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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.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

street scenes.

tour of the pension house, cold water only.

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.

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

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.

video overview ala "movie Mark"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pictures on IDEA website

To see more pictures of the team at work, go to Please continue praying for the team and those blessed to call the dorm their home.

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.

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.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

90% humidity feels gooooood

Early Wednesday August 10
Maasin City, Leyte


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.

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.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


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.