Great Expectations, Part 3

I'm beginning this entry while riding in a van along a bumpy highway in Thailand. It isn't easy to type on an iPhone under such conditions. 

Our next stop on the traveling Greater Grace missions conference was Davao. I recall it being blazing hot upon our arrival and having to haul our luggage up four flights of stairs to our rooms. Here's a picture of the hotel:

And here's a picture of Mr. Handsome outside:

After a buffet lunch in the hotel, we rode in vehicles to a nearby Baptist church where many pastors and lay people awaited us. God be praised, the sanctuary was air conditioned. We began by singing a rousing hymn from my Baptist boyhood, hymn #449: "Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin! How shall my tongue describe it? Where shall His praise begin? Taking away my burden, setting my spirit free, O the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me!" This was followed by messages by Pastors Drew and DeVries and much hymn singing by us in the congregation and by choirs of pastors called to the platform on the spot. During a break, we all gathered outside to eat dinner and then returned to the sanctuary for more preaching and songs from two church choirs. 

During this second half, it began to rain, not like cats and dogs, but like hippos and elephants. Water began seeping in through the windows and dripping on the people sitting along the walls, and thunder rolled a few times just as the name of God was spoken. I felt as though I was Job when he was told, "
Do you have an arm as powerful as God's, and can you thunder with a voice like his?" When the service ended, we found ourselves cut off from the parking lot by a pool of water, and we drove back to our hotel in water at least a foot deep. 

The next morning after breakfast, we went to the bus terminal, but ended up crammed into a hired van traveling over the mountains to a place called Malaybalay. My butt straddled a bench seat and a small, hard chair next to the door. I was still wrestling with my fleshy expectations at this time, and wondering when my misery would end. We stopped at quarantine place where people were selling souvenirs and foods. 

I bought and three  bracelets from these kids since they were only 10 pesos each. 

They were very persistent. The second half of the van ride I sat on a seat. We checked into a motel in Malaybalay and later went out to eat and then out for coffee. Here's the restaurant followed by the coffee shop:

We had a little rap session where the students asked questions about why some adult Christians deal with young people according to the Law when all it does is leave a bad taste in their mouths and drive them away from the church or the Christian school. We talked about that while Pastor Clyde made a friend. 

The next morning we went to the Greater Grace Philippines conference again and met in a little, dark community center/church

pastored by a sweet man who had met Pastor DeVries in Thailand years before. We sang some fun songs and I spoke from Ecclesiastes 3:14 about how what God does He does forever, the it is finished beauty of our great salvation. Pastor Bob Hotchkiss, Pastor Drew, and Pastor Steve followed with the pastor translating for each of us. 

Outside the church we met some roosters and some adorable children. 

Nobu found a hammock. 

We went into town and ate lunch and I took a few pictures of the neighborhood. 

Little did I know then that I would soon be having my best day in the Philippines...


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