I have to say, God has a way of saving the best for last. It’s my second to last day here, and His Holy Spirit has moved today in a most remarkable, poignant way… We are trusting that tomorrow He will again come like the wind.
This morning we did an assembly for the Butuan Christian Community School. It brought back flashbacks of elementary school and high school days for me, when chapel speakers would come to Wilmington Christian School-the place I spent thirteen of my most formative years in learning.
All those smiling faces out in the audience…giggles as “the American” was somewhat alien to them. Little girls in the hallway would reach up and gently grab my blonde highlights, for some may never have seen such a phenomenon along with white skin up that close before. Their gentle strokes were like the hands of God. I always can see Him most in the warm glances and touch of little ones, for they are so authentic and unabashed.
It was an absolute honor to sing for these precious children and teenagers. (I especially get a kick out of the spontaneous Filipino applause mid-song. Now I’m prepared for it and it doesn’t take me off guard like the first time, in Davao, when I thought the applause meant they were ready for me to be finished with the song, since they had cheered “Sample” beforehand…Did sample mean just part of a song? Is that why they clapped half-way through? Michelle reassured me they wanted a whole song, not half! Filipinos just love to clap!)
After I sang this morning, Michelle once again presented a power-packed message…this time on appetite. She shared the narrative of Genesis 25 and challenged the students to not be tempted to sell their royal birthright, given by God, for a measly bowl of soup. Wow! What an image to think upon…how often we sell out for something much, much less than the best God had intended for our lives! Thanks be to Him for His continual grace and redeeming love, which can teach us anew and draw us back, like the prodigal son, to our ordained and intended inheritance.
Ate Mila prayed after the symposium and I had chills. Her prayers were filled with power and life, and the backdrop was the layered noises of typhoon rain pouring down, children in hallways chattering, and worship music over the sound system…it was a snapshot of glory to my ears, and I was glad to welcome the blessings she spoke over Michelle, Raf, Charmaine, and me.
The floods came again…and the school floor began to soak…we left there for lunch with our gang. In addition to various delicious dishes was, of course, the main dish…rice! And we topped it off with Halo, Halo
This afternoon we headed back to Caraga State University. The students from Salt Light Campus Movement welcomed us once again with smiles and hand shakes and blessings, while adorning our necks with gorgeous flowers.
The room was packed and many of those in attendance were newcomers, just there for the event! I shared my songs and spoke of eternity, healing and hope in Christ, pointing to their significance and worth as individuals who can make an impact on the world…It flowed right into Michelle’s talk on calling.
She was right there on their emotional & intellectual level- reaching into their hearts, drawing out the beauty of their stories, their desires, their design…I sat there thinking, “I don’t know how anyone could be listening to this and not be hungry for a relationship with God!” I sang “Charis” afterward, and then Rafonzel came up to pull it all together, to give an invitation for students to receive Christ as Lord and Savior for the very first time.
Somewhere between 5-10 students stood to give their lives to God! Pastor Jack prayed, and as he did, tiny tears welled in my eyes…I fought back, trying to not let a black stream of mascara run down my checks. I thanked God for those beautiful lives, being welcomed into the Kingdom for the first time. I also prayed for my dear friend Jeanne, who is fighting a serious infection in the hospital back home right now…This is a woman who financially supported my trip so I could fly here to the Philippines, and I had the honor of seeing the ripple effect of her giving- in those students’ lives this afternoon! Rafonzel reminded me of the quote from Gladiator, “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” Jeanne surely has impacted lives for eternity, halfway around the world…lives she probably won’t meet until the great feast of Heaven. I ask for prayers from you, dear reader, for my friend, Jeanne…that God will provide healing and a miracle right now in her life. She’s a hero and inspiration of faith in my life, and I’m thinking of her while on this trip…Thank you for praying with me!
After our time at Caraga, we went to Aneco Conference Hall, where tomorrow’s Beauty for Ashes Tour finale will be held. A group of us walked around the venue, praying over every corner, every life who will come tomorrow, every aspect of the program…God, come like a mighty wind! Show Your power and glory! We are here to lift You high!
We topped off the night with a lovely dinner at a family’s home from the church. Ate Nancy, Kuya Mervin & their family members…they served us Filipino delicacies.
You won’t believe it…I ate not one, but TWO fried frogs tonight! Somehow they talked me into it without much pressure! Did I mention that I pet one of those lizards I found climbing up a wall in the city earlier, too? I’m becoming very friendly with little critters it seems…maybe too friendly as I try to fall asleep and realize two frogs are sleeping inside of me tonight!
Goodnight & God Bless!