Thursday, March 31, 2005

Before God will send you to the nations, He wants to know what you are doing to reach the world next door. We boldly declare we are willing to go to the ends of the earth for Him, how about to the ends of your school, to the ends of your workplace, to the ends of your neighborhood? Before you can go to the other side of the world, God wants to see you going right where you are at. Step out of your comfort zone, open your front door, and go to the lost world you are already in.

But be careful. As was said in the Lord of the Rings, it is a dangerous thing stepping out your front door, because you never know where you may end up. If God sees you stepping out to your immediate world, He may just take you to the other side of the world as well.

Friday, March 25, 2005

A home.

I love our home in Iloilo. It is a big airy home with bright rooms that seem to catch every breeze that passes by, and breezes are very valuable here in the Philippines. We have a welcoming receiving hallway that leads into a bright and open living room. We have a large dining room, with a huge table, enough seating for eight. The kid's bedrooms are upstairs and our family/TV room is also upstairs. The house is not really our home, it belongs to my Lola who will eventually will it to her son, my Uncle Ed.

We do not own a home in the United States. When my children are older, there will be no home of their youth for them to visit. No home where they had their many birthday parties, Christmas mornings, etc. There will be no hometown for them to visit, with memories of elementary school playgrounds and high school sports fields.

A part of me regrets this. A part of me wishes we would have a somewhat normal or traditional life in the U.S. with a home to raise our kids in, a place to watch them grow, a place for them to come to and feel instantly comfortable, a place full of happy memories. It seems that our destiny will be of many different places to call home, perhaps in different countries all of the world, or at least in different parts of Asia. When Eric comes "home" from college during a break, I have no idea where that "home" will be. It could be in yet another country we will be missionaries in, some other far away land.

While I am a bit saddened by this, I am reminded that this Earth really is not my home. Our home is Heaven. We are just passing through. I truly believe that death is a homecoming, where we go to the place the Lord has been preparing for us, just as He promised in the Gospel of John. Indeed, rather than spend a lifetime building a home for my family, I feel it is our destiny to build God's kingdom on this earth. Rather then focus our energies and finances on earthly treasures, as wonderful as they can be, I feel we are instead laying up for ourselves treasures in Heaven.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

What do I miss?

We have been in the Philippines for about five months. What kinds of things do we miss? Many people know that the way to my heart is through my stomach, so naturally some of the things I miss are food related. Both Chris and I really miss Mexican food. We loved Don Pablo's and Taco Bell (not really "Mexican") We try and eat Mexican at least once a week, but it is not as easy to prepare since we have to make our tortillas from scratch. This can be a lot of work, but it is worth it. Chris has really impressed me by learning how to make many things from scratch, like Italian bread (very good and a hit with all who try it), different kinds of cookies, cakes, and breads.

Of course we miss the comforts of the US. Since it is so hot here we keep our windows open 24/7. Few houses have any kind of thermostat or central air conditioning. Having your windows open all day invites more than just the breezes. It can get very dusty inside. Also, even with screens on each window, the bugs are ever present. It seems we are always battling with ants. All food items must be completely sealed, or ants will find their way in and have a feast. I also find myself missing carpeting. Few places have wall-to-wall carpeting. I hear that babies growing up here do not spend much time crawling since there is no comfortable carpeting to crawl on. Of course, I also miss hot water. We are going to Hong Kong next week. I am so looking forward to taking a hot shower. I have not experienced this singular pleasure since October. Life in the United States is definitely much more cleaner and in some ways "softer," or another way to put it, less harsh.

One thing our entire family misses very much is a public library, no such things here in Iloilo. I am not just saying this because I previously worked for the Howard County Library. I was spoiled to not only work for this great library system, but also to patronize the Howard County Libraries. We are all avid readers, and making a trip to the Central Library in Columbia, Maryland was always a treat for all four of us. I would even take my kids there on my days off, and they loved it, it was a treat for them. Having so many books available to check out and read, and all for free. We do have a small library in our home here in Iloilo. We brought many books with us, and we also got some from Amazon (yes, they deliver to the Philippines). There is an OK bookstore here in our local shopping mall, and both Chris and I have been reading electronic books that we download from the Internet. But there is nothing quite like spending an hour or so browsing the stacks at a good library, coming home with an armful of books, and coming back the next week for more. Our family visited the library at least once a week. Chris says the next time we visit Maryland, she is going to "live" at the Central Library.

More than anything, we really miss people, family and friends. I miss the friends I would hang out with at work or go have lunch with. I miss the times spent with a bunch of guys, watching Monday Night Football at Damon's or going to an Orioles game. Eric and Faith really miss their friends, and their extended family in Maryland, and speak of them often. And I know Chris really misses the pleasures of watching her young nephew, Ryan, growing up. The fellowship of family and friends is what we miss the most.

What would we miss if we were not here? Now that is a good question.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Praise the Lord for windows.

No not the computer operating system. One of the major pieces left in order to complete the renovation of the Sonshine Center building is Windows. We need 90 windows. An appeal has been made for individuals, groups and churches to sponsor a window for $333.33. Many people have come forward, pledging to purchase a window for the Sonshine Center building. Through these individuals coming forward, we now have 15 windows for the Center. I am amazed to see God moving on the hearts of people to give to a project that they have not even seen with their own eyes.

We need 75 more. My prayer to the Lord is, "This is not enough." I am thankful for the 15 purchased so far, but we still need more. Our God is not a God of not enough. When I consider the total need, and how people have come forward to give, I am blessed, still I say, "More Lord." I am blessed and encouraged to see what He has done so far, but I know His work is not yet completed. I fully expect Him to provide all 90 windows, and everything else needed to complete the building.

We are not to limit God. He is ready and willing to provide. All He asks is that we trust, have faith, and believe in Him.

Thank you Lord.
More Lord.