Friday, April 18, 2014


For those of you who are just reading my blog, and don't see anything on FB or insta, have no fear.  I made to the Philippines! It's been full of excitment and adventure, but it's been so much more than just that. I was talking to my American friend Beth on Saturday as we were driving home from one of our stops that day. The story of how she ended up in the Philippines is nothing short of a miracle which I'll tell at some point but for now just know that she came out here to Tacloban with absolutely nobody and that she had never once been to the Philippines. One other important factor... She's been here since December, and she's just going to stay until she feels like here work over here is done. 

As we were talking she said "You know what has been really neat about this experience? I have learned more about trusting in The Lord while I've been here than I have in a really long time." It's hard to explain, but I knew exactly what she meant. Traveling puts you in a whole different category of vulnerable, especially if you are going at it alone. Even more so when you have no sure knowledge of what you are going to do, or what your exact purpose is once you get there. That is what I love. The vulnerability that makes me trust in the man who knows better than I do. 

What I also love is that He gives me experiences, not just to learn from, but to help me remember the lessons I've learned. Like the time in the Manila airport when I had just finished at customs, and I realized that Arturo wasn't going to be able to get to he place I was supposed to meet him at. I walked to an area close to where we were supposed to meet that he could actually get to.  Neither one of us had Filipino phones. There was no WI-FI. Just thousands and thousands of people and the only way to find eachother was just by looking. Ever tried playing real life "Where's Waldo" in a giant foreign city? It gets your heart racing just a little bit...haha. It took a lot of time, some prayers, and Arturo on top of a bench for us to find eachother, but we finally found eachother! I can't even begin to explain how relieving that moment was for both of us! Haha :) (PS. Big thanks to the person who tried to help me find Arturo and the to the guy who did help Arturo find me. Maraming maraming salamat!!)

Then there are the times when you are given the chance to use the advice of others to keep yourself safe. Such as don't wander the streets of a big foreign city alone. That night we stayed in this blessed part of Manila that Arturo likes to refer to has the "Pink Light Disctrict." We wandered the street a little that night, had dimsum (a bunch of little Chinese dishes. You order as many as you want and just have at it) across from our hostel. Nothing to crazy. Luckily the night I was there the area didn't seem all that "pink lightish". 

Then there are he experiences that help you realize people really aren't that bad. Staying in a hostel is something that I'd always wanted to do. I even  considered it when I was planning out my layovers. In the end I decided I didn't want my first hostel experience to be something I did alone, but apparently this trip it was still going to happen. 

The hostel we stayed at was actually a lot nicer than I was expecting. There were six beds in my room, but only half of them we full. One of my roommates was asleep right up until the time we checked out at noon. The other was a Filipino girl that came in the next morning. She was just barely younger than me. We were able to chat a little bit before she fell asleep, but not long. I've always heard that the best part about hostels is the people you meet. Breakfast the next morning, and this guy Vincent proved to me that it was true. People really do have such neat stories. 

Finally there are the experiences that teach you that the people around are full of information. Before I left I the states I had called Arturo about some packing questions. There was one thing I wanted to buy more of before I left, but he told me to get them when we got to the Philippines. I had thought about that for other things, but not for what I was going to buy this time. So I held off.  After breakfast at the hostel we decided to take a taxi down to the Manila Temple. Arturo had never been to the Philippines before, and since we only had a few hours before we had to be at the airport we decided to go look around the temple grounds. The Distribution Center was right there too, and happened to be the place I needed to go, so it was perfect! 

After snapping some pictures, doing some shopping and a few scoops of Filipino ice cream we made our way back to the hostel for check out. 

The time spent in Manila was good, but the places I love about the Philippines are far from the big cities. Over the next couple hours we would make our way to the place I was most excited for.

 Next stop: 

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