Dec 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

"You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus." Luke 1:31

Merry Christmas!

I’m writing this entry from the Narita Airport in Japan. I’m on my way home for a little over two weeks. It’s hard to believe that it’s already Christmas. These last two months have gone by so incredibly fast. Part of me is pretty excited to see my family and spend the holidays at home. But part of me is sad with how little time I have left. I think I spend too much time thinking about that, actually—thinking about how much more I want to do and how little time remains for me to do it all. Forming relationships takes time, but that’s one commodity I haven’t felt an abundance of lately. I’m a third of my way through my time as a student missionary. Wow. I don’t want to think about that…

But let me shift away from the future. The last few weeks have been pretty fantastic. First we had our CBS program (Christmas Bible School). Technically, it couldn’t be called VBS because the students are not on break yet. But that didn’t stop them from coming. We had 50-60 kids or so every night, and we would sing songs, make crafts, put on a play, and give them memory verses to learn. As it so happened, the night we started our program, a necro started down the road. So every night, the SMs and AY would put on the children’s program, wait around for a little while, go to the necro, and then come back to the church to play games or just hang out for a while. The evenings were long, but fun and very good.

The Monday after that, we had ourselves an adventure day. The SMs and AY went out to Burgos to check out three awesome spots. First we went to this local, historic lighthouse. We climbed to the top of it and got to look out over the ocean. The view was pretty remarkable. After that we drove down the road to a beautiful rock formation. It’s right along the ocean and looks like the rock has been hand-carved. The place was very pretty and had some nice climbing spots, for the more adventurous. Then we ended up at Kaangrian Falls. It’s a waterfall tucked back in the hills. We walked for about 20 minutes to get there, and when we arrived it was an incredible sight. It was a pretty little oasis in the woods. Unlike Kabigan Falls, which are closer and easier to get to, at Kaangrian you can do more swimming. There’s even a cave under the falls that you can swim through. It was pretty fantastic. We decided that we needed to return there and perhaps explore down the falls further.

Last Saturday night we had an AY Christmas party. There were about 20 people who showed up, and we all crammed ourselves into the upper room. We did a white elephant gift exchange, ate lots of cookies and popcorn, and watched The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Fun stuff!

Oh, this month we also got ourselves a kitten. Before I came, the group had one, but it died in the typhoon. So it was about time we got another pet.  Sundae, as we call her, is white with light brown and dark brown patches and streaks, making her look pretty near to a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate and caramel sauce. She’s very social and has grown a lot in the last couple weeks. Honestly, we’re pretty thankful she’s alive. The second day we had her, she was nearly killed by a dog. It picked her up and shook her hard. She took a few days to recover, but now she’s a happy and healthy kitten. I imagine by the time I get back she’ll be getting pretty big.
Well, in about ten hours I’ll be home. And I’ll most likely be freezing. See you on January 12, Pagudpud!

Dec 11, 2010

My Alter-Ego

"Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

Sometimes I feel like my own alter-ego.
There are times here when I sit down with someone I don’t know, and we start to talk, and we laugh with each other, and I’m listening to the stories on their hearts—and my mind takes a moment to step away and look in on the situation from the outside. I look at where I am, who I am talking to, and what we are saying.
And I wonder, Is that me?
I felt it a little while working at camp, but not nearly like this. At times I wonder what some people from America would think of me if they observed me here, and what people here would think of me if they observed me in America.
Of course I am still me. The attributes I have here and the attributes I have in the west are all a part of me. It’s just some are more easily visible in certain places. I suppose that’s one reason why I like it here so much: I like how easy it is to be who I want to be. For some reason I have a lot more courage here. For some reason it is much simpler to talk with people and pray with people in Pagudpud, to be more outgoing and adventurous and not let fear or uncertainty get in the way of doing what I really want to do. I’m still trying to figure out why that is…
Perhaps it has something to do with having the official “Student Missionary” title. Or maybe it has to do with how white people are received here. Or maybe it’s related to the easy-going Filipino lifestyle. I don’t know. But I like it.
It’s my prayer that I can continue living in this way when I return to the states. I hope that I will be able to keep growing more and more, and overcome my hesitations or uncertainties of getting to know people. I don’t want to leave this Katelyn in the Philippines when May rolls around.  So in the meantime I will continue solidifying my characteristics. And enjoy doing so!