Wednesday, July 2, 2014

At The Halfway Mark

We are at the halfway mark...
... of this trip that we didn't plan to embark on this Summer, or even possibly ever at all.

Coming back to this place, where three years ago God broke our family's heart for the things that break His, has been surreal... a roller-coaster of emotions.

We've celebrated.
We've mourned.
We've rejoiced.
We've struggled.

We've been simultaneously overwhelmed and overjoyed.

I am at a lost for words at times. Actually even if I had the words, they aren't adequate to describe the range of emotions that have flooded my heart this past week-and-a-half.

Yet, as I sometimes lay there in the still of the night or before the break of dawn... unable to sleep because of jet-lag and alone with my deep thoughts, God is always there with a peace that surpasses all understanding.

As we celebrated our family's 20th birthday, also known as hubby and my wedding anniversary, in style at an upscale seaside resort...

And then turning around the following day to meet our newest Compassion sponsor child, 5-year-old John, who had his first-ever escalator ride when we took him and his family to the shopping center...

As we dined in restaurants, with tables full of food, one meal costing almost equivalent the average monthly wage for someone earning minimum wage...

And then hearing our sponsor child's mother say that their greatest need is some rice because her husband is currently out of work...

As we spent a difficult day sorting through our beloved Papa's earthly belongings as he'd recently gone home to heaven...

And then seeing little John treasure so much the one box of Lego that we brought as a gift for him...

As we spent the Lord's Day worshiping God with our Compassion LDP student, Rechelle and her church family, our hearts and souls refreshed as we experienced firsthand what it means to worship God with abandon while living in extreme poverty...

And then going from that worship experience to an overnight stay at a world-class beach resort and being cognizant of the fact that the majority of our Filipino brothers and sisters can not afford luxuries such as what we were enjoying at that moment...

As my boy did several speed-cubing demos, one of them as part of the Canada Day celebrations in Cebu, smack in the middle of an upscale shopping mall that would feel right at home in the heart of Toronto...

My boy mentioned his Compassion advocacy work in every one of his four demos!
I am a proud mama... deeply grateful for this son of mine, a young man after God's own heart. #1000gifts.

And then hearing our Compassion LDP student tell us that she's only stepped foot in this same shopping mall twice this year, one of which is this time with us, because it is "a mall for the upper class."

As we celebrated Canada Day at a five-star hotel, with the Canadian Ambassador speaking about Canada's announcement naming the Philippines as a "focus country" for development dollars to flow to...

The Ambassador also recognized my parents that night, specifically thanking my Dad for his 15 years of service as
the Honourary Consul of Canada in Cebu as he and my mom turn a new page in life, retirement! 

And then spending the following day with our Compassion LDP student, Rechelle and seeing her family home once again after three years. Although it is a hundred-fold better from when we first saw it, after we helped them to rebuild it when it was demolished by a recent earthquake, yet it is still considered as a sub-standard shelter... a testament that development dollars really are desperately needed here.

Three years ago. Before the earthquake destroyed Rechelle's home.
The house is like a crawlspace, one can not stand up inside it.

Rechelle's newly-built concrete house on the exact same location, after it was demolished by the earthquake.
On the left side, behind Rechelle's dad, are two properly built bedrooms!!!
I *could not* stop smiling after seeing it... though still small, it is 100 times better than it was before.
We said that it is the best $1000 gift we have *ever* given!!! #1000gifts.

Many things, I fail to understand. 
Many things, I find difficult to reconcile.
Many things, I don't think I'm supposed to understand or reconcile.

I rely on God's peace instead. That peace that surpasses all understanding.

Before embarking on this trip, I asked God to open my eyes to see... even though braveness is outside my comfort zone.

And He truly is faithful. He has given me the courage to really see.

To see that He truly has the whole world in His hand.
To see that there is much dire need in this world.
To see that I can be a channel of His peace to a world in need.

That it doesn't have to be grandiose.
That I just have to obey one step at a time.
That one yes at a time is all that God asks of me.

We are currently making our way to the island of Masbate to see our sweet Compassion daughter Florianlyn and to see the classrooms that Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy built. We are super excited. 

Because the classrooms in Masbate are a tangible example of God multiplying meager offerings a thousand fold and making beauty out of our ashes.

It is a tangible picture of God's grace at work in unqualified people's lives.

It is a beautiful story of following Jesus and saying yes, one small step at a time... and coming to realize that broken is the most blessed you can be.

Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!


  1. I can feel your struggle as I read your words. Praying for you and your family right now - as you continue to move between first and third world realities.

    So grateful for you and your heart.

    1. Thanks, Jill! Just getting to replying to blog comments this week. Thank you for your prayers... they were felt right there and then.

  2. Beautiful post, Aimee! Praying that God continues to do a mighty work through you and your family!

    1. Thank you, Judy... and thank you for your prayer support!

  3. What a neat trip. It's so encouraging to hear how your whole family is involved in the Philippines in their various methods and with their talents. Your LDP student's upgraded house looks so different and so much more comfortable!! Thanks for sharing.