Sun, October 14, 2007
Just have to say since this will be my first letter since I have arrived in the Philippines, “What an adventure.” I left on Monday was on a plane all day long and arrived in Manilla on Tuesday night and flew to Puerto on Wednesday then drove to Brookes Point on Thursday and Hiked up into the mountains on Friday morning. I now live in a tropical jungle in the mountains. The hike up here puts the Hike to Half-Dome to shame. It took us only two hours to hike into the mountains but the trail is very rugged.You can reach out and touch the trail in many places because it is so steep. The trail is very slippery and this is what makes so difficult. If you are not slipping on the mud you will be walking on very slippery rocks as you walk trough a stream that flows down the mountain. I actually hiked the trail last night and the trail is much more difficult to do at nighttime. I fell over a lot because of exhaustion due to the steep trail and have a minor case of malaria which doesn't help.
I actually gave the sermon at church yesterday and had a translator. First time I have ever given an actual sermon. The first sabbath I was here I told a story at a school in Kensuli and had a translator there to. The missionary team is based in Kementian and we have church in the morning and hike to other villages in the afternoon to give Bible stories to others. My language learning is coming along quite well but I still have a lot to learn. It is kind of tough not being able to communicate with others, but I will be patient as I learn the language and know that in time I will be able to communicate more clearly with the locals here.
The scenery here is beautiful and the stars are so bright when they are out. When it rains it pours here. It is kind of cool to look at the stars at night because it can be a clear night sky and you will see flashes in the sky from lightning without seeing clouds because we are below the mountain tops and there are thunderstorms on the other side. There are a lot of cool creatures here as well. The butterflies are beautiful. Pastor has a pet monkey named Replic and I have played with him a bit and he is quite an interesting character. I came back from the restroom once to find a goat on right beside my door and that was kind of interesting. There area lot of small dogs and goats up here. Not too many karbew but there are karbew in other places. I saw a cobra slither in front of me my first day here. I got a picture of a frog that is camouflaged like a leaf and that was really “ayad ne” the local term for “cool.” I actually saw a snake that was beautiful for the first time in my life, I was walking on the runway and saw this very skinny snake that looked almost transparent with streaks of yellow, red, and green. It was so long and skinny yet so graceful. Which brings me to the next subject, there is a helicopter up here now that is helping with medical work and other things.
I actually got to see its first landing because I was working in Pastor's house which is not too far from the runway. It has been very helpful to have and makes things much quicker and helps with the medical ministry that is going on up here. It is kind of interesting because the clinic is right outside my door and so I usually have people sitting right on my doorstep. One Sunday there was about 20 people on my front porch the whole morning and then I went to work at Pastor's and returned later in the afternoon and there were still 20 people on my front porch and I am not going to lie I was getting a little annoyed at this, I am starting to get used to it. My roommates are building the new clinic and they are really motivated to get it done quickly so that we do not have people on our doorstep all day long.
I have been working on inputting material for school, typing in handwritten translations of Palawano and this has helped my learning a lot. I will be helping with typing in handwritten notes of the Bible in Palawano into the computer in December and January and that will take up a lot of my time as we try to get a Bible for the Palawao people. I live in a thatched hut and sleep in a mosquito net. We eat a lot of the local rice and vegetables but have some food that we brought from the lowlands.
The people here are incredibly strong especially for their size. The men usually average about 110 to 120 pounds but they carry 25-40 kilos up the mountain like it is nothing. There were some girls that carried some stuff in from the lowlands, they were all under 15 or so and they carried 10-25kilos and they did it at night, talk about having a lot of heart, I was utterly amazed and it takes a lot to amaze me. The people here are pretty friendly but the church, like all churches, does have struggles.I have to tell you about the Tamlang which is River in Palawan. It got so flooded we had to use a rope to get across it. Nathan, my roommate, and I went down there for fun to play in the water. It took all of our strength to hold on to the rope to cross over and get back. If we let go we would have been crushed by the rocks downstream because the current was so strong. It was dangerous but it was quite fun at the same time. We have to cross this river to get to Kensuli to give Bible stories there. If you are to outdoors and adventure this is the place to be, it is kind of like National Geographic.
The shower is outside and is not very private and the water is cold, still have not gotten used to that. The top of our roof came off because we caught the tail end of a typhoon and we had to put a tarp on it at night to keep from getting dripped on.
Well, that is it for now and I know I probably forgot something but will try to remember next time. Please pray for the church here that local leaders would rise up and please pray for my language learning so that I can communicate the gospel to them. It is difficult to do language learning but it is the love of Christ that compels me to walk out my door to hike and try to communicate with others without a translator but it is quite fun at the same time. My prayer life has been strengthened since I have been here and I am now vegetarian. I love all of you and pray that your spiritual life is continually growing.
I would just like to let all of you know that one of my fellow student missionaries received a letter from the states in just 10 days with a 39cent stamp. Hint? Hint? Go ahead and mail me a handwritten letter with some encouraging words or tell me how things are going and what has been happening in your life. You could even do some art on a piece of paper and send it to me, I would especially like that.
Sorry no pictures cause it would not load, maybe next time.