We’re Going Back!
Our Plane Tickets are Booked and We’re Preparing to Return to the Philippines
We went from being unsure of when we could return to the Philippines to having our flights booked within a couple of hours. We received the final ok on Friday February the 14th just before three in the afternoon and we booked flights later that evening. “Happy Valentines day honey!” (I knew I would find something better than a dozen roses!). We found flights that we just couldn’t pass up, so Sarah and I decided we should go for it. This wasn’t easy for me, Mr. Consider-All-Your-Options to make this quick of a decision, but we will be flying for way less than expected. Praise God!
This flight will be a doozy though! We leave Sunday, April 13 at 10:35pm, stop in Vancouver 5 hours later for a 1hr 15min fuel up, and arrive in Manila Tuesday, April 15 at 6:40am. A total of 20hrs 5min flying time! Yeesh. Children’s extra drowsy Gravol (if there is such a thing) will be packed and ready! We are sooooo thankful that my mom has decided to fly with us and stay for two weeks to help us settle! We know this will be a huge help!
Please keep us in your prayers as we approach this date. It will be tough saying goodbye to our wonderful family and friends. We will need God’s grace and strength for this challenging time.
So Now What?
For the next month and a half we will be busy packing up our lives here and figuring out what to pack in our suitcases and what to ship over. We have found a good shipping company that we can ship a good sized box for around $75 door to door. So we will be sending over a lot of our things from home. We will also be busy getting all our immigration requirements together. There are many other details and loose ends that need to be taken care of before we leave.
Please pray for us during this time as it will be very busy and potentially stressful.
When we arrive in the Philippines, our new home will be at ACTION International Philippines’, Second Mile compound (Click here to view where it is in the Philippines on Google Maps). Our first few months will consist of us getting settled into and furnishing our new home. We will also begin language training as soon as possible as well as begin to figure out some details for beginning ministry. We will include more details about the ministry below.
Please pray that this transition for our family will go smoothly and that we adjust well to our new home and lifestyle.
First of all, we want to say a huge “THANK YOU” to everyone who has partnered with us financially! Without your partnership we would not be able to return.
Now, you may be thinking, “Great, the Seilings are heading back so they must be at 100% monthly support.” Well, unfortunately that is not the case. We are actually only at about 60% of total monthly support needed. Our personal support is right around 100%, but funds coming into Honest Hands varies monthly, at around 10 – 20% of the monthly ministry budget. The reason we are able to return to the Philippines is because of the funds we have saved up over the past four years of being home as well as all the one time donations that people have given. We actually have enough funds saved up to operate Honest Hands for two years.
So for long-term sustainable ministry, we are looking for others who would partner with us financially on a regular basis. We would like to see our personal support be well over 100% so that we can direct funds to the ministry as needed. We also know that our budget will increase over the years as the boys get older and we look into schooling options for them. Please know that if we have extra funds over our personal budget allowance they do not go into our “Save Up to Buy a BMW” account. We have a personal budget that is monitored and that we must stick to. More personal funds means more flexibility and growth for the ministry. If you would like to partner with us financially, you can donate online here. You may also give directly to the Honest Hands ministry here.
Please continue to pray that funding will come in over the next few months.
Thank you to all of you who have participated in our recent fundraisers like the Christmas cookie sale, and Snowpitch Tournament.
Honest Hands has not been running since the former leaders left in 2012, so we will be restarting the program. Our first steps will be to connect with former partner churches to introduce myself as the new leader of Honest Hands, discuss with them the plans of restarting the program and asking them to refer youth. I will also spend extensive time with the alternative education and discipleship teacher, Mel discussing the ins and outs of Honest Hands. He has been with the program since the start, about 12 years ago. In May we plan on holding discipleship camps to recruit guys for our first batch. During the discipleship camps we will observe which guys are really looking for change and can also thrive in a structured setting. In June we will be hosting a reuinion for guys who have graduated from the program. Although Honest Hands has capacity for 10 guys for the 9 month program we are planning on starting with only about 7 for the first batch since it will be our first. Our goal is to start the first batch around August.
Please pray that God will direct us to the right pastors and leaders that have a passion to see young men from difficult life situations grow in their faith. Pray also that God would begin to prepare the hearts of the young men who will attend the program. Pray for wisdom and understanding as we transition into this new leadership role.
Family Update (by Sarah)
Life with two kids has proven to be very busy. Who would of thought? We are all adjusting to this new and exciting life with baby Asher. Sam loves to give his new brother lots of kisses, hugs and head butts. He enjoys pointing out frequently that Asher has hair, eyes and a nose. Sam has taken the liberty of informing me when it is “feed time,” so that he gets to watch one of his favourite shows like Curious George or Thomas the Train while my hands are tied with feeding Asher. Now at 21 months old, Sam is saying new words almost every day, trying to construct small sentences, on his way to getting basic colours figured out, making an effort to count and even uses the toilet on occasion. At just over one month old, Asher is packing on the pounds, sleeping frequently and eating about every 2-3 hours…..even at night.
On Family Day weekend we took our first holiday as a family of four. We drove six hours north to the French River which is a get-a-way place that is frequented by Greg’s family. It has become the place where we love to go throughout the year especially in the winter to snowmobile, snowshoe and just enjoy the great outdoors. Now for those of you that don’t know, this place is not your 5 star resort. There is no road access, no running water, and no hydro. Taking Asher there at only 3 1/2 weeks old now gives us bragging rights for taking up the youngest child. At 3 1/2 weeks of age Asher got his first snowmobile ride. We wrapped him warmly in his car seat and he slept for the 20 minute ride through the bush into the cabin with grandpa driving. Sam was very unsure about the snowmobiles at first but ended up having a great time even asking Greg to go faster. Greg and I were able to get out for our annual snow shoe hike through the bush while grandma and grandpa watched the boys.
Please continue to pray for healthy, growing boys, and that we would be strengthened as a family through these busy and stressful months ahead.
Thank you to all of you who have been praying for us during this time. You have been a huge factor in us getting to this point as well. Know that your prayers are coveted, especially at this time of our lives!