Friday, December 29, 2006

Long Road From Dumaguete to America, Pt. 3

Marilyn standing near the pier in Dumaguete, above.

I recently read a very inspiring blog from a Filipino woman who arrived in the U.S. with her American husband on Christmas Eve. She is originally from Davao City and has been taking in all of the nuances of southwestern Oregon these last few days. Though married since last February, she was granted a visa earlier this month.

As Marilyn and I contemplate our long road from Dumaguete to southern Ohio, I am blessed by the stories of others who have taken similar journeys. I know that the Lord orders our steps (Psalm 37:23), and that He is ultimately the driving force in our lives. I also know that an approval of Marilyn's visa is not guranteed. Instead of giving in to fear and worry about this, I am doing my best to rest in God's goodness. Perhaps He has plans for me in Dumaguete, though the idea of me living in the Philippines comes with its own list of obstacles and challenges. For now, we will continue the path upon which we have tread these past few months. Marilyn's visa petition shall be filed as soon as her forms complete the long journey from Dumaguete to the U.S...mere days from now.

I'm getting nervous...Heavenly Father, I need Your peace.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Long Road From Dumaguete to America, Pt. 2

Marilyn and I will be filing her fiancee visa petition in the next few weeks. We have both become quite anxious as the last few loose ends are tied up. The next phase of this process will involve lots of patience and lots of prayer as the U.S. government literally decides our future.

For Marilyn, the thought of leaving Dumaguete is sad, exciting and frightening all at once. It helps that her sister recently came to the U.S. and is now in West Virginia. She also has some good friends from Dumaguete who will be in the U.S. shortly. Still, as the popular movie declares, "there's no place like home".

As we celebrate Christmas this year, we are thankful for the blessing of our relationship, and how it has blossomed despite the enormous distance. The love and commitment Marilyn has shown me over the last two years is unlike anything I have ever experienced. This is one reason among many why a part of my heart will always live in Dumaguete, for the Gentle City gave the world this wonderful woman.

I love you, Marilyn, and I look forward to seeing you soon and spending my life with you...whether in Ohio or Dumaguete or wherever the Lord should lead us.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

No Shortage of Friends in Dumaguete

Over the course of two weeks in Dumaguete I was introduced to several of Marilyn's friends. Actually, it was much more than "several". I would meet them at dinner, after church, or simply running errands downtown. They were everywhere!

Indeed, friends are like family. Sure, there will be quarrels and disagreements from time to time, but close friends will always be there in the end. Marilyn is truly blessed in this regard. She has no shortage of friends in Dumaguete.

"...a friend loveth at all times..."
(Proverbs 17:17a)

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Finding Jesus in Dumaguete

Earlier this year a small group from Christ Presbyterian Church in Huntington Beach, California embarked on a mission trip to Dumaguete. I did not personally know the members of this group, but often viewed their online updates, curious to know how God was using them to bless the people of Dumaguete. More often than not, though, the people of Dumaguete were the ones doing the blessing.

When I was in the Philippines I witnessed a dependence upon the Lord that is largely absent here in America. Many of us who claim to follow Christ simply play the Sunday morning routine, but have little idea who He really is in our daily lives. Bank accounts, job titles and retirement destinations seem to take precedence over any need or desire to live within His will. Therefore, I was truly blessed by my time in Dumaguete because I witnessed a genuine hunger for Christ's love. Perhaps Marilyn has been the greatest example of this, as she has faced incredible hardships with an unwavering belief that His love would sustain her—and it did.

Heavenly Father,

Break us, and mold us. Remove all of our dependence on worldly things, that we may cast our cares upon you and trust in your sustaining mercy. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dumaguete Dreamin'

Marilyn sent me this photo taken by a friend of hers a few months after my visit to Dumaguete. I hope she doesn't mind that I posted it ;)

One mistake I made during my trip to the Philippines was not setting aside enough time to get more photos. Actually, it didn't help that my camera lost its charge and I had no voltage adapter to recharge the batteries. It was just bad planning all around. Unfortunately, I am running out of personal Dumaguete photos to show here and have recently borrowed images from Wikipedia where appropriate, as well as using photos from Marilyn or her friends. I fancy myself more of a writer than a photographer, though I understand how important it is for a blog to express more than simple words on a screen.

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