It’s been six months that we’ve been back in the States. Normally, we would be gearing up to head back to the Philippines and our “normal” life. But life has been anything but normal lately, so here we still are. We’ve been asked many times about how long we are planning to stay in Michigan, and honestly all plans are up in the air. Due to the newest strain of COVID making its way around the world, the Philippine government has closed off travel into the country for over thirty countries, which includes the United States. We’re hoping that by that time travel bans will be lifted and we can return to our beloved village without any hassle. Our only pilot is will be coming to the States this March and doesn’t plan to return until June. 

     Although our hearts have missed the Philippines, God has been blessing us with many opportunities to be with our family, friends, and church. David has been keeping busy teaching lessons and completing building projects. This February, he will be teaching for two Sundays at our home church. He has always loved teaching God’s Word but he’s still adjusting to teaching to a “new culture”. Sometimes we still forget how to relate to the current American culture and how to communicate well. We’re so thankful for the grace people have extended to us, even when we’re not 100% clear! 

     The boys and I have been keeping busy doing mostly the same things we do in our little village home. Homeschooling, baking, and being creative! With many schools around us flip flopping between virtual learning to in person learning, we are grateful to have stuck with good old trusty homeschooling for our boys. Our mornings are busy with normal language and math classes, but with the unlimited electricity and wireless connection, we’ve been able to teach the boys more about technology (hello computer classes!), robotics, and current world events. The boys have been learning how to code through a kids program, Scratch, and they’ve created their own video games! Homeschooling in the States has definitely had its perks!

     Sadly, we haven’t been able to hear too much about what is happening in the Isnag church. Our co-worker, Vicky, flew out of the village when the pilot left and our other co-workers, the Bamfords, are currently still in the States, also awaiting the travel ban lift. Please continue to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in Maragat. Pray that they stay encouraged and invested in God’s Word. We’re thankful that they have some resources (like translated bible portions in Isnag) to study on their own. We know that their spiritual growth is not dependent upon us, so we look forward to seeing how the Holy Spirit has worked among them in our absence. Our hearts are sad to be gone for so long but hopefully we’ll be able to return soon!

     Thank you for sticking with us through this time. We’re so glad we’ve been able to see and spend time with many of you while we’ve been home. We know last year was a hard time for many people and we pray that this new year will be an encouraging and joyful one for you!

-David and Vanessa Maynard