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Philippines Journal Unbound

I've officially embarked upon my amazing adventure to witness firsthand the work of Unbound in the Philippines.

While, as usual, I'm not as well prepared as I would have like to be (read here, "I didn't learn to say all the words in Tagalog yet!"), the things that needed to get crossed off my to do list are done. At the top of that list was the fun job of purchasing some gifts for those I will meet, especially my sponsored child Jackilyn. I can't wait to visit with her and her family. I know that for me, the chance to be in person with my sponsored friend will be a highlight of the trip.

This morning, my alarm went off at 3 am. The best husband in the world drove me through the pre-dawn darkness to the airport. Our partings are a sweet sorrow... I will miss Greg so much over the next ten days, but his ready acceptance of how much these trips mean to me is a true gift. He is with me in spirit through his patience and support.

My flight to Los Angeles was a beautiful gift as God sent the sunrise just in time:

Beautiful sunrise over Los Angeles en route to Manila! Beautiful sunrise over Los Angeles en route to Manila!

When I landed, I had a quick trip over to the International terminal and some quiet prayer time. I was reminded today that I get some of my most productive work done in airports--especially ones with many power outlets!

Beautiful Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX Beautiful Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX

There is something about watching my fellow travelers in pre-departure mode that fascinates me. One little habit I've picked up is the pre-boarding prayer of a decade of the Rosary, using some of my fellow waiting-to-board friends for the "beads". This may sound bizarre, but it is a little way to bless the trip and those who are traveling with me for any variety of different reasons. A quick glance at them and a prayer for whatever joys or burdens they are carrying settles me for our time together in the air. I will arrive in Manila at 11 pm on Friday, flying over 25 hours through Tokyo and ahead in time 16 hours.

A final special gift, along with the sunrise and the plugs, is the tweet Pope Francis sent this morning, just perfect for this day:

A sweet tweet from Pope Francis A sweet tweet from Pope Francis

I can't believe that I will have the amazing blessing of living amidst God's sons and daughters in the Philippines for the next several days! Along the way, I will be praying for an openness to God's will for this journey. I'm so very happy to be able to bring you along with me.

My patron saints for this adventure will be St. Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila and his companions, who gave their lives for their faith, and Nuestra Señora de Guia (Our Lady of Guidance). Please join me in praying for Our Lady's intercession in the work of Unbound and for the courage and conviction of St. Lorenzo to lovingly reach out to those most in need.

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