Occasionally, people in the States will ask us: “How are your kids doing?” Or “How are they adjusting to being back in the Philippines?” Well, please let us share what we have been doing to try to help them with their transition back to the Philippines.
Returning to the Philippines is a mixture of joy and sorrow, especially for our children. They miss their American friends and they have lost the privilege of participating in church activities they have so enjoyed during our time in the States
Upon our return to the village, Abigail asked if we could make an “octa-ball ring”. This was her favorite game back in the States with her friends in youth group and she wanted to play it with the village kids. For those of you who don’t know “octa-ball”, it is like dodgeball, but all the players are inside a large octagon shape ring. However, I, Stephen, quickly dismissed this idea as it is a large indoor game and if I could do it outside, where in the world would I do it? Even though I said no, I still had a desire to help my kids with their transition back to the Philippines. So, we decided to make a “small” cement pad (16 feet x 16 feet) in our yard where the kids play basketball. Luke had requested this so he could practice for Sports Bible Camp and not twist his ankle so often on the uneven ground. This new slab was a hit with all our kids and with the village kids. Every day, dozens of kids come to play basketball.
Well, one day, Ginger asked me if we could reconsider and make the octa-ball ring for Abigail. It didn’t take much persuasion, especially after Abigail found out that we were considering the idea. I knew I couldn’t make it as big as the one back at our home church in the States, but I would try to make it as big as I could on the new basketball slab. However, to make this octa-ball ring would take some planning and traveling as we don’t have a local Lowes or Home Depot. We were able to purchase plywood near our village, but, we also needed 25 pieces of 1”x3”x8’, 500 wood screws and 8 pairs of hinges. The hardware store for these supplies is only a three-hour drive from the village. We will spare you the rest of the details of making the octa-ball ring. However, yesterday, all the pieces were made and just needed to be assembled on the cement slab. As we (Stephen, Abigail, Luke and Jonathan) were assembling the ring together, kids in the village started to gather around, wondering what is this new game. Once assembled, we jumped inside the ring and played three quick games. After that, we explained the game to the village kids and let them play with us. It was a blast!
Later that night, Ginger said, “I have never seen Anthony (one of the village kids) smile so big.”
Hopefully, this new game will bring joy to our kids and draw village kids to Christ. Thank you for praying for our kids.