Update posted 12.26.2010
This December has of course been much more focused on ministry than shopping or even resting for us, but we've been able to catch up a bit now. Our parties for the children in Tabitha and the sponsorship program ran pretty smoothly and we were able to give them a nice meal of spaghetti and fried chicken, apples (as rare and valued for them as mangoes are for us), and new flip-flops to wear. The party itself was fun for them and each age group prepared a song and/or dance to present. Many of their parents also came, including those that otherwise don't attend the church services, and heard of the love of Christ. The Malikongkong trip was even more exciting, at least for me, as it has been a couple of years since I had been up there and even longer for Cathy, as we couldn't bring an infant on those trails. Roldan, however, took to mountain climbing this year like a pro and hardly needed to be carried, especially once one of our Matigsalug friends brought a horse for him to ride on. Roldan loved that, and wanted to ride on every horse he saw afterwards. He also got along really well with the other children of the village, and enjoyed chasing ducks and goats around too. Cathy and I, along with the rest of the team, spent the afternoon preparing the food, and I personally cubed several kilos of pork with a machete. At night we had our Christmas meal around a campfire with several hundred tribal people, and then I was asked to give a short message (with no warning in advance so I could prepare). I simply spoke about what we can learn about God from the Christmas story, in the fact that he came into our world at a time when it not only wasn't made ready for Him, but didn't even recognize Him. He was born among farm animals in a dirty stable, and the first to hear about it were shepherds. While this meant that He would have no problem visiting a place like Malikongkong, the real message is that He is ready to come into our hearts, even if they are dirty and unprepared for Him. And for the next 30 years, before He began His ministry, Jesus was content to make tables and chairs for people who had no idea their new furniture was created by the same One who made the heavens and earth. God isn't only interested in our lives on Sunday, or when we are trying to accomplish something great for Him, but even the seemingly mundane and unimportant parts of our lives are things He want us to share with Him. The only real question is whether we will invite Him in and give Him our attention, and allow Him to transform our lives. It's my prayer that we will all experience the transforming power of the Holy Spirit afresh in the coming new year.
Our support letter from earlier in the year can still be downloaded here
, and we also have a color brochure here
. Some of the info is outdated but they are still useful.