Day 9 – Monika

Hello everyone!
It’s been a while since we could post anything because internet is surprisingly difficult to find here. We are now in Santiago City, Isabela
View Larger Map and found an internet cafe close to Pastor Paul’s house. So we are taking advantage. Some of my observations about the mission so far (Lance-style):

*As missionaries, we don’t really DO that much. We mostly stand around and look good! There were lots of volunteer helpers at the 2 mission sites we went to. But Pastor Paul reminded us that it’s our presence that is most inspiring to the people that live and work in these poor communities. It gives them hope that someone out there is trying to help. I think we all thought that we would come and DO all this great work and help all these people. But the church members are really the ones doing the footwork throughout the year. It’s a pretty humbling realization.

*In Tatalon and Kaunlaran, we were able to visit some church members’ houses in the slum areas (pictures to come later). It was crazy to think that 8-10 people could live in such a small space. And that small groups of 8-15 meet in those same rooms! And the leaders have such joy about how their ministry is growing! Just goes to show that God is in their midst, despite the conditions.

*We got to meet the scholarship recipients at Kaunlaran UMC. There are a few students sponsored by members at our church! It doesn’t take much to give these students a good education and hope to get out of the cycle of poverty. Our dollars can go far here!

*The scholarship recipients are encouraged to pick a degree that will get them a good job once they get out of school. I think I was saddened by the fact that they are not able to choose a field of study they are passionate about… Yet another thing we take for granted in the US. It’s a privilege that our parents let us study whatever we want!

And some observations about lighter things and our trip in general!

*We eat ALL the time. Rice with every meal. Delicious food I haven’t eaten much of since I moved out of my mom’s house. I’ve been enjoying the sinigang, tinola, adobo, tocino, pancit malabon, and fresh fruits like guava, mango, bananas, pineapple, and star apples! My stomach can barely go 2 hours without feeling like it needs to eat again!

*The toilets here have been interesting. Enough said. πŸ™‚

*Mosquitos love me. Must be something about American blood. They can sense it!

*I pictured the province to be very rural, but the “downtown” area is alive with businesses and traffic, much like Manila, though not as congested. I expected to be staying in a place with no toilets that flush and chickens running everywhere. But Pastor Paul’s house is right near the downtown area and is fully equipped with everything you could want! Air conditioning, powerful toilets, and beautifully tiled floors. I think it’s fancier than my house in Hayward! It was a pleasant surprise. πŸ™‚

*Now that we’re in the province, we’re experiencing brown outs and periods of time with no running water. It’s been interesting! After a long day hanging out on the farm and eating dinner by flashlight (because the main lights went out), we headed back to the apartment to find no running water. In frustration, Lance exclaimed “It’s just not fair!” I have to agree, haha, but I guess that’s just how it is.

*In response to Lance’s last paragraph of his last post… my “single blessedness” has become a running joke. So much so, that even the District Superintendents and the Bishop joke about it too! I am introduced as a “nurse from the states, single, available, and negotiable.” I just laugh about it because there’s nothing else I can do. They have also found some other “single” women to tease, so the pressure is off me a little. One of the other missionaries is a widow, and Pastor Paul’s daughter is older than I am and still single. So I think we should go in order of seniority, don’t you? Don’t worry mom, they are taking good care of me, especially Pastor Anne!

I hope you are all well back home. I hope to post pictures soon. Thank you all for your prayers!