Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Missing Nanay Linda: Thanks for comforting words and prayers

Nanay Linda I have been meaning to post other things more regularly besides our monthly update. But my brain has quit working for some time. Sitting down here in front of the monitor with my hands on the keyboard trying to hit some keys to form words that would express ideas on my head.  Sad to say, most of the times I feel my head is empty.

Perhaps one of the reasons is we have been in the field for six years. We really did not have a real long break just like other missionaries do. We are envious with those who go could go every now and then for an extended period and spend time with their family, friends and churches. We do not have that luxury, well at least, at the moment. Perhaps another reason is our own children are going to college. Jared is already in the Philippines and Jillian will follow suit.  The stage of empty nest? Is that what they called it? They say it causes separation and mid-life anxieties.

Loneliness, yes, being away for from home for a long time makes one lonely. When friends, relatives and family started dying one after the other caused us unexplainable sadness. My mother in-law, Nanay Linda, had died almost a week ago. When she was alive, she expressed her desires to spend time with us especially with her grandchildren. So last Christmas, even though our budget was tight, we found way for her to come and spend Christmas with us including her adopted grand kids. The kids fondly called her Lola (equivalent of grandma in Filipino) and they were happy just to be around her. Talking and laughing most all the times. The children sometimes were naughty but overall I think they made her happy. She cooked food and baked bread and cookies. She made beautiful dresses for the girls and pajamas for all of us.

We brought her to places in Northern Thailand that she wanted to see and we had a blast doing road trips and spending a night or two in cheap hotels. Although she got tired easily and experiencing pain on her feet at that time, we knew she was very happy that she was spending that what were her last precious moments with us. There were times when she would tell us jokingly (but perhaps she was serious) that because she had seen us, she was ready to die.

But we never thought that she would leave us so soon. When she died, the world had to stop for a while for a while. Narlin abruptly cancelled all her plans including the English camp that the school and her were planning for quite some time and went home to mourn her mother’s death. For us who could not go, mourning is expressed in other ways. However, the Lord promised to turn our mourning into joy.  We rejoice in knowing that Nanay Linda is happy because she finally meets her creator and rejoicing that she sees Jesus face to face. As the Lord say in Jeremiah 31:13, “I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.”

Narlin will be back on August 1. Apparently, all the flights of Cebu Pacific in between the dates are fully booked. Please continue to pray for provisions and safe travel. In behalf of Narlin and her family, we want to thank those who convey their of condolences and sympathies. Those words of comfort and encouragement meant a lot to us. Thanks for those who understood that Narlin would never make it home without financial help. Your gift whatever the amount is always a huge help for us. Thank you and may God bless you more.

Hebrews 12:1“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Time of Refreshing

We had seen the end of summer and it is now wet season here in Thailand. However, the rain though is not falling as much as the usual Mae Sai rainy season. This makes the humidity so high that it makes us all feel heavy and tired than we really are.

This morning, we rejoiced when we woke up with a refreshing cool heavy rain but the it has stopped as soon as it has begun and the sun was out hot again. Whatever the season is, we continue to give praises and thanks to the Lord. The rain is a symbol of God's blessing.

Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone. (Joel 10:1)

We share to you once again the blessings we received from the Lord recently.

Visit from an Old Friend

An old friend from our first short term missions trip in 2004, Kuya Fil came to visit us. He came with his son David and co-worker, Arlene. They came to Thailand representing Every Nation Church to provide member care for their missionaries who are working in Thailand. They intentionally included us in their itinerary and ministered to us by giving us a "debriefing"  They also treated to a good lunch at MK Restaurant which admittedly we had never been able to do all of our six years of stay here in Mae Sai.  They also came to bring a violin donated to the children by Kuya Fil's daughter, Mai Mai. The visit was truly a huge encouragement for us.

Violin Donated

Big Time Treat by DOI

The children had experienced one of the happiest days of their young lives, so far. Displaced Orphans International (DOI) a non-profit Foundation from the US treated us to a weekend full of fun and joy with a 19-people team. We were checked-in to a beautiful place called Horizon Village & Resort in Doi Saket, Chiang Mai. It was one of the most beautiful places we have ever been.

We have come to know DOI by God's own divine appointment. Sometime last year, a friend sent us an email telling us that his old friend's son and his wife were in Mae Sai and asked if we could see them. We met Jon and Joyce and we had a wonderful time of fellowship together sharing each other stories.

Incidentally Joyce is member of the board of  DOI They had a medical-dental mission to Tachilek, Myanmar last January. They thought that it would be a good idea to have the children checked-up for medical and dental. In their visit, we also meet Greg and Lynette, the founder of the DOI.

We praise the Lord for this opportunity to meet people who have the same burdened as we are for orphaned and abandoned children.

Children at Village Resort Lobby

Swimming Pool

Teaching Ministry

Teaching English is has always been "in demand" here in Thailand. But it seems the need for the Thais to learn English has escalated because of the coming ASEAN Summit and the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. The schools are now hiring more English teachers.

Narlin has been requested to teach English in Pantamit and Namchan. We are also busy preparing materials for English camp in Wat Poweehan school. God has given us Gilmhe as our partner in this ministry. She is an English teacher in BanTham High School from Baguio City, Philippines. She is also helping us looking after the kids on weekends.

We are praying for a ministry to help English teachers who will come and work here in Mae Sai. We hope we can help them in visa processing and in finding ways to minister to the Thai through English language learning center.

Prayer Concerns

Our security God's laborers in His harvest field is the in the knowledge that He is always with us and your constant prayer for us. Here are our prayer requests.

  • Pray for our visa extension. We have not received any call from the Foundation yet about the schedule of our visit to the immigration office for the stamp [one-year visa extension]. Our visa will expire on the 20th of July.
  • Pray for more opportunities to share God's love, mentor and disciple our friends and acquaintances.
  • Pray for Jillian and Nuch as they are getting ready to go to college next year. Pray for guidance and provisions.
  • Continue to pray for Jared and Reuven's studies. We are touched by people who expressed support, encouragement and give advice for Reuven's difficulty in adjusting to school. Your concern is sincerely appreciated.
  • Pray for all the kids and their needs. We are certain as of the moment that two girls will not stay with us for long (they might go home to Myanmar one summer and might not come back). But the rest of them will be staying with us until they finished school. Your prayer and support is all we have to sustain their daily needs and education.
  • The kids might get their ID today. Thank you for your prayers.

Thank you for every prayer uttered in our behalf. Thank you for the riches shared through us for His Kingdom. May his name be glorified in our lives forevermore.

Monday, July 09, 2012

The Spirit of Hope

Eschatology is one of the most dominant themes of Moltmann’s theology. For him, eschatology is the key that unlocks all the truths of the Christian faith. He laments the fact that the theme is relegated to the appendix of major theological works instead of being the medium of all theological thinking.[1] Its scope is not only about the end of times but the anticipation God’s impending recreation of all things. With this line of thinking, he brings eschatology back to the very heart of Christian theology. It should not remain as merely one of the doctrines but it should be included in all of Christian proclamation, intrinsic to every Christian existence and of the whole church.[2]

Eschatology is all about Christian hope. Hence, Moltmann in effect put the theme of hope at the heart of Christianity. He defines hope as action, transforming the present, forward looking and forward moving. Christian faith is based on the hope of the resurrection of Christ. This section examines ideas about the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of hope.

First, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of hope hence he is the one who sustains faith. According to Moltmann, faith is foundation of hope but hope nourishes faith. “In the Christian life faith has the priority but hope the primacy. Without faith’s knowledge of Christ, hope become a utopia and remains hanging in the air. But without hope, faith falls into pieces, becomes a a fainthearted and ultimately a dead faith.”[3] Moltmann shows the relationship between faith and hope through the following examples: (1) Faith believes in the promises of God but hope anticipates the fulfillment of God’s promises. (2) Faith believes God to be true; hope awaits the manifestation of this truth. (3) Faith believes that believers have eternal life; hope expects the revelation of eternal life. In other words, one could not exist without the other.

Second, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of hope because he is the source of life and consequently he is passionate about it. This statement is understood more clearly in the context of the resurrection hope. For Moltmann, the resurrection of the crucified Christ from the dead is God’s declaration for his passion for life and protest against deliberate actions that cause suffering and unjust physical death. He perceives faith as participation in love by getting out of this apathetic existence of misery and fighting against death and people who work for death. Hope then is anticipation of faith’s victory against death and against powers that bring death.

The resurrection faith can be proven by participation to this “rebellion” against death not by historical evidence or through the knowledge of life in the next world. This participation in the resurrection faith is possible only through the movement of the Spirit who descends all flesh and gives it life. This movement of the Spirit is the divine “liberation movement” for it is the process whereby the world is recreated. For Moltmann, Christ’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s revolt against death and it continuously happening in the Spirit of hope. It will end only when “every rule and authority is at last abolished.” The Holy Spirit as the Spirit of hope then finds expression in men and women who are protesting against death and those who are slaves of death. It is the Spirit who makes believers to live in the super abundance of God’s future and gives joy for the coming victory of life.[4]

Summing up, Moltmann strongly argues of the connection of faith and hope. Without faith there is no hope and vice-versa. However, Moltmann perceives that it is through Christian hope that the Holy Spirit assumes his activities in the life of the believers. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of hope because he sustains faith. Moreover, he is the Spirit of hope because he empowers Christian to fight against death and makes them live a joyful victorious life.

[1] Jurgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope: On the Ground and the Implications of a Christian Theology, trans., James W. Leitch (New York, New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1967).

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Jurgen Moltmann, The Power of the Powerless, The Power of the Powerless (New York, NEw York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1983).