Appeal from Pastor Samson

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Map of Cagayan showing the location of Tuguega...

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When we were on outreach we spent a month in Tuguegarao, Philippines with Pastor Samson and his family. We spent time in the community and got to know the people - they are so friendly and welcoming and we were blessed to get to know them during our time there. 

This community is one of the areas that was hit by the recent typhoon. I have been following the typhoon and praying for those affected, now I can turn that into action. I have been in contact with Samson and he has told me that the community has suffered injuries to people damage to houses and damage to the crops. Mains power is still not available but he is able to use a computer at an Internet Cafe using a generator. He wants to help the people of the community, but to do that he needs financial help - so he has reached out to us.

Samson wants to buy food to distribute to those who need it in the area. This will be done through his church. This is a chance for us to show the love of God to the people of this community, to show that outreach is not just a brief experience to be forgotten, but that we care about the people.

Samson has asked me to help him find US$250 (about NZ$330) to buy this food. I will be putting money towards this (and covering the cost of the transfer) but I'll need the help of others. The money you give will go directly to Samson to buy basic food.

I'm still working out the details but I want to get the ball rolling now. If you are willing to donate please email me, Facebook me, tweet me, whatever. If you don't have my contact details please leave a comment on this post and I'll contact you back. I've also added a paypal link to the bottom of this post. The currency is in NZ Dollars. I have an American bank account so money can be transferred there.

I realise that many won't know these people, but this is a chance to give and know where the money is going and how it will be used. I hold Samson and his family in high regard. Between all of us we can pull this money together and bless the community of Basi East, Tuguegarao.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

I have sent the money over to Pastor Samson.

A bit of music

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When I was deciding what to do after DTS I was faced with a challenge - do I trust that the feeling I had about staying was from God and that he would look after me if I stayed or do I wave it off and go home?

I could talk a lot about how God got my attention, how I got confirmation and how I knew I was to stay, but that's not what I want to cover in this post. In this post I want to share a song with you - the song that gave me the courage to stay, despite my desire to go home.

"So why do I worry? Why do I freak out? God knows what I need, you know what I need."

What's Next?

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Acer Aspire One

Image by serenecloud via Flickr

So, I have survived outreach. In fact all our team survived with minor medical things to deal with. I have a couple of sore teeth that need looking at some time soon, I'm hoping it won't cost too much to get them looked at and fixed.

So, what's next for me? I've decided to stay in Kona for 3 months staffing the Foundations in IT (FIT) school part time and photogenX part time. This isn't what I expected to be doing now - I should be 4 days away from flying home, instead I've taken a step of faith and I'm staying. This hasn't been an easy decision and I miss everyone from home dearly.

During DTS we had teaching on hearing and obeying the voice of God and I've felt God pushing me towards staffing at this school. I've had people say it's a good idea for me to do it, I've had US immigration give me a 6 month admission time, rather than my expected 1 month. I've been given 6 months more leave from Catalyst IT, my current employer. The FIT team prayed and all got a 'yes' to me joining and I've had an offer of monetary support from a fellow YWAMer.

I've had a wonderful time the past 6 months and I feel like I've changed a lot inside myself and in how I view the world we're in. It was a real eye opener to spend 2 1/2 months in the Philippines and experience the people and the culture, all that after 3 months study in Kona, spending time in the Bible, learning about God and really drawing closer to him over the time. It's only recently that I've gone from 'doing the Christian thing' to really praying and asking God for direction.

I have a real passion for computers in missions - there's so much they can be used for from education (both how to use them and using them for online tuition) to improving communication to using the Internet to reach a bigger customer base. On outreach I made a website for a YWAM base we stayed at - it will allow them to advertise themselves better and sell products the former prostitutes that stay there make and that's just something I made quickly.

I'll also be working with photogenX as part time staff. photogenX have a focus on using photography to document injustice and use that awareness to stop it. I will be working on their website and communications strategy with a graphics designer and the organisation leaders respectively so we can prepare photogenX for the future and have them better using the tools we have today so more people see what we do and how they can help.

So, I've rebooked my flight for the 27th December (arriving in NZ on the 29th). For the next few days I'll have to say goodbye to almost all of the friends I've made during DTS as they fly home. Thankfully Sarah Medlicott is staying to staff a DTS so I have one person from our outreach team to keep me company.

There is an optional outreach after the course finishes, but I don't feel called to do that. My passion is to train others to go out and use their new skills to impact the area they go to.

Count the little things

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Man working in a ricefield.

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Reading Kailyn's Blog has motivated me to start writing again. Forgive me for not writing for a while. I was writing the previous post on the tribes and I must admit I got bored - I found myself focussing on the parts I didn't like rather than the parts I enjoyed and I just stopped writing.

Right now I'm on my bed in Tugeugarao. My side is still a bit sore but it doesn't hurt to laugh anymore and you never realise how much you laugh until it hurts to do so. We've been blessed again with our accommodation and food. Pastor Sampson has a lovely house and his wife is a great cook! Tugeugarao is very warm - 30 degrees celsius isn't surprising. It's more rural than the other cities we've been in and there's lots of beauty in the rice fields that are around. I have lots of pictures but our only Internet is down the road at the house of a member of the Pastors church and the upload rate isn't very fast. I may just have to bring the photos back with me.

We've been spending our time visiting lots of churches and sharing our testimonies, songs, a drama and a dance. I confess however that I've only been giving my testimony, the girls have been the main strength behind the dancing, singing and acting. I have shared a couple of messages in church services, drawing on my DTS and other teaching and compressing it down into 20 or so minutes. There have been times where I've wondered why we're spending our time using our talents to just share our testimonies but at other times we've met some extraordinary people and when they thank us for sharing it does give us a boost.

The Philippines continues to provide the occasional "what the" moment - from 100 or so people on the back of an articulated lorry to a man running through the rain in his underwear carrying wood (we named him Philip), this place still can't be described as boring. We even got to see a cock fighting arena and a practice fight - fighting is legal here and the locals like it. I've also had lots of practice riding passenger on a scooter - we have had some wonderful guys driving us around, particularly Joel and Mark. In the Philippines you can ride without a helmet it seems, it's fun to have the wind whipping through your hair. Speaking of hair, mine has had a bit of a cut. The girls were adamant I should keep the length so just the mullet at the back has gone (much to the disappointment of Bethany).

Looking through my photos reminds me how cute all the kids are that we've seen. They're so full of hope and joy, it's always nice to end a church service and get to spend a bit of time with them. It's a shame they can be so shy - I ask them their name in Tagalog and they'll usually hide their faces or look at me blankly. The older ones are happy to play though.

We've also been doing house to house evangelism, which usually amounts to praying for people and offering encouragement - language barriers make it a bit hard to have a proper theological discussion, which (as you probably know) I would enjoy. We're always guided by a leader in the local church and we're usually only there a short time, but it's nice to be able to encourage others.

We've also been filling the 1 hour slot Pastor Sampson has on a local radio station in a Sunday with teaching, songs and testimonies. We also visited a prison briefly but didn't get permission to meet the inmates. Last week we also visited the mayor of Solana and got permission to share at the local high schools, which we have been doing. The students seem to love us interrupting their class, I can't think why...

In my bible readings I've been diving into the New Testament teachings of Paul, Peter and James. Sarah H convinced me to start underlining passages in my Bible and I must say it makes them a lot easier to find. I say my Bible... it's really Dad's old Bible, but since he let me have it I'm hoping he won't mind.

I'm also going to put in another plug for the book. We have some funds raised but we need more to get it printed. I really hope I can bring some back with me when I return and show everyone what we've been doing. If not you'll have to settle for images on my laptop and it's not the same feeling.

So right now I'm counting the little things I'm thankful for. A roof over our heads, the rain pouring down that's cooling the air, my friends, both near and far, my family and the opportunities that lie before us. We have 2 more weeks here, then we fly to Hawaii.

The Tribes

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Water buffalo.

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This post is 2 weeks old, I only just finished it, sorry.

Hello everyone, we have made it safely to Bambang and have been based here for about a week and a half. We had to catch two busses to get here from Olongapo - one air conditioned and the other window conditioned (when it wasn't raining that is). We were so blessed that Virge came with us on the first bus to help us get on the second, because unlike before, there was no depot for the second bus, they just drive by on a small main road and you have to hail it to stop.

After our trip we were given the night to sleep then the next morning we were teaching at Aurora Bible College for the next two days. I must admit, the book had dug into the time I had hoped to spend on my teaching, but my notes from Christian teaching Character and Nature of God were immensely helpful. The teaching went well over the two days and we got to pray for the students too - all of whom are incredibly busy with their own schedules.

We also have a new team member - Tim. Tim was born in Manila and is part of the Film Making School at YWAM Kona. He's fitting in really well with the team and is a lovely addition.

We have been so blessed here. All our meals are cooked for us and students take turns staying up at night to guard us! Despite this precaution I don't feel in any danger, the area here is safe and I've walked around with my camera here without feeling nervous.

After our two days of teaching we packed our essentials and travelled to Banaue, Ifugao, where we would spend time with the local tribespeople, which are not as tribal as I was expecting, but more on that later. Banaue is very hilly and it's on these hills you see the magnificent rice fields, which the locals call the 8th Wonder of the World. They have all been cut out of the hills by hand and planted with rice. I'm trying to get my best photos uploaded but the view was gorgeous.

Our first evening we went to a 'crusade', which is how they describe an evangelistic meeting. We have been doing a lot of testimony sharing and words of encouragement, not many sermons. I've been trying to write some but I always seem to hit a wall early on. The crusade was held in a run down school room, the road to which was blocked by a landslide. This meant we had to walk through some rice fields to get there, which was fine by me! We walked along the stone dividers between the fields - it was a bit slippy in places and at night we wer navigating with torches but that just made it more fun.

The next day we went to a small church in the morning. When I say small I mean it seated maybe 15-20 people and it was the house of the pastor. Oh, and to get to it we did a similar (but much shorter) walk along a rice field. It's certainly been great to see little churches like this just meeting because they want to, not because there's a program to be kept. Sunday afternoon we had as time to rest, so naturally we napped then went out shopping and taking photos.

On Monday we went to Noah's Ark, an orphanage run by a Canadian group. One of the main staff members is a former YWAMer and we got to spend time with the kids and look around the place. This unfortunately was the sight of the first real outreach injury (and I got it). In my wanderings I saw a cool slingshot sitting on the top bunk of one of the beds. I climbed the ladder to take a photo and a rung gave way beneath me, dropping me about 30cm. My fall was broken by my stomach on my right hand side, leaving me in a lot of pain and without my photo (which I never got). I was treated by the nurse at the orphanage but she couldn't do much for me so I took some pain killers and we went on to do more sightseeing. We went to a lookout point over the fields and to a fake tribal village which had examples of how tribal house design has changed over time.

After this we packed up, bid Banaue goodbye and got on the road to Alfonso Lista, Ifugao. Unfortunately road works made our 4 hour journey a 6-7 hour trip, making us rather late to the church service we were supposed to be attending. However, despite this, the service waited for us. We again shared our testimonies which was half focussing on what to say and half focussing on staying awake, it was 11pm or so and we had been up + travelling all day, plus I had a very painful side to contend with. Thankfully nobody fell asleep and my sharing time was about persevering in times of suffering.

After this, we were put up for the night in two houses - the guys all crammed into one room and my night was spent curled up because I didn't have the space to extend my legs. Not the best nights sleep I've had, but I'm blessed if that's as bad as it gets. That morning we packed up and after breakfast and a spot of water buffalo 'riding' by some of the team (sadly not me) we headed to our location for the next two days - a beautiful house with an inside toilet!

Our first engagement was a bit of a distance away and the path was a bit rough, so we went by tractor. I shouldn't have gone because of my side, but I wasn't missing out on the chance to ride, so off we went. At this church we really didn't do much - we were actually allowed to eat and sleep before offering words of encouragement and praying for the church. It's here that I realised we are very much on show - churches seem to want to see the (mostly) white American missionaries. The good and bad of it is that it brings in crowds - a good thing, but for the wrong reason - we are nothing special on this earth.

Anyway, since I got derailed in writing this post I'll leave it here. The rest of the tribes was mostly traveling to churches and meeting the local people, sharing our testimonies, taking as many pictures as we could and moving on to the next location. I think my pictures are coming out okay, I do wish I had a Canon 7D body.

Trip to Angeles and Farewell Olongapo

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Neon Massage Sauna

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What can I say about last week? Rather, what should I talk about first. Most of the team has shifted into a new gear with the book - it's incredible to see the effort being put into it and the motivation that's appeared. We have got a lot of the writing and layout done and we're about a day away from a rough draft of all the pages - that's content, layout, colours, pictures, the works.

I feel alright now but the book has been very draining. There have been times where all I've wanted to do is sleep and I perhaps pushed a bit far when I started getting a tiredness headache. Thankfully I've been able to get to bed earlier this week.

It has also been really nice having Sharee and Megan here this week on a pastoral visit. Sharee is one of the DTS leaders and Megan is her friend. They are here just to hang out, see how we are doing and be an encouragement, which they have been. Megan also works for a magazine and has been giving input into the book and rewriting bits of our work, which I'm thankful for too.

We also went back and did street kids ministry again. I played basketball and my t-shirt was soaked afterwards. Sarah dropped the news on us at the last minute that not only were we attending, but we were teaching the bible studies they have after the games, split up by ages. Sarah and I got the oldest guys and we tag teamed. Sarah had maybe 10-15 minutes prepared and she would cover a bit, then I got something to share then it went back and forth - we actually went longer than we needed and hopefully spoke to these guys hearts about walking in the Holy Spirit.

We also went back to the orphanage I spent time with the kids again. This time I didn't see April - I hope she's gone back to her parents. Instead I tried to get close to a girl who cried whenever she saw a white person looking at her. I had a little success, but not much - I got to pray for her though.

And if all that wasn't enough to keep us busy, last night we took a 1 hour Jeepney ride to Angeles - the prostitution capital of the Philippines to do bar ministry. We arrived in Angeles and once we rounded the corner of the street we were on we got to see how prostitution looks here. Neon signs illuminate young girls wearing too much makeup and not enough clothes. They stand outside the bars shouting into the street for customers to go in and enjoy the sights and company.

Our group went into one of the bars and sat down to what can only be described as a meat market. The girls were standing in the middle of the room "dancing" to the music. Some of the girls were enjoying it but most of them were just moving with the music, not wanting to make eye contact, looking like they'd rather be anywhere else but here. The guys were just sitting and watching, usually with a drink or smoke in their hand. Most of the guys also had a 'girlfriend' with them, who also didn't look like she wanted to be there - one was more interested in her phone than her 'boyfriend' and who could blame her, this man was 30 years older than her.

I still remember one of the girls serving a drink to a guy who gestured that he wanted a kiss too - after she has kissed his cheek and walked behind him (where I was) she made a gesture to me that left me in no doubt that she was not happy having to serve him. I laughed a little and agreed. That may have been the only honest thing I saw from the girls there all evening, the rest is just show.

While the girls are on show a customer can talk to mama-san and choose the one he likes the look of and she will come over and sit with him. Once he's happy with his choice he pays for her for the night. One bar charged between 1500 and 3000 pesos, which is about US$33-66 or NZ$50-100 and the girl only gets half of the cost, the other half goes to the bar.

Most of the customers were older, 30's and up guys, some were even pushing 60 and these (supposedly) 18 year old and up girls are put on show for them each night. Kayla shared one story in our debrief that really hit me. She saw a girl who was trying to get away from a customer dragged up the stairs to the rooms by her hair while she was screaming. If that wasn't enough the other girls in the bar helped the customer get the girl into the stairwell and closed the door behind them like everything was fine.

This place is also impacting the next generation. I talked to a 13 year old girl who is selling plastic roses for 100 pesos each to pay for her schooling. What's to stop this girl starting in the industry when she's 18?

Our time in Angeles has given us a better idea about prostitution here and we've used that in the book - which is now a rough draft, awaiting review. We will need financial support to get it printed but once that happens we can be putting it in the hands of people with power to change the situation. If you want to help then once we have a channel for donations I'll post it here.

Olongapo Lightning

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A video I took this week of the weather we're having.

Cinema 4 at HOYTS, Forest Hill Shopping Centre...

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Apologies for the long break between updates. I've been writing blog posts but never seem to get them finished, then something new happens and they need to be updated and the cycle continues. This post covers the past couple of weeks and is rather disjoined because I wrote different paragraphs on different days.

Well we've had our second weekend in Olongapo. Most of us went to the big market to have a look around. I finally got to take a trike, it's great fun until you realise your life depends on the ability of your driver to avoid everyone else on the roads. There doesn't seem to be a true system here. I originally thought "might is right" applied but it seems that pedestrians are always safe and give way is really just whatever happens - if you're cheeky you can go quickly.

The market was certainly the biggest I've seen in Olongapo, but the things they sell are all so similar. I did buy a t-shirt though for about NZ$6. It's a large and it's not designed for a western-heighted body, but it'll be fine so long as it doesn't shrink much in the wash.

We also found the local movie theatre and took some time out to watch Inception, which was well worth the $3 we paid to see it. After that we went to the nice pizza place for coffee (I had Hot Chocolate, I'm trying to limit my coffee intake).

We went to church twice this Sunday. The girls did a dance in the morning and they were so good they got asked back in the evening. I'm still clearing my photo backlog, so it may be a while before I get the video up online.

It's Tuesday night and we've had a hectic two days. Monday we went to an orphanage/old persons home in the morning and split into 3 teams - one for infants, one for kids and one for the old people. I was in the kids group and I'm so glad I was. We walked in to some kids in cots and others running around. I wasn't sure where to start until David smiled at one of the girls in a cot and she started bawling her eyes out. I only later found out this was the reason. I spent 10 minutes trying to calm her down just by talking caringly to her and rubbing her back, but I wasn't having any luck. I decided to pray for her and she stopped crying literally 2-3 seconds after I'd finished praying.

I think her name was April because that's what was written on her bottle but I never got this confirmed. She was very cute once she stopped crying and I just feel blessed to have been able to give her some love, some physical contact and for the chance to pray into her life and pray blessings on her and all the kids there.

We have been working on the book and we're slowly getting things together. We have a deadline tomorrow which I hope we will hit - we're supposed to have all our raw materials collected - this is stats, pictures, interviews, the works. I've started stepping up into an organisation role and nobody has objected so I'm going to run with it.

The other new thing we've been doing has been bar ministry in Barreto, a Barangay (district) of Olongapo. This is not new for the base but it has been for some of us, including me. We have been going to Baretto which has a road of bars there. We went to 2 bars on Monday - Firefly and Midnight Rambler. At Firefly we met Marissa and Juliana and played a bit of pool. I was quite nervous (as you no doubt guessed, I'm not great around new people) and conversation was a bit awkward but they had a pool table, which I'm very glad for. We ended up leaving that bar after a while (for our own good, Sarah had managed to annoy the owner of this bar at his other bar so we decided moving on was prudent).

We went into Midnight Riders and found a lovely bar inside. I was still nervous about talking to people but after I had ordered my drink, Kathy, one of the girls from the base who was looking after us, came over and said they wanted to talk to me, which I wasn't expecting. (I should preface this by saying the people here like white skin, pointy noses and the fact our eyes are coloured). The girls in Midnight were all dressed in the same tight green dresses that were cut very high on the legs in an attempt to please visitors to the bar. These girls are employed to be company for visitors. Many of the bars on the strip offer more than company but the manager of this bar insists you can't get sex there and I believe her.

I spent the evening talking mostly to Ashley - a lovely girl my age who has been working at the bar for 3 weeks. I also met Meah who was a little bit more flirty but less than I was prepared for. The girls in this bar don't have to be available to sleep with the guys (in other bars that's their job description) but I also don't believe there's anything stopping them if they want to make extra money and the best way to do that is get the guys interested. We chatted for a while and then we went home.

Tuesday we went back to the same bar and met up with the same girls, plus some new ones, including Cheena, Faith and Apple, all very unique. Cheena started off with the whole please the customer routine and I got a kiss on each cheek in the first few minutes and Dave got a kiss too. I must say all I can so to react to this is laugh and smile. Once she realised we weren't usual customers the act vanished and she got oddly quiet.

It turns out a lot of the girls in the bar are quite shy. Cheena and Ashley have told me they're shy and Apple has shown it. It's not something I ever expected to find, I thought they'd be more outgoing to be working in the bars but it just goes to highlight that these girls aren't working where they want. Cheena wants to be a cook.

I think Apple is the most interesting girl in the bar - she's a born again Christian and has been for 3 years. She works in the bar to support herself and her 5 year old son and she's not alone - Ashley has a 4 year old boy. I was saddened to hear that Apple's church started judging her when they found out she worked in a bar. I know Apple doesn't want to be in this job but she's very short of options. I'm praying that she is able to find another job where she doesn't have to dress up and work from 6pm to 2am every day.

We invited the girls to a beach day on Thursday. 5 girls came from our bar and about 8 (plus kids) from the other two groups came. We had fun, played games, swam (which I think was a bad idea, we were told the water was clean but we were all getting nibbled by some things we couldn't see when we were in the water) and ate a good lunch. Virge talked a bit about YWAM, the Olongapo base and about her life, but this was really just a chance to give the girls some fun, because they work every day and have so much responsibility that they don't get the chance to go out and have fun very much - I found this out by asking girls "What do you do for fun?" and they struggle to answer as if they don't understand what fun is. We had a really good time of just hanging out and having fun, relaxing and showing the girls there's more in life than work - and they no doubt enjoyed it because they arranged to come see us on Friday at the base.

On Friday we again just hung out and had fun. We played a couple of games and were able to pray for a couple of the girls - Alma who actually requested prayer (we hadn't suggested it) and Ashley who is going back to Manila for 2 weeks to see her family (including her 4 year old son). They have said they'd come back about 3 times now and each time it's fallen through. I hope we get to see them again and pray for them all before we leave.
A small tea pot filled with loose leaf Oolong

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Last night we were going to do bar ministry (the first time for me) however we were instead treated to our first typhoon in the Philippines. We got a lightning and thunder show in the evening, but it died down so we went to McDonalds for desert then came back to the base. I tried getting video and pictures of the lightning but only the video worked. I commented to Sarah Haberly that we were so lucky to be able to sit in the Philippines on a porch, sipping Oolong tea (thank you Lily) watching a free storm light show on the horizon.

All was peaceful when we went to bed, inside and out. First we lost power to the base, which meant all our fans stopped working, same for our lights. My torch was fine for the lights but the power cut meant we had no fans either, but that wasn't too bad, we had a good breeze going from the typhoon. This didn't last forever sadly as the rain picked up and our breeze turned into a shower, time to close the windows and sweat it out.

By this time the typhoon had really picked up and was throwing anything loose outside around, including the outer mosquito door, which bangs heavily, can't be locked and kept waking us up. In the morning I recovered my flip flops and monopod none the worse for wear.

Sadly I also ended my diarrhea-free run on this outreach. I realise this wasn't due to the typhoon, I really don't know what caused it but this is an honest blog and so you get all the details you lucky people you. ;)

I've spent a decent amount of today sleeping to try and catch up because we're going to go out tonight to do ministry if the weather agrees with us and I don't want to be yawning.

Other than that there hasn't been a huge amount exciting to report. We are still working on the book, I'm still working on the website. I feel like we need to storyboard the book and go over the interviews tomorrow and Bethany agrees (the interviews were her idea) so I'm hoping we can just take time to do that.

We did go to a small church on Sunday which was fun. The songs were easy to sing along to - they are mostly Hillsong style with a twist in the timing and some words are a bit different, but 98% is identical. We were asked to share testimonies and Kayla shared hers. The sermon was mostly in English with some Tagalo thrown in (maybe when the pastor thought it was necessary). His sermon was longer than I'm used to but I was braced for a 3 hour epic, which didn't eventuate, so I was thankful. Afterwards I got talking to the drummer from the band. Next Sunday we are going back and we have been asked to do more stuff, so we are preparing a dance, we have 2 testimonies lined up (though I think we will just do one) and Danielle will be sharing a heart piece then leading the church in some prayer.

The team from Tokyo has left to return to Japan for the rest of their outreach. I'll miss them, they're a cool bunch. This means our room with 4 beds has dropped to 2 beds and the other room is empty. 4 of the girls from our DTS are moving into that room now, so we won't be lonely. So far the girls have managed to clog both toilets they've had access to, they have been put on notice that this will not happen here.

Thank you for all your prayers - they are very much appreciated. If you could find time to pray for my sore back (too much time sitting badly on my laptop) and for patience and good health for all our team that would go a long way.

Other little random things: McDonalds has free Wifi here and a small cheeseburger combo costs about US$1.50, which is about NZ$2.10. Don't get ice in your drink, we think that's how 2 of the girls got sick. The local store (when I say local I mean next door to the base) sells 7UP in 1 liter glass bottles for 50 cents (you return the bottle). Hand washing clothes doesn't take too long if you do bits at a time - for bigger loads the girls on the base will happily wash them for you if you pay them. Typhoons make the next day cooler, yay!

Saturday 10 July 2010

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Today is our day off! This explains why I didn't pull myself out of bed till 10am and have had a chance to just relax and lounge around a bit. I'm also wearing one of the shirts I brought because all my t-shirts are either dirty or being washed. The local girls here earn extra money by doing laundry and I'm happy to let them do mine.

We have settled in quite nicely - we are in an apartment on the 3rd floor of the center. We have sofas, a dining table, a kitchen area (just a sink really, but you could get a hot plate and cook) and 2 bedrooms, each sleeping 4. We are sharing with 6 guys who are also on their DTS outreach who came from the YWAM Tokyo base - they're all really nice guys and they'll be here for a couple of weeks, then they go back to Tokyo to continue their outreach there.

We have been having meetings about the book and we have a bit of a battle plan now. We have a focus, lists of people we want to interview, things to research and get stats for, how we want to structure the book, things like that. We haven't decided on a name yet, but we have some ideas.

I've also got an idea of where to take this website. I've managed to get Ubuntu running in Virtualbox on this mac, so I have a real development environment to work with, which looks seamless on full screen.

Last night was another first for me, we were asked to give a bible study to the girls here and I ended up being the one to do it. What I didn't know was that I'd have a translator, so everything was getting translated into Tagalo for me. I was very happy with how it went though, I wasn't well prepared (due to lack of time) and I really felt God helping me teach these 10-15 people about parables and trying to get a common understanding of them, especially when language is a barrier and I could only understand what was being said through the translator. Thankfully the parables come with explanations and they had Tagalo bibles and our translator was very good so I feel like we understood each other.