Home Again Home Again…


Actually I have no idea how to spell “jiggity.” But I bet you don’t either.

We just spent a few weeks in Puerto, taking a turn at running the Mission Home and doing the buying for the missionaries on Palawan. Usually we are the recipients of these vital ministries. This time, we had a change to “give back” and serve others.

My blog here will deal with coming “home.” What is it like for us when we come home to the tribe after being out? What do we have to do, etc.?
Of course this is Step 1. We have to get home first! In my old blog “Hurry Up and Wait” I described how weather can affect out plans. That’s always a factor. We have to pack up everything the day before and get it to the hangar for the pilot to plan how to load the plane. Every piece… each box, each carry-on, each object must be weighed (including our bodies… yes, our pilots know EVERYthing, including our weight). We mark everything (well, everything except our bodies) with the weight written on a piece of packing tape and take it to the hangar.
But then you still have to live until the next morning, so you keep a minimal amount of last-minute needs with you at the guest home.
In the morning, if it’s raining, there you are… all packed up with no where to go. You’re sitting at the mission home with your little back pack and all your stuff is at the hangar, packed in the plane. This time, thankfully, although it was raining off and on during the day, Ben, our pilot, was able to get us home safely.
You know how it is when you get home from the grocery store with all those bags? You have to put things away in the fridge and cabinets. Ever done that with several months’ worth of groceries? Ah, you should try it!
And… you know what it’s like when you get home from a trip with all your luggage and have to unpack and settle in? Well, our homecoming was sort of a combination of both grocery store trip, stockpiling for Armageddon, and coming home from a two-month trip.

Plus, we had all of the things the Palawanos ordered. We bought all the following for various people: dishes, cups, bowls, cooking pots, sleeping mats, various food items, a carpenter’s planer blade, herbicide, pillows and fabric. (and there was the fishing lure we looked everywhere for, but could not find). So when we unpack, we try to have these items handy because, as you can guess, the moment we land in the plane, people know we’re home and come for their orders!
Unpack some. Meet Nili on the porch. Give her her order. Unpack some more, Visit with Awwey on the porch. Give her her order… and so on… and on… and on. Giyang came by for his wages for working in the clinic while we were gone. He picked up some of the new medicines we brought it with us. Abil comes by to visit and drink coffee on the porch with Bill. He passes on all the local church and political news. Bekbek shows up wanting a “second opinion” on his daughter’s sickness. The clinic workers could not figure it out, he says…
In between all this, we’re supposed to get food unpacked for lunch, dinner, etc. We often bring in one or two ready-made meals (chicken and rice from a restaurant in Puerto… sandwiches already made, etc.)
Go to bed… get up the next day… Karing shows up on the porch with her step-mother… another medical consultation. Would we please listen to her chest and give advice to the clinic workers? Abil comes by again today… yes, missed his daily coffee sessions with Bill while we were out in town.
Unpack some more… wait… who’s that on the porch now?
And there there are all the…
This time coming home I faced a number of repairs needed on the house. Our water pump wasn’t working. Tracked down that problem to a faulty float valve in the water tank. Rewired and got the water pumping. (Note to self: climb up and check out that float valve sometime).
I noticed that most of the bracing on our water tank tower had fallen to the ground in a pile of rotten scrap. Ah… the termites have been busy while we’re gone. We can’t treat the water tower with the big-gun termite poison, as it’s too close to the well. So a little guerrilla warfare had to suffice. Made a list of lumber to order to repair the tower before the whole thing collapses.
Two of our lights were not working… switches has simply corroded and gone bad. Took a good while, though, to figure that out (for some reason the switches were testing out “okay” but there was no electricity getting past them to the lights.) Stole a switch from a little-used light and replaced the kitchen light switch; hard-wired the other one and we’re good to go. (Note to self: order more switches).
Almost every time we came back from a break there are issues. Critter issues. This time was no exception. One of the bookshelves in my office was infested with large brown ants (“anti-translator ants,” I’ve called them over the years.) Removed the books, sprayed, left room (ack! cough!) swept the shelves and replaced the books. Done. Everyday life here.
After a couple months on their own, the batteries in our solar electric system needed an extra dose of charge from the generator, since this is rainy season (note: “rainy” does not equal “solar.”) For the first time ever, our faithful little Honda generator was hard to start. I had a few nervous moments there until it finally kicked in.
Rat poison… we left out several kinds to help protect the house while we were gone, since Beck the cat went to Puerto with us. A couple piles had been messed with, so we’re assuming a rat or mouse ate some. So we’re glad we left the poison. But, since it’s rainy season… ah. Had to clean up the rest of the soggy, moldy piles of rat poison.
Termites… yes, more termites. Did you know that geologically, Palawan is described as “six inches of soil floating on a sea of termites”? Well, it is described that way now, because I just made that up. I had someone treat all out house posts with termite poison (all the posts not near the well) while we were gone, because the smell of the poison is not really good for my asthma. Well, apparently it was none too soon. Some termites had already gone up into Donna’s office. After our friend Indak treated the posts, those termites were “stranded” up in the house. No more reinforcements could come up into the house, but the ones already up could not get back down to the dirt. So… more guerilla warfare.
Yeah, you thought we just translated the Bible and stuff over here. Ha.
We got home on a Friday, so pretty soon it was Sunday. We have to close up the house (against theft) and cross the river to attend church. But parking’s not a problem, since we all walk. We had great fellowship with our precious believers. I taught a little bit from Acts chapter 1. Showed them the Acts books we just had printed in Puerto. There were excited to get their own copies!
After church we visited Rini, Donna’s main language and translation helper. Rini had a baby boy while we were gone. Both are well, praise the Lord.
And so it goes… Sunday afternoon people come to sell us kangkong (greens kinda like spinach; the bunny loves them and so do we). We buy more than we need just to help the ones who need some cash from selling their produce. More people stopped by to pick up the things they ordered. Nili came by for her clinic wages. I got two letters hand-delivered asking for various kinds of help. It’s “hungry” season and people want food, money, work… whatever help we can give.
Now it’s back to work… the next day we started digging back into translation, working to get more of God’s Word into Palawano. Ephesians, 1 Peter and Luke are in process.
We appreciate your prayers as we continue in this. The book of Acts is in the hands of the people here now. More books coming soon…
And that’s why we’re really here, isn’t it?
No, wait… who’s that on the porch?

About billdavisthoughts

From San Diego, CA. I've been a missionary and Bible translator in the Philippines for over 30 years and have travelled as a language learning consultant to 15 countries. I play piano and guitar. I write, read voraciously and love to work on word puzzles. Married for 35 years, we have two daughters and two grandchildren.
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