Sunday, April 28, 2013

hammock living, sweat dripping, and gospel sowing

I got on the bus. It was jam packed, not an empty seat to be found. I had my backpack in my lap, hair in a braid, and stories of the Most High running through my head.

I was on my way out to the province. I'm determined there's no place like it. Farmers plowing the soil with water buffalo instead of a John Deere. Rice fields everywhere you turn. Hammocks made from fish nets and rice bags. Fresh air and blue skies. It's a slow pace. It's a different perspective.

We arrived in the town where we'd be setting up camp. I took my hammock... I always love sleeping in that thing. It reminds me of the good ole WinShape days. The only place I found to string it up within a decent distance from my team was centrally located between a big cow and a pig's stye. One morning, I'm convinced the mama pig gave birth. She was squealing like nothing I've ever heard. I can't think of any other reason to Oink to that caliber... except for the fact that she must have been giving birth to a bunch of little piglets.

Trips to the province are always filled with moments that make me think... "Is this real life?"

One night I almost got eaten by a pack of mangy dogs. These are the kind of dogs that aren't seen in America... unless they're on the vet's table with a rabies testing kit on the side table and a strong potential to be "put to sleep." I think they must have figured out that my hammock was a bit out of place. I brought a new white girl scent to the area and they sure smelled it. I woke up in the middle of the night to a chorus of barking... the scary kind. They were growling and showing me both rows of their teeth. The only thing between me and them was a mosquito net and a hammock made of parachute type material. Needless to say, Jesus was on my side. I was praying and rebuking those dogs in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord and protector. After about ten minutes of my heart rate beating at the pace of an 7 minute mile, one dog got mad at the other and they had a brawl against themselves out in the rice field. I eventually got back to sleep.

After the night turned to morning, I was in perfect position to see the sun come up. It was a glorious sight, and the Lord reminded me that His mercies are new each morning. We had a great day. We had kids club each morning, and went to share with people up in the mountains during the day. At night, we trained the young people that were already believers. The following days, they joined us and helped us during kids club and afternoon sharing time. It was a wonderful trip and gospel seeds were spread far and wide.

I came back to Manila with a few enemies attacking my insides... I'll spare you the details. Let's just say that I'm not sure that my internal track with ever be the same.

It was a good time to slow down, look up at the pretty blue skies, and admire the Creator of it all.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe, to the Jew first then to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'the righteous shall live by faith.'" Romans 1:16-17

"Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word." Psalm 119:37

"Sovereign Lord, my strong deliverer, you shield my head in the day of battle." Psalm 140:7

"Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off." Proverbs 23:18

The view out of my hammock each morning. 

I loved sleeping beside this guy. 

Blue skies and fresh air... two of my favorite things about the province. 

This guy woke me up each morning by pulling on my hammock strap. 

Vacation Bible School with the kids in the morning! 

This darling little girl colored Jesus... and made his hair orange. I think something was lost in translation. 

My sharing partner for each afternoon.. love this gal. 

Riding back into town in the sketchiest van ever. 

Leaky roof? Just dangle some cans from the ceiling. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

100 days left in Asia

That's a surreal statistic. Wow.

I am going to try and soak up as much of the local culture that I can in these last few months. Most of all, I want to finish well. It's gonna be a wild ride until the end.

Below are some of the things that keep me laughing.

Transportation: tricycles, cars, and trucks. Just a little different that good ole' Alabama.

"In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty." Proverbs 14:23

"Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." Proverbs 25:25

Monday, April 8, 2013

life group

It's hot as fire lately. Goodness gracious... I forgot how hot the Philippines could get!

The heat index peaked about 109 on Saturday. Let's just say.. I live with beads of sweat flowing from every part of my body and sunscreen has become my newest "body spray" scent. I'm sure everyone around me likes smelling that.

On Sunday afternoon, I went with the girls in my life group to Quezon Circle. It's the Manila version of a park. There were people everywhere! There were so many vendors... balut, dirty ice cream, chicharon... you name it, they had it.

I had a great time with the girls. We brought snacks and had a little picnic. We also got to talk about Paw's upcoming mission trip to the tribal people of the Philippines. We wrote her a note for every day that she would be gone. We will miss her a whole bunch, but we are glad to send out a sister to be a worker in the harvest. Praise the Lord!

"Now concerning brotherly love, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another." 1 Thessalonians 4:9

"But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says: "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." Hebrews 8:6-12

Life Group at Quezon Circle. 

I'm gonna miss this girl for 5 weeks! She's headed out to the tribes to share with the unreached. 

blessed to be a blessing

Isn't that the truth? We are blessed so that we can be a blessing to others. Don't fool yourself into thinking it's for more of our own wealth, success, and comfort.

My mom used to always tell us growing up, "To whom much is given, much is required."

Over the past 7 months, I have had the privilege of walking alongside a family in desperate need. I have seen the girls go from having faces with grimace expressions to faces that are soft and sweet. I have seen a Dad that desperately wants to provide for his three girls turn from feeling hopeless to seeing a glimpse hope for the future. I always love to see them smiling. For the first few months, that was a rare expression.

Yesterday morning, I walked into the courtyard where we have our church service and was greeted by these three beauties. I talked with them for a while, and we read a Bible story together. As we read the story, I prayed that the words would go deep into their hearts. I pray that He would open their eyes to the truth of the gospel. After we read God's word together and talked about the story, I painted their nails. They were so excited to have their nails painted.. it's amazing the little things you can do to make a girl feel beautiful.

Would you pray with me for this family? Would you pray for their salvation? Would you beg the Lord to heal them and show them the hope that is found in Christ? Would you pray for me as I work hard to get them enrolled into school starting in June?

This family needs a miracle.

"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in." Isaiah 58:6-12