Monthly Archives: March 2013

Bicol, here I come!

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To be honest, I was not excited about joining this year’s Operation Jabez (a PCCC local mission trip).

Not sure why, but I guess the prospect of traveling to an unfamiliar area at this time of my life did not appeal to me. I know, I know, where is my sense of adventure, right? I promise I’m more adventurous than this (really!) but the mere idea just suddenly… tired me out. Maybe because I’ve been sick the past several weeks.

Lame reason, I know.

Besides, what do I know about Bicol? Virtually and practically NOTHING, except that people from there are called Bicolanos, and that they are hot and spicy. Er, I mean they like hot and spicy food (Wait, I’m not even sure about that). Oh, and I know that Bicol is where the infamous Bicol Express comes from.

Still, like the proper missionary that I am, I decided it wasn’t right to pass up this opportunity to minister to our kababayan in Bicol.

And now the time has come! Strangely (or not), I feel excited! There really is something about traveling to an unfamiliar place that gets to me. Then when God began providing, with the money practically raising itself (in a week!) and people so willingly helped me raise the amount I needed, I just knew this was meant to be. Yes, it was destiny!

So today I begin the grueling trip to the land of Bicol. And friends, I need you to back me up with your prayers!

Pray for the TRAVEL:

Six hours of travel from Baguio to Manila, then twelve hours from Manila to Legaspi. From Legaspi we travel to the small locality of Manito, Albay. That’s like, more than twenty hours of travel by bus. TWENTY! I have never, ever done this before. Pray for safety. Pray for my back and my butt.

Pray for the OUR AREA:

Our team is adopting a local church in Manito, Albay. Our team coordinator (a leader I highly esteem) says that two major church needs are two Ls: Leadership and Livelihood.

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The church building with thatched roof and a nipa hut in front for children’s Sunday School. On the left is the (3rd) community college building shown under construction in preceding photo. Taken Dec. 2012.

manito1

I grabbed both photos from our Team Coordinator’s blog. There he shares the needs of this place:

Just like the bamboo bridge in the second photo above, the church I write about in this blog has had cycles of building and rebuilding.  It has had its ups and downs.

I think among the top reasons for this cycle are the very low income that the members earn as farmers, vendors and fisher folk despite the natural wealth surrounding them.  Another reason is the lack of leadership training and mentoring among the  leaders and members that can support a sustainable ministry.  This is one need that the leaders of the church are recognizing and we are praying for God to bring people who can help them in this area of church life.  I am still praying and hoping to help answer both these “Ls”.  By God’s grace these will also soon be addressed.

So. Now I am excited about this OJ, and am very expectant to see how God will work in and through us. I’m excited to meet the people. I’m excited about the place (the oceans!).

our call bicol

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Another MPD story

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Summer is here! And for me, it means several things: beach, fun, V to the A to the C-A-T-I-O-N!

Ha, I wish.

Well, not that I won’t get to do that, but yunno, in light of the other priorities in my kind of work, it’s gotta take a backseat. Bummer.

Anyway, it means doing MPD. (In our organization “MPD” is the fancy term for “support raising”.) And truth be told, I am NOT prepared… mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I just couldn’t imagine that I could rally enough brain power and emotional strength for it. Oh, the stress! It didn’t help that I had a lot on my mind. A LOT.

So there I was the entire week, worry my head out to intolerable migraines, blowing the candles of my own pity party cake, and thinking. Just contemplating… contemplating the sadness that was my life and how unfortunate I was not have resources, and again worrying about the MPD battle I had to wage yet again — all the while thinking about the uncertainty of my reassignment request.

True, I’ve had lots of blessings in the past, especially in MPD, but well, the heart really is deceitful and most forgetful above all things.

I was at this messy emotional state last Sunday when suddenly this lovely woman I came to know last year comes up to me and all but practically ASKS FOR AN MPD PRESENTATION!

It all happened so quickly. My pity-drenched thoughts refused to process this information that I barely managed to stutter out a polite reply. Thankfully I had mastered the MPD process / manuel enough to remember to set an appointment.

Much, much later the full reality of this previous encounter finally sunk and I exulted because I have an MPD appointment!  At McDo Bonfacio! At 10 am on Tuesday! Then… my paraphernalia! Cue BIG GASP. *scrambles to get materials ready and speed reviews the blurbs*

I’m happy to report that the appointment was a blast. This lady was SUCH FUN to talk to it almost was a pity we had to end it. Probably for the first time I completely, fully understood the MPD Principle of “emphasis on relationships” (really, our organization’s support philosophy rocks).

She eventually texted later in the week to confirm that she and her husband will be my Ministry Partner. I was giddy waiting for her decision the entire week, but I realized that my heart had actually come to the place where I didn’t care whether she’d commit financially or not. Yay for heart learnings even for stubborn, pathetic hearts like mine.

And what an affirmation and encouragement from a big God who truly cares. How can I not be grateful?

Confession: Loving a UPerson (Unlovable Person) in my life

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So there’s this person in my life right now which I am, uhm, to put it nicely, having a difficult time loving. Let’s just call said person UPerson (Unlovable Person).

I used to grit my teeth in frustration and yelling. Loudly. Oh, those times were bad, really bad. Even worse than my fights with my sisters. I remember how frustrated I would be at UPerson, all the while hating myself for not being better. I should know better, right?

Then I moved to yelling my anger on paper.

Yes, I said I yelled on paper. You know? Like writing everything IN HUGE CAPITAL LETTERS WITH MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION MARKS BECAUSE I’M MAAAAADDDDD!

As time passed and my world grew and my social circles expanded, I reverted to simply ignoring UPerson. I figured, no interaction = lesser potential opportunity to fight. And it worked! For a time, it worked.

And yet for all my efforts, I couldn’t stay out of UPerson’s life altogether though. It was impossible. Eventually I came to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, in order to get the the happy times with UPerson (because there are happy times), I’d have to endure the icky times.

Now this is the part where I wish I could claim some sort of victory over this struggle.

This is where I wish I could say we both now get along.

This is where I wish I could we’ve finally worked out our differences and we have harmony together.

I WISH!

Sadly, no.

I still grit my teeth in frustration, but being the refined lady that I am now (by my standards, heh), I now hold it in. I still yell on paper every once in a while, but only seldom.

I wonder if UPerson and I will ever completely get along. For sure I get UPerson frustrated as much as UPerson frustrates me.

So what have I learned so far about this?

1) I am not above feeling anger and frustration. At times I feel guilty — I mean, a missionary such as myself should take it upon herself to give double efforts to love, right? But no. Even the “clergy” are prone to this.

2) Maybe… maybe UPerson and I will never get along. Nope, not in this life. Who know what God plans teaching me throughout my life in this struggle to love this UPerson?

Sigh. Got a UPerson in your life?

Dark Night of my Soul

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“Never doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light.” ~ Edith Edman

How I love that quote.

In times of doubt and fear in times past, these words of such profound wisdom have guided me.

Back then, however, I was sure. How was I sure? Even now I puzzle at my stubborn certainty. Still, present me envies the past me. Trembling and hopelessly young, I stepped into a commitment, holding on to what I knew was certain for me.

Now the two-year ride is nearly over — and what a ride it was! But this roller coaster of a road Is. Now. Over.

I stepped out from the roller coaster and stepped into… a tunnel.

My life right now is as a tunnel. A tunnel of fear so musty you could smell it, and of air so stale it would make you long for the air of Baguio City in its worst traffic jam. And the darkness! Oh, this darkness compounding the unpleasantness of it all, contributing to disillusionment, multiplying my fears, numbing my heart.

“Never doubt,” Edith said, “what God has shown you in the light.”

Now I realize that perhaps the reason I am doubting so much now is that maybe, most possibly, I have not seen what God was showing me in the light.

Did I miss it?

What did I miss?

Why don’t I feel anything?

Hard questions.