Our trips back and forth to the island are always an adventure. Our recent trip was a grueling 17-hour journey to get back to Cagayan de Oro. Although my body was wrecked from the trip, I felt alive with joy remembering all that God did over our thirteen days on the island. It was a blessed trip connecting heart to heart with our staff, teaching His word and being home where our heart is called.
Jenn and I take turns traveling back to Hope for the Island to spend around ten days there per month. When there are school breaks we can travel as a family. A one-week semester break freed up Makana and Brison to be with us. It was great to see them have fun and get back to their island ways! In this challenging new season as a family, we have confidence in God and His plan. Despite adjustments, we see this test of faith as an answer to prayer.
Here is some of what has happened during the 5 months we have lived in the city…
God provided a small clean home for us to rent in a safe neighborhood!
We were blessed with a reliable used truck. Driving in the city is a little nuts but fun!
Makana and Brison attend a great Montessori School with other classmates. They are adapting well and with resolve. They now have friends and have good grades. This is a great testimony to the hard work and perseverance of Jenn’s homeschooling years!
Our kids have new and varied opportunities to develop through youth groups, voice lessons, rock climbing, field trips, camping, team sports and volunteering as they did at HOPE.
After 16 years of marriage Jenn and I finally get to go out on dates!!! We are plugged into a good mission minded church and we have joined weekly growth groups. This was an answer to prayer because we lacked the blessing of being in relationships that challenged and sharpened us.
We are establishing great relationships that can lead to future ministry/networking /mission teams coming to Hope for the Island.
Fast and reliable Internet connection free us to work on Admin / office work requiring good connection and proximity to agencies. Most of these tasks are tedious and require a lot of patience and discernment especially with corruption being a real issue here.
Jenn and I are developing ourselves with great parenting / ministry / leadership training online. This is something we never had the luxury of before.
We have taken opportunities to visit farms and attend seminars that educate us as to how to further develop sustainability at our Hope for the Island organic farm.
We have fun as a family when we escape the city and get out in nature on Saturdays. Mountain ranges are beautiful and the temperature is actually cool! Pine trees and strawberries bring back Canadian memories. Our kids wish there was snow. I tell them it is overrated! ?
Beyond prayer for our family as well as ministry needs, please pray for protection. Nearby provinces are known for rebel activity and radical religious groups. The threat and opposition Christians are facing in the world is at each of our doorsteps.
A year ago it wasn’t a threat to stand in your faith in North America. That has changed and will only worsen. It may look different from one place to the next but the response to the new spiritual climate should be the same. We are called to be set apart in the way we obediently live for Jesus and carry His life-giving message of hope and love. As we seek to reflect Jesus and extend grace by the leading of Holy Spirit, circumstances and people we encounter will be impacted.
I pray for an urgency to stir in the hearts of all God’s children as we prepare ourselves for the groom to come. As Jesus so perfectly put it in Matthew 5:16:
“Let your light so shine before men that they may
see your good works and glorify your father in heaven”
We should not be surprised that the world is going in the destructive direction it is and acting like the world because it is “the world”. The response we are to take is to do what God calls us to do rather than react in the flesh and act like the world. We are to remember God’s grace in our lives and extend that unmerited grace to others according to the fruit of the Spirit. We are called to be His salt and light as we live by faith in the trying days ahead. There are many things God desires to do in and through His body before Christ returns. Let us endure and bring in a great harvest for His glory!