Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Missions Conference

Every year, about this time, my alma mater, Biola University's student missionary union (the largest student-led missions organization in the country!) hosts a ginormous missions conference which all students are *highly encouraged* to attend. I only got to attend one because our choir tours used to take place during this time. However, I loved that one time. What better excuse to hob-nob with the different mission organizations, swap stories with missionaries (and everyone knows those infamous missionary stories which can take on a life of their own!), see familiar faces, and dream about all the places I'd like to go. It was more exciting for me than any job or career fair.
Little did I know that in 5 years, I would be representing one of the many missions organizations, trying to share my enthusiasm with a couple of divine appointments. Our goal is not just to recruit students for ACTION, but to perhaps be a tool to open some hearts to the possibility of serving in missions someday, whether as a "goer" or a "sender."
If you're in the area and would like to see what ACTION is doing around the world, or see ACTION celebrities, Marvin & Sara Graves, or just get caught up with the exciting happenings in missions around the world, stop on by! Our booth is the first of over 75 (it's alphabetical), and I would LOVE to see you!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Reminder

Part of the point of this blog is to be transparent. I know lots of people who are frustrated with Christians because they seem so fake. They have it all together, never have problems, know all the answers, never doubt, etc... The only time they are real is when they have been caught in a huge scandal and have fallen WAY short of the glory of God, at which point the world is either stunned and/or disgusted. I think that this is why so many pastor's kids and missionary kids rebel; they are so sick of having to put up this facade so they make a 180 a turn and make a hard run for the opposite direction. Sad, but so common.

I want nothing more to be real, honest, and utterly transparent. This means that there are times when I will share my doubts, my fears, my failures, as well as my successes, joys, and triumphs...and I'll begin now.

As with any calling or "purchase" of an idea, object, etc...doubt is often involved. How many times have you made a big purchase and later doubted it - called "buyer's remorse." And while I've never been married, I hear about lots of cold feet leading up to the big day. It's NORMAL to doubt...and I am no exception.

After making my decision to become a missionary, I've had moments of doubt such as: Is this really a calling or just a human desire for the familiar? Why am I going to the Philippines when I have a great job with great salary, security, amazing friends, family near-by, etc... Am I nuts?!?! Sometime I feel like a fraud, thinking who am I to want to go overseas and teach moms how to take care of their kids? Who am I? I have no kids, I'm not married, not to mention that I'm a relatively new nurse without too much experience.

And then God comes along and shatters those doubts. Last week I spoke for the first time about my new ministry at a small church in Indio, CA. It was a great ice-breaker for me to get some church-speaking experience because my parents spoke frequently at this church when we would come back to the US on furloughs. I am very familiar with the church and its people.

While I was there, I was approached by the leader of the missions committee, a dear lady who has prayed for me since my birth day. With tears in her eyes she told me that her small group of faithful ladies have been praying that I would someday go back to the Philippines as a full-time missionary for nearly my entire life! I had NO idea! My parents had NO idea! No one else in the church knew...this was their secret, something God had laid on their hearts to pray for over 25 years ago. When I chose to study music they became nervous that I would be tempted by the entertainment industry and decide to stay here, but they all rejoiced when I began to study nursing, knowing that this was something that the Philippines desperately needed. They became giddy every time I returned "home" to the Philippines for a visit, knowing that God was working in my heart, even if I didn't know it.

Marie has been praying for me to go back to the Philippines since I was this big!!

How can I doubt my heart's urging to return to the Philippines as a missionary when I'm told something like this?? It just confirms that God has been working all along to prepare me for "such a time as this." (Esther 4:14) Wow.

This doesn't mean that there won't be more seasons of doubting, discouragement, and even failure, but I know that God will faithfully continue to remind me of His goodness and ultimate plan for His glory in my small, insignificant life.