Our day started at 4:30 this morning. Daryl, Tracey, Matthew, and I woke up and went to
the radio station at 6 (they picked us up at 5:30). We each introduced ourselves. I talked on the radio! I’ve done all sorts of things I wouldn’t ordinarily do. Diane, who has the voice of an angel, sang a special song and then Daryl preached. It was very good. Very encouraging.
Pastor Anwar said we had a lot of time left, so he and Jomar (his best friend and a preacher also) took us to Bagasbas
Beach. It’s the same stretch of beach where we had the baptism, but the other end of it. This morning the sky was blue with big, puffy clouds and we took pictures with the “I love Daet” sign.
Then Matthew asked me if I wanted to ride on the back of the motorcycle and see some more of the stretch of beach to the south. I hopped on (any of you who know me well are probably surprised) without a helmet and went to see the beautiful scenery.
We proceeded to find a tire shop to repair Pastor Anwar’s tire on his motorcycle. They call tire shops here vulcanizers. Don’t ask me why. We ate breakfast at the 7/11 while we waited. Doughnuts and coffee! True American style!
After this Tracey and I got back into the trike car and we all went to see Pastor Bernie’s church. It is a block building with no windows or doors, but Zyrine, his wife, has added curtains to the windows and they are such a nice touch. I especially like the way that Pastor Bernie added special stones and glass in the front on either side of the church walls.
Then we went to see Pastor Jhay’s church. There were many families about outside and we took a picture with some of the children. Tracey and I both wished we’d had some candy to pass out, but oh well! From there they took us to Mercedes to the fish port. That was quite an olfactory experience . . . and not in a good way. Whew! It was very busy, with many people coming and going on the boats and many people inside looking at the fresh catches. We saw a marlin on the floor being ready to be processed that was at least 6 feet long. I didn’t have time for a picture.
Next we traveled to the police station where Daryl spoke to them for a moment about the armor of God and then Matthew preached. They were a very captive audience of about 15 men and women. At the end 11 of them raised their hands and said they wanted to
commit their lives to Jesus. Things are very different here and we do not understand their language, so please help us pray that they understood that they can’t just say a prayer. They must understand it and believe it within their hearts. Tracey and I talked with four of the female officers afterward and I wrote down their names and prayer requests. We figured all mothers and women are alike around the world. We pray for safety for our families and good health!
From here we came back to Daet and found a local side market where we could buy some souvenirs, umbrellas, and fans. Tracey and I wanted to make sure we had a way to be covered from the sun because tomorrow we are going on the ocean to two islands to preach at one of them and sightsee at the other.
We returned to the mother church where we visited with the women, men, and children until it was lunchtime. By this point, we were wiped out and we made it back to the hotel for a nap. When we returned to the church for service this evening, it was much cooler, which was nice! The ceremony this evening was directed to the pastors, missionaries, and their wives. We opened with a prayer and song and Sean did a wonderful job bringing the message tonight. I took several pages of notes. The power kept going out and coming back on, but it never slowed anyone down. It would blink off and we would all turn on the flashlights on our phones and keep going. We learned a lot about the local churches and their mission works, as well as their prayer requests. There is so much need here! We found out that the pastors of the Bayanihan mission churches receive a monthly stipend to live on and use for their mission work in the amount of $1200 pesos. That’s around $23.50 a month.
Bill has been saying all week, “You remember that time you thought you loved the Lord and then you came to the Philippines?” We have all been so humbled. So blessed. So changed. Can you imagine living on less than $25 a month? I know I can’t. We treated the men who drove us this morning to their gas for their bikes and to a doughnut and coffee. It’s very surreal that they don’t buy treats like that for themselves. When was the last time you couldn’t even afford to buy a doughnut?
I have been praying for a beautiful young lady named Ariane, from Pastor Anwar’s church. She needs glasses and I’ve been asking God to allow me to help her. Today she messaged me on Facebook and said hello. I let her know I was praying for her and that if she needed someone to talk to, I’d be happy to. She traveled 10-15 mins by trike just to bring me a gift of a watermelon from her father’s farm during the service tonight. I didn’t get to see her, but I wish I had. It really touched me that she spent her precious money and time to bring me a giant watermelon. We will be eating it tomorrow and I can’t wait. What a blessing she has been to me! At home a watermelon may not seem like much of a gift, but over here it’s worth a fortune to her family. Hey Bill, remember that time you thought you loved the Lord? Hallelujah Amen, Preacher Arjay!
I can’t believe how much we have done in one short week, and I will be sad to leave these wonderful new friends. But I miss my family so much and my home too! I can’t wait to see those beautiful Tennessee mountains and my beautiful, smiling faces. I am so encouraged by the messages we have received from home about everyone’s support. Whitney, Josh, and Cody have been talking and working on a plan to get Bibles for the people here. Hardly anyone has a Bible. What privileged people we are! And also we are praying about helping with a building fund for Pastor Anwar and Pastor Daniel. Neither of them has a structure to worship in and building one would only cost between $2000 to $3000 U.S. money. Crazy, right?
I am running out of clean clothes! We’ve been washing some in the sinks and hanging them to dry in front of the air conditioners and on the balconies. And we sent some with Mam Melody to be washed at a local service, but we haven’t gotten them back yet ha! We brush our teeth with bottled water. And the toilets do not like to flush down the paper we are so used to using. Most of the “comfort rooms” here do not have flushing toilets. You must use water scooped in a bowl and poured into the toilet to keep it flushed clean. No paper goes in those toilets, and you must bring your own because they don’t even have paper in the bathrooms most places. There is no soap. No running water to wash with.
Today was a good day. We got to do some unexpected sightseeing and shopping, and Tracey and I bonded for the many hours we traveled in the sidecar together. Quite literally at times, because we felt we may be permanently glued together with sweat and small space, like sardines in a literal tin can. But what a wonderful day it was! Then God blessed us by taking care of all the small details. He has done that so many times over here I can’t even remember all of them. I’ve enjoyed every message I’ve heard preached and cannot wait to come home and see what God has in store for my family. I love Him and I am so thankful for this opportunity! Please help me pray for guidance about which need to support over here once I return home.