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God’s the One!

November 27, 2014

Even though we comfortably ride in air-conditioned taxis in Hong Kong, we are divided as a family, due to the fact that the max allowance per car is 5 people… no exceptions! I smiled when we arrived back home in the Philippines, all crammed into one tiny taxi… Liam, Me, Neely, Riley and Kendall, all in the back seat (Neely had to sit on my lap)… John in the front, next to the driver with his knees to his stomach… all sweating… stuck in miles of traffic… but together… 🙂 The flight from Hong Kong really is not long at all. It took us about an hour and 40 minutes. All in all, we had a total of 2 full days there. One was for family fun, and the other was for all day internet… oh and clothes washing. You might think, ‘What a vacation!’ But for me it was! The hotel we stayed at, had washers and dryers to use for free. I threw every article of clothing we had in there! John said, “Are you sure you want to wash all these clothes here… Why not just wait until we get home?” “Are you kidding!?” was my response. I have not used a normal washer in like forever… and a dryer!!!… warm, fluffy, shrunk-back-to-fit clothes!!! I weirdly loved every second of doing the laundry… and I almost did it again… :-/

The long thing about the trip to Hong Kong was the bus ride back from Manila. It took around 6 hours to get to Alaminos, where we had to wait for another bus to Bolinao. That bus was an hour and a half, and then an hour ride in the jeepney, once we got to Bolinao. My bottom was so sore and it seems that my knees no longer like trips like these. They prefer to be stretched out. I think we were all a bit delirious on that last bus because we were laughing at… everything… you know, the kind of laughing where your nostrils flare and tears stream from your eyes. Kenny Rogers played loudly on the speakers in that bus and John and I were singing all the songs, including “Islands in the Stream.” (At least I think that is the name of that song… If it’s not… then I have been singing it wrong all these years…) The kids thought we were totally weird… yep I have officially reached the “Oh my goodness, hide me from my parents” stage… only I am on the flip side.

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That seems like forever ago… I am glad I wrote all of that or I would have forgotten it…

Today I am sitting under a tarp, to the side of my house, facing the garden. Rows of corn, okra, eggplant, peppers, beans, and squash block my vision of the surrounding houses, as well as sagging lines of freshly hung laundry, strewn in zigzags from one side of the yard to the other. It is hot, so the clothes should dry fast. I can hear children playing, babies crying, music blaring, people talking… There are chickens to my right, pecking at the old metal pan we use to feed the dog. We gave up trying to keep them out of the garden. There are so many chickens around here that just roam freely. They come in the house every chance they get… We can’t ever leave the back door open, or they do things like fly up onto the stove and peck at the oil in the pan. The weird thing is… everyone knows whose chicken is whose. We have made other solutions to the chickens eating the plants, like individual enclosures. We have about six chickens of our own, but they are trapped inside of a fenced in area that John, Riley, and Lee made, with a net at the top, so they can’t escape. Right now, here under my tarp, is the only place of solitude I can find to write. It is so hard for me to find alone time. If I sit on the porch, everyone can see me. Kids come up and holler “Sister Mandi,” as they lean on the screen, watching every move I make… Or someone will spot me from the road and walk up to sell me anything and everything. If, I am in my room, my children are also in there, doing their studies, and they will ask for help just because I am in there, it seems. John is also in there with them, with his headphones on, studying and preparing the message for the Bible study tonight. Quite honestly, I can’t even find a spot to sit in my own room. So… I am hiding in the best place I can find to unwind and write… Although, I have a feeling this blog will be written all throughout the day and in many different locations. I have even pictured myself hunched in the corner of the chicken coop… Sigh… These days have been plagued with issues and worries overtaking my mind. Instead of focussing on the ministry, everything else is getting in the way. John and I are at each others throats, and no matter how much I pray, or read my Bible, or tell myself to focus… I still feel so overwhelmed and just exhausted. The last time I had internet, I was able to message back and forth with my close friend from back home, and I was doing a bit of complaining… And she told me something that has remained with me. I wish I could copy it exactly, but since I don’t have internet, I can’t get back into my messages right now. She said something like this, “Mandi, I have a feeling that when you do finally come back here, you may not like it so much. I think life is harder there physically but here it may be harder mentally. Things are just crazy here. And even though it is physically harder for you, in the sense that you don’t have the conveniences we have here, at least you are making a difference there, and not living in what feels like nonsense.” She knows me well, and I guess I just sort of race home in my mind when problems feel like they’re drowning me. Although, I can say from experience after experience that the only place to run, that will fix anything, is to Jesus. I guess the main thing that weighs heavily on my shoulders is that we will be visiting a lawyer soon to start the paperwork part of the adoption because we have now been here for three years. Though long awaited, this part terrifies me and seems to jump on my back everywhere I go. I keep hearing horror stories. It took one missionary friend, whom I just recently had the pleasure of meeting SIXTEEN YEARS to adopt their son… and she is German and her husband is Filipino. So I think… ‘man… he is a national and they had such a hard time!’ There are other things like, at the orphanage we visited, there is a child there, who could have been so easily adopted when she was younger, but the government would never release her to be adopted because her Grandmother was still alive, who clearly did not want her. And now, finally, she can be adopted, but she is so much older that she probably won’t be. I think to myself… ‘Angel’s grandmother is still alive.’ And no matter where we have gone, or what we have looked up… here in the Philippines, with all the paperwork we have dealt with, from just being foreigners, and our vehicle , and the schools… a lot of things often depend on what kind of mood someone is in, rather than concrete rules. I know I shouldn’t worry. I know God has this. But why oh why can’t I crawl out from under the pressure that forces me down. I hate, and I know hate is a strong word… but I hate living this way… When she misbehaves and I know that she really needs a spanking to set her back on the right path, I second guess myself, and live in fear that… ‘What if they ask her if her Momma ever hits her, and she says yes, and then I go to a Philippine prison for child abuse?’ Yes… I do tend to overreact in my thought dramatizations, but I did spank her the other night because she kept on and on with her attitude and disobedience, and I knew, as a mom… as her mom… that discipline is what she needed. With Neely, I wouldn’t have had a second thought, but with Angel, I second guess everything. I went to bed miserable that night wondering if I did the right thing, and just really sinking into the pit of the comfort of my bed. The next day, I was focused on another matter and looking for a verse in the Bible, when I read, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.” Proverbs 23:13-14 Tears drained from my eyes. I never found that other verse I was looking for, but God knew what I was really looking for. Now, if I could just focus on things like these… like see Mandi I am in control of this.

God is Always, has Always, and Always will be… in Control…

Our friends from back home are still here visiting with us but have been staying with another missionary couple for the past week. That couple lives about ten hours from here, if you take the bus. They are the ones who adopted after 16 yrs. Before our friends left, I had a battle with Self… that would be me… a person I tend to fight with regularly. I had gotten irritated with my friend for complaining about missing her dogs and the heat. The more I scrubbed the dishes and thought about the nerve of her… going home in just 19 days, daring to suggest missing home, and being ready to go back… began to infuriate me! I wanted to tell her, “Go home then!” But the Holy Spirit washed over me like a flood, just as intently as the anger had. He prompted me to make her some fried chicken and some of that macaroni and cheese she so sweetly brought with her. It occurred to me that she was only being real and needed some love and a touch of home. The only reason I got mad was because it made me think of how I would miss her, how I miss many people, new family I haven’t even had the chance to meet, and not even knowing when I will get to… but none of it had to do with her. She is someone I love… who has been so supportive, and encouraging from afar. Satan cunningly tries in so many ways, most of which we do not even realize, to come between us… And often our selfish instincts pursue what Satan initiates. Lord, continue to make me less like me and more like You. Thank you for raining in your Spirit to extinguish the sparks of the devil. Thank you for allowing me to hear and to see.

Perspectives…

Movie night… what’s cool about it… is not just sitting on the lawn watching the Jesus movie on a big white sheet in Tagalog… but watching it with a new perspective… Before, if I would have watched this, or any movie depicting Jesus, my mind would have taken me back to the times of what it was like when Jesus walked the Earth. Every scene for me, would represent life over 2,000 years ago… but tonight, as I sat among my Filipino family, they were naming all the fish they saw in Peter’s net. They were marveling over those nasty looking fish that were being passed around, having originated from five loaves of bread and two fish. And it occurred to me… this is life now. Life as we they know it, as we live it here… has many similarities. They could really relate in a way I never could before. The rest of the movie got much cooler for me once I realized this new perspective God had allowed me to see.

Creepy Crawlys…

Early this morning we saw children running down the street with a long, thick, snake on the end of a stick. It drug across the ground because I am sure it was too heavy to hold up any higher into the air. They were laughing and playing with it and I was calling, “Is it dead?!?” It was… thankfully, but I was trying to express that it can still bite even if it is dead. They just ran on still playing with it. I need a taser gun… not to fight snakes with, because I am sure not willing to get that close… but to stop the toxins from spreading should someone get bitten. When we were visiting with our new missionary friends, the woman had one, and explained to me that lives have been saved by zapping the snake bitten area. She said it works for all kinds of bites or stings… As the saying goes… “I gotta get me one’a these!” By the way… she also showed me a video of them catching a snake that was in their compost pile not too long ago… It was a COBRA!!! Oh my goodness, I did not know there were cobras here in the Philippines! I am not freaking out or anything… because of the large brushy area behind our house… or the fact that I have heard more stories of people seeing snakes as big as my thigh (pythons)… I am just merely letting my friends and family know that all I want for Christmas is a taser gun… 🙂
God’s the One…

Well… they left today… bright and early this morning. Before the sun rose, John, Riley, and Lee left in our jeepney to take PopPop and NeeNee to the bus station to begin their long journey home. Goodbyes are always hard. For me now, they almost seam surreal, and I go into a sort of mind numbing zone in the midst of them. When John returned, I had just woken up again for the second time… seeing how they left before the sun came up. He was so excited as he explained to me what had just happened… On their way back, they saw one of the boys from the village broke down on the side of the rode, trying to repair his tricycle. They stopped and Lee, being very familiar with trikes, fixed it and showed the young teen what had happened and how to fix it. They realized that the young man had been gathering fire wood, and he was trying to deliver them all to the people. So, John, Lee, and Riley filled the jeepney with them and the top and stayed up there to keep them from falling. Once they reached our street, they proceeded to deposit the wood on the side of the road. He said that the streets quickly became lined with people, and one of the older ladies gave him a hug and expressed her gratitude. She hollered in front of all the people, “You’re the One!” And John quickly returned, “God’s the One!” And everyone agreed. 🙂

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Mandi sig

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. doulos@ktc.com permalink
    November 27, 2014 4:23 am

    Hello: All six of you; Thanks for your recent post, Please rest assured that God, or Beverly and I will never judge you harshly concerning your thoughts, fears, or complaints. God’s Love for you goes far, far beyond any earthly feelings we may have or express. We are preparing for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow and right now I feel so selfish and unworthy to even take one bite without you here…..only God can give us the Love we have for you and our desire to see you and be with you giving thanks for HIS mercy and grace toward His children whom He loves. May God Bless and Keep you till we meet again and always know We are praying for you and thinking of you……Leaving for Honduras this Sat. 29th, thanks for your prayers….Don and Beverly

  2. January 19, 2015 3:46 pm

    Love love reading yalls blog! We arr praying for you all!

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