Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lesson

This past Sunday I got the opportunity to give the lesson in the Ladies' bible class at church.

Let me tell you, it is so hard to come up with a topic for a group of women in a different culture who can only understand about half (or less) of what you are saying.

So I decided to give a lesson over something that I struggle with...worry. 

I never thought of myself as a worrier until recently. The devil has really used my mind to get to me this past year. 
One thought will turn into several outlandish conclusions that results in countless wasted hours of worrying.

People never really think of worry as a sin. I know I didn't, just a bad habit that can be laughable at times. But, it's so much more than that.

It's pointless. It wastes our time. It doesn't help anyone. It can make you physically sick. It allows you to try and fix your own problems instead of giving them over to God. And, it is the opposite of trust.

I have learned that instead of worrying and stressing yourself out over nothing you can...

1.) Pray. Nothing brings you more peace than talking out your problems with the one who loves you most and knows what's best for you. But, we need to learn how to pray. God is not Santa Claus. He doesn't want a list of what you want. He wants a relationship with you. A friendship. You wouldn't ask your best friend to fix your problems. You would just tell them about what is stressing you and they would offer a listening ear and a perspective that you might not be able to see. We should offer God our pain in humble sincerity rather than in a "Please just let this one thing happen" prayer. (This deserves it's own post)

2.) Study. There are SO many verses on worry. Probably because it is such a common problem. Here are a few that comfort me.
1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
Romans 8:28 "God works for the good of those who love him."
and my all time favorite verse
Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."

And last, but most importantly...
3.) Trust. After we pray we have to let go and TRUST that God can handle it on his own without our two cents thrown in there. Without trust, we are back to square one. Back to thinking that we are strong enough to solve our own problems. Above all, trust.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Filipino Fun Facts

-Every time you turn on a TV, a singing show is playing
-Mashed potatoes are called "fixins"
-Make kissing noises if you want to: get someone's attention, call a waiter, or ask the jeepney driver to stop.
-You have to carry around your own toilet paper, they don't have it in the stalls. (Even in nice places)
-Most of their soaps have "whitening" products to whiten your skin
-The most popular songs played on the radio are "Faithfully" by Journey, "Open Arms" by Journey, and "Marry You" by Bruno Mars
-Everyone sings karaoke! You can go into the poorest villages and here good ol midi music blaring while someone sings an overplayed karaoke song.
-Every store, mall, restaurant, etc. is already playing Christmas music and most people hung up their decorations in September. 
-There are no seats on most toilet stalls. They just squat over them. 
-Every restaurant serves rice. EVERY. RESTAURANT. 
-Their spaghetti sauce and ketchup are sweetened.
-The only U.S. fast food chains they have here are McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin Donuts and they all have completely different menus. 
-They also have Starbucks which serves spam sandwhiches. 
-The two most popular drinks ordered at restaurants are iced tea and pineapple juice. 
-In America, waiters will constantly check on you and retailers will leave you alone unless you ask for help. In the Philippines, waiters will not come to the table unless you call on them and retailers will follow you around the store showing you everything.

That's all I can think of for now...I know there are plenty more.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Personal Mission


We have now been in the Philippines for a little over three weeks and we have gotten to experience so many amazing things, but this week we witnessed something that truly touched mine and David's hearts. 

There is a small village here in Babag (where we live) that makes fireworks.

Now, you need to know that Filipinos LOVE fireworks. And this is their firework season because they shoot off fireworks for Christmas and New Year's. 

Don't get me wrong, I love fireworks, but what I don't love is seeing families taking out loans from sharks to purchase firework materials, children dropping out of school to help in the dangerous profession, and hearing stories of families who have lost their homes/loved ones in firecracker accidents. 

David got to visit this village last year when he traveled to the Philippines and he told me all about it, but it's just not the same until you see it in person. 

We got to visit some of these families this week and I was just overwhelmed by their situation. 



These people spend ALL day hunched over rolling thousands of firecrackers only to make about a dollar, children are either helping roll the firecrackers or playing near the hazardous materials, adults have only an elementary education because they had to quit school to help their families, and middle men/loan sharks are swindling them out of ever making a decent profit.

But this wasn't the worst part...
When asked why they keep partaking in this dangerous and painstaking profession everyone quickly responded, "We have no other choice."

Wow. This message is so ingrained in their minds that they would put their families lives in danger everyday to make money that doesn't allow them hope for a better future. 

We have to change this. 

One of our new personal missions (and the mission of several workers here) is to instill the goat program in this village, build them goat houses to ward of thieves, and show them that they DO have another choice. 

They don't have to live as slaves to the loan sharks.
They don't have to put their families in danger. 
There is a better job alternative.
They can put their children through school.
They can have hope of a better future for their families. 
And, they have a God who loves them and can make all of this possible.