As you can see from the pictures in Home Sweet Home (part 1), God truly blessed us with an awesome mission house to live in for the next year of our lives. I love my new house even with all the inconveniences like having to take ALL my pots out to reheat leftovers, not having hot water to wash dishes, having to use a kettle to boil water to make tea and coffee, not flushing toilet paper, not having AC, waking up to ants everywhere every morning, not having cabinets, Internet that takes hours to upload one picture or send one email, etc.
But after seeing other houses in our neighborhood, I felt bad that we had such a nice, large home. Then after visiting a nearby village and seeing the bamboo huts that most of them live in, I felt very sad. Why would God give us such a nice house with so many conveniences and so much room when our neighbors are living in such poverty in homes as small as our bedroom and some even smaller? I felt like a spoiled American even though we are living much more simple than we were back home and our rent is pennies compared to what we would pay in the U.S.
I was ashamed and embarrassed to have people come over to our house. I didn't want the local people to think that we were spoiled, rich Americans. I kept questioning God about this in my prayer time...wondering if we should try to find a smaller, more simple house. After prayer, I would feel much better about my house knowing that God knew what I could handle and what would break me. Even though I'd like to think that I am ready to live among the poor like the poor, God knows what I can actually handle better than I know myself.
Knowing me, God knew that I would need some modern conveniences to be able to thrive in missions. He knew that in order for me to remain in missions that I would need some comforts. He also knows how much it blesses me to have a house full of people. He knows how much I like to host gatherings at my house. He knows how much it blesses me to be able to feed and entertain others.
Last night, God allowed me to see a glimpse into why He blessed us with such a spacious home here in Avinca Village. Our house is walking distance from a mountain community called Isla Bonita. This is the place where the Romero family has been working for the past two years. It is where most of our new friends are from. And last night we were able to host a Lord's Day Meal at our house and invite six of the new families we've met to join us and the other two missionary families.
|Light of the World|
Bread of Life
Fruit of the Vine
Once again, I felt right at home with a packed house! We praised God in song, prayed together, and shared a meal together. We had over 50 people and at least 30 of them were children. I was so overjoyed to see the kids' faces as they gobbled pizza and drank orange soda and Sprite. And to hear all the laughter coming from outside as they played hide and seek and chase in the dark. It truly felt like home last night.
After all the sweeping and mopping and cleaning up, I collapsed into bed just like old times back home, truly blessed to have such an amazing life. While thanking God for all the wonderful unexpected blessings, including this amazing house He gave us for to use for ministry, Satan decided to try to steal my joy, making feel bad for enjoying my house again. I felt ashamed once again to be a missionary living in such a nice place when other missionaries are living amongst the people with only the bare necessities. I hated the fact that I had shared the pictures of our house on my blog. What would people think?
Then, in God's perfect timing, Travis came to bed and shared the following scripture with me without knowing what I was struggling with. He had been reading 1 Timothy during our desert day the day before at the Jesuit Retreat Center and shared these three verses with me. It sums up exactly why God has blessed us so much---it was given to us to share!
Tell the rich in the present age not to be proud and not to rely on so uncertain a thing as wealth but rather on God, who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment. Tell them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share, thus accumulating as treasure a good foundation for the future, so as to win the life that is true life.
Yes, by many standards we are rich, especially here in the Philippines. But it's not just because we have more money than most here that we are rich. We are rich in our faith because of the numerous opportunities we were blessed with back home to learn about Christ and what he did for us. We are rich because of our strong marriage and family. We are rich because we have so many people praying for us each and every day. We are rich because God has blessed us tremendously in order for us to share each one of these riches---our money, our family values, and our faith.
I realized last night that I can't be ashamed of our blessings. Each one of them was given to us by God to share with those we meet. I am truly blessed to be able to share my riches with so many wonderful people here in the Philippines who in return sharing their riches with me.
Salamat sa Dios!