January 26, 2015
Trans. Greetings! (Surigaonon, the language of Surigao, Mindanao, Philippines)
Here we are, at the end of my fourth cycle in Tuguegarao, and awaiting my next destination in the Philippines Cauayan Mission! That's right, I'm being transferred! I will fill you in with the details of my new area next week. As for now, I don't have much to say of my last week in Tuguegarao, other than the work has continued on by the hand of the Lord, and I'm counted blessed to be able to witness it. I thank God He's called me to assist Him in His work. It has been such a tender mercy to be a part of that work in this wonderful city. I feel like I should say something cinematic like "destinies have intertwined" to best describe what I have experienced here. I've see the genius of God's plan. It's much more exciting for the bigger picture to be revealed gradually; peeling the veil slowly away, meeting people that, in reality, we knew before we came down, having faith that God has a bright future in store for us, and slowly but ever learning that any plans we have that interfere with God's are not plans worth having.
In all honesty, it has always been a struggle for me to really understand God's unconditional love. My love is imperfect in so many ways I couldn't list them... So full of conditions, limitations, lusts, etc. What seems to be the reoccurring struggle for me, in particular, is love for myself. By the grace of God, I have been able to overcome that particular challenge as far as it not interfering with furthering the Lord's work in my assigned areas. There is still much I have to learn about the love of God. A very important lesson I've learned is that whenever I feel I have a lack of love for others, or myself, and a subsequent feeling of lack of love from God, I try my best to show my love to God by obeying His commands in any small way I can, and I immediately feel connected with my Heavenly Father again. He really is not far away, you know.
I'm inspired by the story of Paul as he performed missionary labors in Athens(Acts 17:20). It seems the people of Athens have striking resemblance to the people and culture we currently live in this world: "For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing". Sound familiar? Information addiction. The most widespread addiction we suffer in this world today. It turns out, however, that it isn't really a new thing. Even the Athenians had "itching ears".
The story goes on: "Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
"That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring."
To think, that I was able to participate in blessing God's children, in such a small way as to invite them to come unto Christ by receiving the restored gospel... I suppose it isn't such a small way, when you really think about it. This is the everlasting Gospel. We were chosen to come down at this time. All of us. This is our time, as we await the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, in glory from Heaven. We came to earth that we may find our Father again, and as most of us have already found out, he isn't really that far from us if you look inside. He lives in each one of us. We are His children. We came here to be happy on the journey back to Heaven. The journey make take us through a little bit of hell, but if it didn't, it wouldn't be worth taking. We don't need all of the answers, we just need to know where we are heading. And we have someone waiting for us, at the gates, who will be able to heal our battle-wounds, scrapes, bruises, and trauma, because He has experienced it all. He paid for it with His own blood, and if we let Him in, He is the surest way that there is to know how much our Heavenly Father loves us, and wants us to come back.
I leave this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.