The Neighborhood, well a small part…

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   We are getting settled in Philippines. We are living in a city called  Malaybalay, Budkidnon, and no, this picture is NOT where we live, but it is close by.  As I travel, even stateside I like to have a compass and I like to get my bearings. In St. Lucia I drew a map of Castries, the city where we lived and began to learn where all the necessary stores were. Unlike our time in St. Lucia where we did not have access to a vehicle, the Romero family (the FMC missionaries who have been here for 9 months) were donated a vehicle. Now as they prepare to return home for a time they are graciously allowing us and the other missionaries to use it. So we have access to a SUV of sorts. It reminds me of an Isuzu Trooper. It’s a diesel, which is nice as diesel is 10 pesos a liter cheaper than gasoline. (Roughly 1$ a gallon) It is a vehicle designed just for the Philippines as it is named after a local animal, a sort of cow called Tamaraw. last romero bible study 009So why I am writing about the vehicle is to say that while having studied a map of Malaybalay and riding around the city a bunch, it took being unable to find our house to help me get my bearings a little better. The night Lora and I spent at a “Mother and Baby, Lay in clinic” with a first time mother, her sister and 4 other laboring women and their family’s sent me on plenty of errands to help me get a good feel for the city. This experience, I hope, Lora will blog about later.Oregon to first week in the Philippines 125

    So back to getting my bearings, I also like to walk around, find the little stores, try to meet the neighbors, observe. While doing this I stopped at a house that is being remodeled right next to the house we are living in now. Here I met my new Visayan language tutor, Rey. He’s great, we have coffee in the morning and we study anything from tools to animals to local birds. It is a huge blessing and is really helping to me last romero bible study 004to understand the language. I am starting to pick out Visayan words. Rey is very generous with his time. He is the watchman for the project, though the house is total remodel mode he stays there and guards.

    In our training we are taught that when we arrive one of the most important things to do is it to “make a life that works.” After just a little over one week here, we feel we are well on our way. The Lord has blessed us with many friends that are making us feel welcome. A couple days ago someone came over and gave us 150 eggs!

Mark

Reaping with shouts of joy!

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  As we prepare to leave Oregon and our family and friends the place I grew up, the place where most of my family is, Uncles, Aunts, Grandparents,  there is a bitter sweetness about it. This past year stateside we have been back to every place we have ever lived and been to places we have always wanted to go, like Franciscan University. It gets easier to start thinking “why not just stay home, live a normal life, a simple life” then we think of the billions of people that have never heard the Gospel, never even heard the name of Jesus! Over 7 billion people and 2/3’s have never heard His wonderful name!

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As we traveled this last year we have also been able to work and earn some of the funds we need to go back into missions and at the same time being able volunteer other things, like Faith Camp, Praise God! One of the unexpected blessings and challenges of this summer has been the young people and others that Mark has worked with. He has been learning new skills, teaching, and learning to teach the skills that the Lord has blessed him with.

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So as we prepare to leave Oregon and the States the title of this blog is taken from Psalm 126 

 

“The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy! He that goes forth weeping. bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him”

Now thinking of sowing a field with seed or a garden, it should be a time of rejoicing, thinking about the harvest to come. Yet as we leave we do go weeping, yet excited to be carrying the seeds of the gospel and praying that the Lord will bring us home with shouts of Joy!

God Bless you and please keep us in your prayers!

The Eckstines