Teacups in the Jungle

Life stories from a missionary mama

Checking himself out in the mirror.

I am really glad I don’t know what each week is going to bring. I wouldn’t sleep at night if I could see what was ahead. This photo was the “low” of my week. I HATE snakes. We have had a lot of cobras under our house in the past years, but there is something different about knowing there is a snake INSIDE your house. 
This is how we came to the photo above. Yesterday morning (Saturday), our babies were up at the crack of dawn..literally. On Saturdays we like to make pancakes or French toast and enjoy a slower breakfast together as a family. We had just finished said pancakes and I was cleaning up in the kitchen, humming away and sipping on my second cup of coffee. Izzy was in her room playing with some toys and jabbering away in a mixture of Tagalog and English (her world). Danny was at our dining room table (which is also his desk) and Judah was laying on a blanket on the living room floor. All was beautiful in the Brooks household……SLAP! Something landed from the beam above, on to the floor about 2 feet away from where Judah lay.
Danny reacted in a “wow” jumped up out of the chair, grabbed Judah and handed him to me in the kitchen. Izzy came out of her room and between her and us was THE SNAKE! Fearful that Izzy would run to us and into the path of the snake, Danny told her to go into her room, in a tone, no two year old would disobey. Her closed her door and went for his machete which hangs on our bedroom wall….and no it is not decoration…we use it!
At this stage, my heart thumping, I am getting really nervous having Izzy on her own in her room (though I could hear her happily jabbering again) holding Judah in the kitchen, I am feeling a little trapped and I can’t see THE SNAKE. Danny comes back with the machete and is looking around. What is worse than having a SNAKE in you house? Having a SNAKE in your house and not knowing where it is! I make a run for the front door with Judah, getting Izzy on the way past and we sat out on the porch, while Danny was inside….hunting. He looked and looked and couldn’t find it. He looked for maybe 45 minutes, under the fridge, behind the bed, high and low, it was nowhere to be found. “Sorry babe, I can’t find it, we will just have to keep our eyes open, come on back in!” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. A few years back I would have sat on the porch, slept on the porch and refused to step into the house with knowledge that there was a SNAKE inside the house. This time Danny tried to convince me that it may even have gone outside again. I was doubtful, but with Judah needing a nap, Izzy needing a drink, me needing the bathroom, there wasn’t much choice, back in we went. We continued on with the rest of the day but everywhere I went and every step I took was taken with a lot of caution. I was aware of Izzy’s ever watchful eye and didn’t want her to be afraid, so on with the day we went. 
Night time came and still no sign of the snake. Put the kids to bed and then later Danny and I were cleaning up the house and getting ready to go to bed too. Danny went into the bathroom and noticed my vase which has a big plastic flower in it, was knocked over. He lifted it up and THE SNAKE slithered up his arm! It ended up on the bathroom mirror…..hence the photo we now have of the snake. Danny said it was totally intrigued with itself in the mirror. Sweet, thoughtful husband that I have didn’t want to hit the snake on my bathroom mirror and maybe break the mirror, so he asked me for the tongs we use on the BBQ! Yes, he grabbed the snake by the head with the tongs and took it outside, with the snake wrapped around his arm. All I had to do was open the front door so he could get out, and I barely was able to complete that successfully! SNAKE gone. I was so grateful, to be able to go to bed and know for sure it was out of the house. Answer to my prayers. 
Mirror mirror on the wall……..

That was the low, but there is always a high. That was yesterday, this was today….
Teaching the kids. 

I praise God for these ladies. Over the past months they have been teaching the kids each Sunday afternoon at 3 pm. They started with the stories from the Old Testament, now they are in the New Testament and getting really close to the gospel message. They have been teaching memory verses to the kids, playing games, singing songs, doing dramas and often stepping REALLY far out of their comfort zone as they take on these new roles. It is a joy to watch them discover and grow in the gifts that God has given them. They often are having more fun and more into it all than the kids! 
The kids leading the songs! Love it. 

This photo above was taken today and it just made me smile to see these kids leading other kids in singing songs of praise to the Lord. On Wednesday some of the moms/teachers were sharing things that the kids have been saying and asking about the teaching they are hearing. It was so wonderful to hear how God’s Word is taking root in the hearts of these children. They are believing as the Word of God is being made known to them. In just a few short weeks they will be hearing the gospel message taught to them as kids for the first time. Please pray with us for the salvation of these precious souls, and for the ladies as they continue to grow and learn themselves. God is working in their hearts and changing them as they seek to minister to the children in the village. How wonderful to know that these children will be the first generation in this area to grow up listening to the Word of God and not being deceived by the lies of Satan. Praise the Lord. 
“Baby has sore neck”.

And finally a timely reminder to me today. We get all sorts of medical conditions that come across our door. Some serious, but often times it is things like this photo above. Skin conditions, burns, infections, bites, rashes and all the rest. I have gotten used to treating them over the years, cleaning them up, putting creams and bandages on and sending them on their way. This baby arrived on our deck on Friday, the mother had stuck leaves all over the sore skin. It was a hard job to get it clean. I was talking to them and working on the baby while Izzy was running around on the deck, climbing up on the chair and sometimes getting in my way. I told her to please be patient while I was helping the little baby who had a sore neck. The family headed home with a bag of soap, cream, powder and a towel I gave them to make sure they dry the baby’s folds in the skin properly. They also got a quick lesson on how to bath a baby, as the baby had not be properly washed in weeks. I was glad they brought the baby to us and as they left I waved goodbye and on I went about my day. Since friday I have heard Izzy playing with her doll and mentioning about the baby with the “sore neck’ and I have nodded and “hmmed” along as she jabbered away. However today when Danny and I both went in to lift her up from her nap her first words in a sad little voice were “Mama, baby had a sore neck”. My heart dropped, and I realized I needed to explain to her the rest of the story. We sat and I told her we had given the baby soap and cream to help it and that the baby would be better very soon and was going to be ok. She literally clapped her hands with joy and with a big smile bounded off my knee. I am glad for the timely reminder today. Our kids are going to see some things that a lot of other kids will not see up close like this. As I was writing about last week, life can be very hard on people out here. The Lord reminded me today that I need to slow down sometimes and make sure I know how they are handling things, what they are understanding and how they are dealing with it all. To me this little baby was not one of the worse cases I have seen. He was a baby needing help but I knew he would be better real soon. To Izzy he was a baby, like her little brother, and he had a “sore neck”  she was obviously still thinking and worrying about him. I have a little girl who seems to take notice of everything around her and I need to be aware of how she is processing it all. I am grateful to have noticed this again today to both protect her and to help her deal with the things she sees here. I know I as a Mama have a lot to learn, and also a lot to teach our little ones. I pray that God will give us wisdom as He gives us grace for each day, each week and each circumstance. 
Us tonight, tired, but happy after a long day. 

Tonight Danny is at a Bible study with the guys, Judah was in bed early, and Izzy and I got to have hot chocolate together before she went to bed. Love these moments, another highlight in my week. 
So that is all from me here in the jungle tonight. Oh just one more thing….this afternoon I showed two of the ladies the picture of THE SNAKE on my phone. The looked at it, then looked at each other, and I have been here long enough to now know that those looks mean something! I asked what they were thinking and one of them replied, “That type of snake always travels in pairs!”…….back to square one, is there ANOTHER SNAKE in my house???
Pip for us all……sleeping with one eye open. 🙂 
Izzy smelling a kalamansi from a tree in the garden. 🙂 

One thought on “What do you mean they travel in pairs?

  1. Deb says:

    I can't imagine living with the snakes on a daily basis. I have had a snake or two in my house and almost lost one in my bedroom. It was an awful feeling. But it is a rare occurrence. I think I'd still be sleeping on the porch but that probably isn't safe either. God has obviously called you to where you're at and uniquely gifted you to tolerate and even embrace your conditions. And I love your insight into Izzy's thoughts about the baby. She will grow up with a heart like your's.


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