We went to Broken Arrow, OK and it was a time of transition for the whole family. I worked at Oral Roberts University in the Dental School until it closed, and then for one of its graduates as his office manager. The girls were in the 2nd and 5th grades. They had a big adjustment to make. America was different after living overseas for two years. We were thankful for what was taken for granted the years before leaving for Ghana.
Larry’s ministry gifts were teaching and serving. After he graduated the two year program in 1984, we went with a couple to the Philippines, Kalibo, Aklan on the Island of Panay. It is in the middle of the islands. We spent some time with them in America, but not as much as we should have. They had a Bible Training Center in Kalibo and one on another island.
The girls were now going into the 5th and 7th grades. I was home schooling again, and it was much harder for all of us. We lived in a small apartment, and it was a very crowded complex. We had to buy everything again. This time the furniture had to be built. There was only a two-burner gas camp table top stove to cook on. The market place was small and you went very early to shop for the meat before it got hot. They had what they called tricycles to ride in and carry your food from the market. We had a very small refrigerator. The electricity was still off and on from the recent typhoon. We had desks made for the girls to do their school work. There was a church pew for our couch. We had chairs given to us and table made to eat on. The first night we had beds to sleep on, but no mattresses. I will never forget that! What an experience. We immediately went and bought foam for our mattresses the next day.
We found out some things real fast about the wonderful Filipino people. They are a gentle, kind, loving, peaceful and joyous people. Do those adjectives sound familiar? They exhibited the fruit of the Spirit. However, one thing they do that is very prevalent in third World Countries-it was in Ghana also-they will tell you what you want to hear. Larry and I had to be careful about how we asked them things.
Larry loved teaching in the Bible Training Center. He went every morning and the students loved him. The girls and I were having a hard time adjusting with homeschooling, new culture adjustments, and the humidity-heat. It was exhausting. We had no air conditioning to escape the heat like we did in Ghana. We had cold showers only to cool off. 😉
One day I had fixed lunch and left to just get out of that small apartment. (We were awakened at the crack of dawn every morning by a rooster, and it was hot and noisy.) I went to the open field where the people we came with were going to build their new Bible Training Center. I went and stood under a tree to get out of the noon day sun. I was, admittedly, feeling sorry for myself. This Filipino lady came by me with a whiskey bottle in hand and asked me if I would like to buy it. I can still remember how I said in shock, “Oh no, I don’t drink whiskey. I’m a Christian. I don’t need that!” After she walked on, the Holy Spirit said very clearly to me, “Well, you need to tell your face!” I started laughing and could not stop! I’m sure if the lady looked back she thought I was the Crazy Christian Lady from America! That belly laugh was what I needed, because the joy of the Lord is our strength. He knows that my personality is one that needs to be happy. I was beat down by the circumstance. I went back to that apartment, and my family was amazed at the difference in my countenance and attitude. The joy of the Lord is our strength! God has a sense of humor and knew exactly what I needed that day. I will say here that before I was a Christian I was a big drinker, but at that time I wasn’t even tempted to want that bottle of whiskey. I knew Who my help was!
The mail situation was not that great, and notification of the banking account sometimes was not prompt. There was one point when we were extremely low on food. We were living on egg noodles and butter. We had eaten the last of it, and Larry went to the post office to check for notice of money deposited into account. Thank God, He is always on time! He never leaves the righteous out begging for bread. He walked to the post office that time. Normally, he rode a trike. This is a picture of the transportation we had in the little town of Kalibo, Aklan. He rode back with groceries from the market! (We wrote checks to a Chinese Merchant there. They gave us the rate exchange in pesos.)
The next part is the hardest to write, and I will wait for Part 2. Thanks to all of you that are interested in reading this. I’ve been humbled at the response. You don’t know how much that means to me!
Blessings to you and yours!
“The presence of God takes up residence in a person enabling them to live above human standards. That is grace.” Bill Johnson