We’ve been home a little over a month and I have been trying to organize my thoughts and somehow summarize what I would like to share from our trip to the Philippines to bring Vanessa home. It seems overwhelming to try to share everything. Recently, I was reading and came cross the following verse from Deuteronomy 4:9…Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.
After reading that verse it became clear that I need to think about it differently. I stopped trying to summarize and decided to focus on the things I do not want to slip from my heart as long as I live.
During our trip we made the decision not to stay in a hotel, but we decided to stay at the guest house at the YMC…why? This would give us the opportunity to participate in Vanessa’s daily environment and experience the people and events she has experienced each day. We also got to be a part of the community (church, mission teams, children’s home) and we even had the opportunity to serve at one of the community feedings. It was emotionally overwhelming to be serving the only meal that these children would be receiving for the day. With all those great experiences…what is the one thing I don’t want to slip from my heart as long as I live?
On Sunday morning we attended church at the JCCV with Vanessa and the members of the community. During the service we all gathered at the front of the church where Pastor Aranas and Jeff Long, the director of the ministry, prayed for us. It was Jeff’s prayer that is the answer to my question. His prayer included the following words (paraphrased):
God, we pray for Vanessa and her mom and dad and family. We pray for courage for her. While we will miss her we celebrate your plans for her. We are sending Vanessa to North Carolina as a missionary…people in NC need Jesus and Vanessa knows and loves Jesus. We pray that lives will be changed and more people will know Jesus because of the plans you have for her.
During that prayer I was once again humbled by God’s greatness and how He works to further His Kingdom and bring glory to Himself. You see, deep down, I somehow thought that I was doing a good thing and through my resources I was saving Vanessa by giving her a home. I had it upside down! God wanted to send Vanessa to NC to be a missionary and live a life that shares her love for Him. That may seem crazy, but that was His plan. He chose the Martin Family to adopt her so she could come to NC to extend the saving grace of Jesus. My resources and abilities were not that important…I was just a part of His plan. Our society would say this family is doing a good thing by adopting a child and giving her a safe and loving home, but God says we need a missionary…we need someone in NC that loves Me and has a story to share about my glory.
Each day seems to bring joy and also another challenge in our new family. While it has been good I can’t say it has been perfect. God didn’t give us a guarantee that it would be easy and some days have been better than others during this transition, but by saying yes to him He has proven He will provide the strength we need.
So here’s the challenge…Do I begin each day, each business trip, each conversation with my neighbors with the thought that God is sending me as a missionary and will provide the strength we need? I personally have a need for growth, but I am constantly amazed by His greatness.
Amazed and challenged by God, Chad