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In the Following…

May 21, 2014

In the following, you will see, first, a letter that we sent out through email.  The letter is followed by a series of blogs that I have accumulated during our stay here so far, which has been since May 1st.  The reason I have not posted any of them until now, is because there is no internet here… and I mean zilch.  I can’t even get a phone signal.  We are pretty out there.  So I will continue to write and post my writings when I can get somewhere that has internet… Please bear with us and don’t hesitate to write us back.  We love hearing from you!

 

 

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Letter to the Church,

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

            I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

            It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.  God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

            And this is my prayer:  that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.     Philippians 1:2-11

 

Paul took the words and thoughts straight from my heart.  I don’t think I ever fully understood this passage until this stage of my life, serving so far from home.  The challenges are great but it comforts me to think of all of you, and to know that you are with me in this mission to make disciples of all nations.

            We want to share with you our hearts’ desire and goals so that you can also be in prayer with us.  We were led to a remote area, more remote than any of the places we have been thus far.  It is in the lowlands, on the west shoreline of the South China Sea, Luzon Island.  There are many families here, poor beyond any measure of the word I knew, living in the U.S.  They have no church and no means of hearing the Word of God.  We will live among them in a two room home, with an outside kitchen and a small kuba (bamboo hut) for the boys to stay in, beside the concrete house.  The weather is hot year-round, sleeping in mosquito nets is a must.  Internet is iffy, at best.  And brownouts (power outages) happen often. The nearest open market is about an hour away.  Here are some things you can pray for:   

  1. Our safety.
  2. Our ability to communicate in the native language.
  3. Complete understanding and passion for God’s Word.
  4. Victory over spiritual warfare.
  5. The adoption of Angel.
  6. Our finances…

*This November marks 3 years here, which means that we will have completed one of the main requirements for the adoption.  No one can tell us what fees we might incur or the barriers we may have to overcome.  Sometimes the unknown is scary and nerve racking, but we draw strength in knowing that God led our hearts to care for and love our Angel.

*We will have to exit the country again as required every year.  To avoid excessive cost, we fly to Hong Kong rather than all the way home to the U.S.  Therefore the cost is 3,000 as opposed to 10,000.

  1. And finally, please pray for our strength to endure and to do it with the utmost joy and love in our hearts.

 

And, of course, if any of you feel led to come visit and minister with us, our arms will be open wide and our smiles broad.

 

With Our Deepest Gratitude and Love in Christ,

The Wilson Family

John, Mandi, Riley, Kendall, Liam, Angel, and Neely

 

 

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A Marble Gun and a Cat Named Charcoal

 

Can I just say that I love this place!  I just feel like this is it.  It hasn’t been “it” for a while.  There is just something about this place.  It’s hot as the dickens (not that I really know what that means) but it is HOT!  We have a concrete two-room home.  One room is John and my bedroom.  The other is for the girls… Kendall, Neely and Angel.  The boys, Riley, Liam, and Lee stay in a bamboo hut right beside us… where a chicken goes to lay its eggs and we had to cover the grass roof with a tarp for the holes.  Lee helps us with the ministry A LOT… with the language, with praise and worship, with protection, with just every day living.  Our living room is the front porch and the kitchen is outside.  Right now we hold church right on the porch.  We have befriended two young boys who are thirteen and fourteen.  They joined us for church this morning and are excited to come again.  They are now also learning the guitar and beatbox from Riley and Lee.  The beatbox is a wooden box designed to sit on, which also carries different beats, depending on where you hit it.  It sounds just like the drums to me…  It all started with them coming regularly to sell us coconuts and balut.  Balut is a boiled duck egg, with a partially formed duck inside.  I’m not kidding. There are actually some feathers and even a tiny quack foot in mine.  But who can’t eat a few bites for the ministry right?  It doesn’t taste that bad if you close your eyes.  John started a conversation with them by showing the spear guns Riley and Lee fish with.  The other day they had each speared an electric eel and a small fish.  Lee fried it up with some soy sauce and ginger and we ate it with rice for dinner.  Oh and some really tough dried squid.  I’m not sure but I think I prefer the duck egg.  Anyway… back to the two teenaged boys… They explained that they made a gun for bird hunting that shoots marbles. One of them ran home to get it and quickly came back.  The main part was carved out of wood and the barrel was a long, small pvc pipe.  I’m not real sure about the rest of it… that’s John’s department.  All I know is they sprayed paint thinner in it, closed the lid and shot out a marble pretty far.  Then of course, Riley found himself a good piece of wood and started shaping himself a bird gun.  He looks forward to having a bird for us for dinner… Yippee…  Anyway, these boys have been here every day since helping us with whatever we are doing and we enjoy having them around.  What’s funny is Kendall towers over them as she is around 5’6” and they are both maybe 5’ or shorter.  They were calling her “Mam,” until they learned that she is only 13.  The looks on their faces were hilarious.  And now about our cat named Charcoal… actually its name is Uling, which means charcoal.  When we were living in Baguio our neighbor had a cat who brought its two babies over to our house.  Kendall just loved it and checked on them first thing every morning and periodically throughout the day.  One morning she discovered that the one who had been not as active as the other died.  She, Neely and Angel buried it and made a tiny cross out of twigs.  She continued to care for the other kitten up until the day that we were to move.  I told her if our neighbor said she could have it, then we could take it with us.  She really wanted to, but told me in the end, that she thought the mother would miss it too much.  When we were about to leave, she was looking for it everywhere to say her last goodbyes, but she couldn’t find it.  She thought maybe it was for the best and we made our way to our new home.  It took us near seven hours to get here.  The sun was going down as we were unloading the jeepney.  Riley threw down the charcoal bag, which was among other things tied to the top.  Once it hit the ground we started hearing meowing.  It kept on and on as we unpacked.  Kendall hunted for the source and Liam did too.  In the process he picked up the charcoal bag and was carrying it to the porch, all the while swinging it around as he searched for the cat.  That is when John noticed the bag moving.  Kendall quickly pulled the kitten out.  The poor thing, which is mostly white, was now black, even the insides of her eyes.  Kendall sprang into action, washing her off and giving her some warm dried milk.  And so she got her name… Uling…

 

 

 

……….

 

Wala

 

Since day one people have been stopping by to sell everything from crab, to fruit, to corn on the cob, to bamboo rice cake…  Usually it is over priced and you have to wheel and deal, which I absolutely hate!  In fact I can’t do it at all.  I let John do that part.  This 77 year old man came wobbling up one day, in the hot sun, trying to sell me some fruits.  I knew that they were way over priced for here, but I bought some anyway.  How could I say no??  He sat on our porch for a while and we gave him some water.  It was hard to communicate with him, mainly because he couldn’t hear very well.  Lee invited him to come to fellowship with us on Sundays but he said he goes to Jehovah Witness… L  We’ll keep trying.  We posted scriptures on our porch both in English and Tagalog.  People always read them aloud when they come by.  J

 

One day the sun had already gone down but the sweat still dripped down my face.

“Mam, you like?” an unfamiliar boy asked as I scooped rice onto our plates for dinner.  I returned his smile and noticed a smaller boy peering around his waist. 

“Magkanu ito (How much is this)?” I asked as I reached for the plastic bag of freshly picked fruits from the tree.

 “Wala (Nothing)” he shook his head and smiled even bigger. 

“Wala?”  I said in surprise.  He gleamed his teeth at me once more and turned to walk away.  “Salamat (Thank you),” I hollered as they disappeared into the darkness.

 

What a sweet gesture.  Its things like this, Jesus allows me to see, to keep me going.  I hope to see those precious boys again soon.

 

 

 

 

……….

 

 

Curious Eyes

 

So our two little pupils also sell bamboo, among other things, and we got like 10 long pieces to build a fence for our garden and a raft with the leftover pieces.  I am almost certain John made sure there would be extra.  While they shaved the bamboo with their bolos (machetes) people were stopping and watching with curious eyes.  I think they are not quite sure what to make of us.  I think we surprise them by doing all the things we do.  Some peer at us from a distance.  Some walk right up to the fence and watch us.  I hear the word “Americano” often, but don’t understand much more.  We just keep smiling and keep showing love.  And once our garden starts producing, we’ll be sharing the harvest.  I can’t wait!

 

 

 

 

……….

 

 

Words You Don’t Hear Everyday

 

“Uh Riley… there’s a chicken in your bed.”

 

“Can somebody get these frogs out of the kitchen?”

 

“Can you help me shake the lizard terds off the mosquito net?”

 

“Can you pass the eel?”

 

 

Things You Don’t See Everyday

 

A man across the street just whacked a dog in the head and started skinning it right then and there.  Yep… it’s what’s for dinner.

 

7 people on a motorcycle.

 

Riley chasing a chicken out from his bed.

 

 

 

……….

 

Ooh ah ah Youch!

 

We were all working in our garden as a family, along with Lee, who feels like family, and his little 10 year old brother, the two boys we have been ministering to, as well as a nine year old girl who has been coming to hang out with us most every day.  She was helping me plant and speaking a lot of Ilocano and Tagalog to me.  Children are so much easier to understand and I enjoyed her company.  She calls Neely “Nelly.”  It seems hard for people to pronounce her name correctly here.  Just like it is hard for us to pronounce many of their names.  After we had almost finished planting, I heard John say to Kendall, “I dare you.”  And then I felt a clump of mud hit my chest.  She took off running and laughing.  And just as I was turning to take careful aim back at her, John attacked me from behind rubbing mud down both my arms.  And the battle was on… Faith Like Potatoes style…  When it was all said and done, we decided to wash off in the ocean.  Laughs and stares went with us until we reached the water.  Kendall and I wanted to go deeper but it is not as easy as just swimming out.  There are rocks and sea urchins who like to hang out on the rocks so you have to make your way around.  I left my flipflops on the shore and followed Riley and Kendall, wondering how on earth they could walk so fast among the seaweed and rocks and sudden deep pools of water.  I thought I was moving pretty quickly but I ended up way behind.  About half way there, I was ready to turn back but they kept calling to me to come on.  Finally, I made it to the end of the series of rocks where it was so deep you could dive in, which was precisely what my kids expected me to do.  No problem… I was happy to get off my feet!  But they swam to another rock further out and climbed up on.  Once I got to it, I could not pull myself up and my legs kept going under the rock where it was really dark and creepy.  Finally, I got up but they were already jumping off of that one and on the move to another.  At this point I considered my best option for getting back.  I decided that it was not the way I came.  So, in I jumped and followed them to the next rock.  This one went up rather high and to get to the other side, climbing was involved.  I do believe that somehow my kids have developed concrete bottoms to their feet because this rock had points all over it!  There was no flat area to it.  I came back down the two feet I had gone up with no intention of going any further.  They followed the boys leaping from the top into the ocean below.  After they proceeded to jump a few times, they wanted me to do it.  “Come on Momma, you can do it!”  Thinking that maybe they somehow smoothed the rocks, I tried again, partly thinking that if I made it to the other side, it would be a far shorter walk back.  But my feet screamed at me to get back down.  “How did ya’ll do this with your bare feet?”  Riley borrowed some flipflops from one of the boys and threw them to me.  Ah blessed relief!  I climbed to the top, gave back the shoes, carefully observed my route back, and leaped in.  Yes… I held my nose.  I did think for a brief moment… Look cool… or get salt water all up my nose… Looking cool lost out.  Oh the joys of being a mother trying to impress her kids.  I still remember calling for my mom to do something adventurous, thinking she was afraid.  Now I know it wasn’t the fear holding her back, it was the shear pain of it all.  Today I have two bruised shins, one with a cut and protruding bump, cuts and bruises on my feet, and some things I think I may have to remove with a needle and tweezers…  I love you Mom!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. billy frady permalink
    May 21, 2014 2:04 pm

    John, Oh-so-good to hear from you.  Know that we are continuing to pray for you all and thank you for your prayer requests so that we can be more specific.  What a change from the mountainous areas you have been in previously to the beaches of the South China Sea.  I don’t know if you remember, but Billy was stationed at Subic Bay while in the Navy.  We were checking out the information on Subic Bay and found out that the Philippine government will be allowing the U.S. Navy back into Subic Bay soon.  It may not have as big a presence, but it looks like it will be there soon, if not already.

    Mandi, You must continue your writings.  I know that you will have the Philippine book completed soon.  You will probably have to make it into several books, from beginning to whenever you complete your task for the Lord in the Philippines.  Your work for Him will never be over, so you will have a plethora of information to share with the world at large.  Who knows where He will take you next?  Only the Lord and we trust Him completely.  You have all proven to be such wonderful missionaries for Him and His Word.  God bless you and keep you.

    The children are growing so fast!  I can’t help but think about what a legacy you are giving them.  The fruits of which you may never know until you get to heaven.  What wonderful, loving parents you are.  Your example to them in loving others is priceless.  Your love for the world around you is limitless.  Your reward in heaven will be great.

    Love and Prayers, Suzanne & Billy Frady

  2. Loraine Millican permalink
    June 3, 2014 12:12 am

    I loved reading all the blogs. It made me laugh in many and tear up in some. We are missing you all very much. You are always in our thoughts and prayers. Oliver is 6 months old now. Audra and I had him laughing good yesterday. It is really easy to get him to laugh when he is sleepy. He is a cutey. We can’t wait to read more blogs. Write when you can. I hope your feet are healed up. With all our love Dad and Mom.

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