* Our First Sunday in the Philippines (DK)

Artwork Presented by Berean PRCP

It's Monday morning.  I woke at 3:30. Not complaining, though, as we went to bed early (9:00ish), so I did get a good six hours of sleep. The jetlag hasn't been too bad, it seems. It was worse when we came in October. Sharon's still on one ear - I think she inherited the ability to sleep anywhere, at any time of day (or night), for any length of time she might wish! :-) The roosters are crowing already. I also hear plenty traffic noise. Also occasional fireworks.

We've been warned more than once about the fireworks. Apparently it's bad over the holidays, especially new year's - just constant noise. One young man at church yesterday said the noise shouldn't be as bad where we'll be living, and that we would actually get a good view of all the fireworks from there (he suggested setting up my camera on a tripod). He did add that we should expect the smoke and smog caused by it to come our way after a while.

We had a good day in church yesterday - our first Sunday with the Berean PRC. Rev. Smit and I each preached once. He also preached on Saturday in Gabaldon (5 hours away). This coming week we'll both be preaching twice - I on Thursday and once on Sunday, and he twice on Sunday (though once in another church, the First Bulacan Reformed church).

Between the services yesterday the Bereans had what they call an "extended merienda" - i.e., a fairly substantial snack. We were served pansit (a prominent Filipino noodle dish), various other snacks (peanuts, cookies, etc.), and a cake.

The Berean's also officially welcomed us. This included presenting us with a wall hanging. The Smits recieved one as well. The picture will give you an idea of what this was. One of the men in the congregation does the artwork. The elders did the presentation and made some nice comments. They mentioned how significant this day was in the history of the Berean PRC with two missionaries being now in place. They also mentioned (and I didn't realize this) that Rev. Smit and I were the two men who had been here the most on delegation visits. They also expressed their gratitude to the PRCA for its willingness to send two men here, especially at a time when there are so many vacancies.

Riding our Carabao

Today we hope to move into our house. The renovation/addition was finished on time and looks very nice. We plan to do a little cleaning, then to move in what we have (our luggage from the October visit, and from this trip). Our boxes haven't arrived yet, but we know they're on the port in Manila. We were told they might be there a while, as the shipping company has a ton of extra work right now because of the holidays. We've arranged for a mover to come at 6:00 this evening to move to our house some used furniture we bought. That will be our fridge, stove, dining table and chairs, bed, water cooler, dishes, and a few other smaller things. Might be sleeping on the floor for a night, as we have a waterbed and won't be able to sleep in that right away. That's what we did our last night in the States, so should be fine.

We're somewhat restricted in traveling today, as Monday is our no-drive day with our vehicle. Every car has one day of the week that it has to stay off the roads in Manila. If you don't, you'll get a ticket. License plates that end in 1 and 2 are off on Monday, 3 and 4 are off on Tuesday, etc. It's a small effort in trying to curb the amount of vehicles on the road. Doesn't seem to make much difference, although traffic is definitely worse on Saturdays, when there are no restrictions. It's a bear to get around then. On our no-drive day, we are still allowed to be on the road between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, and then again after 7:00 pm.

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