Having lived and worked (ministry service) in the Philippines for fifteen years, it will always be home to Susan and I. We have a nice home in our home country (culture) and all of our children and grandchildren live nearby. We enjoy our church body and the area we live in. But there are many memories and relationships that are still an important part of our life here (Dumaguete City, Philippines).
Having been gone for a couple weeks and somewhere that is not home (Thailand), it felt good to return to Manila, then our home at Rainbow Village. I've traveled and ministered in Thailand several times over the past fifteen years or so, but it's not home. As the old expression goes, "home is where your heart is." The problem for long-term missionaries is having your heart feel at home in two places—your home culture, where you grow up and have family, and your adopted culture and home.
As you read this I may be flying between my two homes—the Philippines and the USA. I head out very early Monday morning from Manila, heading back through Japan, Detroit, Atlanta, and finally Jacksonville—it's a long flight! On the one hand, I'm looking forward to seeing my wife, children and grandchildren again (it's been 3 months since I've seen my grandkids!), but I found sadness creeping in as I said my goodbye's to the children, our girls and staff. But I wouldn't trade it for a normal (typical) life, not for a minute.
The following photos, and the ones above, are some of the things I'll miss while away from Rainbow and the Philippines.