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We Stink Together

May 7, 2016

Isn’t it wonderful to see… I mean truly SEE!  Today my eyes are open to see this great life before me…  Five years ago my husband and I began this journey of a life with God as Point.  I, more reluctantly than any other member of my immediate family, gave up my home and everything in it… well everything that I couldn’t shove into my poor sister-in-law’s closet.  I sold my beloved favorite shiny light blue minivan with automatic sliding door… And my husband sold his beloved ol’ pickup truck, which had molded to shape his bottom half.  I literally had to sit on something to see above the steering wheel.  He sold his kayak and treasured camping and fishing gear, tools, everything… and all for much less than they were worth.  We took what we had and followed the Holy Spirit’s lead, prompting us to go to the Philippines.  Mind you, I never EVER would have gone unless it was so clear to me, and it was abundantly so.  What a journey it has been!  Our family is forever changed.  Our family has grown, not only in number, but in spirit.  We can get through anything together, and we don’t need much!  We have developed true bonds with true friends that fight with us on many levels.  Some have and continue to visit us here in the Philippines.  Some write messages of encouragement.  Some send funds.  Some pray.  Some do all of the above.  We are so blessed!  Today, I think of my oldest two as they continue to study there in the U.S.  They make my heart soar with joy!  In just a few months they have both made all A’s and B’s on their report card.  Kendall even made the honor roll as she had enough A’s over B’s.  All of their teacher comments were so gratifying.  They jumped right into sports.  Riley playing baseball and Kendall softball for their school team.  Win or lose, they always wrote about how much fun they had.  Riley even went on to getting 3rd in district, and #1 in runs scored.  He also got a prestigious “Heart of the Lion” award, for being an all-around example of a good student and friend to his peers.  And Kendall told me she is striving for that award as well.  They love and encourage each other like no other.  It melted my heart when they each messaged me about Kendall’s hand being slammed in the truck door.  Riley felt so terrible for accidentally having done it, and Kendall felt terrible that her brother felt so terrible.  Instead of asking me to pray for her hand, she asked for me to pray for her brother!  Stuff like this means so much more to me than that silly shiny minivan, or the comfort of a recliner.  The memories and struggles of ministry life here have made them shine from the inside out!

It used to wear me thin to have to ask for funds and support… It was so draining and terrifying to me, and a humbling experience like no other.  But God changed my view, and in this moment, I see it as God’s blessings above all.  It’s part of the beauty of how He works.  Riley’s teeth were in horrible condition.  I don’t know if it was because of malnourishment, as we have had to eat a lot of rice, or the water, or bad genes, or what… But he had a cavity in each tooth.  We had taken him to the dentist here in the Philippines, but she just said he had softening of his enamel and there was nothing she could do but fill the holes as they came.  When he went back to the U.S., he was seen by a dentist, and so far he has had 9 of his teeth fixed.  It doesn’t hurt him to eat chips anymore, and I am so thankful to those who donated for all the expensive work…  There have been times when I have felt inadequate as a mom, because of things like not being able to help my son get his teeth fixed.  And those things can creep into a mother’s mind and take up residence.  But God blesses… and continues to do so time and time again!  I refuse to see it any other way now.  And I know that just like, the land, our hollow block home, flight tickets, and daily needs… He has provided.  He continually provides and He will provide the rest of what is needed to build this church!  I know it!

These days are hot!!!  And we sweat beyond reason, and stink on a regular basis, if any ounce of work is done.  But I have children that wake up early to do it with me.  I kid you not, Neely and Angel argued over who got to wash the dishes today…  I settled it by dividing who got to wash what… Seriously!  I think this mother’s day God is showing me how great it is to be the mom of missionary kids.  They don’t have a lot of material things, but they have so much more!  And while living here, I will continue to do my best and love our extended Filipino family.  These youth crack me up… They are are one of a kind, and loved by our amazing God.  I want to see them succeed, to grow in strength, wisdom, and love.  Often times they come, hot and sweaty, after selling fish all day long… stinking to high heaven.  And while we may all stink, we stink together.  And though Riley and Kendall are not here right now stinking with us… we all still remember their smell… 😉


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Dale Nissen permalink
    May 7, 2016 2:17 pm

    Dear Mandi and John,

    Thanks so much for sharing your heart and giving us this update. We love you guys and pray for you often.

    Dale and Margaret Nissen

  2. May 8, 2016 2:55 am

    I loved reading this stinking blog! I now realize the stink….after picking the kids up after baseball and softball practice – hehehehe!

  3. May 12, 2016 3:06 pm

    Hi Mandy this post is good. It brought tears and smiles. Love to you all

  4. May 12, 2016 3:12 pm

    Hi Mandy This post is really good , interesting and sad and funny. It brought tears and smiles
    and of course thoughts of you all. Love you all very much

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