say speed is there top priority while safety takes a back seat. On several occasions we could have reached out and 'high fived' the passengers of the jeep nee or trike next to us. Horn blazing, weaving in and out of traffic, we were challenged to put all our trust in God! Rest assured to all the moms reading, we are safe. Once in Maasin, we checked in to the pension house, our air conditioned, hostel-like, hotel for the next 9 days, and succumbed to the lure of jet-lag.

In Cebu we were greeted by Francis and Laura Mallorca. They are IDEA's missionaries on Leyte. They make the city of Maasin their home and are dedicated to serving the deaf students and their school here. Would you pray for them with us? Pray that they would be encouraged by our team, and that we can truly be servants to them in our time here. Pray that their ministry continues to be powerful in the kingdom.

Our team begins our construction project today. We are working with several local workers to convert a warehouse used to cultivate fertilizer, into a dormitory for deaf students. Pray that our bodies are refreshed after our long travels. And pray that we are speedy and effective since we lost a work day due to our canceled flight from LA. Pray that our hearts and minds are open to engage the students we will meet today. We will be working on their school campus so we will have ample opportunity to connect with them, play with them, love on them, pray over them.

We are continuously grateful for your support family.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters.
kate.

Monday, August 8, 2011

from the beautiful, muggy Cebu

Sunday August 7 in USA/Monday August 8 in Philippines
Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.

hello faith family and friends.
The lord is blessing and keeping us!


God has been teaching me something about himself in preparation for this trip, it comes from Colossians 1:16,17

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

God has been moving and creating and breathing in Leyte all along. We are not bringing God to Leyte, or bringing his kingdom. He is there, he has been there, he is moving, connecting, speaking, he is bringing joy and peace, he is ALIVE. I am looking forward to joining into the movement of God's kingdom. I am honored to come along side what he is already doing. He is holding everything together. I am so grateful he is inviting our team and I in, asking us to come along. We are praying that we will be sensitive to the story that is already being told. We don't want to force our experiences into their world.



Late Monday August 8
Cebu, Philippines

We successfully connected in Manila and now are spending the night in Cebu. Even our luggage arrived! After our night here in our wonderful hotel, we will board a boat for Leyte, our final destination. We are eager to arrive in Leyte and meet the students! We have been practicing our "finger spelling" in sign language and are excited to see their shining faces! And now the fun is just beginning. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters.
kate.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

california

Saturday August 6
Los Angeles, California

hello family!

We have safely arrived in California and due to an airline conflict, we do not depart for Manila until the morning. We have taken a small detour to the Hacienda Hotel in El Segundo. I have no fear we will be on our way in the morning. I am certain God has made the adjustments on our behalf, I am confident he is going before us!

Our adventure has begun and we are coveting your prayers!

Pray also for [us], that whenever [we] speak, words may be given so that [we] will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. AMEN!
Ephesians 6:19

We are in need of your prayers, don't get me wrong, we are all well. But we are in need of God's voice and his provision. We are desperate to hear from him on our 16+ hour plane ride tomorrow. We are in need of his rest, a deeper rest than sleep. We long for him to show us how to participate in genuine community, both with one another but also with our new Filipino friends. We are eager to see his kingdom expanding in our world and in our hearts. We need his strength to withstand the ways the enemy is discouraging us and coming against us.

Thanks for interceding on our behalf. Thanks for sending us out. We would be lost without our support at home.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters.
More soon.
kate.