Wednesday, August 15, 2012

home, sweet filipino, home.

  I'm finally HERE! I have been here in the Philippines for one week already. It seems like it has been a bit longer, as I have done so much and already learned a ton! I will give you a brief run-down of what my week has looked like.

Wednesday, 8th--11 classmates and I arrived in Davao after 3 days of traveling around the world. We were met at the airport by some of our second years, our supervisors, and the two married couples from our class! We traveled to our respective dorms and got settled in. I live in the smaller of the two dorms. There are nine of us total living here. I share a room with Melissa (a 1st year) and Lindsy (a 2nd year). The second room is made up of two 1st years and two 2nd years. The third room has two of our interns who will be here until October.  The other dorm is quite a bit larger, and that's where the remainder of the single girls live.

Thursday, 9th--All us new girls went shopping at one of the malls here to exchange money and buy necessities. We all got awesome little cell phones and other things like coffee and snacks!

Friday, 10th--We left early this morning to head to Samal, an island right off of Davao. It was so very nice there! We stayed at a beach-side resort and did orientation for two days. The food was great, there were wonderful performers at night (fire-dancers!), and it was a wonderful time really getting to know the girls I will be serving with the next two years!

Saturday, 11th--Continued with orientation and then left for Davao in the afternoon. (We learned so much about what we are going to be doing over the next two years--talk about information overload! But it was the coolest thing to be constantly in agreement of all that was taught to us. God has been so faithful to match up the desires He has placed in my heart with all the things here!)

Sunday, 12th--We went to church as a group this morning. It was a really good time worshiping all together, being reminded of the reality of souls without Christ, and praying as we all begin in such a new environment! Sunday night I had my first shadowing shift in the birth-room. I was on night shift which is 10pm-6am. Two precious baby boys were born while I was on shift. I got to learn my way around the birth-room, become familiar with where supplies were, and got to meet more classmates and supervisors. It was seriously one of the coolest experiences I have had to date. Right as the first baby of the night was born, I was overwhelmed with so much joy. I'm not a person who cries a lot, but witnessing a new baby come into the world is definitely an appropriate time for tears to fill your eyes. It was really neat. Made me so thankful to be here and be able to be a part of all this!

Monday, 13th--I slept a little after having night shift. Then all of us 1st years went to the clinic and had a vital signs teaching. That was a great refresher! And then we had our first language lesson! It was really great! Our teacher is so wonderful, and I think all of us loved learning together. We will have language lessons twice a week! 

Tuesday, 14th--I was on shadowing in the prenatals clinic this morning. We had SO many women come to the clinic for prenatals. The way it is all organized is neat. The women come in and have a devotional and worship. They hear a new health teaching each time they come, and then they are each seen by a midwife who gives them a check-up, encourages them, and prays for them. I got to see a lot of the paperwork side of the clinic, too, as we shadowed with the clerks. I loved prenatals! Yet again I had such an "ah-ha!" moment of 'This is why I am here!!' from the Lord. I cannot wait to continue to pour into the lives of the women here! After prenatals, we had a get-to-know-you-party with all the staff and our classmates. That was as well so wonderful! It is so cool, too, because two of my translators from the mission work I have done in the past years here in the Philippines are on staff/learning at the clinic. Having those relationships is so wonderful, especially as the Lord has so wonderfully reunited me with people who know me well. Sometimes we forget how great it is to just have someone who understands you. So grateful that these two girls know me and love me!

Wednesday, 15th--Today was a rest day for me. I did some laundry this morning, got some great facebook/skype conversations in with my friends and family at home. Then some of my roommates and I went to another mall and shopped for a few things we needed. (We "needed" starbucks, too!--I will say that a mocha frappe is still really good, even all the way across the world!) We had lunch, then went to the clinic for a bit more of orientation!

The next few weeks have a lot planned. We are still getting to know each other, get settled into our houses, and find our way around the city. We take public transportation (jeepneys--but way smaller ones than the ones in Butuan) and walk mostly. The clinic isn't too far from where we live. I am so excited for all I have ahead of me, all I am going to learn, and all the ways that the Lord plans to grow me and teach me. AHH--it is a blessing to be here. My heart never really made it back to the US after last summer, so being here feels so at home. I still can't believe I am here, but I know it is because I serve such a faithful Savior and that His body has been so wonderful to pray, give, and encourage! THANK YOU! Love & miss you all!

Without further ado, here is a little tour of where I live:

This is our kitchen. It is so so nice! The tap water is clean and safe to drink!

This is our little stove!

We have a fridge, freezer, microwave, and toaster. Yep, pretty nice!

Little living room area..

Our study area. We all have a little section of table for our desk space.

Here is my little space. I really like it--still waiting on a lot of my school supplies from my box to make it here, but it is a great space.

This is the bathroom that Lindsy, Melissa, me, and the interns share. Yes, the toilet flushes, but you can't flush the TP. Yes, there is a shower head, but it is only cold water. Let me tell you, I don't mind it one bit. It is SO wonderful.

This is where I sleep. My bedding hasn't come yet....(it's in that box that should be here soon!). I'm on the bottom bunk, which I like, and I just sleep with a light sheet and, of course, fans blowing, too.

This is our whole bunk. Melissa is on top bunk. Love her map. (And again, my wall hanging and decor is all in my box!)

Closet space. We all have our own shelf--with the bottom one as a community shelf. The other set of doors open to where we have hang-up clothes!

This is the view of the front of the house.

This is in the back yard. Notice all the laundry hanging to dry!

This is where laundry goes down. You have to wash a load, rinse it a few times, and then switch the load over to the other side to spin almost all the water out. Then you put the clothes on the clothesline. This is SO nice, especially compared to my hand-washing endeavors of the past two summers.

Here's the side of the house. We have a lot hang-out space outside. I love it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


5:38am Singapore Airport.

I don’t have an internet connection as I am writing this, but I am taking full advantage of my layover to update my blog. (which I have miserably forsaken this past week).

Last Sunday, I had a commissioning time at my home church, FBC Martin. It was so wonderful to be back after a long summer to see familiar faces and spend such a special time with church family. I am so thankful for the guidance of the Lord as I have been able to be apart of such a gospel-believing church during my college years, and could not have been any more proud or blessed by the prayers and encouragement I have received from them, even from the very beginning of this journey of leaving for the Philippines. It felt so right to be back in Martin, surrounded by friends and church family who have been there to see me grow and encourage me to do so. There will never, ever be a place quite like that small West Tennessee town. Not going back is going to be so weird, but in the new season the Lord has for me, I am trusting His leading and remembering His faithfulness in the past.

After that Sunday, with the overwhelming support of FBC Martin, donations through my blog, and gifts from two specific couples in Memphis, I was able to meet my tuition goal by August 1st! And of course, God “threw open the floodgates and poured out so much blessing that I didn’t have room for it!” (Malachi 3:10). I have been provided for once again, more than I needed for the fall. I am able to save some for the spring, have some to live off of, and be blessed by those of you who are monthly supporters to save for what will be due in the spring. I am thankful that even though I had an unbelieving heart as some points, that my Savior looks past my inability and comes through for His glory and His namesake. All glory to THE sovereign, forever-faithful God!

With the petty worries of finances taken care of, I was able to spend a lot of my week with my best friend, Jessi, preparing for her wedding on Saturday. I am thankful for that sweet time and for the rest I was blessed with.

I had a “going-away” party on Thursday at my aunt’s house. That was such a fun time, having one last hooray to celebrate with my wonderful family and friends. Friday and Saturday brought wedding celebrations for Jessi and Trent. I love weddings. And I especially loved theirs--for the wonderful love that they have, but more importantly for the testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ they present as a married couple. So very happy for them and the plans God has prepared for them.

After their wedding, it was last-minute packing time. So thankful for those of my friends that literally packed my bags for me. Never ever could I express how grateful I am for all the little things my friends have done to help me. They put feet to their faith—they are the real deal. Why have I been so blessed with these relationships?

The string of goodbyes came next. Goodbyes are not easy, my friends. Not easy at all. I think that I thought it wasn’t going to be that difficult, but even thinking about it now is very, very difficult. But looking at it now, I am so blessed that it was difficult. To have relationships that are hard to let go of shows me such a fullness about my life in the US. And having relationships to look forward to cultivating and continuing in the Philippines displays that fullness once again.  A fullness in Christ.

It doesn’t truly seem real that I won’t be on US soil until next summer. I am excited for what is to come. I’m nervous about learning things and acclimating to cultural norms. I am blessed to have wonderful girls to be experiencing this with. I am anxious to see what daily life will be like. But most of all, I am thankful. Thankful that I am actually living this. Thankful that the Lord sought me and directed my path when He did. Thankful that I am a daughter of the Most High. Thankful and privileged to be sharing His love with the people in the Philippines. Thankful that His salvation is free and real and life-changing and perfect. May He continue to receive all glory through His work in my life.

And thanks to all of you who support, encourage, pray, and love me. I ask that you would “pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” That is, after all, the reason I am here.

Miss you guys!! Love and prayers,