Monday, March 30, 2009

The Graduation Day...take one

The morning started off as usual with us being picked up at the hotel at 7am, but it got
unusual quick! As we turned on the main room of the compound, we saw Magiboo, his
grandmother (who is a very faithful member at the Campus CoC), and Sandra, his sister,
walking towards the main road. Before I continue, it's time I tell you what I know of
Magiboo's story.
First, he is five years old and lives across the street from the campus, with his grandmother,
sister, aunt, and uncle. His father hung himself wen Magiboo was just a baby and his mother
now lives in Manila with her boyfriend. Side note: I already and wishing I didn't have to him, I
have no idea how she was able to do it voluntarily. I also found out yesterday that his name
is not really Magiboo! Magiboo is a famous cartoon character on the tv here, usually every
compound has at least one child nicknamed that! His real name is Joselito Velasco!
Back to today, there Magiboo was walking down the road at 7:45am in a little white
graduation cap and gown! Just imagine THE CUTEST thing you have EVER seen! Today he
was graduating from their equivalent of kindergarten!!! Obviously, we stopped the van, all
got out and took pictures with him! I would love to post them but stupid me left the memory
card out of my camera so they are stuck on my hard drive for now. We then left back
headed for chapel while they went in the opposite direction towards the school, which is on
the main highway.
During the PTC chapel this week they are having a end of the year competition between all
of the second year students, where each will present his favorite lesson. There are six of
the so one will go each day and two on Friday. Arnel spoke first today and as soon as the
chapel was over I found out if I was scheduled to go anywhere. Since I wasn't supposed to
be anywhere special, I asked the boys to take me on the motorcycle down to the school to
see if I could catch Magiboo receiving his diploma. They happily obliged and the 5 of us that
did not have appointments headed to the school.
Let me try my best to set the scene for you. The school (grades K-6) is u shaped around this
giant pavilion. The pavilion was PACKED with the people. If you have never experienced the
over crowding of the Philippines and their lack of need of personal space, there is no way to
describe it with well enough with words. Packed is the best I can do. Also, it is at least 100
degrees by now, AT LEAST! First, they had at least seven speakers. Keep in mind this is
just a kindergarten and 6th grade graduation! Next, they don't just have Valedictorian and
Salutatorian, they also have TEN honorable mentions and TEN runners up! Then they have
what is the equivalent to our superlatives in our year books. As in, most beautiful, most
punctual, and EIGHT other Mosts! After over an hour and a half (and keep in mind that we
are standing in the sun, because there is no room in the pavilion, and that we were late!) the
FINALLY begin giving the diplomas! Since Magiboo has no father one of our PTC boys was
asked by the family to go on stage (the parents accompany the graduating child to receive
their diploma) with him and his grandmother. These boys are the cream of the crop and
making such a difference in this community, especially with the kids. I couldn't have been
prouder if Magiboo had been my own son!
While we were standing there all of the members of the local congregation that were there
kept coming up and thanking me and the boys for coming. I knew that my presence would
cause a stir so I was trying to be as little of a distraction as I could manage. No such luck. I
noticed that almost everyone was looking at many, many were taking pictures, and some
were brave enough to come up and ask to have their picture taken with Americana.
Needless to say, in my scrub pants, old Faulkner shirt, and sweating like a mule, I probably
wasn't looking like the Americans they see on tv! If they minded, you sure couldn't tell.
One lady who is a member at the congregation came up and asked if I would walk with her as
her daughters (who was graduating from the 6th grade) family. Although I knew it would
cause a stir, I did it, because it was a great honor for them to ask me. There were probably
100 flashes in the audience. The girl and her mother were so proud and thanked me
profusely!
Next, we were off to the high school graduation, down the road because we had many
members of the congregation graduating. By now I officially feel like I am on fire, it is so
stinkin hot. They had all of these stands selling everything from homemade halo halo to pop
drinks. I gave the guys some pesos and told them to go buy us all drinks (served in
sandwich bags that you hold together around a straw). They said there was no pop so I
said to get us some of the orange drink. This is where Kevin saved my life! As the guy was
pouring them, Kevin whispered, "Not made with mineral (clean, safe) water." I was thirsty
but NOT that thirsty! They all drank it since they are obviously used to the dirty water but
sent a little neighborhood boy to get me pop from somewhere else. Thank goodness for my
brother Kevin looking out for me!
We soon left back for the campus where it was almost time for lunch. After lunch I had my
Bible class. The kids now all know the first 15 books of the Bible. After an hour and half of
class we walked to two houses of members who were having graduation "party's." One
tradition in the Philippines is to stuff any guest you have with food. These are the most
uncomfortable times while I am here. It is very rude and disrespectful to turn down food but
you also know they wash the dishes with the dirty water out of the pump and see their
cooking conditions. Then you factor in the different foods and it just makes for an
uncomfortable time, especially with as weak a stomach as mine.
We then walked back to the campus to load in the van to ride to water (about 25 minutes
away to one of my favorite compounds, where two of our faculty are from) to baptize two
that PaPa and Daniel had studied with. They were two teenage boys that live in the
compound. In the can were me, NaNa, PaPa, two faculty, two students, the two boys, and
SIX of their family members! Good thing I'm not claustrophobic!
When we got back was the best time of the day. It was about 5:oo p.m. and the sun was
setting, it was finally a bearable temperature, and there was a nice breeze. Me, the boys,
and about 25 of the local kids were outside just playing. Kevin played the guitar, one kid had
a home made kite (made of grocery bags), one kid had a bike without a seat, and we had two
jump roaps. They all ran and played and it was the most at peace I have ever felt just sitting
there and taking it all in. I am not sure who had more fun, the kids or the boys. The kids
around the campus are so lucky to have such good influences who love them and enjoy
them so much. I told Daddy tonight that, if I had children, I would feel as good leaving them
with any of those boys as I would leaving them with my own sisters.
These kids, and really these people as whole, have so little but are so happy. Right then
everything in the world was right and good even though they were playing in mismatched,
broken flip flops, torn old clothes that no American child would be seen in, and with no real
toys except two jump roaps that had to be shared. They were just happy and at that moment
didn't have a care in the world. Also, Danica's boil is almost completely healed thanks to
some good doctoring my Josie!
Finally the dinner bell rang and we went in for our meal. It is now 8:15 p.m. and I am typing
this in the van so I can post it when we get to he hotel and not waste sleeping time with
blogging! We have to be back at 7am for 4 baptisms so we will be picked up at 6am! Whew!
What a WONDERFUL, LONG day! Please continue to keep us in your prayers!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The LONG day!

I am disgustingly gross and stinky, my back hurts, and I am EXHAUSTED!!! What a GREAT day!!! We started out this morning and went to the Dagupan prison, where I had been last year. This year was quite different from the moment that we walked in because they thoroughly searched our things and then gave us just as thorough a pat down. When we got to the common area, which serves as our chapel, there were probably only 1/3 or 1/4 of the people normally there. We then found out that they were on "red alert". They had a serious threat that someone would be trying to break in to harm one of the prisoners who is scheduled to testify against a famous criminal this coming week. The whole place was creepy today but still four men became Christians!



Next we were off to the San Carlos jail, about 1/2 an hour from Dagupan jail. This jail was much more friendly to us and we had about 40 attend and another 5 baptized but, boy, was it getting hot! By the time we left there it was about 11 and we went for lunch at Chow King :^) and I went and got a watch! I have been SO lost since we have been here regarding the time! Some times I couldn't even guess within 3 hours of the correct time! We then decided that we needed to wait to go to our fourth stop so we would be on time for the Campus CoC Friend Day. We got there about 1 1/2 hours early but about 50 kids were already there waiting!!! By the time it was over we had at least 110 kids and it was 102 degrees F and we had, had our class for THREE hours! I once looked down and my pink shirt was a darker color pink (from sweat) except for the outline of my undergarment!! Gross, I know! We sang, learned about Moses, colored, and played Bible trivia. You also need to know that we did all this without a break because we didn't have funds for snacks and drinks and he campus isn't equipped with public bathrooms! This video is of their favorite song to sing (or maybe mine!), I can't tell you the name because it's a Tagaolg! The jist of the song is My, head, I will use my head to serve God, then insert shoulders, then hips, then knees, and then ankles where head is. The verse that is on video is the last one where you combine all of the things. I will try to video the entire song and put a link to it on You Tube.



Last we went to San Fabien, which is where I went the other day and we taught in the same goat field. These kids are just SO poor! I just can't describe how poor but how enthusiastic the kids are! There was also one lady baptized here, I will try to post her picture later, she is only about MAYBE four feet tall and she is 23! By the time we left there we were stinky, gross, and exhaused but STARVING! We hadn't eaten in seven hours and had worked our tails off! So, PaPa took us all to Chow King AGAIN! What a great end to a great day! It is now 14 hours since we left this morning and I have to wash the stink off me and try to make it to the bed before falling asleep!



Sometimes I begrudge the fact that I am SO tired when we get in because it leaves me so little time and I have to leave so much out! I hope all of you have a great week and remember us in our last week here!






http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a274iPndNyY Magiboo talks about the Walkers!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8ysp7Ig4aM Jesus Loves Me- Filipino style!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Blessed Day!

Remember when you were a kid and got something REALLY great for your birthday and your mom would tell you not to go tell all of your friends because you would be bragging? Well, even back then and still now, I just can't NOT tell, when something great happens me! Not bragging, just want to share!

On these trips and at home I have been a part of many personal Bible studies. However, never have I been the one leading the Bible study and the one we are studying with make the decision to to become a Christian and be baptized while I was there. Maybe that says something negative about me but I am not dwelling that now.

This morning we were picked up and got there earlier because Daddy and one of the faculty members, Daniel, had a baptism set up at 7:30a.m. They took NaNa, J.R., John Mark, and the only four of the kids who were there that early. I wanted to go SO badly and was kind of upset that I had gotten carsick on the way there and just couldn't. After they left PaPa and another faculty member left for a Bible study. That left only me, Beverly, and Julia. All of you who know me know that I was sitting there kind of pouting that I didn't get to go with Magiboo and the other kids to the baptism at the beach. When am I going to learn that I'm following God's plan, not mine???

Beverly walked in and asked if I would go on a Bible study with them. I asked if we would be walking or driving and they said we would be walking, that it was "close" I knew that the Filipino definition of "close" is much different than the American definition but that was good because I still was to sick at my stomach to get in the van. As we walked down the road she gave em the prospects background. They would be two 14 year old girls who attend worship every Sunday but had yet to decide to become a Christian. They said that they have had many Bible studies and NaNa and Daniel had even been there the day before. So, we get there and they have a conversation in Tagalog and I'm just sitting there with my "I have NO idea what you are saying so I am just going to sit here and nod" smile when Beverly turns to me and says, "OK, they are ready." "Ready for what?", I ask? "The Bible study. You can begin now." she replies. WHAT?? "OK, will you say a prayer to get us started?" (interpretation: I need divine intervention AND a few minutes to stall!)

Long story, short, I went over the steps of salvation and finally asked what was keeping them from being baptized. Beverly translated what I said, the girls had a little conversation with each other, and then they answered Beverly in Tagolog. Beverly looked at me and smile. I said, "What is it?" She answered, "They said nothing hinders them!" God must really laugh at my lack of faith!! It was a AMAZING experience and they were later baptized at the river! Between those two girls and the ones that Daddy and the others baptized, we now have 11 new brothers and sisters in Christ here!! How lucky am I to be a part of this???

Besides for that I had FOUR HOURS worth of Bible class with the campus kids today and got to spend some quality time with Magiboo and his sister Sandra! This video is just a little something I put together so you all could meet my little Magiboo. You'll have to scroll down and mute my music, I have not been able to get on the website to take it off. The other boy in the video is Jomar, who's mother and father work at the campus. Hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed videoing it!

Please continue to keep us and the work in your prayers!

video

Friday, March 27, 2009

The HOTTEST day.....so far!

Well, I had been so happy because I had slept SO well from the time that I left. I mean I had slept well on the plane, in Manila, and here, EVEN with the stupid rooster and Daddy's snoring! So last night we get in and I am so tired, or at least I thought I was. I didn't sleep a wink last night!! I was SO aggervated that sometime in the middle of the night I seriously thought about throwing something in the sirection of Dad's bed to make him quit snoring!!! With a clearer head in the morning I was glad that Dad finally got some sleep, even if I did have to sacrifice mine.

When we got to the campus this morning we had the daily chapel with the students and faculty and then I had my first class with "My kids" from around the campus compound. Don't get me wrong, it's imposible NOT to fall in love with the kids from every compound you go to. They could melt even the hardest of hearts with their purity, their love, and the poverty in which they live. However, I DO love these kids from the camups compound the most. I just know them. And I know I'm not supposed to, but I have a favorite :^) Magiboo is his name. He's five and I don't know what it is about him but I think it's going to get harder to NOT stick him in my suitcase every time I leave! I will defininetly post a picture of him and will try to get video before I leave. You'll just see how cute he is, he can't speak a lick of English and I'm doubting many of you speak Tagalog!

Our lesson at class today was Noah and our memory verse was John 3:16. The kids wasnted to learn it in English. So now they know Gen 1:1 in Tagalog and John 3:16 in English. After class it was lunch time and the power went out and it was SO HOT! I know most of you who read this live in the South but I promise this makes August feel like a "dry heat" in south Georgia! Geez, I felt like I was literally melting! After lunch it was just too hot to have class outside so I brought all the kids in the building. We did our Bible class, sang 1,000,000 songs as always and then me and the boys played some games with them. It was SO fun. I think I lost about 10 pounds in water but I made it up tonight :^)

Then we went to another compound and had class. It was a little distracting because it was "bath time" In the middle of the copmound is a little area where the pump is and they all use it to bathe. The adults bathe in shorts and a shirt but the kids just strip down without thinking about ti! One little girl stripped all the way down and then got distracted by our singing and just ran over and joined in, naked as the day she was born! After an hour of the childrens class (and the adults being COMPLETELY enamored with my "perfect" nose ) we walked through that entire compound and invited people to our Friend Day at the Campus Church of Christ on Sunday. Then we went through half of our compound (there are appx 3,000 people in the compound where the campus is).

When we got back to the campus we met up with Daddy and his evangalism team, PaPa and his team, and NaNa and her team who had been to the other half of our compound, inviting people to Friend Day. Brother Roger then drove me, Daddy, NaNa, PaPa, Arnel, Kevin, J.R., Rodel, and John Mark to Dagupan. We stopped at the mall before dropping us off at the hotel. I ate at McDonalds where I had my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE thing, a Coke float! SO GOOD! WHY has no one in America thought to add Coke, ice cream, ice, chocolate syrum, and whip cream?? It's like crack cocaine! PaPa and Daddy bought us all one. I CAN'T figure out why the Americans aren't embracing this idea AND the idea of Chow King, fast food Chinese...BRILLIANT!

Finally we are back at the hotel and I am gross and exhausted! The game plan from here is shower and fall asleep before Dad!! Please keep us in your prayers!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What day is this??

They LOVE basketball here. Please notice though
their playing shoes. Flip flops. That's all I have
seen them play in!

J.R., Daddy, and Brother Roger taking the confession
of the first baptism of the trip. Not a bad looking
"baptistery", huh?
These are the homes of the women that were
baptised. I honestly have seen bigger tree houses.

Sorry I didn't turn it. This was my "classroom"


I think that there is a time in most every ones life that changes who they are fundamentally. Not necessarily for better or for worse, just changes you. It's not always even one of the biggest moments of your life, it's just the one that changes you. I'm sure that you are probably thinking that I am about to write about how this is that moment for me. Not so much, unfortunately. Like most of us, my life changing moment wasn't a great moment in my life.

The thing about this moment is I haven't really felt like "myself" since then (what ever that undefinable "myself" actually is) It's not that I think about it. I usually don't even realize how far from "myself" I am. Today the thought just crept up on me, "I finally feel like myself again." It even surprised me. I would love to say that it's a spiritual thing but I'm not sure it really is. I can't really put my finger on what it is whether it's not having to worry about going to work, or not having to worry about money stuff, not even having to worry about little tifts and arguments with family and friends, ect. Although I do feel like a lot of these things weigh me down at home so maybe it's a combination of all these things. I've probably rambled but I just wanted to record that thought that I had today. Maybe I'll figure out a way to be "myself" more at home.

Today we started out going out to the campus and participated in their chapel. Then I had my first class with "my kids" from around that area. These are the ones that I met last time I was her and the ones that I would love to take back home with me. After class I sent them home and went in for our mid morning snack. We just visited around until lunch (some of the teachers and students were gone with NaNa and PaPa on a Bible study) and then after lunch we had our second Bible study. Today they learned about Adam and Eve and most of them could quote Genesis 1:1 when we were through. It was a great day. Before I left I sat down with all of the kids and showed them my photo album. By the time we were through I could point to everyone in my "familia" and they would scream out the correct corresponding name. More on this at the end of the blog.....

Next we went with Brother Roger and one of the new students, J.R. to conduct a Bible study that was already lined up. Hopefully, when I post this there will be a picture near this part of the blog of the exact spot of my "class". Picture this grassy ally way covered in trash and goat poo. Why is it covered in goat poo, you ask. Because right along with me and the kids are six goats! One literally wrapped its rope around me during "Father Abraham" and I landed on the ground IN the goat poo! On top of the less than perfect teaching conditions, the kids didn't speak ANY English, understood what can't even be considered as "little", and they knew only two songs and one of them was in Tagalo! Did I mention that it was 798 degrees out there with 800% humidity?? Regardless, it was still an AMAZING experience. We baptized two and the kids knew FOUR songs, Genesis 1:1, and all kinds of facts about Noah by the time we left.


Now for my crowning moment. L and L, this may not be how it is in the states but there is no question how it is in the Philippines! The only background you need to know watching this video is that "maganda"" translates to "beautiful" and that they had no prior knowledge of the questioning! Make sure your volume is up :^)




video

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 1, Day 2, What day is it???

Good grief. I just asked Daddy what time it was here and he said, "6:25" I replied with, "morning or night?" Boy is my body confused and it's tough to confuse a night shift body! The good news is, WE HAVE FINALLY ARRIVED!!!!

We drove up to the campus today and the kids were literally chanting my name! They (about 30 of the kids from around the neighborhood where the campus is) hung all over me (again with the no concept of personal space) and told me over and over how excited they were for me to be there and how they had been waiting on me! Before I could even go inside and see the new building and visit with the faculty and students they had to sing me two of the "English" songs I taught them last time. One of my favorite little girls has a boil on her face and my heart just breaks looking at her. The faculty at PTC said they are doing all they can to get her some medicine.

The building and whole campus looks GREAT! I can't believe that it is the same place! I will try to post pictures tomorrow of the campus the last time that I was here and what they look like now. The work is really growing at a phenomenal pace here!

If you read my blog last year you may remember the rooster! I am about to take a sleeping pill and put my earplugs in to avoid the rooster and Daddy's snoring :^) Hope all of you are having a great week! Please continue to remember us in your prayers!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 1- Manila

We're here! In the Philippines to be exact. We arrived last night and it was pretty clear immediately why I love this place. It's the people. Since I haven't gotten to see "the people" yet I realize that I'm in a third world country. WAY more people per square inch than Americans can even imagine- Check
People who have NO concept of "personal space"- check, check
lack of hot water- check, check, check
I could go on.....
One thing that doesn't change America or Philippines is how ANNOYING my dad is in the morning! Those of you who didn't grow up in my house CAN'T understand! It's not that he's just a morning person. My NaNa is a morning person and she gets up and enjoys her quiet time before everyone else gets up. My dad, NOT SO MUCH! He LOVES to get up in the mornings but wants EVERYONE else to be up with him!! The man woke up THREE HOURS before our alarm went off. Yeah, we're going to have to set down some ground rules before tomorrow morning!
Today we will make the six hour van ride to the PTC (Philippine Theological College) campus where I will FINALLY get to see everyone! YAY! Believe me, for all of my complaining, I absolutely CAN'T wait to see all the students, the faculty,and the kids that live in the neighborhood!!! Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Hopefully, I'll be able to update tonight!

My luck is changing?

Well, this blog is being written from Tokyo, Japan. We had a VERY bumby but otherwise uneventful trip over. Here's the best part....we were again on the very back seat, which isn't a bad thing on the big jets, right by the standing room and close to the restrooms. Evidently there were kids on the plane but I never heard them (I know though because they made an announcement about one throwing up in the aisle). There were lots of good movies but I only watched "Marley and Me" (side note.....I'm REALLY not sure that falls into the "COMEDY" category!) before I took my Ambien CR! I wish that Dr Lucy read this so I could give her a VERY big shout out right here! That stuff is better than gold on a plane trip!

We have a four hour layover here and then we'll board for our 5 hour flight to Manila. The flights are packed since most of them were canceled due to the plane crash yesterday at this airport. I am really starting to get excited about being there, I have SO missed my friends and the people over there! I hope you are all doing well and I hope that we have internet so I'll be able to keep in touch! Please continue to keep us in your prayers!

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's a good thing....

...that I don't believe in "signs"! First of all I stayed up WAY too late last night (Especially considering that I worked Saturday night, went to services and class and traveled up to Chattanooga on Sunday!) to watch Tennessee LOSE in THE FIRST STINKIN ROUND to BALL STATE!!!! Are you kidding me? REALLY? For those of you who don't understand the severity of this....Since the inception of the tournament as it is, NO Lady Vols team has EVER won by any less than 23 points in the first round! No team has ever NOT made the Sweet 16! Great.....glad I stayed up for that.

Skip ahead a few hours and on the way to the airport the man who drove us starts making conversation ABOUT A PLANE THAT CRASHED overnight!! Really? I mean WE ARE ON OUR WAY TO THE AIRPORT!!! For the love. Then we go to get on our little "toy plane" a.k.a. "commuter flight" from Chattanooga to Chicago and we are on the very last two seats. You know, the ones right beside the lavatory door and the only ones on the plane that don't recline any. Great.

Now we are in the Chicago airport waiting in our terminal and up walks my biggest fear.... two screaming children under the age of 4! No offense to any of you with small, screaming children, but I would rather poke my own eyeballs out than ride on a 14 hour plane ride with them!!! I'll keep you updated!

Last but not last, please keep us in your prayers! We leave here in a few hours for Tokyo, then Manila, then a 6 hour van ride to Dagupan, where we stay! Thanks so much and check back, I hope to be updating almost daily, IF I can find internet over there. If not...sorry....one big blog like last time :^(

Hope you have a GREAT week!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

...everything's going my way..

Ok, ok, so EVERY thing might be an exaggeration but A LOT more than anytime in recent memory and I am thoroughly enjoying it!

First, I went back to the "good" Dr. in Chattanooga on Monday and got THE BEST report! I know most people wouldn't consider a virus that is most commonly found in dogs really good news but it is AWESOME compared to the alternative!!! I have parvo. It's not the same strain as dogs get, but a cousin to it and Fifths disease that kids get. He said I wouldn't have had to go through all the misdiagnosis probably if I didn't work third. But one of the major complaints should have been lethargy and always being tired. Well, obviously I didn't complain of that because that is EVERY day with ANY one who works third or two jobs, especially if you do both! The great news is that most patients have NO arthritic symptoms after a year!!! All I can say is that PRAYERS DEFINITELY WORK!! Every diagnosis I have gotten has been something that I was going to have to live with the rest of my life, be on medications for the rest of my life, and was only going to get worse the older I got! I just can't thank all of you who have sent e mails and cards and have been praying for me enough!

Second, as most of you know, I leave Monday for the Philippines and fund raising had NOT been going as well this year as it did last. In fact, there was serious moments of doubt of whether I would even get to go or not! Again, PRAYERS DEFINITELY WORK! I have been in almost constant prayer about this the last month and here within the last week a few people have come through BIG TIME! I would love to write about each of these individuals but I know that none of them would appreciate that. But, to all of you who were able and willing to be SO generous this year you have no idea how much it means to the people over there and probably even more so to me personally!

Probably the next time I write will be from the airport in Chicago so please, please keep me and my dad and grandparents in your prayers!!! Also, my mom will be doing a lot of traveling by herself between Chattanooga, Montgomery, and Jackson, TN (where her mom lives) so I'd appreciate you keeping her in your prayers too! I hope you are all having as GREAT of a week as I am!!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Beware of the Ides of March

OK, so this isn't actually a warning for Sunday, I just kind of like the saying :^)


Actually, warnings aside, March is quickly making a running for my favorite month of the year. It gives you your first taste of spring, also known as "baseball weather", which just makes my entire disposition better. At 911 March usually signals the end of "fire season" and at the football office it means Spring Ball! It also means the return of two of my most favorite things, Tennessee football and baseball!!! Throw in March madness and it's hard not to believe that the worst thing about this month is the Spring fever it brings with it!!!

This year it's even better because it brought three inches (at one time!) of snow to Montgomery and it's the month that I am returning to the Philippines!!! Me and Daddy will depart from Chattanooga at 6:25am March 23rd and will land in Manila at 10:15pm on March 24th, Lord willing. We will spend the night in the airport hotel and leave early the next morning for our six hour van ride to Dagupan, where we will stay for 13 amazing days. We will leave Dagupan on April 6th for the van ride back to Manila and spend the night there for our 9am flight out the next morning. After passing back through Japan (interesting fact....we leave Japan at 5:35pm local time and arrive all the way around the world 3:35p.m. local time on the same day!) and stopping for a short 3 1/2 hour layover in Chicago before returning to Chattanooga at 9:30pm on the 7th! Whew!

While we're on the topic of the Philippines, this has to be said. I have some AMAZING people in my life. To say that two weeks ago I was a little discouraged with how my fundraising was going would be downplaying it. I was VERY discouraged. It looked almost impossible where last year getting the funds together had been so easy. The people in my life have come through though! Family members of course, old friends, new friends, land lords, people that I work with at Faulkner as well as people I work with at 911 have all helped out! Last year 90% of my funds came from 4 sources. This year only 50% of my funds have come from three sources, the other half has come from just $15 $25 $50 and $75 checks from random friends and family. It's been so amazing how people respond. So, if that qualifies any of you, consider this another thank you! You have been an intricate part of my March being so great! If you weren't and you want to be (;^) never to proud to make another pitch!), I am still a few hundred dollars short! Thanks again to all of you who not only helped me financially but who are keeping me, Daddy, NaNa, and PaPa in your prayers as we travel and hopefully win MANY souls for the Lord!

HAVE A GREAT REST OF MARCH!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

THANK YOU!

I am just coming off three days of VERY unpleasant tests and cannot pass out tonight until I send out some thanks. First of all, Leigh was quite the trooper. She stayed with me more than anyone else and there is no way it could be described as fun. Louise and Dirt did their fair share, Dirt even brought me flowers! Mom and Dad were in town and escorted me to all the Dr's appts so Leigh didn't have to miss any extra work and did everything they could to make me more comfortable. I had so many other friends, family, and co-workers who called and checked on me, not to mention all of the prayers going up on my behalf! I would LOVE to thank the Dr's and nurses (they certainly earned their money yesterday with me and my family!) but something tells me they won't be reading this blog :^)

The tests didn't go as well in some aspects as they usually do (I had some "complications" with the anesthesia) but all together it was fine and I'm SO GLAD it's over! I won't get the results back for a few days but I did want to thank those who went through that small "valley" of my life!