As the Fall season ends and the winter season begins, and as the year 2020 comes to a close, we are spending some time looking back over the past year. Of course, 2020 will go down in the history books as possibly the most difficult year in over a century due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite the challenges of the past year, there is still so much to be grateful for. We are grateful for the sustaining grace of God, and thankful that, although very different, our work with our partners in the Philippines, and with CBM, has been able to continue.
We have been back in New Brunswick for 7 months now, which is 4 months longer than what we had originally planned for our Home Assignment. We are grateful, however, to be here and for the extended opportunities we’ve had with our family, friends, and supporters.
In this Waddell Family Ministry Update – Fall 2020, we won’t be sharing specifically about our work in the Philippines. If you are interested in reading more about that, we recently wrote a 4-part series of updates titled ‘Pressed but not Crushed’ on our blog (www.waddells.ca), that share all about CBM’s current work in the Philippines with our partner, Kabuganaan Philippines Ministries (KPM).
In this ministry update we are taking the time to share more personally about our family, as well as, answering some FAQ’s regarding our future. We hope you find this update informative.
Once again, we want to express our sincere thanks and appreciation for your prayers, encouragement, and support throughout the past 12 months We are only able to continue the work that God has given us because of faithful people like yourself.
Advent blessings and our warmest wishes to you and your family this Christmas season!
After having a small artificial Christmas tree in the Philippines for the past number of years, we were really excited to visit the local Christmas tree farm this past weekend to hunt for the perfect tree.
We went early Saturday morning, but didn’t have a lot of time to search, because a heavy rain storm was forecasted to arrive at some point on Saturday morning. Thankfully, we found our ‘perfect’ tree quickly and made it home before the rains began.
We enjoyed setting up and trimming our tree on Sunday afternoon while watching one of our favourite Christmas movies, Elf.
Kyla is thoroughly enjoying her grade 12 year at Belleisle High School. She has a fairly light course load due to all the hard work she put into school at Faith Academy and homeschooling. Kyla, who loves being active, was thrilled to make the high school soccer team earlier this fall, although they didn’t play a lot of other teams because of the pandemic. She has also recently been selected to play for the schools high school basketball team (a sport she’s never played before). Kyla is also serving as co-editor of the high school year book, which she is really enjoying. Kyla is still working on her plans for after graduation, but plans to take a degree in residential design.
Sean is currently in grade 10 at Belleisle High School and is really enjoying the opportunities for social interaction, which he has really missed over the past 2-years of homeschooling. Sean is excelling in all of his classes and had a fantastic report card at mid-term. He is also enjoying opportunities for sports, making both the high school soccer team and basketball team.
Carter is also in grade 10 at Belleisle High School and is also really enjoying hanging out with his class mates. Carter was a little nervous to return to public school, but thankfully, their friend group and other students welcomed them back. Carter is also doing very well in his classes and also had a great report card at mid-term. Like Sean, Carter made the high school soccer team and basketball team.
Allie is currently in grade 7. Unlike the other 3 kids, Allie made the decision to continue with homeschooling through Tree of Life. Allie has very high academic goals and is a model homeschooling student, self motivated, self directed, and hard working. Allie has a deep love for animals and has wanted to be a veterinarian for many years. As a homeschooling student, Allie doesn’t have the same opportunities for socialization or sports, which she definitely misses. She is, however, taking horseback riding lessons every Friday afternoon at a local ranch, which makes her really happy.
As you may know, Melanie is a trained counselling therapist and uses her training and skills in the context of our work. In 2017, while we were in the Philippines, our province established The College of Counselling Therapists of New Brunswick (CCTNB) to provide accountability and regulation to the profession. In order to gain accreditation with the college, Melanie needed to complete a certain number of counselling hours. She did that in the Philippines and is now a “Candidate.” While being in New Brunswick, she needs to complete her post-admittance hours and be supervised by a licensed counselling therapist here. So, since we are in New Brunswick while waiting for the pandemic to end, Melanie has decided to begin providing private counselling on a part-time basis, beginning in January. This will give her the necessary hours that she needs to receive her full counselling therapist license for the province of New Brunswick.
Prayer & Praise
- We praise God for a great time of Home Assignment connecting with many of our church partners and supporters. Although the pandemic changed our home assignment, we were still able to make good connections.
- Please pray for our children as they finish up the final couple of weeks of school before Christmas break.
- Please pray for our partner, Kabuganaan Philippines Ministries (KPM) and Rev. Job & Phoebe Santiago as they continue to provide leadership and support for people in need throughout Capiz province.
- Please pray for BUGANA Livelihood Center and FOOD for LIFE (Faith+Work initiatives in the Philippines) as they continue to make adjustments to their business activities due to the covid-19 pandemic.
Question 1 – Are you home for good or do you still plan to go back to the Philippines?
Answer – Although we are grateful to be home in New Brunswick during this pandemic, and will enjoy spending Christmas closer to family (although that will likely look different), we do still intend to return to the Philippines. There is still a lot of uncertainty around our travel plans due to a number of factors, including existing travel restrictions, but we do intend to return to the Philippines when it is safe and approved for our family to do so.
Question 2 – When do you plan to return to the Philippines?
Answer – Currently, the Philippine government is not allowing entry of foreigners into the country, except for special circumstances. There have been some reports indicating it could still be several months before this changes, perhaps not even until a vaccine is widely distributed. We, alongside our CBM leadership, continue to monitor the situation so that we can make an informed decision that is right for our family.
Question 3 – What is the covid-19 situation like in the Philippines?
Answer – The number of cases in the Philippines continues to rise (455,000 at the time of writing this), including in Roxas City and Capiz province. The larger issue at this point is the lack of access to testing. Additionally, the government is charging for covid testing (approx. $125CAD) so many poor or lower income people who are sick cannot afford the test. Hospitals, including Capiz Emmanuel Hospital, are struggling with caring for covid patients, as well as, offering other essential health care services to patients who need them.
Question 4 – What are you doing for work while home in New Brunswick?
Answer – We continue to work with CBM and are mainly focused on three key areas. First, we continue to work with our partners in the Philippines with ongoing support for existing and future programming, and Faith+Work initiatives. Secondly, we continue to connect with our church partners and supporters to share about our work in the Philippines. Lastly, we are working closely with CBM colleagues to further develop Faith+Work within CBM and our network of global partners. This involves both the education and discipleship aspect of Faith+Work, as well as, the practical development and implementation of Faith+Work initiatives.
Question 5 – How are your kids doing with the transition?
Answer – We are so proud of our kids. In many ways, they are doing far better with the transition and adjustments to life back in NB than we are as parents. They are all excelling at school and are enjoying the increased social interaction that they get while attending public school again. Although they are really enjoying this extended time of being ‘home’ they understand and support our return to the Philippines when the time comes.