Easter in the Philippines

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The heat has been turned up in the last few days. We really are into summer here now – which means there are plenty of mangoes! There’s nothing quite like a Philippine mango!

For us, summer time means it’s Easter time. Easter is generally a very religious time here in the Philippines, especially in the Catholic Church – and around 85% of Filipinos are Catholic. Most people leave the city to visit their families in the provinces to celebrate together.

Last night our town, Baliuag, had a huge procession of 112 floats depicting Christ’s life and death. Many were highly ornate, they were all lit up, and were accompanied by various songs and prayers. The floats were taken up and down the streets of the town, followed by a procession of devotees with candles behind each float. The men were at the front, pulling the floats and pushing the generators for the lights! Stores were closed and owners sat outside with their families to watch or join in. Everyone from grandparents to babies watched in respect. It’s certainly a way to get a message across!

There are other Easter traditions here as well. Tomorrow is Good Friday, which is followed here by Black Saturday. The roads go quiet that day. Why? It’s believed that, because Jesus has died, if you have an accident no-one will hear your prayers! But on Easter Sunday morning, at the Anglican cathedral in Manila, the congregation knock on the church door which has been closed. The church is opened, the lights turned on and the covers taken off. Everyone enters in. Christ is risen.

New home for physically disabled children

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Allen, who is 16 years old, is our first child in the new home for physically disabled children. He has a very pleasing personality and  is enjoying every experience. For years he has stayed all day on a little wood slat bed in a shack with a  dirt floor that isn’t even flat, and his parents have needed to work all day. He lives in a wheelchair and needs 24 hour  care. We managed to find him  a very good “buddy”, and he is going to school for the first time in his life – and really enjoying it, even if it’s Grade One with a bunch of 6 year olds! He can draw, he’s enjoyed watching a basketball game here, and he even joined us for a prayer meeting last night. He’s learning to joke and have some fun. From a life of being stuck staying at home on a crooked slat … he is on a roll!

On another note, have you heard of Chikungunya? Most people around here hadn’t. Neither had I. But it’s a nasty little virus that I’ve picked up, spread by a mosquito that bites in the daytime.  (It has nothing to do with chickens, even if it has “chik” in the name!) High fever, headache rashes and joint swellings. My voice has come back and all I have now are swollen ankles and rashes on my lower legs. Please pray for full recovery and patience!