I arrived in Manila at 11:40 p.m. and was met at the airport by Dr. Flores and his wife Dr. Flores. Teodi Flores is an orthopedic surgeon and Najla (pronounced Nyla) is an OB/GYN. These are two of the nicest people a person could hope to meet. They graciously hosted me in their home for most of my time in Manila.
In the Philippines we usually share one string bean at any given meal.
Very comfortable bed in a room that has an air conditioner!!!
Sharing with the staff at the Adventist medical center
Riding in a "jeep" to see the sights.
Sharing at prayer meeting with the Pasay church
Tuesday, May 16
I slept very well last night and woke up feeling refreshed. That is a great blessing. I slept in a tiny bed but had no problems. It belongs to their daughter who is away at university. When the lights are out the ceiling glows like the stars outside. It’s quite a neat effect. It feels kind of like one is sleeping outside on a cloudless night.
Breakfast was quite large and consisted of fruit (mango, apple, cantelope), cooking bananas (vaguely sweet bananas), rice and oats with chocolate (not sweet at all, interesting combination), and rice with coconut milk (not bad, really).
After breakfast I took a “jeep” to the Mall of Asia. It is huge. I am trying to get my steps in for the day. There is also a jetty by the water that I walked along for a while. For lunch, I am trying a “tostada” at the California Pizza Kitchen. This restaurant was recommended by Najla (Teodie’s wife).
The tostada was a thin pizza crust with some smudges of beans painted on (mostly around the edges), and some dry, paper-looking lettuce. It’s probably not their fault, I asked for the tostada without cheese and that is probably the pizza’s main attraction. The pizza came with some salsa on the side, and that made the whole thing. It tasted pretty good. Overall, the meal was filling, relatively good tasting, but terribly expensive ($10). I won't be doing that again for a while.
Taking a “jeep” to Mall of Asia is much easier than taking one back home. All I had to say on my way out was “MOA” and they knew what I wanted. On the way back, I had to first find the right “jeep” which meant showing the address on my phone to an official-looking person at the jeep depot. They got me on the right bus, but now what do I do? How do I know where to get off? After asking several people on the jeep and showing them my address, they finally said, “Buendia!” Okay, so “Buendia” it is, but where is that? And how do I stop the jeep when we get there? Fortunately a kindly lady offered to stop us at the right spot and let me know. Wheeww!
My schedule here in the Philippines is still a little bit in flux. I am slated to do Friday evening vespers and the church service at the Adventist University of the Philippines this coming weekend.
I found out today that they would like for me to speak for the afternoon AY program as well. Then I received a text from Najla that the hospital would like for me to do the weekly staff worship tomorrow morning. I keep praying for opportunities and the Lord keeps making them!
Wednesday, May 17
I feel a little guilty. My room has an air conditioner in it and I have set it to cool the room to a frigid 84 degrees fahrenheit. It doesn’t feel that frigid until I walk out of the room into the main house and walk into a wall of heat.
I slept pretty well last night although I did wake up around 1:30 a.m. for a couple of hours. It was a great time to have my devotional time and I enjoyed it very much. Then I went back to sleep, setting my alarm for 6 a.m. I was awakened at 4 a.m. feeling quite refreshed.
The staff worship began at 7:30 but I didn’t get up to speak until 8 a.m. I did pretty well, speaking for only about 22 minutes. This was my first speaking appointment in Asia, and the Lord really blessed. One lady came up to me afterward and invited me to speak at the Pasay church tonight. The Lord keeps opening doors.
OCI is doing an OCI reports magazine and I would like to try and get an article in it. To do so, I need 7 action photos. So I asked a guy at the hospital today to take as many photos as possible of my presentation. Some of the pictures came out okay. Najla also took some pretty good photos as well.
I taped video and audio for my first vlog in the courtyard of the North Philippines Union Conference office. Then I spent some time cutting everything up and putting it all back together again into a coherent video. I still have quite a bit of work to do on it.
At 12:30 I took a break and went to a nearby Vegan restaurant for lunch. Najla had recommended it to me, and had evidently called the owner ahead of time to let her know I was coming. I ordered a pine-nut pesto pizza with spinach. It had a great whole-wheat crust and tasted delicious, and was much cheaper than the “tostada” that I had at the Mall of Asia yesterday. I also splurged on a Strawberry smoothy. When I tried to pay, I found out that Najla had taken care of the bill ahead of time, and they wouldn’t let me pay anything!
On my way home, I spent 500 pesos ($10) to reload my phone. This phone is an expensive habit even though I mostly just text with it. I found out that it costs about $0.30 per text when I text tot he U.S. It is really a blessing to be connected with everyone.
I took a short nap at 3 p.m. It felt really good but I think I slept too long. It was supposed to be a catnap. Oh well.
It is 5 p.m. and I need to get out and take a walk. I got my 8000 steps goal yesterday, but I only have 3,548 steps so far today. Then I can come back to do some more video editing before my 7 p.m. speaking appointment.
The prayer meeting went very well! The only problem was that I used the wrong PowerPoint. I had made a shortened version, but accidently used the full version. That meant that I had to skip a lot of slides. A little embarrassing.
It is 8:30 and I am ready to sleep. Good night.
Thursday, May 18
I woke up this morning at 2:45 and stayed awake for the rest of the morning. Fortunately my schedule provides opportunity to take naps to help compensate for jet lag.
Mangoes are in season here in the Philippines and they are wonderful. These mangoes are very sweet but they have enough tang that I can enjoy that sweetness without being overwhelmed by it. I have been feasting on mangoes.
This morning I finished my first vlog. It is not as polished as I would like it, but I think it will do for now. I may see if I can get some tips from other video editors on how to make it more polished. Now I need to find out if I can upload the video to the web without overwhelming the WiFi here where I am staying.
I ate lunch at the cafeteria at the Adventist hospital. It was quite good and fairly inexpensive ($2).
Today was a little overcast so it didn’t seem quite so hot. I walked for about 20 minutes “around the block” When walking here in Manila one must pay constant attention to everything going on around them or they might get run over. The streets can be very narrow and cars are constantly jostling through with little apparent regard for pedestrians. It requires constant vigilance at times to walk safely. There must be a spiritual lesson there somewhere.
When I got back to my room I decided to take a little nap. As soon as I laid down I began to sweat profusely. It took a while in the air-conditioned room for my body temperature to come back down to normal.
Tomorrow we leave for the Adventist University of the Philippines. I am looking forward to it. I have been praying that the Lord will help me to use my free time wisely and well during my stay in Manila. So far things have worked out fairly well. I am still praying about next week, it could be a challenge. But I am confident that God will bless.