Survey for School!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


I am a homebody. I enjoy going out and having a little adventure sometimes but mostly I like to be home. It's not that I'm scared or feel more secure at home, it's just that home is a pleasant place where I feel more energized and am able to function my best.

When I was younger, I spent the majority of my time, in fact most of it, at home. When I got my first job I was suddenly gone a much larger percentage of the time. I came to realize just how close I was to my family and just how much I loved every room in the house and every rock and tree on my mountain. I got a couple more jobs and started doing more things at church and eventually I was only home a few days a month and long enough to sleep every night. Then I moved to the Philippines and then I was in the mountains for a month with no contact whatsoever with my family.

My journey keeps taking me farther and farther away. And my heart hurts at each step and I grow more tired each time. Surprisingly, the move to the other side of the world was not the biggest step. The biggest was when I gradually began to realize that I had changed, and that even if I returned, I would not fit in. Not really.

Here in the Philippines there is no direct translation of 'home' so sometimes in English it gets translated literally as 'your place.' Every time someone asks 'do you have that in your place?' or 'when are you going to your place?' I'm not sure if they mean the dorm or the US. Where is my place?

But maybe I have gone even farther than that. The past few months I have taken to heart some things I already knew about life. There are things happening here that make me hate this world.

People say that when they visit a third world country their eyes are opened to just how much better we have it in the U.S.  Mmm... no, I think these horrible things were happening there too. It's just that as the illusion of home fell away, I was able to see them more clearly. And they make me hate it. I never want to call any place home if it is on the same planet with all this pain and confusion. Everywhere I go I will feel far away in an unfriendly place.

In my heart 'home' has shifted from Aurora, WV to my final destination beyond the skies. It is a little hard because I am very tired and I know it will take longer to get there, but I am thankful because I know not everyone has that place and I know my home there is sure. My father will be waiting for me along with innumerable brothers and sisters. I will never again have to leave or say goodbye.

This World is not my Home I'm just a-passing through,
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world any more.

Oh Lord, you know I have no friend like you
If heaven's not my home then, Lord, what will I do?
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world any more.

I have a loving savior up in glory land
I don't expect to stop until I with him stand
He's waiting now for me in heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world any more.

Oh Lord, you know I have no friend like you
If heaven's not my home then, Lord, what will I do?
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world any more.

Just up in glory land we'll live eternally
The saints on every hand are shouting victory
Their songs of sweetest praise drift back from heaven's shore
And I can't feel at home in this world any more.

Oh Lord, you know I have no friend like you
If heaven's not my home then, Lord, what will I do?
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world any more.

That is my place. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Secret

A few weeks ago four of us white ladies and a Filippina translator sat in a tiny dark kitchen of a tiny concrete house. The beautiful young mother in front of us was apologizing for not having snacks for us. "Pobre kaayo ko." (I am very poor.) and indeed, there on the floor lay a pile of cassava-the food of the very poor. She did not even have rice but maiz or the corn imitation of rice and a few three inch long dried fish for herself and her 7 children for supper.

However, as we listened to her it became clear that the money situation was not uppermost on her mind. There were harder, more important trials. Her husband had left and gone to the city with another woman. When he comes back sometimes he brings food but he also brings fighting and an STD that our hostess does not have money to get medicine for. She is afraid her children might catch it as she is still nursing the youngest and does not know enough about STDs to know if they can spread other ways. But the hardest trial by far is tsismis. Gossip. The entire village knows and they will not come close for fear of catching it. When she comes home late from her hand washing laundry business in the city the gossip just gets worse. So our dear Ate lives in that dark little house, afraid to walk down the street for the looks she will get.

She and her eldest son, who looks older than he is for all that is on his shoulders, both want to learn more about God because they have noticed that is the only way they have found peace. Because of the tsismis, though, and because her husband destroys any Bibles he finds, they cannot go to church or even learn in their home. And she asks, "Ngano man?" Why is it? Her faith is wobbling. What do I tell her? What would you tell her? I do not know.

Later my dear new Filippina friend and I lay on the floor of our bamboo house-on-stilts waiting for lunch to be served. She told me her story of how she became a Christian and some of the rejection that pierced her heart afterwards. I can still see her face and hear her tone of voice, "I love my family. I asked God, 'Do I have to hate my family just to follow you?' Even now, when I think that I will be in heaven and my family will be in hell, oh! my heart is hurt. I am still praying for them."

My mind kept turning. How does this girl still have all that bubbly joy and sense of humor and passion for God and drive to get the message out when her father yelled that she was no longer his and her mother fights and asks, "Don't you love me?" I see that she sacrifices much for them, yet more for the gospel. I see that she always wears the thin necklace that was the last gift her father gave her before he died and she does not really know if he was a Christian. I see that she loves everyone she comes across with the love of a true friend. She loves to joke about everything funny and make up new words for existing songs and laugh at our poor attempts at Visayan. What is her secret?

The next day we visit the house of a girl who knows a surprising amount about Christianity for being in this unreached village. She loves her Bible and asks many questions. We share the gospel and ask if she has decided to follow Jesus and only Jesus. Then the fear comes out. She knows several people who became Christians and she watched the trials begin.  Her husband is not a Christian. She knows about the social persecution and she tells of one man who was struck by lightning and killed just after he got saved. She is too afraid to choose Jesus. What do we tell her?

We meet the young widow of the man who was killed by lightning. She sits quietly in a hammock and smiles sadly at us. She has three tiny children and is a Christian but her elderly parents who she is now living with are not. I also start to wonder why. What do I tell them? I know the frustration of not having questions answered. I know the pain and fear that can tear at your soul, though perhaps not on as deep a level as these ladies.

At the next house the gossip story surfaces again. This lady's husband is home and actually supportive which is rare. The couple wants to go to church but everyone there knows secrets about their lives and they are afraid of what people will say. I strain to understand any Visayan I can. My Filippina friend who had shared her story earlier is saying something. I catch the words "Mga mata.... Jesus.... mga mata.... mga tawo." And I suddenly understand. I could kick myself for not remembering. It is the story of Peter drowning in the waves.

Drowning in fear. Shame. Grief. Loneliness. Things that wrench your heart and tear your soul. Unreasonable. Unfair. Always there. Can anything get a person through weeks and years of this? Is it possible to flourish? But this is what Jesus went through for us. The cross was unfair, shameful, and lonely. When we look at God we can see his love, wisdom, holiness and power and we can trust Him. If we look at the waves like Peter did, all logical sense tells us that it is not possible to walk on them. But when we look at God we see He is so big, so much bigger than we can comprehend and when we know that we belong to Him something happens to us and suddenly we find ourselves dancing on the waves.

In the words of my friend, "We are only human and sometimes we forget but that is the way."

Wise men and philosophers, elders and professionals in suits and everyone on Facebook is looking. King Solomon, Dr. so and so, explorers and prophets down through the ages. They are all looking for the secret to life. Many articles have been written claiming they know it but many contradict each other. This past month I, a 19 year old girl from nowhere, discovered the truth in the mountains of the Philippines from people the world will never hear about.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

My favorite things to watch when I am feeling homesick or just need to wind down

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Sometimes I just like to write this one slowly in my best cursive and it takes me home to my woods behind our house when everything is deathly still and so silent that time also stands still. It is there in the semi-darkness that I can hear Jesus' voice best and see his white masterpiece of beauty painted on everything.

Those woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

The Road Not Taken

This one I like because of the Fall leaves and because Jesus' straight and narrow path is the road not generally taken yet it is the one I chose. And that has made all the difference.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Helpful Cebuano Resources

To learn Cebuano, you really need a teacher because grammar is just not found online or in books. Plus, it is not primarily a written language it is a spoken language. It is evolving and every place that speaks it speaks differently. However, there are some resources online that can help with homework etc. These are the ones I have found helpful.

a youtube vocabulary builder

affixes document

English/Cebuano dictionary online

This site is awesome for drilling yourself in anything. You can type in your own questions or vocab or anything. I highly recommend it. You can also search 'Cebuano' and copy other people's lists;

This blog I have not looked at much but it could be helpful;

Hope it helps!

Sunday, July 12, 2015


 Growing up and especially through my teenage years, I, of course, thought about what I wanted to do  when I was old enough. For a long time, it seemed irrelevant because it was so far off. I felt like it wouldn't actually happen. Then, when It did, I suddenly had to decide what to do. There are so many paths to take, so many people who think their bandwagon is the right one. How does one know?

As a Christian who has been given eternal life, living in one of the richest countries in the world, I felt that I should give back some of what I had, to God and 'the least of these,' His brothers. I wanted to do His will. Slowly I learned to recognize God's voice and to just step out in faith. I decided on this mission clinic because I know from being God's friend and knowing his heart that what the people here do is important to Him. I had peace and a goal to work towards.

After I had objectively decided what to do after high school, a few weeks before I left, I started seeing all the things I could have chosen. Now that I wasn't being bombarded with ideas and a sense of duty, I saw what I liked.

I have always wanted to get married, ever since I can remember. Really bad. I have tried to give up that desire because the reality is that I am not married and even if I get married later on, wishing for it now is just a waste of time. I want to be content. But I am scared of being an old maid. I feel for that prophet's daughter who went out into the hills to mourn because she knew she would die single. Getting married at 30 seems almost as bad. But, married or not, there are things I would have enjoyed if I had stayed in the states.

A year or so out of high school, I could have gotten a little house all my own and some chickens. I could have taken my sister to hike the Appalachian trail. I could have gone to our friend's civil war balls and learned how to dance. I could have gotten more involved with church activities and the youth group. I could have stayed within visiting distance of my family. I could have found all the Christian/Homeschool gatherings in the states and taken my siblings to them. I could have traveled but always come back after a month or so. I could have learned to play the piano. I might even have met someone not too far off down the road.

But I am here. Stuck for three years. And I love it. But I still really want all that. Very badly. So I told myself, three years is not that long, just do all of that when you get back. And God allowed me to think that for awhile. But recently I began to wonder, what will I do if God calls me somewhere else after this? The same as He called me here. After all, this is a mission school. He might want to use my training for more than a few months overseas every couple years. What if that place, too, is far from family and fun? What if it is a dangerous country? And what, (oh dear) if I never get married?

Then God asked me, "Can you trust me with your happiness?" That is a huge question. Happiness is something very close to my heart. That is almost as big as trusting him with the salvation of my soul. Could you trust someone else with your happiness? It is hard to answer when I look at myself and my life but when I look at Him, I know him so well that I know the answer is yes. He is trustworthy.

It is frustrating to try to lay down the desire for a husband because it is a God-given part of me. But I think this is what my dad meant when he talked about one season of his own life, "If it is just you and God, would that be ok?" "Can you trust Him with your happiness?" It is freeing to say yes. Truly, the more you try to take control, the more bound you become. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." Thinking about it now, I know I would not be really happy any other way anyway. "In thy presence is fullness of joy."

Sunday, July 5, 2015


Let them praise his name in the dance:
let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.
Psalm 139:3

Lately I've been thinking about how much a Christian's walk with the Lord is like a dance. He leads, I follow. Sometimes He does more, sometimes he asks me to do more. It takes hard work to learn each part. And it should always be joyful.

I'm learning to dance.

Stepping out in Faith

I am now going do discus one of the deep truths of missionary life in the Philippines. It's actually more like a skill that every single one of the girls here has to learn or die trying.

Crossing a Philippine street.

I always feel like one of the Israelite priests standing on the edge of the Jordan river looking at the raging water and swirling currants.

"What? I'm supposed to jump in?"

And jump in I do and so far God has gotten me across every time, though I did notice some glares a couple of times when I did not see which way a car or motorcycle was headed.

Pedestrians do not have the right of way, nor do there seem to be any rules for the traffic. If there is a stop light, they stop on red but that is about it. If your vehicle can fit, have at it! I've never seen a stop sign here. Nor have I seen any accidents. Everything moves pretty slowly so that helps.

Ah, the joys of a strange country!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Why Me?

Sometimes I wonder how many people live in Africa and think how most of them have been effected, some profoundly, by all the wars and guerrilla attacks that tear through the continent. I think of all the tribes who live way back in the hills of South America and Australia and around the world who have to walk for days just to get water. 

And I think, “Why me?” 

I wonder and pray for all the girls in India who have been raped and then shamed for it. I think of all the Christians in China who are not free to worship openly and all the families through church history who have been persecuted for their faith. I take a nice, hot shower and think that no king in the Middle Ages or all the way back to the beginning of the world had such a shower. 

And I think, “Why me?” 

Why was I put in a wonderful family whose parents love each other, never yell, and never even thought about divorce? Why do we have 3-4 Bibles per person when so many others cannot read, don’t have the Bible in their language, and have never heard the gospel? So many people. Why was I chosen? Was I chosen? I don’t know. I am not perfect. I have filled whole pages of my diary with all my faults. Yet I have all these gifts. I have even been given eternal life while so many have searched in vain for the fountain of youth.

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. Ecclesiastes 9:10

It doesn’t seam fair. I don’t know what else to say about it besides I trust that God knows what He is doing.

I was always confused by the people who had something tragic happen like their daughter was killed in an accident and they asked, “Why me?” Yes, they need to grieve. Yes, it was a terrible thing. But why should you get any more favor than other people? The next time you want to ask, “Why me?” stop and ask, “Why is my daughter in the arms of Jesus while someone else’s daughter was kidnapped and sold?” “Why me?”

And be ye thankful. Colossians 3:15b

Friday, May 8, 2015

My Favorite Recipe for Carob Powder

I do not like carob.

It tastes bad.

It tries to mimic chocolate. (big offence)

In Medieval times, it was used for animal feed. I can see why.

So how can a recipe for carob be good? By using it up without having to eat it. This is a homemade dry shampoo. It has one part corn starch, which is what soaks up the hair oil and works really well. Just that would probably turn my hair whitish so I add about the same amount of carob powder. A makeup brush is nice to help apply it. I got the idea from this lady's blog. She also has a spray version that I have not tried yet:

DIY Wet/Dry Spray Shampoo for Light or Dark Hair

1 cup warm water
1/4 cup arrowroot or cornstarch
1/4 cup vodka, rubbing alcohol or witch hazel
Essential oils or a spritz of your favorite perfume to scent
What to do: Mix all ingredients in a small spray bottle and shake well. Shake before each use and spray on roots or oily parts of hair. Let dry and style as usual.

I'm at the age where my hair gets oily really fast. Since it's also really strait hair, the oil shows up pretty fast and it's not pretty. I've learned to wash my hair flipped over in the sink so I don't have to take a whole shower every time. A washing will last about 24 hours but sometimes I'm too busy or tired for that so this dry shampoo is nice to have. It's surprising how well it works.

Monday, April 27, 2015

My Favorite Word of the Day

Francophile: a person who is fond of or greatly admires France or the French

howjsay francophile

Yep, it's a real word. Just came across it while researching an author for a book report. I am not necessarily a francophile but in this age of limited vocabulary, It's pretty cool that the word exists.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Philippines Picture Post II

So what the missionary family does is the father goes to all the schools in the area and shows gospel films, then he also gives a talk and hands out bible story books. He has one of these film showings about 2-3 times per week. After they have been to all the schools in the area, the family moves to a different area. While I was there I helped them move to a town with more Muslims. Although 'evangelists' are not allowed into Muslim schools, a 'drug-prevention program' is so they found a drug-prevention video to show along with the gospel talk.

I heard that the house they were in when I got there was pretty rundown when they bought it. This sand the kids are playing with was left over from repairing the house.

The building materials are very different from here. There is a lot of bamboo and concrete. For roofs, they have tin or thatch like banana leaves.

These are some of my little friends who called me Ate Amy and who tried to teach me all 4-5 dialects at once. :)

The family got some new book shelves while I was there which made lots of excitement!

They also got a missionary box from some friends in the states. That was even more exciting!

We girls all made an excursion to the mall one Sunday after church. The girl I am standing with is older than me so I called her ate which means big sister. She thought it was funny that the tall white girl called her that.

These are the men's "suits" of the Philippines made from pineapple and banana leaf fiber.

This is the women's version also made from banana and pineapple leaves.

I told my Ate that I could get my wedding dress in the Philippines. Now I just have to find the guy! :)

The mountains were really lovely and reminded me of home. So did the corn fields.

Can you see the ocean way out there?

Of course, even the mountains were not exactly the same. Can you see the volcano in the background here? There were quite a few of them spread around.
And this, my friends was the first normal bathroom I saw in a couple weeks. It was at a McDonalds (that sold rice!)
  • It had a flip-down seat
  • It had toilet paper
  • It had a trash can
  • It was semi-clean
  • and even though it didn't work, it had a sink
Just had to take a picture.

Air conditioned busses went from city to city. They were ice-cold. It was almost nice to get back into the heat.
At the bus stops venders were everywhere. This lady saw me take the picture and I was immediatly offered all kinds of snacks by every vender in sight.
This is another kind of trike that wasn't quite so popular.
This man came to the house one day selling raw honey strait from the comb.
Since we were packing up to move everyone to the new house, there were lots of cardboard boxes which, I discovered, are a favorite toy for kids on the other side of the world too.
As we packed we encountered ants everywhere. I mean everywhere. Mostly they were normal black ants that just tickled but some were red ants that pinched or at least felt like it.
Besides moving, I was able to help the family when some of the kids got fevers. I stayed in the hospital for awhile with the youngest to give the parents a break and fixed supper once or twice.
One day the dad of the family paid some fishermen to take me and one of the kids for a 30min ride on their boat. That was lots of fun.

And the last picture for this long, jumbled post:
This is a phone that only cost $10. I could call all the way around the world with it for 1 peso (2 cents) per minute! The cheapest we could find to call from home was 12 cents/min. It wasn't that hard to hear either. I was impressed.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Resurrection Sunday: My Favorite Holiday

Early this morning, earlier even than when Mary and the other women went to the tomb on the first Easter, a new little baby was born. I did not arrive in time to witness the event but I did get to see the sweet, innocent little girl. She was a miracle and a glory to her creator. I hope she understands some day about all that Jesus did for her on her birthday.
As I was driving home, I was looking at the huge full moon. It lingered even as the sky got lighter. I've had this thought in the back of my mind for awhile but I could never materialize it. I have never been a good writer. The couple poems I tried flopped but this one I wanted to bring glory to God so I asked him to help me put it into words. If it's any good it's because of him.


They say the moon is romantic,
The love of my life gave me the moon.
They say roses are for lovers,
My beloved made me dozens.
They say the ultimate love is to lay down your life,
He died for me.
And his blood dripped down.
And the moon turned rose-red.

They say love songs are powerful,
My God created music.
They say birth is joyful,
My Lord is the giver of life.
They say no-one can defeat the grave,
But Christ has the victory.
And he gives it to me.
And I have joy.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Philippines Picture Post

Alright you guys, I know this has been a long time in coming. Sorry, there is a lot to do before I leave again.

The morning I left, everyone got up early to say bye. I left from Pittsburgh where I gave my coat to Mom and Papa :). I didn't need it in the Philippines.
When I got to LA, I expected the airport to be a little confusing. Was it ever! I barely made it to the gate on time. Before I got off the first plane though, I saw the plane I though I was going to take and took this picture. It was so close yet so hard to get to! :)

The airport in Manila was warm and felt like the south seas if you paid attention.

This is the house of the missionary family I stayed with.

Their truck that picked me up.
The 'park' across the street was an empty lot no one was using so the family cleaned it out, built a pavilion and used it as an all-purpose yard.
Everyone always had fans blowing if they could.
There was a coconut tree in the lot. Ate had a neighbor climb up and cut down some green nuts the first day I was there.
He cut them open with a machete and caught the coconut water.
This was my cupful.
Everyone grabbed a spoon and half a coconut and started scraping.

It was very moist and came off easily. They plopped the meat in with the water and added ice and condensed milk.
I've got to tell you guys, that first day I felt so sick. I really think it was a little heat stroke because of going from winter to hot, hot summer. When I took my first cool shower it was blissful. In the Philippines hardly anyone has a shower head. All the bathrooms have this bucket and scoop to pour the water over yourself.
Where I was, no one had toilet paper either. They all used water with a scoop. I think it was partly because there were so many Muslims in the area.
The next day I got to go to the outdoor market or palinki. It was as fun as I always imagined.

Some of the market was indoors.
Unfortunately it was the fish section. It did not help the smell any.
Did you know that the ink from squid is used as flavoring? It tastes a little like soy sauce.
Tricycles are the main mode of transportation. Not many people know how to drive a car. I saw a few jeepneys in Gen San but there are more in Davao.

The jeepney is the small bus-thing in the back of this picture.

Here you can see the tricycle a little better. Filipinos really squish into them, and onto the top of motorcycles. I counted 10 of us in a trike once, although some of them were kids. The blue motorcycle behind it isn't attached. There are two short benches in the back like the one in the front only lengthwise.

A lot of my time was spent with the family's kids. We had lots of fun. The oldest girl here especially loved meeting another white girl. Her mom is Philippine but her daddy is white so she feels different from a lot of her friends.

It is strange being the only white girl around sometimes. Many people turn to look and definitely act different towards an Americano.

The house was quite open because it did not have air-conditioning. There were always three or four little lizards on the walls and several lines of ants going steadily up, down or across. Birds flew in and out too.

Most of the lizards were 3-4" long but there was a gecko that came out after a rain storm one evening. He was maybe 8" long.

Well, that's all for now. I've got lots more to show but it is for an upcoming post. Stay tuned!