Thursday, March 27, 2008

Theme Thursday: Collection

I recently stumbled across Missy's blog and discovered Theme Thursday. Every week Stacy announces a different theme and participating bloggers post a picture/pictures relating to that theme.

This week's theme is collections.

As far as actual collections go, I can't say that I really have any, so I decided that (since I recently posted pictures of the things that make me dread coming home) I should create a collection of the things I'm looking forward to about coming home.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Planting seeds

Most of the people I interact with here aren’t that big on the prophetic, or “words from the Lord,” or visions and dreams, or any of that stuff. It’s not that they don’t believe in it. They do, at least as far as I know. They just don’t do it. They don’t mind it being done, but they’re not going to be the ones doing it, if that makes sense. 

So, when the Lord told me something I was supposed to share with the praise and worship team, I got scared. It’s not the first time He’s given me a word for someone (or in this case, a group of someones), but in the past I’ve been able to predict how that person would respond. This time, I had no clue. Would they listen to me? Would they freak out and think I was coming up with all of this on my own? Would they nod and smile but not take any of it into account? I didn’t know. So I just came up with excuses and made myself forget.

This week, my mom asked me about it. I felt so ashamed for not telling them about it that I got angry and just wanted to forget it. But as I prayed about it, the Lord gave me even more things to say and continued pushing me towards talking to them. So I did. And I think what I said stirred up at least a few of their hearts. 

I won’t go into too much detail about this, but I want to share some with you because I’d love for you to join with me in prayer for this group. 

Legs swinging beneath the table and palms sweating, I told the worship team what God told me: "I miss you."

Just as I miss hanging out with my friends and family, I said, He misses hanging out with them. And – I think this is something a lot of people don’t get – that doesn’t just mean prayer and time in the Word or in worship. Of course, those are great things, but it’s also important to go and sit at the feet of Jesus. I shared with them how how every second of every day I have to ask God to rip out of me everything that displeases Him – and still, I make Him sad at times. It's an everyday struggle. Before we can worship, before we can pray and before we can understand God's Word, we need to let Him clean us out. We need to find that quiet place and just be with Him.

Like I said, I wasn’t sure how they’d react, if at all. But they did! Our music pastor came up to me with tears in his eyes and thanked me. About half an hour later, as I was sitting in the street talking (my nightly ritual) two of the guys on the team came up to talk to me about it. I was able to share with them more personal stuff relating to this and get feedback from them. One told me that he felt sad as he heard me share, because he sees how true it all is.

I believe – I know – that the members of the worship team here are Christians. But I also believe that several of them have lost that pure, innocent relationship with God. The one where He’s all that matters, where you desire to be in His presence 24/7, not just during services or special events.

So pray for them.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Life Lesson #5

This fish is very similar to the one I accidentally grabbed ahold of (thinking it was a leaf) while swimming in the absolutely 
beautiful waters of Pagudpud last Thursday afternoon. Needless to say, I was shocked that my pretty leaf had such energy and I remained pretty jumpy for the remainder of the afternoon.

So, now for the life lesson --- Take opportunities, no matter how small. They might not come around again.

Some opportunities I've taken in the past week (in no particular order):
1. Travel out of town.
2. Take an unexpected swim in a warm river.
3. Go jogging in the mornings.
4. Try a new type of fish.
5. Share a word from the Lord with a group of friends.
6. Watch 2 traditional Catholic parades during Holy Week.
7. Talk to an old friend (which is a bigger deal than it seems).
8. Babysit.
9. Dance.

The people I'll miss when I go home...

SAVERS. These are the kids who make me smile every day.

Nanang Florie, my mom in the Philippines. :]

In the red is Auntie Pat, and above her in white is Auntie Azon. These are my other two housemates. Both are goofy and wonderful. In dark blue is Auntie Mercy and in light blue her daughter Sheng. Up top, Pastor Doe with her delightful son Jairus.

Praise and worship team. Not all of us are actually in this picture.

Aira and Faye. Aira's my nighttime talking buddy when I'm lonely and she's become kind of like a little sister to me.

Apple. She is literally the sweetest girl I know here and one of my best friends (worldwide).

My band. These guys were my first close friends here. They made my transition here a lot easier by treating me like one of them from the start.

All CMBI students. This is Michal, the one I'm closest to. She's going home this week and I don't know when I'll see her again. :[

My ballet students.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Dry spell that lasts a lifetime?

A close friend of mine (here in the Philippines)'s sister had a baby on Monday. Today I spent some time at their house visiting both mother and baby, both of whom are truly beautiful. It was possibly the highlight of my week! Babies are so perfect and innocent. Even their skin is flawless, something that I suppose won't last too long....

I can't help but be saddened by the situation, though. This young mother is not married and has not yet finished college. She lives with her boyfriend but I am unaware of their exact circumstances. Of course, this is not uncommon, even in the church (sadly enough). However, today I was reminded of how much confusion there is among the young people here. I realize that this is a worldwide problem, and one not only found in teenagers, but my heart continues to go out to this specific group of kids. None of them are "bad," so to speak. They are respectful most of the time, they work hard to help their parents and those around them, and most of them are pursuing or have already received a college education. They know Bible verses, they come to Sunday services, and they love the Lord. But it's all kind of routine; they're just going through the motions, and frankly, things are quite dry.

They kind of remind me of myself -- before.

Before I fell in love with the Lord. Before I knew what it was like to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Before I finally decided to give myself completely to Him. Before my relationship with Him became real to me.

The things I have now, the gifts and experiences that God has given me, are what I want for these kids. I don't want to see them in a lifelong dry spell. I don't think they even know what they're missing! I sometimes wonder if even the Bible students know what it feels like to be desperately in love with the Lord, so much that I can't even describe it. I hope they do, but I don't know.

Tonight as I was praying during our youth service, I was reminded (for probably the millionth time) that I really can't do anything about this. I can't make these kids change. I can't bring them experiences. The only way I can help them is by doing these things myself -- by showing them. This is a lesson I always seem to forget, but the Lord continues to remind me.

I don't know why I feel compelled to write a blog about this, because I know I wrote a similar one a while back. But nonetheless, here I am again. Pray for me?