Friday, November 09, 2007

Kids Korner

We just finished a week of fall break... it was great having David home from the dorm! We just stayed around the house... enjoying watching some movies & just being together. David had a couple wisdom teeth removed early in the week so he didn't feel like doing much! We even celebrated an early Thanksgiving on Saturday with turkey & pumpkin pie. (Jess will be in the US over Thanksgiving so we figured we'd celebrate while we were all together!)

The kids had a good first quarter in school... grades are good, David was a member of his school's varsity volleyball team and is in the middle of basketball tryouts this week; Krysten is a member of the school's worship team, student government, & yearbook staff; Betsy just started intramural soccer and has lost 2 teeth! We are so thankful for the opportunity the kids have to attend a school with such high caliber teachers and expectations of the students. We know they are learning valuable spiritual & character lessons along with their academic classes. A few examples:
  • Betsy's second grade class memorizes scripture each week... these are not just little short verses but LONG ones that have lots of meat to them! Her class has also spent several weeks studying the life of Miriam... from what I remember from my childhood, Miriam got one lesson and that really wasn't about her... more about her watching over Moses... he was the key person in the story, not Miriam.
  • Krysten's Bible class is studying the book of John this semester. They are also memorizing passages of scripture and have to read the book through 5 times over the semester, as well as Psalms & Proverbs. She can tell you key themes of each chapter as well as key verses.
  • David is in a Discipleship class this semester. Rather than studying a specific book, they are learning how to study on their own using various tools- scripture, Christian biographies, and other Christian writings. To be able to pull out scriptural truths and apply them to their own lives is a goal of this class.
Krysten celebrates her 13th birthday later this month... we'll officially have 2 teenagers in the family! We're excited about this milestone and are thankful for the godly young lady the Lord is growing her to be.
  • Pray for the Lord to continue to speak to Betsy's heart about a relationship with Him. Pray for us to be faithful in sharing with her the Good News.
  • Pray for David as he interacts with other students & teachers at school. Pray the Lord will continue to grow him into a young man with a desire to live godly.
  • As Krysten is involved in classes & various activities at school, pray for the Lord to continue to develop in her a teachable & gentle spirit.

Nehemiah Teams American

28 teams serving in 13 different areas in 3 different countries within the PacRim Region. This is the need for summer 2008. Complete job descriptions can be seen online at (search for mission projects using the keywords, "Nehemiah Teams"), on our website ( or e-mail us ( for a listing of the requests. Evangelism, service, & media (journalism & graphic design) teams are needed. New teams for 2008 include:
  • Little Orphan Nanny Teams: No adventure on these Nehemiah Teams! No mountain treks. No backpack necessary. Not much to offer here except work: mopping floors, changing diapers, feeding & holding babies, and playing with children. Embrace the cross! Be a part of the first orphanage Nehemiah Team and care for "the least of these." 3 teams needed. Davao City (#87033) or Manila (#87034)
  • Urban Poor Evangelism Team: The concrete jungle of Manila will surely push you to the limit. Manila is home to 8 million urban poor in which 95%+ do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Your team will partner with local pastors, serving in the slums of Manila, to reap this great harvest. You will have the experience of seeing hundreds led to Christ. You will live in local churches, bathe from a bucket, and wash your clothes by hand. Don't forget your cross!! 2 teams needed. (#87035)
  • South Korea: Refugee: Wars, famine, oppressive governments, catastrophes, & calamities... whatever the cause, we live in a very volatile world. The UNHCR reports that there are over 19 million refugees. Hearing a number that large may cause you to default into a compassion-fatigue mode. Don't hit the ESC button yet! This next summer you can help change the lives of 60 refugees from an unreached people group. After escaping from their home country, these young people traveled & spent time in other Asian countries before they finally found a home in South Korea. Your team will live with these students, teaching them English, life skills, and showing them that there really is a God who loves them. (#88051)
  • PacRim Ag/Construction: One of the least reached countries in the world. Its borders are closed & its religion keeps its millions in darkness. With agriculture & community development, borders are being crossed & light is being established. Be a member of a 6-man team, working hard for 8 weeks this summer. Help establish a demonstration farm which will impact thousands of people. Jobs may include setting up a nursery, building homes for resident farmers, planting coffee, and sharing with workers about the hope in you. 2 teams needed. (#88148)
Have a semester??? For many, a summer just isn't long enough. Just when you start forming meaningful relationships... it's time to go home! Semester positions are available for the following areas: Siquijor Island, Dinagat Island, Camotes Island, Can-avid Riverboat, Dolores Riverboat, Dapitan City, and Urban Manila. For more information, check out or
  • Pray for the Lord of the harvest to call out workers into His harvest field.

Nehemiah Teams Filipino Update

It has been an exciting past few months as local churches, associations, & schools have begun planning for their own summer 2008 Nehemiah Teams! Currently there are 6 different national "franchises" preparing to go among the unreached & hard to reach of the Philippines during April & May. There are plans for multiple teams to work among 14 different people groups/areas of the Philippines. Our role has changed from that of "doing it" to "training others to do it" as Jess & Filipino teammate Rey have been providing training for these different franchises. A first for this coming year is an international team... a team of Filipinos traveling to one of the least reached countries in the world using agriculture & community development to spread the light of Christ in this dark place.

  • Pray for local franchises as they pray, plan, & mobilize to fill their teams so they can share with those who haven't heard.
  • Pray for local partners to work with national teams in these unreached & hard to reach areas.
Check our website to see a listing of Filipino teams for summer 2008.

Tailgate-ing Through Life

Sporting events, especially football, are intoxicating for the young men who go on the field every week in front of thousands of people. To play for a nationally known college football team is the dream of many. Stadiums are packed inside, thousands tailgate outside, radios and televisions are tuned in so that literally millions hang on the next down. Fans, even Christians, make many sacrifices to be a part of these weekly events. Hundreds of dollars are spent, and hundreds of hours are invested to “support” the favorite team.

If the lights could be dimmed for a moment, and in that moment, God could give us perspective, what might we see?

Modern American sports has only been in existence about 1% of the time of world history. Only about 5% of the world population even knows the rules of football (or even cares). It is electrifying to be in a stadium 100,000 people cheering, but…. What will we say on Judgment Day when we tailgated through life watching a football stadium fill up every three days with children dying from hunger related diseases? As the privileged ones who know the truth, have a Bible (many Bibles), have a church, what will we say to the ones who didn’t? A football stadium a day fills up with the dead who died not hearing about Christ. What will we say to the more than 1.5 billion on that day who had no messenger? How will it sound to them when we try to explain the rules and importance of carrying a leather ball over a goal line and that we spent more money and time on that than on them?

In Germany during the Holocaust when Hitler was on a mission to wipe out the Jews, they would transport them on train cars going to the concentration camps. As the trains would pass through the towns, the Jews packed in the cattle cars would cry out in hope that people would come to their aid. One church, located close to the tracks, was disturbed each Sunday morning by the sounds of these people wailing. So finally the church calculated the exact time that the train passed. They began to schedule a hymn for the congregation to sing right when the train would go by in order to drown out the sounds of the people.

We too, as Americans, have been successful in isolating and insulating ourselves in this life from the wails of those dying without Christ. But on that day when the cries of enough people to fill up 15,000 football stadiums are heard, what will be our excuse?

Let us not be found tailgateing through life.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Back to School!

If summer is over... then the next event on the calendar must be SCHOOL!

David headed back to Manila and Faith Academy a couple weeks ago. Now an upperclassman, (Junior) he's excited about getting back in the swing of things at school. This week he's involved in tryouts for the volleyball team while getting used to new teachers and Chemistry, Advanced Math, Economics, Philippine/SE Asia history, Bible, English III, and... weight lifting! Sounds like a pretty tough schedule to mom... including the weight lifting!
Krysten & Betsy are experiencing a new situation this year... a first for our family since we've been in the Philippines. They are both attending Faith Academy here in Davao City. It has always been our choice to homeschool our kids during elementary... but due to our move to Davao City... Faith Academy became an option for us. Krysten is enjoying 7th grade while Betsy is one of 7 students in the 2nd grade class. When we first mentioned the idea to Betsy she promptly told us , "No!" she didn't want to go to Faith Academy but wanted to stay home with mom. After a little prying we found out she thought we were planning to send them to Manila with David! We assured her that we had no intention of doing that but they would go to school here in Davao and continue to live at home. She quickly agreed to that idea! Krysten is enjoying the activities offered... playing percussion in the middle school band, intramural soccer, journalism class, worship team member, as well as her regular subjects are keeping her busy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Summer Highlights

The summer has passed so quickly! We had a great summer... getting to travel as a family on several trips while being involved in various ministries over the course of the summer. Here are just a few highlights from the summer:

David's week with Buhay Sports Ministry. One week, 3 different cities, LOTS of basketball! He had the opportunity to share his testimony twice during the halftime presentations. Thanks to all of you who supported him financially & with your prayers.

Birthdays!! We celebrated 4 family birthdays over the past few weeks: Wendy's, Betsy's (7), David's (16) & Jess's . It was fun celebrating Betsy's & David's as they fell during our summer team's debrief time. So instead of just a family-sized cake... super-size cakes were needed to feed around 40 people!

We had some great family time as we traveled together for various meetings... worked with the medical clinic & Habitat for Humanity teams... took a couple day trips to the beach... even visiting with friends in Butuan during orientation & debrief. A highlight for David was being able to complete the classes & other requirements to get his SCUBA certification. Krysten & Betsy spent time at a local orphanage and we brought "Julian" home with us a couple times for a few days.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

An awesome week!

As I write this, the Alabama team should be boarding the plane in Manila to head for home. It was a great week! Some final statistics from the week:
  • American team members: 8 (Mike, Tammy, Debra, Kathryn, Jess, Wendy, Krysten, Betsy)
  • Filipino team members: 9 (Glee, Reinel, Bong, Isais, Allen, Dante, Fely, JoyJoy, Rey)
  • Clinic sites: 5
  • Families registered: 329. (Adults: 355, Children: 554)
  • Peanut butter sandwiches eaten: too many!
  • Miles on the final hike: 5-50 depending on who you ask!
  • Sets of scrubs left behind: 20
  • Flat tires: None!!
  • Difference made in the lives of some: eternal

Thank you so much for your prayers for the team this past week... they truly made a difference! Continue to pray for the workers who minister in these areas. Pray for the gospel seeds that were planted to take root & grow into mature fruit.

How much further???

That was the question asked...and thought... many times Friday morning as the team headed to their last clinic site. After a muddy ride, the team parked the trucks and hiked the remaining distance to the site. Just how far was it? Some say 3-4 miles... others said it had to be at least 10! Whatever the distance, the trail lasted for about 2 hours and crossed the same creek about 10 times! Regardless of the distance... it was worth it to see the smiles of the people when the team set up clinic for the day.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Coming for the Sick

“One, Two, Three, Four, Five!…” The children in the next classroom of Higaon-on elementary are screaming out numbers as their teacher leads them in their math lesson. As the children continue, Dr. Mike & his wife Tammy are in the next room looking at patient after patient, determining what is ailing each one and prescribing medicine to help their needs.

As I sit in the corner of the steamy Filipino classroom, I watch as family after family make their way to the hut in the school yard to sign a card so that they can see this American doctor and his team. As they wait their turn, the Gospel story is shown to them through a picture book because of the high illiteracy rate of the adults. The line gets longer and longer as the patients wait their turn outside the room. A majority of them pass the time by looking through the windows so they can see these Americans who have come help them.

When their turn arrives, they make their way to the small wooden chairs, most of them carrying babies, and tell the doctor and his interpreter of their sicknesses. I was surprised to see that a majority of the medicine on the table was simple, over the counter drugs that most of us have in our homes. Most of these people have never taken a Tylenol or vitamin in their entire lives, and today their needs are being met. Dr. Mike diagnoses each person and Mrs. Tammy sorts out the medicine from her tabletop pharmacy. Each patient is also given toothpaste and a toothbrush. This cycle continued for a few hours until it was time for a lunch break. As the ham sandwiches and chips were finished, I sat down with the Storys to find out more about them.

Dr. Mike has been in pediatrics since 1990 and he and his family reside in northeastern Alabama. When I asked how he got involved in these short-term medical missions he replied, “One of my former nurses was Jess's sister-in-law. That’s how I met and got to know Jess and through a relationship with him I felt the desire to come and work on these missions.”

This is his fifth trip to the Philippines and his wife’s third visit. “From all the clinics that you’ve participated in here, what have you gotten out of them?” I asked.

It's expanded my worldview of the church, from being something local to being something more universal. That the kingdom of God isn’t limited to just the local church.” Mrs. Tammy replied, “Coming here and seeing all these children, how they don’t have to have all the things children do back home and they’re so happy. They get to learn about God through His creation and in ways that we don’t take time to notice. Its taught me to be more patient with my children and encourage them to come out and be missionaries. I want their eyes to be opened and to share Christ all over the world."

The time and effort put forth into these trips are rewarding. Dr. Mike recalls one experience from the trip they made last year. “In the last village that we visited, there was a small baby, very sick, that we were able to take care of and take to the hospital. If we wouldn’t have been there that day the baby probably wouldn’t have lived. This year we got a report that the baby is a year older and doing fine.”

The Story’s brought along Debra, their 14 year old daughter, and Kathryn, who is a member of their church's youth group. The two girls have been working with the medical team as they travel from village to village. “The truck rides up the mountain are always fun,” they said. “Sometimes there are motorcycles that break down on the side of the road and the guys get out to help and slide down in the mud. It’s really funny! There’s never a dull moment. These medical trips are a good way to start out on missions.”

Please pray that more people would answer the call to come and do God’s work here in the Philippines! And ask yourself what are you doing to further the Kingdom of God.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Make 'em sweat!"

Those were the instructions Jess gave the Habitiat for Humanity Nehemiah Team as Katherine, Debra, Krysten, & David headed for the worksite Wednesday morning. They spent the day bagging sand & gravel, dumping on a roadway, carrying cement, and whatever else they were told to do. And yes... they did sweat!
To read more about the ministry of the Habitat for Humanity team as well as other Nehemiah Teams, go to or link to the blog through the main website

They did a good day's work... and had a great time doing it!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday pictures

Monday started at 5:30AM when the team left out for the first clinic site. It was a long way! Arrived at the clinic site a little after 9:00 and then got started!
Katherine, Debra, & Krysten shared a dental/gospel presentation in 3 elementary classrooms. Each student was taught how to brush their teeth correctly and then heard the Gospel explained in a way that hopefully they could understand. Pray for clean teeth & clean hearts!

Katherine was glad for the nice breeze that blew all day long... keeping all that sweat away!

Sunday update

The road to church was a little muddy in places and lot of bumpy in other places! But it was a beautiful drive along the Agusan River and up through the mountains of the Agusan River Valley.
Sunday morning the team worshipped with a new group that has just begun meeting together in the past few months. These are people from the village of Lawan-Lawan (a village where the team held clinic last summer). However, due to circumstances in the last month, 42 families in the village have evacuated to another area. As Southern Baptists, we have helped these families through the distribution of relief goods during this relocation.

Mike & Tammy both shared a short testimony while Debra & Katherine helped with a class for the children. Afterwards they had a great time taking pictures, especially of the children, and showing them to the kids! They'll have some great pictures to share from this first morning!