We haven't written much lately. Sorry about that. Life is a little strange these days. I know the baby is coming soon, so I've been handing over more and more responsibility to Toti. He's doing great, and the water project is moving along very well. But the more I hand over to Toti, the less I have on my plate. Which is good, because I will need to be spending more and more time looking after Bethany, and soon Promise. As of right now, however, Bethany is still trucking along pretty well without me, and Promise hasn't arrived yet. So I'm kind of in limbo. I was talking to my brother Ben about that this week. He says he experienced the same thing leading up to the birth of their first son, Micah.
I'm getting very excited about having a baby though. Bethany says the contractions are getting harder, and she's definitely becoming more uncomfortable and tired. She's still doing 5 hour prenatal shifts twice a week, and she's in class three afternoons a week. I don't know how she keeps going. On top of all that, she can still touch her toes! I haven't been able to touch my toes since the 1980s. I haven't been able to see my toes since 2002. She's awesome. Do you think the word "awesome" has finally exited the period of history in which it was overused? You know what I'm talking about. The word was used so often that it became as meaningless as the word "nice".
The water filters keep getting made, and they keep getting shipped out to the Muslim provinces. Things have been a bit dangerous in central Mindanao the last couple of weeks, as the federal government keeps sending mixed signals to the terrorist group called the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
If I understand the situation correctly, the government recently signed a treaty with the MILF that effectively gave a huge portion of the provinces of Maguidanao and North Cotabato over to the terrorists who claim ancestral rights to the land. Then when the MILF started to force citizens from their homes, the Feds suddenly declared that though they had signed the treaty, they did not intend for it to take effect immediately. As you can imagine, this caused significant confusion among the unruly and short-fused terrorists. The government, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that it will help protect the citizens by providing them with their own sniper rifles (with armor piercing bullets) and a variety of semi-automatic weapons. All of this at a cost that surely exceeded tens of millions of pesos. It's a subtle plan, but I have every confidence that it will lead to an historic period of peace and prosperity in the land.
I realize that those of you who were intending to visit us in the Philippines have probably just changed your minds. But - before you call your travel agent and request a vacation in a safer country, like Iraq - let me assure you that all this MILF business is isolated in a region that is several hours to the west of Davao City. In fact, Davao is a wonderfully safe city. We have a mayor who has a special task force that kills all the bad guys, so there's nothing to worry about! Unless you're a bad guy. In all seriousness, at this time I believe this city to be more safe than many of the major cities in North America. So come on over!
Needless to say, I haven't traveled to the Muslim provinces where our filters are being distributed, but I am receiving many messages of thanks. We have several Christian men who are so thankful to have an opportunity to bless the poor in a practical way. And as a bonus, they have a wonderful opportunity to visit in these Muslim homes and share the heart of Jesus. Despite the threat of violence, these men still drive through North Cotabato to come pick up the filters from our shop. I suppose that is an indication of the significant need for safe water. It is getting difficult to keep track of our numbers, but my best guess is that we have delivered over 250 filters now, most of those to the Muslim provinces. And there is no end in sight. In fact, I was just contacted by another community this morning. They are in a completely different region of the country and they have requested filters too.
I don't have any pictures of water filter stuff. You're probably tired of seeing pictures of filters anyway. I know I'm tired of taking pictures of filters. We got our new roof installed over the shop this week, so I'll be taking pictures of that tomorrow. Our truck broke down this weekend, so that is today's project. Anyway, I'm just gonna post a few random pictures that have been sitting on my hard drive for a little while. I have more of Bethany, but she doesn't want me to post them. I didn't do a very good job on our last photo shoot (lazy composition), but if you'd like to see more of her prego pictures you'll have to leave a comment on these pages begging her to allow them.