Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Half A Decade of The Changeable & The Unchanging

July 2009
So today, July 8th, marks our 5 year anniversary of living in the Philippines. I think "half a decade" sounds better. Makes us sound more mature and wiser or something...(ha!)

When we said our goodbyes & tearfully walked away from our family, friends, & everything familiar, we boarded the airplane with high expectations & excitement as we moved halfway across the globe to a new world of jungles, islands, & oceans. Our babies were 4 and 2 years old. We experienced culture shock, a new language, and city life for the first year while we lived in the capital city of Manila to learn Tagalog. The view from our window changed from the rolling hills of a Texas ranch to the 9th floor of an apartment building in the one of the most crowded, smoggiest cities on earth. Instead of being in the majority, we suddenly stuck out like a sore thumb in a sea of beautiful, dark-skinned, dark eyed people.

July 2010
But slowly & surely, with the Lord who called us always there, "home," in our minds, became less and less the place we had left and became more and more our new island country in the Pacific. Our "normal" changed. The way we looked at things changed. Our expectations changed.

After a year in Manila, we packed up once again and moved to the island of Palawan which has been our home for the last 4 years. We have flown the airplane on hundreds of flights, bought cargo, flown in Bibles, visited the missionaries in the remote locations, learned the language of Tagalog, homeschooled our kids, had 3 people live with us, had lots of people over, & clung to the Lord with every ounce of our being.

July 2011
We have had glorious moments- witnessed people come to Christ, read His Word in their own language for the first time, attended baptisms & weddings, moved people into new villages, laughed & celebrated with friends, & seen the fruits of years of labor.

July 2012
We have had hard moments- gone through water shortages, power outages, been unappreciated & talked about, have dealt with hard news from home, seen people hurting, people die, devastation from typhoons, felt very lonely, and often lost our vision.

One day, you feel so encouraged & the next, so defeated. There is no stability or predictability in the life we live. It is always changing.
Our kids are now 9 and 7. They have lived more than half of their lives here. We have spent almost half of our married life here.

We have changed. I will always remember what someone said to me when we were home for our furlough- "You are not the same people as when you left." I like to think and hope to think that we have changed for the better- that we have changed to look more like Christ.  It is our hearts cry to be changed-to love like He does, to hate what He hates, to see like He sees.

July 2013
We have changed because Christ is The Unchanging One. He has been there & led us through every one of those glorious & hard moments. He mends & tears, pulls & holds, loves & allows pain. He shows us how love looks (very rarely what we think it looks like), how to be strong & resist the enemy (mostly by lying prostrate on the floor), & removes the blinders of judgment & lies (usually seen as conviction & godliness) from our eyes to see Truth about ourselves & others. We are no better than the next & we are here to show the world the glory of The Unchanging One by being changed.

We look forward to many more years of our missionary journey serving in the Philippines or wherever the Lord will lead. We look forward to more change (mostly) & are excited to see what all the Lord will do. We are so thankful for each of you who have been on this journey with us, by holding us up in prayer, giving to us financially, & being encouragers through the "half decade of change."

July 2014

1 comment:

  1. Wow, five years. I am so proud of you, so encouraged by you, so challenged by you. We feel so blessed to be your friends, and to be a very small part of your ministry... Much love!