Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hiking trip...written by Tyler

In April Dad, Ethan, and I, along with some missionary friends, hiked to a mountain called Batulao. The first part of our trip was packing our backpacks. We did not know what to bring so we brought lots of odds and ends that we ended up not needing. The extra odds and ends made our backpacks a lot heavier. Next time I will not bring so much stuff. 

Early Saturday morning we ate breakfast and finished packing our bags, Mr. Root and his son Noah picked us up at 7:00 o’clock. It took a little more than an hour to get to the place where we started hiking. We paid a local guy to take care of the car and then we started hiking. About 1/3 of the hiking trip was on a one lane dirt road; the rest of the trip was on a small one foot wide trail. Along the trail there were many little shacks which sold Mountain Dew and buko juice( juice from coconut). It took about two hours to get to the main campsite.  When we got to the main campsite we took off our backpacks and had a little snack before we started hiking up the mountain. Once we drank lots of water we started hiking up the mountain. 

The main camp was about 1,200 ft above sea level and the mountain was about 2,500 ft above sea level so the part we climbed about 1,300 ft. In the Philippines the middle morning heat is very hot and exhausting to climb 1,300 ft. The first part was a moderate climb where there were camp sites every 100 to 200 ft which were level. After about 700 ft then came the steep part where it was pretty much straight up; it was very hot because there were no trees or bushes, but the steady breeze kept the heat down.

 When we got to the top we drank more water took a few pictures and then went down part way on the other side of the summit. On that trail there were many places where it was 30 ft down on one side and 100 ft on the other and the trail was about 1 ft wide. After we explored that side of the mountain we went back on top of the summit. There we rested for a few minutes and then headed back down the mountain. When we got back to the main campsite we drank more water then started hiking to the camp site where we would stay the night. 

There were many campsites that the people maintained, but those had very few trees and bushes which made them very hot. When Mr. Root went there before he found a camp site that was more in the jungle which made it cooler. It was a little farther down the trail we had just hiked.
 Once we got there Mr. Root, Noah, and Ethan went down to a partially dried up river bed that had a spring that came straight out of the mountain. There they filled our water bottles and got some water for washing. Dad and I cleared a space to put our tent and set up the tent. We also started a fire to roast hot dogs for lunch for Dad, Ethan and I.  Noah and his dad already had eaten lunch. After we got everything set up and Noah and his dad got their tent set up, then we took a siesta for an hour. Later after we took our nap we all went down to the stream to explore the river bed and get some water. Down at the river we found that there were actually two small streams that met and made a little bit bigger stream.  After we got back to camp we each went down to the spring by ourselves to take a bucket shower. We were very sweaty and a cold shower felt good. When we were all done with showers, Mr. Root started the dinner which was ramen noodles and corn beef mixed in. It was really good because we were very hungry. We talked for a little while after we cleaned up and washed the dishes.  We were all very tired so we went to bed at around 8:30 P.M. 
The next morning we got up at 5:00 A.M.  Mr. Root had already been up for a few minutes and started to make breakfast which was oat meal, hardboiled eggs, and hot chocolate.  That was nice because it was pretty cool in the morning at the high elevation. When we had finished eating and cleaning up from breakfast we took down our tents and packed our bags. We wanted to get an early start so it would not get too hot, we started about at 8:30 A.M. The hike back was a little hotter than when we came because we started a little later and there was not as much wind. The hike took about two hours to get back to the car. 
It was a fun experience because I had never gone backpack camping before and I always wanted to and we had never been camping in the Philippines before.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Alyssum is 10!

Pink cupcakes and root beer floats were what Alyssum ordered for her birthday!  She couldn't wait to join the ranks of double-digit.  Can't believe she is 10!  They grow up so quickly.  Happy Birthday to our sweet Alyssum!

Happy Birthday Ann Marie

Ann Marie is 20! 
We celebrated Ann Marie's birthday with family and friends in Manila.  We took the bus to Manila and stayed with the Weissers for the weekend.  A fun trip to Eastwood Mall, a choir concert at Faith Academy, and a party by the pool at the Haunschild's house.  It was a fun weekend for all!  Happy Birthday to our oldest daughter...so excited to see how God will direct your life in the years to come!

New place and the garden grows!

In February we moved from Palawan to Luzon.  We are located in Dasmarinas, Cavite, just outside of Manila.  Until August we are helping Home of Joy Orphanage with their agriculture projects.  We are living on Jabez Christian Center grounds which not only has Home of Joy, but also Jabez Christian School, and Jabez Camp.  It is a busy place with 100 students in the school, almost 30 small children at the Home of Joy, and the comings and goings of groups at the camp.

Steve's job is to keep the garden growing and pass along what he has learned about sustainable agriculture and ways to improve the soil to make healthier plants and vegetables.  Within a week of our arrival over 200 volunteers planted the garden.  This plan was already set in motion before we ever arrived so Steve just sat back and watched as the garden took shape! 

Now the work began...hours and hours of watering to keep the garden growing...and it is the beginning of summer...the hot and dry season!  There are a couple guys who also help in the garden so the work is shared among them all.

Under Steve's care the garden has really taken off!  So wonderful to see so many vegetables growing for the Home of Joy to use to feed their children.  Anything extra is sold and at this point, the profit goes back into the garden.

Our kids have also been very helpful in the garden...weeding, watering, putting mulch on the rows, and just helping in whatever way is  needed.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Last visit...

...to our beloved island home and neighbors(in January).  And what a week it was!  We were all tired and sunburned, but great we it was a great week although plenty of mixed feelings too...both happy and sad.  

We attempted to go to the island on January 5, but over half of us came down with a nasty flu bug and so we postponed our trip for 5 days.  Tuesday, January 10 we took a jeepney to Rio Tuba to get on the pomboat to take us to Balabac.  After a two hour jeepney ride and waiting for several hours on the dock, we were told the boat would not be going that day!  The weather was changing and the captain didn’t want to risk getting caught in it.  So…now what?  What does a family of eight do when stuck in a small mining town in the Philippines?  A couple weeks before Jeanie also had to spend the night in Rio Tuba so we took her recommendation for a nice pension house and set out to find it.  JJas Pension House turned out to be a nice “hotel” for the night!  It had a bathroom in each room, running water, electricity, fans, and it was very clean…what more could we ask?  So we spent the afternoon wandering the street of Rio Tuba!  Not much to do!

The next morning we arrived at the dock and boarded the boat by 7am, expecting to leave by 8 or 9.  The boat finally left the dock at 11am!  We were a little weary of the boat by then and the ride hadn’t even begun.  It was not glassy calm, but not too wavy either.  We ran into the worst weather nearer to Balabac.  Dennis was waiting with his motorcycle along with five Molbog men and their bikes to take us to our house.  Welcome to Balabac…the muddy motorcycle ride!  It was a fun ride though and someone always has a funny story to tell when the ride is over.  This time Ann Marie got dumped off the bike she was riding, right into the mud!

So fun to return after almost a year!  Jeanie had dinner waiting for us, and we were sure hungry!  Then we went to our house.  Jeanie had hired a couple young girls to help her clean our house and get the beds ready for us.  So nice to have it all ready for us!  But once again our water was not working!  So we all took bucket “showers” before laying our heads on our pillows.  The next morning Steve, Ethan, Tyler, and Adams hiked up to our water source and fixed our hose…yeah, we had water once again! 

On Thursday we spent a good part of the day sorting the remaining things in our house, deciding what we were going to keep and what items we were going to sell.  Jeanie made lunch for us each day, which was so nice!  We also got to use our oven!  I made bread, cookies, brownies, and pizza for Friday night!  So nice to use!!  One of the many things that makes us sad that we cannot be there to use.  Friday was more of the same and Steve and the boys started each day with a  trek up the river to fix our water!  The kids could hardly wait for the weekend so the Molbog kids would be home from school to play and play!


Can you find our three daughters?

Saturday was the planned day for the “lami-lami”.  It is a gathering of everyone in the village to eat a meal together for a specific purpose.  This time the purpose was us being there and spending time with all the people we have come to know.  Jeanie and I provided the food and about six Molbog ladies cooked the meal of pancit and rice, and buko salad for dessert.  I had fun being with the ladies as they chopped vegetables and cooked in the big pots over the fires.  For some reason food always tastes better when cooked over an open fire!  While the ladies were cooking our kids played games with the 60 or more kids that came with their parents!  After the meal we had a short Bible lesson and singing songs with the kids on the airstrip.  We brought gifts for all the kids so we handed out over 60 small wrapped gifts to all the kids!  Then Ethan and Tyler put on a short fireworks display.  Too bad it couldn’t be done in the dark, but still fun as most of the people hadn’t seen or heard fireworks before!  We also handed out lightstick bracelets to all the kids.  I’m sure there wasn’t much sleep in many homes as the kids were admiring their “lights”!  It sure was a fun, full day with our friends and neighbors!
So intently listening to Aunt Jeanie

Uncle Dennis with his computer is so popular!
For Sunday at 9am we scheduled a “dental clinic” for the kids on our porch!  Our language teacher, Awab, agreed to teach the kids about brushing teeth and using floss. A little before 9 we got word that Awab could not come because of an unplanned meeting he had to attend.  So Jeanie had to be the teacher!  She did a great job telling the kids about brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing everyday.  We then demonstrated flossing and handed out floss to each child to try for themselves!  Then we let the  60 kids choose a toothbrush and we assembled small bags of floss and toothpaste for each child.  Thanks to Jenny Weisser, Marissa, and Alesha for bringing the dental items for the Molbog children.  We are so grateful that we had the opportunity to share these things with the families there.  

Then in the afternoon we went over to Dennis and Jeanies for lunch and our kids spent the afternoon playing games with the kids on the airstrip.  So much fun and no one really wanted to leave. We really enjoyed the time to just relax and be with the people on both Saturday and Sunday. 

Monday was “yard sale” day.  We scheduled the sale for 1pm, but our first customer showed up at 11am and they were from town.  Not bad except we had priced everything low for our Molbog neighbors!  We allowed them to buy the electronic items, but told them they had to come back at 1pm to shop with everyone else.  They were not too happy, but they did come back and spent the most money!  All our neighbors were waiting at the house below…so at 1pm Jeanie called out that they could come on up!  The house was instantly FULL of people and continued to be full for about 1 ½ hours.  And just about everything was bought!  We certainly didn’t make a lot of money, but our friends and neighbors were able to get some new items for themselves and that made the day worth it all.

We spent the remaining part of the day packing our belongings and getting ready to leave early the next morning.

Our alarms rang at 3:30am and we dragged ourselves out of bed.  It was rather cold in the early morning air, but we were soon warm enough as we hiked to the beach with our boxes and backpacks.  The moon was shining bright although not a full moon.  We waited on the beach for the two boats to arrive, one for our boxes and bags and the other for all of us.  It was a beautiful, calm morning and perfect for the one hour boat ride to get to town.  We watched falling stars in the brightening sky as we puttered along on the sea.  Dennis was waiting for us in town as he went ahead to put our names on the list for the boat.  Good thing he did as it was one of the smallest boats with only enough room for 21 passengers!  It was a an absolutely perfect day for a boat ride and the kids enjoyed the cool breezes of the ocean air as we sailed along.  It was an uneventful return trip by boat and jeepney.  We were all exhausted and ready for a shower and a long good nights rest!

We are so thankful for the time we had on Balabac.  It was not easy to return and have to say good-bye especially since we all love being there.  So many things we don’t completely understand and maybe we never will.  Please pray for our Molbog friends and neighbors as they too are saddened by our move off the island.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kailee's 11th Birthday

Birthday balloons, presents from family and friends back home, a delicious favorite dinner of chicken soup and a chocolate/peanut butter cake, and family to share it with...what a birthday celebration!