Monday, September 27, 2010

...and then I cried

To say I'm not much of a crier is an understatement. I can count on one hand the number of times I've truly cried this year...which is a good thing because crying and Pami don't mix very well. It's not a pretty sight. Unlike some people who can gently weep, I sob, snort, bare my gums, and can hardly speak.
On Sunday, I cried. It wasn't the grimacing, snorting sort of crying, but I could barely speak as I expressed my thanks to a small, but mighty body of believers who had the faith to believe that God could work in miraculous ways to multiply five loaves and two fish in their own congregation,
A couple of months ago I spoke at a small church of about 50-75 about my ministry in the Philippines. I went with the knowledge that I was asking for prayer and not financial support. Many of the folks in this church have lost their jobs as their area has been hit hard by the recession. That Sunday was incredible and it was obvious that the Spirit of God moved in my mouth and the ears and hearts of those who heard my testimony and dream for a little birthing clinic.
A few weeks later the pastor contacted me that he and the other elder of the church believed God was calling them to challenge the members to live Luke 12:29-34, specifically, "Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys" (vs 33). Members were encouraged to search their hearts and homes for items which they did not need, sell them, and give the proceeds towards the outgoing expenses needed for the ministry God has called me to. "Possession Proceeds to Propel Pami to the Philippines." I was cautioned that it may not be much, but that God would use whatever was given.
Yesterday, the offering was collected. Tears were shed. After the collection was taken, a short devotional was given, then members were asked to share their own testimonies of how God led them to give. The stories were phenomenal and incredibly humbling.
- an old clock with a silver frame thought to be valued for silver was sold. The silver was worthless but the jeweler offered $200 for the pretty clock!
- a valuable cello, that had been for sale for years was finally sold after the owners promised the Lord that the proceeds would go towards this ministry
- a couple who has not even attended the church in 6 years received an email about the offering and decided to tithe on a recent inheritance
- another individual had some stocks of an unknown value. They were sold and the proceeds given to this offering!
- A church-wide garage sale was held at the pastor's home and nearly every item was sold, unheard of!

This is just a small sample of the amazing stories. Many tears were shed as people rejoiced in God's unfailing goodness and provision.

After everything was totaled, we were all flabbergasted!! God has greatly multiplied those offerings and I am COMPLETELY, 100% funded for ALL my outgoing expenses, including a ministry vehicle!! Is God amazing, or what? I am still stunned and taking it all in.

I think the hardest part for me in this missionary process is not leaving behind my life here, for I know I'm going on a God-given's not asking for money, because though it's not always fun, I know that it's not for me, but for God's ministry and purpose. The hardest part is knowing how to say "thank you." I feel as though by saying "thank you," I am somehow accepting the credit and the money...when it's not for me. I just feel so awkward and unworthy to receive anything! Before arriving at the church, I asked the Lord to help me know how to say thank you, even if it was for $50. He gave me Philippians 4:10-14, 17-19, with a bit of paraphrasing. I read it to the church (barely) through my tears a bit like this:
"I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to YOUR credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from [church name] the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father [alone] be glory forever and ever. Amen."

This little blog doesn't even BEGIN to express what all is going on in my heart. I'm merely fumbling through the God-given emotions welling up in my soul, but thank you for reading and rejoicing with me! Soli Deo Gloria!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wait, part deux

Last night I read the all familiar verse, "but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint" (Is 40:31, ESV). Up until now, I've always thought of this verse applying to those who are in a race, or are exhausted to begin with. I've had a romantic image in my head of someone in a marathon ministry event needing to take a break to renew their strength, such as when I was in the Philippines last fall helping with the disaster relief clinics after Typhoon Ondoy devastated the metropolis.

However, when I read it last night it took on a whole new meaning. For some people (moi included), waiting can be exhausting. It's like putting the gas pedal to the metal while keeping your car in neutral, nothing but a revving engine. You're all revved up with nowhere to go. When someone is eager for a goal, like getting full support so I can get to Manila, the wait can be exhausting and seem endless. But that is when we are waiting on our own power. Waiting on the LORD, finding peace in His perfect timing, is energizing and renewing. Why? Because if that time is spent seeking the Lord, pouring over His Word, spending time with His body, it's impossible to NOT feel renewed and strengthened.

This is the peace I've been coming to discover. I deeply value and cherish these moments of stillness and waiting. I firmly believe it part of the process of becoming a servant. I would not want to hurry this process along, no matter how eager I am to get to Manila. There's no rushing God. He alone knows how much renewing and strengthening I need. It's up to me though, to take advantage of these moments...are you?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What to bring?

NOTE: I have no idea why the text color is weird. :( Sorry!

I've had folks ask me how the clinic manages to run on bare bone finances. After all, ministry partners donate finances to pay the salary of 4 filipina midwives, utilities, basic medical supplies, and not much else. Since those the clinic serves usually live in slums and shanty shacks, their finances are bare bones, if not nil. Here's the way it works:

Patients are asked to donate about $5 for all their perinatal care, including pre-natal check-ups, health education, hematocrit testing, labor & delivery, and post-natal check-ups. When they go into labor they are asked to bring the following supplies:
  • 2 towels (one to lay on as they deliver and 1 to clean baby)
  • 1 baby blanket newborn outfit (onesie, booties, mittens, cap)
  • newborn diaper
  • adult diaper (cheaper than a maternity pad)
  • soap (to wash baby)
  • hot water (to wash baby)
  • change of clothes for mom
  • cotton balls & rubbing alcohol (if an episiotomy needs to be stitched and to clean injection site for Vit K shot for baby)
  • snacks (for family after baby is born)

Sometimes moms show up unprepared and the clinic seldom has extra supplies on hand. When we're out of these extras, we've used the mom's going home shirt to catch the baby with. Not the most ideal of circumstances. And sometimes moms cannot afford the $5 donation, but we still deliver the same care to them as we would to someone who paid the full amount.

We love it when people can help out with these basic supplies so that we can give them to the neediest. Do you have gently used baby clothes? Or perhaps you and your church or small group would like to put together layette sets! You can put together some baby towels, blankets, clothes, and then including $1 per set for the soap, rubbing alcohol, cotton, baby diaper, and adult diaper, which we can purchase in bulk for a very good price in the Philippines.

It's usually between $50-60 to ship a large box of these items right from your door to our door. If you are interested in helping out in this way, let me know and I'll be happy to send you the info.

Friday, September 10, 2010


The word "wait" seems to be weaving itself in and out of my life lately. Not only am I waiting on the Lord for His perfect timing in taking me to the Philippines, but friends and loved ones are also waiting on the Lord for various reason.
I will risk saying that the majority of our lives are spent waiting. Waiting for that highly anticipated vacation to Hawaii, or Christmas morning, or birth of a child. Or sometimes it's spent in dreadful waiting, such as for the results of a lymph node biopsy or court ruling. But just as we spend the majority of our lives waiting, we spend the majority of our thoughts in anticipation, failing to fully embrace the here and now. What amazing things are happening right now that I am completely glossing over in anticipation of what is to come?
The concept of waiting is not new to believers, in fact, it's a recurring theme throughout the Word. I recently read a devotional that is simply Scripture that blessed me. While the waiting I'm doing is not painful or dreadful, it can be disheartening at times. I hope you can take courage from this like I have, because chances are, you too, are in a time of waiting.

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary...He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. --Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. --You have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall.
The testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. --Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
(Ps 27:14. Isa 40:28, 29. Isa 41:10. Isa 25:4. Jas 1:3,4. Heb 10:35,36.)