Almost Like Home

Almost like coming home. This is how I felt when we visited Zeeland Free Methodist Church in Zeeland, Michigan. Maybe because I was visiting Jerry and Margaret Van Kuiken, former missionaries to the Philippines. We sure had a good time talking and reconnecting. I thought it might have been the pansit (Philippine rice noodles) that Margaret cooked. I will never know. It is amazing how the stomach or our pallette could dictate the way our brain works. It is almost like the church cook telling the pastor what to preach for that Sunday. Ha! ha!

We came in to Zeeland Saturday. Friends from the church brought us to the Zeeland Pumpkin Festival. We went downtown and visited a "petting zoo." The children had fun with the farm animals. I had to restrain Jacob from squeezing too hard or else the little chicks would suffocate. That would have been a tragedy! Later, we watched the parade. It is kind of hard to describe a local parade in print. Horses, tractors, marching bands, floats, local kids showing off their dancing skills, local businesses displaying their vintage cars, and the likes. Maybe it is all of these that made me think of my little hometown, Butuan City. Maybe, it is because Eleanore Puspos Edema was there. Maybe, all these Agusan connections is bringing in primordial memories of my time in Mindanao. I would never know. Maybe it is all these brothers and sisters surrounding us at that parade. There were several people there. . . Eleanore, her family, Doug, Melanie and Mark, Heather and little Kaiden, Don, Brenda, Jim and others. Maybe, it is all this Christian hospitality that is sparking thoughts of home in me.

At dinner time, pizza was serve. More people came in. Jim's wife, Nancy joined us, as well as, Gord and Sharla, Don, Brenda and Samantha. After dinner, we went to the hotel to rest. I am glad Tom and Jenny made this hotel arrangement possible. Next day, we went to church and shared about God's work in Taiwan. People were very gracious. Bill, Karen, Fred, Justin, Jeff and his 10-year old Filipino-American son, Jonathan. You know what. . . it might have been all the Filipino-American connections here that are making me think of home sweet home. Could be. I can only guess. Carmen and Jacob enjoyed the games that Margaret organized. The Pinata was a blast! Jacob was screaming so loud. Maybe I should do this at home. Not!

Right before we left, at the parking lot, I gave Jerry a big hug and told him, "This is just like coming home!" We said our goodbyes and headed out for Muskegon, where we were going to speak for that evening. I will always treasure these good memories.

Where is Home?

One time Sarah mentioned to Carmen about going home to Illinois this summer.  Carmen looked up at her mother and said, “But, we are home.”  When I heard this, I started asking myself the question, “Where is home?”

Where is home?  Whenever I am on the phone talking to my sisters or brothers in the Philippines, I know that home is Manila and Butuan City.  Home is the land of the pansit, bulad, and other exotic Filipino foods.  Home is where kundiman songs and Hanep songs make sense, and singing the songs of Joey Ayala always brings a tear or two to my eyes.

Where is home?  Whenever I see my family chatting on the computer with John and Judy from Illinois using a webcam on Skype, I realize then that home is Avon, Illinois, USA.  Home is where I run around Little Swan Lake and enjoy the cornfield scenery and green countryside.  Home is where March Madness happens and the Cubs look forward to another year.

Where is home?  Whenever I watch Carmen and Jacob play with our friends at Feng Shan FMC here in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, I feel that home is here.  Home is the place where I play soccer with Carmen and her Chinese friends.  Home is where lighted lanterns and a walk by Love River becomes a memorable family outing.

Where is home?  Home is Philippines, USA, and Taiwan.  Home is wherever God leads us to.  So, where is your home?  Where is God leading you?