Sunday, December 26, 2010

Focus on the Philippines

A letter from my niece and nephew Scott and Karen Taylor who have been serving faithfully in the Philippines for twenty years.
Dear Rell & Carol,
The thermometer is pegged at 90 degrees, the Northeast trade winds are blowing steadily, the waves are pounding the seawall, and a typhoon is forming to the South of us. This kind of weather can only mean that Christmas is near!

We now are entering into our busiest and most productive time of year. The people of the Philippines are very receptive to things of a spiritual nature during the holidays. In addition, the holiday season is very long. It begins in November and continues thru New Years. In February, the Chinese community will usher in the year of the Rabbit and the Vietnamese here will celebrate the Tet New Year.

Two days from now, we will be holding our annual Christmas celebration with the Batak. We are expecting around 100 people. How different it will be, from our first Christmas celebration with them, twenty years ago. At that time, there were only 19 people in our entire village. Because of our very limited language ability back then, we could not explain to them why we were celebrating. There were no churches in any of the Batak villages in spite of sixty years of missionary work. Happily, God in His goodness has been working in the hearts and minds of the Batak. Today, there are probably more Batak believers per capita than there are American.
After the Batak celebration, we will be hosting a Korean Missionary group as part of our camp ministry. They are currently working with three tribal groups found here in Palawan, and campers will be coming from as far as 150 miles away, to attend the three day event.

These past months have been very eventful ones for our Youth Center ministry. It continues to grow and the church members are maturing in the Faith. You might remember a story we wrote about some years ago. The children of one large family had earned Bibles and proudly took them home to show their father. Sadly, the father took the Bibles and threw them out the front door, where they landed in the mud. He said, “Bibles were not allowed in his house and the children were forbidden to attend church.” Last week the same father confessed,” he now sits outside every Sunday and listens to our worship service. For years, his wife and children have been regular members and his oldest daughter helps with children’s Sunday school. She would also like to attend Bible school next year.

Please pray for the safety of the fisherman, of our Youth Center ministry. Recently, they have been experiencing very violent storms that seem to come out of nowhere. We personally experienced one of these storms just last week. Sudden, gale force winds littered our base with coconuts and broken tree limbs. A bathroom door blew off, which then tore out a section of fence! The rain was blowing so horizontally, it actually traveled up the tailpipe of our jeep and filled the muffler with water! At The Youth Center, several trees were blown down.
Also last week, one of our fishermen came upon three men, clinging to the wreckage of their fishing boat, about 100 miles offshore. There was also a body tied to the wreckage.
Three days earlier, the men had been fishing when their boat was struck by lightning, and sank. One of the men was killed instantly. The survivors spent the following three days and nights, drifting without food or water. They were also forced to fight off the fish that were consuming the body of their friend.
Recently, a group arrived at our Youth Center saying,” The land where our Center is located belongs to them, and they were going to take it.” We took the threat very seriously because this group is known for its violent, land grabbing activities. A member of this group is the same person responsible for Scott being called before a grand jury several years ago, accusing him of being head of a criminal syndicate! While we were trying to figure out what to do, the brother of Scott’s former accuser, stabbed and killed someone while attending a wake. The family of the victim decided not to press charges, and the murderer was released from jail. As soon as he was released, a member of the victim’s family killed him! It is not likely that this group will be bothering us, as long as they are busy fighting one another.

Things continue to go well for us on the legal front. In spite of our nine cases continuing throughout 2010, the prosecution scored no major victories. We are thankful that one case was dismissed, when the plaintiff fail to appear for three consecutive hearings.

We are astonished at the development currently taking place around our Dakuton Base. When we arrived in the area ten years ago, it was a wild, sparsely populated place. Today, we are surrounded by resorts and more are being built. A group of investors from mainland China recently bought a nearby resort and plan to develop it. There is now a large, Korean school within walking distance of our house, where wealthy Koreans come to learn the English language. In spite of all of this development, most of the local people in our area still live in grinding poverty, and are controlled by superstition. Recently, in spite of the fact that a typhoon was threatening, the top story locally was about a family of vampires that was supposedly in the area. The radio was actually urging people to remain calm!

About this time last year, we experienced major flooding at our base. One of the vivid memories we have was that of one of our neighbor’s children walking by, as we surveyed the damage to our place. The ten year old girl had been forced to abandon her flooded house. She was walking alone, carrying all of her possessions in one, small plastic bag. Six months after the flooding, this same child was the victim of a violent rape. In addition, the girl’s mother began having serious emotional problems, and disappeared. With no relatives in the area, the child has been living with our Youth Center workers for about a month now. Please remember her in your prayers.

In January, we will have a new addition to our team of workers here. Mallory Oliff is from Tallahassee, Florida, and will be joining us for six months. Please pray for him as he adjusts to major changes in climate, food, and culture. Also pray for wisdom and patience as he attempts to learn a new language.

What’s the latest from Hanging Dog? Sorry it has been a while sense I have written. The motherboard went out in my computer and they had to send all the way to China for another one.
Yes, our neighbor has really been something. Just last night, I was playing my guitar, getting ready for the rehearsal of our Praise band. I hear this horrible screaming, and it was her telling me to turn my guitar down! Many nights, I have fallen asleep to the sound of drunken prostitutes and their customers, singing karaoke at her resort! If you come for a visit, I will make sure I introduce you.
I don’t know if you have heard the news that Ariel is expecting. We are really excited. Ariel continues to work in Waukesha while her husband finishes Bible school. I am having a lot of fun at the motocross track. When I beat a loud mouth, hotshot teenager in a race, I now get to kid him about getting beat by a Grand paw!

I might have told you before, that the courthouse where I spend so much of my time, is located right next to the motocross track. After a stressful day in court, I de-stress out at the track. Lots of court cases = lots of practice. The Philippine National Motocross season just concluded and I ended up 14th in points standing for 2010, in the veteran division.

This year, the price of postage has sky rocketed here. There has also been a big increase in the number of people that are experiencing hunger right now. What we decided to do is: instead of sending you a Christmas card this year, we took the amount of the postage saved and threw a big Christmas blow out. We are sending a picture of the child you sponsored. She received a big meal, a small gift, and was a happy camper!

Well, I’ve got to sign off and get back to work. Everyone sends their love.

If the Lord would lead you to contribute to this ministry the address for contributions is:
The Taylors (this is the only address to send contributions)

C/O Glenda Norris
25665 Nightingale Drive
Lebanon, MO 65536
Their Field Address:
Scott and Karen Taylor
P.O. Box 113
Puerto Princessa City
5300 Palawan, Philippines

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