With many tears and hugs, we said our final goodbyes to our dearest friend in Manila. The next day, with excitement and joy, we flew to Palawan. Greenery greeted our eyes. Gone were the skyscrapers and cityscape. From our 42nd-floor apartment, we have transitioned to our bamboo house in Brooke’s Point, Palawan. We have exchanged the honking of traffic for the crowing of roosters.
Back in the States, before our launch, we often prayed and claimed Jesus’ promise, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore . . .” (Matt. 28:18, 19). God always fulfills His word! We are here now by His power. The next verse concludes with, “. . . and lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Last Sabbath, we fellowshipped in the shade of our bamboo shelter with chickens and dogs at our feet eager to eat any rice that fell to the ground. Sometimes we feel that we have arrived near the uttermost part of the world, and we are thankful that God is with us.
Our bamboo house is a mix of old and new. The bedrooms are bamboo; the kitchen, shower and bathroom are concrete and tile. Yes, we can look through the bamboo floor and see the ground beneath. Yes, lizards and mosquitos are our frequent guests. But we have indoor plumbing and electricity.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). God has fulfilled this promise to us so graciously as well! Before arriving here, we prayed much about finding a house. This was the first and only house we looked at. While inspecting it, we prayed again, and Sonya felt that if the owner lowered the price by about 20 percent, that would be our sign. He lowered the rent precisely according to Sonya’s desired sign. Praise the Lord!
Sonya has always wanted to live by the beach. Our house is only a few minutes’ walk from the beach. There we can look over the wide expanse of the sea toward the east and think of you, our family and friends back home. We also love the fruit here. On the property there are calamansi, abius, jackfruit, guyabanos, mangos, avocados, bananas and more. The tall mountains surrounding us remind us of the mountains we loved in Tennessee.
The people here are warm and friendly, and we have enjoyed the beginnings of ministry. The mountains where the Palawano live are about a half an hour’s drive and then a three-hour hike. Recently, many of the Palawanos came down to the mission farm for rice harvest. Mountain View Farm is only about 15 minutes from our house. We got to help them some with the rice harvest. Luke and Lily got to go swimming at the beach with the Palawanos, plunging in fully clothed as they do. Also Luke and I got to take a young Palawano who was having seizures to the doctor here in Brooke’s Point.
We purchased some fans here in Brooke’s Point to keep us cool—a little one for Lily, a medium-sized one for Luke, and a large one for Sonya and me. Our fan did not seem to blow very much cool air. It was puzzling. One day after lunch, we did a test. Luke’s smaller fan was blowing a lot more air than ours. Why? God helped us figure it out. Someone had installed the fan blades backwards. Now that they are spinning the right way, we can feel the cool air. God’s ways are right. Following Him, our lives spin the right way.
Now that we are here, our prayer is that the rest of the promise will be fulfilled as well: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19, 20). Our prayer is that God would use us and the rest of the team here to start a church-planting movement among the native Palawano people.