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ZADOK PUBLICATIONS MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

December 1, 2015

The Unfolded Mystery

Introduction:
          For centuries, the great mystery of God's plan was scattered throughout His Word in the form of prophetic messages and somewhat cryptic images. Beginning in Genesis with the crushing of the serpents head under the heel of the promised One was one of the first. Even the bread and wine with Abraham's offering of the tithe to Melchizedek and his obedience to sacrifice his only son in dramatic form were likened to Jesus being sacrificed for the sins of the world. These were glimpses into a great mystery.

          Myriad glimpses into the eternal purpose of man's redemption, before the foundation of the earth, can be seen in all the prophets' works. However, piece meal as it was, the mystery was filtered through the hearts and minds of the righteous in part. They caught glimpses of this or that idea in faith, until they could see the total picture.

          This was how the "secret of the Lord" continued to be secret. When Paul and the gospel writers sought to translate the meaning, they used the word "mystery." Yes, the plan of God was a mystery to the theologs of Scribes and Pharisees, but clear to some of the most simplistic believers.

Open the scene of the season of the year, our celebration of the birth of Jesus. To those who viewed the sacred birth, heralded by angels and shepherds and star driven wise men, it was an unfolding of the mystery of God. Faithful Simeon and Anna finally understood what had been planned for ages. The mystery was solved in the birth of the Messiah. This event was the "coming together" of the scriptural portrait painted over time…it was the "fullness of time."

It, also, was the fruition of what God promised. The psalmist David said,
Psalms 25:14
14 The secret of the LORD (mystery) is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant.
A similar word was echoed in the wisdom of Solomon, the intellectual par excellence.
Proverb 3:32 His secret counsel is with the upright.
Amos said it this way:
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
(Hebrew Texts define "secret" as OT:5475 cowd (sode); from OT:3245; a session, i.e. company of persons (in close deliberation); by implication, intimacy, consultation, a secret: KJV - assembly, counsel, inward, secret (counsel). In other words, this was the hidden counsel of God determined by those in close intimacy and revealed only in the way they wished.)
When the Greek translators defined this "secret," they alluded to a secret pact understood only by those initiated into the sacred rites. The pact was administered by those who had private knowledge. (Oh, the ways of the Lord are truly past finding out.)

Today, we know the mystery's unfolded meaning. We know the plan of God made clear by the early church and broadcast around the world. However, it was revelation to those who witnessed His birth and development. Privy to His disciples was this understanding of the mystery of the ages. Jesus taught that the disciples, and those who followed them, were the determined promulgators of the mystery.
Matthew 13:11-16
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
To the unbelieving world, such is still a mystery and incomprehensible to their palette. They struggle with minutia and miss the depth and height and length of New Testament power, which begins by embracing the plan of God for man's redemption. Such was the case of the religious leaders of ancient times and such is the same today.
1 Corinthians 2:2ff
2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written:
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
(There is so much to be learned from this passage. One needs to read and read it.)

Those entrusted with leadership among the leaders of the Temple ruled consistently against the revealed "mystery" of God's plan. Paul said they were blinded (He had been as blind as they, except Ananias opened his eyes).

Oh, saint of God, please know there are things going on today that religious leaders are going against the plan of God by making decisions, teaching doctrines and embracing theologies that are as blind to revealed truth as the Pharisees.

Verse 13 says it best. Spiritual discernment is what is lacking profoundly in religious circles, but verse 14 declares its prominence. The mind of Christ was and is in harmony with the great plan of God which is being played out in these last days as significantly and clearly as Bethlehem's role in the prophetic realm.

Verse 10 links with verse 12 to herald the fact that the will of God is for us to know the eternal mysteries!

Paul's revelation about the mysteries of God permeates his epistles. One cannot understand the teachings of this God-ordained apostle apart from this truth.

Listen to him in Romans.
Romans 16:25ff
Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith - 27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.
We lack established believers today! Why? Look at what Paul asserts. One is established by adhering to his gospel, the preaching of Jesus Christ, ACCORDING TO THE REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY. We are people of the mystery.
Colossians 1:24-2:10
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
(One translation says, "man's only hope for glory.")

To who are the mysteries revealed? It is "to those who love Him and live for Him." Before any other understanding can take place, one must first learn "Christ's mighty energy" working within the believer to bring him or her to perfection (maturity).

Paul's Ephesians letter begins at this point. Evidently the "mystery" of God is still unfolding and even incorporates the day and hour in which we live.
Ephesians 1:7-14
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth - in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Our perfection depends on this message. We are living in the "dispensation of the fullness of the times," and we need to expand our horizons and view the events from the throne room. Mysteries are to be revealed to us and through us, for that is the plan of the ages. We act as though those who have had great understanding have all passed into eternity…well now, they are not the "alive" ones among whom the mysteries are to be known. We are! He is about to pull the drawstring and gather His to Him. It is time we know the "counsel of His will." We tend to wait for someone else to feed us their "constructs;" we feign to apply ourselves to the power of Christ working in us to bring us to glory. We are to be the "unfolders" of the mysteries.

Barnes' Comments are superb on this passage:
"That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:"

[That in the dispensation] The word rendered here as "dispensation," oikonomia economy (NT:3622), means properly "the management of household affairs." Then it means stewardship or administration; a dispensation or arrangement of things: a scheme or plan. The meaning here is, that this plan was formed in order eis (NT:1519) or "unto" this end, that in the full arrangement of times, or in the arrangements completing the filling up of the times, God might gather together in one all things. Tyndale renders it: "to have it declared when the time was full come," etc.

[The fullness of times] When the times were fully completed; when all the periods should have passed by which He had prescribed, or judged necessary to the completion of the object. The period referred to here is that when all things shall be gathered together in the Redeemer at the winding up of human affairs, or the consummation of all things. The arrangement was made with reference to that, and embraced all things which conduced to that. The plan stretched from before "the foundation of the world" to the period when all times should be completed; and of course all the events occurring in that intermediate period were embraced in the plan.

[He might gather together in one] The word used here - anakefalaiooo (NT:346) - means literally, to sum up, to recapitulate, as an orator does at the close of his discourse. It is from kefalee (NT:2776), the head; or kefalaion (NT:2774), the sum, the chief thing, the main point. In the New Testament, the word means to collect under one head, or to comprehend several things under one;

(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
Often times, we are looking at glimpses of Bible Truth concerning the last days. We become like the religious leaders who looked at prophetic glimpses and missed what Anna and Simeon knew. O' how careful we must be to listen to the Spirit as Paul cautions, to use our spiritual discernment on the myriad of prophetic utterance being forged today.

Hear Paul again.
Ephesians 3:1 The Mystery Revealed
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles - 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.

8 Purpose of the Mystery
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. 13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
There is a tendency to sum up these verses by glorying in the Jews' rejection of the gospel and how the Lord used that rejection to engraft the "heathen (Gentiles)" into the covenant. There is more to this matter than meets the eye. Verse 8 is just not tacked on to a treatise validating Paul's apostleship. Verse 9 speaks of a "fellowship of the mystery," which is a dimension of camaraderie that eclipses church socials and even worship times.
Strong's definition is superbly drawn.
NT:3622 oikonomia (oy-kon-om-ee'-ah); from NT:3623; administration (of a household or estate); specifically, a (religious) "economy":
KJV - dispensation, stewardship.
Some might call this "family," as it relates to the perpetuation of values drawn from generations of being in the household and relates to mores and morals that supersede the ideas of the current generation which embraces tradition and values, paying homage to the past, while moving into the future. The economy of God is superior to the governance of the hour. Saints are drawn to each other in "fellowship" for the perpetuation of the plan of God through the ages, preserving their part of the inheritance through faith.

Now Ephesians 5 takes on a different character than that of familial conduct. It joins the "mystery" teaching of the former passages and explains the oneness of Christ's unity with us. We are of the household of faith, and we press to maintain the value system of each other.
Ephesians 5:29-32
9 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
One flesh, with Christ, is part of the great mystery of Godliness. It links us to the great cloud of witnesses and determines who and where we fellowship. It is never the shallow acknowledgement of Sunday attendees, but the genuine prevailing of a community of faith built around the plan of the ages which incorporates "who" we are in Him.
Ephesians 2:19-3:14
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit
Paul felt the necessity to speak to young Timothy about this most important subject.
1 Timothy 3:15-4:4
I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:

          God was manifested in the flesh,
          Justified in the Spirit,
          Seen by angels,
          Preached among the Gentiles,
          Believed on in the world,
          Received up in glory.
Earlier, Paul wrote about an element which exceeds office or position. The church is all about verse 9. Its leadership is to purveyors of the mystery of the faith.
1 Timothy 3:8-10
Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.
Colossians garners a greater look as it relates to the Mystery and the warnings.
Colossians 2:1
For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. 5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.

6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Because the plan of God is unfolding as we speak, it is important to be reminded of the passage in Revelation and especially entering the New Year which could well fulfill all in all.
Revelation 10:5-7
The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven 6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer, 7 but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.
( Note Strong's definition of the word mystery …NT:3466
musterion (moos-tay'-ree-on); from a derivative of muo (to shut the mouth); a secret or "mystery" (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites):
KJV - mystery.)

As the fullness of time came with the birth of Jesus, may we be found as faithful to the great plan of God as those who participated in the event of His birth. May we be the "people of the mystery," and have our lamps bright and supplied even as the wise men had their gifts ready.
1 Corinthians 15:49-58
49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed - 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."

55 "O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?"

56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
NKJV

Until next year,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.










From the Mailbag:



Rita F, Wyoming
I have really enjoyed and also learned much from these teachings about Jerusalem. Thank you for these teachings. (Love offering for missions enclosed).

Don D, Texas (Commenting on the Nov. l, newsletter "Carrying in the Spirit.")
Hello my Brother: Thanks for this writing; rejoiced in all the great words of instruction, and it gave a wonderful spiritual understanding of "carrying someone in the Spirit." While reading the publication, I realized that the same way a prophet or anyone who is used in Spiritual gifts yields to the Spirit is the same way someone carries another "Person, Place, or Thing." Only the Holy Ghost can or will choose a vessel to work through for the Glory of God.

Roni H, Minnesota
I want to tell you how encouraging your messages on Jerusalem (all series) were; such an eye opener to me, and now this message on the "carrier" is an answer in the Spirit. I have been a Christian for 50 yrs and know that this is right teaching; I am now 80 and still believe we will see the greatest manifested Kingdom of God in this earth yet…Thank you for preaching truth, Sending His Love for such a time as this.

Marla J., Guatemala
Like fresh water to my soul! I thoroughly enjoyed this!!! Thank you!

Andrew G., S. Carolina
Is it the worship team?
Is it the smoke and mirrors of theater church?
Answer this or be forever silent in the abyss called religion.
Keep on keeping on

Lois M., Colorado
This is great. I learned a lot. I have prayed for people before, but never thought of it as "Carrying in the Spirit." This is a very good article. Thank you. God bless you for writing this. I have never in my life read anything like this before.

Danny K., Florida
Thanks for replying. I know you're busy. I got Son's of Zadok and I'm reading it a little bit at a time. I will get the rest of your books in the order you gave them. I just found you by accident. I'm telling you Dr. Oliver there aren't many like you and I can't stand the Eli system. Thanks for defining it for me.






Prayer Focus:



David and Lindsey Griffiths, pastors and college administrators, Wales:
Urgently need intercession as the liberal socialists in the local government are seeking to shut down their ministry of 30 years. David's father was associated with Rees Howells and the great move of God through those times. David is Holiness Pentecostal and these legal battles have all but rendered him bankrupt.

Here is his contact information:
Phone: +44-1492-544-394
Email: ecctv4219@gmail.com
Address:Rhos On Sea, Colwyn LL284RG, Wales

Sid Luke:
Missionary Luke is seeking the Lord on how to raise $7000 to complete the mission church in Mexico. You will find his contact information in the following Mission Report.






Missions Report:


From Sid Luke Ministries; Alexandria, La.

Sid and Kathy Luke serve ministries in Mexico and Chili. They are dedicated to starting churches in unchurched areas and assisting them to become self-sufficient. The following is the latest newsletter followed by a partial listing of current needs.

Sid Luke Ministries, Inc.
P. O. Box 12223
Alexandria, La. 71315-2223
sidluke1@gmail.com


Dear Family & Friends,

Blessings to you and your family in the Mighty Name of Jesus our Lord! We give thanks to our Lord Jesus for His tender mercies which were so evident during the recent Hurricane Patricia. This Category 5 storm could have done extreme damage to lives & property! BUT: 1) it made landfall between two large coastal cities with mountains shielding them & 2) the storm exploded in strength shortly before making landfall. The enormous destruction that it could of caused, never happened. Truly that was the tender mercies of our Heavenly Father!

JACONA, MICHOACAN MEXICO - Little by little the new church building on the outer skirts of Jacona has taking form. The saints are excited to have a local congregation to fellowship since the other churches are quite a distance away when you don't have a vehicle. Plans are being made for raising the roof soon. We are extremely thankful to all who have sacrificed to help with the building of this construction in Jacona. Thank you so very much!







Pastor Saul & Irma with their 2 children Arelie & Isai

          Jimmy & Merci Luke Hunter were wedded 10-24-15
with their new blended family of four children

October 24, 2015: Merci Lynn (our daughter) became the wife of Jimmy Hunter (GA) & united their families: Georgia (9 yrs), Amelia (5 yrs), Ansley (12 yrs), & Kane (2 yrs). Thank you for the many of you who have prayed & helped Merci & her daughters during & after the difficult period of the passing away of the girls' daddy. They are all thrilled & so are we!

Ovalle: We ask you to remember Pastors Guillermo & Eliana & family in prayer. Their 14 month old granddaughter passed into eternity this month. She went into cardiac arrest a week after having surgery to remove a hernia on her esophagus. Her parents were Kathy & Nicholas.

Thank you for your love and kindness towards us and this ministry. We appreciate you and your encouragement in our lives and count it a blessing and joy to have you as friends & co-laborers.

In His vineyard together for His honor and glory,

Sid & Kathy Luke





From Chamroeun Mau:

I am writing this letter to ask you to support our annual Christmas trip to Cambodia. We need your prayer and financial support to make this trip a success.

This past year has been a tough year on our family. The untimely death of my nineteen year old daughter Rebeca, was very hard on our family. I have also had to make two unexpected trips to Cambodia to handle ministry matters there.

We will be leaving for Cambodia on November 17 and will return on December 16. Please be praying for us and all of the lives we will minister to while we are there. If GOD puts it on your heart to support us for this trip financially we would be so very grateful.

You may send support to either East West Ministries International or to Shade of Grace Community, INC. These are both IRS 501(c) 3 tax deductible entities. The address for Shade of Grace is 7602 Mellowgrove Court, Spring, TX 77379-4079. Thank you.


We need to provide 70 to 80 Leaders and Pastors a one day training on Dec 4th.



We need about 300 packages of rice, sugar, salt, cotton scarf, and mosquito nets. etc. for 300 poor families who live around Sophy church as a Christmas gift for the year 2015.



We will have Christmas celebration and we will provide meals to all four churches.



We always provide meals for around 500 people during Christmas time. Please join with us. Thank you.





From John & Mandi Wilson; Pangasinan, Luzon, Philippines:


Earthquakes, Typhoons, God
It was 3:40 a.m., I was not really sleeping hard because my husband was having one of his sleepless nights, tossing and turning, and getting in and out of bed… I was dreaming that I heard our jeepney, which has a very loud motor. I heard John say, "Earthquake!" and I woke to feel, and even hear, the last of it. It's like, by the time your mind processes what is going on, it is all over, preventing one from really getting the full experience… All you have to go on are fuzzy recollections of a bizarre moment. Were the walls really shaking in the dark moonlit room? Was my bed actually moving? The electricity went off simultaneously and we both got up and went outside. We could see many flashlights down the hill and hear people talking but everything appeared calm. The stars still hung breathtakingly in the sky. No one suffered any damage. The idea of earthquakes, although scary in itself, does not rank on the top of my 'what do you fear most list,' as we don't live in a big city with towering buildings. Even if a house were to fall here in this area, due to an earthquake, they are mostly constructed of bamboo and would most likely not cause serious injury. And it could easily be put back together. Yes, our home is concrete, but not the part above us. Now a typhoon, on the other hand, ranks highly on that list… especially after that last one…

I felt like a crazy newscaster as I walked with the wind pushing my back, and cold sideways rain piercing my skin. We had walked down to the beach to check on everyone, as the wind and rain had calmed. Trees were down everywhere, bamboo huts blown completely away, signs twisted and far from where they had originally hung. Large rocks blocked the road, having been washed out of their resting places. We saw families finding shelter in concrete restrooms used for tourists, or huddled in with others who had concrete homes. We invited people to stay with us and we did end up having overnight visitors later on. As we headed back up to our home, everything was picking back up again and I wondered if this was the eye of the storm… If so, isn't the back half supposed to be worse? Could we withstand worse? Sure enough, the weather attacked again, seemingly with all it had. John stood atop a makeshift step stool, on top of our concrete kitchen counter, to pull the roof back down. He tied it with rope to an exposed rebar. It rained inside of our house for a few days and was so loud that you could not hear the person yelling next to you. Our kitchen flooded and I had to stand in water to cook our meals on a two burner stove with a hose that connects to a propane tank. The wind was so strong in there, that even though the house is enclosed, I had to block the fire to keep it from going out. Tin from our chicken house / shed would whip through the air at razor sharp speed. The sound was terrifying. When it appeared that the storm was finally coming to an end, we ventured out again. We saw much of the same… and the trees that remained standing were completely stripped bare, as if it were the dead of winter. Yet, there is no winter here. We had a lot of clean up work to do, things to dry out, mend, rebuild, rake up, replant… And we had to do it all without electricity or water. Not only, was our place quite a sight, but we were as well. We made the best of it and joked about who smelled the worst… and John made me laugh by saying, "Your face is dirty. Your hair is all askew. But you're still the prettiest woman a man ever set eyes on." If that sounds familiar to anyone, that is a line Charles Ingalls used on Caroline in one of my favorite "Little House on the Prairie" episodes. We got to have several candle light dinners, have waxy fingers, tell stories worthy of a flashlight under the chin. We even had candlelight Wednesday night church. Riley got to build muscles by hauling water up from the well just so we could flush, wash dishes, cook, etc… And the people got to catch an abundance of their favorite fish, "Bangus," which is what we call milk fish. There were so many up along the shore from the typhoon, that they were selling them for 5 pesos per kilo… which is like less than one cent! Also, there was plenty of firewood!

Everyone here was physically okay. But I did hear of a family in a nearby barangay losing their one year old. A mango tree fell on the child. And the relatives of one of our church family's lost a sister-in-law in a barangay even further away. The children explained to me that she was only around 19, had given birth just a few days before she died. She did not go to the hospital. They said she was crazy and possessed by a witch because she had sores all over her and her baby died too. I asked an adult who speaks more English what she knew about that, she said she didn't know much but it was something like that… You know…

I once so easily dismissed stuff like this as impossible and pretty much complete nonsense, but I find that now… with all that I have experienced… this stuff is not a joke… which brings my thoughts to Halloween… Here they don't call it Halloween or even celebrate it on the same day. It is the next two days, November 1st and 2nd… known as the "Day of the Dead," or "All Saints Day." It is a school holiday and families go to cemeteries to remember loved ones that have passed away. On Sunday, after church, which was November the 1st, the younger youth girls started talking to me about their family members who have died, as well as the lost loved ones of other families. I had no idea that so many had lost someone so close. Most all of them had had a sibling pass away, either due to illness, or an accident. It made me so sad to hear and know. One 13 year old said her sister had something wrong with her mouth, like maybe a cleft palate by the way she described it. She said she was still beautiful though. She spoke of her with such adoration… Another had a brother who fell out of a tree as he was getting fruits… The stories were endless… and heartbreaking…

The boy who lost his father almost three months ago, still comes regularly and is here during a lot of his free time. They have all been making marble guns, the youth boys, Lee, Riley, Liam, and John. One day it was John, Riley, and three boys... and I realized that all three of those boys no longer had a father. When John came back in, I told him that. I said you are being a father to the fatherless. He said he realized what I had realized while he was out there and that is why he spent so much time with them… He enjoys showing them things, working in the garden with them, teaching them... Just last night I was cooking, and one of the boys asked if I needed any help, I said sure and gave him an extra knife to cut the carrots. He was so funny. He kept pretending to be a chef calling himself, "Master Chef Marwin." He repeatedly told me about how John had given him a high five earlier that day. It made my heart grin to see the joy he had in that simple gesture. Goodness I love these kids!

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