Thursday, April 24, 2008

Kesha Mae had her 1st birthday on Tuesday. We had a party then, but today we received a care package from her new "forever family" in France with birthday presents for her. We had a team here from Oregon, so we all sang "Happy Birthday" to her, and she opened her presents.

For her new mom and dad, it will be a mixed blessing to see their daughter enjoying this special day. There will be no consolation until they hold little Kesha Mae in their arms.

For the team that was here, it was a unique opportunity to see the miracle of God putting a family together for the very first time. As Kesha Mae looks at pictures and receives presents from her new parents, the Lord binds a new family together "with chords of human kindness" (Hosea 11:4).

Volunteers who come here, even for just one day, provide indispens- able, focused care for our children while they wait for the family that is waiting for them. The Tigard team left our children (and all of us) feeling loved.
It's been a long-time aspiration to train community midwives, and we're finally doing it. Friends who live and work on a remote island way in the north of the Philippines have sent three community health care workers to live with us for three months and learn midwifery.

Besides under- develop- ment, the Philippines faces a health care crisis because any licensed profession- al can make as much as ten times as much money overseas. One of our own experienced and gifted midwives is working in Hong Kong right now as a nanny. The money she is earning is supporting her large, extended family.

Our heart, then, is to train birthing attendants with the commit- ment to stay in their commun- ities and serve the people with the greatest need. Frankly, there is little compensation, but Carol, Helen, and Jing are throwing themselves into it full-heartedly.

They've never experienced a Manila summer, so they're struggling with the heat. And, of course, they miss their families.
But their smiles are bright and their resolve is strong.

For more on Carol, Helen and Jing, go to the HELP blog:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Today is Mercy and Grace Frias' 15th birthday. They are twins, and Mercy has just been accepted into the same treatment program for lupus that her sister is in. It's an experimental program, so they don't even know if they're in the treatment or control group, but for them it is an answer to prayer that they are both in the program.

Their father is fortunate to have steady work at the Mitsubishi plant across from their subdi- vision, and their mother runs -- with the children's help -- a small sari-sari store out of the front of their house to supplement their income. Of course, just about every house on their street has a similar store out the front of it, so you can imagine how much they sell in a day.

But their trust in the Lord, straight- forward hardwork- ingness, and tenacious Hope (which is what they named their youngest daughter) is an inspiration.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

None of us know how long we have here on the earth, so we learn to treasure life as a gift. When we received the surprising news on Thursday that Rey, our former, long-time mission driver, had been diagnosed with liver cancer and was asking for us to come visit, it didn't take long to decide we needed to go right away.

He and Lucy are especially close and he had specifically requested that she come, but it was her day off. So I jumped on my motorcycle to fetch her because it was the fastest way get everyone together. We fit in as many as could squeeze in, and left within 4o minutes.

We had a lovely time with the Cunanan family, singing some of Rey's favorite songs and praying together. None of us knew how little time he had left, but he passed away only minutes after we said goodbye.

Rey lived near the mission homes and responded many a-night to emergency transport calls. He drove babies for check-ups, and greeted many new families when they came to pick up their adopted child. He also served many families with us when they lost a loved one.

He will be cremated tomorrow at the same memorial home where Dennis was, so we will be united again in prayer and song and thanksgiving. If you would remember the family in your prayers, that would be a blessing. And each of us will grieve a loss at the same time that we celebrate the gift of Rey's life.

For more on Rey, go to the HELP blog at:

Monday, April 14, 2008

We’re back from the most wonderful of times in Singapore with our good friends. We did just about everything you can imagine with young families, from going to a play (The Emperor's New Clothes), to the zoo and the beach...

... Cele- brating a birthday at the Botanic Gardens, swimming and playing on play- grounds, shopping, and just spending a lot of wonderful time together.

One of my highlights was going to a goat farm. My family took care of goats when I was young, so I have very special memories with them. But it’s not a memory that’s easy to share with people because goats are not as popular as their friendliness deserves.

Isabel, though, is allergic to cow’s milk – so we drank goat’s milk most of the time we were there. Also, with the drought in Austral- ia, a lot of Asians are looking for alternative sources of milk. So the goat farm is a popular tourist spot. They were so friendly and fun that no one wanted to leave.

We got to know the Hergge family here in Manila when Deborah was the attendant at Niko’s birth in their home four years ago now. Since then we have become very good friends. Niko, though, has a serious heart condition and is scheduled for his second surgery in England at the beginning of next year.

It’s an anxious thing to face a serious health concern with a young child. No doubt we have become closer friends because of the challenges we’ve faced together.

While we were there, Auden developed a painful ear infection that required medical attention. It wasn’t on the scale of their concerns for Niko, but there was anxiety about his health, as well as about the expenses of medical care. But the way things turned out seemed to show God’s miraculous care for both our families.

When we visited the specialist, Deborah talked with him about our lives and work here in the Philippines. He pre- scribed medicine and told us to come back before we flew out for a procedure to remove the wax from Auden’s ear. It was a total surprise, but he donated his services each time he saw us. It seemed like this little miracle was a message from God for both our families: “You can trust me to provide what you need.”