Friday, July 31, 2015

Reaching People How Ever You Can

One of the things that is always difficult is language.  Even though we have been learning some of the language, we are always trying to find other ways of reaching the locals.  We were given an Action Bible that is cartoon-comic-style bible written in english.  Since most of our adults here have not been to high school they are far from fluent in English.  So we are having some locals translate it in to the common language here.   They type it, paste it over the english, then laminate it so it can last a long time and handle all the kids.  It has taken a long time and we are over half way and have already had many people read the portions that have been completed.  We are excited about reaching more of our neighbors with the Good News through the Action Bible.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


If you ever think that you can not do all that we are called to do and to be, you are right.  Grace, His strength, His power, His touch, His ways, His grace. Did I say grace twice? I am about 700 short.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

All Things to All People

So yesterday I spoke of the young man who is now out going to other islands sharing the love of Jesus.  This was actually a process of understanding and growth.  After he received Christ he wanted to go to the distant tribes and give bibles with a local pastor and myself.  After that he said, "Marko, I want to do what you do."  So his school had a career day and he said to me, "Do you have a tie and nice shirt because I want to go as a missionary.  Some are dressing up like doctors and layers, so I want to show them I want to be a missionary."  I said, "You are in for a big surprise.  Simply put, you do anything and everything that is needed at any time."  That is more to the truth of what a missionary is.  So I gave him a hard hat, hammer, bible, apron, basketball shorts, tie, spatula, whistle, stethescope, etc.  I told him that is closer to the truth.  So he wore it to school on career day.  At first people laughed at him, but when he told them what he wanted to do and why, they started bragging about him.  By the end of the day, people where having there picture taken with him.  So here is a picture of him before he went to school.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sending Out

The main goal is to be as close to the Father as possible.  The next is bringing people closer to Jesus, either helping them find Him for the first time or getting closer to Him if they already know Him.   Working through their issues, then where ever are they are, share the love and light of Jesus in their situation.  We have had the privilege of having our first person receive Jesus, be raised up, and now is sent out going to other islands.  It is a great and strange, all at the same time.  I feel like being a nervous and excited dad.  It makes me hungry for more.  We have many people that are reaching out here, but the world needs more Filipinos sharing Jesus, all over the world (in my opinion).  :0)

Monday, July 27, 2015


There are many different ways to approach reaching out to people to share the love of the Lord.  I was reminded of that in a swim I took today out in the ocean.  I went out a little longer than usual and to my surprise I found around 50 giant star fish together laying on the bottom of the ocean floor in the water.  This brought up a lot of why questions.  Out of the seven years of swimming here, I have seen two starfish and one was dead.  So the why questions started.  Why here?  Why now?  Is this a good thing?  Is this bad?  In my opinion, this is the same approach I take when trying to reach a group.  For example, if there is a large group at the internet cafe, I ask why are they here?  What do they watch? Why do they watch it?  We talked to a young man that said he needed to stop smoking.  So I asked, why did you start?  He said to be with his friends.  I asked if he ever smoked alone?  He said no.  I asked him, "Why do you only smoke with your friends?"  He responded that he did not know why.  So he is probably smoking as a social acceptance thing with his friends.  So instead of trying to get him to stop smoking (which is horrible for your body), we are spending our time showing him how much God loves him and how much we love him.  The issue is not smoking but being loved and knowing JESUS.  Why do the kids punch each other, why do they steal, and lie?  The "why" will take us to the heart of the matter and God is the one who can and loves to change hearts.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Where Ever You Go, There You Are

Our true calling at this moment came when we lived in Texas and we realized that the who you are is the real issue, and not where you are.  I say this because in the middle of all that we get to do, we need to keep are eyes on Him and allow Him to be with, and be involved in all that we do.  We get to actively love God as we actively love others.  The things that we do are important, but, if not done in Him, with love, then all of this will wither up.  Over the next blogs we will tell you stories and things that are going on, but always remember it is through His grace, strength and power that any of it happens.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Short and Long of It

Having being involved in both classic short-term and long-term missions, I can say this, both are needed.  We have been living on foreign soil for over ten years now and 7 of it has been here in the Philippines.  But even in the middle of this long-term work, there are short-term things that we do. We sometimes go up to the mountains and share and give bibles.  We occasionally go do disaster relief or a medical outreach.  Both are so important, and in my opinion I can say that the long-term stuff is harder.  They are both hard but when you can't walk away or see a finish line any where in sight it can be tough.  The other day one of the guys that I have invested in the last seven years, came to me and told me he is where he is at today because of God's influence through me.  After the rough day I had today, I needed to be reminded of that, knowing it is really worth the investment.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Changing Ordinary to Extraodinary

The ordinary days, oh they can exist, but it is matter of choice if they are boring and the mundane.  I needed to go to market so I decided to take my bike to get some exercise.  On the way back I stopped to look at something I have never seen before.  I met some new people and actually was given a bunch of things for the ministry.  While washing the dishes I try to brake my time record or beat everyone to them so I can bless them.  Or I make it a challenge to say "Hi" and wave to every one I see, which is a real challenge.  I try to share my story to seven people a day.  I like petting every animal I see.  Instead of being annoyed with traffic, praying for every vehicle that pulls up beside me.  Not every day am I that pro-active, but what makes me a missionary is who I am, not where I am.  Embracing the moment, living and loving, not letting life pass you by.

"I have come to give life (Zoe), and life abundantly (overflowing)"  ~ Jesus in John 10:10

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Complicated Simplicity of it All

As I write you, I have four of our girls playing around and jumping on the bed, and on the phone is one of the young men we have trained up and is now in bible training.  It is one of those moments when you realize the most important thing you can do is what is in front of you right now.  The thing that is so confusing to many people is that it looks different in different times.  But it should always be clothed in love.  For us, and our family, it does not have a formula or any boundaries.  There is nothing below me (cleaning, washing, changing diapers, etc) and there is nothing above me (pastoring, speaking, etc.)  As long as I am lifting HIM up so that all can see HIM, and have the loving care and relationship that HE so longingly desires: intimate constant life with God.  So I will end now, and enjoy more snuggles, and encourage my son in Christ on the PHONE, and my adopted daughter in Christ as she skypes us, and my girls as they insist on climbing uncomfortably all over me as we continue on this amazing Journey.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Passing it On

One of our focuses is about raising up leaders.  Pouring into to them and training them, having the love of God pouring through the local people and getting excited and passionate for Jesus. This has come through getting to know them through guitar class, basketball practice, being helped at the clinic, or helping fix their house.  We are trying to work our way out of the picture and let it come brightly and truly through them.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Shine Bible Club

July 19
Of the six current bible studies that we do every week one is very unique and that is the Shine Club.  Our daughter actually started it and has been running it for the last 5 years.  This club is made up of all girls from the age of 8-15 years old.  She started it with the main goal that they come to know Jesus, that He loves them, and they are special.  Many of the girls have very low self-esteme and do not feel loved.  This club is once a week and is full of games activities, and a simple message from God's word that can be applied.  Bekah has been raising up leaders to take her place and now that she is going to school in America, they are.  We are helping out and filling in where ever we are needed as the learn there way through the beginning stages of leadership.  Here we are helping run a game in the Shine room.  It is a joy to watch them grow and learn over the years.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Working with Others

Along with the other things we do we also get to work with local schools, churches, pastors, hospitals and other organizations.  This is very important for many reasons.  First, if we can help we want to help, but a more importantly to submit ourselves to their authority and culture so that we do not do more harm than good. We run a bible study for the teachers at a Christian school.  I can speak every Sunday at a local church.  Patti consults and helps at clinics and hospitals so that she is current and connected to local doctors and medical staff.  Not only do we enjoy this but we find it absolutely necessary in order to understand and try to be in the heartbeat of the culture.  And with God's grace and a lot of patient Filipino brothers and sisters we are moving forward.

Friday, July 17, 2015

All That Goes on in Our House

If you were to paint a picture of what our house goes through in one day you would have to use every color known to man. We live in a bamboo & coconut wood house, in a old squatter village. Too start with we have taken in 5 girls, ages 2, 3, 8, 12, and 22, plus my wife and I.  My wife is a registered nurse and I did EMT training so we have a clinic in our front room.  In the back is a work shop that doubles as a play area, meeting area, and dance class area.  We feed  40 to 75 people every day.  And sometimes its all going on about the same time.

So we have a busy house filled with ups and downs and we love it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Using What You've Got

July 16

     We are in the middle of making a community playing area out of a unwanted unused garbage area.
The locals call it Subangan, which means where the rivers meet the ocean. The dynamics of this are amazing in how one activity can help the kids and one can cause tons of problems. We have been working on this for about three years now and it is always changing. Why? Because the storms change the beach and we get to move everything, and children change, and we add new ideas, and phase out the old. Many times new opportunities come with it. It is easy to get caught up in it making it nice and fun, then miss out on the heart of it all, and that is the children.  Slow down, go to one knee, and dive into their eyes and connect with their heart. The other stuff is important, but it won't last forever, but these kids will.

The Different Ways in the Philippines

Hi, yes it has been too long. It is July 15 as I write you. It has taken that long to get internet to our house. That is a miracle all by itself. From the day we arrived we called, texted, filled out applications. went to the office, called and wrote again and again.  They would not come for some reason or another. So we started all over again. Actually it took three rounds of applications. We are thankful to have it but as we take this journey together and we paint a picture of where we live and how we live, keep this in mind, we are not in Kansas Toto. Things go at there own speed and many times done their own way and no one knows why.  It's just the way it is.  It's fine really, but in order to keep Jesus with you and your witness in tack, I need to remember two main things.  It's just different, and what are the opportunities hidden in this moment? In four hour waits, no power, eight hour bus rides, and going on a treasure hunt for one item that no one carries, opportunities will present themselves.  All that to say there are lots of opportunities to love and serve people. As you read from our day to day experiences, we will share some of them with you, and we would like to hear some of  yours to. So for today, good-

bye and God bless you.