Thursday, November 29, 2012

Giving's Reward, Part 2

…we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus
himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Acts 20:35
In August, I said I would write more about giving so this is another story about it. It happened a lifetime ago, in 1998. I’d never forgotten it. When you find out the story, you’ll understand why. We were then living in the Philippines as missionaries. Specifically, we worked in Bucana, a poor, Muslim fishing village in Davao City. I was a teacher in the pre-school that our team founded. Eng used to work with fishermen in a deep sea fishing project. Life was so different then. We had financial challenges because we spent more than the money we received from our supporters. It wasn’t hard to spend more than what we got because we hardly got any support at that time. Why we were in that predicament could be best left to another posting. Suffice it to say that in spite the little that we received, we survived, by the grace of God.

Our life abruptly became exciting when the pastor of our church announced that a special collection was going to be taken for the Muslims who were suffering from hunger. El Nino (an abnormal weather pattern which causes drought) hit the country and nothing was growing for them. We were asked to pray for how much we were to give the following week. Although we worked with the fishermen and not the Muslim farmers, we felt led to give. I suggested to Eng that we prayed separately to find out how much. I reasoned that the Holy Spirit should give us the same answer. He did. By week’s end, we determined that we were to give P2,000. We were relieved to get the same amount. A big concern though, was the fact that because we were living mostly from our savings, the amount was five times more than what we were used to giving! Still, we reasoned that there was no point in spending a week asking God how much to give and then not following through. It was hard but we gave the amount indicated in the collection that Sunday.

The day after, Eng left with the pastor and the other elders of the church. They bought rice, coffee, sugar, and other food and bagged them. Then, they distributed it to several families in the village that was badly affected by the drought. We wonder how any of those who received the food then are doing now. What we did know was that they were able to eat until the next season’s harvest came. The name of the Lord was glorified and we did what we could.

Two days later, Eng came back from the outreach so we went out for coffee and talked about his trip. When we got home, our helper greeted us happily while waving a cheque. She said someone dropped it off while we were out. She couldn’t even remember who it was. We looked at the cheque and were shocked. It was for P20,000! I honestly never saw that many zeroes in one cheque until that time. It was worth $800 US. It’s still a big amount in today’s standards but even more so for us who needed it badly. James Dobson said we could never out give God. We certainly didn’t! =)

Days later, as we thanked our donor, she apologized(?) for giving us the cheque too late. She said she’d been meaning to give it to us at the beginning of the year (it was late February). She said it was to help us with our support. I told her that her timing was just perfect. =) We saw that the Lord quickly and dramatically multiplied what we gave. How could we ever forget that?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Evan's 22!

“Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?”
Romans 8:32

Would God save our soul and then leave us to fend for ourselves? Will he address eternal needs and ignore earthly (ones)? Of course not.

Max Lucado from “Come Thirsty”

A week ago, Evan turned 22. A part of me can’t believe I can have a son so old. Some of my co-workers are just a bit older than him so it’s really hard to believe that he’d gotten so ancient! I can’t imagine anymore when he’ll need me for anything but I do remember him and the pleasure of raising him. He’d always been such a complacent child, teen, and adult. Having had some squabbles with his other teen brothers; it isn’t hard to conclude that he’s probably the easiest one to get along with as a teenager. (In saying that, I do want to state that I certainly don’t love his brothers any less!) Evan surprised me too, in terms of how he turned out. I always knew he would do well, but his accomplishments and endeavors at Houghton College, simply astounded me. He played the part of Linus in their college’s “Charlie Brown” musical and sang and acted truly well. We were also able to watch his two stand-up comedy skits presented at their pre-graduation celebration. Both were done exceptionally well but I’m obviously biased. =) Evan turned out to be the fine, young man that the Lord said he would be. We are so proud of him.

These days, Evan hangs out and lives at my father’s house in Toronto. He graduated in May and had been looking for full-time work. One company was willing to hire him for data entry work but he opted to continue to look after my father. As his mom, and because my mother just recently passed away in September, I am so thankful for his choices. I know my father has Evan for company and consequently handles his grief better. I also know that Evan can’t be doing that for my father without our Lord blessing him back. I’m sure Evan will, at the very least, have someone who’ll look after him when he gets old. He’ll definitely reap what he’s sowing.

Evan was also the editor of their college’s paper and currently writes a blog. For those interested, you can read it at: This part of him didn’t surprise us. He had been writing for awhile. He’d always been an avid reader and book worm and also loved to draw. He drew (and still does) some of the comic strips for the same paper. Currently, our prayers are that he’ll find a job that’ll challenge him and use his gifts well. My desire is that whatever he writes will glorify God enormously.

We’ll have the pleasure of having Evan (and Eric!) come here for Christmas. We are so looking forward to that! And when he returns to Toronto in January, we’re confident and grateful that the Lord will provide the job that he needs. For surely, the Lord won’t ignore Evan’s earthly needs. Thank you in advance, Papa God. =) We praise you and thank you, for Evan.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Papa Fun God

You delight in me.
From the song, “You Delight in Me” by Julie True
For our early Sunday morning walk, my friend and I passed under a tree with falling small flowers. The day before, I had four of the flowers land right on my left hand so I tried to duplicate it. We walked under the tree twice but only proved that it was not easy to have a flower fall right on your hand. I even had both hands held out and waited for the landing but none happened. I tried to literally catch them! Not even one got close to my hand. Those made me conclude that when the Lord’s grace is all over you, all sorts of miraculous, wonderful events happen. =)

Such a grace-filled day happened this past Saturday. On my morning walk, I noticed that the birds were outdoing one another with their chorus: cooing, tweeting, and chirping. They sounded wonderful! Then, I noticed that I was wearing a pair of black shorts, a blue T-shirt, and a blue hat, all with “grace” on it. The school I teach in had grace as its name so I actually ended up wearing the school’s promotional materials all at the same time. It certainly wasn’t intentional on my part! When
I saw myself, I thought, “Oh look, grace is all over me!” And it was, indeed, such a day. =D Even on that walk, I ended up marveling at the beautiful flowers (I love flowers!) and I passed under 10 different trees with various flowers on the ground for me to enjoy walking on. The last tree was the one that had its sweet fragrance in the air and as I walked under it, the flowers literally landed on me. Four of them landed right on my left hand and it was what I was trying to duplicate yesterday. Papa obviously had fun with me and me, Him!

And this is why I wanted to write this. Too often, God is seen as an angry God, or one that is waiting for us to mess up so He can punish us, the one who waits to judge. Not so, He is, for me, a fun-loving, wonderful, generous God. He delights in us!

I saw even more of this side of Him on our recent trip to Malaysia. Flying there and back here, I had window seats - even without asking for one. I marveled at the sights and wished my cell phone could give justice to the various cloud formations I saw. Looking at clouds just beside, below, or above us thrilled me to no end. I felt blessed enormously. =)

This winding river seen from our airplane can only be created by a fun-loving God. =) No other with a different heart could do that!

On Thursday, I joined the school’s community choir and enjoyed listening to the different but all angelic voices of the people. I particularly enjoyed singing with harmony. So fun!

Our teacher was filled with energy, enthusiasm, exuberance, liveliness, drama, and flair. Just like when the Lord created the peacock, other animals, and us, He must have worked whistling! How else could we all be so unique and special?

And the ultimate grace on Saturday was Eli’s soccer team winning their tournament. I could only see that as grace because Eli hardly played in the first four of their six games. He felt so badly because he was obviously benched. Yet, when he played in the finals, he scored two goals in a row which made their team win 3-1. How cool is that? =) The Lord is just too good, and SO much FUN.
Others love you because of you, because your dimples
dip when you smile or your rhetoric charms when you flirt,
Some people love you because of you. Not God.
He loves you because he is he.

Max Lucado in “Come Thirsty”

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
They shall mount up with wings as eagles;

Isaiah 40:31a
Yesterday, I came back from Malaysia where my husband, Eng, was from. We were there to celebrate his mom’s birthday with her. She turned 82. It was good to reconnect with her again, along with the other relatives. It’s also an “eating town” so we did a LOT of that. My stomach is still quite big from all the consuming that happened. Mom’s delicious 9-course celebratory meal ended with a Durian Cheesecake. Mmm! It was definitely a blessing to have been there.

I wasn't able to take many days off work so I came back here before Eng. He’ll only come home tomorrow. Due to overbooking, I stayed with my niece in Kuala Lumpur to catch my 7 a.m. flight yesterday. I enjoyed getting to know her and her husband more. I was amazed at how the Lord blessed me with food I loved to eat even though I never told them what I liked! I also enjoyed talking about the Lord’s goodness with them. I just know that those stories made an impression in their hearts. I prayed for them, as I did for Eng's Mom, that they'll soon relate to God on their own. My prayer is also that they’ll see and feel God’s kindness and overwhelming love for them, themselves. Papa God’s love is simply too good to be true. =) For you, too!

Yes, those are watermelon balls beside a scrumptious chicken dish. They went so well together! Yum!

Having said all that, for my present online course, I need to hand in a 12-page paper. Since it’s a research paper, I looked for reference materials at school but found none. I’d since been looking at websites but progress has been very slow. Last Sunday morning, I could feel my tension grow as I realized that work could only begin again once I got here on Tuesday morning. How could I finish it? I was overwhelmed! I was glad to be there in Malaysia but I knew that I lost at least 3 days when I could have worked on the research. I took a morning walk and was surprised to find comfort at a Christian cemetery. There, engraved on a tombstone near where I sat to rest and be still, was the verse above. And then I remembered what I read about eagles and storms. During a storm, eagles fly to the highest spot and wait for the strong winds to come. Then, when it does, they spread their wings so the wind can pick them up and lift them above the storm. They end up soaring above the storm while it rages below them. I couldn't help but see the parallel in my life! I feel like I’m in a storm with my present circumstances but I’m to rise above it. I need to spread out my wings and let the wind lift me up. The wind is like the grace of God sustaining me and helping me with everything I have to do. I'm actually an eagle already rising even as I plod along daily to complete as much work as I can. It isn't easy and it is so tiring but eventually, I’ll get to that eye of the storm, the calmest spot, and soon rise all the way up. It's hard for an eagle to be in the storm but unless it meets the storm head on, it’ll never get to where there’s a break and a calm spot for it to rise up completely on. What a fascinating process! I am so glad for our God who continues to work in our lives and mold us and shape us and help us get to where we need to be. Amen.

By His grace, I will get that paper done and soon find myself out of the storm. Thank you, Lord. Praise you!