Saturday, January 02, 2010

From the Philippines to the World in 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

After a tumultuous but exciting 2009 (and expensive year traveling), Vik and I are getting ready to depart from one another again in two days, when I return to Germany and look for work, etc. Victoria and I have really appreciated each and every one of your prayers for us in the past year. We are spending this weekend on Cebu at the Ocean Bay Resort in Dalaguete. (It's less expensive than it appears.)

Vik and I have been staying at the Emmaus Retreat Center of the Catholic Palacio in Dumaguete over New Years till now. This morning we took an early morning boat from Negros to Cebu. (The sunrise at sea was awesome with islands and fishermen lit up in the morning glow.) On New Years Day we visited the campus of St. Paul's University (SPUD) and school in Dumaguete--where Vik graduated from in Secretarial Studies and then later in Commerce in 1991. We visited two of the catholic sisters she studied with. The sisters then gave us a tour of the everchanging and greening campus. The President of the University is a Scientist who has promoted ecological awareness at the school to unusual heights for an institution of its size. Vik and I saw where paper, plastic, tiles, and other materias were recycled as part of SPUD's initiative to make students understand the possibilities of better earth stewardship in decades ahead.

The university reminded me a lot of my days at Bethel College (Kansas) in the 1980s, where I learned so much about our society and its natural resources. This book synopsis explains my concern as I look at the world from the Philippines in 2010.

Synopsis On March 2005 the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, conducted by 1360 experts in 95 nations, was launched. Its report states that ‘Human activity is putting such a strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet’s ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted.’ There is no longer any scientific doubt that close to two thirds of the world’s ecosystems are in serious decline. The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, said the study shows ‘how human activities are causing environmental damage on a massive scale throughout the world, and how the very basis for life on earth is declining at an alarming rate’. Pulitzer Prize winning author Jared Diamond’s new bestselling book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, argues that we have only 50 years left in which turn this around.

The Philippines has more variety of fruits and fauna than about 80 to 90% of the other nations on earth, so the Philippinese is an important place to live and focus on the real world needs for the next threed decades. (For example, I have eaten different fruits, vegetables and sea creatures here than I have ever eaten elsewhere. Yet all are endangered. We are all endangereed if we don't get to work as human beings on what it takes to be good stewards of the environment the Lord has given us)

People have asked as to whether I am living in the Philippines. Well, I am actually living here now but fly to Germany in a few days, so I am still trying to work there. I may give up and go on to the USA (where I have also applied for my wife to have a visa) or back to the Middle East. Keep praying for our wisdom.

Vik is due in May so I have a lot of job hunting and decision making to do with her. (No, I have not applied for a Philippine visa yet--that can take years, too, I am told.)

Looking forward to seeing you all and making the world a better place with you now and in the coming decades.


Kevin and Maria Victoria Stoda



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