Saturday, July 30, 2011

World Changing Family

A repost from the archives. As our family travels to the Philippines for our missions immersion trip, a selection from the archives will be reposted... blog posts that show a snippet of the journey God has taken us through to mold us into a family that seeks to {by His grace} live out Micah 6:8!

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September 2, 2009

While on vacation this past week, I read 'Becoming A World Changing Family' by Donna S. Thomas. While it focuses mainly on world (overseas) missions, it has a ton of great food for thought.

The first thing that caught my attention is a story about a family with three grown children who are all living "on mission". The father's account is as follows:
It was a conscious decision for my wife and me early in our marriage. We were in college then and members of the student volunteer group. The group challenged us to make a commitment. Here is what we signed in faith: I will live my life, under God, for others rather than for myself. I will not drift through life but will do my utmost, by prayer, by investigation, by meditation and service, to discover that form and place in which I can become the largest use in the Kingdom of God. As I find it, I will follow it under the leadership of Jesus Christ, wheresoever it takes me, cost what it may.
I shared this commitment with our children when they were young. They witnessed it in our ministry. We considered it important to let them know why we were giving our lives to the church, why a call to serve is among the highest calls one can possibly receive from the Lord, and why material gain was never a factor in our ventures.
We certainly cannot take credit for what God has done in the lives of our children, but I believe we have helped in the process.
Beautiful story, isn't it? This is exactly what hubby and I are doing. We are trusting God for this type of response from our children. It would be awesome when we'd be the ones telling the same story in the near future! In the meantime, it takes a lot of hard work to model for our children how it is to "live on mission" in this world of ours!!!

I only have this one chance to mold my children... I can't go back! I feel that it is of utmost importance to get this parenting thing right. The book ends with some very encouraging words which makes this whole concept of becoming a "world changing family" quite doable. Here are those words:
God sent His only Son to bring us salvation, and look who He used to help get the job done. Not anybody important. No one considered outrageously successful. Some common fishermen. A tax collector. Workers. Ordinary. Never had a course in public speaking. Just obedient. Yet they set the course for changing the world.
So, what am I waiting for? I say, LET'S GET ROLLING!!!

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Friday, July 29, 2011

On Meeting Florianlyn, Jhon and Julius...

Words will not be adequate to describe what God has allowed our family to experience today but I will try. I am feeling many different and conflicting emotions which I'm sure will take many months {maybe even longer} to reconcile.

First of all, I must say thank you to our many friends and family who have prayed and are continuing to pray us through this journey. You all have been a tremendous blessing to our family as we journey on this missions immersion trip here in the Philippines!

I am not sure when I am able to post this blog post because the Internet connection here on the island of Masbate has been spotty to say the least. It is now Friday evening here and...

It has truly been a great day!

Our family woke up bright and early. While we were having breakfast, we received a text message from the Compassion Case Worker that she, together with our Compassion daughter Florianlyn and her mother, are on their way to our resort! She told us to look out for a blue van. Within a few minutes, we saw them drive into the resort!!! They were an hour early... good thing we were up and about earlier than planned. :-)

Soon after, right before our very eyes, stood our Compassion daughter Florianlyn!

There were no smiles and no words from her at first. As we slowly unpacked the presents we brought for her, a smile appeared on her face as she saw a doll emerge from the backpack. So precious... she held on to that doll for most of the morning! A few precious words followed soon after.

Since both hubby and I were born in the Philippines, we were able to communicate with Florianlyn and her mother in their native language. It was such a blessing to be able to do that inspite of the fact that our Filipino is very rusty! :-)

We had great fellowship with her mother and the Compassion Case Worker as Florianlyn played at the beach with my kids. We learned about how they live, their hopes and dreams, their challenges and obstacles, their appreciation for what Compassion has come to mean for their family. Florianlyn's mother used the word "blessed" to describe the children who are enrolled in a Compassion project. That made my heart happy!

She also told us that twice already she's had to go away to Manila (the capital of the Philippines) to work as a house-maid in order to supplement the family income. This means leaving her husband and three small children for long periods of time to earn the equivalent of C$65 per month! That made my heart sad!

She said that she is hoping to be able to re-open her small convenience store {attached to her house} so that she doesn't have to go to Manila to find work ever again. She had to close down her store when they ran out of money after spending a lot of it fixing their house. But before she can re-open the store, she has to make one last employment trip to Manila in order to earn the C$250 investment capital money needed to re-open the store. That made my heart even sadder!

After about an hour, Jhon Sim & Julius, together with their parents and Project Director arrived. They are the first two children assigned to me since I became a Volunteer Advocate for Compassion Canada. God, in His amazing grace, allowed these two boys to be sponsored just the day before we left Canada for this trip. In turn, we were able to arrange to meet them and their families in order to give them the presents that their sponsors sent for them through us. It was such a joy to hear the parents/guardian praise God that He's provided a sponsor for the boys. That made my heart happy!

After some more conversation, we were able to enjoy a simple lunch with everybody... all 16 of us! As my daughter always says, "Mom, you've once again managed to order too much food!" Such was the case today... there was left-over food. As we offered all three Compassion families to take the left-over food home, I was unprepared to hear what Florianlyn's mother said.

She said, "This is grace... for tonight we will have food for dinner!" For once, there was a real purpose for my ordering too much food! I silently thanked God for taking care of little details like that... at the same time, it made my heart sad, very sad, that dinner is not always expected to be there at our sponsor child's home.

After lunch, it was time for the boys, Jhon Sim & Julius, to head home as they had a two-hour commute ahead of them. We said our goodbyes and we headed our separate ways. Them towards home and us towards Dimasalang, where Patnubay Child Development Centre (PH973) and Florianlyn's home are located.

As I stepped into the rental van, I quickly saw that it had seen better days. It struck me how truly poor this area of the Philippines is... this is supposed to be the "best" transportation option available to us! I couldn't believe my eyes... in Canada, this van would not be considered road-worthy!!! :o

We arrived at Patnubay CDC after about half an hour of driving... again, along the only paved road on this island! We met several teachers, another case worker, the church's Pastor and a centre committee member. I was impressed at how well-run the centre is and how enthusiastic the staff are, even though many of them are not paid a salary {they volunteer their time} and many of them are in poverty situations themselves!

Next stop, Florianlyn's house!

What I saw broke my heart... the whole house is no larger than the typical North American master bedroom and five people live in it! There is no running water, its windows are boarded up with cardboard and a portion of the roof is covered over with a plastic tarp. In that small space is where five people eat, sleep, play, live! Their house, by the way, is already considered to be an improvement... after all, they have cinder-block walls!

But in amongst the poverty...
I saw something else.
Hope! I saw hope!

In Florianlyn's mother's eyes, I saw hope. She said, "When she grows up, Florianlyn wants to get a good education so that she can help us, her family, because she has seen how we struggle to get by! This dream is now possible because of the ministry of Compassion."

My heart smiles.
It thanks God!
It dares to hope too.

After a few minutes of visiting, we said our goodbyes. As we drove back to our resort, it started to downpour. It rained inside the rental van too. Didn't I already say that it has seen better days?!? As it rained inside the van, my thoughts quickly turned towards Florianlyn's family... with a plastic tarp over their heads as a roof, it must be raining inside their house too!

Our family has decided that we will be sending a Family Gift to Florianlyn's family through Compassion Canada when we get home. With it, they can fix their roof by installing permanent corrugated metal sheets and Florianlyn's mother can re-open her store! It is the least we can do to help.

Thanks-living, becoming the blessing.
It's the only way!
In response...
To the One who gave us His all.

It has been one truly awesome day... one our family will cherish forever! God is good and He truly *is* in the details! We are forever grateful.

In closing, I would like to thank a few people who have helped make this trip to Masbate a reality for us. They are: Stacey Rooney (Compassion Canada), Minnie Zamora (Compassion Philippines), Conchita Santianez (Visit Host & Case Worker from Patnubay CDC, PH973), Imelda Cabarles (Project Director of Aroroy CDC, PH981), Esther Borromeo (my cousin & very efficient/able travel agent)... thank you all! God's blessings always.

Good night from Masbate on our family's last night here! The rest of the family have now fallen asleep inside the "hut" which we share with the lizards, but rest assured I speak for all of us... we have all been truly changed by what God has allowed us to experience here today. Our prayer is that we will wake up tomorrow more determined, by God's grace, to live each day as a Micah 6:8 family!

An addendum to this story posted on January 10, 2012: 
When Thanksgiving becomes Thanks-living... the Giving Away of Thanks

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Finally In Masbate

We are finally in Masbate, Philippines!

We are so very excited for tomorrow because it is the day we get to meet our Compassion sponsor child! We are also going to be meeting Jhon and Julius. We are thrilled beyond belief to be able to tell these two precious boys in person that they have been sponsored. Their sponsors even sent presents with us for them!

Tomorrow's going to be a great day.
I just know it!
God truly *is* in the details!

This journey that has brought our family to Masbate has truly been one that has taken us out of our comfort zone! It has, for the first time, made me truly realize what it means to fully trust God to take care of all the details.

Two days in a row before our scheduled flight, flights to Masbate have been cancelled due to a tropical storm. We prayed. Many of our family and friends prayed with us... and God calmed the storm! On the morning of our flight, we woke up to clear skies! Not a drop of rain!

After a one-hour flight from Manila (the capital of the Philippines) to Masbate in a 56-seater propeller plane, we arrived at a teeny, tiny airport where the arrivals area is no larger than your typical North American two-car garage! I was nervous being on board a small plane like that... and God calmed my fears.

We were met by the "shuttle bus" of the resort we are staying at and drove through the only paved road in Masbate to reach our resort. For a few minutes on that drive, I was concerned for our safety... again, God calmed my fears. Upon arrival at the resort, I asked hubby about those few minutes and he told me he had peace! God is truly awesome.

The resort is more primitive than what I expected it to be. We were told that we are the only guests!!! Upon inspection of this resort's facilities, my son quickly exclaimed, "Now is the time to panic!" :-)

There is intermittent cellular and Internet connection at best, the cable TV signal cuts in and out, stray dogs roam the property, large red ants welcomed us to our room {which is an air-conditioned hut, by the way!}, and we quickly found out that large lizards will share this hut with us tonight! Ahhhhh!

At this time, my son exclaimed, "I don't only have culture shock, I also have creature shock!"

We spent the morning napping since we had to wake up at 3am to catch our flight here. After lunch, we roamed the beach. It is oh. so. beautiful! The air is very fresh and the water so blue. We collected seashells and corals along the shoreline, saw hermit crabs and little fishes! God's creation is truly magnificent.

Tomorrow will be a new day, a special one that our family will remember forever!

Until then, it is going to be an early bedtime for us since there is nothing much to do here... and we have prayed that the lizards will leave us alone! God, please answer our prayer!!!

Good night from Masbate! God is sooooo good... our family is relishing in that reality tonight.

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Simple Christmas

A repost from the archives. As our family travels to the Philippines for our missions immersion trip, a selection from the archives will be reposted... blog posts that show a snippet of the journey God has taken us through to mold us into a family that seeks to {by His grace} live out Micah 6:8!

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November 13, 2008

I've been thinking more about my post from three weeks ago about having a simple Christmas this year. Quite appropriately, I stumbled upon this video and it fits perfectly with my line of thought today. It is a must-see --- here it is (please pause the Playlist on the sidebar of this blog as you watch the video):


So, I bring up the topic of a simple Christmas with my kids and we came up with some ideas. My son was quick to say that we should decorate less... his idea is for each family member to pick just a couple of their favourate decorations and only put those up... but we must have the Christmas tree!

We also talked about spending less on presents so that we can give to the needy... gift baskets for needy families in our community, care packages for homeless shelters, food bank and packing shoeboxes for Samaritan's Purse.We will definitely dialogue more on this as Christmas approaches.

As a mom, it definitely is not an easy task to strike a balance between focusing on the real meaning of Christmas and "spoiling" my kids a little bit! I understand that balance to be different for each family.

For our family, I know we've reached that balance when my kids want to give more than they want to receive. I don't think we're there yet. One step at a time... slowly, but surely!
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! ---Isaiah 9:6-7 (NLT)
Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Burning Bushes

A repost from the archives. As our family travels to the Philippines for our missions immersion trip, a selection from the archives will be reposted... blog posts that show a snippet of the journey God has taken us through to mold us into a family that seeks to {by His grace} live out Micah 6:8!

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November 27, 2007

Last night my Bible study group watched the video for Week 5 of 'Discerning the Voice of God' by Priscilla Shirer. She based her message on the story of Moses and the burning bush from Exodus 3:1-7, 10. This week's video touched me profoundly. It never ceases to amaze me just how precise God's timing is!

This week, I needed to hear that ---
  • Just like in Moses' life, God's plan is often uncovered while we are in the desert seasons of our lives; not while we are living in the palace.
  • While we are in the desert seasons of our lives, God is actually equipping us for His plan. For example, Moses was being equipped with dedication, direction and destination while he was tending sheep in the desert in order to prepare him to lead God's people out of Egypt.
  • Burning bushes (supernatural markers) point us to God's plan.
  • The purpose of God's plan is to achieve intimate fellowship with us.
  • God's plan will change the course of our lives!
In life, when burning bushes come my way, it is often hard for me to step out in faith into the unknown. But I have learned over the years that if I choose not to obey, God's plan will still come to pass, except I have missed out on the blessing of being a part of it.

So, I will be watching and waiting for those burning bushes. I will strive to obey God and step out in faith when those burning bushes do come my way. Will you?
The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. ---Zephaniah 3:17 NIV
Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Compassion Philippines

My first blog post from the Philippines!

So surreal... I'm still pinching myself. Our family is finally here, by the grace of God... after 12 years... on a missions immersion trip that is already changing and growing us even only after being here for a few days.

My kids have been soaking in the sights, sounds, smells... it is the First World and the Third World all in one place. Truly heart-breaking... "break my heart for what breaks Yours!"

Street children...

Shanties...

Sidewalk coconut vendor.

More shanties by the side of the road.

Taal Lake and Taal Volcano! Breath-taking!!!

The mountains in Tagaytay City overlooking Taal Volcano.

Mall of Asia - example of First World in the Third World.

But there is HOPE!

That hope is made alive by the people who make up Compassion Philippines.

We visited the offices of Compassion Philippines yesterday and learned about their ministry here. It was an eye-opening and very informative visit. We asked many, many, many questions... and the staff answered each one with absolute transparency. Our whole family left their offices thoroughly impressed!

Here are some photos...







Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

A Thousand Miracles

"A thousand miracles... you'll have to wait and see." Those words are part of the lyrics of A Thousand Things by Christa Wells. You can have a listen to it on my playlist on the sidebar of this blog.

I recently came across this song... loved it right away! It was born from a John Piper quote which says: "God is doing a thousand things in everything He does." So true! Even when we don't see or realize... God is weaving our lives and making everything beautiful in His time!

That is why I count grace-gifts! As I continue to hunt for a thousand miracles, my 1,000 gifts list grows by these few more...

#833 - #858
~ Our suitcases are zipped up!
~ Work is all wrapped up!
~ Kids are beyond excited!
~ Kids are finally asleep.
~ Our family's first mission trip is finally happening.
~ A ride to the airport.
**********
~ 6 seats for the 4 of us on the long-haul flight over the Pacific Ocean!
~ A corner seat for my boy, safe from peanut/nut allergens on the plane.
~ Friendly and accommodating flight crew.
~ Soaring through the heavens.
~ Beauty of the clouds from above...
~ Sight of glaciers below... wow!
~ Graceful contours of the land.
~ City lights from high above... superb view.
~ Travelling mercies!
**********
~ Jetlag = quiet mornings to blog!
~ Taal Volcano... wow!
~ Foods I've missed!
~ Sights of the third world... break my heart for what breaks Yours!
~ My children soaking in the sights... and,
~ Asking questions, learning, feeling, processing.
~ Eyes to see and hearts to feel!
~ NBA all-star game... all the way here in Asia!
~ Spending time with family we haven't seen in almost 12 years!

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Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our Trip to the Food Bank

A repost from the archives. As our family travels to the Philippines for our missions immersion trip, a selection from the archives will be reposted... blog posts that show a snippet of the journey God has taken us through to mold us into a family that seeks to {by His grace} live out Micah 6:8!

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October 10, 2007

I can't believe it is now Wednesday! I am finally just emerging from the backlog of routine chores and tasks that resulted from not being able to do much at home during the long weekend. All in all though, we had a good Thanksgiving weekend.

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, we did something new this year for Thanksgiving. We donated food items to the Daily Bread Food Bank. I am quite embarrassed to admit that this is our first experience doing this! I can't believe that it took us this long to find out about this huge need and it is right here --- locally, literally right outside our doorstep. Not to offer an excuse or anything, but I think this is the drawback of living in the suburbs. We are less aware of the poverty that surrounds us because we are so far removed from it all.

So, on Saturday, we headed off to the grocery store. While I shopped for groceries for the family, my hubby and the kids ventured off to do the shopping for the food bank. Pushing a cart and armed with the list, the three of them was quite a sight to behold! :-) You see, the three of them do not have much experience with grocery shopping as I grocery shop mostly on Monday mornings while the kids are in school and while hubby is working. Despite of the lack of experience, they did manage to get everything that was on the list. Quite impressive!

On Thanksgivig Day, we headed off to the food bank's main drop-off and sorting centre in the city's west end. The whole experience wouldn't have been as complete if not for the person who accepted our donation that day. When this staff member saw us walk in with the children, he immediately approached us. He wanted to make sure that it was the kids who dropped the food items into the huge box, and not us. He also took the time to show us the food sorting area and told us about opportunities to volunteer there four times each year.

I love it when people are passionate about what they do. It is contagious! I truly believe that it is because this man was so enthusiastic that my kids now see why we need to volunteer and donate. We are now looking into the possibility of volunteering to sort food items this Christmas season, not to mention now donating each time there is a food drive. Awesome!

I must say that this was a positive experience, not only for us, but most especially for the kids --- it was most definitely one of those teachable moments!
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'.  ---Acts 20:35 NIV
Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Only God Can...

Let me just start by saying that I feel so very blessed to have been a part of a God-story today... a grace-gift, for sure! (#832)

I still have goosebumps just thinking about it. It is truly one of those narratives that only God can put together! So. Very. Cool.

Here is the story, it is God's story...

Earlier this week I blogged about two boys, Jhon and Julius, who are part of a Compassion project located in the same city where our Compassion child lives. These two boys have remained unsponsored for over one year!

Because our family is travelling to this very city next week to meet our own Compassion child, these two boys were assigned to me (as a Volunteer Advocate) so that I can find sponsors for them. The hope is that sponsors can be found for them so that we can tell them the good news when we visit.

When I woke up this morning, I was honestly resigned to the fact that these boys will remain unsponsored. After all, we leave for our trip tomorrow!

Well, God had other plans!

As it says in Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV), "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Let me just say that by noon-time today, via a phone call from a dear friend and with my sister contacting me on Facebook, Jhon and Julius were both sponsored. Just. Like. That.

God blew my mind away!

As if that wasn't enough to tickle me pink, read these words that my friend (the one who sponsored Jhon) wrote as a Facebook note earlier tonight... {Make sure you have some tissue ready... you'll need them!}
God's Hand In Things
So, I had an awesome God moment today. It's something I'd like to share cause it needs to be told.
My dear friend, Aimee, is traveling to the Philippines tomorrow & will have the opportunity to meet her sponsor child through Compassion Canada. On her blog she mentioned that she would also have the opportunity to meet 2 little boys (in the same city as her sponsor girl). They have waited a year for a sponsor & she thought how great it'd be to be able to tell them in person that they now have a sponsor.
I decided just to call Aimee to say goodbye & wish her a great trip. She mentioned to me that she was still trying to find sponsors & that was the end of our call.
God spoke to me at that time & told me it was time to take on another sponsor child (we have 2 others). I looked at the profiles for the 2 boys & chose Jhon, 9 yrs old, born on Apr 15, 2002. I then went to Walmart to buy a few items for Aimee to bring to him - along with some family pictures & the surprise that he now has a sponsor family. At that moment, Aimee emailed me and asked, "wasn't April 15, 2002 the due date of the baby that you lost?" Indeed it was! My eyes flooded with tears & I could barely see as I responded to Aimee's message. Exact due date of the baby I never met.

God had matched us with Jhon in a very personal & special way. I don't believe it was a coincidence. God has given me a reason to celebrate on a date that was a reminder of someone not born. He replaced my sadness with joy - to be able to help a little boy in a far away country to get an education, have clothing, food & shelter, get medical attention etc etc etc. He has given me the chance to make a difference in his life, to give HOPE, GOD'S HOPE!
Praise the Lord, HE is sooooo awesome!
Isn't God something else? He weaves our stories, all things... and makes them all good, turning our mourning into dancing, our sadness into joy.

What a truly awesome God we serve!

Today's story reminded me of a song that I love --- A Thousand Things by Christa Wells. Here's a video of it...

Please pause the Playlist on the sidebar of this blog as you watch this video.

A thousand things are happening in this one thing.
Like a thousand fields nourished by a single drop of rain.
So honey, wrap yourself in promise while you wait the morning light.
A thousand things are happening tonight.
A thousand miracles you’ll have to wait and see.
Nine years ago, my dear friend lost her baby... I still remember the sadness of that day! Today, God made her part of a miracle... a day I will now always remember with joy and thankfulness! A thousand miracles... you'll have to wait and see!

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Remembering and Counting

"Bless, and be blessed - no other way to say it." Those are my girl's words as she completed one week of serving at a Day Camp for children who come from low-income families.She served alongside 17 other Junior High students from her youth group!

I love her words. It captures what she has learned and experienced this past week... and for that I am forever grateful! (#812)

As I continue to remember and to count grace-gifts, this week my 1,000 gifts list grows by these few more...

#813 - #831
~ Connecting with the staff of Compassion Philippines regarding our visit.
~ Good dental care and insurance to cover costs.
~ Awesome training call with my Compassion Advocate Representative!
~ The privilege of advocating for Jhon and Julius! {Will you answer the call?}
~ Weeding my garden. :-)
~ Dinner with my sisters.
~ My new God in the Moment desk calendar!
~ Paying bills...God's generous provision.
~ Purging closets... donating clothing!
~ Smooth-sailing work week.
~ BBQ dinner with church family.
~ BBQ dinner with hubby's family.
~ Almost done packing for our Philippine trip!!!
~ Chatting with my girl over lunch at Subway.
~ Babysitting my little niece and little nephew.
~ Air-conditioning!

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Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
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Friday, July 15, 2011

The Difference Is Jesus

I love Compassion Canada's tagline... The Difference is Jesus! It truly is the reason why our family does what we do... in order to make a *Jesus-difference* in the lives of those who are the last, the least, the forgotten and the forsaken.

Yesterday, I blogged about two Filipino Compassion children who are still awaiting sponsorship at this moment in time.

Our family will very likely get to meet these two precious boys when we visit our Compassion child two weeks from today. It will be sooooo cool to be able to tell them in person that sponsors have been found for them! Both boys have been waiting for more than one year...

Will you make a *Jesus-difference* today...
In the lives of one or both of these boys?

Let me introduce them to you... meet Jhon and Julius! They are both 9 years old and live in the island of Masbate (Philippines). Your love and support will provide these boys with Bible teaching, medical checkups, field trips, sports, tutoring, tuition and school supplies. The center staff will also provide home visits, Bible studies and literacy training for their parents or guardians.


I have their child packs here with me. If you would like to take the plunge and dive into child sponsorship today, please contact me! It would be my pleasure to get you started on this wonderful journey called child sponsorship right away!!!

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

And The Countdown Begins!

Exactly one week to go before we board that airplane to the Philippines! We are packing, shopping, packing some more, wrapping up work, very excited... you get the picture!

And, I am anxious... and, Praying. A. Lot! The planner in me is anxious about the many unknowns, the many things that are beyond my control. At this time, I am truly thankful... truly thankful for prayer partners. (#811)

I am also anxious about my response... our response. How will our family respond to what we will see when we visit our Compassion sponsor child and her family? How will it change us? How will we handle it?

So many questions, so full of anticipation...
But I know God is in the details. 
I am tickled pink by His attention to details. 

As most of you know, I recently became a Volunteer Advocate for Compassion Canada. Now, the planner in me totally did not plan for that to happen... it was totally a God-thing! In fact, I am still wondering why He would choose me for a role such as this? If you know me in real life, you'd know that I am more of a task-oriented person than a people-person... sooooo, how in the world would I be one to connect with people in order to find sponsors for needy children around the world?

All I know is that I want to live life... as a daughter of the Resurrection; to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God. To be an empty vessel... ready to be filled by Him.

Speaking of which... yesterday was my phone training day with the Advocate Representative at Compassion Canada. When we got to the pages in my Advocate Network Binder that outlines the Leadership Development Program (LDP), I asked my trainer if one could pick out a student from Compassion's website. She said: "Yes, but there might not be any assigned to Canada right now."

We proceeded to click towards the section in the website, just to show me where to find it, not expecting to see any LDP candidates currently listed. To our surprise, there were a few! And to both our amazement, there was a young lady from the Philippines waiting to be sponsored.

This is where I get ticked pink by God's attention to details...

You see, the thought of sponsoring an LDP student has crossed my mind before. Well, I'm sure God put that idea in my thoughts! ;-) But, the cost deterred me... $330.00/month! So... I said to myself: "Well, if we are to sponsor an LDP student, he or she would have to be hand-picked by God. I wouldn't just randomly pick anyone from the website!"

You know God... He doesn't turn down a challenge! ;-)

You know that LDP candidate on the website, the young lady from the Philippines? Well, I clicked on her profile and my jaw quickly dropped. She is enrolled in the very same university that my hubby graduated from! We would be in the very same city two weeks from now! How's that for "hand-picked by God?" What do you say?!?

I was floored.  A flurry of thoughts ran through my brain... I asked my trainer if it would be possible for us to meet this young lady in order for us to get to know her on a personal level. Why yes! It is possible. As I type this blog post, an email has been sent to arrange such a meeting for us!

I don't know how all this will pan out... whether we will end up sponsoring this young lady or not. Time will tell. What I do know is that God IS in the details of this missions immersion trip that our family is embarking on. So exciting...

Also, I am being sent a couple child packs (profile information) of Filipino Compassion children that are still awaiting sponsorship. These are children who live close to our own Compassion child so there is a chance that I will get to meet these children as well.

Would you like to sponsor one of these children? It would be so cool for me to meet them and tell them in person that I have found sponsors for them! Be sure to let me know if you are interested!!!

So... back to how I started this blog post, my anxious heart. God's timing sure is perfect. I should know that by now already! Yesterday, in my Google Reader is this blog post by Ann Voskamp... on the root of some fears:
Just bow in humility to rise up in courage.
Bow in humility...
It’s only pride’s hunger for perfection that paralyzes a heart, keeps us enslaved to fear.
Courage for the impossible can only be found in the possibility of humility...
To bow in humility, it is the cry of my heart this day... as it is written in Isaiah 66:2, "These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word." Also in Psalm 25:9, "He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way."

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Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summertime... Grace Abounds!

School's out and summertime is here! As I keep hunting for grace-gifts in the midst of warmth and sunshine, my 1,000 gifts list grows with each passing moment. This week, it grows with these few more...

#786 - #810
~ Having my kids home all day!
~ Lazy summer days...
~ BBQ dinners.
~ My boy's fresh haircut.
~ No more postal strike!
~ Letters from three of our Compassion children, all arriving at once!
~ Shopping and packing... excited for our family's first mission trip!
~ Refreshing rain... watering my parched garden.
~ God-given intuition... to check our flight reservations.
~ Finding out about cancelled flight early...
~ Being able to find a new airline fairly easily.
~ My cousin, the travel agent! :-)
~ The Internet... to find information fast.
~ His strength... sustaining me when I've had only 4 hours of sleep.
~ True friends...
~ Prayer partners.
~ My brother-in-law is back to work after a health scare.
~ Chirping birds serenading me outside my office window.
~ My kids' laughter.
~ Buying snacks for the children at UrbanPromise.
~ Delivering above snacks with my kids.
~ Sleeping in...
~ Finishing the Bible Study, Hope Lives, as a family!
~ Learning from Philip Yancey at church on Sunday.
~ My girl going on a mini missions trip this week.

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Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hope Lives, A Journey of Restoration

Last night, our family finished the Bible Study Hope Lives. These five weeks have truly been "a journey of restoration" --- fittingly, as it is, after all, the book's subtitle. The very last chapter ended with these words...
The vehicle in this journey is God's grace. I'm struck with the realization that this journey was never me - it didn't start with me and it's not compelled by me. God, in his grace, whispered to me and asked me on a journey. I'm here because God invited me along. I take missteps and stumble along the way, but it is God's grace that leads me.
It is God's grace and his Holy Spirit that are restoring me, slowly but surely, to the masterpiece he created me to be. His grace - not my own good intentions or good works - has brought me this far, and his grace will continue to guide me on the journey he has commissioned for me: to love and serve the world.
I don't want to be part of a fad. It's so hot right now to be into Africa... into a cause... into the poor. What'll it be five years from now? I don't know, but I don't want a phase - I want Christ. I want to be on this road of serving Christ and walking beside him for the rest of my life - with his grace at the center, to keep me from growing "weary in doing good."
"... a life of grace, a life of compassion, is the life of following Christ. It's the life in which I become who I was created to be."

Powerful, thought-provoking, full of meaning and truth. The words I quoted above {from the book} could very well be our family's prayer! It is the cry of our soul... our heartbeat... that our hearts be broken for the things that break God's heart.

Speaking of which... my girl leaves for a mini missions trip {a Compassion Trip, as our church calls them} tomorrow! She applied for, got interviewed and was chosen to go on this trip. She is sooooo excited and I am so proud of her for choosing to spend a part of her Summer break serving needy children in this way!

She {and 17 other junior high students} will be gone for one whole week, volunteering at a day camp for under-privileged children offered for free at Kerr Street Ministries. They {and their youth leaders, of course} will be in-charge of running the programme for the whole week!

Here are some prayer items:
~ God would work in the kids' lives - in big or small ways.
~ Everyone would stay healthy and safe - kids, staff and volunteers.
~ Last minute planning and prep will go smoothly.
~ The week's program will run smoothly.
~ Everyone would be flexible when thing don't quite go as planned.
~ The kids would see God's love and hope.
~ The team could have a really positive influence on them.
Thanks for praying with me! I know that it is going to be an awesome experience for my girl.

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Break Already?!?

So... one full week of Summer break has gone by already!  How did that happen so fast?!? It has been a whirlwind around here these past two weeks to say the least... that's why it's been fairly quiet here on my blog.

After all the excitement and partying for my girl's graduation from Grade 8, I was determined to have a low-key and quiet Canada Day long weekend. We had no major plans... we were just going to stay home and relax. Well, as the saying goes... "plans are made to be broken."

On Canada Day, we got a phone call very early in the morning that my brother-in-law needed to get to the ER. My sister was away on a trip so hubby drove him. He was having a massive nosebleed that was not subsiding. This was worrisome... because of his medical history. He ended up being admitted.

Needless to say... we spent the weekend driving back and forth to and from the hospital. Worried. Updating my sister via text messages. Praying.  He got discharged Sunday afternoon. Hubby drove him downtown on Tuesday to see his surgeon. All is well now. My sister is back home and he is back to work.

God is indeed always good... 
His grace is sufficient!

These unforeseen weekend happenings meant that... my week literally got started on Wednesday! Can you say short week?!?

Plus, the reality of summer break hit me like a ton of bricks since I was planning to get our summer routine all planned out during the *quiet and relaxing* long Canada Day weekend and obviously didn't get to. So these last few days were chaotic around here to say the least...

Summer break... no more school... kids home all day (which I love, by the way!)... fit in a 32-hour work week somewhere in there... plus other things that Moms do... oh, and also shop and pack for our upcoming trip to the Philippines.

And... let's just throw in finding out {quite by accident} that the local flight we booked that will take us to see our Compassion sponsor child in the Philippines got cancelled {and we weren't even notified}... and having to find and arrange new flights....

And... finding out that our only other option is this tiny, bush-plane type aircraft! Oy! I felt sick to my stomach upon learning this detail! My son, on the other hand, is excited at the prospect of riding in an "Indiana Jones kind of airplane." Must be a boy thing...

Talk about God taking me out of my comfort zone!!! Funny how He always has a way of doing that... :-) Might it be that when we are out of our comfort zone is when we have no other choice but to fully trust in Him?!? ;-)

Inhale... exhale... breathe in... breathe out...
Chaos and me... let's just say, we don't like each other. :-)

It's Friday now and I can breathe a little better... I've got things a little under control here around our home, the summer routine is somewhat in place and I've processed and accepted the small bush-plane reality... I think I'll survive! Maybe I'll take some Gravol before boarding, just in case. :-)

So... hello there, Summer... we're ready for you! I think it'll be a blast hanging out with you this year as our family anticipates what God has in store for us!

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Grace Overflows...

This was an emotional week for me. As my baby girl graduated from Grade 8, I grasped the reality that time really does flow like a relentless river. With a heart forever grateful for grace that overflows, this 1,000 gifts list continues with...

#774 - #785
~ God's goodness and His grace in my girl's life.
~ How He parents me... so that I can learn how to be one myself.
~ Busy week... He sustains.
~ My kids' excellent report cards.
~ The grace to be kind even when treated unkindly.
~ Wise words of encouragement from a friend.
~ For the gift of life... and of health.
~ For my country... God keep our land, glorious and free!
~ Crazy weekend... many surprises... His grace is sufficient.
~ For this blog post, my 500th... after almost exactly 4 years of blogging!

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Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!