Convention - Phillipines 2005

Subject: Convention Phillipines 2005
Date: Sun, 27 Mar 2005 19:18:59 +0800

From two Sister Workers.

This letter comes from island #6, Cebu Island, where we have found a cyber cafe in Cebu City, the second largest city in the Philippines. Manila was an experience. It was a first to see a city of 16 million from the air when Dan Sherick and I flew Tuesday to Cebu City. Cebu will be a hub for me for the next few weeks. Seven ferry rides will arrive and depart from here. My eyes are fascinated with everything! The traffic, the smells, bells and yells as someone expressed it! Please share the picture album of my memory with me! The four-story home of Raquing in Consolation is the convention home for this island. Raquing was once in the work. He has never married. The workers are his family, he says. He has a recycling business that has done well. See the picture of every piece of metal you can imagine plus bottles, plastic and you-name-it! His home has cement work that imitates logs. These 'logs' line the stairs and balconies of this decorative home surrounded by palms, tin shanties, and tethered cocks. Here is the picture of nine workers in Peter'jeepney departing 4:45am Wednesday for an hour's ride to Bohol. A mini-conv on Bohol for a brother and a married sister commenced Thursday am. Here we were in the heart of country living..rice paddies, coconut trees, water buffalo. Here we experienced our first thief. We all sat at supper when a passer-by reached in our bedroom window to take a cell phone lying on the bed. One of our sisters lost her phone. That night our hostess shut all the wooden shutters of our room. My first experience with interpreting was here. It went well. JimGirton waved a jeepney down and we barreled up and down the hilly terrain to a city. It was Thursday a.m. that I learned of Esther's passing. Dan Sherick read his e-mail before I did. He told me Esther has her diploma now! It was a shock but I was happy for Esther. Memories of her frail voice a month ago and awareness of her pain and suffering makes it easy to rejoice for her. We had two years together. She taught me how to be an evangelist. I am indebted to her for her encouragement to grow into responsibility. We will miss her. Thank you to those who wrote by e-mail. Tears dimmed my eyes as I read them this morning. In Bohol, our two-day convention was attended by 40 friends with beautiful faces. I stayed in a humble home, where I could look down through the cracks in the floor. It was raised a foot above the ground. A healthy church with 6 young couples, lots of children. We partook of their hospitality, as they took turns sharing meals of red rice, pork soup, bananas, stir-fried veggies, pork cracklings,pineapple and papaya with us. Our clothes were scrubbed at the well. The dogs came into the open eating place looking for crumbs. The coconut palms and banana trees towered above us. A young man threw down coconuts for us to have a pure refreshing drink. We had wonderful meetings. Dan excelled with stories and simple messages. He spoke of the rainbow. A couple lost a child in a farm accident. The mother said I have wept and prayed. God has shown me there is a resurrection. Later they said, "We do not know if we could have got so close to God in any other way. Heaven is closer than before." A rainbow comes when it is raining and the sun shines. It seems a contradiction but a rainbow comes. There is a rainbow for the valley of tears. Then we are comforted. What do we do when we see a rainbow? We call our friend to come and see. It is a miracle of God to find myself with these people sharing the same love and fellowship. There is a language barrier, but the language of love is eloquent. I am well. My fellow-travelers, Bruce and Bonita, have been sick. Bonita missed her convention on the weekend. Bruce will arrive today. We leave for Leyte in the a.m. Mary David had to leave Manila the day sh e arrived because of a visa problem. Kind regards, Gratefully, Sharon Dorey

Dear Ones All, I sat down at the computer here in the internet place quite lighthearted, but there's a big heaviness in my heart now after hearing about Bob Bull. Life is so fragile, at best.

My plans didn't all go as I thought they would last time I wrote. I fully intended my sickness to be the quick and easy variety, but it lingered until I had to miss the whole convention at Agusan. I missed out on some jungle experiences, but then I got in on a few other things that I would have missed out on. Nancy Layman stayed back with me at the bach in Panabo. I'm better now and on full activity and almost full rations.

There are a lot of things that I really love about the Philippines. Strange to say, I enjoy the sounds. In the morning you hear water being pumped, and the sound of sweeping. They are great sweepers; I even saw them sweeping the lawn the other day. Then you hear the clothes being washed. I had tried to avoid bringing white things because I thought they might get dingy. What I now know is that I should have brought all my white things to get them brightened up! They wash clothes quite strenuously. There's a pre-rinse, then a good sudsing, and then they get put through four rinses! This of course is all by hand, squeezing and swishing and wringing! I had thought I would leave some of my clothes behind in the Philippines, but I didn't know it was going to be fiber by fiber! Some of my stuff is looking a little threadbare already! Speaking of washing, another morning sound is kitty getting her daily bath! She does complain a bit, but only with her voice, not her claws, as she is well sudsed and then rinsed under the faucet. The roosters are here too, everyone has some! It must be the bird of the islands.

People are really very poor here. I feel wasteful and indulgent. Almost everything I throw away is taken from the wastebasket and put to some use. In many ways they are far ahead of us, however. There is no divorce in the Philippines, there are no nursing homes. They are a kind, loving and modest people. It is quite a treat to get a break from looking at the vast amounts of bare flesh that you see in many cultures. Even though they are very poor, they are very generous in the ways they can be. The home where the bach is would be small by our standards, but they have the sisters bach there, plus they keep a room for the brothers when they stop by, plus they keep a room for the sisters from the jungle when they come out. As for them, they and their 2 kids all sleep up in a hot attic room. Last night there were 14 of us sleeping in their house. Today a college student who is working his way through college insisted on paying the jeepney fare for us. Very humbling.

Sunday noon we had lunch with the folks at the bakery. They are the ones who have lots of kids working for them and almost all of them have professed, and the ones who haven't are listening. It is a very inspiring place to be, to see how they all work together.

There's so much to tell that it's hard to know where to start. This morning we got on a nice bus and rode an hour to Davao--we truly are in the banana belt--this area is famous for its bananas. We took a jeepney and wound through more streets, and then walked the last way through lots of mudpuddles to a house that I could never find again! We had a little Bible study meeting with an older lady, two college students, Mary Jane and BonBon (nice name, eh?), and a young married woman. It was so refreshing to be with them. The house was the poorest I've been in --had a dirt floor, and the tall vegetation was peeking in through space between the ceiling and the roof. Convention in Davao will be the latter part of the week. There will be over 100 there. Almost any one of you could have convention in your home if you lived here--it would be big enough, and indeed likely would be bigger than the home that it's in.

My personal meditations as I was lying there sick were about the wonderful feeling of hunger and thirst. Also I was thinking about what it says about Phoebe in Rom 16. It tells three things that she was--a sister, a servant, and a succourer. A sister is someone that you can share personal things with, a servant is one who puts the needs of others ahead of their own needs, and a succourer, as best I can know without the benefit of an English dictionary, is one who nourishes and encourages.

I'm continually amazed by these miniature people! The men seem especially small. I look like a giant, and the little kids stare intently at my long nose. Even the bugs are small here, which is a nice change, although that includes mosquitoes and fleas. Everything seems skinny, the cats, the dogs, the people, the cows.

Now I must bring this to a close even though I tons more to tell you. I just heard that my China trip is for sure, and my ticket is changed. As it stands now, I will fly home July 5. That sounds like a very long time from now..... Love, Bonita