I returned from Manila a couple of nights ago, but this is the first chance I've had to sit and write to you about it. I'm not gonna write one of my long tales today, because I don't feel like it. (The fact that I used the word 'gonna' was the first indicator that I'm not feeling particularly literary. The fact that I'm writing entire sentences in brackets is an indicator that I'm always feeling at least a little bit literary. But I digress.)
Manila is a very big city. The traffic is very bad, and the smog is worse. I was very glad to be with our dear friends Uncle Bob and Aunt Sylvia. They are the water gurus for Impact Nations. I was in Manila to join them for the first week of their two week water project. I'll be receiving more training in February, but since they were so close it made sense to get a head start.
We were working with a man named Pastor Lito and his wife Leah. They have a few churches around Metro Manila. They also have a ministry that works in Payatas, which is a community that is built in and around the dump. Pastor Lito intends to install many water filters in the homes of Payatas. We spent most of our time in a neighboring community called Kasiglahan (stress on the last syllable). I think this is where they will set up their shop to manufacture the filters long term. This week we were making the filters in the small school house that Leah manages. The school is made out of two shipping containers.
One of Pastor Lito's men is a guy named George. He seemed very eager to learn how to build the water filters. He has a background in construction, so he's already used to working with concrete. We really enjoyed working with George. I think he will be able to run a small business installing these water filters around Manila. He's already got some great ideas. Uncle Bob told George to stop calling him "pastor". George had a hard time with that, but soon he was calling him "Uncle Bob" which seemed to make him happy.
Things went pretty slowly. When working in the third world, one always anticipates that things will go different than planned, but I must admit that I was not prepared for all of the delays and miscommunication that we experienced during my stay. The welder worked hard, but he was confused on several points and we had to have him redo a few things. The training seminar was a couple days late because the welding took longer than anticipated. Regardless, we did make some progress and I was able to learn a great deal from Uncle Bob. I now feel that I have a pretty good grasp on the process and that I too will be a water guru soon.
More than anything, however, I think the Lord was teaching me patience and grace. I really felt stretched this week as we experienced all manner of delay. I had to continually go back to the Lord and ask for forgiveness as I would give into the temptation to become angry and complain. Thankfully, His mercies are new every morning; because I'm grumpy every morning.
I had a wonderful time with my friends. Bethany and I are eagerly anticipating their arrival in Davao next Thursday. We're gonna have a great time visiting with them, and I think we might even get started on doing some water filters here in Davao. There are a few families that we know of who live outside of the city who don't have access to clean water. Perhaps we could fix that right away! I'm trying to track down a welder and some materials so that I can have a steel mold built by next week.
I think that's all I have to say. Perhaps I will tell you more in the coming days. Thank you all for your prayers. I'm trying something new with the photos today. I've put them all together in a slide show for you. If you click on the photo below, you should see the slide show start on a new page. It will probably take a few minutes to load, depending on the speed of your connection. The quality of the photos suffers a bit with this presentation, but I thought I'd try it to see how it comes out. I'm afraid I don't have any pics of Aunt Sylvia because I didn't have my camera with me on the day that she was doing her hygiene teaching. She spent much of her time with Leah, making connections around Kasiglahan.