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Brown Seashells Not by the Seashore-Phillipines

Greetings Friends and Family

There is so much to thank the Lord for in looking back and remembering the good things the Lord did for us in Mindanao, Philippines.  Once when we were leaving a place called Ipil heading toward a small barrio in order to visit another church, the pastor’s wife from Ipil happened to mention that the place we were passing through was a place where some people had been killed by the NPA.  It was not a comforting thought as I was sitting in the front seat of the jeepney at the end nearest the door.  I must say I felt like a sitting duck!  My husband and son were hanging on the back of the jeepney with some of the boys and men.  They both stood out like rice in a mound of coffee grounds.  But they liked it back there because it was cooler and they weren’t jam packed sardine style on the inside of the jeepney.  The Lord took care of us and we are here today to tell about it.

Jeepney

Pastor Bendulo lived in a larger nipa house than I was used to seeing.  (The native house has traditionally been constructed with bamboo tied together and covered with a thatched roof using nipa/anahaw leaves, as the new  nipa house shown below.  They are still used today, especially in rural areas).   When you walked through the door they had a paneless window opening with a bamboo shelf.  On that shelf they had two or three sea shells.  They were cowry shells about the size of a small or medium egg and more elongated on the ends and flat on the bottom.  They were chocolate brown with some light markings on them, different than I had ever seen.  I mentioned to Sister Bendulo how pretty they were.  If I had of known she would make a gift of them to me, I would not have said a word about them.  However, many times when Filipinos give you a gift they call it a “remembrance”, as it is something for you to remember them by.  In my estimation, it was the only thing of beauty they had in their whole house!  I could not refuse them though I tried, for it would have offended her.  They had a table with a colorful plastic table cloth and benches, and that was the extent of their furniture. They slept on the bamboo floor on very thin grass mats.  No wonder Jesus was touched with the widow giving the two mites – it was all she had!

SHELL SIMILAR TO THOSE GIVEN ME

A newlywed couple graciously let us stay in their new house built on stilts.  Our bed was elevated, which was the only difference between sleeping on  the bed and sleeping on the floor.  In those days my husband was very thin and the hard bamboo hurt his bones.  I tried to give him my thin blanket to cushion the bed as much as possible.  It didn’t help much and I was surprised how chilly the night was in that place.  A large spider could be seen crawling out on the walls in the kerosene lantern’s light in the night, but they were good because they came out to eat the insects.

The Newly-Weds Home We Stayed In

Before Service in the Barrio Church

The thing that sticks out in my mind about that place was how lovely the people were.  The Bendulos were precious saints and were so hospitable as was everyone.  The seashells?  I still have them.

I believe it was in this place we were told we were guarded by the Philippine Army because the NPA was active there.  On that trip we were gone from Cagayan de Oro for 10 days.  It was the first time probably since childhood when we went camping, my pampered body did not sit on a padded chair or sleep on a mattress.  It was like riding a horse for the first time.  The discomfort was felt for days. I truly appreciate padding on chairs, and a mattress to sleep on. However, it was a small price to pay to experience the glorious moving of the Spirit of God in those small barrio churches with the beautiful people of God.

Thank you Family and Friends for stopping by.  I appreciate the privilege of going to the Philippines.  I hope you enjoy this beautiful song, “In Moments Like These.”  The lyrics are about precious moments in our lives,  like remembering the goodness God showed to us in the Philippines.

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