Monday, August 26, 2013

Poem- "With Joy"

"...I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord." - Psalm 27:6b
I remember reading that years ago and being struck by the concept of sacrificing with joy. We may not sacrifice animals anymore, but we are called to be living sacrifices.The Websters 1828 dictionary defines sacrifice as "Offered to God upon an altar; destroyed, surrendered, or suffered to be lost." When we think of sacrifice, it's often with dread, fear, or reluctance, because we know that there is pain involved in laying something down. But here the psalmist is sacrificing with a song in his heart. Why? Because He loves the Lord. Because God has delivered him in his time of need. Because He has learned that there is nothing of greater worth than seeking Him, knowing Him, and being known by Him. I want to sacrifice with shouts of joy. This is something God placed on my heart this morning.

"With Joy"
This path is one of sacrifice,
A road with heavy cost.
We follow our dear Savior,
Who suffered on the cross.

Yet though this path brings sorrow,
It's no pathway of despair.
For as this world is stripped away,
We find our Jesus there.

How can a heart make melody;
Find joy in sacrifice?
By finding what we gain in Him,
The Pearl of greatest price.

A heart in love with Jesus
Can give without a qualm,
For though in pouring out, it aches,
It's filled with His sweet song.

Oh, may I walk this path He's set,
Cost me what it may.
May I place my trust in Him,
And trusting Him, obey.

"You have said, 'Seek My face." My heart says to You, ' Your face, Lord, do I seek.'" - Psalm 27:8

Sunday, August 25, 2013

More Than I Can Handle

We've been in the village for a week and a half. It's definitely another world! When I look out the two screened windows in my room, I can see banana and coconut trees, pigs, chickens, roosters, a monkey tied up, water buffalo (feel free to sing the song- I certainly have!) laundry hanging, and small houses with grass or tin roofs. I sleep under a mosquito net, the roosters start crowing about 4 am or so, and keep going all day. The last week has been spent (in addition to playing games and so forth with the kids) cleaning and organizing the school room and planning for the school year.

So what has God been teaching me, you ask? (Ok, you might not be asking, but I'll tell you anyway.) Well, I'm on the other side of the world from home, I've spent a week and a half in a rural village in a foreign country with no internet (which means no contact with anyone back home), facing drawers with hiding cockroaches, a mountain of school books, and teachers manuals, and a year of teaching four children when I've never taught one subject before... yeah. There's been a whole lot of learning going on over here! Here's one thing though.

People often say that God won't give us more than we can handle. It sounds very nice and comforting, but the reality is that it's simply not true. He does give us more than we can handle because He wants us to depend on Him instead of looking within for the strength to handle it. The fact that He loves us doesn't mean that He will keep us from challenge, pain or difficulty. Rather, because He loves us, He wants us to learn to trust when we can't see, to find peace and joy in Himself, and to find that He really does give strength for the weary; that His grace really, truly is sufficient. He does give us more than we can handle, but He will never give us anything that He is not able to live through us to overcome.

I'll be honest, lately I've had way more than I can handle. There have been plenty of moments when I was stressed, overwhelmed, or lonely, and didn't know how I could keep going. In moments where I would normally go to my mom or a friend for prayer and perspective, I have been in a position where all I could do was cry out to God and trust that He is all He says He is. Again and again, I have cried out for wisdom, clarity, strength, peace, for Him to live through me and make me more like Him... It's been hard. It's been painful. But never once have I been forsaken or alone. In the times when I felt I couldn't hold on, He has been holding on to me. I've been learning, along with so many other things, faith. Trust. Hope in the One who can never fail. I'm learning that He really is enough, and no matter the cost, it's worth it.

I don't mean to sound like I've been falling apart the whole time- I certainly haven't! There have been wonderful times of laughter, fun, learning to fit into a new family, and experiencing many new things. Here are some pictures!

About to get on the helicopter

In the helicopter on the way to the village- it was amazing!

This was waiting for me in my room. Welcome to the tribe, Lindy!

Charlotte, my brave, loyal assistant in organizing/cleaning, and Ernie the cockroach. Ernie is no longer with us. Thanks Charlotte!

The school room- very definitely a work in progress.

Cockroach poop. The cockroaches in this drawer had been killed by the time I took this picture. So fun! haha

Somebody in the village found this bird and gave it to Kyle. Mom, I'm posting this for you.

A corner of the Talbot's house

Next Door

"Everybody's got a water buffalo..."

Kyle took me and Sophia on a village tour. This is the waterfall which, I believe, normally has much more water.

Learning to knit!

The school room, looking much better, but still a work in progress

School books!

Kyle working on his fort

One of the little girls in the village

Sunday, August 11, 2013


This will be my last post for awhile, as we will soon be headed for parts unknown (aka the village) and once we are there, it will be probably at least a few weeks until I have internet access again. I just wanted to check in, let you know that I'm still alive over here (haha) and share a small bit of what God has been teaching me.

Honestly, there is so much that it's hard to sort it all out in my mind. I've been writing most of it down (and trying not to turn into a hermit in the process), but God is hard at work in my life. There is still so much of me left in me, but God is chipping away, shaping, pruning, refining through fire.... whatever you want to call it, though I really am happy and really do love it here, it hurts. I want to love Him so much that I can say with all of my heart that nothing matters as long as He is glorified. I'm having to preach truth to myself constantly, because in the flesh that is not how I view life, and it is easy to focus on sacrifice, loneliness, hardship, difficulty, confusion, discomfort... and the list goes on. (not that things are even that hard, just harder than anything I've faced before.) But to focus on those things is self-pity, and self-pity is sin. In Philippians 1 Paul is in chains, circumstances far beyond anything I'm facing (obviously!) yet his joy shows through his writing in a way that's impossible to miss, because through it all, Christ is being glorified, which is so clearly the desire of his heart. His eyes are totally off of himself and focused on Christ first, and as an outflow of that, those around him. I am not like that, but I want to be, and if being brought to that point means being cut off from internet, (which only matters because it means being cut off from those I love) for awhile, and being so far from home for much longer, then so be it. No matter what I lose, even temporarily (for truly, this is so temporary!) I can never lose the only Thing I really need. And whatever the cost, it is worth it to learn that. I know that in my head, but He is faithfully teaching my heart. He disciplines those He loves, and I know that He loves me. And that is all I need. I am nothing, but I serve a mighty God who is able to use me in spite of me.

Pray that I will have a heart that says always "Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart. Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art". Pray that He will enable me as I move towards actually teaching. Pray that He will be glorified in it all.

Some more pictures...

We got to spend a few days at the beach with a lot of the NTM missionaries in the area

I was especially blessed by the time I got to spend with Vicky! She first came here in 1980, and it was amazing to get her perspective and hear what God has done in her life.

So beautiful! My camera couldn't do it justice.

Back at the guest house for now. There are lots of roosters, and they crow all day long.

Charlotte, Sophia, Jenna, and I were reading books on the trampoline, but we took a break for this. :)

I fit so much stuff in this action packer to go to the village... this thing is deceptively large!

Loading the truck to go to the village. The rest of us will follow by helicopter!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hello from the Philippines!

I've been on the other side of the world from home for just over a week now, but it feels like so much longer. Not in a bad way at all, it's just that I've experienced so many new things in that time! In addition to driving many random places, I've traveled by plane, bus, and in the back of a pickup truck. I've been able to see a lot, but haven't been completely surrounded by the culture yet- God was very gracious to allow me to receive the newness in small doses! Some initial observations:

-Traffic, especially in Manila, is absolutely terrible, in a very different way than the US. The driving mentality is totally different- fewer rules, lots of passing and pulling out in front of people. It's like everyone (drivers and pedestrians) assumes they have the right away, but stops if someone else takes it first. There's also lots of honking. It took me a few days not to feel like we were about to hit someone every second.
-Things are more laid back here, and schedules are not held to as tightly as they are in the US.
-"Aircon" is a wonderful thing. It's certainly hot and humid here, but really, not too much more than in NC.
-They have McDonalds, but the menu is a bit different than back home. For instance, I had "McSpaghetti" for dinner last night. For some reason, I find that highly amusing, but it tasted good.
-The most unusual thing I've eaten so far is a dessert called "Halo Halo". I really liked it!

I have loved getting to know the Talbots, and have had so much fun spending time with the kids especially- coloring, jumping on the trampoline at the NTM guest house where we're staying right now, and so forth. They have made me feel very welcome, and I'm looking forward to all that's ahead- teaching comes soon! I've also been incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to get to know some of the other missionaries here. It's amazing to hear the stories of how God brought them here, what He has taught them, and what He has done. It really is such an amazing opportunity He's given me.

Only a week, and God is already hard at work growing, stretching, and teaching me. One of the biggest things has been the need to choose to find sufficiency and joy in Him alone, regardless of what my emotions are doing, regardless of whether or not circumstances are hard or confusing. It's something that I knew already, but He is faithfully driving it home deeper and deeper. There are certainly many new things to get used to, and adjusting has been somewhat overwhelming at times. But I'm very thankful for the opportunity for the chance to be pushed out of my comfort zone, because my comfort zone is self-centered and needs to go, even if it hurts. For all of the challenges, and the missing those at home, I can say without reservation that I am really, truly happy here. I know that I'm where God wants me, and there's a beauty that comes with that that's hard to describe.

Pray for all of us, especially Chuck and Shannon, as we prepare to move into the village. Pray that God will live through me, give me wisdom in every moment and live through me to love and serve those around me. And pray for the village, as they are currently in the midst of a bad drought.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so...

Saying "See you later" to those I love at the airport

Sweaty, gross, desperately in need of sleep, but finally in Manila!

This was waiting for me in my room. :)

Holding baby Bea for the first time

Outside the NTM guest house where we are staying right now

"Tricycles". They are everywhere here.

With Hala in the back of the pickup truck

Coloring while waiting for lunch after church on Sunday

Having fun on the trampoline

That's all for now!
Much love,