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Archive for August, 2011

Wow! It’s been over two weeks since I’ve posted. Normally, I post once a week. The past two weeks were like a blur, so I had very few opportunities to post. Soon after arriving back in the US on Aug. 9, I had to drive to the title company to complete the paperwork for my mortgage. The rest of the week was filled with BI meetings and getting my house ready for moving in during the weekend.

In spite of the rain 15 minutes after beginning the unloading process on Saturday and the loss of power 15 minutes later, we were able to unload the truck in 3 hours. Then began the long process of settling into my new home, and that still continues to today. But what a wonderful feeling it was to sleep in my house for the first time! I actually experienced that first on Friday night, since the sellers were so gracious in leaving their king-sized bed (which I bought from them) ready to sleep on. I slept on my new mattress in my new master bedroom for the first time that Saturday night. How my heart was filled with gratefulness to the Lord that night as I was finally in MY OWN NEW HOME!

I was able to do a little more unpacking in the days following, but I also had to wrap up things from my 5-week overseas trip (i.e., writing expense reports). And I had to prepare for the 3 days of the BI annual meeting at “The Shack”, a bed/breakfast located 1.5 hours north of BI. That was on Tues-Thurs of that week after I moved in.

I couldn’t return to packing that Friday, because the Consultant Seminar began that day. Being the head consultant, I lead these seminars each year, and the first two days are usually given to departmental issues. That meant I led most of the sessions that first Friday. Though I had more preparation to do for the next week of the seminar, I also had to keep preparing my house for moving in, since I would be housing two of the seminar guests in my house. They arrived on Monday and the second one left just this morning. It was a blessing to host guests in my new house for the first time! It also gave me incentive to get my house in order.

I hope to do a little more unpacking on Monday, but I also have to begin getting ready for a deputation trip to Minnesota and Illinois. I’m thankful that my mom will be coming up in early October to help me finish the process of getting settled into my place. Now you can see why I haven’t posted in a while!

The Consultant Seminar was truly a productive and profitable week. In addition to dealing with many necessary departmental and projects-related issues, we also grew much as consultants. Dr. Bill Smallman, a retired administrator with BMM, taught us how to more effectively teach cross-culturally. Glenn Kerr, the Chief Translation Consultant, taught us about Hebrew discourse analysis. Birch Champion, the BI IT Coordinator, gave us more training on Bibledit, BI’s translation editor. And we also made good progress on various BI projects. This year was the first year that the literacy/linguistics consultants split away from the translation consultants so that each could focus on their line of work. We accomplished so much more by doing this!

Pray for me as I get back into deputation mode. Pray also for my support to go up. I’ve been at various churches that are quite interested, but I haven’t heard back from them yet.

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Adventures in the Philippines

Before I explain my adventures in the Philippines, let me just say how thankful I am to be back in the USA! After being overseas and living out of my suitcase for 5 weeks, I’m so glad to be back. And I’m thankful that I can now move into my new home, the first home I’ve ever owned. I praise the Lord that the loan paperwork was finalized on Thursday at 1:30pm (US time). That’s when I officially became the owner of the home in Jenison. I look forward to moving into it this week.

I also praise the Lord for the support increase I found out about today. Tabernacle Baptist Church of Virginia Beach, VA, voted on Sunday to begin partnership with me. That brings my support level to 83%!

Now to my adventures… The first adventure was my trip to the US Embassy to get mortgage paperwork notarized last week on Tuesday. At first it seemed I was going to have problems getting the paperwork printed on legal size paper (US standard) since the Philippines has a slightly different standard size. But thankfully Gospel Light Baptist Church, where the translator training took place, had the right size in their office.

The fun began on Tuesday. The plan was to take a taxi to the embassy, hoping that the trip would take no more than an hour and a half. I had an appointment at 9:30am, so leaving at 8am would have been sufficient time, even with heavy traffic. But we didn’t plan on the monsoon-type rains. The rains were so hard that morning that public schools cancelled classes–the flooding causes major traffic issues. It delayed my co-worker’s and my departure from our place of lodging that morning by 15 minutes. These issues meant that we needed to change our mode of travel. My Filipino friend decided we needed to take a jeepney, two trains, and a taxi in order to arrive on time. Well, after rushing through those modes of transportation we did arrive right on time.

The difficulties began when I presented my paperwork to the notary. She flipped through all 51 pages and found no where to sign. I assumed she was going to find something, so I didn’t know what to say. She said I could come back later. I told her the earliest I could come back would be Thursday, but if I waited until then, I might as well just wait til I got back to the US the following Mon (8/8). So she told me to select the papers needing notarization, but she warned me that it would cost $50. So I chose 12 pages. I handed them to her, and she notified me that it would be $600 to get them notarized! My heart dropped. I couldn’t believe it! She said that it was $50 per page. What was I to do??? I decided that I had already come so far that I needed to go ahead and “bite the bullet.” But the sickening feeling was that I wasn’t even sure if I was getting the right papers notarized, since the directions I was given weren’t extremely explicit.

When I left the embassy, I was confronted with the heavy rains again. The umbrella did little good. We finally found a taxi (taxis become rare during heavy rains). The taxi couldn’t go very quickly because of the heavy traffic (no wonder they go in hiding during the heavy rains). I saw that the meter continued to run even though we were hardly moving, so I told my traveling companion that we should just walked. So we sloshed through the flooded streets along with many Filipinos, wending our way between the vehicles. We stopped at a KFC for lunch, needing to walk through almost knee-deep water to get there.

As we were heading to DHL, I realized I probably needed to print off two copies of the documents (still not knowing exactly what needed to be done since the directions were not extremely clear). So we returned to the church to get that done. Then we were ready to head to DHL. I had asked the church office personnel to ask about overnight service with DHL. Well, I found out that they forgot to do that, because we were shocked to hear once we got there that they don’t do that. So, we had to go to Fed Ex. That was quite an ordeal. The DHL was at the University of the Philippines, and we were trying to find a taxi right when many, many other students (probably around 50) were also looking for a taxi. But thankfully, the Lord provided one without us having to wait too long (I kept thinking about the fact that if we send the docs too late in the day, they won’t arrive overnight).

When we got to Fed Ex, we found out that they also don’t overnight to the US. No shipping company in the Philippines does that any more! Here I spent $600 and now my docs won’t even arrive very quickly. The closing would need to be delayed yet another day! So, I went back to the church with this thought: I spent a large amount of money on notary services, transportation, and shipping, and I don’t even know if they will arrive in time or if they will even be correctly completed, even if they do arrive on time. I was overwhelmed, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I had to take a nap that evening and read some Scriptures in order to recover.

Late on Thursday night I received word that my docs were received on Thurs AM, US time. Praise the Lord! But the lady asked me if I could print off more docs, sign them, scan them, and send them back. How would I do that at 11pm in a city where I am completely unfamiliar with the resources? Thankfully, she changed her mind and just asked me to come into her office once I arrived back in the US. She assured me that I had done all I needed to do from my end in order for the closing to happen.

On Friday morning I woke up and found out that the closing did indeed happen on Thursday at 1:30 pm (US time). At that time I officially became the owner of my first home. Praise the Lord! You can’t imagine how relieving it was to know that! After around two months of work, the process was finally brought to a very satisfying conclusion. I also found out that day that the title company was going to reimburse me for the notary services. Amazing! God is good! Moving day is on Friday! I can’t wait to get settled into my new home!

The other adventure happened on Monday. My flight was supposed to leave at 6:35am, so we had to wake up at 3:00 am to be at the airport on time. When we arrived, we were welcome by a huge line that was going no where. We eventually found out that the plane would be delayed until the afternoon because of a mechanical problem. I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be arriving in Grand Rapids until Tuesday.

Delta actually treated us quite well in order to make up for the inconvenience. They shuttled us to a five-star hotel (Manila Hotel), where we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast buffet, very comfortable rooms, and an excellent lunch buffet. They also gave us a $100 voucher for our next flight. In addition, they paid for a hotel that night in Detroit and gave us $6 vouchers for breakfast, lunch, and supper.

The plane finally left at 4:35pm on Monday from Manila. We passed through Nagoya, Japan, and finally arrived in Detroit at 10:00pm. When I finally got to bed last night, it was midnight. That means my day that began at 3:00 am in Manila was 33 hours long! What a day! Thankfully, I arrived without incident in Grand Rapids at 10:00 this morning. It was so nice to have a “normal” flight for a change.

Now I think it’s time to go to bed. I just hope my body cooperates, even though I’m still experiencing jet lag. We’ll see how it goes!

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As you can tell by my delinquency in posting, I’ve had a busy time here in the Philippines. Once the training started last week on Tuesday, it got really busy. But before I share any more about the Philippines, I want to share some thoughts about Singapore.

My first time to Singapore was in 2008 when I had a day-long layover on the way to PNG. I had a good, but short, tour of a few different places. On both occasions, I was struck by the cleanliness of the city. I was also impressed by the large amount of vegetation along the busy city streets. Someone said that one issue behind planting trees was to appease the spirits below. Not sure how accurate that is!

This time I gained a much better grasp of where everything is. The city has an excellent public transportation system of buses and trains. You can get basically anywhere fairly quickly. I passed through many, many malls. Malls coming out the Singaporean ears! I also went through numerous parking garages. Parking is surely a difficulty there! In order to keep the number of cars from getting too high, the gov’t has the potential owner purchase a Certificate of Entitlement for $68,000 SGD! Then, you have to shell out the cash for the car. That keeps most from getting cars. But those who do sure do have a good bit of money, and many have lots. I don’t think I’ve seen so many nice luxury and sports cars in a short period of time in my life! Mercedes, BMWs, Jaguars, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porches, etc. Incredible! And most have a house helper that cleans them every day.

Another expensive ordeal is buying a place to live, especially a house. Around 70-80% live in flats (gov’t subsidized apts), apartments, or condos. Only millionaires live in houses, and very few live in stand-alone units. I saw some on the golf course for at least $12 million SGD. Apparently, the Chinese are buying many of these, and many pay cash for the entire purchase! One Chinese man complained that a house cost only $38 million SGD.

I thoroughly enjoyed the food over there. Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Peranakan, Indian, local, Western, etc. What a wonderful eating experience! I can’t wait to get back to have some more. I especially enjoyed the Chinese food! And iced milk tea Hong Kong style is incredible!

What was the greatest blessing was the people! How gracious the believers were toward me! I also praise God for His grace shown to me through the believers. My lodging was incredible for all three weeks, allowing me to get good sleep and get lots of work done. I had air conditioning all day and all night–which was quite important since the sun was scorching hot and the humidity was almost overwhelming. I did jog periodically, but I desperately needed a place to cool down afterwards!

The Lord really extended His goodness to me through the churches I visited. The churches gave very generous love offerings and then took care of me in every other way as well. One couple took me to Indonesia for two days and a night. Many other couples took me out for meals. Many bought me gifts–so many I had to have them shipped back seperately!

And most of all, the Lord enabled me to share the burden of my heart for Bible translation, and many caught the burden. I gained many prayer supporters, and at least two of the churches are seriously considering me for support. Both also want to help in some personaly way. Please pray for God to lead. I haven’t seen a support increase in over a month!

Now to the Philippines… Someone asked me yesterday what my experience in the Philippines has been like. My answer: WET! It has rained every single day here, and some days it seems that an hour hasn’t gone by without at least some rain. I got caught in monsoon-like showers on Tues as I traveled downtown to the US Embassy. Manila looked more like Venice!

But though the weather has been rainy (and extremely humid), the hospitality has been very warm. The people at the church and BJMBC have been so gracious! I’ve been able to reconnect with Dale Trinidad as he and his family have hosted me in the home on the BJMBC’s new property. I’ve also reconnected with many Mt. Calvary and BJU friends–Phil Kamibayashima and family, Rachel Dalhausen, Jolea Jensen, Ruth Potter, Catherine McQuaid, and Rachel Uhler. Am I forgetting anyone? There are so many friends here! And I’ve made new ones as well.

The training started, as I said, last week on Tuesday. Excluding my co-worker, Dr. Sana Singh, and me, there were 7 people in attendance for the training. One stayed for only an hour, so effectively we had only 6. The main translator for the first edition of the Tagalog NT, Ate Malacao, surprised us by her presence. She hadn’t signed up, as far as my records go. She has been such a blessing to have with us, because she has such a passion for getting the NT finished. Her son is with us and shares the same passion. Actually all attendees do! Fe shared how people back at her church are having to share their NTs, because there are no more (we published the first edition in 1998). Her husband’s church has many outreaches, and longs for the completed NTs. In fact, they are expecting her to return with the revised edition! Too bad it will take 3-5 years to complete the revision.

Sana and I were wondering how we would get everything done in two weeks. Normally, we take 3 weeks to cover all the material. But this time, we have only 9.5 days (we did cut out the linguistics training). Well, we began the manual and saw that we would be moving faster than normal. We actually finished the manual yesterday and began doing some application today! Praise the Lord! All the participants have a real desire to learn and have good basic skills. Almost all were somehow involved in the first edition, so they already have some exposure to translation work. We are doing so well that we plan to end at lunchtime on Friday.

Last Saturday I got to visit the largest US cemetery outside the US. It was a good and sobering trip. My grandfather fought in WW2, so it was neat to see the memorials. My gpa didn’t die in the Philippines, but he did pass away before I got to meet him. I happened across a pic of him in the Philippines, just before I left on this trip. On Saturday we hope to go to Corregidor Island. That’s where McArthur said, “I’ll be back.”

I head back to the US on Monday. I can’t wait to get back! Lord willing, I’ll be moving into my new home next week. Pray for the closing to be finalized tomorrow. I did my part yesterday in the Philippines (an exciting story in itself!), and now I’m trusting Fed Ex to deliver by Thurs, US time. Then, hopefully the documents will be finalized.

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