Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Newsletter {March edition}

Please see the images below to check in on Sarah and all that's going on with her. 
Rejoice with us over what God is doing in the Philippines! 

I {think} you can click on the images to enlarge. 
Don't hold me to that! ;) 
Y'all have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's Christmas time in the Philippines!

Well...Christmas in the Philippines actually starts September 1st. So we have had Christmas decorations up for a while now! But that's ok with me! I LOVE Christmas decorations!

Christmas tree all decorated :) Special thank you for everyone who sent me pretty ornaments! Every time I see them I think of you guys! love you all!

That ladies and gentlemen is bliss. I'm pretty sure whoever invented FOREX boxes is my hero. For those of you who don't know I'll tell you about them :) They are boxes that you can fill up and ship to the Philippines. Philippines is the only country they ship to. And it is only one way. You pay for the box and the shipping which from Little Rock, AR is $130...i think. The boxes do not have a weight limit. It's just whatever you can stuff inside!! So they are really good for books and things that weigh a lot. This time I got two forex boxes filled with Christmas!! It's a pretty cool feeling tearing into one of them! Especially when you have no idea what's inside! :)

Goodies I can't get here :)

Empty boxes :)

Christmas also includes shopping! So we took a ladies trip to Manila. These are the ladies that minister here in Bacolod. We met up with another group of ladies from Cebu! We had a great time just getting to be together, shop for gifts without the kids...i didn't have to worry about that part :), and of course when you go to Manila you have to come back with Krispy Kreme! It's just a must. It's pretty funny when you get on the plane to head back home and see all these people with their Krispy Kreme! And of course we could not be left out! So here is the Bacolod crew with ours!

And here is a picture that if I just told you about you probably wouldn't believe so I must show you.
Can you read the screen?? If not it says "Body Weight Counter." Oh yes...after you check in you have to go step on a scale so the airline can weigh you and your carry on bags. Good thing we hadn't eaten our Krispy Kremes yet! :S

Time spent with a friend, my missionary friend!

My son and I recently traveled to Bacolod City, Philippines to visit our dear friend, Sarah Hebert. What a blessing that trip was! Well, I say that, but it was also such an eye opening experience!! I've known and heard of missionaries my entire life, but never have my eyes been open quite like they were those 10 days spent going though life with Sarah.

I just want to share a few little things to maybe make you more aware of life for her. now.

First of all, she has a nice apartment that is decorated "so Sarah" like. I fell in love with it instantly, mainly because it has her personality and spirit everywhere you look! One thing it doesn't have everywhere is "aircon" (airconditioning)! Lets just say, leaving behind a thermometer that read 29 to go somewhere that it read 90, this ole girl suffered a bit!

Her bedroom has air, so sleep was good at night, but much done outside of there, well, its the tropics. Its hot. Its humid. I shined. I perspired. No, lets be honest, I sweat.ed!! Did I ever hear Sarah complain? Of course not.

After spending about 36 hours in actually reaching her, the first thing I wanted to do was shower! aaahh! Hmm...yeah, her shower, well, my dripping faucet may have more pressure. I asked her, "how do you EVER get the shampoo out of that head of hair?" To which she replied with a chuckle, "oh it takes a while, but I'm use to it." That's our Sarah!

She took me around what is now "her city" using basic phrases of Ilonggo she has learned. The language part, folks, thats tough! Can you imagine trying to learn a whole new language?? I can't. I got frustrated trying to learn just a word or two because I wouldn't put the accent on the right letter and she'd have to repeat it like 10 times and we know she hates repeating herself. Needless to say, I didn't pick up many words.

"Her city" is filled with LOTS of people, lots of cars, bikes, trikes, motorbikes, jeepneys, walkers; basically name a way to get around and its out there on the streets...most of the time at the same time! on the same road! in the same block! :) Get the picture?

Now, let me share about Sarah and how she is doing. She has been there five months this week. I don't know if y'all can believe that, but I sure can...seems much longer to me. She is adjusting to her new normal, which is no where near her old normal. She has gone from being very active in two churches, to not really having a church to be active in. From being surrounded by family and a multitude of friends, to a city where she knows a handful of folks. From being filled by God and and being able to pour all of that out into the lives of others. From getting and giving hugs every day, and getting texts and phone calls from those she loves to those things being very few and far between. I don't tell you all of this to feel sorry for her, that is the VERY LAST thing she would want, but I do know she covets the prayers of His people. So I tell you that, so this morning, at lunch, at bedtime, coffee break, just sometime during your day, you may lift her up in prayer and perhaps send her a note of encouragement.
As we rode in a jeepney across from one another one day, I was watching her...not in a creeper/stalker kind of way, but in a way that God was trying to process so much in my mind about this amazing young lady. As I watched her pass pesos back and forth from driver to other passengers, speaking Ilonggo to them all, I was filled with such pride that yes! she was my friend! and God has awesome ways He's going to bring glory to His name through her!
Later, that same day, we went up to her apartment rooftop and watched the sunset. That was a bit surreal too. As I looked down on the street below in one direction, and to homes with dirt floors and tin roofs in the other direction God began speaking and I felt as if I were on holy ground. Not so much by my surroundings, but that He was speaking to my heart in the midst of it all. No, He did not call me to be a missionary. Honestly, I do not have the right spiritual gifts to be one, but He did call me to be who I am, where He has placed me. Also, it is my responsibility to support and encourage young ladies, like Sarah, in any way I can. That is what He has called me to do. I accept that calling on my life.

What has He called you to do? Maybe it is to surrender your life to missions? Perhaps ministry in some other field? Perhaps to be a teacher, a doctor, an accountant, a dental hygenist? Whatever it is, He will equip you in unique ways to bring glory to Him. Its up to us to do it. For now, my calling is to be the best wife and mother, first of all. Then to be a supportive pastor's wife (though never, ever the "typical" one). And now, He has opened my eyes to single, female missionares and ways I can look to make their lives a bit easier now and then and to daily lift them up to Him in prayer.

Thank you, Father, for using this precious friend to open my eyes!

Blessings From Above

This Thanksgiving was my first ever holiday away from family. But of course God showed up and showed off as usual! I was dreading the week going into it. But I finally thought to myself...No. I could focus on the things that are different all I want but it will not change a thing. So instead, I focused on what all God had given me here! The blessings that can be so easily overlooked. Instead of having Thanksgiving dinner with my immediate family around the table...I had one with my friend family. I asked the "girls" to come over and enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Well, as traditional as it can be when you are in another country :) And then we had a missionary get together at the Moore's that evening! So here are some photos of the day!

Here are the girls writing what they are thankful for! Gotta love Maggie B!
I couldn't get all the paper in one picture so here is a little tid bit of what we are so very thankful for at the moment :)

Sitting around waiting for round one to settle before dessert :)

Friday the Allen's invited me over for another Thanksgiving with some close friends they have here. We had a great time eating...again and spending the afternoon playing games! It was a wonderful day! Reminded me of home :)

Mrs. Amy fixing some last minute desserts :) yumm.o.

We can't afford real turkey so Jo had a can of SPAM Turkey! lol
We didn't eat it but it sure gave us some laughs :)

God even gave us an extra special blessing! There was a football game on TV! That is a rare treat :) And for those of you that know me really well know this must be a big deal for me to write about it because I really don't care for sports. But it was something familiar. And I know it was a little smile straight from Him :)

I'm beginning to learn that it is all about perspective and we can choose to focus on what we don't have or we can focus on what we DO have and praise Him for it!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Sarah!!

On Thursday, January 14, 23 years ago, I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of a little sister. I had just turned 4 years old the month prior and I could. not. wait. for her to get here.

I mean, I'm guessing that's how I felt. I don't remember anything from when I was 4 years old. But, we'll just say that's how it was. I'm sure there was none of that sibling jealously going on. Surely. No way possible.


Through the years Sarah has put up with a lot of stuff from her siblings.

This one time she got a new baby doll. I'm going to guess she was no older than 5, which would mean I was no older than 9. Well, I guess I wanted the baby doll (in all honestly, I really don't remember), but I took that sucker, colored ALL. OVER. IT. with red lipstick, planted it in her hands, and then yelled for Mama.

She got a big whippin' for that one.

Then there was this one Christmas where Leah, Ed, and I each had an extra Martha Washington Ball (coconut, sugar, nuts and something else covered in chocolate, and actually it might have been an extra 2 or 3) when our Grandma had specifically told us not to eat any more. She had counted.

Well evidently she really had counted because she came back, saw there weren't as many there as when she left and came asking who did it. I don't know if we worked out that we were going to blame Sarah or not, but she sure enough did get the blame.

I'm pretty sure she got a whippin' for that one too.

How about one that doesn't involve corporal punishment? Because y'all are probably thinking what AWFUL siblings we were. ;)

She and I were really young. She was probably no older than 3 and we liked to play in the hall closet underneath the stairs in our old house. Well I got it in my head to feed her dog biscuits one day and tell her they were something else. I can't remember if I said popcorn or cookies. But I fed my little sister dog biscuits. And she ate. them. up.

Thankfully I don't think she got sick. Because, I probably would have got in major trouble.

I share all of this with you to let you know that Sarah is ridiculously special to us. Special to me. She has changed my life in so many ways. I'm a better person because she's my little sister. I thank God that He didn't give her to some other family. Even though there have been days (particularly, when I was in high school and she was in junior high) where I thought, I WISH YOU WEREN'T MY SISTER. I'm sure I've told her that before. I'm beginning to think I really was mean. ;)

She sent me a card for my birthday that said something to the affect of "Sisters are the friends you never get a chance to choose" and that's so true.

I'm glad we're friends. But more importantly, I'm glad we're sisters. :)

Below is a video that Mom recorded of Hadley (our niece) singing 'Happy Birthday' to Sarah.

We love you Sarah! Hope your day is wonderful and blessed :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gotta Love Sweets

I have often wondered what good ants are. I mean really. What do they DO? What GOOD are they? Well…besides the obvious answer of annoyance. Ants have become a part of my daily life. I am not complaining. Just stating a fact. And tonight they helped spark my idea about this blog. I have always thought that ants are attracted to sweet things. I mean, I have never see ants get into Tabasco sauce! So I “googled” it and I found that yes, most species of ants are attracted to sweet things. I guess the ones in my bathroom sink like my sweet smelling hand soap? I cannot leave anything out on my counters for any amount of time or any food in my sink. I cannot leave anything in the pantry opened. That is why my fridge is jammed pack with opened boxes of cereal, crackers, and anything from the states…because these ants can eat through packaging from the states. Yeah…these are ants on steroids.

Anyhow…going off the idea that ants are attracted to sweet things, it made me think of the verses in Psalm 19.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.

Oh, how I wanted to be drawn to His Word like the ants are drawn to sugar. Oh, how I want it to convert my soul, make me wise, and enlighten my eyes. I want to desire it more than fine gold. I want His Word to be sweet to me, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. That has been my prayer lately. I want to desire more. I want to see more clearly. I want to be transformed by His Word. Daily. I want, in this instance, to be an ant drawn to the honey. I never thought I would want to be an ant. Annoying people on a daily basis is not on my list of things I want to accomplish in life. But being drawn to His Word, yes. It being sweet to my soul, yes Lord. Give me more. Fill my longing with You.

I guess ants are good for something. They serve as a reminder of His Word, His sweet, like honey, Word.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Come What May

I woke up this morning with a burden on my heart.

I woke up and prayed that God would give me “eternal eyes.” I asked Him to help me not focus on what I don’t have but glory in what He has given me and where He has placed me. He knows I have struggled with thoughts of “missing out” on things back home. He knows I have cried tears and tears over what feels like an empty hole. I woke up this morning and prayed for Him to help me fight these feelings. I asked Him to help me stand against Satan’s attacks in this area.

I woke up this morning and did my Bible study.

It was on self-centeredness and God-centeredness. Of course God would do that! It’s just like Him! And I am so thankful! So many times I look with my self-centered eyes or earthly eyes. So many times we put our trust or try and find our fullness in so many other places. We find it in our material possessions. We find it in encouragement from others. We find it in our husbands or wives. We find it in what we are good at. We find it in our ministries…what we think defines us. But what really defines us in God. What really fills us is God. What really heals that longing heart is God.

I just got through watching “Faith Like Potatoes.” Such a good movie with such a powerful story. I would encourage you do watch it! Are we ready to trust that He has it all under control? Are we ready to really and truly give it all to Him? Do we really have faith that He can fill us like we need to be filled? Do we really have faith that He knows our hearts and knows what we need? Do we REALLY believe He can give it to us? I don’t think we do. I don’t think we REALLY understand. I was humbled this morning when I was spending time with Him. And I was humbled again when watching that movie. Man…if only we really understood. If only we really got “it.” I miss “it” so many times. And fall flat on my face. I miss that He is our Sustainer. I miss that He is our Provider. I miss that He sees us…in the darkest of times. I miss that He hears our prayers. Are we ready to trust? Come what may?

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” Psalm 20:7