Monday, February 27, 2006

Back Home

It is so good to be back home again in Iloilo. As much as I love making Bible school teaching trips to various places, I find it very hard to be away from my family. They spent two days in Hong Kong enjoying a mini family vacation at Hong Kong Disneyland. We then met up in Manila Saturday night. We spend two nights there enjoying some American comforts like good restaurants and nice shopping malls. We ate a really nice Italian place and also Chilis, it was just like States, the atmosphere, the food, and even free refills on your drinks. It is amazing how enjoying this kind of stuff every now and then can really recharge your batteries while living in a foreign country. We also found a great bookstore in the Power Plant Mall. We were there for over two hours just reading, like a library. I am very glad we are all back together again. I missed them very much.

I can now disclose that myself and my other Bible school teacher were almost compromised while we were in (unnamed country). Twice the secret police came to the safehouse where we were teaching, demanding entrance. We were almost raided. The lady of the house had been praying all week, the Lord had revealed to her that this might happen and that she needed to pray. The two times they came, she adamantly refused them entrance, and in spite of their insistence, the secret police eventually went away.

Praise the Lord for the power of prayer. For myself and my fellow teacher, the worst that would have happened to us is that we would have been immediately deported and blacklisted, that is we would no longer be allowed in the country. Unfortunately if we had been raided, the thirty or so students and our translators would have probably been arrested.

I know many of you were keeping this trip in regular prayer. The Bible states that the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Do you need any more proof to know that this is true? Thank you for your prayers of protection. It is what thwarts the attacks of the enemy.

Aslan is on the move.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Last Full Day in Country

Today was my last day of teaching here in (unnamed country) with the Underground Church. I was so blessed to spend a week here teaching, once again it has changed my life. I was very blessed, humbled, and inspired by the believers here.

One of the pastors told me that things are getting better and more open here. The government is realizing that the church is not going away, and it is only growing, and it has become a force to be reckoned with. Also this country is wanting to be a part of the World Train Organization, and in order to do that, it must be more open and tolerant of religious expression. This is an answer to prayer. The Christians here firmly believe that one day this country will be free and open, and the church will no longer have to be underground. Lord speed the day.

Aslan is on the move.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Somewhere in Southeast Asia, Day Three

I have confirmed there are almost 3,000,000 scooters in this city, and that is no exaggeration. I have taken pictures and shot video, but even these cannot properly convey the sheer numbers of scooters here. They are everywhere, parked in every open spot on the sidewalk, and also parked inside buildings and places to eat. Words, pictures, and video footage cannot properly describe what nearly 3,000,000 scooters motoring around looks like.

I am benefiting from the fact that this is not my first trip here. Last time in November, it was very hard and I was worn out every night after teaching. This time things are not as difficult. I am sure part of it is the fact that I am not sick with a cold. On my last trip, I would wake up sick, wishing I could just stay in bed and rest, but I knew there was no substitute teacher. I was it, and the students were expecting me everyday. I also believe the joy of the Lord has given me great strength.

It is a great joy to see these students again. It is a great joy for me to be reunited with these precious brethren again. Today my translator was a pastor I met the last time I was here, and we have been emailing each other since then. It was so good to see him again, to work with him again, this kind of joy is giving me strength.

I also know that many of you are keeping me and this trip in your prayers. Please continue as your prayers are effective and powerful. This is what we do, and this is how we do it.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Somewhere in Southeast Asia, Day Two

Nap time again, I may join in the sleeping later. It is so good to be back here again, it feels like I never left.

After just a one hour flight to Manila and then a two hour flight from Manila to here, I find myself back in this country I cannot name. Day two in-country is the first day teaching, and I am so blessed to be teaching the same group of students I was with the last time I was here. It is nice to be remembered, and to see my brothers and friends again. I am still so challenged by their example and their faith. Persecution makes the faith of a church very pure. That is very obvious from these Christians. Their hunger for knowledge is humbling and inspiring.

Walking around the markets, or sitting on the back of a scooter on the way to the safe house feels comfortably familiar, like I have returned to a place I know and love so much. Even more than this very unique city and country, the true pleasure is in reuniting with my brothers and sisters here, and with the strong community of faith in this Underground Church, this is the greatest joy.

So I will be teaching here for five wonderful days, and I know they will go fast, returning back to the Philippines on Saturday. I am humbled to be teaching Christians such as these. I am privileged to contribute to what God is doing here in this place. I still marvel that I am even here doing this.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Encourage Yourself

What does it mean to encourage yourself in the Lord? This was spoken of concerning Paul, when he faced struggles and imprisonments on the mission field. I find myself meditating on this phrase thinking that this is something I need to figure out. There are times when I am very discouraged. I just want to give up, call it quits, go back to the States, to the familiar, to hot showers. The Lord brought that phrase "encourage yourself in the Lord" to mind, and I feel I need to find out what this means.

Thankfully I am blessed with family and friends here who also encourage, lift up and bless me and challenge me to press on. There are times when God seeks you to find encouragement from just Him, when He is all you got, and all you need. While I certainly do not claim to fully understand what this means, I feel that I am on the road to a definition, and to a deeper understanding of how Christ strengthens His children. So that when I am discouraged (and I know that discouragement will come), I can press on through the challenges and rise above them, and also be a source of encouragement for others who may be discouraged as well.

So what does it mean to encourage yourself in the Lord, and how is it done? Prayerfully I will find the answer.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Finally Back on the Grid

For one week our Internet service was down, yet another reminder that we live in a third-world country where some things are somewhat advanced, but some things, like customer technical support, is still lacking. We were told that they were making some improvements to our service. It was working great before--here's an idea for an improvement, if it's not broken, don't fix it. All in all I can't complain too much, it only costs about $14 a month for high speed Internet, and I am able to share it wirelessly between our two Powerbooks.

So how about this weather? It is actually cold at night. It feels like back to school weather in September, or early Spring weather. I never thought I would be this cold (outside a movie theater) here in the Philippines. We are enjoying it while we can, in March someone flips a switch and goes back up to high humidity and tropical heat.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006