This is the seventh, and last, post in a series. If you haven’t read the others yet, please do so using the links below before continuing. Things might make more sense that way! Thanks so much for reading!
I love this picture of my Mom, my Aunt, and me – all together in one image, in one place.
My Aunt and Uncle left the States about twenty years ago and moved to the Philippines to become missionaries. Now they hold church in the downstairs part of their home and have weekly and monthly outreaches to different parts of the community. My Aunt was such a huge influence in my spiritual life when I was growing up. Our families lived together until I was about nine years old, so Aunts and Uncles were more like another set of parents and cousins were more like siblings. Going through the process of being called by the Lord to the field ourselves, her encouragement and words of wisdom from being there already, from persevering and learning to follow the Lord in faith, was so valuable.
This was the first time I got to see the work they are doing and meet the people in their church. I got to lead worship for the two Sunday morning services we were there. During the trip, anytime we were on the road or away from home, my Aunt and Uncle made a point to gather everyone each night and open the word together. My Aunt had me lead worship as well.
When I was growing up, everyone in our family sang. My grandfather used to say that we should, whether we think we had a good voice or not, because that’s all we’ll be doing when we get to Heaven. I feel like that strong heritage of worship and music was foundational for me, and for my sisters and cousins. Being together in the Philippines, worshiping the Lord, hearing the familiar harmonies, that time is something I’ll always be grateful for.
I’m so thankful too, for the precious people in their church. Getting to be with them, I learned just how fervently they prayed for our visas and for us to be able to come on the trip. One conversation I’ll never forget, a couple in the church who are very close to my Aunt and Uncle, hung out with us quite a bit while we were there. The man, Kuya Jimmy (kuya means “big brother” and is term of familiarity and respect) told me towards the end of the trip, that when he first saw the boys and I, he had goosebumps. He said that they’d been praying weekly for us and that when he saw us, it was a great answer to prayer, not mine, but theirs! What an incredible, humbling blessing!
Later in the trip, we got to go to a different area with another beautiful beach. Pictures mean so much I think, because they are tangible (digital) evidence of an experience, like a little portal that takes you back to a moment. These boys wading in the ocean at sunset, on the other side of the world – we were there!
And this boy, with his very serious eyebrows, and beautiful eyes! And all the watermelon he could fit in his tiny mouth!
More non-seat belted van pictures 🙂 Can you tell they were tired?
I love this beautiful little face!
My parents, they worked so hard to make this trip happen! Happy birthday Mom!
We’ve lived on an island for two years now, and for two years the boys have asked me to swim in the ocean with them. And my answer for the most part has been, “Um…no thanks. It’s freezing!” But I had no excuse in the Philippines – the water was like bath water! I actually really swam there, and we were all very happy! We were on the beach the entire day here – swimming, eating barbecue in a little hut, then back out into the water!
A somewhat sad attempt at an all cousin picture 🙂
My Aunt taking the babies for a walk. Time is so precious.
Getting to experience some very elaborate buffets in the city! My Dad looks so happy and Asian here!
We got to visit this really cool museum to celebrate a different aunt’s birthday while we were there! All the walls are covered with these incredible murals that you’re supposed to interact with. You leave your shoes at the front desk and walk the entire building in your socks or bare feet! Missed Branden a little extra on that day.
Ethan and his love of cats!
This optical illusion set up was the coolest!
Getting pampered! I definitely left the Philippines with my hair a glowing fuchsia color!
Sweet friends – so blessed
Two and a half weeks went by so quickly
Such amazing travelers
The flights home had their own share of craziness, if you can believe it! But we eventually made our way back home to Branden. And to the chilly climate of the northern hemisphere. I have to admit, that part of me that wakes up when I’m with family, takes a little while to go back to sleep. It’s bittersweet for sure, but always reminds me that I’m not truly home yet, not in Ireland or the States, or anywhere on this beautiful planet. One day, goodbyes will be a thing of the past, and our hearts will finally be able to settle. Until then, we keep on traveling.
Well Guys, you made it – end of the series! Now I promised an announcement, so here it be…
In the not so distant future, we’ll be on a plane again. We’ll be taking a furlough in the spring, for most of February and March! The plan is to visit family outside of Colorado for the first part of our trip, and then be in Denver for a few weeks in March. So, USA – one of the places we love and call home – we’ll see you in a few months!