We read in James 1:17 that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Christmas certainly is the time that we celebrate the perfect gift that is Jesus and all the gifts that God has given to us all. It is said that in the Philippines, Christmas is only celebrated in the Brrrrr Months-September, October, November, and December! There is a hyper focus on the Christmas Season and all its trimmings. Decorations are up wherever you go, all the stores have Christmas themed music playing and the night markets are in full swing. It’s easy, with all the hustle and bustle that comes with Christmas, to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. It’s wonderful to spend time with family and friends, to enjoy gift giving and parties, but we have to remember to keep our focus on Jesus in the midst of all of it.
Last month we were able to go to Palawan and speak at the anniversary of the church in BusyBees. We participated in the wedding of two of our former students, had a Pastors’ meeting, and another church service. It was quite the adventure getting there! We travelled by plane from our island to Manila and from there took another flight to Puerto Princessa, the main city on Palawan. Our flight was delayed several hours, but we eventually got there. From Puerto, we took a bus five or so hours to TayTay and from there went by tricee (motorcycle with sidecar) and then banca (boat) to the wedding site and back again. We took another bus to Busybees, only two hours, but over verrry rough roads – at one point they unloaded the bus and had the passengers walk across the temporary bridge to lighten the load. The roads have improved significantly since I first came in 1994, however when you go back into the villages, the access is still limited. On our return to Puerto, the bus had engine trouble and our trip ended up taking over six and a half hours. The plane was delayed several hours as well, so it was a very long trip all around. In summary, though travel often was difficult, it was wonderful to sense the Holy Spirit moving in love and unity among the pastors and believers.
Mom and I flew into Catanduanes and drove directly up North to a village called Oco, where I had been invited to give a presentation to the high school students for National Reading and Writing Month. I had been expecting fifty or sixty students, there ended up being somewhere between 400-600! It was a wonderful opportunity for mom and I, as we were able to share some of our testimony as well as the prepared slideshow. Both the students and staff were very receptive and very appreciative of our visit.
As we close out 2017, please consider giving to Reap so that we can continue helping and serving the Filipino people.
May your Christmas be filled with love, peace, and joy!
Amy, for Nels and Lorrie
Praise and Prayer Reports:
- Praise God for our safe travels to Palawan
- Praise God for the Spirit of Love and Unity among the pastors
- Especially Praise God for the gift of Jesus!
- Pray for our pastors and families
- Pray for our students in field training
- Pray for our pastors and families, especially this Christmas season
- Pray for an increase in giving to meet the monthly budget