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Showing posts from August, 2012

A Picture Blog of More Firsts!

Now that I've been here more than two weeks, some of the newness is starting to wear off.  I find myself not noticing as much "new" and seeing some things as more familiar and even comforting.  Last weekend, I went with the entire high school and the staff to Rizal Re-Creation Center for games, spiritual growth, and bonding time.  It was certainly a change of pace to go to this:

When you're used to coming from this!

I rode my first trike taxi this weekend AND my first jeepnee (in the same day, no less!)  Here's what a trike taxi looks like (below).  Seats 2 people, right?  Wrong.  A total of 7 on average...  But the price to ride one for a few miles to save your feet?  Roughly $0.50 one-way.  Jeepnees go for about half that price and you can ride them farther, more comfortably, and to more metro places.
Even though this view is harder to find in Manila (a mall with clean streets and lots of western food...),
This view NEVER gets old.  This is what Faith Academy m…

The 411

It came to my attention today that I have severely neglected some of the most important parts of the first updates that should've come your way already.  This was not intentional, but since I have a moment, let me share with you what exactly I'm up to these days.

When I arrived in Manila, my understanding was that my roles at Faith Academy would be working in the Fine Arts Department and co-teaching a class on Creative Worship.  Outside of that, I had little to no information about what that meant or what my day-to-day life would look like.  Now that I'm into my second week, I can tell you what I actually do!

The Fine Arts Dept at Faith Academy is HUGE for a school this size and while we could use a few more people, no one is overtaxed with work and the programs are strong.  There are about 500 kids total (K-12), so there are really only about 200 or so kids in the high school.  I'm currently on retreat with the entire high school. (That's a whoooole nother post fo…

The First Week in Manila

Well, I'm nearing the one-week mark and I can hardly believe it's been 6 days.  I'm slowly getting over jet lag.  What I didn't realize was that for every timezone you cross on a journey, it takes one day to "get over it."  I traveled 13 time zones (well, okay, 11 but it took 27 hours), so I'm really only about half way through my jet lag recovery.  Even though my sleeping and eating schedules have a adjusted, there are weird things that still aren't back, like my photographic memory or general sense of direction (though some may argue it wasn't great to start) or my short-term memory.  It's frustrating to go through days knowing that I've adjusted some, but can't even remember which door I just walked through or what street I live on.

My roommate and I moved into our new house last night.  We visited on Saturday and LOVED it and were able to move in the next day.  Both of us are excited to have a place to call "home."  The h…

Victory in the Little Things

I've reached my first Friday and I have a whole new appreciation for the weekend.  When I was working in the States last year, weekends didn't mean much because I worked many times and never went anywhere.  This Friday, I am ready for two days to do nothing (and everything) and just get settled in.  While I haven't been teaching officially yet, I've been at school every day and have sat in on classes I will be teaching and worked on getting paperwork in line.

My roommate and I have been living with a family with three small children and two helpers (Filipinos who live in their house and do housework for their wages).  There are 10 people in our house and it's always an adventure!  The family is on staff with our mission organization, TeachBeyond, and their job is to take care of the new kids and help us find places to live, get our cell phones set up, etc.  We're hoping to move into our own place very soon, if not this weekend.  There are many houses available …

Flying Solo

Well!  I'm officially on the other side of the world.  I'm partially still reeling about the reality of it all -- how is it possible that I traveled almost 9000 miles yesterday?!

If I'm really honest, I was very nervous about flying alone all day yesterday.   I knew my layover in Tokyo was only an hour and we didn't board the initial flight until 25 minutes later than we should have.  I asked someone how the Tokyo airport worked and he said I'd be fine to make the connecting flight as long as security wasn't bad.  I made it JUST in time to board.  Praise God.

I didn't sleep at all on the 12 hour flight into Tokyo, partially because we were flying into daylight and also because there were 5-6 toddlers on the flight, 3 of whom were sitting within one row of me either direction.  The 16-month old directly behind me was NOT a happy guy for most of the flight and screamed whenever he was uncomfortable.  I made up my mind early in the flight that the noise just w…

The Last Supper

Tonight is my last night at home... whoa.  The past 5 days have had so many "lasts" and so many good memories I can't even really summarize it well.  My best friend from high school, Matt, asked if it felt real yet.  Yeah -- it's real and there are so many emotions in all 5 feet 7 inches of me that I can't even begin to sort them out.

This is actually happening: I'm getting on a plane in 15 hours and 15 hours after that I'm getting off one plane and back onto another in less than one hour on the other side of the planet...  And then when I arrive in Manila, I'll get off the plane, walk around like a zombie following the herd, get asked questions while I'm completely jet-lagged about my legitimacy as a citizen and my length of stay, and have to navigate this airport to find two people I've never met before.  I'll get to their house, sleep for maybe 4 hours and then be at school by 6:40 AM.  God be with me -- I've only pulled one all-nig…

My Days are Numbered!

Well, here it is: my flight departs from Minneapolis in 5 days.  God is showing His perfect timing and providence in this detail as well.  As I previously posted, there is a typhoon currently over Manila.  Reports have said the rain is supposed to stop some time in the next day, but 80% of the city is flooded.  Thankfully, the places in Manila I'm headed are not, however, if I were to have flown later this week, I likely would've run into complications with flights and transportation.  Now that I'm slated to leave early next week, flood waters should have gone down and I shouldn't have a problem flying into Manila.  Also, I'm lucky in that the flight that has been booked for me is one of the shortest total travel times available for this route.  (It's still 18.5 total hours, but that's 7 hours less than average!)  For someone who hasn't dealt with a lot of jet lag and who cannot sleep on moving vehicles, I'm extremely thankful for this itinerary.


Sealing the Deal

I have waited for six months to write these words and today is finally the day I get to proclaim:


Friends, the ways God has moved in the past two weeks leave no doubts in my mind that He has something incredible in store for me in the Philippines.  Allow me to show you just what He's done in the last two days:

Sunday morning I travelled to a small church about an hour from here to visit a potential donor.  The sermon rested on the reality that sometimes, God gives us a problem and as much as we want to go over it, under it, or around, many times, God makes us go through it.  The encouragement was to keep the faith and keep going.  I needed to hear that.  So many times I've wanted to give up, but God made me go through this to grow and learn to lean on Him.

On Sunday afternoon, I'd re-done the math to update this blog.  I needed to figure out exactly w…

I Can See the Light!


I am SO encouraged today!  I don't have big exciting official news yet, but I will... very soon!  Here's what's happened in the last 3 days:

I got my report Friday which read about 68% funded.  I knew of a few more donations that would bump me to 70%.  However, in light of a couple conversations, I didn't post this update.  Here's why:

There was confusion about how math was supposed to be done with regards to our one-time gifts.  Some thought the policy was to divide the money equally over our commitment (24 months in my case), so that's what I had been doing.  However, some thought the money could be divided over only 1 year because it would get us to the field faster and the money is already in-hand, so we shouldn't have to divide it over 24 months.  Plus, for some of us, there are other factors, such as student loan deferment or visa statuses that remain contributing factors in how long we would be able to stay anyway.

Here's what has been c…