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We wish you the Joy and Peace of the Savior this Season and throughout the coming Millennium! As we look back at the year and remember God’s goodness to us, we can’t help but be thankful for all of you who have in one way or another have been a part of it. We also look forward to the coming year with a bit of excitement about what it will bring. Y2K bugs? Power glitches? Banks losing all record of our money?! We just need to have faith that whatever comes, as long as we have God beside us, we’ll be able to handle it.

Luigi had plenty of new projects for his business this year. Several big companies like 7-11, M.Y.San, Nesium, Intel, etc. hired his company’s services. He needed to get additional employees as well as put in more time in developing new systems and reading even more thick books to keep up to date. He’s also busy in his service for our community, Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon. He recently was made a District Head which means he will have more responsibility and hopefully, training. Aside from the serious stuff, he also makes himself available for dancing in the community’s programs and socials- something that I prefer to watch him do rather than join in!

We finally started the Korben building last August and even now, we have a lot of prospective lessees. It’s going to take at least 14 months if we make it 4 stories, more if we decide to build a 5-storey building. Right now, the Korben office is right next to our house making it really convenient for me to get to and from work – it’s only a walk away! Josh and Meldy’s kids, Mark and Isabel, come to work, too, and have their own little tables. They can also play Lego, Shockwave or watch a Winnie the Pooh tape in our house if they get tired of "paperwork"!

Luigi’s mom finally came for a visit from the States- it was the first time Josh got to meet his ‘other’ lola. They got along splendidly and Josh was very happy that his lola came to see him graduate from Senior Nursery at Cradle of Joy. When Trixie, Luigi’s sister, got married, Josh was the ring bearer. He looked very dignified and to my frustration, did not smile. "I’m serious," he declared in explanation.

We all think Josh’ school is excellent. Right now Josh keeps hunting for th and gets excited when he finds it in the mass misallete, an advertisement, stories, etc. Teacher Rophemme tells us that Josh is a "focused, dedicated and disciplined student". My only concern is he keeps asking me to buy things so I say, "You have to pakyaw so you’ll have money to buy what you want." Josh’ answer was always that he didn’t want to do piecework, even if told that was what I used to do when I was young. One night at dinner, Josh asked: "How about daddy? Did he pakyaw?" Luigi then told him about collecting carabao dung in Palawan. One cart would earn him P5.00 from his dad. Josh’ reaction: "Pakyaw na lang ako." More ‘Joshisms’ include him saying that he’s a small WALIGIE (Josh’ pronunciation of his dad’s name!). His answer to my question of why he is so cute was: "Because I’m Jesus’ friend," and his answer to Peggy’s question if he wanted an angel was: "No, I already have a Jesus." He also said out of the blue, " I am a great artist." He really likes to draw and has mastered all the details of Buzz Lightyear and Woody of Toy Story, Batman (he hasn’t outgrown this phase that has lasted for 2 years already!) and characters of Star Wars. One time he said: "Me and Mark want to play Star Wars, but not violent, gently lang."

In March, we (family and some brothers and sisters from our Community) volunteered to help build houses for the Habitat for Humanity's Jimmy Carter Work Project ’99. We rode a bus to Maragondon, Cavite, the site of 130 of the 250 houses built the week of March 21-27. We weren’t the only ones who thought we’d only get in the way of the real work. It turned out that there was an experienced construction worker for each house but the volunteers really did most of the work. The first day we went, we helped build the exterior walls by piling up the hollow blocks, putting cement in between the grooves, and smoothing it with a T bar and a wire brush. Peggy hammered away at the trusses for the roof. The afternoon found us high up on scaffoldings in order to finish the job up to the ceiling (7’4"). We were working with volunteers from all over the world and although it was hard work there was time for fellowshipping during merienda breaks and lunch. We saw first hand how humility, cooperation and working unselfishy even when you do not have the expertise or talent, can accomplish what "cannot be done". When there are things we have to do that seem impossible, we have to remember that.

Lito and Meldy started constructing their beach house in Punta Fuego, Batangas and we have been going there more often. The kids enjoy the sand and water immensely. We also went to Baguio twice this year after not being able to visit for three years. We spent some time in Fontana with a group of newly married couples from our Community. Josh enjoyed the waterpark and we enjoyed playing games till the wee hours of the morning! Then there were overnight stays in Subic and Batangas for Josh and Luigi. We realize how blessed we are to be able to get out of the city so often and spend time either at the beach or the mountains away from all the pollution and noise!

May the birth of our Lord so long ago make all the difference in your life today!

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What a blessing a New Year is !   You always feel you have a new beginning, a chance to start over, to try again!   This coming year will be even more special and even more blessed because I believe special grace will be available this year for us.  Thank you Lord for the Hope you put into our hearts for this year, a Hope and a Peace that defies understanding!


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