Sunday, December 22, 2013

Climbing to Nagata Falls

Let me start by saying this may be the most confusing blog I post, but just go with me on this heart journey for a minute and I pray you can remember back to what you read if you ever face something like this.

So, our friend, Lora, asked us if we want to go hiking to these beautiful water falls. She said it was about a three hour hike. We said, yes, we would like to do that. So on this particular day our house helper, Mercy, watched the kids and we left to go hike around 7:30am.

Days before the hike, I was really struggling with letting go and also facing some of my past giants. Now you see I am not dwelling in the past, but I had recently had some dreams that truly rocked me to the core. See the enemy cannot tempt me and I give in when I’m awake, but in my dreams things take place like they used to in my past and it sets me back. James and I spent many hours praying over me and these issues leading up to this day of the hike.

The morning of the hike I was feeling emotionally defeated and even drowning spiritually. When we started out on the hike James had the back pack. In it we had sandwiches for lunch and plenty of water for the hike. As we began our walk it was ok. Starting out there was some incline as we began to climb the first mountain, but it wasn’t bad at all. We got to this little resort place about 20 min into the hike. WE just looked around and kept going. It was really beautiful there. We crossed over the shallow river on a bamboo bridge then walked a few steps in the water to finish the walk across. The water was cold which felt great and it was as clear as can be. This water started in the mountain we were going to that day.

We had about 15 people on the hike that day. Our friends Evan and Lora (Evan’s 8 friends) her sister, Ivy and nephew, and James and I. The crowd thinned out pretty quickly, meaning the slower ones (us) we at the back. One of the guides stayed with us to keep us safe. I was not sure why until we got further into the hike. So about 30min after the resort stop, I began to become very tired. This hike was a major deal. I was under the impression it would be like 1.5 hours there and 1.5 hours back but NO, its 3 hrs there and 3 hrs back. Now I haven’t even taken a 3 hr walk lately, let alone a 3 hour mountain hike. This was serious business and I was in no way prepared for this.

As we set out on mountain top #4 I was done. James was really done. I had already gotten the back pack from him because he was near passing out. At each step I began to call on the Lord for help. I wanted to finish, I wanted to see what I set out to see. I wanted to reach the goal, but the climb was, at times, just too much. As I sat to rest at one point (on a fallen bamboo branch) the guide gave me a stick. He said it’s like a third leg, it will help. I had some water and we started out again.

AS we were going I began to realize that this hike was a lot like my spiritual journey. See I have a goal in mind, something I really want to make it to see, and that is Heaven. I want to complete this journey here yet it’s such a hard thing sometimes. Just like the hike, there are days of immense uphill battle. Some days we need an extra hand, some days we need to just sit because it’s just too much. One thing I loved was my ‘extra leg’ I had on our hike. To me that was God. He was the thing I should hold on to for all my strength. Lean on Him, my always there, solid rock. At one point on the hike I asked James to walk beside me so he could catch me if I fell. He said “no, if you fall I’ll go down with you.” 

Now that spoke so many things to my heart:

1 - he was not going to be there for me.

2 - he was right, we were both so weak that he couldn’t help me.

3 - sometimes we only have us and God, not someone else. 

At first I was upset with James, but in the spiritual realm of all this I felt God saying “me, all you need is me.” See I am one to look to others for help and advice so many times and in that I neglect the Wonderful Counselor. He has everything I need; I just have to take the time to tap into my own resource.

Into the hike I began to slip and fall a few times. Every time I slipped it was on a downhill part. I was so thankful for the downhill times, but they soon became something I seriously had to be alert in. See in our spiritual walks we tend to relax in the easy times, the season of downhill. But it is there, when the enemy can sneak in and cause you to fall before you even know what is happening. At those times it hurts, it surprises you, and then getting up is painful but keeping on is even more painful because there is now a bruise. Well we then have a choice, keep going or just quit and turn around. Fight through to the end with pain or go home defeated. Man, I wanted to turn around but NO, I came to see the falls and I was not going home until I did. I have one goal in mind…. Being in heaven with the Lord and giving Him all the Glory while I’m here on earth. I fail so badly, I fall, I am caught off guard, I AM A SINNER, but I am a child of the one true King. He loves me, He adores me, and Heforgives me and most of all HE never never leaves me. When every one else moves on ahead, goes home, gives up, or just says no, God says “I’m here.”

So after a terrible yet amazing journey we finally reached the falls!!! Along the way were some amazing views and treacherous inclines along with a few falls, but we finally made it!!! It was so beautiful. It was amazing to see what our God created with only his words. Only His words… think on that. I thought of that song Redeemer…"Who taught the sun, where to stand in the morning. And who told the ocean, you can only come this far. And who showed the moon where to hide til evening, whose words alone can catch a falling star?” I mean really, and to think I doubt Him. To think I doubt His love and provision for me. He created me/you in His image. He sent His son to die to save us. The greatest love of all was poured out for us, and yet, I complain about the journey. Oh Lord, please forgive me. Please!

So after an hour of resting and eating it was time to go back home. Now understand, I’m still exhausted but somewhat rejuvenated. However I just wanted to stay here at the falls forever. I did not want to leave this beautiful place and face the walk back. Much like say church camp, a retreat, an awesome worship service, those things where we feel so alive and so close to the Lord, don’t we want to just stay there forever. I believe these things are a taste of eternity which in turn keeps us going until eternity. And because of that simple taste we choose to press on. Press on toward the Goal. To run the race, to discipline ourselves to be used for His Kingdom Glory.

Well no more than 10 minutes into the hike down, a bamboo bridge rail broke and I fell. I leaned on it for support and it broke. I fell about 10 feet down the mountainside.  A tree broke my fall. As soon I quit moving a just sat there. My friend screamed my name and the guides were there to pull me out right away. I had lots of cuts and bruises now. I mean real blood, but it was time to keep going. So as we continued my hands began to constrict. I could no longer grip my stick. I had lost the strength in my hands and I the fall had done some very real, damage to my right hand. Even today I am still having pain. So instead of a stick, I had a man named Kalaful who helped me up and down all the rest of the hike. See to me, in the thick, terrible, life shattering events, sometimes we get a Jesus in skin. A person in the flesh, sent to be a Jesus in skin for us. And let me tell you, I needed Kalaful for every step of the journey back. In my spiritual life I could list you a hundred Jesus in skin moments I’ve had. Each one, in each season has been a turning point to help me make it through. I am so thankful God loves me so much that He sends a friend, a word, a song, anything HE knows I need at just the right moment. He loves me that much!!!!

The walk back was just as bad as the walk up but once we reached our car I truly broke down because of the pain I was in. I mean, I cried. I let it all out and I went straight home for a shower and bed. AS I laid down that night all the spiritual aspects came over me. I thought of that song The Climb “there’s always gonna be another mountain, but it’s not about how fast we get there, it’s the climb.” There is so much truth to that. Don’t miss the journey and the lesson God has for me and you, just because the climb is too much. WE were placed on this earth, during this season for a purpose. We have a choice. WE can follow Him on His path for us or we can choose our own. His path ultimately leads home, heaven, eternity with no pain, no loss, no tears, no anything that hurts me now. My path leads to hell. Simple as that. And although this world is hard and the journey is some days terrible, this is truly the only hell I’ll ever know. Because on some glorious day, He will call me home where I will sing with the angels and the saints around His throne!!!

Today, in the Philippines, it is 3 days until Christmas. The first Christmas I’ve not been home for. I have spent many hours in tears for being homesick. My friends hear me. I miss my family and friends back in the USA, but THIS WORLD IS NOT MY HOME!!! I’m longing for Glory. I’m longing for no more sin struggles, no more hurting souls, no more starving children, no more hurtful words, no more no more no more. 

So today I choose a verse in 1 Cor. I choose to discipline my body, soul, for the race ahead. I am going to win the prize, I am. And I will face all things, I will learn in all things, and I will give God all the praise and Glory for each circumstance. The good and the bad. The times when it hurts to breath and the times of awe when my breath is taken away. I bless your name, I bless your name, I give you honor, I give you praise. You are the life, the truth, the way. I bless your name, I bless your name (a song by Selah).

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Machete Experience

Sometime ago…(late October)

The day of the children’s parade we showed up at the school to help decorate. I was going to stay there and help and James and the kids were going to Caticlan to pick up some stuff. When we arrived I asked Lora if she needed anything and she did so she came to the car to tell us what she needed. While she was talking to James we heard a lady yelling and turned and saw a little boy walking down the street crying, with blood all over his white t-shirt. He wasn’t holding his head but I immediately knew he was bleeding from there. I ran to him and picked him up and we sat in the back of our van. I got my sweat rag and applied some serious pressure to his cut. The grandma said he was cut by a machete. So we said get in let’s go to the hospital. 

She had his little brother and sister with her and Daniel, Lydia, and Sam were there with us too. We sped up the road and at the end the grandpa was there milling rice. The grandma beat on the side of our car yelling for him to get in. He jumped in and was immediately pale. Now it’s hard to get pale as a Filipino because of dark skin, but he was pale. I can’t imagine as a grandfather to see that much blood on your grandson and not flip out. On the way to the hospital the grandmother was beating on the side of our van yelling for people to move. The little boy I was holding was crying “nani, nani, nani (mommy)” I just held him and sang Jesus loves me very softly. 

When we reached the hospital (10 min) we honked to let them know we were an emergency. I carried him into the ER and laid him on the bed while still keeping pressure on his head. The grandfather left to go get the mom who works in the nearby town and the grandmother answered the doctor questions. Lydia, Dan and Sam stayed in our car until James went out to them about 10 min later. They were so scared for the little boy that they didn’t even want to get out. 

I found out his name is John Lloyd. I laid him down on the table, on his back until the nurses came and they turned him over. I never released pressure because every time I did blood would spurt out. The nurses looked at the cut and then they came over to shave his hair away from the cut, with a straight razor. Now mind you there has yet to be cleaning and deadening of his skin. So he was gripping my hand as hard as he could. When they began to shave all around the cut he cried out in pain. The nurses here are not the most comforting people in the world so I distracted him as best as possible by asking him about school. I found out his favorite subject is Filipino and his favorite color is blue. Once they were done shaving it, they cleaned his wound (still no lidacaine) and washed it out. 

Finally the doctor came in and deadened it but immediately began to put the stitches in, John Lloyd cried out again, but once the 3rd stitch was in he was better. As soon as the nurse was putting the dressing on his head I heard the trike pull up and I went to see if it was his mom. It was so I met her at the door and showed her the way to her son. She was crying and holding him as they both cried. I stepped outside and fell into James’ arms. I lost it. I cried so hard. My heart was releasing so many emotions through my tears. First relief, then the initial fears I felt but couldn’t express, then the overwhelming Love for our Lord for His perfect timing and trusting me to mother one who is not my own. 

After a few moments of tears and heart pounding cries, I went back in to check on things. His mother immediately hugged me and held on tight. I held her as she cried. All she kept saying was ‘Salamat Ma’am. (thank you ma’am) I only smiled and said it was my honor to be here. We then had to get the x-rays done and wait for results. Thankfully after about 45 min all that was done and we learned there was not skull fracture. But while waiting for the results James bought all the kids (6 of them) some chocolate milk, and the adults (4 of us) water.

We learned they are believers and actually have come in the past to our church. We invited them to come again soon. After all that was over, Kim came by and was there just in time to pay the bill. That is also a part of their ministry here. It’s also very inexpensive here. All that was only $30 or p1,500. We took the mom back to work and then took the family home. Before they left us I prayed over John Lloyd and for their family. 

You see, to me, that is what it’s all about. Being the hands and feet of Jesus is only a part, but lifting them up before the Father in their presence is the life changing part. To humble myself before the Father while holding the hand of a small boy here on earth, is what it’s all about. That afternoon John Lloyd and his family came to the children’s program we had a school. It was a blessing to see them and hug them again even a few hours later.

The Lord is so very good and I’m constantly in awe of His love and provision for us. It is always easy, never, but worth it, always!! I’m so thankful for the life and experiences I’ve had up to this point. I might only be 29 but looking back if I hadn’t’ been through what I have up to now, I would be useless where God has me. Remember this; what you are facing might not make sense until years down the road. Hang in there; persevere with in endurance to the end. The movie of your life is one in which you will be glad you held strong.

Praise be to the creator of all things, Glory to God in the Highest.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

In the newspaper

Marie Bakken wrote a wonderful in the Rockdale Reporter concerning what happened and is happening in the Philippines. You can still grab an issue or go to the Rockdale Reporter link.

Blessings to each of you.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ashley is headed back to Malay

Please lift Ashley up as she starts her trip back to the Philippines. James continues to serve and Ashley be joining him on Monday. Also her friend, Chelsi, is headed over to serve alongside Frei Ministries right now. Thanks for all your prayers, envouragement and support.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gause Baptist Church Presentation Monday, Nov. 25th

If you are unable to make it out tomorrow night, plan to hear Ashley speak at Gause Baptist Church at 6:30pm.

She will be sharing what God has done and is doing with Frei Minisitries today.

Hope to see you tomorrow night at FBC Milano or Monday night at Gause Baptist Church.


Wednesday, Novemeber 20, 2013, 7pm.

Tomorrow evening, Ashley will be giving a presentation about what the Lord is doing in the Philippines. The presentation begins at 7pm at FBC Milano. Anyone is welcome to come.

Thank you to everyone at FBC Columbus for allowing Ashley to present last Sunday night. Also for your love, prayers and support.

Thank you to everyone who continues to love, pray and support. God is so good.

Blessing to each.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tonight Ashley is Sharing at FBC Columbus

Join FBC Columbus in worship tonight at 6pm to hear an update on what Frei Ministires has been doing in the Philippines.

It was a blessing to present at Robertson County Cowboy Church this morning. Thank you for your prayers, love and support.

God is good! Blessings.

Frei Ministries on Facebook

If you aren't following us on facebook yet, the address is:

Thank you all for your prayers and support. More stories to come soon.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Another storm: please be praying

Another storm is going to hit near Malay in the next couple of days. Please be praying for those recovering and rebuilding. It is not as strong as the last typhoon, but still more wind and rain.

From Ashley

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A conversation from Malay to Texas

The following conversation is between Ashley and her mother Ruth after the storm passed. Ruth's questions or comments will be indicated in italics and abreviated R.

Ruth: How are you doing?

Ashley: hey. we are doing well here. we made lots of hospital runs today for people but all in all is good. we got the mosquito nets up and its burning up today here. we are praying for an evening breeze. please tag kim holden on facebook in a comment saying they are ok. she cannot get her. 

R: Can you send any pictures? We are seeing the many casualties on other islands. 

A: i will try you again in the middle of my night. that's when it worked last night for me. i love you. i believe that too. i have lots of pics but no way to send them yet. God's hand was truly here. tonight we fed 40 people in our neighborhood to say thank you for helping us and others. we prayed with them and really got to know them. God is so good. I'm sad for all the lost homes but the people here are so resiliant. please let people know to send money to you so we can afford to buy the food to feed them. that is the biggest need. food and clothes and money for water.

R: What were you able to do today or see?

A: today we drove a lot to take people to and from the hospital. so much destruction yet they are happy to be alive. no one here is stuck to material things. i've not seen one tear yet. only mine. we are hearing of the damage only 10 miles away and we are shocked. it's like we were in a safe pocket and we know it was in Gods hand.

R: How's Lydia?

A: i honestly think it was broken last night but i prayed a deep deep healing over her and it was like an electric bolt went through me then i felt like passing out and today its only a bruise and she is fine. I give God all the glory for healing her

R: What about the villages where Sister Anna went to feed?

A: destroyed but so excited for food and fellowship. i joined her at one.
its' amazing mom. the way they pull together. they are so priveleged to grow up this way, put there are some who are so sick and poor. we live a the rich part so we have seen the way thye act and live, but the ati are totally different

R: Did the river rise beside you?

A: no, not at all. the rain was not too bad. no flookding here anywhere

R: Are you aware if how bad it is in other areas?

A: yes i am. all around they said we are protected here because of God
we were able to give a family a ride home from the hospital and i felt the lord say give her all your change, so i did and she cried and said they had no money today. we prayed with them, they are not believers but are now they want to start a bible study and feeding next week I know we are to bring what we are learning back home and man God is growing us so quickly. so many great spiritual lessons. 30 min away but i say its worth the drive. peole are hungry for the Lord and dont even know it until they experience his love and then they can't get enough.

I gave a little catholic girl my bible and i told her to start in john. she sat on my porch and read. yesterday her house was destroyed but she said she kept the bible safe. she is 11 and has never read one word out of a bible

R: Where are the homeless?

A: yes, everyone is just another day here. clearing stuff and rebuilding but happy to be alive

yes, we believe in the work we are doing here. God will send the money when he is ready

R: Debons family?

A: with family

R: Dad's friend June?

A: yes, all day but he was stuck inside yestereday. he always waves and smiles at us. we take them food and money sometimes

R: More about Debobn family?

A: no, but his house was destroyed but his grandparents are ok
his family will not return his mom remarried and left him here to be raised by his gma

R: Who is at your house tonight?

A: no one tonight, just us. the filipinos are so used to sleeping outdoors that they just pop up a hammock and go to sleep

R: How's Mercys family?

A: her husband was in boracay and her house is destroyed too but she has cement house now so she was ready for the hit

It's very different here but we are learing to live within what we have. the heat at night is hard right now but its only a few more nights

R: She washed three loads of towels, sheets all by hand- I told her I wouldn't know how.

A: you just do, i dont know either but we made it through today and tomorrow we wake up and go to church and see what the day holds. we will go to pastor leo tomorrow

I am so thankful for God's hand
oh wow. God was really all over here. please please please htank everyone for praying he needs all the glory. no casualties within ten towns of us
i can't believe we went through the eye of a storm like that and not only lived but have only water to clean up. wow Praise God praise God!

R: Ten towns?

A: yes. all around here are alive? just no homes

R: And now they have a chance to still hear God's word.

A: sure do and we are even more bold now because of God sparing so much it's a great convo starter and so many people need help that they have no choice but to be prayed over most of our pastors lost their churches but no deaths at all recorded around here yet. we may learn differnet later but for now it's fine. tonight we fed chicken and rice today at feedings was pancit. we have to cook everything in our firdge and freezer by tomorrow - it's all thawing out

R: Martha said she hoped you sang and used the voice God have you to comfort her family storm.

A: i was singing the son JESUS, Jesus, Jesus there just something abou that name its crazy mom. just the way we are having ot live with no power. candles and flashlights goodnight. i love you.

Please continue to pray for Frei Ministries in the aftermath of the Storm of the Century. If you would like to make a donation, you can do it online or mail a check. Check out and click on the support tab.


The Latest info from Frei Ministries

Friday, November 8, 2013

A message from Kari, Ashley's sister

Good Morning,
I wanted to let you all know that my sister and her family are alive in the Philippines. They live on the island of Panay in a town called Malay. The storm hit them hard, but God protected them and kept them from harm. My sister shared with me early this am that all of the houses around them were down and the trees all around them were down but there house was still standing. The biggest issue, for them,  is the water that is in their house and having to go without power for a few weeks. My niece Lydia (4) fell down the stairs (because they were wet) and she busted her chin open and they think she may have broken her hip. Please pray for healing for her. Also pray that they will be strengthened as they help all of the others there get back on their feet and just survive day to day.
A HUGE THANK YOU to those of you who were praying for my family, I know without a doubt that it is because of prayer that they are alive today. It means a lot to know you care.
If any of you would like to donate money to help rebuild the Philippines and to reach out to them in this huge time of need, just come talk to me. My parents deal directly with my sisters account and I would be glad to pass along anything to help, you would be surprised how far the dollar goes over there. My brother in law went to buy more rice yesterday, since they had 20 plus orphans that would be taking cover with them and for a 150lb bag it cost 50 US dollars. There is no need to ship clothes, food, things, etc now because it will take even longer to get to them since this storm has happened. The quickest way to help is through money.
Thanks again, for your prayers and support, please keep them coming! I hope you all have a great day! Please remember to not sweat the small stuff and be thankful for everything you have! We are so blessed to live in the country that we do, to work where we work, etc.... I could go on and on.
Kari Hellums

Additional information

Posted by Ashley's Aunt Martha.

5:38am CST - 11/8/13 Communication - Survived the "Storm of the Century"

Minutes ago, Kari received confirmation that James, Ashley and kids those who where in their home made it throught the super typhoon. Moments after that, Kari was able to talk to her on the phone for a minute or so. 

There is water everywhere in their house, but their home is the only structure still standing in their area. Homes and trees have been destroyed and Ashely said, "it's terrible!" The worst is over, she also mentioned. 

It is projected that power will be off for weeks. There is wide spread destruction.

Pastor Leo and his wife are now with the Frei's.

As shown in the previous post, Lydia is in need of prayer, specifically. She busted her chin by slipping down the stairs. There is no way to get to a hospital. It has been butterflied together. Also, she hit her hip hard. There is a possibility it could be broken, but at this point there is no at of knowing.

God has put His hand over Frei Ministries and delivered them from this storm. Praise the Lord!

Now we pray differently - going without power for a fews weeks is hard. Picking up the pieces in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan will be difficult. Finding out who survived and who didn't. Helping out wherever someone needs help. They have already been able to help people in their area.

God has put them exactly where He wants them. Please continue to pray.

"We made it through the worst part..."

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Eye Makes Landfall

We last heard from Ashley about 9:30pm CST. She said that power would be out at least 2 days. At last look, the eye of the typhoon was one island west of them. The Frei's are experiencing high winds and heavy rain.

Correction from an earlier post - they are staying downstairs.

"And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:22-24

And Landon reminded me of Psalm 56:3, "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."

May we remember that we can trust in His words. He is in control. Call on Him, in Jesus name, to watch over James, Ashley, Daniel, Lydia and Samuel and the 20 kids who are staying with them through the storm - that His angels guard over their home, fortify the structure and protect each of them.

Thank you to so many who have already been praying and have been giving encouraging words. We will keep you posted as the information becomes available. Blessings.

8pm Central Standard time - 10am, Friday, Malay time

We just got an oppurtunity to Skype with Ashley, James and company. They lost Internet for about an hour, but are back for now. 

She said they expect to see high winds about 10am, which is 8pm CST.

Continue to pray for Frei Ministries.

About 12 Hours from the Eye of the Storm

Super Typhoon HAIYAN (YOLANDA), "is considered as the most powerful tropical cyclone ever to develop since Super Typhoon Tip of October 1979," states and Frei Ministries is projected to be at the center of the storm in about 12 hours. Winds have been projected at 305 km/hr which is about 208mph.

James and Ashley have been preparing for the last 5 days for this storm. Their home is ready for the storm. They have moved and planned to stay upstairs in order to be safe from any potential flooding. Please continue to pray for them and the people of the Philippines.

When I last spoke to Ashley via Viber, she said the eye of the storm was about 12 hours away. The winds have begun to pick up. About an hour ago, Ashley posted on facebook, "We are turning phones off to preserve battery. Pray like never before."

"We know that all things work together for good to those who love God . . ." — Romans 8:28

I was reminded by Oswald Chambers, "All your circumstances are in the hand of God, and therefore you don’t ever have to think they are unnatural or unique. Your part in intercessory prayer is not to agonize over how to intercede, but to use the everyday circumstances and people God puts around you by His providence to bring them before His throne, and to allow the Spirit in you the opportunity to intercede for them. In this way God is going to touch the whole world with His saints."

Look for updates here, as we get them. Blessings.

Posted by: Jeremy Hellums, Ashley's brother in law.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Update from October 20, 2013

Time is seriously flying by here. I can’t believe another week has come and gone. This week started as a typical Monday, which consists of school 7:30am-11:30am, then home for lunch and then James and I go to a weekly meeting with Kim and Rick while our kids stay here with mercy. This week our meeting was great!! We each discussed what God has been saying to us in our personal devotions and where we feel the ministry going. I love how God has us all on the same page. Rick gave James and me some awesome advice in how to deal with the people here and some ways to reach out and lead even more effectively than what’s already being done. After our meeting we came straight home, got the kids some sandwiches and apples and headed out to church. We a 5:30pm meeting with the ministry team there and then a 7:00pm meeting involving all the pastors. I love Mondays but man are they full.

Tuesday was a school holiday so this week we went to this place called Bamboo Falls. It’s a beautiful swimming area and when we were there we met a family from New York and Brazil. Daniel said, ‘Look mom, white people!!” White people are very uncommon here and I have to admit, it was nice to have a conversation in English while out and about. At the falls there are 15 ft. cliffs you can jump off of. Daniel led me up there and he and I made our first jump!! I absolutely love this kind of stuff but just a regular jump is not thrilling enough for me, so I climbed up again and then did a back flip off the cliff!! What a rush!! Everyone there watching was either videoing or screaming! The next time I went to do it I slipped on the way up but caught myself with a tree. I have a pretty bruised up leg and a busted eardrum from jumping, but I will say it was worth it. Daniel and I could have stayed there all day, but after our picnic lunch Sam and Lydia were pretty tired. So after dropping off a few people who needed rides we headed home for a peaceful Tuesday evening alone. Those evenings are rare and cherished. I, however, was in a lot of pain from my ear so my night was restless.

Wednesday, I did not stay to teach because any noise at all killed my ear. I got an antibiotic from “Dr. Kim” and began taking that immediately. So, instead of school, I ran errands with James and Samuel in Caticlan. It was a nice break from the classroom! After we picked up the kids we came home for lunch and naps. I had begun feeling a little off, but not sure what it was. By that evening I was not able to leave the potty or hear a thing. I was physically under major attack. Also this day we discovered two places of cellulitis on Daniel’s legs and James had a rash covering his back and arms. More yuck. James and the older two went to church and Sam and I stayed behind with Sister Anna here to help me out. James called and said he forgot the candy and crayons so when I took those to him Lydia came back with me! That night we had to squeeze Daniels boils and it was terrible. Wednesday was rough. Oh, I went to the dr Wednesday and found out I had e coli and/or an amoeba. That was the bad feeling and I got more meds. That also explained the complete exhaustion I had been feeling because my body wasn’t getting any nutrients.

Thursday, I stayed home, very sick and we kept the kids home too. WE needed to keep an eye on Daniels legs, mainly keep them clean and we were all just wiped out. Thursday was pretty quiet except that evening we went to the market for the food for our Friday feeding. As of Thursday I still could not keep down food or water. This is when I finally let my family know just how sick I was, and the prayers started. I love so much that one word to my sister and she’s calling out for prayers. It encourages us so much to look at emails and Facebook and see so much support. This type of ministry is very hard. I know there are harder places to serve, but I feel that anytime you are stripped of all your comforts and normal ways of living, it is just hard. I have been reading more and more about the disciples and Paul. They had no place they called home. They followed Jesus, or His leading, into the most uncomfortable places, even unto death. But, they were sold out, nothing would stop them. I pray to have this sort of courage and strength throughout my days of serving the Lord.

Friday the kids went to school and I stayed home. I thought I could get out and do some stuff but nope, I was put on strict bed rest by my hubby. I’m glad he did that because I was never going to heal unless I rested. On Friday afternoon the kids had rehearsal at school for a dance routine they are doing in the children’s parade on the 25th. Daniel is dressing up in the typical male Filipino garments and Lydia is wearing here American flag stuff! So after their rehearsal it was time for the feeding here at our house. Thank God for Sister Anna and Mercy because they cooked everything. WE had pancit. It’s like thin rice noodles with carrots, chicken, cabbage and whatever else you want to add. We had around 25 kids and 10 parents and we had tons of food left over. We used the extra food for the feeding the next morning. Because we have a fridge, we can keep the food here and then heat it for the next day. Most people here do not have a fridge so you eat what is made or give it away. I’m so thankful for the 2nd Baptist SS Class who are supporting our Friday feedings. You are touching lives and you don’t even know them. Thank you for helping us. On that note, we have been so blessed by your continued giving. You, as our friends and family, have no idea how blessed we are to have you guys in our corner. It’s amazing how a need with arise and we will check PayPal or modern day, and someone has donated just that amount. THANK YOU for being obedient when the Lord lays that on your heart. Also, I was supposed to have the girl orphans come spend this night with us but because I was still feeling bad I had to cancel. I feel super bad for that, but we will try again this Friday. The boys want to come stay every day and I want to let them, but there are some legal grounds to follow first.

Saturdays are so super busy for us. I thought I was feeling much better so I headed out to the first feeding. This is the one where we cross the river. Normally the river is pretty shallow but with the recent heavy rains it was up to my knees so this meant we had to carry kids across as well as the food and supplies. Needless to say after the feeding I was exhausted. There were only about 15 kids at the feeding but we have the feedings rain or shine and it was raining. WE met in the grandmother’s house. The families live near each other here and she is the grandmother for that area. Pretty sure most of the kids are her grandchildren or at least family in one way or another. When we got back here, soaking wet, I went up to lie down for a few minutes and the next thing I knew I woke up to a quiet house. This meant James and the kids, along with Sister Anna and tin, went to the next feeding. I got up and made the cookie dough for my cookies I was taking to a church opening and then laid back down. When James and the kids got back I headed to rick and Kim’s to bake and I took another load to a feeding here near our house. Daniel stayed with Sister Anna at the feeding and Lydia went with me to bake. Sam was at home with James napping. After I finished baking 12 dozen cookies we headed back home and made a quick market run. Sister Anna needed some things and so did we. I pretty much know my way around the market now and the prices to shoot for. They’ve seen us enough that they know we are not just tourists so they don’t try to mark prices up. Daniel was shopping with Sister Anna and they got a toy for Daniel, Lydia, and Samuel. I told her she is spoiling my kids, but according to her that is Auntie Anna’s job. I love that my kids are so loved here. We are too, but when you love my kids, that’s all I need.

Sunday, today, another busy day. WE went to pastor Leo and Sister Anna’s church today. They had the last service in their old church, preached by Pastor Rick and after that we attended the ribbon cutting ceremony at their new church. It is located up the hill from the other one and after church we all carried chairs and filed up there. It was crowded, hot, and one of the most beautiful days I’ve experienced here. To see these people faces that have worked so hard and given so much to make this happen, and finally it did. They had some beautiful music and the baraguay Captain made a speech. Rick and Kim cut the ribbon. After the ceremony we headed back here for naps and this evening we went to caticlan to get some time put on our internet card and have pizza. Our local internet is down so we have this smart card thing we use for now. Pizza has become our Sunday night tradition and I love it because the owners know us and it opens doors to share the gospel more and more.

Our days are long and exhausting, but worth every minute. The kids and I are really picking up the language pretty quickly and Sam jabbers stuff all the time so I’m sure he’s getting it too. James is learning but he is afraid to mess up or sound funny so he’s shy. We can sure see God using us here and it’s the most humbling thing I’ve ever known. I don’t feel like we are even denting the surface of all the needs but we just go where we are lead and serve. Thank you so much for your continued prayers. This week was a physically attacked week and not just for us. My family at home has had their share of issues too. But we serve a risen savior; He’s in the world today. I know that He is living whatever men may say. I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer, and just the time I need Him He’s always near. He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today. HE walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart. You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart. Take that satan, you lose!!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My first Hospital Experience Here, Not for Myself

Before I forget the events over the last few days I want to blog so here goes…

On Thursday morning I made the comment to Brandy that I was “off to my day, whatever it may hold” and boy did it hold something I have never experienced here. When we got to school to what would normally be Daniel, Lydia and I staying for class and James running errands or helping with medical runs, we discovered there were 5 children needing to go to the hospital and 3 moms were there and the other two have no mom, so I needed to go because Kim (the one who normally does all the hospital stuff) was taking 2 others to another hospital a few hours away. So we set off for the hospital and among our crew was a very sick little boy named, Troy. His mom left him and his brother here a few months ago to go work. Not like work and send money, but work because it is best for her. Anyway he is a very troubled and hurting young man and you can see it all over his face. Well for almost a week he has been sick with a stomach virus type illness and the dehydration finally caught up with him. He got admitted to the hospital right away. He doesn’t understand much English and I don’t understand much of what he says which is little to nothing, but I can read hurt and this boy was in pain. As the nurses proceeded to get an IV started I literally cried along with him as I had to help hold him down. After the nurses were done, I held him the best I could to comfort him. About 30 min later they had to do some skin tests and he began freaking out again. The girl in there with him at the time (only 13) came to get me so I could, once again, hold him still. And again, I just cried. I kept thinking he needs his mom, how could she just leave her sons. Lots of unanswered type questions, but ultimately I knew where I was needed most and that was by his side. The rest of the crew we took with us had minor things that were easily treated and we sent home. When James got back he took them home and I stayed behind with troy and the 13 year old leslibeth. At one point she looked so young and so lost so I held her and apologized for her having to grow up so fast here. She lives above our church. She has family but no mom and dad and her family can’t take care of her and her sisters, so she, along with about 14 other girls live above our church. So around 1pm James came back to get me and I was sick leaving leslibeth there alone but I understand this is the way they do things here. On our ride home I didn’t say much of anything and when we got home I went straight upstairs and sobbed in my pillow. I cried for so many reasons, for troy, for the way the hospitals are here (just not clean and you share a room with so many people and no privacy at all) for kids being orphaned, for my selfish ways, for my kids, for my family…I really could go on. But James came in and prayed with me and talked me through some of the pains. I’m so thankful for the rock I have in him. I stayed in bed and napped with Sam Sam and that afternoon we hiked to a feeding where most of my students live. This is where Troy’s people are so I was glad to be able to report to them. The hike was only about 25 min, but I was worn out because I carried Sam on my back and I’m sorely out of shape. However, the view and feeding those precious kids is worth every step. After the feeding this boy, Jessie (who will probably be our son one day) lead Daniel, Lydia, and I down the mountain a different way so we could go get Jerome (Troy’s brother) and tell him about troy and see if he and Jessie could stay the night at our place. Well when we finally got to Mam Norrie’s, where the boys stay, it was dark. Jessie led us there but this walk was down the mountain, down another road, then through a rice field…adventure awaits!!! I will say putting my trust in an 8 year old was hard but he knew every step of the way. Well there are 6 boys that stay at mam Norrie’s and I wasn’t about to not have them all come stay if they wanted and sure enough, they did. So we piled in our van and headed here. It was so awesome to feed them and give them new toothbrushes and have an indoor bed for them to sleep on. WE just turned the mattress sideways and 3 boys slept on it while 2 others slept in the twin bed. The next morning, which is today, they were all up by five and watching cartoons with Daniel. When James and I got up at six thirty James headed down to make breakfast while I got ours ready for school. 21 eggs and a loaf of bread later, we were all ready for school. After a normal day at school all the boys, plus one more, headed back here with us. Mercy had fried chicken and rice waiting for us and the boys ate well.  Jessie wanted some ketchup…definitely my kiddo!! After lunch I laid down with Sam while James took all the boys plus Lydia and her friend swimming at this place they call the falls. It’s a river but it has small cliffs which the kids loved playing on. After that they all returned and had warm showers, with soap, and new clothes (James bought them each one outfit-$5 each) they were so grateful for the clothes and throughout the day Jessie kept smelling his shirt. He loved the clean smell, I guess. So this evening we had our feeding here and 37 kids were here. It is one of the biggest feedings there is and that is Awesome!! After the feeding James took sister Anna and pastor Leo to Caticlan to the market so they could shop for food and I fed the 14 kids who were either staying or just hanging out at my house. We had basically chicken and rice. There is a fancy Filipino name, but I don’t know it. So after dinner they continued to hang out and play kindles and after mam Kim, robin, Sister Anna, Pastor Leo, obed and Jessie left we settled in for a bible story, prayers, teeth brushing and bedtime. I hugged them all and told them I loved them and closed the door. As I write this I can still hear some of them going to the CR (we call it bathroom, they call it comfort room-cr). I’m so happy they are here and we can feed them and clean them. Tomorrow they will stay all day and tomorrow night, they go home after church on Sunday morning. This is the part I love; this is what I was created to do. To mother, nurture, encourage and pour myself into children. I’m so thankful for this chapter of my life and I’m trying desperately to be ‘all here’ and soak it up. Missing my family and friends makes it hard, but I know God knows what He’s doing the wherever He leads, I’ll follow.
Oh, and troy gets out of the hospital tomorrow and will come here to stay the night!!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

WEEK #3 in the Philippines!

I definitely do not need to wait this long between blogs. So many things I’m sure I’ll forget but I’m surrendering this process to the Lord and HE will make of it what He sees necessary.

So beginning our first week of school here was very interesting. Daniel and Lydia are in the same class and I am in there with them as a teachers’ aid. However, by this week I’ve been doing a lot of teaching on my own which says a lot about the kids and myself. Their English is getting better and my Malaynon is getting better too. In the classroom there are 31 students. They range from 4 yrs to 15 yrs old. The reason for this is that some of these kids are right at Kindergarten level and some are above, but most of them are right at it. The reason for the older kids is that they have never been educated yet. The ati people have been pushed out of the society here so if they can’t pass a certain test to enter public school then they cannot go. This school gives them the opportunity to learn enough and even more to pass the test so that they may start public school. Now, you can’t tell they are up to 15 because Daniel is almost the biggest kid in the class. They are so mal nourished that they have not grown like they should, or they are just small Filipinos.

While we are at school, James and Sam are usually running errands for people or taking people to and from the clinic or hospital. This week James and the people have been working hard to get the mayor’s permit finished for our school! Everyone here has fallen in love with Sam Sam and he brightens days wherever he goes!!!

We attended some new feedings last week and they are in beautiful locations. Here everything is very green and there are lots of rivers. It’s such a sight to behold. The people here live almost completely off the land. For instance, on our way down from a very long hike to a feeding this lady tore off a leaf and stuck it to her forehead. I asked why and she said it’s good for headache and tummy ache. I should have grabbed a handful but I didn’t.  I also learned to make coconut oil this week. And we had fresh coconut milk because of that process. Here they cook with the coconut milk a lot and us the oil for pretty much everything. When my friend was showing me what to do, after she finished squeezing the milk from the coconut pieces, she ran her hands through her hair. She said the milk is very good to nourish, like conditioner.

We made another trip to borocay but this time the boat was a very nice inclosed ferry. At borocay we got lots of American style foods but we are mostly taking on the Filipino ways of eating. My kids love the bananas and mangos here.  We eat rice with every meal and lots of vegetables. Our meats are mostly pork and chicken. My friend, sister anna, is teaching me lots of ways to make foods here and I haven’t found anything I don’t like. Daniel eats more than I do these day s and Lydia has lots of rice with sugar sprinkled on it. Sam loves it all, but mainly the rice, just by itself.

The kids have made lots of friends and so have I. I am happy to say I know about as much Malaynon (the language here) as a two year old. I’m working very hard to learn. I have a notepad I keep with me to write down phrases and words I’m learning. I’ve learned enough that I can actually teach all alone!! My issues come when the kids are telling on each other, then I need some help. James is learning a lot from me and the kids are just picking up things as we go.

It’s a cooler time of year here right now. It’s about 70 at night and 80 during the day. It’s still very very very humid but we seem to all be getting used to it. We sleep with the ac on in our bedroom at night but no ac during the day. We have windows open and fans running. We moved the kids’ bed into our room so all five of us are in there, Filipino style. I like that better anyway.

We had a 4 yr anniversary celebration for the radio ministry here, last Sunday. There we over 300 people who attended and it was an awesome time to give praise to the work God is doing here. Our church in Cugon had and choir that sang (young people) and Rick Holden brought the message.2 young men gave their lives to Christ!! It was very cool!! I got to sing with my friend, sister anna’s group. I have just jumped right in here and I love it.

There are a few kids here I’m pretty sure will end up being our children forever but all of them have made their way into our hearts. There is nothing like holding a child, knowing they have no mother to hold them and that God has appointed you for that moment in their life. Or, filling their bowl with food and seeing their face light up. Who needs a thank you after that!?! 

At the feedings the food are one pot sort of meals. Mainly rice, with veggies and chicken. There is enough to feed the kids and their families and these feedings cost anywhere from $10 to $25 depending on the needs at each location. This feeds around 40-80 people. We also have coloring sheets for the kids and a multivitamin for them (the chewy kind). All of this meets such a small need for them, but at the same time it’s huge!! I’ve never been more fulfilled in my entire life, just by seeing their grateful faces. I’ve never seen a kid here say “no, I don’t like that” as a matter of fact they usually come back for seconds and thirds!!

I want to close this blog by saying Thank You/Salamat!! Without you and your prayers and financial support, we would not be here. I hope you know just how important you are to the work God is doing over here. I wish you all had the chance to join us, even for a little while, just to see the awesomeness He is doing here. I feel as though our family has so many areas in which God is using us here and none of that would be possible without your obedience to HIM. WE praise Him and give Him all the honor and Glory for everything and every day.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Blog # 2 - Update from September 25, 2013

So I will start by saying today is a hard day. So many realities are setting in and its hard to adjust to life here. I want to go back a few days and catch you up to now.
We went to Borocay, with my family, to have a few days away together before they left. When we started out that morning it was raining and yucky weather, but we didn’t think much of it. When we got to the first boat dock and when I say boat, don’t think boat, thing big canoe with riggers! When we got to the first “pumpboat” location it was closed due to the rough water. Maybe we should have taken that as a sign not to try and go, but we didn’t. We found a port that was running boats and we started out. I had no idea we were going on this type of boat. James made it sound like a ferry, so when I saw what was in store I was not happy at all. Added to that we had 5 foot swells because of the rough weather. Later we found out this was Typhoon Odette. Yes!!! We were on the water in an oversized canoe in a typhoon!!

So we made it safely to borocay and on the way there we met a man named, Willie, who helps tourists (I think we stuck out like sore thumbs). He walked us to a nice hotel on the water and helped us get settled. I learned he actually knows the same people we know and is a Christian. Here they say catholic Christian or Baptist Christian. I’m not one for titles, but Baptist Christian is how they would describe me.

We quickly learned that Odette would make our stay interesting, to say the least. However, we came to go to the beach so we did. I kept thinking how much my cousin, Joseph, would have loved it because there were 8-10 ft swells and at one point I decided to swim into one, Bad Idea. I finally came up for air and headed to the shore. Yes!! It is a beautiful beach but I would prefer it not to swallow me whole.

That evening we ate dinner at the red coconut café. Mainly because we had 10% off. We had a great time with our family there including an atv ride to the tallest point and seeing some breathtaking sights. My mom, dad, and shelbi went scuba diving. They loved it, but that sort of thing is not for me.

After two days with our family there we headed back on the pumpboats to caticlan. Caticlan is the nearest town to us (10min away). There we piled into our very small van and headed home to Dumlog (pronounced Dume –a-log). Once we got here we began getting more things in order for the house. James made homemade calamari (posit) and American style spaghetti. Here they make a sweet sauce that I don’t like but I do like it our style. Pastor Leo, Sister anna and their oldest son obed came over and after dinner obed played guitar and we all sat around and sang praise songs. The fact that we have to keep our screeenless windows open is a good thing when Gods word is heard through song all through this neighborhood. We will be getting screens soon but here the landlords don’t pay for anything so as God provides we are making repairs.

The next day, which was Monday, we had to take mom and dad to Kalibo where they would fly to Manila. This was a very heavy day but we all did our very best to make the best of it. Have I mentioned it rains everyday… it just started again as I’m typing this. Thankfully it is about 75 degrees so its not too hot today. So, on Monday we went to visit the children at the Mustard Seed school (where the ati orphans and more ati go) so that my family could say bye. Shelbi made so many friends with the children here. Every afternoon our house is packed with kids and yesterday they all asked about shelbi. After we visited the school we headed out to Kalibo on a greyhound style bus. The drive should take about an hour, but it takes about two because of the roads and other traffic or animals that decide to be in the road. (dogs, cows, goats, oxen, carimou-oxen/cow) I got a little car sick but I was thankful sam and Lydia napped on the bus. Once we got there we got on two trikes (motorcylces with side carts that hold up to 6 people) and headed to the aiport to drop off their luggage. From there we went to an appliance store to by a single point/tankless water heater. This will go in one of our showers so we can have hot water to shower!!! I’m super ready for that. We also got a lid for one of our toilets. It’s not common here to have tops/lids for the toilet. Then we went to this mall style store to pick up some things we can’t get locally. Silverware, plastic bins and some plastic shelves as well as a few water bottles for the kids. After that we headed to McDonald’s for a farewell dinner. Yes!! It tastes the same, the kids loved it. Saying bye to my family was so super hard. I bawled and was sort of strong until they were out of sight, then I lost it. Having them here was so good for the beginning but man I miss them terribly. On the busride home we all cried and sat pretty quietly.

Once we were home we went straight to bed. It gets dark here around 6pm so typical bedtime is by 8pm and we are up by 6am because the sun rises at 5:30am and the roosters start crowing. Have I mentioned the bugs that fill this house. UGH!! Just sitting here typing I’m killing aunts that are constantly appearing.

So Tuesday morning we headed to Caticlan for a few more things for the house and on our way home we stopped by Rick and Kim’s house (the missionaries we’ve joined here) to ask their housemaid to pick up sam’s teddy bear from the hotel in borocay because she lives there. Upon leaving there I noticed they have coconut trees in their front yard. I’m going to get Robin (their 8 yr old daughter) to help me get one and show me how to eat it very soon.

So we spent yesterday getting things organized here and I made some curtains for our house. Pastor Leo, Sister Anna, Obed, and Jesse (their sons) came over last night and obed played guitar and we all sang with the windows wide open. At the end a brown out (black out at home)started. We held a very neat evening prayer in complete darkness. The presence of the Lord is felt so strongly, especially when all distractions are removed, including the lights. After they left we all piled into my bedroom where we have an extra mattress on the floor and opened all the windows and tried to sleep. It made me very thankful that we have air con ( that’s what they say here) in our rooms for sleeping. Around 10pm (after five hours of it being off) the electricity came back on. At that point I shut windows and we were able to sleep comfortably until the roosters woke us around 5:30am.

This morning was a harder morning than any others yet. Im missing home and my family pretty bad. James and I have been reading 1 Peter at night and it sure helps to keep the truth flowing because the enemy is working overtime to keep me down. Lydia had a breakdown last night that broke my heart. I think the outage had her scared but she made it very clear she wanted to go home. I cried with her and James and I prayed over her. So far today I have studied for my bible study I will lead with the girls tonight. Im excited to finally start doing something involved with the ministry. However, I know my own front yard has a lot of ministry right there, and everywhere I go. I just mean I’m ready to get to know the ati girls and love on the orphans. Currently Sam is napping and Lydia, Daniel, Tin Tin (Christine-mercy’s daughter) and Darrell are about to watch some veggie tales. It’s 2:00 in the afternoon and james is at a meeting with the pastors. Mercy is cooking up some lumpia for dinner (like egg rolls) and I’m about to help her make our food list for the rest of the week. She and her daughter are going to town with us after james gets back so we can buy her some new glasses! She is so excited to have new reading glasses. It costs her 150 pesos which is about $3. We are blessed to be able to bless her.

Please continue to pray for us. Adjusting to life here is hard. Everything is different and sometimes very uncomfortable. However, We Know and can See all the areas God has called us to and we know there are more we cannot see. I hope to write more often than this but until next time, may God bless you and may you see things through His eyes and take time to see Him at work.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Beginning in the Philippines Sept. 18, 2013

So we boarded the plane in Houston and had the entire middle row (5 seats) and 2 by the window all on the same row! the seats had lots of space in front so the kids napped on the floor and laid out on the seats. it was an 8 hr flight to Honolulu and we changed planes there then headed out to guam. the kids slept for around 3 hrs on the first flight and for about 4 hours on the next one. the flight from Hawaii to guam was 8 hrs. in guam we changed to another plane and flew for 4 hours to manila. by the time we landed we were so exhausted. we met up with james and he had a van and a hired driver waiting for us. we had ourselves plus 11 suitcases and 15 carry ons in a very small 8 person van (it was a sight) we went to a cargo place to send our big bags via cargo style and we went on to the hotel while james finished that.

I was kinda nervous to be there without him but the driver was great and we got there quickly. while I got our kids bathed my mom, dad, and shel walked to get pizza hut ;) it was a sweet tasting sauce and very very thin crust, I loved it.  after we ate we went straight to bed because it was 12am and we had to leave out by 5am.

the next morning our same driver was there at 5 and we headed back to the airport. going through customs was so easy. I think they were scared of james ;) before we boarded in manila I saw a big sign that said MASSAGE and almost ran for the door. I only had 30min, but a 30min massage was $10. I could've used 6 hours of a massage but 30 min was better than nothing. so we boarded the plane which was 6 seats on each isle. we were sort of split up but people were so kind to move so we could sit together.

once we got to kalibo I really felt like I was finally in a foreign country. and it was HOT and HUMID. we had to walk on the tarmat. there we had another driver in a smaller van but we still fit all of us and all of our luggage and headed out on the 2 hr drive to malay.

when we arrived at the house, I'm pretty sure I was in shock. I looked at james a few times and asked to go home. he assured me I would get used to it. I'm still trusting God to help me with all this. I was shocked because this in nothing like I excpected. we live in a sort of gated community thing, like a burrow called dumlog. there are houses all around us. mostly bamboo with leaf roofs but some homes like ours (cement walls and tin roof) there are people everywhere and lots of kids. woman with the children and men stick to themselves. they dry the rice on the side of the road then have it processed. they dry coconut shells for coconut oil on the road too.

so once we got here we had chicken Joy (fried chicken) and rice along with this vegetable mix that's spicy but awesome! we have a five gallon water cooler that we have drinking water in and james had sweet tea made!! after lunch we made beds to rest but I was not able to rest, just ready to go!!james and Lydia took a trike (motorcycle with a side car that can hold 6 people) to kim's house to borrow the truck. when they got back dad, james, and I went into Caticlan (10min away) to exchange our money so we could buy our car. well the pawn place didn't have enough so we had to go back today. before heading back we got some cookies(chocolate), biscuits (sweet), and cheese rolls which taste like a cinnamon croissant.once we got back the local kids were through with their school day and Daniel was out playing football and basketball with them.  kim and robyn came over that evening to say hi but we all actually went to their house to go walk on the beach. there I had a few seconds of wifi. that night we ate leftovers and passed out on our 6 inch memory foam (stiff) mattresses.

the next morning, which is today, we got up and I made scrambled eggs with we ate with our cheese rolls. after that we went to the mustard seed school where all the kids say HI UNCLE JAMES!! they light up when they see him. they were pretty shy but I hope to get to know them quickly. after that we saw the church and upstairs where some girls(about 15-20) ages 4-15 sleep. they have either cardboard or a thin rug to sleep on. it made my heart just melt. I wish I could bring them all here. we met some of the moms who cook for the kids in what they call a kitchen. its an outdoor fire and a table. they were so friendly and everyone calls Lydia a doll. they say she looks like Barbie dolls (which I think is awesome because they say she looks like me). after that we went to caticlan to exchange our money. $5,000 is 215,000 pesos. we were rich for 10 minutes, then we bought our van! it seats 5 people but the back is open but closed in and tonight after church we fit 10 kids in the back. im pretty sure we can fit 25 people in our five seater van!!! Daniel is the size of the 11 yr olds and Lydia is the size of the 8 year olds and sam is the size of the 4 year olds. they call them dan dan, lydi, and sam sam. I'm auntie Ashley, which I love! after we bought our van we also bought our sectional and a water cooler which we had deliverd. when we got home mercy (our amazing God sent!!) had pork steak with onions and fried rice. OH MY it was so good!!! not sure im going to lose any weight but who cares! after lunch we napped a little and mom and I unpacked a little. we all share one wardrobe it has 5 shelves (we each get one shelf) and a place to hang a few things. I am going to give so much of what we brought away. we don't need near what we brought and they need way more than I can give. sister anna came over to visit and we sat on the front porch where she played my guitar and we sang praise music. this is about the time the kids get out of school so they began to trickle over. before I knew it there were like 10 kids in here with Lydia, coloring and playing barbies as well as about 20 kids playing ball with Daniel. well you know where I headed!! baseball was sure to break the ice and it did. before we had to get cleaned up for church I bought 3 kilos of rombaton (a sweet fruit) for 60 pesos and gave all the kids some for a snack. (40 pesos = $1) oh did I mention it rains off and on all day??? it does!!!

then we went to church at 6pm. there is where we finally met the ati. oh my goodness. they are the most beautiful, skinny, dark haired kids you've ever seen and they were singing praise songs and giving God praise for everything He has given them, which is nothing material at all. the boys got to go with uncle james for their message and i'll start with the girls next week. after the message we had a circle prayer time. I can only understand a little of what they say. sometimes they translate themselves but not much. after the service was over mom and shel helped hand out these corn muffin things. I could only think that that was all they had for dinner and we had a huge pot of food on the stove. I want to give all I have away. I see things so differently already, and they are so grateful. once we left there and drove some kids home we headed back here for dinner, supas (like chicken noodle soup) but made with pork. then we bathed, sam and Lydia took a warm bath in a basin. james boiled some water to make it warm because there Is no hot water. then we put them down and james and I visited about some stuff and now im headed to bed.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Note from James August 31, 2013

God has been so good to us in beginning the mission work in The Philippines. I arrived in Malay on August 21st after traveling three days from Texas. The trip was great despite arriving in Manila in the middle of a typhoon. God protected me through the entire trip. After one full week I feel that God has allowed me to adjust to the change in time and I am fully engulfed in His work here.
Each day we start at the mission school with the children having prayer and devotion time with them (this has been such a blessed time for me). Many of the children regularly come to me and want nothing more than a simple hug and someone to tell them good morning. They are such precious children. Many of them are undersized due to early childhood malnutrition and sickness that went untreated. To battle this Kim Holden has begun a medical mission which I have participated heavily in in the last week or so. Most of the medical issues are related to things that we take for granted on a daily basis. There are a large number of cases of severe infections due to poor personal hygiene and little to no basic first aid training. One thing that is done daily is the treatment of minor cuts and scrapes by cleaning, application of an antibiotic ointment, and bandaging. This simple thing can and does prevent more serious infections which then require oral antibiotics and sometimes hospitalization. Other things that are encountered regularly are worms and fever. The children are given medication to treat these as needed.
The next thing that we do each day is to check with the locals to see if anyone needs to go to the hospital in town for a checkup. The hospital is about a 20 minute truck ride from the school and is too far of a trip to take on foot if you are ill and too costly to take a motor trike for many of the locals. At the hospital there is a clinic which works on a first come first serve basis. This means that if they are busy it may take hours to be seen. In addition to the checkups the medical mission also is on call for emergencies. On Thursday night we got word from a local pastor that one of their church members had been severely burned in a house fire. We went that night to check on her and found that she had been to one of the local “hospitals” but was not properly treated. We took her to the main hospital where they admitted her and began treatment for her severe burns. Had she not go to the hospital infection would have set in and she may have lost her life. God was with her that night when He sent the pastor to talk to us about her burns. She is now being treated and will have a normal recovery.
There is also a feeding ministry that operates at 13 locations (mostly on Saturday) each week. At each of the feeding sites the children come and have a devotion time where the good message of God’s grace is poured into them. These kids have as much of a spiritual hunger as a physical one. After the devotion time they are fed a meal that is high in protein to help with their nutritional needs. While the children are being fed the adult that are there have a devotion time. This is a time to show the adults the path to salvation and to show them the power of God’s word.
We hope to begin working very soon on the children’s home and look forward to what God has planned for our mission here. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What to expect.

James and Ashley Frei will be posting about there ministry in the Philippines.  Check back for weekly updates.  Blessings.

Visit their website at