Food glorious food

English: Philippine Food

English: Philippine Food (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of you who have just joined us –welcome. Let me explain the things us ramblers are chatting about. We are looking at the way God is bringing us from an old culture into a kingdom culture. To help us do this we are looking at the Philippine culture and seeing what God is saying to us through it.

Food

Mmmm where shall I begin talking about food from the Philippines? – it is truly delicious. Such different flavours that the ones I am used to. It is a mixed cuisine of Malay, Spanish, Chinese, and American, as well as other Asian and Latin influences adapted to indigenous ingredients and the local palate. There are classic dishes that I have tried (and loved) such as Adobo (chicken and/or pork braised in garlic, vinegar, oil and soy sauce) which is made differently by different families and in the various regions, kare-kare  (oxtail and vegetables cooked in peanut sauce), longanisa (sausage), paellas , pancit (noodles), and lumpia (fresh or fried spring rolls). One of my favourites is deep fried mini crabs in batter. The fish is fresh and juicy, the fruits are sweet and ripe. They have limes in the Philippines, small like large cherry tomatoes but sweeter than our oranges.

When I am there I find myself trying anything people give me – just to experience and learn about the different tastes.  Even when I thought I had eaten enough I simply have to make more room in my stomach to enjoy something else being offered.

In the kingdom culture there is a banquet. It is overflowing. We can see it in Psalms 23

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.

Perhaps we have been too polite, perhaps we have gorged on other things that are not healthy and have no room left for heavenly sustenance – have we only picked around the edges? Surely we have only tasted a handful of what is on the banquet table. The flavours, the colours, the juices, the sauces, the fruit – my goodness can you see it, can you smell it? It looks a little like those overflowing tables in Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.

The other exciting thing about this banquet is that we are not left alone to enjoy it. For those who have spent life outside the camp looking in, for those who have felt lonely and watched everyone else feast on the best of life, for those who feel unworthy to approach the king’s table – He approaches us, links arms with us, loves us, and escorts us in to eat. He never leaves us on our own but is excited to explore the experience with us. He hands us new flavours to try, makes suggestions on our choice of foods, advises us on which flavours blend harmoniously.

Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.

Song of Songs 2:4

Make yourself hungry. Create hunger. Find space to taste more of God and his goodness. Taste and see that God is good. Find another truth so sweet to the lips lying on the table. Pull up your chair and take your time.

It is time to find books to devour. Podcasts to chew over. Bible passages that get your juices flowing. Then once you feel full – find some more space and keep eating.

We have been like children for too long. Letting others buy, prepare, cook and serve the food. We turn up on Sundays like baby birds shouting feed me. Feed me so I can cope another week, feed me so I can grow strong, feed me some medicine to make me feel better. In this kingdom culture we learn to grow up. We go out and collect the food, prepare the food and cook the food. We learn to cut our own food up and feed ourselves. We grow up into maturity

Today: What are you feasting on today? If you are not reading, listening to anything right now it is time to go out and collect your food. What are you going to get? Where will you get it from? Don’t wait till Sunday – be hungry now.

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Travel in the new culture

Photo i have taken myself, for the "jeepn...

Photo i have taken myself, for the “jeepney” gallery. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of you who have just joined us –welcome. Let me explain the things us ramblers are chatting about. We are looking at the way God is bringing us from an old culture into a kingdom culture. To help us do this we are looking at the Philippine culture and seeing what God is saying to us through it.

With the heat soaring up to 100°F and humidity around 80% the Filipinos find it uncomfortable to walk. It was amusing trying to explain to our Filipino friends that some Britains enjoy walking for fun – they couldn’t believe it. Because few people walk in Manila there are lots of differing transport to choose from. You may want to travel on a Jeepney, a taxi, a tricycle, a motorbike, car, horse and cart, bicycle or coach. Take your pick. The roads in Manila are full of traffic, swerving, beeping their horns and finding their way from A to B. The road markings are guidelines and marked lanes are not mandatory. Vehicles are joining roads, changing lanes, overtaking and turning from everywhere, it is a real experience to see!

If you did choose to walk along the roadside there are rarely pavements. There may be one for a while and then a few market stalls, or a ditch with rubbish in, or it might just disappear.

The journey in this new culture, we have been exploring together, is different from anything we have experienced before. There is not someone telling us where to go, what to believe and what to do. In my Christian walk I feel that I have always had authorities giving me white lines to travel within, markers that define what I think and how I should behave. There has been temptation to clone thinking and behaviour, to count as dangerous or an alien anyone with differing thoughts and to restrict movement so that it is containable. Now I feel the white lines are optional. I can choose, think and behave according to the real me.

No longer are we travelling on mass. There is still unity, still co-hesion, but there is also a new freedom to explore. Some may wish to take a Jeepney to the market, others a tricycle to the mall, others a taxi to eat out. Different groups of people have the freedom to go where they want without judgement.

Even those that chose to travel together they will not find they walk in single line behind a leader. They will explore different things and come back to share what they have found. One may go to the cloth stall to feel and explore the colours, one may go to the bakery to try the cakes, one may go to the book stall to find some further knowledge – then the individuals will cross paths, share stories and perhaps take each other to the best places. The adventures then meet up with a unity of spirit to share the exciting treasures and truths they have found together.

What stops this turning into chaos? It is the heart connection. The honouring and respecting of authority that pulls everyone together and sets a direction for the next area of exploration. For the desire of the travellers to honour each other and put each other first. Togetherness is no longer the fact that everyone is in the same room doing the same thing, but a connection of heart in their various stages of advance. It is being real, honest and sharing a common vision and purpose. There is a compass of God’s word, there is a direction to head for, but there are ways of exploring all that Jesus has done for us.

Today: What area of God are you exploring right now? Why is it you are exploring that? Who are you meeting with to share your new found treasures?

Let’s chat about the weather

untitledOK my friend, to you who reads this blog, I would like to explain to you where my thoughts are wandering off next. I would like to share with you how my recent trip to the Philippines has spoken to me about the new times we are in and the new culture we are to explore. This culture is kingdom culture and we are re-aligning ourselves up with heaven. I hope this is alright with you.

It may take quite a few days as it covers so much, but you have the capacity to take it I am sure 😊

I will take one topic at a time from the Philippines about the culture and then expand it to show you what God has shown me through it.

Weather

The first thing that hits you when you come off the plane in Manila is the heat. Last year we landed in the middle of the July monsoon in Hong Kong. The flight was so rough many of the team were being sick, Hong Kong airport was packed with people having had their flights cancelled. Rain fell out of the sky with such force and in such large drops water was gushing everywhere. The monsoon had rooted up trees and brought down buildings. Whilst we were in Manila we experienced many storms of lightening in the clouds becoming a light show above but with no rain. Pinky told us how her district floods every year. How the rubbish is picked up and floats into people’s houses. She spoke of kids swimming in all the filth for fun-just like a swimming pool – just like the picture above.

God has spoken specifically to our local church about storms. He spoke at a members meeting a year ago, spoke through a lady who had a dream in which she was holding onto a rock in a storm .God laughed at her and said “what are you doing?” “I am scared as there is a huge storm raging and I am going to fall off my rock” he replied. God told her to “stand up” and as she did her feet grew roots than ran like an anchor into the rock and she reached up in worship. As she worshipped and the rain fell and her arms waved in the violent wind she found her worship became part of the storm. It is a beautiful picture. I have painted a version of this I will share with you tomorrow.

I have had prophecies for me in two separate towns from strangers about storms. The church was e-mailed a dream that a friend in Singapore had about standing on  tall pillar in the face of a storm.

This is a season for storms. Storms that stir up and bring freshness. Storms that change the landscape and that break down barriers. Storm that bring floods and bring the rubbish to the surface. The sewage and garbage cannot stay hidden under rocks in these storms. The storm will not become something to fight against  but something to stand up in and use as part of our worship and devotion. It will cause us to put our roots down deep and stand tall, not crouch down.

In this new culture the heat is turned up. Things are moving faster and with more intensity. I don’t know if you remember your science lessons but heat brings energy and causes molecules to move faster. Heat brings change and substances transform into something new.

This is a culture where spring comes and brings new life. (this is a song about this new spring http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV_ERWrL_Rc). Where winter is chased away and we brush away the dead leaves in order to let the new shoots flourish.

Today: Think about whether there are situational storms, storms of thinking, storms of frustrations and dreams, storms of confusion etc. raging in your life right now. Perhaps it isn’t the time to fight it or stand against it but time to allow the buffering to loose your heart to let your tears fall like rain and to release yourself into new expressions and level of worship and intimacy with God.

Two visits in one day

Today was a real eye opener.

This morning we visited the City Refuge for children. It houses abandoned or rescued children. Some rescued from the street, others rescued from abuse and bad situations. The refuge is meant to be a short term station but some children have been there for 5 years. There were several special needs children who were happy and very tactile.

Lucchi was our leader for this session. She prayed, then we sang some songs. I played the guitar and sang ‘Jesus love is very wonderful’ and ‘Whose the king of the jungle?’. They the children taught us their favourite a Filipino song. Lucchi taught them the story of the tower of Babel, she is a gifted story teller. We finished with a game of human skittles and then colouring. It wasn’t easy running around in the heat today – but we managed it. They took us to see an abandoned baby called Devine. She had encephalitis and a growth on her face. She had an operation recently and now needs another. It will cost 4 thousand pounds and they do not have a sponsor, so she lies on the bed and the refuge do what they can to keep her comfortable.

We went for lunch with Lucchi, Sara and Duncan. They explained more of the situation in the refuge, how they set the Father’s Heart up and their ideas for the future. To finish the meal we prayed together.

In the afternoon we went to visit the Badjao tribe. They are fishermen and live in houses on stilts in the harbour. To get from house to house they have built ‘bridges’- planks of random wood over a quagmire of rubbish and sewage. There are a few families that Duncan and Sara work with here. We wobbled our way (or was that just me) across the planks only to find a wedding celebrations in full swing. There was Filipino dancing that even Duncan said he had never seen before – it was quite Arabian in style. They all wanted their picture taken- especially the guys playing keyboard and singing! We then wobbled along till we had to cross the quagmire on two bamboo poles with nothing to hold onto! One cracked when I stood on it!  My heart was racing. I really didn’t want to end up in the sewage below.

We spent some time in one family’s house. The floor is just strips of bamboo nailed to planks of wood and you can see right through the floor to the water below. This floor gives under the weight of you when you step onto it. Duncan talked to the kids about their teeth. Many have such poor teeth that they pull the rotten teeth out themselves or with friends. He is trying to get them access to dental care. This means for many false teeth to fill the gaps.

When we came back we drove past the grounds of what once was a POW camp. It is now a memorial garden. The 250 American POWs were forced to build the runway to land on here in Palawan. When the Japanese heard they were just about to lose the war they killed them all in a horrific way. 10 of them saw the preparations for their demise and build an escape tunnel -7 got out and managed to swim across the bay. One of the men, so the story goes, was bitten by a shark as he was swimming. The shark was circling for its second attack when dolphins turned up and circled the man protecting him until he reached land.

Palawan

Duncan Lucchi and Sara

Duncan Lucchi and Sara

We flew across to the island of Palawan today to see the project run by Sarah and Duncan. They have a fantastic farm which is a fairly new purchase. It was run down when they bought it but used to have a mango orchard on it. There is a beautiful stream running through it with fish in. They are have cultivated rice fields, coffee bushes, mango trees, vegetable plot, charcoal pit, and are hoping to be self sustaining in years to come. They are keeping goats, pigs and ducks.

They are fostering  a large group of children there and giving them a real home. They have 9 children living with them at the minute. They have carers who take responsibility for a specific group of children. These children have been rescued from some tragic backgrounds. There are other children who come for daily lessons and food.

We joined them for lunch, worship, lessons and we shared a little something from the bible with everyone. We spent time with Duncan and Sara encouraging them in the work they do.

Durian Project

I’m afraid it will have to be a quick report today as we are packing.

We drove to the South West Manila province today to meet a relatively new project called the Durian Project. The aim the project is to help families living in abject poverty in a cemetery and educate the children for a future. It is about giving the children hope, choice, honour and freedom. We met the teachers Sally, Crystal and Pinky. Pinky is quite a character! Then went to the cemetery and met some of the families in their “homes”. After that we went to the newly purchased Pentecostal church building that is related to the project. (travelling by Jeepney). The children need sponsors to be educated through school as they only have 17 sponsors right now. Below is the “home” for a family of six.

SONY DSCTonight Anne Shirley and her sister took us to Manila Bay to watch the sunset. We then went to  the old Manila and had a meal in a sixteenth century Spanish house that had been converted into a restaurant. We ate to music from a grand piano and then were entertained with music and dance that represented the Philippines through the ages. A real treat.

Tomorrow morning we are leaving for Palawan to meet Duncan and Sarah who have a project there. It is called the Father’s Refuge for orphans, street kids and helping provision through farming. They have had 2 goat kids and some piglets recently.

We leave tomorrow at 5.30am.