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Joy through challenges

Almost successfully completed my first week in the Philippines! Can’t even begin to say how different it is from my expectations. The first couple days involved sweat, sweat, and more sweat. Now today and the last couple days involve rain, rain, and more rain! Back home in Lancaster, CA, it rains maybe 3 times a year for like 10 minutes top. This is such a new experience for me to see hard pouring rain allllllll day.

To be completely honest, this trip has been a lot harder and more challenging than I was prepared for. I have arthritis in my knees and ankles and all the stairs and long walks here are causing it to flare up really bad. Trying to stay strong, keep serving, and have a smile on my face is a struggle every day. I think God is trying to teach me to be 100% reliant on Him. And honestly, I have no other options. I’ve been doing everything I can to help my knees, but I have no other ideas, God is the only one who can help me.  Prayers from my team and leaders and even teachers here at VCS (where we’re staying) have encouraged my heart so much. I just have to learn to be completely reliant on Him and try not to bear my burdens alone.

Almost every day we get to spend time with the kids in their classrooms. I know we aren’t supposed to have favorites but the 5th graders are totally my favorites. They are so funny, especially a boy named Mieko. He looks and sometimes acts JUST LIKE Russell from UP. Spending time with them playing games or learning in art class was so much fun. This is definitely a relational ministry. Rather than constantly hands-on building and cleaning and doing manual labor, we simply spend time and encourage the students and teachers. Sometimes it feels like we aren’t being useful, but I know being here just being with them and helping them with their English shows them the light and joy of God even if we don’t get to see the fruit of it all the way.  Showing the light of God through joy is so necessary in any country, any situation. I am confident that, with a lot of prayer, God will strengthen my knees and strengthen my heart. Prayers from  back home and knowing I have many people supporting me and my team lifts me up and increased prayer would really be appreciated. Despite all the challenges, I know that I am exactly  where God wants me to be.                                                                            

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