Have you ever put together a puzzle and been so overwhelmed with the amount of pieces and options, that you have to refer back to the picture on the box for orientation? Of course after you remind yourself what the picture looks like, you have to remember that the scale and color of the picture on the box and your puzzle are quite different.
The Lord has shown me the picture of what he wants Lighthouse Sanctuary to be, and I am trying to orient myself and find all of the pieces to place. We have been blessed so far to find pieces of support from every corner of the world! We have found pieces that help us understand the need here and where we fit in. We have also found pieces in our reading materials that help to clarify what Lighthouse will be.
We came here knowing that we would not be able to set up the shelter overnight and that we hadn’t received all of the pieces yet. We also came here with what felt like multiple full time jobs. Being a parent of 4 young children is already more than full-time and homeschooling is very time consuming. Starting a business could also fill my days and nights and then of course we added the element of uprooting our family and trying to do all of these things on the other side of the globe. Let’s be real here, it’s way more than we can handle without constant divine intervention!
We thought that we would come here and one of us would take care of the children and the other would work on the business. It didn’t seem easy, but it seemed so doable. The reality is that most people here have house helps, and hopefully one day we will too, because raising children in Manila is pretty much insane! We do not have the typical modern conveniences like dishwashers, oven, or washer and dryer. Food only stays fresh for a few days, so I need to go to the market twice a week.
The first 2 weeks here we ate out almost every meal because we didn’t have our bearings and it was the one thing we could cut out. Of course eating out takes its toll physically and financially so we were excited to settle and eat real food again! Real food can be so exhausting though! Grocery shopping with 4 kids is hard enough but planning meals, washing and peeling all our fruits and vegetables and preparing all of our meals from scratch is extremely time consuming! You can say that I miss Costco in a very real way!
If you don’t yet know Manila, I’d like to give you a good picture of it. It is lined with impressive skyscrapers, peppered with shacks and devastating poverty. It is so dense that many people live in the same skyscraper that houses their grocery store, the mall they shop at for every possible need, their nail technician, on call maid, laundry service and more. Most places that you drive actually take you longer to get there in a car. Although walking might be faster, it is not safer or better for your health. The cars are lined up bumper to bumper and they are exhausting diesel fumes. The side walks are used for parking and motorcycles do not seem to follow any rules. I want to say that the people are so friendly and wonderful but that wouldn’t paint the truest picture. Most people here in Manila are overworked and underpaid. They are respectful but warn down.
Now that you have a good picture of the city, you can understand that although we feel like we are working very hard, things are progressing very slowly. My husband spent weeks in lines of different offices just trying to get his ID, drivers license and dual citizenship. Now that he finally has all of that done, we are prepared to submit our paperwork for Lighthouse. We are excited to get in the paperwork and be recognized here like we are in the U.S. as a non profit organization. It is one piece of this puzzle that we recognize and can fit in.
The piece this week that was most exciting for me, was meeting the woman who runs a facility with her husband and is allowing us to come and volunteer and learn through hands on work. We plan to take the next 6 months to volunteer for them and go through Trauma Informed Care Training with IJM (International Justice Mission.) We will find our location and prepare all that we can for the next phase of building. We will then visit Utah for a few months to find donors to make the final pieces a reality. The Lord has shown us the big picture and we love seeing how each piece is revealed and placed! We are so grateful to all of those who have dedicated their talents and are helping to bring the big picture together!