Friday, February 22, 2013


There's too much to write and not enough time. :) This is my friend's clinic in Bugnay.  It's a very rural village in the mountains surrounded by rice fields.  Enjoy!

A little sun after riding on top of the jeep and catching some rays on the 3 hours up to the mountains.

This great vantage point is from our perfect, but slightly uncomfortable seat on top of the jeepney...didn't know there was such a thing as "student drivers" here!

See the village?  We walked over to visit some people and see their homes. 

These guys have "free" range.  They are somewhat fenced in by building baby-like gates across the walk ways.  People climb over, but pigs can't.  It's not 100% effective...

Just chillin. Literally, it was cold. 

sorry it's sideways...  This is Crystal, hostess, tour guide and amazing woman!

Walking between the rice fields.

See the bridge?  That's where we're headed!

And, it's a pretty fun bridge.  You can rock it back and forth for a little added excitement. 

Headed home.  A little sun kissed, but filled with joy from an encouraging visit.

Crystal was asking them if the raspberry-like berries were edible...they said they tasted sweet...Hmmmm.

Monday, February 18, 2013


It appears to be a harmless hard boiled egg except for the lite blue tint in the shell.  This is balut.  A duck egg that has been fertilized and then is cooked before the chick is fully formed.  Sound strange, and it is a little.  It might help if you think of it more like sof-shelled crabs.  

In two years of living here I've successfully avoided eating this delicacy and have, instead, listened to horrorizing tales of first time experiances and how it scars people for life.  This seemed sufficient.  I was a little curious, but not so much so as to subject myself to a potentially unhappy situation.  Although, there was one comment by a chef and foodie who said that it really just tasted like concentrated hard boiled egg.  Curious.

The opportunity finally came.  While visiting some friends here waaay up North.  They were eating balut and said there was some for me, if I wanted it.  So, why not?  

It's really not that bad at all.  Especially with a little vinegar and salt added.  Mmmm.  The flavor is a mix between liver and egg.  You chip a little of the shell away and drink some liquid (don't know what it is and don't care to know. hehe)  Then the rest of the shell can be chipped away as necessary to eat it.  The yolk is super rubbery...over cooked in the world of hard boiled eggs, but just right with balut (i guess).  Vinegar and salt are reapplied as necessary.  

So, overall, the experience was good and will probably be repeated.  Branching out isn't always so bad!


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Giving when you have nothing.

"for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” (Luke 21:4)

Rice.  To some people it's like gold to other people, they hardly notice it's existence.  I just received a bag of about 2kilos of rice this morning as a gift of appreciation. Wow!  This may not sound amazing, but it is.  It's a gift of the heart and it represents so much more!

The generosity of the "poor" never ceases to amaze and humble me!  They are so giving, not because they have endless resources or live in abundance, but rather because it is an expression of their heart.  They are truly rich in spirit.  They give, not really of the physical, but rather of the not-so-tangible, expression of the heart.  

It's challenging, no?  Maybe it's my "cultural background" that gives me an edge of stinginess, or maybe it's really that my heart isn't always in the right place, therefore there is no expression of really giving myself completely and freely.  

After all, what is a bag of rice?  To someone it's their whole day of food.  Oh, maybe they'll add a couple little dried fish or some soup, but really rice (disregarding nutrition at this point) makes up the majority of a meal.  it's really giving a lot.  The rice that was given to me will require her to buy more rice for her family.  Ponder that a while.  It's quite significant and it reminds me of another gift that is given freely. Jesus.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Words in a Sunset

This is a beautiful glimpse of a breath taking sunset last night.  The clouds were rolling in and the sun was shining through.  As I drank deeply, scanning the beautiful landscape that spread out before me, standing at the front of the clinic my mind pondered the Lord's heart.  

This was the only break in the clouds where the sun was shining through.  It was just a highlight in the midst of a darkening sky that was covering the earth below in it's shadow.  The scripture says, 

"The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry." (Psalm 34:15)

He is not blinded by the dark, His ears are not made deaf by howling wind, rather He is keenly aware of the needs of His people.  He has even made provision for those who dwell with the righteous!  This is seen all the way from the beginning.  This truth is especially vivid in the O.T. when the Israelites were leaving Egypt.  The LORD made provision for the "alien" among them and has continued to do so!  Praise the LORD.  

Rejoice in the glory of the LORD because He has called you forth!  As you see Him poured out before you praise Him.

"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:4-10)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Communication in the little things

Imagine playing Bball with that view!  They did this all day long.

It didn't seem like a large difference, really.  Exchanging the "v" for a "b" in pronunciation seems to trivial, especially when it seems to be common in many languages. Don't be fooled, it can be the difference between communicating and not.  Here's a little story to help.
Violet (my friend and roomie) went to the market and made our last stop the egg/chicken lady.  We told her we wanted to buy some eggs.  She quickly replies, "Fibe? Fibe?"  With no needed explanation I knew she was asking, "Five? Five?"  I replied, "Twelve."  "Fibe?" She asked, again.  "No, twelb."  I corrected.  And with this she quickly counted out a dozen eggs.
It's such a small thing.  It's not complicated, no clearly pronunciation is needed, just the awareness of the more commonly pronounced "b" instead of 'v".  It happens all the time, most commonly with number such as, "pipty-pibe" (55) and "seben" (7).  It's all English in the formal sense, but there's a little difference in pronunciation that makes all the difference!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Tabuk!  This is a new adventure.  For three weeks a friend (and roommate) and I will be spending some time at a maternity clinic to visit some missionary volunteers.  It's very rural, hence the rice fields everywhere!  And so pretty.  Life has a whole different pace than in the city.  It's slower and much quieter.  There's the occasional radio or tv that can be heard, but overall is quiet.  
Today will be our first full day here after some great rest (16 hours... probably enough sleeping) and we'll head out to explore with a guided tour.  
There are lots of stories from our travels, but those stories will have to wait.  :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Michelle, the one who remembers

Something about her stayed with me.  Maybe it's that she was a Filipina with some of the longest dreads ever and they were a messy mass, maybe it was the tattoos on her arms and legs, maybe it was the myriad of bracelets and anklets.  Maybe, it was that she told me she would bring me a bracelet when she came back.  Or maybe the LORD just allowed her to remain in my mind.

Everything about her is very counter her culture.  I don' know how she found out about Mercy, but probably the way most of the patients do: word of mouth or they just see the sign.  She is always the last prenatal on her day and she's actively seeking something spiritual to fill her void.  To this end, I did pray for her at the end of her prenatal.  Especially as she said that she would be going to another island (Cebu) for some festival and she and her bana would be selling bracelets, anklets and necklaces.

This prenatal was in December, so through all of January she was on my mind.  What was she doing?  Had she seen the One for who she really searched?  The cough she had that was probably from smoking before she was pregnant, was it a sign of other lung problems?  Would I ever see her again?

The clinic here runs such that there are a team of midwives assigned a particular prenatal day, so we might see patients only once, then again we might see them lots, it just depends.  And, when they come to the birth room they are served by the current shift (unless the woman has become a continuity patient, but that's a different story.)

This past Tuesday I was working on prenatals.  We started just after 9:00am.  There were lots of patients and one by one they were all seen.  Occassionaly I wondered if I would see her...and if I would recognize her (there was one other gal with dreads, which are certainly a defining factor).  We were almost done and i was cleaning up my bed when I hear a teammate behind me say, "Kelly..."  I turn around to Michelle!  She came.  Her dreads, her inked skin and charms galore, she was here! She smiled and said, "Hi Kelly."  What joy flooded me heart.  And she said, "I brought this for you from Cebu."  

This just amazed me.  I don't really know her, she doesn't really know me and why she would remember me when she was on a 3 week vacation is beyond me, but she did and she was true to her word.  Just as she said, she brought back a bracelet.  As she left and said good bye, by name to me and the midwife who had done her prenatal, she promised the other girl a bracelet too.  

Now the bracelet reminds me to pray for her and her searching heart.  She's very dear and had such a bright personality, but there's no doubt of her need for a Savior.  What a joy it is to speak to the King on her behalf that she would know Him.  She's not due for a few more months, so hopefully we run into each other again during prenatals...maybe even her birth!