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Two Worlds and a Missionary in and out of the Corner…

September 26, 2013

I wanted so badly to be at my brother’s wedding to my new sister-in-law that I have never met or spoken to.  I miss my family terribly.  I miss the easy going life I had… everything convenient.  I was a baseball mom… absolutely loved watching my boys play, taking them to practices, working the concession / fundraisers.  I loved taking my daughter to gymnastics / softball and eagerly looked forward to my youngest daughter to be old enough for sports.  I went to all the class parties and brought goodies.  I volunteered to help with school plays.  I made homemade cakes and cupcakes for my kids birthdays and decorated with a theme… I loved it!  Every second of it… and even cried when my son’s birthday cake got smushed before the party… yes, that was me… so wrapped up in things trivial.

I could focus on those things and sometimes I do.  I cried myself to sleep on the night of my brother’s wedding.  I see facebook.  I see the life I used to live all over the place…. A life that is simply non-existent here…  a completely different way of living… I can’t even bake a cake for crying out loud… No oven!  No microwave! No dryer!  No papertowels!  Mold that gets on everything from the ceiling to photos to shoes.  Rain and typhoons that last for weeks, until my laundry reaches the sky and we are drying ourselves with t-shirts!  Once I let these things in, fear creeps its way in… and I fear the adoption… what if after we have stayed for the full three years they say we can’t adopt her.  I wish there was something more concrete than, “Once you have stayed here with her for 3 years, then you can apply to adopt.”  I fear the lack of funds and our account draining.  When fear settles in, it turns to shear panic at times and then guilt because I am the missionary who wants to hide in the corner and lacks faith.

I haven’t been able to write for a while and I’ll tell you why… it’s because of this…

“Lord, Let me be truthful in every aspect of this story.  Don’t ever let me try to make myself the victor, but You the victor.  I pray that I will tell the truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.  I want my truths to be self evident and all glory to be given to You.  Be my strength when I am weak and guide my pen when I am too ashamed to write anymore.  In Jesus name… Amen”

I wrote this as my prayer at the beginning of the book that I am writing, called “It Hurts to be Beautiful.”  🙂  I cannot tell you how many blogs I have started but never finished.  I just couldn’t finish them… because I was in and out of the corner and I couldn’t get a grip on my emotions… much less write about it.  But I have to.  I asked the Lord to make me be truthful and to show just how much I need Him.  And the truth is… there are two sides, two worlds that I get caught in, solely based on my focus.

There is the other side…  My oldest son has learned from such gifted people to play the guitar, drums, and just, all of the sudden, picked up the piano and can play like he’s been playing it all along.  He says things like, “Momma, at first I thought it was kinda cool to get up on stage and play in front of people, when we first got here, but now I know that I am playing for God and no one else.”  🙂   For my newly teenaged daughter… to learn and have such a servants heart.  She cleans and encourages her siblings to clean up after themselves and take care of their things.  She helps the girls complete their many homework assignments and is my assistant in all our outreaches with teaching the children.  She won’t go to sleep if she sees me staying up late to work on something but will help me complete it so I can get some rest.  At the age of thirteen she already has a heart full of love and the capability to multi-task and hold things together.  She says things like, “Momma, all I want when we go back to America is to have a room like Laura’s (from little house on the Prairie).”  🙂  I love how they are all so content even compared to the life they had before.  And then there is my 9 year old son… who will sit in the barber’s chair while getting his head nearly shaved to keep the lice under control, and ask the Filipino barber if he knows Jesus.  He plays with any and all children.  Not one is a stranger to him.  All the kids surround him and love to have him around.  One day some new curious faces showed up at our house and Liam said, “Hey you want to play?”  During a break, he got them all some water and a snack and brought out his Bible. I didn’t know this until his older brother and sister came and got me saying, “Momma! Come and look at Liam!”  So we peaked out the window and saw him sitiing in a circle, with his new friends, telling them about God.  His bother and sister think he is the most awesome little brother ever, amazed by his willingness and strength.  He says things like, “Momma, when I did my devtion this morning, it was talking about not loving the world… or anything in it… Didn’t God make the world and everything in it?  I thought we were supposed to love everything.”  Yep, that is just one of the many inquisitive questions I get from my little guy on a regular basis.  I explained that it is dangerous when people start to love the things of this world more than the creator and God wants us to love Him above all things, even each other. But when we do love Him most and more than anything else, then we can love everything and everyone in the right way.  And then there is Neely, who just celebrated her 6th birthday.  What a fireball she is!  She hasn’t changed from that same little girl who wanted to start school the very first day we came to the Philippines.  She was the first one of us who fell in love with the girl who would one day become her sister.  She fearlessly jumps from a 20 foot cliff into a cave of ocean water and understands two other languages!  She too is friends with everyone she meets!  I’ll never forget the day when I asked her if she would like to have Angel as her sister and she expressed that she wanted Jonahrie and Jesame too… the little nut… 🙂  And of course Angel… I know that the Lord used us to save her life.  To look at her now brings tears to my eyes.  At first sight, she had a swollen stomach full of worms, dirty, tattered, stinky clothes, with knotted hair full of lice, and rotten teeth.  Now, she is thriving, knowing she is a part of a family and loved.  She is beautiful and healthy and I have discovered a hidden talent.  She is an artist!  Really good at coloring and drawing and can sing like the Angel that she is.  There is not a day that goes by that you won’t hear her singing a praise and worship song.

And as if the transformation of my kids weren’t enough… there are our outreaches…  3 now in this area!  Our most recent one is from our first outreach.  The people in Safid are so overjoyed in knowing and loving the Lord that they asked if we could go to place where many of them have friends and family to teach them about the goodness of God.  So, we did with a team from Safid and met with the people inviting them to join us.  But what is cool is that the people did most of the talking and encouraging.  They explained that they were reluctant too but that they are so happy and thankful now and encouraged them to come fellowship with us.  We had our first fellowship last week and are set to go there once a week.  It is really awesome to me to just be a part of something that I really had nothing to do with… What I mean is, all I did was go… Last April we hiked everyday to the village of Safid and I have been many places, mainly teaching children.  But in this one place, I could actually see the Holy Spirit take over and sweep through the people.  They were so reluctant at first, but we kept going, and then one day there was a complete turn around.  The men/elders were saved… and then their wives and children.  One man, cried and shared his testimony which was translated to us that this was his first time to cry in front of others like this but he was crying tears of joy.  He said that he went alone to work in the field and cried out to the Lord, “It is only now Lord that I am old, that I know how good You are.”  And he yelled out and cried and cried.  His wife began coming soon after because she was so in awe of her husband’s transformation that she wanted to see what was going on.  After a few Sundays she testified that she had been so angry with her husband and his hurtful ways that she had desired to get back at him, but now she has found forgiveness in her heart and she squeezed me to death that day before I left, expressing her thanks for coming.  Another elder of the village who is the one to open his home has many children and grandchildren and he is on mission to have them all come to know the Lord.  It really is absolutely amazing and beyond descriptive words.  It is something only the feeling can describe…  🙂

And my husband… gone yesterday, today, and tomorrow… in a tent on one of the elder’s land, camping with nothing but water and crackers… praying and reading his Bible. He desires to do the best he can in all of these outreaches, but knows that it requires being in tune with God.  He told me before he left that He wanted to show God that he desires Him above all things.

So there you have it… I get stuck in a corner every now and again, sometimes often… but when God pulls me out, I can see… and I can rejoice… and it all depends on my focus as to how long my rejoicing will last.  And sometimes it takes my 9 yr old son reminding me about loving the things of this world as opposed to the Father…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. billy frady permalink
    September 26, 2013 2:41 pm

    Mandi, I am struck with just one word:  WOW!  God bless you for doing and sharing.  Cannot wait for your book!  You are blessed with such talent in the written word. 

    Continuing to pray for you all.  


  2. September 27, 2013 7:21 pm

    We are so proud of you sweet family. This scripture has meant much to me this wk. Hope it
    blesses you as well. Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold
    of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

    Your friends in Tomball, The Petrys

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