Greetings From Mindoro!
It's been a long time! Since I wrote last I went to the US for furlough. Immediately after arriving in America I went to the AFM home office for debriefings with the home office staff. I also helped out in the training department, teaching the Missionary Medical course and Second Language Acquisition. I really enjoyed teaching, and it looks like I probably will be helping out each year, now in the summer training!
After teaching and meetings at the office, I drove around the country for a while, visiting friends and donors, and speaking at churches. This furlough I tried to schedule all of my appointments for the beginning of the summer, to give me some uninterrupted time with my parents at the end.
I have a small fifth-wheel trailer from back when I was in college, and my parents let me keep in parked on their property. After more than a month of traveling, it was great to get "home." I spent the rest of furlough speaking in the surrounding churches on weekends, and helping my parents prepare to build a house. It was great to be able to rest by means of comfortable work and plenty of good food. It always feels good to be able to work hard, when I'm in the States. If I push myself very hard here in the Philippines I quickly get sick. The climate in the States, as hot and humid as it is in the South, nevertheless is still more conducive to my health.
At the end of October I flew back to the Philippines, arriving at the beginning of November. There are always many small problems to take care of when I am gone for a while. This trip was no exception. However, it has been a pretty easy transition this time around. My house, especially, was in exceptionally good condition as a dear widow in the church practically lived here while I was gone, and took care of it. The only major disaster was that termites got into my library. Almost all of my paper books are ruined, and the termites still have a huge nest on my ridgepole. I guess as long as I'm in Balangabong I'll have to stick to electronic books.
The best news is that I found the churches and missionaries still going strong. All of the missionaries who were working in various villages when I left are still there. Several groups in the Balangabong church are also making regular trips to the highlands looking for interested villages.
We are still dealing with the disciplinary problem with Aida's husband (who abused their daughters) which I have mentioned and which Conrad Vine wrote about in the Adventist Frontiers. Many of the church members are still angry that Aida pressed charges against her husband in order to protect her daughters from continued abuse. They claim that she is sinning by putting him in jail, and they are trying to remove her from mission work. It is ironic that while they are sitting at home accusing her and defending a rapist, she is busy supporting six children and teaching the gospel to new villages.
While I was in the States I put together a short video from one of our trips to a highland village. Have a look at it when you have a few minutes. Here's the link: https://m.youtube.com/watch? v=zQM3tl4eNvg
Thank you always for your faithful prayers and support! John Holbrook