Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Are You a Rebel?

Thank you to everyone who responded to my email for prayer for the fighting & unrest on our island. As you can see in this update, around 140 of the hostages were rescued yesterday after a week of being held by the rebel group. The government army has retaken control of many parts of Zamboanga. However around 80,000 people have been displaced from the fighting. We also had 2 small bombs go off in the malls here in Davao where I live, on Monday.

I hate when fear overtakes conversations and becomes the focus of everyday life. 

There is no room in love for fear. 
Well-formed LOVE banishes fear. 
Since fear is crippling, a fearful life 
—fear of death, fear of judgment 
is one not yet fully formed in love.
1 John 4:18 (MSG) 

I've been thinking about the rebels who are fueling these conflicts. I imagine them as PEOPLE who have concerns, worries, & hard choices to make, just like the rest of us. People who may have had some really hard luck in life. People trying to define themselves in something, someway, some name. People wanting recognition, community, & success. People trying to make a living & put some rice on the table. People going along with the pressures of friends & family. People maybe trying to live out their convictions & beliefs. People who have hurt other people in the pursuit of all these things.

When my eyes go back over that list, I find that I'm not so different. I've secretly & openly desired recognition & success. I've fought hard for community to happen. I've had some things happen in my life that just seemed like pure hard luck. I still struggle with trying to define myself & my actions in some way that will seem "right." I've allowed myself to be pressured by others to do things I wasn't really sure I agreed with. I am continually trying to live out my beliefs in ACTION. And there is no doubt that I have unknowingly AND knowingly hurt, stomped-on, & tried to overshadow others, in the pursuit of all these things. 

Who am I to even approach judgement of them? Past being "rebels", past being people who shoot at others, past being Muslims...

....they are just like ME. 

And it's kind of a funny thing - when you see someone broken, searching, & confused, just like you can be, doesn't it make you want to LOVE them? And when you understand people, where they're maybe coming from, why their life heart is beating the way it is, how can you be AFRAID of them? 

Love & fear just don't mix, in my opinion.

So friends, let's pray, love, & care about both the hostages and the rebels holding them, the Christians & the Muslims, the men carrying guns & the the men carrying hurt victims, and the people displaced without homes on both sides of the conflict.

And let's dissipate fear by replacing it with knowledge of THE love that can fill it.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Reminder of a Package

Look what got dropped off at the clinic this morning!! 

My box FINALLY made it!

Across the huge Pacific Ocean on a freighter...through customs in Manila, boated from island to island, driven across land, and finally found its way to our little clinic despite the rather obscure addresses around here.

What an abundance! So good to have all my own textbooks, my hammock, favorite scarves, some tea, and a few favorite pictures of course.

Simple things that I didn't think much of when I packed them back in the States, but funny how exciting it is to get them now.

Getting this box reminded me of the first time I got a package when I lived in Africa. It was two months after arriving in the country of Tchad, and involved a very adventurous journey to another village to pick up my package. (You can read about that trip *here* and *here*)

I still remember that it was from my college with notes from other students and a bag of peanut butter M&Ms from some dear friends. How incredible it was to get a package from home after living in the remote African bush in a hut. It was like from a different world.

Within minutes of opening that package, I passed out and it was the beginning of a long chain of events that ended in emergency surgery a day later (read about *here* and *here*) and a month of recovery from the surgery, typhoid, and malaria, and a nice scar on my abdomen that I can still look at daily.... remind me of that 1st package.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Same God

Was listening to the song below and thought of a friend who I would love to say those lyrics to. Life can be tough. Especially in the last few years, I've seen how hard it can be after college for so many of my friends. There is this disconnect between everything that school offers and tells you, and what life is really like when you're pushed out into the world, everyone telling you what a success you'll be. Suddenly the community is gone, you're alone and floundering to meet that success. The feeling of being ALIVE and excited about God and how He is working in your life, starts to fade to a memory...and the everydayness of life sets in. 

But God really is the same God you used to jump over mountains for in high school. He's the same God you followed to a foreign country to serve. He's the same God you'd sing to in emotion-moving college worships.

He's here in the now. He's here in the broken successes and confusion about the future. He's here in the midst of your loneliness. He's here through watching all your life plans not pan out the way you expected.

And He's going to be the same God who brings you out of it. The same God who teaches you what true success is. The same God who reveals what this season was for. The same God who shows you the ULTIMATE path He has for you. 

The same God who loved you from the very beginning....all the way to the end.

Do you trust me? I promise it's true.

Back to the wall, scared you'll fall

What you going to do
Day and night,
Don't know why its like the worlds' against you
You're praying for a break through

There was a day
When your faith couldn't be held down
God was near enough to hear every word
But somehow you wish He heard you right now
Don't you know

The same God who was with you then is with you now
The same God who led you in will lead you out
So take all the fear and doubt
Go on and lay them down
The same God, the same God is with you now

Can't you see
Everything happens for a reason
There's a time, there's a place
For every season
He knows what's best for you
So don't be afraid

The same God who was with you then is with you now
The same God who led you in will lead you out
So take all the fear and doubt
Go on and lay them down
The same God, the same God is with you now

~ Newsong