Sunday, March 28, 2010

Eric's Day, Fifteen Years Later

I posted this last year on this day. I am posting this again:

March 28, 1995, a day that changed me forever.

I was in the Philippines then, in a remote area of Mindanao called Tagoloan, near the bigger city of Cagayan de Oro. I was in the Philippines on a missions internship, working as an associate pastor with a network of local churches.

A man approached me telling me that he has been instructed to inform me that I needed to be at the airport in Cagayan de Oro at a certain time that afternoon, I was to meet an arriving passenger (I had no idea who, but I was told that they would know me), and there I would receive further instructions.

It all sounded kind of mysterious to me, but I told the stranger that I would be at the airport at the assigned time. The pastors I was working with agreed to accompany me.

I went about my business of the day. We were starting to work on doing Camp Sonshine with the churches there. I had counselor training in the morning, and then we were going to visit with some families for lunch. Eventually we found our way into the city and to the airport. I still remember sitting in the airport cafe with Pastor Dan and Pastor Gallure, drinking Sprite, waiting for the plane to arrive.

The rest is tragic history. It was my grandmother who got off the plane that afternoon, and she informed me that my brother Eric had been killed in a car accident. After a whirlwind of activity, plane rides, etc. I found myself in my Mom's house in Ocala, having made it back just in time for the funeral.

People who knew me before the 28th of March, 1995, say I changed after this event. I was told that I really mellowed out. I used to be what one friend called a "hard nose," a very high strung "type A" personality, and then after I mellowed out and became more even-keeled.

I call this day Eric's Day, the day he made the leap from earth to Heaven. I celebrate his short life. My brother and I did many things together. One of the most amazing things we got to do was minister side by side, sharing God's love on the mission field and also at Camp Sonshine, Maryland. In fact my first ever missions trip was with my brother, we went to Satillo, Mexico. My brother had a fiery passion for Christ and His kingdom, desiring only to be in the center of God's will.

I am blessed to have a son whom we have named in memory of my brother. I pray that my son, Eric Joseph Anasco, shares the same depth of faith and godliness as his namesake.

I miss you, Eric. I know you are interceding on my behalf in the cathedral of Heaven. You are in that great cloud of witnesses, spoken of in Hebrews 12, cheering me on.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 12:1


Eric, I miss you.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I Feel Like a Foreigner

I have been in-country for about a week, and honestly I am experiencing some reverse culture shock. It is odd to feel like a foreigner in your home country, but that is exactly what's happening. For example the other day I went to get gas at the gas station and for a moment I froze because I didn't know what to do. Also driving is kind of weird, especially when I am used to walking or riding jeepneys or taxis (where someone else is doing the driving).

However the best part of being Stateside is reconnecting with family, friends, and loved ones. The other day Chris and I took Danny and his cousin, Marissa, to Chick-fil-A. They are so cute together--they are both three years old.

The really enjoy being together, giggling and telling jokes, and just playing and interacting.

Marissa LOVES ranch dressing (like a Texan loves ranch dressing), she dips everything in ranch.

Even grapes.

Of course, no visit at Chick-fil-A would be complete without a visit to their huge play place.

This is the best part of being in the States, being with family we miss so much. We look forward to reconnecting with many of you during our time in the U.S. I am starting to feel less and less like a foreigner, and more and more at home in my American home. Now someone just needs to turn the heat up, I am FREEZING.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Completion

It is over, the internship is now completed. The interns leave the Philippines in a few hours, and I will finally be reunited with my family soon after.

This has been the most challenging of times, especially since I have been away from the people I love the most for so long. The only thing that would keep me away from my family like this is my purpose. This is my purpose, to serve others, to help others grow, to help students grow into full-time missionaries.

The biggest thing I have learned from this experience (other than to never be away from my family this long again) is that EVERYTHING can be a learning experience. Every situation, every problem, every challenge, can be an opportunity to grow. I hope I take this lesson and apply it to the rest of my life.

It has been an honor to serve these incredible interns--now missionaries. Now it's time to be with my family.



Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Under My Skin

A few days ago the interns conducted a survey of the San Isidro relocation village, a place of extreme poverty. The main purpose of the survey was for a future church plant in that village. We are working with Full Gospel Church, laying the ground work for what will hopefully one day be a daughter church planted in that village.

I spent the two days taking pictures and being a human jungle gym for these girls. It is hard to describe how my heart was broken by this precious children. Usually I don't get so involved, I am content to just facilitate ministry experiences for others and stay behind the camera and just take pictures.

These girls were starved for any kind of adult affection. They would sit in my lap and wrap my arms around them, and just soak up whatever love I could give them. We played silly games, talked and told jokes, sang songs, snacked on crackers and soda, etc. I did not ask about their fathers, if they were around or even living. I could tell they were starved for any kind of positive adult attention. They really got under my skin.

There is a major problem of fatherlessness in the Philippines. My heart breaks for children who are so starved not just for food but also for a father's love. So all we can do is try to show them the Father's love.




Monday, March 01, 2010

Medical Outreach-Another Amazing Day

When I come home from a day like this I think to myself, "I want every day to be like this," so full of purpose, so full of opportunities to be a blessing.

We had a major medical outreach at the Sonshine Center. We saw nearly 200 children, blessing them with doctor's visits and medicines. Thanks to the leadership of Go To Nations missionaries Mike and Jude Kelly, we had more than enough doctors and nurses to see all of our kids, and they also got medicines donated.

It was yet another amazing day. I want everyday to be this amazing.