Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Need a Job?

He is the original “Digger O’Dell!” Our brother today told us of one of his previous jobs in Cebu. He worked at a Catholic cemetery digging up the bones. You see, when they bury you, they charge 2000 pesos which is good for five years, after that you have to pay again. “What if you don’t pay?” you ask…Ahhhh! That is where our brother came in. He would be sent to dig up your bones and place them in a box to be claimed later. He received 150 pesos per skeleton. He said it was an easy job, because the bodies were buried near the sea and so the ground was mostly sand. The only problem was once they found the coffin and pried it open, water would begin to fill into the hole, he would be searching around with his hands to find the head. Once found, he would have to hoist the skeleton up out of the grave, often the water would trickle on to his face and sometimes in his mouth! Yuck!!! The families would oft times be right there to supervise the bodies being exhumed. He said once, a man from out of town came to watch them pull out the bones of his relative, he looked at the skeleton and said “Hey the leg is missing!” So into the soupy water they searched looking for the leg, only to find out later that the leg had been lost in his lifetime, during a dynamite fishing accident! So…..Need a job?

His name is Joel

His name is Joel.  He is a trike driver.  A trike is a motorcycle with a sidecar that is used as a taxi here in the Philippines.  He works in an area where there are about 500 trikes.  He doesn’t own his trike, he rents it for 100 pesos a day, about $2.  It is called his “boundary”.  The first 100 pesos he makes goes to pay the boundary.  The only problem is, sometimes he doesn’t make it.  Then he has to borrow from someone to pay the boundary.  Today, when we saw him and his brother, they were waiting for a trip.  His brother had been there since 6am, it was around 11am when we saw him, and he still didn’t have his first trip of the day.  When he does, he will probably get 30 pesos, more if he goes far.  I asked Joel how many trips he gets a day and he said around six.  180 pesos.  Sometimes in the evening he makes more, so if he takes in 400 for a whole day he is doing good.  100 goes to the boundary, maybe 100 to gas, and he has 200 to take home.  I asked him how much he needed to eat each day.  100 pesos.  He and his wife and child eat one kilo of rice in the morning, and one “Ulam” or viand, or what we might call, a rice topper, or main course, and then this will be repeated in the evening.  He said sometimes he doesn’t eat in the evening so he can save more money.  It takes 60 pesos to travel from where he works to where he lives, so he often just sleeps at a relative’s house near where he works to save the fare money.  When they are waiting at the corner, their trike number is chalked onto a small board to keep track of where they are in line.  If he leaves, they erase his number and he goes back to the bottom when he returns.  I have been trying to convince him to come to church.  He seems interested, I have even witnessed to him and his heart is open.  His wife has attended once and seemed to enjoy the service….but you see….he needs to make his boundary…he needs to pay the gas….he needs to get the “Ulam” and if it takes until 9 or 10 at night, so be it.  This is survival in the Philippines.  This is one of our biggest challenges, to convince people that if they put God first and make time for God in their lives, He will in turn bless them

Eph. 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Pray that Joel will make time for God in his life and see beyond his daily need to see his eternal need.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Rainy Season

It is rainy season and I snapped a couple of quick shots with my phone as we were driving down the river....errr....I mean street!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Cultural Observations

A few recent cultural observations:
Old ladies who smoke their cigarettes backwards! The burning side is held inside their mouth so as not to lose any of their “precious” smoke. Though I am sure there are others who do this, I have only seen some old ladies doing it. Of course they have to “cup” their mouth to keep from getting burned, so when they speak, they are very hard to understand.
Funny Signs: On a bottled mineral water store “Body Fluids Mineral Water”…..hmmmm….not so thirsty after all.
“U-Nick barber shop.” Now to be fair, the Filipinos pronounce their I’s with a long e sound, so it didn’t take me long to figure out it was supposed to mean “Unique”, but as I pondered, what kind of a barber shop advertises the fact that you will be cut or nicked, or worse, it could be read eunuch barber shop, I definitely won’t be going there.
(1/06) The power went out about 15 minutes before service tonight, and stayed out through most of the service. We scrambled around to light candles and try to situate everyone, but it was a chore. Large congregation was there,(no, not body size :) ) without any fans, no PA till we remembered we had batteries in our little karaoke machine, and many restless kids. It sure makes you appreciate the power when it comes back on.

Record Breaking Sunday / 1000 Sunday

This is the banner for our push "1000 Sunday" I thought I would link it together with a post from our last "Record Breaking Sunday"

(From January 2006)The last couple of weeks have been very exciting for us. On January 8th we had our special record breaking Sunday. We had been working for about two months towards this service and it turned out to be a great success. The greatest aspect for me was to see so many of the church people excited about reaching the goal. We had more soulwinners the Saturday before the big Sunday than we have ever had. We split up and went into several areas and invited people for the following day. When Sunday arrived, 20 jeepneys filled with people came! God blessed in a special way and the record was broken, and our goal was reached.

The following Tuesday, Pastor Davis arrived. We had the privilege of having him here in Luzon for four days before he left to go to Cagayan de Oro where our Asian conference was held. We joined him there on Monday. The conference was a tremendous blessing to us. The teaching was eye opening, and Pastor can still preach like a house on fire! The fellowship was inspiring and there was a lot of good natured harassing, laughter and story telling.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Simple Life...

Did you ever feel like your life was a bit too complicated? The more stuff you have, the more “things” happen to your stuff and you have to get your stuff fixed. Sometimes, just keeping up with your stuff is tough enough!

For many here, life is boiled down to the basic necessities, it is a simple life, not easy, but uncomplicated. “Buhay Pa” or “Nakaraos Pa” meaning “Still alive” or “Still surviving” are more than just an answer to “How are you?” to some they signal a victory for one more day.

The things that may be important to us, don’t mean much to the average Filipino. Hot water for showers? Not necessary. Air conditioning? Too cold! Medical care we would think essential, they can easily do without. One brother told me he thought his wife was pregnant, I asked him “Have you taken a test?” he replied “Why? We already have the sign.” (The missing monthly missive from mother nature.) I couldn’t argue with that!

They say “A big family is a happy family” but as I watch one family struggle on a daily basis to feed everyone, I wonder…This particular lady has eight children. All but one (an older boy with 2, yes 2, wives of his own) live in the home or in the case of the two older girls, live right next door with their own families. She gets up at 2am to go to the market so she can get home by five and prepare breakfast for the kids going to school. She sends them off to school, and makes snacks, or “Barrio BBQ” to sell in the barrio.

On wash days, (this is not my photo, taken by Adlaw, but shows perfectly the lady doing the hand washing) it is an all day affair of squatting next to a plastic tub and hand washing and wringing out the clothes and hanging them to dry. Making dinner includes starting a small fire to cook with and dodging the ever present smoke. Bathing, involves pumping water into a bucket and then using a tabo, a small hand dipper that you use to pour water over your head. A friend shared with me he had been taught how to deal with the cold water baths, his uncle had told him “Throw out that first tabo of water, because it is always the first one that is cold!”

Children are born at home, with or without the help of a midwife. The lady above went to the market on Monday (2am) and when she came back at 5am, her daughter had already given birth! They had fetched the midwife on a motorcycle, but she was only in the house 3 minutes before the baby came. I think (sometimes my language skills miss) they were happy because they would not have to pay the full fee since the midwife was only there a short time!

I told this lady, “When October comes, and our baby is due, I am going to send you to the market!” Maybe it will work!

Frequently we see the little children running around without clothes. Many babies are without diapers, and just held in their mother or father’s arms in their birthday suit. It is easier to clean up than to have to wash the clothes that would get soiled.

The simple life…even God’s call to us was a timely reminder
1Ti 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

The gospel message is a simple one. To the world it seems foolish, what seems more foolish than for a man to get up and preach, yell and point his finger and say if you will repent and accept Christ, your now and forever will be changed? It is this simplicity that keeps many people from accepting the gospel, it just seems too good to be true. Thank God, it is true!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Crooked Cross

During the Easter season here, there is a custom called Pabasa. Small areas in every neighborhood are set up with a cross and a bible, a microphone and a P.A. system. Starting on Holy Thursday and continuing non-stop through Holy Friday, people take turns chanting or singing the bible. Even children get involved and are found in front of the bible with the microphone. Communities take special care to decorate this Pabasa area and usually have a banner, and streamers marking out the area. Since I had to drive by two Pabasa places to go to an area where we pick up people for church, I had noticed the large wooden cross that they had erected. It is perhaps 8-10 feet tall, so you really can't miss it. Alas, Easter has come and gone, and today, as I was driving into the area, I saw the Pabasa cross, laid on it's side, crooked against the barbed wire. It looked as if it has been forsaken there. Left to rot. It made me think of how often, in a special time when the world is looking, people hold the cross high, but in daily life, it is often forsaken, laid aside until someone is watching. God help me to take up my cross daily.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Boy!

Today we went to the hospital to do some tests and the laboratory happened to be directly across from the ultrasound area. So I asked when they are able to identify the gender of a baby. The man was clueless and said he would have to ask. I returned later and he said they could tell at five months, then the lady next to him said six or seven months. Well if they thought they could, and it was only about $10, we went for it. After about an hour and a half wait, we went in and enjoyed watching our restless little fellow. He was quite active and when it got to the all important gender identification time, the doctor said what he saw seemed to indicate a boy. 70-80% sure. While he was looking around, my wife said to him, can you tell if he has all of his fingers and toes? Almost immediately after she said that, the little fellow held his hand up for the camera and we could count all of the fingers. It was as if God told him, "Hey! Hold up your hand so they can see!" Really a special moment.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I Shouldn't Have, But I Did

I have already told you how that I sometimes struggle with the myriad needs that surround us from day to day. Hungry faces asking for food, sick bodies needing medicine, desperate families trying to educate their children, and I am trying to live and give, as Christ would have me. Yet there are certain times when turning down the request is easier than others.

Friday we were soulwinning before our outstation. We came across some ladies, some probably in their thirties and some maybe in their sixties. I invited them to the service and she immediately asked if there was going to be food there. I have heard this question so many times, that I have a prepared answer. "Walang pagkain para tiyan mo, pero pagkain para kaluluwa mo" No food for your belly, but food for your soul. That usually silences the insincere inquirer. This time one of the ladies, (and I must include this for clarity,) who was fat, began to be very demonstrative, and said, "That is not right, if I am hungry, I can not listen to the word of God!" She was semi-mocking in her tone and actions, and I know I should not have, but I did....I told her "Well, you don't look very hungry." I think the giggles from the other ladies signalled their agreement in my assessment.

Friday, June 16, 2006

More Photos

A row of Jeepneys on Macarthur Hwy. Traffic!!!

Our Mr. Costumer has many reserved spots throughout our city....

This is a banner Rev. Mackert had made when he was here. I really like it.

This is an example of the safe wiring practices here.

Fixed Prices???

One of the things that you have to get used to here in the Philippines, is the need to bargain over everything. This can be both exciting and frustrating. A simple trike ride to the church can vary in price depending on who is driving, so negotiations must take place ahead of time. As I have been told....there is no such thing as a "Fixed Price" in the Philippines. Fixed price is the term that is used for a non-negotiable price. Well, we found that to be true in an interesting way...

We were heading back from a visit, riding the motorcycles. Rev. G. and I, he was leading, and when we got to the red light district, he opted to avoid that street, the infamous Fields Avenue, (amen) and went forward to take the highway that goes through what was formerly known as Clark Air Force Base. Now the street he was about to turn on, is four lanes, at one time it was two lanes in each direction, but at this particular time, it was four lanes in one direction, (it has since changed again to two directions) well, he made a turn down the wrong way, and that particular day, the police were not in the donut shops. They waved us over and began issuing tickets. Now, corruption and graft are rampant here, and it sometimes seems that their purpose is to get some more donut money rather than enforce the law, but one thing they know, you have got to make sure these people are going to pay the ticket, so they take your drivers license right there on the spot, and make you pick it up within three days when you pay the ticket.

So within the next couple of days we were on our way to the police office to pay the tickets. Now, we have two ladies that attend our church that worked somewhere on the base, there are over 30,000 people that work on the base, and we frankly, didn't know where they worked. We were about to find out...As we walked into the office, "Hello Pastor! How are you? What are you doing here?" Well...as we sheepishly pulled out our colored slips of paper. "Oh, Come with me." She escorted us into the Chief's office, and lo and behold, there was the other sister. She was the Chief's secretary. We explained our business, we really just wanted to pay the fine recover our licenses and go. She, on her own accord, began to text the officer that wrote the ticket and bargain over the ticket. Meanwhile, the chief came in and we were introduced. He began to say, "Well I really can't help you, it wouldn't be good for me to interevene on their tickets." Remember, we were not asking him to, we just wanted to pay and go, but as we talked, it seemed he took a liking to us. His tone changed and he began to give us pointers. He said, when the officer is still writing the ticket, you can bargain with him about how much the ticket will be. If you do get pulled over again, just tell them that you are a friend of the chief! In the background, the lady is still texting to the officer and managed to bargain the ticket down to about $2 for one and $6 for the other. Truly, there are NO fixed prices in the Philippines!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tears in Her Eyes

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese peasant woman who suffered a brain hemorrhage was left at the undertakers alive for cremation because her family could no longer afford hospital treatment, state media said Friday.

She was only saved by the tears in her eyes.

You Guoying, a 47-year-old migrant worker from southwestern Sichuan province, was taken for cremation by her husband and children in Taizhou, eastern Zhejiang province, where she worked, the China Youth Daily said.

Fortunately for You, the undertaker realized she was still alive when he saw her move and tears in her eyes, the newspaper said.

You was taken back to hospital for further treatment with money donated by sympathetic citizens of prosperous Zhejiang, the newspaper said.

"Three days of treatment cost us more than 10,000 yuan," it quoted her daughter as saying, adding that was the sum of the family's life savings.

"If there had been another option, who would have the heart to send a member of their own family for cremation while there was still a hope of survival?"

As I think about this sad tale, a woman left for dead, her family unwilling and unable to pay the price for her recovery, the parallel comes quickly.

How many walk the streets of my city, spiritually left for dead, too much work to help them, the cost, someone elses life poured out in prayer and work, much too high, think some. Others are unable to help them, they only have religion, and not the riches of Christ. And I wonder, Will I see the tears in their eyes? Will I notice, and step up and pay the price? God help me...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Payoff

Ok, I have lured you in. Now, for the payoff...but wait, you see I have tried to create a place that could be informative, humorous and hopefully, inspiring. My hope is that missionary work could be kept in the forefront of people's minds. But, there is something in it for me, if you will just send $19.95 I will send you a special prayer cloth and anointing oil....No, no, no!!!! just kidding. What's in it for us? Well Paul said:
  • 1Th 5:25 Brethren, pray for us.
  • 2Th 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
  • Heb 13:18 Pray for us
I remember reading a portion about this where the writer said Paul's secret of success was in part due to the fact he was able to focus so many prayers on his ministry. I am trying to follow in his footsteps. To this end, I include our specific prayer requests. Maybe you could print it out and bring it before the Lord in prayer. I remember once, as I went to assume the pastorate of a particular church, we could sense the people in other places praying for us. We are not ashamed to admit our desperate need of God's help and the prayers of God's people.

Thank you for your prayers!

Please pray…


1. For our special “1000 Sunday” that God would give us that many people in the house of God, and that He would convict them of their sins and save a great multitude that day. (July 23, 2006)

UPDATE:  Thank you for your prayers.  The Lord gave us 1,153.  Praise God!

2. That God would raise up more workers for the church here and for the harvest field in the Philippines.

3. That God would give us land to build our bible college on close to Angeles City.

4. That God would supply the necessary finances for the land and the building of the college.

5. That God would send in more students for the college that they would be trained and sent out to preach the gospel throughout the Philippines and the world.

6. That God would give us a great unity and spirit of love one for another here.

7. That God would send a great revival here in the Philippines and in our church.


1. For the health of my wife and the safe delivery of the baby (due Oct. 9).

2. For continual spiritual growth in my life and in my wife’s life.

3. Fresh uplifting messages for the people.

4. That God would continue to help us learn the Tagalog language and become fluent.

5. For the continued protection, physical and spiritual of myself, my wife, and Rev. Gaudario.

Thank you.

Bro. and Sis. Devonshire

Sunday, June 11, 2006

II and my Wife

This is a picture of II (pronounced Aye Aye) our helper, and my wife, waiting for the arrival of the congregation. Yes there is a baby in there!

I will be uploading more files to the flickr site also. Just click on the photos (they call it a badge) to the left under the link section.

The Stolen Motorcycle

How did I get myself into this? That is what I was thinking as I slumped dejectedly on the living room chair. A preacher….with a stolen motorcycle….What am I going to do?
I had tried to do everything by the book. I knew that I didn’t know, so when I was making the purchase, I asked others, “What do I need to do to make sure I don’t get cheated?” They told me, “Make sure they have the original paperwork, what is called the OCR (original certificate of registration).” Everything seemed to be good. We even went to the man’s house to do the transaction. Well…it wasn’t the original owner, he, a German named Martin, had left the country, his worker a Filipino, named Arvin Adriano was handling the sale for him. He had the Deed of sale that the owner had signed before he left the country. He was such a nice guy, I thought we would get him and his family to come to church in the deal. But now….After checking for almost two months with LTO (Land Transportation Office) (think DMV), they say the signatures are different and they will not issue a new OCR in my name. Simple enough I think, I will contact Arvin, and we will iron this out, good thing I kept his phone number in my phone…..only the number doesn’t work now! I start to get a little queasy about this deal. Meanwhile, the helpful people handling my paperwork, prepare an affidavit that basically lies and says I bought it straight from the German guy, I just can’t sign that, it is not true. I have them prepare another which correctly states that I bought it from his worker. When I get a chance to go to the LTO chief and explain my situation, she doesn’t accept it. How do you know he really wanted it sold? Did you ever talk to him directly? Hmmmm….No, never talked to him….

The police say it hasn’t been reported stolen, but what if Arvin, the worker, knew his boss Martin, the German guy, was going to be out of town for a while, knew where the OCR was and decided to make a little money and be long gone by the time the boss came back to the country. Well, we still know where he lives. So Rev. Gaudario and I go there. We see his wife, Arvin is at work she says, oh, his old phone, well he lost the chip for it, he has a new number, here it is…..Hope starts to resurface, maybe this isn’t such a bad deal. We call Arvin, he answers, Arvin, we need the number to Martin in Germany so he can sign an affidavit and they can transfer this motorcycle. Ok, but I am working now, I will send it to your phone later. Well….later never came. We eventually call back and the phone number doesn’t work. Now I know this thing is stolen. He has taken off to some remote place never to be seen again. We start calling all of the Adrianos in the phone book….disconnected….wrong number…etc.

What am I going to do? If I get stopped by some policeman, they will throw me in jail and I will start my prison ministry! I could ditch the bike….the money is not that important. I can call the police, but here, there is so much corruption, maybe they would seize the bike as stolen, throw me in jail and never pursue anyone. I could drive it, it is registered for another year, just not in my name, a common thing here. Everything will be fine, unless I get pulled over…

Then, it happens, I was just going down the street to get a part for the bike, when that store didn’t have it and we were forced to go further into town, I hadn’t bothered to wear the helmet, it was so close, but now I am deep into the city, and the friendly policeman waves me over and wants to see my license and registration….. Uh, well my license is at the house and the registration….Rev. G. offers to go to the house and get the license for me, when the chief asks what type of work we do. Ashamed, we told him we were preachers. He says, “Oh, why didn’t you tell me? Go ahead and don’t worry about it.”

We have got to get this thing ironed out. We risk going to Arvin’s house again, if it is stolen, maybe he will jump us and kill us to avoid going to jail. I take my little pocket knife for protection. We arrive and she says “Oh, they called him into work early” Sure…I am thinking. “Why don’t you go and see him there?” I will. He works at the Holiday Inn as a Chef. He may come out of the kitchen with a knife, but there will be plenty of witnesses to convict him if he does kill us!

We go to the front desk, they call him, he comes out, no knives…good sign….we need this number to Martin in Germany. Well my phone had gone dead, low battery, that is why you couldn’t get a hold of me. Here let me put my chip in your phone and I will give you the number, he does, we have the number!!!! I call, and Lo and behold I speak to the owner. Yes, he did sign it. Yes he will fax an affidavit. It is all good. He had gotten into an accident on the motorcycle and hurt his left hand, he is left handed and so when he signed, he used his right hand, which explains the differences in signatures. Within a couple of days, I have the OCR! The bike is legal! I am alive! No stab wounds! Not in jail! Whew!!!!!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Homespun Remedies...and Where We Came From...

(From 12/2/05)

A couple of funny things happened recently. After Rev. Gaudario had his kidney stone episode, all of the mothers came out of the closets to offer home spun remedies. We were at one house and they gave him some medicine, they were speaking a mix of English and Tagalog and so I was trying to listen to understand. I thought the lady said something about Hairballs, what is this? she is way off, that is not what he has, what is she trying to give him? I had to speak up to make sure, would she give him some deworming stuff too?….I said quizzically “Hairballs?” she said no “Herbal!” Oh….

We were soulwinning in a new Barrangay and of course, as always, we as Americans, stick out like a sore thumb. We spotted a set of triplet girls about three or four years old. They were very cute, all smiles and a bundle of energy. It was an excuse to invite the mom to church, so as we were doing so, Rev. G. heard them talking as they were pointing at my wife and I, “Look they came out of the television!” the other one corrected her and said “No, that’s not it, they came out of the airplane.”

Friday, June 09, 2006

Nasa Ikatlo Baitang Ako (I'm in Third Grade)

I really don't remember third grade being this hard. The last time I was in third grade, my teacher was Mrs. Horn. A kindly lady who taught me about following directions, reading, writing, and arithmetic. (The 3 R's???) It was about this time I had broken my left arm, and I am left handed, so I have fond memories of classmates helping me write. This time, I have a cruel tyrant of a taskmaster (just kidding Rev.) who teaches me bumabasa, sumsusulat, and palatuusan (reading, writing and arithmetic in the Tagalog language....I can justify calling these the 3 r's just as much as their English equivalents!) It is not my hand that is broke, it's my head. You see, I finished two Tagalog Language books for adults, and the next one that was laying around was a primer for the third grade. Ahhhhh...No sweat, yet I forgot that those third grade teachers can dish out some torture. Yet I am comforted because even the native Tagalog speakers didn't know some of the words. "Oh Pastor," they say, "that is very deep Tagalog." and then I get to tell them it came from a third
grade book!
It also showed me how some words have developed over the years. I learned the word for putting a pot on the fire...isalang...and because I knew it wasn't a common word, began asking others if they knew what this meant. One girl said "Yes, it is when you put a CD in the player." Well I have heard of burning CD's but that really isn't what I was looking for. When you add to this the many dialects that are in the Philippines you have an interesting mix. In Tagalog, Ihaw, means to grill food, but in Cebuano/Visayan, it means to kill. So be careful when you ask your helper, who is a Visayan, to grill you some food! She teased saying "I will kill you right now!" Maybe that is where the term, words can kill came from!
Well all of this, because it is school time here. In the Philippines the summer break is in April and May, and school resumes the first part of June. A timely beginning for my third grade studies.
Pray for me, I really want to make it to the fourth grade!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I Should Have Given All!

 An old man was sitting on the side of the road in India.  He grumbled as he looked down at his bowl of rice, it was all he had in the world. He cursed the day he was born.  Why did it have to be this way!  He looked up to see the Raj and his caravan coming down the road.  He cursed the Raj, thinking "He has everything and I have nothing. It's not fair, I wish he would stop and give me something."  Yet the caravan seemed to be going to pass him by.  He cursed the Raj again and grumbled as he looked at his rice.  Suddenly the caravan stopped and the Raj came to where the man was.  He stood before him and said, "Give me of your rice."  The man was incredulous.  He cursed the Raj in his heart and thought "He has all and he wants to take what little I have." So he chose one grain of rice and placed it in the Raj's hand.  The Raj said again, "Give me of you rice" again the man reached in and took one grain of rice and gave it to the Raj.  The Raj closed his hand and mounted his carriage and off he went.  The old man grumbled and cursed the Raj in his heart again.  He continued eating his rice when he noticed something hard.  He looked down and saw a piece of gold the size of a grain of rice.  He searched some more and found one more, he looked again but that was it, then he turned towards heaven and cried "I should have given him all,  I should have given him all!!!!"

I wonder if we won't say something similar when we get to heaven and see how little we have actually given of ourselves to God.

Mat 6:33
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

I should have given all,  I should have given all!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


 "You will survive without food for seven days; without water for three days. If you lose hope, you die today."

I don't know who wrote that, and I am sure the details aren't exact, but spiritually....

If you lose hope, you die today...how true!
I remember one man saying, "Ministers are dealers in hope."
At times, when things looked bad, when someone shined the light in and
said "It doesn't have to be that way!" it made all the difference.
When I know my pastor believes in me, it gives me hope.
When I stumble onto the fact that God believes in me, the lies of the
devil dissipate, and things change.
I have Preached a message before called "The Comeback Kid"
The Prodigal son was a "Comeback Kid"
John Mark was a "Comeback Kid"
Anyone can win when they have a big lead.
But the man or woman that is way behind, and still has the heart to
fight and push and drive forward, and overcomes the deficit...that
person is to be admired.

I remember hearing of Michael Durant being captured by the Somalis, and
U.S. helicopters flew over the city broadcasting over loudspeakers, "Michael
Durant, we have not abandoned you...Michael Durant, this is the United
States, we will bring you home... " and they did. Durant said he could
hear them everyday but one. It gave him hope. Sometimes I think of
those in the POW camp of sin and the devil, and the preacher saying "We
have not abandoned you, this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by the
grace of God, we will bring you home! Don't give up! Don't commit
suicide! Don't surrender to the enemy!"

Is He Pregnant?

 (From 11/05...Update, Rev. G. has believed the Lord for a healing) Then, today Rev. Gaudario was very sick. He was in pain during most of the night and shared with me later, "I know someone is going to call..." We had to take him to the hospital. I was rushing him to the emergency room when who called? Pastor! Amazing! No, God at work. Pastor is still in tune. He was calling to ask about conference, but I really know that God had prompted him to call at that specific time, so that he could know our brother was in need and pray for him. Rev. G was diagnosed with a kidney stone, has yet to pass it. He had to get a sonogram, and seems to be feeling better now. Sick in the morning….has to get a sonogram….He’s pregnant! And this delivery will be painful too.

Our experience in the emergency room was startling…for it’s pleasantness. There was no one else there. He was seen and treated quickly. Doctor prescribed the medicine and we were on our way out to get the sonogram. All for about $34. We had to leave the hospital to go somewhere else for the sonogram because their's was broke. That part was typical Philippines.

I have been reading the autobiography of Peter Cartwright. Found it free and downloaded it. Great reading

Monday, June 05, 2006

Gospel Tissue Box


Today we went to lunch with Rev. and Sis. Shin. They have often been the “Ravens” (In the bible, God used ravens to carry food to Elijah when he dwelt by the brook Cherith) that God has sent to be a blessing to us. Rev. Shin pastors a church in Korea, but every seventh year, they give the pastor a sabbatical, so during that sabbatical year, they came to the Philippines and Rev. and Sis. Mackert met them and invited them to come and they began attending our church. Their purpose here was to learn English and also check up on some of the Korean missionaries here. When his year ended, he returned to Korea, but his wife and family remained here in the Philippines to continue their studies. She is working on a Masters degree in English. He is a Presbyterian, but he got filled with the Holy Ghost, and turned around and taught the Holy Ghost Baptism to his church and he told me that about 70 percent of them now have the Holy Ghost baptism.

Now that I have been exposed to a different culture in the Philippines, I have become curious about other cultures also, so I have often asked him about Korea. The one thing that especially stood out to me was the housing situation there. Korea is an apartment society, but to rent an apartment, the normal method is much different than in America. Instead of a monthly rental being paid, the rentor gives a huge amount of money to the owner, sometimes this can be up to $500,000.00, from what I understand, usually in the six digit range. This money, the owner has the right to invest while the tenant is in the apartment. He can put it in the bank and draw interest or whatever type of investment he wants, but at the end of the contract, he has to return the entire amount to the tenant. So the tenant loses nothing, but the interest on the money, or the ability to use it while they are renting the apartment.

I asked him about his church work there. 5am daily prayer (except Sat.) half day studying and half day visiting are his norm. Then came the interesting part, he shared that Korea was different than America in that our country was founded on Christian values, but Korea has been steeped in Buddhism. Often when they go soulwinning, if they hand out a tract or printed material about their church, the prospect upon finding out they are Christians, will immediately refuse, so, they came up with the above idea, Gospel Tissue Box! The prospect will accept the tissues and the box has verses and the service times and a picture of the pastor and the church. Novel idea indeed!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Birthday Ben & College Students

Today was Bro. Ben's Birthday. Believe it or not, this fellow is 41. Filipinos manage to keep their youthful look for longer. He and his wife are attending college along with the other folks in the second picture. For those of you that have been here before, you know Bro. Nol. I have been teasing him about his serious look in all of the pictures. I said "You look like you are getting ready to negotiate with the terrorists!" There is a phrase in Tagalog for a serious face. It translates into English as "A face like Holy Friday". He is our interpreter, and he has a great knowledge of English idioms. He is one of the ones that I can joke with using my American sense of humor. (Nol, Rev. Gaudario, Myself, Bro. Edison, Bro. Albert, seated are Sis. Lilia, and Sis. Haslel (Albert's Wife))

God at Work!

A couple of things happened that makes me want to write to you.
As I was studying some bible college notes tonight, I got to the place where the teacher was teaching about giving, he said "Anyone can say be warmed and filled, but to open your wallet and take out a $100 and give it to someone in real need is different." Well….there is a man that comes to church and brings his granddaughter. She also attends college with one of the church members (the member runs the college). She is only twenty, and has nasal cancer. She has to ride the bus to Manila daily for radiation treatment and once every three weeks for Chemo. Her uncle has been trying to collect the money for treatments. I don’t think he has ever directly asked me, but told me he was borrowing and trying to get more money. From what I pick up, you don’t get the treatments unless you pay each time. If you are poor, you are out of luck. We had prayed for her, and contemplated giving, I told Rev. Gaudario that we really can’t help everyone, (financially) but that God could. I had the church pray for the girl, I don’t think I even mentioned their need for money, but after reading the $100 comment (earlier in the day) and the day after we prayed, a church member came by with a pizza for us, and $300 offering for the girl. Ironic? No, God at work!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

What a Healing Jesus!

One man recently shared some good news from America with me. There was a revival going on, and a man came in on crutches.  He had hurt himself at work and was taking medication for the injury.  The preacher prayed for him, and God healed him.  The preacher told him to “Walk” and the man did.  The preacher said “You don’t need those crutches!” and he started praising God and he went home without the crutches.  When he got home the man’s wife and kid saw him and said who is that?  They didn’t recognize him because he didn’t have the crutches.  He said it’s me and he started shaking his leg and dancing on his doorstep.  He came back the next night and his wife came that night too and was prayed for.  God is still a healer!

Super Samuel

I have been reading in the book of I Samuel recently and it has been challenging. One man once said that the anointings begin with the head and then flow on to the rest of the body. If the head doesn’t get anointed, neither does the body.

Jesus is the head of the church, but He will never hinder the anointing.

The pastor is the head of the local congregation and if he isn’t right, he can hinder the blessing to the congregation.

The Man is the head of his family, and if he is wrong, his family will miss the anointing.

(I know fellow preachers, we got a one-two punch in that line-up, and the ladies are probably shouting “That’s right! It’s the man’s fault!”)

Each individual is the “head” of their life and their actions hinder the flow of blessing to them.

What does that have to do with Samuel? Well Samuel was the judge, or the earthly head of Israel. When the Philistines came against Israel, Samuel said “I will pray” and as he was making an offering and praying, God thundered against the enemies and defeated them. Then the bible said that all of the days of Samuel the Philistines came no more into the coasts of Israel. Samuel’s relationship with God seemed to protect that nation. When Israel rejected God as their king, and desired an earthly king, Saul was the man. Saul fought in the first battle and also won against the Philistines. He had mustered 330,000 troops to trounce the enemy. Yes Saul, you won, you defeated the enemy, but so did Samuel. Saul, because of 330,000 men won, but Samuel won because of God and prayer!

The Day of the Dead

Nov. 1st and 2nd are the two biggest holidays of the year here from what I have been told. The 1st is All souls day (The Day of the Dead) and the next day is All saints day. The people all go to the cemetery and spend the day and many spend the night there. Some are lighting candles, praying for their dead, praying to their dead, or just honoring their dead. We went there and I guess I expected a more somber note, but the atmosphere was more like a huge party. They were grilling, drinking, playing cards, and selling their wares. I include some pics of the day and then the night.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Will I ever be the same?

I am closing in on one year in the Philippines. I don’t know what the future holds for me, I tell others that my appointment here is for four years, but I hope to stay for life. One thing I know, I have been changed forever.

From the small things: instant coffee is not so bad when that is all you have.

Rice everyday is tolerable, hey even can be enjoyable!

Yes, you can learn to drive here amidst the chaos, a friendly chaos, but chaos nonetheless. (I was reminded today of what it is like driving in America, when I was about to turn left across the oncoming lane, and saw a fast moving motorcycle, with an American on it, he hit his brakes, and then mumbled something that I am quite sure wasn’t a prayer for my well being.)

No, I am sure I will never be the same again. I see so many things that remind me of my pastor, who also spent four years here as a missionary, and say to myself, “That’s why he does that! Now I understand!”

I don’t think I can look at someone in America who says their poor, and really believe them when I have seen a mother of seven, who is married to man that has a second wife and family in Manila, that he is also supporting, living under a bridge in a 10 by 10 hut, finding out she is pregnant with child number eight, and who becomes so distraught about how she is going to feed the new baby along with all of the others, that she tries to kill the baby by taking too much medicine. (The baby survived and was born healthy, by the grace of God).

When someone was begging in America, cigarette dangling from their mouth and unabashedly asking for money for beer, I found it was easy to decline.

Here, when they are asking for money, skinny dirty faced kids, you know they are poor, and you ask yourself “But how many can I really help?”

Oh I know that we can feed the poor, visit the shut-ins, clothe the naked, encourage the incarcerated, medicate the sick, and work endlessly, while the world dies and goes to hell. These may be good things, but not the most important thing. They need Jesus.

I am sure I am different now. More thankful, I believe. After seeing families living in makeshift dwellings and little kids with no clothes and big bellies, (a sign of worms I’m told) whose main source of income (and main source of building materials for their homes) is the trash dump. Any job has got to be better than that! And I…I have the greatest job. To preach the gospel, and see lives changed. To hear what I heard a couple months ago “I have been searching for 59 years, but now I have found it!” Oh, I wish I could tell you that all of them who pray for salvation stay and are faithful, but there are some who do. Some, a band of men and women, whose hearts God touched.

Please pray with us, and for us, that God would continue to help us learn the language, and communicate the gospel to them, and that God would keep/make our hearts soft and help us to adjust, especially my wife while she is pregnant.

May the Lord Bless you!

The Devonshires

You and Your Crazy Family

Another lesson in the language…I recently learned the importance of correct pronunciation. I have been using a phrase “Isama mo buong familia mo” which roughly means “Bring your entire family!”. I brought one of the church members with me and when we returned, he asked me to say the phrase again, I did, and a couple of the folks started laughing, you see I pronounced the word “buang” and that means crazy in a neighboring dialect, I was supposed to be saying “Buong”, so I was telling them: “You bring your crazy family!” We laughed heartily, and imagined the people thinking: “Wow, how does he know about my family?”

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A bunch more photos

Here are a bunch more photos, some are of the school in Cagayan, some from here. I want to thank the Reeds and the Gandys who gave some of their photos. Click on the link above, or the flickr badge on the left side of the blog, or here.....(I want to make it easy) http://www.flickr.com/

What Kind of Coconut?

Rev. Mackert shared this with me recently. Now to be fair, I had never heard of this before I came here, but there is a product called dessicated coconut (dessicate means dried) so it is dried, unsweetened shredded coconut. They were in a supermarket buying some food and saw a housemaid asking for this product, only she got the name a little wrong...she was asking for "defecated coconut". Uh, I don't think I want any of that dish.....