Sunday, 30 October 2011

Stephoscope: November 2011 Newsletter

Hey, ya'll!

Here is the NOVEMBER 2011 version of my newsletter.  Do you know what that means???  I will be home next month.    So check out page 3 for my almost final schedule.

I am actually posting this from Manila, Philippines, where I have been attending the Missional Leaders' Conference.  I shared about the conference in the story on page 1.  The second page highlights our new effort in the fight against cervical cancer--a mobile pap smear clinic.

Enjoy!  And see you soon.
~ steph

MLC Top Ten

The MIssional Leaders' Conference finished up today with a wonderful service and message by our GS, Dr. Duarte.  What an incredible week of worshiping the Lord with my brothers and sisters from all over Asia and the Pacific.  I have been encouraged, inspired, and challenged!

Here is my Top Ten list for MLC...

10.  Sometimes I really enjoy being just a normal American.
9.  Mission vs. missions vs. missional.
8.  Angry Birds are taking over the world.
7.  You can have too much of a good thing.  In this case, food.
6.  New stamp in my passport!
5.  Nothing makes me happy quite like purple toes.
4a.  The city of Manila has three times the number of people as the entire country of PNG.  A little overwhelming for a FOB.
4b.  Manila wins the global award for customer service.
4c.  But not for air quality.
3.  It is so good to be with old friends.  Making new ones is the next best thing.
2.  You never stop being a doctor, so don't forget to pack the stethoscope.
1.  God is doing awesome things around Asia-Pacific and the world.  I am so excited that I get to be a part of His mission!

"With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground.  And don't hold back.  Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort."
~ 1 Corinthians 15:58

Friday, 28 October 2011

Missional Leaders' Conference

Welcome to the Missional Leaders' Conference!  Missionaries and church leaders from across the Asia-Pacific region gathered for the opening session on Wednesday evening.

Our Filipino brothers and sisters welcomed us with a program of traditional music and cultural dance.  It was spectacular!  This was followed by the parade of nations; twenty-eight countries were represented.  Dave is a PNG missionary, but also very proud of his Scottish heritage.  

The PNG choir presented an item on that first night--"In the Sweet By and By" in Pidgin.  (I didn't get the memo that we were supposed to wear a PNG flag meri blaus, so I was a bit out of style with my plane Jane meri blaus.  Oh well, I've never been one who was much concerned about style.)

Our regional director gave the opening address, challenging us to be a "missional church."  What does this mean, you may wonder?  Basically, God is on a mission to redeem the world.  And He wants us to be a part--to be salt and light in our homes, communities, and countries.  Here am I, Lord!  Send me.

The first two days of the conference have been wonderful--worship, fellowship, challenge, and inspiration.  There have been some excellent plenary sessions and workshops, on topics ranging from organic church planting to rekindling spiritual passion.

I have especially enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new ones.  I've visited with friends who serve in Thailand, Australia, the Philippines, and many other countries around the region.  Rusty (and his wife Diane) did pre-field training with me.  That was almost 3 years ago.  They work with Jesus Film-Harvest Partners.  We missed you, Diane!

Thank you for praying for this week!  The Lord has certainly been with us.

"Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."
~ Matthew 18:19-20

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

War of the Pacific

One thing that we have learned about Manila is that it is not a very easy place to get around.  Suppose you want to take a drive and see a bit of the place.  The traffic is insanely CRAZY, and it would probably take you 2-3 hours just to get to the surrounding countryside.  Thankfully the taxi service is quite cheap, IF you have a taxi with a working meter.  We FOBs didn't know any better and were double charged for one of the trips our first day here.

Several missionaries had recommended a day trip to a place called Corregidor Island.  This island is located in Manila Bay, the murky body of water that surrounds the city.  The Dooleys and Quinton and I met Jeff and the Kerrs at the doc for an 8AM departure.  (Jeff and the Kerrs had already been riding in a taxi for 1.5 hours by that point.  Our trip from the hotel was quite a bit shorter.)  We boarded a boat and traveled about an hour to Corregidor.

Corregidor Island has been a checkpoint and fort, protecting the Philippine capital for even hundreds of years.  It is most famous for its role in World War II.  When I was a kid in school, I remember learning quite a bit about the European part of WWII and of course about Pearl Harbor.  But a huge part of the war was actually fought in the Pacific.  For example, the Australians fought the Japanese in PNG.  There were battles in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu and many other islands around the Pacific.  The Philippines was a major conflict point between the Americans and the Japanese.

So in the years preceding WWII, Corregidor Island was a huge military base for American troops.  The US spent millions of dollars fortifying the island, digging tunnels and building all sorts of barracks and other structures.  In 1942, the Japanese invaded the Philippines and hit Corregidor hard.  General Douglas MacArthur, after repeated orders from US President Roosevelt, reluctantly retreated from the island... promising "I shall return."

The island was pretty much pulverized by the Japanese (and later the Filipino-American army as they took it back.)  Here are some pictures that I took while we explored the ruins...

The Japanese occupied Corregidor Island for three years.  In 1945, General MacArthur made good on his promise.  US and Filipino combined forces recaptured Corregidor and liberated the Philippines.  Several months later, the war was over.

Today, Corregidor Island is a memorial to the Filipinos, Americans, and Japanese who served and died in WWII.  It was a great place to explore, learn, and remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.  Thank you for your sacrifice!

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For OUR struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."
~ Ephesians 6:11-13

Fresh out of the bush

This past Sunday, about 60 missionaries and national church leaders left PNG and headed to Manila, Philippines for the (Church of the Nazarene) Asia-Pacific Missional Leaders Conference.  My fellow missionary travelers included Jim and Kathy Radcliffe, Dave and Rosie Kerr, Scott and Gail Dooley, and Jeff Myers.  Thanks to the rest of the docs who stayed behind to look after our patients!

Because of the limited flight schedule, we were able to come early and enjoy the perks of being in the city for a few days.  Quinton joined the Dooleys and I on Monday morning as we began our shopping spree.  Our first stop was... STARBUCKS!!!  I am not a coffee drinker, but I sure enjoy the chai tea latte.  We spent most of the day wandering through the ginormous string of malls that surrounds our hotel.  There are so many choices of places to go and things to buy, restaurants to eat at, etc.--a bit overwhelming for these FOBs.  (Quinton, who as recently been traveling with his parents on home assignment, found us to be quite amusing.)  

Deciding what to actually buy is based on a very complicated equation with variables including price, conversion from local currency to USD, and the weight to volume ratio.  Basically, can I afford it and will it fit in my suitcase?  The end result of day #1 was that we made some needed purchases, but didn't go too crazy :).

After dropping our cargo back at the hotel, Scott and Gail went for a swim while I got my hair cut.  The haircut included a head and back massage... "only in the Philippines!" per my hairdresser/masseuse.  WOW.  I could definitely get used to this place.  Gail and I also treated ourselves to a pedicure at the hotel spa.  Nothing makes me happy like purple toes!

Now lest you think we missionaries are goofing off a little too much, such trips are few and far between.  Our Papa is so good, and he loves us.  He knows that sometimes we need to get out of the bush, to be a regular ole American tourist, to go shopping or eat in a restaurant or be pampered.  These get-aways fill us up.  They help us to survive living so far away from home for years at a time.  Thank you, Lord, for your gift to me today!

"There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his."

~ Hebrews 4:9-10

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Here comes the bride

Here are a few pics from THE social event of the year... Matt and Becky's wedding!

"That is why a man shall leave his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh."
~ Genesis 2:24

Friday, 21 October 2011

Special visit

Today in clinic I had a visit from a very special patient :).  Maryanne is one of our heart kids who went to Port Moresby for surgery by Operation Open Heart.  This was the first time she had come back to Kudjip since her since her procedure several months ago.  What a blessing to see her for follow-up, the answer to many prayers.  Thank the Lord she is doing really well!

Maryanne and her mama brought a thank you present for helping them with travel arrangements.  The bilum is the perfect size for a little girl, so I will soon be sharing this special bilum with a very special little girl in America--my niece Emmilyn.  I will be meeting Emmi for the first time in less than 2 months!

Thanks again to all who prayed for our heart kids, and to those who continue to pray for the ministry of Kudjip Hospital.  God hears and answers!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights..."
~ James 1:17

Shower of seashells by the seashore

There has been a lot of excitement around Kudjip Station this week.  Our very own Dr. Becky a.k.a. Becky 2 is getting hitched!  Her soon to be betrothed is Matt Preece, a missionary and airplane engineer.  He serves with Mission Aviation Fellowship, also in PNG.  Since Becky is from the States and Matt is from Australia, they decided to have the wedding here.  What fun for all of us!

Last weekend, I opened my home to host Becky's wedding shower.  Beck and Matt are going to Hawaii on their honeymoon, so the hospitality committee decided on a classy luau kind of a theme.  Classy luau?  Yes, it can be done.  Susan, Judy, and Gailand the girls arrived with flowers, shells, and tulle.  Within moments my house was transformed into a Hawaiian paradise, and it was spectacular!  (BTW... if the whole missionary thing doesn't work out, we are going in to the party planning business.)

Our guests of honor were Becky (of course), as well as her mother and sister who had just arrived from the U.S.  Becky was bilased with a frangipani lei.

No Kudjip gathering is complete without two things--a "program" and food.  After introductions, Amy organized a couple of games.  The room was filled with laughs as teams designed wedding dresses... made out of toilet paper!  Susan quizzed Becky with the "almost newlywed game."  Gail shared a beautiful devotional about being reflections of God's love.  Erin finished up the program with a prayer for Becky and Matt.

Diane and Karla did an amazing job on the cake.  We snacked on fruit salad and homemade goldfish crackers, and drank smoothies decorated with little umbrellas :).

What a sweet time of celebration!