Chette, Araceli, who is better known as Tata, DG our tenacious teenager, Mercy our melancholic middle child and James our rambunctious youngest are those that make up this family of Missionaries. I learned that what makes life worth living is having a family. I have served in the Philippines since 1997 as an independent, by faith Missionary, that is, I never did any support raising or what many term Deputation. I figured that if God was behind my calling then he would supply, and the first thing he supplied was my wife Tata. And Many Many times God not only proved my calling but never let us go hungry even when we faced our last meal, some way He always supplied and never let us down. All our children were born and raised there in the mission field of Palawan Philippines. they are just as much Filipinos as they are American.
However Living by faith in the Mission field was one thing, then in Dec 2012 we had to come back to the States because our youngest was not speaking after five years, we knew something was wrong and we needed to find out what had to be done. So Stateside we came. We had no funds and the airfare was bought for us kind of last minute or right on time, however you look at it, God provided. We flew into LAX and stayed with my mother for a few weeks in cold Southern California, of course 60 degrees during the day was cold for us seeing we just came from a tropical climate that is 89 degrees on a daily average sunny or cloudy.
Once there we had tested the little guys hearing and then his eyesight but all was well. By observation we could tell he understood English, Tagalog and even his mothers native dialect of Cebuano, so his mind was receiving language well. We flew on to the State I call home Virginia. And once there it took some months of evaluations, tests, and screening first autism was ruled out, I kind of knew he was to outgoing to have it but you never know. Then as they kept at it and it was conclusive he did have a speech and motorskills delay. But the cause was unknown, you could tell he is as smart as a whip but he just wasn’t communicating.
The doctor’s wanted to do a little digging into our environment so I was referred to a doctor who I contact via their web page and she had us answer a million questions diet, water, weather, diseases but then one question came about, what types of insecticides and cleaning product we used in the mission house. When I mentioned an insecticide I was using to keep out ants, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, Mole crickets, Dengue fever and Malaria mosquito’s and a variety of other insects, that’s when a light went off for the doctor. She asked if I had used this during my wifes pregnancy with James. And of course I had used it at least three times during her nine month pregnancy with James. It was conclusive the cause was use of this insecticide exposure when my wife was three months pregnant with James.
Can you for a moment imagine how I felt reading that Email that she was 99% sure that the insecticide I used caused it and that she had seen it many times before. My mouth dropped and and my heart shot up into my throat, tears came to my eyes and I cried. “I did this”, I kept thinking “I did this”. I called my wife and we went into the stairwell between the upstairs and the basement which is closed off and there on those stairs I told her “I had caused James problem” “I was to blame” Then I began to tell her about the email from the doctor. I looked right at her and I apologized to her for my mistake and asked her forgiveness, and there we both balled like babies. To my surprise James heard us and came into the stairwell and sat next to me. He had a smile a mile wide on his face as I turned to him tears running down my cheeks and I said to him, “I am sorry James, I am so very very sorry”. I hugged him and he smiled and went back up and out of the stairwell and left us alone. It was like he knew we had found out the cause.
For two days I cried but I got over it, it wasn’t my fault really it was a accident, and the Lord knew I would never have used it if I knew what it would have done to him. Don’t worry the good news was all he needs is some training and speech therapy, he will one day be speaking like the rest of us. Eight months later I am happy to tell you he is progressing well he can speak two word sentences and can communicate what he wants well enough. He can call us all by our titles, Mama, Papa, DG and Mercy, even his teach Miss Lisa he calls Sissa. He is not clear in all his letters and words but he knows them. His writing skills are better but he has a lot more work to do in that area. He still has difficulty cutting with scissors and drawing straight lines but for me it is nothing short of a miracle.
Since coming back we lost some support and I have been having a difficult time getting work. I have submitted over 1000 applications and only one interview and testing but no hire. I ventured in to asking one lady on a follow up call I made as to why she thought men of 50 are not being interviewed and hired for jobs. Her answer was that most 50 plus old men are cantankerous and don’t relate well with others. I knew that was not true of me but I guess people just have prejudgments about people at certain ages and wont hire them.
Also about nine weeks ago I threw two vertebrae in my lower back out and that was no picnic. I had never felt pain like that before in my life. I am ok now but no work still. So I have been making Steampunk designed toy guns, lamps, and gadgets and also finding other things to sell on Ebay or Craigslist to try and make ends meet. You can visit our Steampunk designs page at http://www.steampunkthings.wordpress.com and there read more about me as an individual but know this, I am a family oriented guy.
And this is where my faith once again has to kick in.
If God took care of me in his service in another country why can’t he take care of me today?
Well the answer is he can. So by faith I will serve him with my family and my daily walk. I will do my best and pray for his grace and mercy to make up what I lack so that we can carry on. He is the same yesterday, today and forever so no matter where I am at he will help, he will be my strength, my shelter and my hiding place. If he can clothe the flowers and feed the birds he can surely supply some money for utilities and food.
I could go on, but for now you know where we are at in our life as a family and we ask for you prayers.