Sunday, January 16, 2011


This week has been a study in contrasts. I spent most of the time working on my assigned projects -- inputting the violin curriculum into Finale, organizing the data from a survey on cross-cultural evaluations of various kinds of music, and assisting in the college office. That has been mostly a 9-5 kind of job. I've also had fun getting to know some of the Filipino girls and learning a bit of their language.

The church here is fairly large -- about 300 on a Sunday morning -- and is under the leadership of a national pastor. The Filipinos themselves are filling most ministry roles, but I've been able to help with the children's class on Wednesday nights and join the choir and orchestra.

This weekend, some of us missionaries along with about 22 music students from BJMBC attended a concert by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. The traffic on the way there was distinctly Filipino. The congestion on the streets here can only be described as organized chaos. A mixture of cars, motorcycles, tricycles (a motorcycle or large bicycle with a side car for carrying passengers), jeepneys (short in height buses for carrying passengers), and even semis fight their way down the streets, changing lanes with only inches of clearance and basically each a law unto himself. But, after our arrival, we entered a very nice auditorium and had a very classical experience (for the reasonable price of ~$2.50 for second balcony seats). After negotiating the traffic to return home, three of us single girls took a tricycle to McDonald's for a late dinner. As I said, a study in contrasts.

Ruth Potter, one of the short termers, has her parents visiting for the next couple of weeks. They are Baptist World missionaries to Hungary, and her dad is teaching an extension class for national pastors while they are here. We took advantage of their presence for a sightseeing trip on Saturday. We went first to the American cemetery here in Manila. It is the burial site of many American and Filipino military who were killed during World War II. It is quite beautiful, similar to Arlington in the U.S. After that, we went to one of the many malls here and got lunch, did some window shopping, and got doughnuts at Krispy Kreme. Yet another study in contrasts.

I am definitely enjoying my time here and glad that I can be a help to the ministry for a short period. Please pray for our national pastor, Gilbert Castillo (pronounced Castilio). His father passed away last Wednesday and will be buried on Tuesday in the village where he lived. Pray for the strengthening of the family, safety in traveling, and an effective Gospel witness in the funeral.

Friday, January 7, 2011

In the Philippines

I have now officially arrived in the Philippines. I touched down in the Manila airport just before midnight on Sunday, January 2nd, after a 25 hour trip. I have spent the week getting settled in and discovering the similarities and differences between the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.

I am staying with another single girl in a 4th floor apartment in Metro Manila -- quite a change from the rural mountainscape of PNG. Just down the street is the building that houses Gospel Light Baptist Church, Bob Jones Memorial Bible College, Gospel Light Christian Academy, and New Song Ministries. So that is where I spend most of my time during the day.

I am working on a variety of projects for both New Song Ministries (a ministry that publishes and distributes sacred music throughout the Philippines) and BJMBC (a Bible college for Bible and music students to prepare them for ministry throughout Southeast Asia).

The Filipino people have been friendly and welcoming. Most speak English, although they generally prefer to speak their own language of Tagalog. Classes at BJMBC are mostly in English with a smattering of Tagalog, but the Wednesday church service at Gospel Light was more Tagalog than English. I studied Tagalog some before I arrived and am continuing to study since I have arrived. It is more difficult than Pidgin was in PNG, so I am making some progress but doubt I'll be fluent before I leave:-)

Due to the size and number of the ministries, there is a rather large missionary team here. It includes four career missionary families -- the Kamibiyashiyamas, the Bachoriks, and the Berreys teach at BJMBC; and the Potts led Gospel Light Baptist Church (although it is now under the leadership of a Filipino pastor). Then there is one career single girl, Jolea Jensen, who is my apartment mate. And last, but definitely not least, are the short term girls who teach at BJMBC -- Rachel Dahlhausen, Ruth Potter, and Bethany and Rachel Uhler. It's a fun group and they've all been very kind and welcoming.

Please pray that I would be a significant help to the ministry here, despite the short length of my stay (until April 10). I'll try to get regular about posting again and keep you up to date on the ministry here and the fun things I discover about living in the Philippines.