Monday, January 24, 2011

Home Sweet Home...

I can't believe that I'm actually home, and the most challenging, amazing, exciting month of my life is over. After more than a day of traveling (even though we left Manila and arrived home on the same day technically), we successfully made it back to the states.

It still hasn't sunk in that right now, I'm sitting in my house. In America, not the Philippines. It almost seems like it never happened...but then I go through all of my pictures and I get the reminder that I really DID spend a whole 20 days in Manila. Today I had the tough realization that 1, it's cold here. Like...really cold. And there's snow here. No more 85 degree weather, no more sunshine. And 2, there's no kids to play with here. I mean of course there's kids in America and at my church and stuff, but they're not MY kids. They're not my street kids that I invested so much time in for 20 days.

On the plane, I journaled a LOT (like...almost 4 or 5 pages) and attempted to process through everything from the trip. I won't write about all of it right now, just because it would take me FOREVER. (I'd love to tell you more about it though if you ask!) So, I'll just give you a little taste of the things that God taught me on this trip:

1 - How to be flexible.
As teachers, we're taught that flexibility is the number one thing that every teacher should be. I never really had to experience that though until I got to Manila. When we got there, absolutely everything was the complete opposite of what we thought it would be. For one thing, they didn't speak English fluently like we thought they did. The educated people spoke English, but not as their first language. Everyone spoke Tagalog first, which gave them a very heavily accented English. So that was the first struggle that we had to learn to get used to and overcome. Another thing was that we thought we were all going to be at the same school, and we were all going to be co-teaching with another member of our team. It turns out though that we were going to be at 2 different schools, and only a couple people would be team teaching. We also weren't able to prepare anything, because we had no clue what grade we would teach and what the schools would be like. The teachers at Valley View (the school I was at) had never done anything like this before, so the teachers weren't totally sure what to do with us at first. It was hard to just sit and observe for so long, and then when I actually got to teach, it had to be pretty much straight from a workbook. Other than that though, my class was amazing. It was so great to be able to work with such a great teacher, and with a class that was so welcoming to me and so eager to learn .

2- How to rely on HIM, and Him only.
This trip was really, really tough for me at times. When I'm at home, I have my family and boyfriend and a lot of people that I can turn to and rely on. But in the Philippines, all I had was the team from Taylor, and that was it. I was close with a few of the people on the trip, but for the most part we were all a bunch of el ed majors that had classes together, but didn't really know each other really well. At first, my homesickness was BAD. I was kind of discouraged with my classroom placement, and for a couple days I couldn't really see what my purpose was in Manila. But I kept praying and journaling (I started writing in a prayer journal again) and I kept reading my Bible. As I've mentioned before, almost every Psalm I read while I was in Manila dealt with the weak, poor, and needy, and the fact that God is big and awesome and he's got everything under control. It was so great to see him work in my life as I was in Manila and as I was trusting in him and relying on Him. After one day with the street kids, I knew without a doubt that THAT was where I was supposed to focus my time. It was also really great to see how God put each person on that trip for a reason, and how he made all of our relationships so much stronger. I'm so blessed to have gotten to know so many people on that trip, and I don't know how I wasn't friends with some of these people before! There's definitely friendships that were made and strengthened on that trip, that I know I'll have for a very long time, and I couldn't be more thankful for that.

3- That teaching and working with kids is DEFINITELY my calling.
So many times on this trip, God confirmed the fact that working with kids is definitely what he wants me to do with my life. I'm still not sure what that means exactly - whether that means teaching in a public school, teaching in a private school, or doing some sort of children's ministry at a church - I know that this is what God wants me to do. Everyday when I went out to play with the street kids, I knew that it was going to be impossible to leave them. And it was. Saying goodbye to those kids - especially Alexandra - was easily the hardest thing that I've ever had to do. I hate goodbyes in general, but usually they're the "goodbye, see you later" kind of thing. But this was a goodbye that I knew was forever. After I said goodbye to Alexandra, I started crying the second she turned away. I walked inside to find a few other girls that had just said goodbye to "their" kids, and all of us just sat on one of the girls' beds and cried. After we finished having our little pity party, we told stories about our goodbyes. All of us had gotten to see our kids families that day, whether we actually met them or saw them from afar. The kids seemed excited about their families, so we knew that they were taken are of. We knew that God had them in his hands, and that he was going to keep people in their lives to love them. All of us felt this amazing peace about leaving after we said our goodbyes to the kids, and we knew that it was definitely a God thing. It still hurts that we had to leave them, and after looking through pictures it kills me that I won't ever see them in person again. But I still have that peace that God loves them, and I got to show them the way that God loves them while we were there. So even though I can't physically be with them, there's always a part of me that will be. :)

It's still kind of hard to be home for me. For one thing, it's SO COLD here. We've all gotten used to 85+ degrees all day everyday, so the fact that it's like 20 degrees with snow right now is killing me. Also, there's no street kids for me to play with. And on top of all that, it's the first time I've been completely alone in a month. It's definitely going to be an adjustment, but that's to be expected. It's always hard to come back to America after spending a month in a place that had more poverty than I've ever prayer for that adjustment would be great!

Thanks so much to everyone that followed my blog, and for all of your prayers and support. We could definitely feel those prayers while we were in Manila, and they were SO appreciated. I love you all, and I'm so lucky to have such a great support system! If you wanna hear stories or anything else about my trip, don't hesitate to ask. :)


"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" (John 8:31-32)

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's the Final Countdown...

T-minus 15 hours until I leave for the Manila airport.

It's totally crazy, and I still don't feel like it's real. I've been packing all morning, and now I'm just trying to stop being so hot. Today, of course, is one of the hottest days since we've been it's like 200% humidity. I just finished eating lunch, and soon I'll be going out to play with and say goodbye to the street kids. It kills me to think that today will be the last day that I see them, and it kills me even more to know that they won't really understand the fact that I'm not coming back to play with them. It's been a really emotional past couple days, so the fact that I'm exhausted and fighting off an almost cold isn't really helping. :/

Yesterday, Valley View basically shut down the school for us. They held this Farewell Ceremony in the morning, and it was incredible. They had the American teachers wear traditional Filipino outfits, which I have pictures of on facebook. We had to read a little phrase or proverb in Tagalog, and then the rest of the hour was dedicated to honoring us. They gave us a lot of gifts, and showed us their appreciation for us. It was definitely unlike anything I've ever experienced. Every time I turned around to wear my class was sitting, almost every single girl in my class was crying. And not just crying - sobbing. It killed me to think that I have to leave them, and that there's a very slim chance that I'll ever see them again. I got a picture of the class though, and a lot of pictures and videos on my camera, so that will definitely help.

I'm heading out to play with the street kids soon...and I know that that's going to be really hard. It's going to be even harder to know that they won't really understand the fact that I'm leaving and not coming back. It's going to be a struggle to get across to them that I love them and will miss them, even though they speak really broken English. I just have to trust that God will take care of them, and that God will somehow make it possible for me to get that message across from them. I definitely feel at peace about leaving them, even though I know it's going to be so hard. It probably won't hit me until that first week that I'm home, so prayer for that week would be great!

We're leaving for the airport around 2 AM, and most of us are going to try to stay awake through the night. It'll be interesting to see how that works out! I'm starting to get more excited about going home, since it's starting to seem more real. As much as I want to stay here with these kids and in this beautiful country, I'm definitely ready to come home.

Thank you so much for all your prayers over the course of the past month. I've definitely felt them and appreciated them! Here's our flight plan, just so you can keep track of me while I'm traveling :)

Departure: (1.23.11) 6:15 AM Manila Time (13 hours ahead of Eastern time) from Manila (MNL)
Arrival: (1.23.11) 10:40 AM Eastern time in Detroit (DTW)
Travel time: 15 hours 20 minutes

Departure: (1.23.11) 1:45 PM Eastern time from Detroit (DTW)
Arrival: (1.23.11) 3:03 PM Eastern time in Indy (IND)
Travel Time: 1 hour 18 minutes

Love you all!!

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." (James 1:2-3)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Psalm 72:12-14

This verse has popped into my head over and over and over again since we've been here. I read it in my devotions last week, and it's stuck with me ever since. It reads:

"For he will deliver the needy who cry out, 
    the afflicted who have no one to help.
  He will take pity on the weak and needy
    and save the needy from death.
  He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
    for precious is their blood in his sight."

The last part of the last verse is what gets me every time: For precious is their blood in his sight."

A lot of us having been talking this week about how leaving feels very bittersweet. We're all so excited to go home because we're exhausted and pretty much at our wits end. But then we see one of the kids in the orphanage, or we play with the street kids, and then we feel like there's no way we can leave. I journaled a lot about it today, and I was talking to God about how hard it is for me to deal with the fact that I have to leave those kids. I saw Adrian today after school, and it was probably one of the best parts of my week. I was walking home from school after a not spectacular day, feeling kind of down about the week in general. I saw him from a distance, but I didn't think he was going to see me. He looked at me and gave me this look like he was trying to figure me out. I kind of hunched down and made a "oh my goodness I'm so excited to see you" face, and he gave one right back. His face lit up, and he literally sprinted towards me and jumped into my arms. I carried him to the gate of our house, and put him down and told him I would come back. Unfortunately, it's been raining all afternoon and evening. And not just light rain...the hardest downpour I've ever seen in my life. Which street kids today. :( I was feeling really down about it, so I decided to make a slideshow on iMovie of all of my pictures of the street kids. I was putting music to it and was almost in tears. I hate hate HATE that I have to leave them on Saturday. I hate that I most likely will never see any of those kids ever again. I hate that I have no idea whether or not the next team that comes in will pay any attention to them. But I've learned that I just need to trust. I need to trust that God has a plan for me, and if I'm supposed to come back here at some point in my life, I will. I need to trust that God will keep his hand on those kids, I need to trust that he will keep them safe and taken care of, and I need to trust that he will bring people into their lives to love on them. It's going to be so so so so hard to leave them. Whenever I think about it, I get a lump in my throat and I have to fight back tears. I just have to make sure that tomorrow and/or Saturday when I see them, to tell them how much I love them in the best Tagalog I can muster. Prayer for strength at the end of this week would be wonderful. :)

As for school, I'm pretty much done! Tomorrow we'll be visiting Faith Academy, which is a really big MK school - one of the biggest in the world I think. It's definitely going to be interesting, and we'll be spending a lot of our school day there. So if I go to school at all tomorrow, it'll only be for about an hour or so. Friday is our last day, and the teachers at Valley View are throwing us this big party that they have been planning for a few weeks now. We all have to say a little something in Tagalog, which they suggested that we have memorized. Wish me luck! 

I'm definitely excited to come home, as hard as it will be. If you could pray for strength and God's protection, as all of us are pretty much starting to combust. We've had a couple girls get sick, everyone is tired, and things are definitely getting harder as our trip starts to come to a close. I've appreciated all of your prayers and support this month - it means so much! 

Love and miss you all,


"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" (John 8:31-32)

Monday, January 17, 2011

"For precious is their blood in his sight..."

Sorry I kind of neglected the blog over the weekend...this weekend was nuts! Let me just tell you...

Friday was quite possibly one of the best nights I've had here so far. The group of Taylor students that observes at Valley View was invited to go to a "concert" with a few of the teachers. We were all SO excited to go, because we were really excited to hang out with the great faculty at VVA. As we were waiting outside, Alexandra (the little girl from the volleyball game) came charging toward me, arms outstretched, huge smile on her face. I of course picked her up for a while, and she gave me a huge hug and multiple kisses. It feels so good that although she may not remember me, she remembers my face and how much I love her. After I held her for a while, she got down and was wandering around saying hi to some of the other members of the group. When he noticed I was free, Rosalino came running up to me and jumped into my arms and just buried his head into my neck. He's definitely a cuddler. :) So I held him for a while, and then it was time for us to go. I called Alexandra, and she came trotting back over to me. I told her I had to go, and she gave me a huge hug and yet another big wet kiss on the cheek. I looked at her and said "Mahal kita!" which means "I love you!" in Tagalog. She had a huge smile on her face and gave me another hug. It was beautiful. :) We got into the van, and to my surprise, my teacher (Teacher Ruth) and her son were coming with us! I was so excited to get to hang out with her outside of school, and she seemed really excited to see me as well. The "concert" that we went to turned out to be a high school musical. But it wasn't just any was Christian. And not just was GLEE. It was absolutely adorable, and we all had a blast. After the concerts, the teachers took us to this outdoor mall/food court thing and just kept handing us food to try. We were all really adventurous, and ended up trying some really great food! (I'm still not sure what I exactly I ate that night.) The atmosphere was great. There was a live band, and we were all singing at the top of our lungs and having the time of our lives. It was so great to get to know each other and our teachers on a deeper level.

Saturday we went to an American - Filipino memorial cemetery. Being the huge history/WW2 nerd that I am, I absolutely loved it. (I'm in the process of putting up pictures now, don't worry!) It reminded me a lot of Pearl Harbor in the sense that it had a huge memorial with the names of all the fallen or missing soldiers. The day was kind of overcast, so that definitely added to the atmosphere. After that, we went to Green Hills mall, which is a huge mall where we could barter and get knock off was great! We had to keep our bags really close, because pick-pocketing is a big concern there. We all made off with some really great deals though, and it was a lot of fun!

Sunday was probably the longest day of my life. We left our house at 6:00 AM to catch a ferry around 8 that took us to Corregidor Island, which I was again extremely excited to go to. This island was a huge part in the war in the Pacific during WW2, and we spent a good portion of our day there. We toured almost all of the island on a trolley (that was a replica of the ones they used during the war), and looked at some monuments and ruins of what was left of the island after the bombings during the war. It was SO COOL! It was another overcast day, so that definitely added to the effect. We got to go through a tunnel that was used as a sort of shelter when all of the intense bombing was started and where the soldiers stayed during attacks. It was really incredible to get to see some of the ruins of old barracks, batteries and other buildings, and even get to walk around through some of them! After we left Corregidor, we went to the Mall of Asia. It's like the Mall of America, but bigger. We walked around for about an hour, ate dinner in small groups and then came home. It was such a great night. There was a group of 6 girls (including myself) that I ate with, and had such an amazing time. We talked, laughed, and bonded - and it was exactly what we all needed. :)

Today didn't start out as the greatest day of my life. I woke up and was exhausted (along with pretty much everyone in our group). School wasn't super exciting, and I didn't do a whole lot today. But after school, on my way home, Alexandra, Rosalino, and Adrian (3 of the kids that I've gotten closest to since we've been here) came RUNNING up to me, and just about knocked me over when they saw me. They walked me to the gate, gave me a huge hug and I told them I would see them later. Around 4 some of us went outside to play with the street kids. I was keeping my eyes open for "my" 3 kids, but I didn't see them anywhere. I was disappointed, but didn't let that keep my from playing with the kids that were there. After about half an hour of being outside, I felt a tap on my back and one of the Taylor girls saying my name. I turn around, and there with a HUGE grin on her face and arms stretched up towards me, was Alexandra. I picked her up, spun her around, and called her beautiful in Tagalog, which is "maganda." She kept hugging me and kissing me and seemed so excited to see me. I held her for a while, and then I felt a tug on my shirt. And there, with his crooked smile with a few of his front teeth missing, was Adrian. I got so excited to see him, I didn't even realize that most of our "regular" kids had come back! We were so excited, and stayed outside until around 5. We even made a few new friends! There was a little boy named Randall that literally did not let go of my hand for about 20 minutes. Whether I was walking somewhere, holding a kid, giving someone a piggy back ride, he was by my side holding my hand. There was another girl named Mary Grace, and she was holding my other hand for most of the afternoon. She was absolutely beautiful and had a huge smile on her face. These kids are absolutely beautiful, and it's going to be so hard for me to say goodbye to them on Thursday, or Saturday if I get outside to see them. It's also going to be hard because when I say goodbye to them for the last time, it will be hard for them to understand that when I leave, it's forever. It's definitely going to be bittersweet to leave. It's going to be so so hard, so prayer for the end of this week is greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support while I've been on this trip. This week is going to be a tough one, so prayers are appreciated!

Love and miss you all very much! 


"When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?" (Psalm 118:5-6)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

You're the God of this city...

You're the God of this city, You're the king of these people
You're the Lord of this nation, You are
You're the light in the darkness, You're the hope to the hopeless
You're the peace to the restless, You are
   There is no one like our God
   There is no one like You God...
      Greater things have yet to come
      Greater things are still to be done in this city
      Greater things have yet to come
      And greater things are still to be done here.....

This song has been stuck in my head ALL DAY, and all I can think about is those kids and the people I see on the streets when I go to and from school everyday. I really wish that I could do something to help them, and it breaks my heart that I can't. I know that the most I can do is love them with all my heart, and that's what I'm trying to do. It's been so great getting to know my teacher, and I know that I'll be able to keep in contact with her after I leave Manila. I'm also completely in love with all of my students; I put pictures of them on my facebook today! I'm kind of struggling at the end of the day though. After lunch, I'm only at school for half an hour, and for that 30 minutes that I'm there is when the kids have English with a different teacher. Teacher Ruth (my teacher) stays in the room, but the other teacher "teaches" during that time. It's really hard for me because the other teacher is super young (she's only 21 - you only have to go to college for a year and a half to become a teacher here), and doesn't acknowledge my presence when I'm in the room. So when I come back from lunch, I sit in the back of the room for half an hour and do absolutely nothing. So that's quite the struggle...but once the children are dismissed and I'm waiting for the other 2 girls that I walk home from school with, I get to talk to the kids in my class, and they are all incredible. I'm definitely going to miss them a TON when we have to leave next week. :/  Today after school, I went with a couple girls down to a convenience store, which was only a 5 minute trike ride away. Walking out of the convenience store, I saw Teacher Ruth! It was so great to see her, especially because she was so excited to see me. :) I think we've officially hit the point in the trip where it's going to be IMPOSSIBLE to leave this place.

After we got back from the convenience store, 2 of the boys from yesterday came running up to Jillian and I as we were walking back, and again attached themselves onto us. We dropped our stuff off in our house, and we went outside "for just a few minutes." An hour later, we were still outside playing with the kids when we realized it was time for dinner. Only a few of the boys from yesterday came to play with us, but that's all we needed. Adrian, Rosalino, and Daniel (my 3 favorite boys) were all there and were all hanging all over me and a few of the other girls. Adrian would NOT let go of me. He would go away from me to look at something, and then look around to find me, get a HUGE smile on his face, and take a running leap into my arms. The whole time we were outside, he was either standing next to me holding my hand, sitting on my lap, on my back, or cuddling in my arms. I absolutely ADORE these kids, and it's going to be so hard to leave them. I definitely feel a calling towards these kids, but I don't know what to do about it. It's always hard to tell that if this "calling" that I feel is just because I'm here in the moment with these kids right now, and that once I get home I'll feel it less. So that's something that you can be praying for...that God can just show me what he wants me to do with this new found passion that I have for these street kids and orphans.

We only have 10 more days here, and I can hardly believe that the trip is already half over. I'm still really homesick and wanting to come home, but once I start playing with those kids or spending time in my class, I never want to leave. It's definitely going to be extremely bittersweet to leave, and I'm just bracing myself for that.

Love and miss you all so much, and I appreciate your prayers!!


"So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26-28)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"And they will know us by our love..."

The title of this blog comes from a song by Christy Nockels called "By Our Love." I won't give you all of the lyrics, but I'll just give you the chorus. You DEFINITELY need to listen to the whole song though.

The time is NOW, come church arise!
Love with his hands, see with his eyes.
Bind it around you, let it never leave you.
And they will know us by our love.

I feel like this song COMPLETELY sums up my trip to Manila, at least so far. Today was such a great day - definitely what I've been needing. School was really great today, which was such a blessing. I had been getting really discouraged because I hadn't been doing a whole lot in my classroom. But today, I got to teach "Character Ed (Education)", which was actually a lot of fun! I started out by leading them in their memory verses, singing "Every Move I Make" with them (which I taught them yesterday), and then I taught them about what it means to take care of their possessions. Tomorrow, I'll be teaching them Proverbs 17:7 ("A friend loves at all times...") and doing a couple pages from their workbook with them. It kind of annoys me that every single subject is taught out of a workbook, so as I go I'm going to try to do additional things besides the workbook. My teacher told me that I only had about 30 minutes to do Character Ed though, so I'll have to start getting really creative! But I'm now in charge of that everyday, which means that I basically lead the first 45 minutes of the day. During math today, I helped a girl understand her division problems, and the look on her face when she finally understood was priceless. I praised the students as much as I possibly could, and I can tell that it is starting to affect them. They all come show me all of their work that they do, and they seem SO appreciative when I praise them. My class is absolutely incredible, and I'm so blessed that I was placed here. Today I had an amazing talk with my teacher, and I feel like we really bonded. When the students went to computer class for an hour, I stayed back in the classroom and just spent the whole hour talking to my teacher. She gave me a boiled banana, which, as gross as it may sound, was actually VERY good. The bananas here aren't like the ones at home - they're much smaller, and when they're boiled are MUCH sweeter. I felt so cultured! :) We just sat and talked all about our lives, and it was amazing. She told me about her family, the struggles that they're having, and about her dreams of going to America. She asked me all sorts of questions about my family and my life in America, and we talked and laughed and had a really great time! After I come back for lunch, the kids are taught English by a different teacher. My teacher, Teacher Ruth, usually just sits in the classroom and does prep or just sits and observes. Today when I came back from lunch, I sat in my usual seat next to the teacher's desk. After a few minutes, she took out her cell phone and asked to take a picture with me! After that, she handed me her address book and had me write my full name (So that she could find me on facebook and we could "facebook chat"...she was so excited about it!), my birthday, e-mail, and school address. I really hope that I'll be able to keep in touch with her once I go home, because she is SO sweet. Today was such an encouragement, and I'm excited to go to school again. :)

Today around 3, I went outside to play with the street children for about half an hour. 2 hours later, I was still outside and did NOT want to go in for dinner. These kids seriously have SO much love, and so much joy. They were hanging all over us, begging for attention. Remember Alexandra, the girl that sat with me at the volleyball game? She was back today :) I got to spend almost an hour with her. With these kids, you don't even have to be playing with them necessarily - they just want to be held. Whether it's on your back, in your arms or on your lap, they will just cuddle with you for HOURS if you let them. We learned a lot of their names today, and they absolutely loved it when we would call them by their name. Seriously, these are some of the most beautiful kids I've ever seen. I didn't take any pictures on my camera, but some of the other girls did. I'll try to take more tomorrow, because these children are so so SO precious. All of us were on the verge of tears as we said goodbye to them, and we all promised we'd come back tomorrow. Saying goodbye to Alexandra was awful for me. Once she realized that I was leaving, she lept into my arms (I knelt to the ground to give her a hug), and gave me the biggest hug I've probably ever gotten. She gave me 2 big kisses - one on the cheek and one smack on the lips. She's absolutely beautiful, and I never want to leave her. All of the kids were like this - there were multiple times today that I would be holding one kid in my arms, holding the hand of another on the ground, and one was trying to jump onto my back. I feel like by the end of the week I'm going to be so sore, but it's so worth it! It's amazing was a simple hug or tickle can do for these kids...I know for a fact that I've found my place here, and those kids are where God wants me to spend my free time.

My devotions on this trip have been amazing - the passage I read today literally gave me chills. I'm going to end by giving you some of the verses that I've found since I've been here, all found when I was going through my study of Psalm. Continue to pray for strength and energy, because that is something we are ALL lacking on this team. Love and miss you all!


Psalm 68:5-6 ~ "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing."

Psalm 68:19-20 ~ "Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the sovereign Lord comes escape from death."

Psalm 69:13 ~ "But I pray to you, O Lord, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation."

Psalm 70:5 ~ "Yet I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay."

Psalm 71:3 ~ "Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress."

Psalm 71:19 ~ "Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you?"

The next 2 verses hit me the hardest today...

Psalm 72:4 ~ "He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor."

Psalm 72:12-14 ~ "For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Psalm 68:5-6

In my devotions, I'm going through the Psalms again. A couple days ago I read Psalm 68, and that passage has stuck with me throughout the week. My favorite (hence the title of this blog) is from verses 5 & 6. It reads: "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing." This verse hit me SO hard - especially because this is what I'm dealing with here in the Philippines. I've learned, as I've mentioned before, that I feel like God has shown me what my purpose here is. I'm not here to simply get a few credits and get some teaching experience under my belt. I'm here to love. I'm here to love in a way that I've never been able to love anyone before. These kids that I'm interacting with, whether they be kids that live on the streets, kids who live in an orphanage, or kids that go to a middle/upper class school, THESE KIDS are why I'm here. Loving on these kids is why I'm here.

I know I'm repeating myself, but the street children absolutely break my heart. Anytime you leave the gate for any reason, you suddenly have at least 2 kids hanging on you, pleading for attention. Their families could care less where they are at that moment, and they certainly don't get shown love as much as they should. Although I'm only here for another week and a half, I just have to trust that God will continue to bring people into their lives to continue loving on them.

The kids in the orphanage are a whole different story. Some of them constantly talk about how their parents are going to come back and get them...when in reality they won't. It breaks my heart that once children hit about age 10 or so and lose that "cute" factor, they just have to accept the reality that they won't get adopted. The kids there are just so hopeful and have so much think about all of the pain that they've gone through kills me. They're so used to having people come and go so frequently...I can't even imagine living like that. I'm so glad that they have the people who work there all the time so that they have at least a little bit of consistency.

My kids at school come from the middle or upper classes, which is the complete opposite of the street kids and kids in the orphanage. But at the same time, they have their own struggles. Whenever I praise any of my kids, their faces absolutely light up. Even the teachers don't really praise the kids all that least not as much as we're taught to in the states. So that's my goal with my classroom. Even if I may not get to teach them as much as I would like, I can still love on them as much as I possibly can.

It's still hard to be exhausted all the time, and I'm still missing home. But it's getting easier knowing that I have an absolutely incredible group of people on this trip with me, and that the kids here need me. I'm learning a lot about selflessness and being humble...and I've also learned to trust God more than I ever have. He's got this whole trip under control, even though all sorts of curveballs have been thrown at us.

I appreciate your prayers SO much, and I miss and love you all very much!


"But just as he who called you is holy, be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'"   (1 Peter 1:15-16)