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Next Step…

May 23, 2011

Alright time to organize my thoughts…  I have sooo much stuff floating around in my head right now.  Actually, floating sounds too relaxing.  My thoughts are swarming around in my head and I feel like I’m swatting at them.  They are exhausting me… but in a good way ;).

We spent the weekend with Tommy, the Associate Pastor of the Cowboy Christian Church of the Philippines, and his wife Chena.  He lives in Houston right now but will be moving to the Philippines permanently in April.  They already feel like family.  They are full of energy and excitement for the Lord, not just with their words but their actions.  We went to their church this morning, which is a full gospel, non-denominational church, whereas our church is Baptist.  Afterward, I was asked what I thought of the church, by one of the members.  He said he grew up Baptist and when he first came to this church, he wasn’t quite sure what to think of their excitement.  But he couldn’t deny what he felt when he walked in the door.  He felt like this was where the Holy Spirit wanted him to be… I told him that I enjoyed the experience and felt very blessed to have them lay hands on us and pray.  I also told him that I believe that all Christians are members of one body, the body of Christ.  And I know exactly what he means about just knowing that a church is right for you.  My church feels right for me… not because of the label, but because of the Holy Spirit, who fills me every time I am there, the people who are led by the Spirit – full of love and compassion for one another, and the pastor, who very evidently allows God to push him aside to deliver the message.  Man I am going to miss them…

But I can’t stay in my comfortable bubble forever.  I saw a sermon once by a man named Francis Chan that made me laugh out loud because it was so me.  He had a balance beam that gymnasts use and he was talking about how when many Christians get shaken by the events of the world, we get  scared and we take the reins, or we think we do, and move into a gated community, put helmets on our kids, and live the safest life possible.  While he was saying this he went from walking on the balance beam, to squatting, to eventually laying on it and desperately grasping onto it with his eyes shut.  Then he hopped off  and put his arms up in the air like a gymnast after she finishes her routine and talked about ending up in Heaven, saying “Tada!  I made it!”  Then Chan proceeds to slowly clap and say, “Wow, congratulations… You lived the safest life possible….”  Totally me! – Scared of change – don’t do anything crazy Mandi…  But I’ve been praying for God to show me where He’d have me go, not where I feel I need to go.  And boy did He ever!

Now you may think I’m crazy but I actually asked God to ‘slap me in the face with it…’ with whatever it was he wanted us to do, because I didn’t think I was very good at seeing  burning bushes ;).  I thought how on Earth do people know when God is leading them somewhere?  I pretty much guessed and went on a whim.  How He actually ‘slapped me in the face with it’ will take up at least a chapter of my book, way too long for a blog post  ;).  Hehe.  Anyhootie, here we are, exactly one week later since the day we walked through an open door, and John and I have tickets to the Philippines!  We fly out of Houston to Utah, then to Japan, and then to the Philippines.  We leave on June 1st for our 26 hour trip and will return on the 14th.  Now this is going to be hard for me for several reasons.  One, I have never been away from my kids this long and I already tear up about leaving them.  Secondly, I have only ridden in a plain once in my life and that was to and from Florida back in high school for a drill team competition.  Third, I’ve only been across the border to Mexico and that was just for a few hours.  Does that even count?  Fourth, I will be leaving behind everything I know and quite frankly, at times it scares me to death.  Fifth… alright I could just sit here and go on and on about why this is going to be hard for me but I’m going to stop here.  What I pray is for God to take my shaky nerves away, to reveal to us nothing but truth, and to give us a heart of compassion and love.  I pray that I quit trying to rely on my own strength to get me through, but on His.  Please pray with me, especially at 6:35 am on the 1st ;).

Oh I guess you might be wondering why we’re only going for 2 weeks and saying to yourself, ‘well that really isn’t much of a mission trip’ ;).  They, meaning the head pastor and his wife, want us to come and see what they are all about so we can decide, through prayer and hands-on experience, what kind of a commitment we are willing to make… 6 months, 1 year, etc…  I will be teaching and John will be playing music as well as showing the music leader some songs on the guitar.  He will also be doing electrical work/building.

So pray pray pray for us!  We need clear discernment and steady nerves (well I do anyway :)).

(Note: I started this blog Sunday night but finished Monday morning due to the fact that I kept falling asleep and waking up typing nonsense.)

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