Bruce Shaw - Philippine 2-Day Convention - March 30, 2005

ILOILO CONVENTION:  Bruce Shaw, Randy Alonzo, Erwin Bermejo, Helen Duran, Alma Sumbillo, Rena Elba, Johana Apordo, Jocelyn Resusta

Saturday     March 19     AM    9:00 - 11:00    PM 1:00 - 3:00
Sunday                        AM    9:00 - 11:00    PM 12:30 - 2:30

Well, here we are finally, after a long time it seems getting here. Two of the sisters and the son of the place met me at the airport. At first I didn't see them, so I walked down the line a bit, soon saw the telltale sister's worker sign!! Peace on the face and a bun on the head!!!! A sure sign!!!! In a taxi and a short ride to the home, now this is different alright. I understand the parents of the home here have gone to a different island or a convention. And the two brothers are away to a convention also, they should be back this afternoon. I am in a really nice, comfortable room in the front of the home, nice bed, at least it looks okay, bunk beds, this is actually the brothers bach across the tiny "courtyard." And off their room, is the bathroom.  Hmmm, no water, shut it off last night, and it was supposed to come back on this morning at nine.  Here it is after 11 and still no water!!! But the buckets are full.... Hey, I am not complaining, this place has a shower, looks like to me a bucket over the head!!!! But that works.... Flush the fancy commode with a bucket, no seat of course. And I think I will import this idea back in the good ole US of A.  Maybe folks won't take so long in the "reading room!"  I mean, hey, how long can you squat before your soft American legs get too tired to hold you up and you don't want to fall, I am sure!!!! About an hour flight, been kind of motion sick from yesterday's Jeepney rides, so took a half a Dramamine, so was nodding on the flight. As we approached, I could see rice paddies and soon the water buffaloes also appeared.... Nice to be in the country, after dirty Manila. I mean this part is clean, well, the air seems to be better at least!!!! 

So now we rachet it up a few notches, sounds like I have missed a couple conventions already and who knows how many meetings in between by being sick and left behind. And wouldn't you believe it, when we piled in the car to head to the airport our friend said there was a Typhoon this way.... I thought to myself, " You gotta be kidding me," but sure enough, not Typhoon season but this little rascal came from somewhere.... So, while sitting in the airport, I watched flight after flight being cancelled!!!! How can you get upset when you watch these Philippinos patiently get in line at the customer service line, no yelling, no pushing, no angry insults at the ticket agent, very un-American like!!!!! Since I was so early, I had a good while to fret and stew as only Bruce can do...... Finally got my journal out and went over a few of the Guam convention notes, asking the Lord to forgive me if it was wrong to ask Him to either stop or move the Typhoon so I could go.... Then the TV came on the weather and sure enough it was headed to this area..... Or so it looked to me, not really knowing where I was or where I was going in regard to the "stupid" thing!! Anyways, some deep breathing, some chats with the good ole Irish man Murphy, and I saw a plane come in and soon enough they put up a sign which read on the side I could see, "ILOILO!!!"

So, after a few internal shouts of joy, I started having hope I would actually leave. Sure enough we did. And here we are, and it is much, much more humid here. Saw a mosquito checking this soft ole boy out, so I wasn't long in getting out my bug cream and putting it on all exposed skin. The little rascals down here carry some interesting stuff in their tiny veins and what ever you call that huge needle they drill you with.  That will be par for the course now, netting and cream, night and day.  Miserable toxic stuff, but could well be much better than what I could get otherwise. Nice little chat with the sisters over Merienda, or what we would call tea.... I am not sure if that is how you spell it or not, but it looks right. Like good sisters should be, they told me they have the speaking list, but didn't seem to feel the need to share it!!!! But I expect it will be full swing from now on, but you must remember it will be interpreting, so it takes twice as long to get anything said.... Even around the table, I need to speak much slower...They speak English pretty good, but get a few things mixed up......2 PM, the boys just arrived and now are taking a rest, they said they were up a lot last night, I suppose a ferry from the mini convention on a different island. Lots of excitement now, they are pretty excited anyway.

I keep hearing that I am Philippino size and that makes them happy.  The boys were telling me of the lady of the house, she is mostly Chinese, and she was asking how big I was!! She was worried if I would fit the bed!!!  So they are glad that I am Philippino size, nice to have so much company the same size, ha!! Looks like we will have some interesting travel, the last meeting here on Sunday is 12:30 - 2:30, early supper then we take the 6:00 boat for Cebu, then on to Leyte after that, and, once there after the South Leyte convention, we get a bus at 12:30 AM to go to the north....  So that should be an interesting night!!! Or maybe I should say another non-night!! Someone has come, not sure but I suppose I will get called for the Merienda pretty soon...Oh, another thing I should mention, the water has been turned off, they say here MWF schedule, so that means we will have water on Monday and Wednesday and Fridays!!!! I guess it is the dry season, and the hot season too.

Erwin is a polio victim, so his right leg is pretty withered. He was told as a child to only use one crutch, so when they came in here he comes on one good leg, and his small backpack over the front of him. Looks like we will have a pretty good time with these lads. Interesting his testimony, I guess he comes from a family of boys and a bad behaved father. One day he heard his older brothers talking together about beating up the father, to teach him a lesson. The father always beat them all up when he was drunk. But the Mother asked them not to, as when they were grown they would feel pretty badly about it. She wisely told them to go to the big city of Manila and seek their fortune, live with their cousins. So one by one they did, left home and went to the big city, and it was there that Erwin heard the Gospel through his cousins. He later became troubled about the work, but wondered how on earth he could go being so crippled. Later went back to the south and joined some others on a visit way out in the country, walked the 12 Kilometers, and next thing he knew his offer for the work had been accepted, now 10 or so years has gone by. Looking forward to getting to know them better. (By the sounds of the car outside, it might need a former Boston Mechanic!!!!) Lots of pretty sorry looking rattletraps going around, and diesel smoke from most of them like you can't believe!!!!! The air does seem to be cleaner here.... And I am glad about that.....

4:30 - Just back in from one kind of a happy merienda, one of the brothers plays the guitar, matter of fact he is on their side singing and playing now, sounds nice. He sang me the "Welcome to the Philippines Convention" song that one of the friends composed a few years ago... I am with only native workers this week and already I am wishing I didn't get sick so I could have had all week with them. Tomorrow we go out to lunch and they will take me to do my email and that will be it for a few days.  I picked up a card reader the other day, so I am hoping I can write on this and then on the computer at the internet café be able to read and copy and paste.  Should be better, this way I can write as the days come and go and then send it off when I can. I don't think I will try to use AOL much, just doesn't work and, with the toll charge, it scares me!!!! Now I think these meetings will come fast and furious, so better take a little time to do some reading, glad for a few thoughts popping in my mind already, need to keep it simple. The folks here are only professing maybe 5 years. So babes in Truth, but like babes in Truth, they are sure happy for what they have found. Did I say already that this is the first time the convention will be held in this home, the man of the other home passed away last year, so no longer can use that place. The bach is here, really wonderful how it opened up. English is pretty good, of course they are feeling that their English is bad.

Man, Randy's singing is sure sounding nice across the courtyard. He just goes from song to song.. Like we heard, in the last meeting on Guam, when the Lord puts a song in our heart, it sings itself!!!!! So lets sing on about the love and mercy of God, I can sing here and you can sing there, and in Spirit we will be singing together, and it will be heard on high. Got the speaking list so will let you have it: Saturday 9AM - Bruce, Jocelyn; 1PM - Erwin, Alma; Sunday 9AM - Bruce, Johna; 12:30 - Randy.  Rena Erwin spoke so low after supper and said to me, "Please give us your testimony", so I told them a bit....  Nice to show the pictures I brought too, you should hear the ooo's and ah's when they see the snow pictures from Vermont!! Jocelyn is a quiet, timid young sister, so I suppose she will give me lots of time on Sunday!!!! It sure is nice being with this happy bunch, I suppose I am the oldest here!!! Rena would be the oldest sister, I forget what she said she is now, maybe early 40's, Randy is 37, Erwin I think is 34 or 35, I am not sure now. Johna (pronounced Janna), she looks like she would be about 30. They are taking pretty good care of me, t'would be nice to get some sort of bath, but will wait till morning and maybe the water will be better.

The sisters are begging me for laundry, but will give it to them tomorrow I guess. They are all chattering outside my door, one of the girls is doing her laundry, and the others are chattering away, of course I can't understand a word, and I can still hear singing in the background somewhere. Interesting water machine they use here, on the one side is cold water and the other is hot water! Hot enough to make instant coffee too, so that is where I will be headed early AM!!! Good morning!!! A good night, roosters crowing most of the night, well when I heard them anyways... But no dogs much, and no "tricycles" all night long..... Hey, you soft Americans..... Bath by bucket isn't so bad after all!!!!! Water nice and cool too, the only trouble is trying to balance on one leg getting dressed again!!! Took a walk with Randy before breakfast, went through the market, one spot was all kind of dried fish, flies everywhere, so when we came back for breakfast, here were some dried fish, I hardly knew whether to have some or not, so chose not to!! I guess it's better to be safe than sorry. The river here would about make you sick..... And the shantytown next to the river, with the you-know-what flowing right into the river!!!! Smells pretty bad too, sure can see how needful it is to be careful, and to keep the mosquitoes at bay!!! I am glad I am in a screened in room!!! Went for our walk, oh me oh my...... It sure is different here... I mean different... The wash water just gets poured out on the street, which goes in the gutter, which flows in the river, and we walked by some places and the sewage smell was so bad, the river looked horrible, smelled bad too. I think if you ever fell in it would peel your skin right off!!! Hardly any birds around except chickens, we saw one man coming down the road holding three chickens by one leg, I suppose they would soon be in the pot!!! Lots of motorized tricycles here, but you also see many pedal ones too!!! The jeepneys are more like extended vans, low roofs and like the others just a bench seat on each side. Some are real nice and usually full, and the rattletrap ones don't have so many passengers.

Went by the catholic church, of course folks were laboring out and around the well-kept gardens!!! We shared again after breakfast, I am the visitor so they want me to share all the time, but I did get the testimony out of one of the young friends. She met an American man through the Internet, wrote for I think she said two years. Her aunt professes on the Island of Leyte, we will go to her village in a couple weeks. Such a nice little gal, anyways, her husband works for the Media, TV I think she said, so they soon moved to California, and it was there that she had time to think and to meditate and God started to speak to her, and she soon called to find out where the meetings were. Now recently her husband has professed also, and wants to retire from the Media in three years and get away to a more quiet lifestyle. She was telling us that he asked her why they needed to stand up to profess, he said he had already made his choice in his heart, but a few months later when the meetings was tested, she meekly peeked over and there he was standing weeping, holding his magnifying glass as he was singing. I didn't ask, but he must have a vision problem of some sort.

We just had a wonderful time of fellowship together, all of us workers and maybe four of the friends. I think there will be maybe 6 - 10 here at the convention, so it will be pretty small. But that is okay, when I told them the size of Milford, NH all eyes got pretty big!!!! They could hardly imagine that. Now no more for this time, need to replenish my heart and soul for the rest of the day!!! You get filled and they have you pour out again, so you have to refill again and again!!! Remember what we hear from time to time, what you are filled with will spill out when you are jostled, but also when it is poured out!!!!

I shall let you go for now..... Bruce