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Warning: This post is going to be really long…

June 17, 2011

We are back home…

It took us about 26 hours and 3 planes to get back. Then we drove an hour and a half to pick up the kids and then another hour home.  It’s amazing how sitting for hours upon end can wear you completely out…  The kids tackled us and talked our ears off and I loved every second of it!  They seemed so much taller and and older… and we were just gone for 2 weeks!!

The trip was… mind boggling… to put it into mere words…  Before we left, I was so nervous about everything – to leave the kids, to leave the country, to fly, to simply step foot into the unknown.  Thank you so much for your prayers!  I had the strangest peace about me the whole time.  And that is really so unlike me.  I am scared of everything, mostly change,  speaking in front of people, singing in front of people… 🙂  I was thrown right into it all.  I gave my testimony in front of the church.  I sang in front of them and then I taught a lesson to a group of almost 200 hundred children without having prepared at all.  I had a talk with God and told Him that He is really taking me out of my comfort zone and having me lean fully on Him. I met so many people on this trip that serve God with whole-hearted faith, a faith that I desire.  I find myself holding back and being convicted of it all the time.

My greatest prayer for the trip was for God to reveal truth.  The pastor there had titled our trip as a job interview, so I, in turn, started to slightly panic.  That’s when I realized, NO, I will be myself and if they like us they like us, if not then the Lord has other plans for us.  And so I prayed for truth to be revealed, that we would see the truth behind them and they us…  I loved them!  Pastor Ed and his wife Belinda are amazing.  They were simply going to retire, but God showed them otherwise.  Pastor Ed came to know the Lord only about 12 years ago and he is in his 70’s.  He was riding in a tricycle to the hospital with a child who was in a coma and he started crying out, whaling and praying so intently that the driver stopped and ran off.  He didn’t know what was happening to him but God heard his cries and the girl woke up.  He got back home and told his wife Belinda that he wanted to be baptized right then, and from that day on, he has eagerly sought the Lord.  They built a church for the villagers and then a school for the children.  They teach women how to sew and the men various trades and of Christ’s love so these people can find jobs and also spread Christianity.  They travel to other villages and places to hold regular Bible studies.  They doctor and feed the people when they can’t feed themselves, such as during or after a typhoon.  Belinda even helped a mother through her delivery, in a hut, with a flashlight, and a book on how to deliver a baby.  Since I heard this story I have prayed pretty regularly that this does not happen to me!  Belinda also told me that she and her daughter, who comes to visit, walked down to feed a premature baby that was in poor health on a regular basis,even during a horrible lightening storm, but found the baby dead eventually, and how hard that was on her daughter.  Wow!  I can’t imagine!!  To be honest, I really hope I don’t encounter situations like these, but I know that if God calls me to, then He will also equip me with what I need.

Belinda had known God since she was young and one day had a battle of the flesh and the Spirit until she obediently gave into the Spirit.  She freely admits that she wanted, and still greatly desires to have retired in Hawaii, eating grapes and being fanned 🙂  But she couldn’t deny where the Holy Spirit called her and she responded in obedience.

In many ways, they remind me of John and I, John experienced the Lords almighty power in a dynamic way to where all he wants to do is serve and dive into the word daily and doesn’t look back from where his heart leads.  I, on the other hand, am simply obedient, questioning God every step of the way and praying hard for the strength to take each step.  But I am so grateful that I now have a husband who looks to God for the path he should take and lead his family.

I think Pastor Ed and Belinda liked us too and they want us to come back.  Our duties would be to lead the youth group and for me to teach one art lesson and one Bible lesson each week at the school.  And John would also help with the music worship.  Now all we have to do is sell the house and most everything we own, figure out what I need to home school the kids, get visas/passports, get support, and so many other details it makes my head spin.  But thank God I am not in control and He is because I can’t handle all of this on my own.

I am used to my head spinning these days.  God sure makes things interesting 🙂

I also want to say something about a man I only knew for a year but a man who made a great impact in mine and my family’s life.  He went to be with the Lord while we were gone on our trip…  Wes Bartee I will miss you beyond words.  I am so grateful to God to have known you for as long as I did and that we made it back in time for your funeral.  I will say to you what the youth said to us before we left… I will not say goodbye because I know I will see you again…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Janet Wilson permalink
    July 8, 2011 1:04 am

    Mandi,

    I enjoyed reading this so much! I didn’t think it was long enough.
    The pics are great too. Keep writing, you are a pro!

    Love to you all,
    Mom

  2. Kristi white permalink
    August 5, 2011 12:06 pm

    I want to say that I am sure you and your family will be able to help in the phillipines….those children will enjoy you alot!! You have a wonderful personality for this change in your life!! Good luck, and I will follow your posts!! 🙂

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