I have officially reached my three month mark here in the Philippines and as I begin to settle into my new home I have been reflecting on the things, events, and people that have influenced this journey in some sort of way. It is interesting to arrive at the place where you have been fighting for and dreaming about for years. I look back on the decisions that I have made and the paths I have taken. It is a unique experience to look at the various aspects of life that have led you to a certain point in time. It is one of those pieces that makes us human. We have the ability to reflect on the past, feel inspired and/or humbled, and then decide how we choose to live in the present and in the future. It is a pretty phenomenal attribute.
Not only have I been reflecting this week, but God has also been trying to teach me something as well. I just don’t know what it is quite yet. Last Sunday I was listening to a sermon and the pastor was emphasizing that we can never grow unless we takes risks, using the story of Jesus’ disciple Peter walking on water. The pastor stated that “you will never become the person you were created to be if you at times don’t do what scares you the most” for “whatever scares you the most requires the most faith.” In my mind I respond with “True that! That is why I came to the Philippines.”
However this point did not stop here. This week I was given a book by Gary Haugen (the president of International Justice Mission) called “Just Courage: God’s Great Expedition for the Restless Christian” – it is a great/fast read and I greatly encourage the reading of it. In the book Haugen talks of being courageous and brave and he poses the question: Am I being brave, or am I being safe? He covers many great points which I will probably cover at later times, but another significant one for me was the topic of going on a trip and missing the adventure and not fully realizing God’s plan for us. I read this just a couple of days after the sermon and my mind slowly began to pick up a theme. Several more instances arose in scripture and then this morning I came across a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” My heart responds with Okay this is something I need to praying and reflecting about – my mind responds with Holy crap, but I’m already on the other side of the planet!
I think the big picture, however, is to not become complacent no matter where you are or what you are doing. Mother Theresa commented that she couldn’t imagine being able to serve and work for thirty minutes without prayer. Which should make us question if what we do requires that much faith and if how we live relies that much on community with God.
In other news my past several weeks have been going really well! I have been spending time becoming familiar with the organization, the staff, and the girls who live there. They have so wonderful in making me feel welcome and included. They have been inspiring me through their energy, ideas, and love. This week I was able to go on a home visit with one of our girls as she got to spend with her family for several hours, eating and chatting. It gave me such joy to see her happy and to see how her family loves her. This week the girls also gave a recital/performance to showcase what they have been learning through presentations, poems, songs, and skits. One of my favorite performances was a song done by our youngest girl (12 years old). Now, I have heard the song “Let it Go” hundreds of times since I have been in the Philippines. In fact, I don’t know if I can ever watch the movie “Frozen” again because of it. However, when this little girl started dancing around the room, throwing her hands in the air, and singing “let I go, can’t hold it back anymore, here I stand and here I’ll stay, let it go” – this became one of the greatest things I have ever heard. All the girls did such a great job, it was an honor to watch and be involved in there in lives.
The Filipinos are truly amazing people because of their incredibly resilient spirit. They suffer from natural disasters of all kinds, from crime, poverty, and corruption. Yet they are able to struggle, rebuild, and sing “Love Story” by Taylor Swift while acting out Romeo and Juliet (another performance). They are phenomenal people to say the least and I am so blessed to be able to work alongside them, learn from them, and share in community with them!
Much Love Everyone!