Thursday, July 26, 2012

one year down.

You know that feeling when you are just about to burst open? … Like when your heart is so excited and it just needs more room in your chest to dance around? Well, I have been blessed with that feeling these last couple of days. Living here really is such an awesome privilege and honor. 

The Lord’s grace is so real. It is life changing. It gets me up in the morning and allows me to have a smile on my face as go about everyday life. 

The Lord seems to change everything. The way we think. The way we serve. The way we act. The way we interact with others. The way we wait. The way we love. 

I have been thinking a lot this week about how thankful I am for the last year of my life. One year ago, I began this journey. I had no idea what was in store. I left everything that I called “normal,” to start a new “normal.” 

I have learned that in order to make anything normal, you’ve got to have Jesus in it. He’s got to be the center no matter where you live or what you do- that’s what brings “normal” to the table. Little things here and there help, but Jesus has got to be the main thing.

Jesus is good. And, He is trustworthy. 

In the last year of my life, I have been blessed to meet some incredible people, live in a huge Asian mega-city, and learn to love life in a totally new way. 

In so many ways I am the same diva that left the States a year ago. I still love writing letters and everything about real mail. I still love to exercise. I still love new cultures and new friends. And, I still love adventures and traveling. I may have become more of an introvert by default of living alone… but I am so similar to the girl that boarded a plane to the Philippines last year.

Even though I feel so similar to that girl that left a year ago, I feel so different, too. I’ve seen a whole new part of the world. I’ve experienced poverty like I’ve never seen. I’ve seen some incredible wonders of God’s creation. I’ve lived by myself for the first time in my life. I have prayed more than I ever have. I have learned(maybe this should say, “am learning”) to believe God’s Word. I have experienced grace like I’ve never felt before. I have reached a  totally new level of dependency on the Lord. I have a real love for His Word. 

The Lord has proven Himself trustworthy at every turn. He has poured out His grace and mercy like I do not deserve. 

I am so thankful. Maybe I should say that again, so thankful. 

I want to continue to let Him make something new and beautiful out of my life. He can do it with your life too, eh. Give it a try. Believe and Trust Him for who He says He is. 

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17 

"Come, let us return to the Lord; for He has torn us, that He may heal us; he has struck us down, and He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; His going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth." Hosea 6:1-3 


no turning back

This is my anthem. My life for your fame. My every move brings glory to your name.

The cross before me. The world behind me. I will follow. I will follow. 

No turning back.

I was listening this song earlier today as I was riding in a trike. As I was bumping along the road, inhaling who knows what from the car’s exhaust pipe in front of me… I just smiled as I listened to those words. These lyrics are so true in my life. All I need to do is follow. No turning back. That’s really how my heart feels. I have tasted and seen what is good. He is good. The Lord is good. I know that His plans for my life are for my good and for His glory. I want to be faithful to follow Him. 

I want to believe the words I read each morning. 

I want to believe God… not merely believe in God. I want to believe Him for every single Word that is in the Bible. I want to believe Him for every single promise and gift of grace He gives me. I want to thank Him for His mercy. I want to be grateful. I want to acknowledge Him in every part of my life.

This week has been a testament to His goodness and His glorious Word. I have had the privilege of studying God’s Word with some new friends this week. I love that His Word has no boundaries. It breaks through cultural barriers of all sorts. One friend tearfully said, I have been praying for rest. And, I think that this is the rest God wants to give me.

Studying God’s word. It brings rest, peace, hope and truth. 

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Romans 15:13 


Saturday, July 21, 2012

on the mend

It has been a great week with these ladies in the photo below. We have had a wonderful time sharing and they have been rockstars. I have enjoyed getting to know them and spending time with them. 

They have had great attitudes adjusting to the climate, and culture. They have learned what my mom and I learned by having 3 crazy men in the house- flexibility. That's number one in this culture. You've gotta be flexible.

This week, I've been on antibiotics trying to get my body to fight off a nasty fever and cold. I am so happy to say that I am on the mend- almost back to normal.

"No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he promised. That is why faith was counted to him as righteousness." Romans 5:20-22

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." Romans 1:18

"'You are my witnesses,' declares the Lord, 'and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me.'"

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

raining down blessings

These days are bringing an overflow of joy to my heart. I have absolutely loved having a volunteer team here from the States. These four Kansas girls are wonderful. We have enjoyed spending time together meeting students, learning about Filipino culture, and speaking truth into new friend's lives. 

Another reason for excess joy is this: My church had its first “community outreach” event this past Sunday. I was so proud and excited of all of the people that helped out. I was so proud of how the whole church pulled together to make it happen. We were singing to Jesus in the streets outside of one of our members houses. It’s always humbling seeing children singing songs to the Lord. The girls I spend my Saturdays with did a wonderful job leading, organizing, and teaching. We sang a couple of my favorite Tagalog songs and they taught the story of Noah and the Ark. 

It’s my first rainy season here in the Philippines and although streets flooding and stepping over (or through) puddles are becoming a commonality, I think I like it. Everything is more humid than normal, but hallelujah- the “Filipino furnace” temperatures are dropping!  Don’t think that it’s time to pull out the pants and sweaters, but overall- the temperatures are much more bearable. Although the mid-day heat index was around 109 degrees today, it seemed so much cooler than the summer 118 degree weather. 

I am really enjoying my new photography class at school. Mrs. Christy, you would be so proud that I am learning how to use my camera on the Manual setting! One day I might be able to use a camera as well as you can. 

We have enjoyed studying the Word with new friends lately. Just today, we studied with some folks who had never read for themselves. I think that one of the things that fills me with the most joy is to see people’s eyes opened to the Word; to feel its power in their soul.
It has been a wonderful week, and I know that it is because of the prayers prayed over us. Please continue to pray that the Lord do "immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine."

Two of my favorite ladies in our church. These ladies meet each Saturday morning at 5:30am to pray.

Isn't she beautiful?

Church outing!

This was the afternoon rain one day this week. Crazzzyyyy. I've never seen it rain so hard for so long!

Anyone see the mold on the leather? Haha. It's a little bit humid here. My shoes are starting to mold.

I love spending Monday's studying God's Word with these ladies.

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgements, and His paths beyond tracing out! 'Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?' 'Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?' For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen." Romans 11:33-36

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

good gifts

Last week, our summer team arrived! I got to meet four awesome divas and get our work started. We’ve had a great time on campus sharing and getting to know some new folks. We’ve been sowing seeds near and far and seeing the Lord working at every turn.

I got to catch up with two of my great friends here, Coco and Sophie. And, I got to meet with my Saturday LG after missing them last week when I was in Bali. 

I had my first class at school… and was 15 minutes late. I know you’re thinking, typical… but I blamed it on traffic (which was the truth), and got off easy. 

It’s also been raining like crazy here. “Rainy season” now has a new meaning. It should be called… “Rain-All-Day-Long-Every-Day” or something like that. Either way, I quite like it. It’s made everything cooler and hallelujah the “Filipino Furnace” is cooling down! 

Not only is the cooler weather good news… I have even better news. One of my best friends here, Sophie, moved right across the hall from my apartment. The volunteer team and I helped them move in yesterday. I think I walked out of my house a little happier this morning knowing that they were sleeping right next door. 

Sophie's first time eating Potato soup at my house... and a pretty rainy day sunset.

Me, Ella, and Coco.

I love this girl.

Sophie and Nancy moved in across the hall from my apartment. I have new neighbors... and they ROCK. We helped them move in. The other white girls are the volunteer team from the states! They are great.
“O God, you are my God; I earnestly seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food. And my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:1-8

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14

“And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:26-27

“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that He may come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12

“”Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may confirm His covenant that He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” Deuteronomy 8: 17-18

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole heart, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless towards Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9