Each year seems to fly by so very fast and here we are well into January 2017. We love this time of year with cooler weather.
As we look back to 2016 we are reminded of God’s faithfulness to us at all times but especially in times of uncertainty. There were a lot of unknowns for us while we were home in Canada. What job would Eli get? When would we return to the Philippines? Would we have enough money to return? What would Eli do for the Fall? This all weighed very heavy on our minds throughout the first 7 months of 2016.
During that time we spent many Sundays visiting supporting churches. We shared what the Lord had been doing among the Ga’dang and with us. Chuck worked part time doing renovations. In February Chuck had double hernia surgery. His time recouperating from surgery gave him the time to continue reviewing his Ga’dang language and culture recordings. He also spent time watching videos and reading material to help with lessons preparations and Bible translation.
We celebrated all the kids’ birthdays with family this last year. Hala turned 17 yrs old in January. Beatrice turned 3 yrs old in February along with Chuck turning 41 yrs old. In April we celebrated Jenna’s 6th birthday. As we celebrated Canada Day by watching the fireworks from our deck at home, we also celebrated Eli’s 19th birthday. We had a combined birthday gathering for Kyle and Charlotte in September as they turned 16 yrs old and 14 yrs old. Then just before we left for the Philippines we enjoyed an early family Thanksgiving that included a birthday party for Sophia’s 10th birthday.
We loved all the family gatherings we were able to have and are already missing them now that we are back in the Philippines. The kids loved the fun of Indian Bingo last Christmas so much that Jenna requested it for her birthday last year. It was fun to be able to share in the fun again. We will always remember the fun of playing Pit with Chuck’s siblings. I have never laughed so hard playing a game! Food of course is a great part of getting together. We shall blame all the family gatherings for the addition of furlough fat.
A highlight of our time home was a week spent with friends at Elim Lodge. The kids enjoyed swimming, tubing, riding in the boat, fishing, riding bikes, kids programs and so much more with our dear friends. We had been looking forward to this time away since 2012. And we will be looking forward to doing it again in 2019.
Eli spent a week in July away at ReBoot. This is a time for missionary kids that are transitioning to life back in Canada to connect with other MK’s, process through the good and bad times they’ve had as being an MK plus look to the future for what God would have for them. This was a challenging but great time for Eli. He left that week feeling better about what he needed to do for the Fall. He decided that the Lord would have him attend New Tribes Bible Institute in Jackson, MI. He had been saving money from his job at Tim Horton’s and with the help of others he was able to afford to go.
It is a strange feeling sending your oldest child off to post secondary education especially knowing that soon we would be half a world away from him. We were thankful that we could visit him just 3 weeks later to see how he was settling in and say goodbye. He finished his first semester in December
and did a great job in all his courses. He even traveled by himself via train from Windsor to Barrie to get home for Christmas break. He sure is growing up and becoming a man.
Our return to the Philippines in October was uneventful. Our visas were applied for quickly but when a major typhoon ripped through the city where our flight centre is we were forced to stay in Manila for a few extra weeks. Thankfully Chuck was able to make it into the village and open our house and get some repairs done along with getting over 1000kg of supplies in.
We welcomed Vivian Gural on November 8th to join our family with homeschooling the 3 younger girls. She has settled in well and the girls are enjoying their time with her. We finally arrived home in the village on November 10th nearly 13 months after we left. It was so good to be back in my own home with places for all our stuff and a nice bed to sleep in. It was nice to see all our friends again and talk of our time away and how things were while we were gone.
We ended 2016 with a short break in town to celebrate Christmas. We enjoyed time visiting with friends, swimming in the pool and baking lots of Christmas goodies! This year we read through Jotham’s Journey with the little girls for advent. It added a new special time during the Christmas season.
We thank the Lord for his blessings to us this last year. He has provided for all our needs and even beyond our needs to wants. We look forward to what 2017 has for us among the Ga’dang people.