48 hours from now, my family and I will be making our descent into Manila. I'm anxious to get this trip underway, but I've got way too much to do between now and then. Despite Bethany's gentle reminders, I've yet to start packing and I've still got loads of work to get done in preparation for my 10 week absence. Toti will do a great job of running things while I'm gone, and I will continue to do a lot of my work from North America via email and text messaging. But 10 weeks is a long time to be gone, and right now it's got me stressed out.
Bethany graduated last night. I know I've said this a few times before, but I am just so proud of her. They did a great job of honoring her last night, mentioning a few times the amazing feat of passing the program while being pregnant, then raising an infant. She didn't just pass, she managed to get an average above 90%, and she had the second highest average grade for all of her assignments. That's my girl.
They honored the husbands last night too, which I thought was a pretty classy thing to do. The ladies do all the hard work—you'll never catch me studying—but I suppose we've sacrificed too. Sure, there was a time commitment once Promise came along, but the biggest sacrifice was having to hear the word "placenta" on a regular basis. Never mind the nasty diagrams found in open text books on the kitchen table.
I can't believe her two years are over already. I can't believe we've been here that long. It seems like just yesterday that we dragged our jet-lagged bodies to the 2007 graduation. Since then, Bethany has studied her brains out, had a baby, and ministered to countless women. I've learned all about water filtration, found a wonderful friend in Toti, and he and I have watched nearly 2000 filters go out to 12 different provinces. It's been a busy couple of years.
Speaking of the water project, that grant money came through last week. I went and purchased our new truck (it's fun writing a cheque with all those zeros). It's got a 19'x7' bed and the biggest engine available in that model. Once we've outfitted it with a new steel bed and reinforced the suspension, we'll be able to carry at least 50 filters at a time.
Toti is up in Manila right now, enjoying his two weeks with Mum & Dad and the whole JOC (Journey of Compassion) team. They're seeing some awesome healings, and I've heard that Toti has been serving as the translator for some of the crusade meetings. While in Manila he'll be working on scheduling a training session for a group of pastors that want to start their own water project.
I need to go, the Bird is completely covered in some sort of squash goop and if she doesn't get a bath soon, it may permanently stain her skin orange. I leave you with a snapshots from last night, one of our new truck, and a practice pic of Promise. I'm still working on the high contrast black and white technique. I like the blown highlights, but cant seem to figure out how to get a smooth transition out of them. If that doesn't make any sense, don't worry about it.