We remember when Michaella started reading a lot more on her own she read to Lemuel at times. Now we are seeing Lemuel read to Justin. We enjoy seeing our children reach out to each other and bond in these type of ways.
The joys of being parents!
In the picture on the side I got 154 "likes" on my Facebook acct. All of those likes and the comments written where directed to how pretty Michaella looked. She is growing up to be a little lady before us.
She has been working hard in her Homeschooling and Ballet class.A couple of weeks ago was one is a full week for her. Busy finishing up all the homeschooling paces and requirements. And on top of that, she has long and extended ballet practices due to a upcoming recital this April. We are very proud of our 11 year old as she grows into the woman of God she is called to be.
.Lemuel is now 8 and Justin is 5. One thing we really enjoy is watching our boys growing close to each other. They are very different but they also have a lot of the same likes (legos, cars, books before bed, etc). Lemuel has improved a lot in his reading since we got back to the Philippines and Justin as a passion for learning.
My lovely wife has been working hard homeschooling along with educating our children. Also, Haydee teaches at the Mothers Ministry from time to time at YWAM Laguna Center. Beginning this month, Michaella and her will be serving in our local church helping at the Kids Church Ministry. God has been good to us!
It has been 5 years since we have been back to the States. It is clear in our hearts that now is the time. Michaella prays every night that God will make it possible for us to go to the States this year.
We are still busy this year up through half of October where we will be in Battambang, Cambodia helping out with the DTS Equip. But after that we want to head to the States so we can be there during the holidays! But this does not say there are not challenges. We need some things to take place to make that can happen. Here is what we are looking at:
We got a big God. He can make this happen. Thank you for those who stand with us through giving and through prayer.
As anyone who has been keeping up to date with our newsletters for the past few years knows that we have had a crazy ride. But I can tell you we have been blessed. I can truly say that God lead us down this path.
I think of all the other opportunities that was opened to us. They looked good at the time but God didn't lead us down those paths. Now we can see if we walked down any of those paths we would be in a world of hurt.
But we are asking now what God has for us. In that I (Dustin) felt that God wants me to expand more in Asia and the Pacific. How this will happen? I don't know. We have some other impressions that we are asking God for more clarity.
One thing for sure we are in a new season and we are looking forward. If we have learned anything it is that we need to follow God's leading. Once we get going in ours we can get off track.
Some say it is okay to do what you think is best. God knows. The problem I find with that is when I look in the Bible the people who did that made some major mistakes.
For us, more so then ever before, we need God's plan in our life.
Can't Get Home From Church
I (Dustin) arrived on Saturday from teaching in the DTS in YWAM ILO-ILO. We had a team from YWAM Siem Reap, Cambodia visiting us along with family.
Sunday the following morning with Haydee's sister (Rowena) and her family we drove to Manila to attend church. After church we went to Rowena's house to wait for the rain to stop before we drove home. But the rain didn't stop. It rained all night (and it is currently still raining).
Last night we got a call from Haydee's brother Rodel who lives in Santa Rosa, Laguna. Haydee's father was having some medical problems and we planned to visit them today.
This morning we found out that their house is currently flooded with 3 feet of water. Rodel, went out to get help to rescue them (Felix (Haydee's father) and his wife with 3 year old son) and they are currently in a rescue center.
The picture above is a picture taken this morning of the South Luzon Express way (SLEX). This is the highway we need to take to get home and as you can see it is not passable.
Currently, we learned that our house in Binan. Laguna is not flooded. But the area around our subdivision is (the picture above is 10 mins away from our house). Once we get back (hopefully tomorrow) we are planning to house Rodel and his family along with Felix if we can get to them.
The reports from the news says it can still rain for 3 to 4 days. Please pray that the rain will stop. We could really use your prayers.
Our kids are dual citizens. This will give them lots of opportunities in the future in which we are so grateful for.
But when we went to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA the Governmental office in which issues Philippine Passports) we learned to renew our kids passports we need to get a document from the Bureau of Immigration which is a recognition of their dual citizenship. But to meet the requirements for Immigration and all the other governmental offices (currently Haydee has been to 9 different government offices from national to local) it could take a year (maybe longer) before our kids can get their passports. So until then, Haydee and our kids can't travel out of the Philippines.
Our original plan was to renew Haydee and two of our kids passports in Bangkok at the Philippine Embassy when we returned in Thailand. Since the Thai Embassy denied our visas, actually, it saved us a lot of money. If we started this processes in Thailand we would have spent a lot more money up front, and in the end we would still have to return to the Philippines.
If you like to know more details of the processes, just email me. I can fully explain the paperwork nightmare we are facing.
So due to no choice of our own, we have moved back to the Philippines. We need to stay near Manila (since that is where Haydee was born and a lot of the paperwork needed is tied to that) we rented a house in Laguna near our family.
We have been blessed to find a good house and stuff to put in it! we still need a lot, but overall, God has provided.
Thank you for all of you who are praying for us. it means more to us then you may think.
Last month Susana (Haydee's mom) was admitted into the hospital and was placed in ICU. She has been struggling with her health for some time now. She has been dealing with really bad asthma and a weak heart. For the past year her health was to the point she couldn't go to the restroom by herself, take a shower, or take a walk. Haydee's brother Rodel and his wife Jho have sacrificially served her the last few years being the primary care giver.
When she was admitted in the hospital Haydee and I talked about if she was to head back to the Philippines ahead of our scheduled flight on January 15. She looked to be stabilizing and looked like she would live a little longer.
Yesterday Rodel had us Skype with them, Susana was not doing well. She was very weak and couldn't eat. Our whole family came into view so she could see all of our children and told her we loved her. Haydee and I decided that she will go home as soon as possible and bought her a ticket for Friday.
After we said bye on Skype she took a turn for the worst. She became weaker and had a seizure stopped breathing on the way to the hospital. This morning most of the family was in the hospital as Susana was in a coma. We Skyped with the family again in the hospital room. Through Skype we prayed that God would give her rest and receive her into His Kingdom.
After we prayed her heartbeat started slowing down and then stopped. Tried to revive her and it seemed she was still fighting for her life. When Bong (Haydee's other brother) arrived, she let go and she entered a new life. One that is with no more sickness and no more pain and tears.
We are still grieving the loss. Haydee will still fly out to be there for the funeral and grieve with her family.
So with all of this we ask for your prayers. The family is emotionally exhausted and physically drained. There is still more that needs to be done in the coming days as we are still grieving our loss.
There are a number of expenditures that the family has occurred. If you would like to give to us during this time it would be much appreciated. Information on how to send or to give on line click here.
Thank you *for taking the time to read this short update. Thank you for your prayers.
Dustin and Haydee along with Michaella, Lemuel, and Justin
Dave Ian, one of the Discipleship Training School (DTS) students, ran inside waking me up. The sun was up, so it was clear that I have overslept as I was laying down on the bamboo floor in the mountains of Abra.
While waking me Dave Ian stated, “Don't go outside. Two NPA (New People's Army) soldiers just walked by. They are in the house where the girls are staying. They are there drinking coffee with the owner of the house.” Dave Ian did not raise his voice. We were in a one room nipa hut made out of a wood frame, wood floors and walls, and coconut leaves for a roof. Whatever we said could easily be heard outside.
With me being the only white man in the team and for kilometers around, it was especially important that I know about the NPA soldiers. We were told that there was tension at the time between the Philippine Army and the NPA. If they were to find an American in the tribe things could go bad quickly. They could think I was some informant, or an American soldier there to train the Philippine army. It just would be best if I kept quite and wait for two NPAs finished drinking their coffee and then move on to the next village.
It was October of 2000 and I was 27 years old. When growing up I would have never had thought I would have become a missionary, living the in the Philippines. Now here I am in a tribe who does not speak my language with two Communist NPA soldiers outside doing their patrol. What would happen next? Only God knew. I just wanted to do what God had for me. I wanted to do His will. Whatever the cost.
My mother told me a couple of stories when I was in Bible school. The first one was when her grandmother, my great grandmother, told her one time that she will have a son and he would be a preacher.
That happened before my mom was married. My great grandmother would never see me. She died before my mom was married and before I was born.
The second story was when I was a baby. My mother visited a Assemblies of God church and the pastor prophesied over me and said that I would be in the ministry.
Now that was something my mother never told me while growing up. We were not the church going family. But it seemed even before I was born God had a plan. Now if I was going to fulfill that plan that would be up to me.
I grew up in a poor family in Colorado. We never really had much money going around. I had two sisters, one older and one younger. I remember my father was a janitor when I was a small boy. He worked at an office building of a trucking company. And my mother she was a cook at a restaurant.
After my grandmother died and my grandfather remarried we moved into my grandfather's house since he moved into the house of his new wife. My mother was still cooking but at that time my father was out of work. I remember the day my mother told my sisters and I that we didn't have food for tomorrow. Shortly after that my sisters and I decided that we would dig through trash for soda pop cans to recycle to get money to buy food. It would not be our first time we dug in trash for soda cans. We usually do it to get some pocket money to buy candy. But this would have been the first time to feed our family. It was the first time where this was not just for fun, but it had a purpose.
We collected cans all day. Going from one dumpster to the other pulling together all the cans we could find. We then went to the local grocery store where you have the cans weighed and they pay you based on the weight of the cans. Even through we collected all day we only received a little over one dollar.
From the counter I held the one dollar and a few coins. It was so small. What could we buy to feed our family of five?
With my two sisters I walked to an employee at the grocery store. She seemed to be in her 30's and I asked her, “We are a family of five. My mom and dad and my two sisters here. We have no food and we only have this.” I was showing her our dollar and a little change. “What can we buy to feed our family?”
She was shocked and taken a back. She didn't know what to say at first, but then she told us to go with her. She took us to an aisle and she gave us a one pound bag of beans. The cost being a little over one dollar. That was around amount that we had.
I will not forget the shame I felt walking home. I felt so low, so helpless. Poverty has chocking hold on a person. When one doesn't understand their identity in Christ, then poverty can also give you a feeling of worthlessness. And on that walk home, that is what I felt.
When we got home and mom came home from work we gave her the bag of beans and told her what we did. What we found out was that when mom was a work she borrowed some money to buy food. But later that night I could hear my mom crying.
In the school district that we lived in we went to school in a upper class public school. Overall it was considered a good school district to be apart of. But I was treated differently.
The school included me and my younger sister into a special class. This class was for those who had learning challenges. This class was for those who were considered slow and needed extra time to try to cope up with the others in the class. They called it “Special Ed” or “Special Education.”
But there was something I noticed that this class had in common. Everyone in this class was poor.
Kids are usually not to kind in elementary school. As a kid you want to fit in as much as you can. But when you go to the “Special Ed” class you where considered stupid and other kids don't have any problems pointing this out. So along with being poor I went to a school full of rich kids who looked down on you because of your poverty and your stupidity. It was not a place to build ones self esteem.
And then I will not forget third grade. My mom was in a few meetings with my teacher along with my sister's teacher (she was a year younger then me). I knew the talks had to do with how we were doing in school, but I didn't have any idea what the plan was about.
After we were released for summer break my mom sat down with my sister Phyllis and I to tell us that we will be repeating our respective classes for the following year. Phyllis would be repeating the second grade again and I was facing the third grade for the second time.
I felt so inadequate. I felt stupid. Phyllis and I cried and pleaded with our mother to not allow this to happen. But the decision was final. I loathed the idea of going back to school. Knowing that I would be doing third grade once more. And I would never forget the first day.
In that elementary school they had the third and forth graders share a class. Everyone was back and sharing what their families did during the summer. I wasn't sharing that much. At the time no one knew that I would be repeating my year.
Then at one point of the day they asked all the fourth graders to go to a different classroom for something and the third graders to stay back. I remember all of my former classmates getting up and calling to me. They were telling me to follow them. But I was to stay. I just looked down at my desk and felt the shame.
After my second round of third grade my special class started giving me this test. And after a while I would take a different test, but it was a lot like the last one. About every 3 to 6 months I remember taking all of these test. I really don't have any idea what they were. I found them kinda fun, so I would just do them.
Years later my mom told me what the test were. They were IQ test. The reason why they kept on giving them to me was because I was scoring very high. It was like there had to be a mistake, so they would give me a different IQ test. But every time they gave me a IQ test I would score higher then the last. But in my 4th grade and starting into 5th grade my reading level was poor.
During that time of my life my family ended up moving 3 times in one year. With all the moving my school records were lost in the shuffle. I was now in 5th grade and was attending Denver Public School district. In my elementary school I was no longer one of the poorest kids in the school. But I was still different. That difference was that I was white where it seemed that most of the kids where black.
Since my records were lost in the shuffle between schools, the school district didn't know where to put me. They didn't know my reading level, math level, or anything. So to figure it out they gave me a test. That's right, they gave me an IQ test.
With all my experience taking IQ test I stored high. So they put me in the highest reading level, along with math, and so forth. It was in 5th grade in a poor school district is where I learned to read. It was expected of me. The whole school was full of poverty background kids. So that was no longer a problem. It was only in high school I found this out. But until then I was still fighting with feelings of inadequately.
At the time I really didn't have much of an understanding of God. But I do remember praying at night. I would pray laying in my bed. Would my life ever make a difference? Would I always be poor? Did God have a plan for me?
There are times in our lives that some of us struggle with God's calling on our lives due to where we have came from or something we have done. We put ourselves in a box or someone else has based on what they think of us. And when God asks us to step out of that box we don't feel we are able to. We define ourselves by the walls of the box and not in the borders God has created for us.
In Judges chapter 6 God had a calling for a man. His calling was to lead the nation of Israel out of bondage under the Mindianites. These were people who were oppressing the Israelites and God's people where praying for freedom. That freedom that they would be crying for would come through a man. And his name was Gideon.
Gideon at the time was hiding in a winepress trying to thresh wheat. He was hiding because he was scared that the Mindianites would take his food. But the wheat needed to be threshed to get the husk off of it. But that usually took the wind. Down in the winepress there was no wind. So Gideon was working a lot harder to thresh the wheat in the winepress then he would if he was in the open where the wind blew.
Then God spoke to the man, hiding in a winepress, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor (Judges 6:12)!”
Just think about it. When we look at ourselves, we see one thing. But when God looks at us he sees something else. And it is this something else that God was calling out of Gideon.
Well I guess the “mighty man of valor” didn't grab the attention of Gideon first. What first got to him was, “The Lord is with you” part.
Gideon's reply to the statement was, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Mindianites (Judges 6:13).”
It was clear that Gideon didn't realize he was talking to God. He thought that this was a man talking to him. And he was not believing in the statements God was making about him.
Then the purpose of why God was addressing Gideon came out. What was God's reply to all of this doubt and unbelief? “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Mindianites Have I not sent you (Judges 6:14)?”
When Gideon is hiding, God is sending. When Gideon is doubting, God is believing.
Look at Gideon's reply now that he understands it is God who is speaking, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house (Judges 6:15).
Right away Gideon starts defining for God the borders of his box. And in Gideon's mind, that box is weakness. He comes from a weak clan. He comes from a weak family. And Gideon sees himself as the weakest of them all. He feels completely powerless. Powerless to change his situation, let alone those around him. This was something that Gideon was not just saying, but believing and living. He was hiding in a winepress out of fear.
A lot of times we close the door on what God has for us. We don't believe what God says He would like us to do because of the box we define ourselves in.
God wants to break the boxes in our lives that are holding us back. He wants us to live the lives He created us for, not to live the life we have defined for ourselves.
When growing up and after I came to know Christ, I defined myself by the box that was there for me. That box was formed by what others thought about me, how I grew up, my family background, etc. But God started to break down my little box. And when that happens, that is when the real ride starts.
Questions to ask:
Read Judges 6:1-16
What are some clear struggles Gideon was facing? Practical and in his belief system?
What were Gideon's walls in his box?
What is God speaking to you about any walls in your life?
What God spoken to you about the purpose He has for you?
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Dustin has been serving as a missionary for 21 years. Here is where he places some of his teaching, thoughts, and updates.