Lynette Orange: April 2022 Newsletter
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
It has been almost 6 months since I returned to the Philippines and I, myself, am finding that hard to get my head around. It was not the easiest of transitions. I had returned to what appeared to be all familiar territory, yet many things had changed. The rules were different and it felt like I was having to learn all over again a new culture. This time it was a COVID culture. Having come from a country where things were relaxing to one where every time I stepped outside the door I was required to wear a face mask and face shield. When entering a supermarket I was required to show a QR code and my vaccination card. It was bizarre and at times overwhelming.
6 months in and things have relaxed here slightly. Face shields are no longer required and our cases have lowered allowing us to begin to enjoy more freedoms. I have also worked out most of the new rules and adapted to wearing my face mask at all time even in 38 degree heat!
There has actually been so much happening in the last few months that I am struggling to choose so I will select a few of the main events.
I started with the verse of scripture from Isaiah as I believe that we are entering a new phase and not just in the physical but also in the spiritual. Isolation for many has been so tough, especially here for our children as they were so severely restricted. I am sure for many it felt like a wilderness time but despite all of that God has been preparing the ground, the perceived wasteland will bring forth streams.
There is lots of work to be done, the harvest fields are ripe and God is expanding our territory. Do you perceive it? I do!
So wonderful to be back at City Gates Church. This was one of our 5am Christmas Services!
Thank you to all who donated! Boxes arrived in time for Christmas
Christmas Day in Coron
Back with my community!
It has been brilliant to be back! For many months I saw all the pictures of the CGA team repacking the grocery packs and helping those in our community that were struggling wishing I could be back and helping in a practical way. It was amazing to see and reconnect with our parents and meet some of our new parents too!
Whilst I am very thankful for technology and the ability to keep connected with the team in the Philippines there is NOTHING that can replace being in the same country, time and place. Being able to be face to face and have face to face meetings has been wonderful and saves a lot of time too! The CGA team are pure legends for all they have been able to achieve during this very difficult time, not least having to communicate with me across time zones and countries!
We were very thankful for the restrictions to be eased enough for us to hold our traditional mass wedding. 2020 was the first year we were unable to offer this amazing event to our parents. It was a mass wedding with a difference as we were not able to conduct the ceremony at the same time. Instead it was more like a drive-through! Each couple were given their own time slot and were allowed a few guests.
City Gates still provided all the usual parts of the wedding such as the transport, flowers, paperwork and food. It was no mean feat as Pastor Glenn and Pastor Saldine conducted 9 wedding ceremonies back to back! The day was a huge success and once again we feel very honoured to be able to give these couples the wedding they have always wanted. We continue to pray for them and their marriages.
Christmas in Coron
I was blessed to be able to go to Coron for Christmas. It wasn't all holiday though as I took the opportunity though to do some training with our newest teacher, Teacher Tin. She has been doing a great job considering that she started in the middle of a pandemic and has conducted almost all of her training with me online! It was great to be able to meet face to face and give her some training.
During my visit I was also given the privilege of speaking at the Sunday service at City Gates Church Coron. It had been a while since I had done any public speaking in Tagalog but thankful that in our weakness God grace is always sufficient. I spoke about finding joy after Christmas.
One more really positive thing that happened during my trip to Coron was meeting with one of the Department of Education district supervisors. She spoke of the great needs on many of the remote islands for training and teacher development. We spoke for hours and talked about ways in which we may be able to help. It is still very very early days but I am excited by this potential development and seek your prayers that God would help us to take this opportunity and use it for the sharing of the gospel too!
Meeting with Ma'am Heidi from the Department of Education and getting excited for plans in Coron
Prayer and Thanksgiving
Thankful for being able to return to the Philippines and settling back into life here.
Pray for the preparations as we look towards the new school year and hopefully face to face classes.
Pray for the new opportunities that are opening up for us and that God would give us clear direction and provision.