What is normal?


The other day, walking back through the village from my daily walk on the airstrip, it struck me that we actually live fairly different lives to those of our peers in Australia.

Yet after 20 years in the Philippines, it all just seems so normal….

For example, earlier in the year after a break in town, we attempted a flight back into the village.  But the rain and heavy cloud came in rapidly, making crossing the mountain range impossible in the small plane.  So we turned around and headed back to base.  That’s okay.  Not abnormal for rainy season in the tropics.

Extra flight costs.  Extra delays.

We’ve learned over the years that God always has a purpose and provision.  It’s normal for Him.


We are grateful for our highly trained, skilful pilots who can discern what is too risky to attempt and are willing to turn back even although they know we’re eager to get home to the village.

Having abnormally excellent pilots is normal for us.

The next day we were up at 4.30am ready to try again, as normal on a flight day – stopping at a bakery to pick up a bag of piping hot fragrant pandesal rolls to munch on the way.

This time the weather was beautiful and clear and we had two good flights back home.

As we flew across the mountain range we saw the aftermath of last December’s Typhoon Pablu – many landslides and fallen trees and somewhat decimated landscape.  Not normal.


Back home … clean up our rather mouldy house (normal for being left closed up for a couple of weeks).  Everything is damp and musty smelling.

Plug up the rat-holes and eliminate the droppings that the rascally invaders have left while we were away.  Normal.

Find out why the water wasn’t working – oh, okay, a broken pipe.  Albert locates the problem and has the water running again before long.  Normal for something to be broken.

As usual, distribute the items for folk in the village that they’ve asked us to purchase in town, return watches that were fixed, hand out photos that we’ve had printed for them, etc.

We’re so thankful our kids chip in and are as normal a big help – whether it’s unbolting all the window shutters to open up the house, or mixing up some cement to repair washed away steps.



And now as I write this we’ve just had a glorious tropical downpour – over 5”/12cm in just a couple of hours.  Wonderful and refreshing.

Thinking of friends and family back in Australia soon coming into winter, enjoying the cool crisp air. Normal for them.  Worlds apart from our normal.

Looking out Albert’s office window we can see the waterfall that was exposed when the typhoon came through last year, stripping the sheltering trees away – it’s roaring and majestic.

A walk down to the river – flooding, more landslides.  Praying for safety for tribal folk out on their farms or in the forest.

This is all a normal part of our life.