Update from the Howells – back in the Philippines

Our Dear Co-workers in the Gospel,

Just a quick update to let you all know that we got home OK to the Philippines. There were some hiccups though.

First Deb’s PCR test came in positive as it still picked up her Covid that she had a month or so ago. Mine was negative even though I had had Covid at the same time. So we had to cancel our flights on Singapore Airlines that went through Singapore and they DID give us a full refund within a few days. We then purchased another fare on Qantas via Sydney and we had Rapid Antigen Tests at the airport which were negative so we were able to fly OK. It was a great flight and we arrived in Manila on April 14.

  • On the 15th we went North to where Debbie grew up and we spent 3 days in that area – the Kalanguya tribe. It has been about 20 years since we were there. The mountainous road was EXTREME to describe in mildly. Debbie was still able to speak Kalanguya fluently as she lived there from 4yo to 15 years old. The people who Debbie grew up with and all of the believers received us with great joy. It was such a breath of fresh air.
  • On the 16th Debbie shared the Word with the women for 3 hours in meetings – beautiful times.
  • On the 17th they had me (Paul) share the word for 5 hours over 2 meetings. 3 hours straight in one and then lunch and then another 2 hours of speaking. I had an interpreter as I do not speak Kalanguya. This was also a very sweet time.
  • On the 18th they took us to another village and had me share the word again for 2 hours and Debbie interpreted for me that time and did a great job.
  • Food was great, fellowship was great and we want to go back there again which we may do in December.

There has been a BIG problem in the village where Debbie grew up though – 6 years ago (which we just found out) a local Shaman poisoned the water source of the village. The people smelt it and raised the alarm so only 2 people had taken a drink. One got very sick and a child has problems to this day as the base of his tongue was effected. In May (Next Month) the court case continues as the crime was reported and the Shaman jailed. However depending on how this court case goes, the Shaman may be released from jail. Please pray with us that this problem will be solved – It is a big problem. The Shaman is related to most of the people in the village and it was actually his very own grandson who drank some of the poisoned water and had his tongue effected.

After visiting the Kalanguya, we then came to Mindanao on the 22nd of April after taking care of some things in Manila and we have pretty much settled into our home again and are getting some work done. It has been so, so good to see everyone that we’ve been able to catch up with already.

It seems like we will move ahead and begin a work in the Malitbog region. Please keep praying with us about this and also about the construction of the church building in Baungon. Materials are on site now.

Anyway just some brief news and our Love,
Paul and Deb

Some Trivia:

  • Over here you need to wear a mask indoors and also outdoors.
  • Only vaccinated people can enter the supermarket and stores – so no vaccine – no shopping ☹
  • 5G is fairly common here now with communications in the city.
  • I (Paul) am turning 60 on Friday April 29th. God still wants me here. 😊