Mission Experience–Meetings

So…Once again it’s been a long time, but I will attempt to finish the two remaining ME posts tonight–so that the series will finally be completed. 🙂

We spent about half of our time in the Philippines conducting an evangelistic series for the people there…

Brookes Point evening Child Evangelism meetings.

Brookes Point evening Child Evangelism meetings.

Each evening, my team and I would walk to the local school and set up. I am honestly starting to forget some of the details and I may get some of them wrong, but I’ll do my best to share a few stories that I still remember clearly.

There were a couple nights that our Brooke’s Point CE leader was feeling ill and therefore was not able to come to the meeting. She had two main jobs: time-keeping and leading craft time. She also did all sorts of other random things to keep the meeting running smoothly, but those are the main categories that I can think of.

Cheyenne (our CE leader) had asked me to be the time-keeper in her absence. Basically that meant that I was to carry her phone and text Mr. Ted (the Public Evangelism time-keeper, etc. in Brooke’s Point), coordinate ending times with him, and make sure my teammates knew when it was their turn to do something up front. Simple right? Especially since Cheyenne’s phone was just an old Nokia? One like I used to play with…

But no. It was not simple. lol It’s amazing what a bit of stress can do to a person’s mind! For the first part, I couldn’t figure out why the phone was typing whole words instead of single letters, therefore I couldn’t reply to the simple text: “Who has the phone?”. Simple enough answer: “Samantha”, but I couldn’t–for anything–figure out how to type it!

In my frustration I zeroed my eyes in on the phone, focusing wholly on it. I typed and deleted. I desperately tried to figure out what was going on. But to no avail. I noticed the children around me started calling to me and I didn’t even glance. I simply concentrated harder and continued trying to figure that phone out on my own.

Finally giving up, I turned to the children and asked what they wanted. Their response? Simply to point in the direction to my left, where stood–patiently waiting against the wall….Mr. Ted.

I couldn’t believe myself.

I had just spent what seemed like an eternity, trying to figure something out when the answer was beside me. I pointlessly focused on my problem when I could have paid attention to the solution.

Now, in my defense, I had no way of knowing that Mr. Ted would come over to check on us. Therefore I had no way of knowing that help was right beside me (although I certainly could’ve responded to the children much sooner…).

But, once again, it taught me a lesson.

Sometimes, when life overwhelms me, I stare at my problem desperately trying to solve it. I stare so long and hard, I concentrate so fully that I can not realize that Jesus is patiently waiting to give me the simple answer. But when I do look up, He always patiently calls to me and shows me His way. He explains the problem and reminds me that He is the Solution. He never looks down on me for my ridiculous striving; but kindly, gently reminds me that there is a better Way.

There were often nights when the rain was pouring down hard as we met. There were nights where slightly creepy men followed us (specifically the girls) around. There were nights when the power went out–and thankfully came back on shortly thereafter. I spent many nights freaking out because there was one girl who specifically enjoyed taunting me with dreadful cockroaches! I was near tears by the time we returned to the lodge one night (which, if you know me, is very unusual)…It was just so freaky! I hated the spiders and the cockroaches, but the local people didn’t seem to mind them–and some even held them!!!!! ICK!!!

I believe there were over 125 baptisms on Sabbath afternoon! Praise God!!!

I believe there were over 125 baptisms on Sabbath afternoon! Praise God!!!

In the end, any sacrifice (or frightful creature) was worth it. We had a baptism on the last Sabbath that we were in the area. The joy on the faces of those gathered was unspeakable.

Oh that we all had that same joy, every day of our lives!

 

Pressing Heavenward,
Samantha

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Mission Experience–Journey to Brooke’s Point

So last time I shared a post entitled: Mission Experience–The Pre-Trip Stories. I shared about how I ended up applying to be a Mission Experience participant and how I struggled to trust in God through the fundraising experience. I vaguely mentioned that  God had provided in amazing ways and left it at that. Well, as I was washing dishes after writing that post, I was thinking about those “amazing ways” and decided to just share one short story with you.

I had received an email from YD that pretty much said that I needed to promptly apply for my Philippine visa…They had finally gotten our flight schedule worked out and we didn’t have a whole lot of time to spare. The only problem for me was that I didn’t have any money to spare. (Read: I didn’t have any money at all!) We were asked, if at all possible, to have our visas applied for by Friday.

That Sabbath I went to church still wondering how I was going to pay the $30 fee. I had learned that it did me absolutely no good to worry about it and that God would take care of it, but I still wondered “how?”. As always, God had an answer.

A friend came up to me just before the church service started and handed me a check–for $30. I was so excited! Isn’t God awesome?!

 

So now I get to tell you about our exciting journey to Brooke’s Point, Palawan! 🙂

 

Believe it or not, I got up on Sunday morning about 15 minutes before the time when I was supposed to leave for the airport…that was when my Mom finally decided that if she didn’t get me up–I’d be likely to miss my flight. :/ I jumped out of bed, dressed, made my bed, grabbed a bite (quite literally) to eat, threw my things in the car, and left the house headed for the airport.

We were running late (for obvious reasons), but as we were driving down the road I realized that I’d forgotten my water bottle at home. Thankfully that was the only thing I’d forgotten and we were able to quickly stop by a store and grab a new one.

At the Medford, OR airport, my Mom dropped me off and headed home. I was there alone with only my luggage as company. 🙂 Mom hadn’t been able to park anywhere that she could go in with me and so I was left to figure out how to check in. Kinda funny…as I think about it now I realize that somehow shyness doesn’t matter when you’re in a “great, big” airport and you have no idea what you’re doing!

I didn’t even consider trying to figure that place out on my own! 😉 I wasn’t sure how to check in so I asked a fellow passenger, who thankfully knew more than I did, and managed to get to my gate with time to spare. While waiting I was reading some worthless stories and God prompted my heart “Is this really what you want to share with those you meet during this trip?” The answer was “no” and so I turned my phone off and grabbed a book by Mrs. White to read.

I had been told to meet up with Helen, another ME participant, in Seattle, WA and then go and meet the rest of the team at the Alaska Airlines check-in counter. I safely arrived in Seattle and waited for about an hour before I decided I’d better just go find Mr. Ted–I still hadn’t seen Helen. So I walked all over the place trying to find the Alaska Airlines check-in, and I even had airport security starting to watch me closely. I finally asked someone and was told that I just needed to go up “those stairs”.

I went up the stairs and saw…nothing. Turning around, I saw that there was another set of stairs that I assumed I should climb. Once upstairs I saw about 5, yes FIVE, Alaska Airlines check-in counters!!! Oh, which one do I choose?!?

Those shirts were sure helpful when trying to keep track of each other!

Those shirts were sure helpful when trying to keep track of each other!

Soon I spotted some other people with red ME polos on and ran over to them. It was so good to not be alone anymore! We chatted for a while before we saw Mr. Ted and the other people who drove with him to the airport carrying things into the airport. Now I totally didn’t have to know anything…Mr. Ted already did! 🙂

We spread out the supplies, that needed to be brought, among all those traveling. We each had one YD box or bag and one personal bag to check in. Mr. Ted was able to contact Helen and soon she joined the rest of us. I’m pretty sure we flew from Seattle to San Francisco, CA, to Taipei, Thailand, to Manilla, Philippines, and then to Puerto Princesa, Philippines.

We had a lot of fun together, although I have to say: the trip home was even more fun! But you’ll just have to wait to find out why. 😉

All throughout the trip I was very nervous. You see, I’d only flown once before and had never been outside the United States. Security and customs were the most intimidating part, besides the constant fear that somehow I’d get lost or Mr. Ted would get separated from us. But through the experience I learned an important lesson.

Most of us know that in order to really live a victorious Christian life we must constantly keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, right? Now how do we make that practical? We can’t really see Him…

For just a moment let’s use my airport experience as a parable. I represent a Christian, striving to become more and more like Jesus. Mr. Ted represents Jesus.

Here’s how it’s practical…

To put it simply, I was nearly constantly thinking of Mr. Ted during the whole entire trip. Where was he? Would he be likely staying put? Or heading somewhere else? If he was going somewhere else, where would that be? What was he doing? Was there any way I could get closer to him? (Within reason, of course….) Will this activity I’m doing put me in a position where I might lose sight of him?

Do you get the point?

Friends, if we are to stay close to Jesus we must fill our every waking (and even sleeping) thoughts with Him! I didn’t exactly ask myself those questions, but I was constantly answering them. If our group was doing different things, and I had the choice, no matter which looked like more fun–I chose what he was doing. No matter how entertaining or fun the things of this world seem…We must choose to follow wherever Jesus leads. I would only go somewhere if I was absolutely sure that Mr. Ted would both approve and be there when I returned.

You see, I had no idea what I was doing in those airports that make MFR look tiny. But Mr. Ted knew exactly what he was doing (most of the time) because he had traveled through them before. Hasn’t Christ traveled this path of life before us? I assure you, He does know the way!

When we arrived at Sunset Lodge we were greeted by this awesome sign. :)

When we arrived at Sunset Lodge we were greeted by this awesome sign. 🙂

 

In Puerto, we met up with Mr. and Mrs. Evert and a few people who had flown from the East Coast and arrived in Puerto a day or two before the West Coast group. We stayed the night in Puerto, had breakfast at the mission there and left in a Jeepney for Brooke’s Point the next day.

Sunset Lodge, in Brooke’s Point, would be our home for the next month…which is a story for another day…

Until next time,

Samantha

Of Lessons Through Illness

Written October 13, 2012

I sit here tonight, in my cool messy room. My head is a bit painful, I’m congested, and my throat is less than comfortable. WHY???

Well, because you need it.

WHAT???

You need it.

SERIOUSLY???

Yes, my child. You need it. Remember you’re struggling with keeping your voice gentle? Well, I’m offering you some help. 🙂

So I sit. Yes, Lord, I think I understand.

Seems to be going around blogs, these days. I’m sick. Why? And God replies: “I have the best in mind.”

Quite recently I prayed that God would help me with my terrible habit of endless yelling. Raising my voice at the cute 3-year-old because he made a mistake. Or the growing 8-year-old who just never seems to get it.
I posted a while ago about getting quite ill after YD camp and thinking that I had whooping cough. You know how that finally got cured? I quit yelling. That simple. Shortly after, old habits returned…And guess where I am today! My throat hurts!! (I really was sick, and I managed to get over that…but my throat needed rest in order to fully heal…)

You see, I have a dreadful temper. If angered deeply enough I’ve been known to physically be a bit awful. Seems I yell my life away nearly everyday (if not every day). I hate to admit being controlled…but my temper controls me.
(Did you notice in the dialog above the all-caps in my responses? I didn’t think about writing it that way–that’s just what comes naturally to me. I’m frustrated. WHY AM I ALWAYS SICK??? [Isn’t CAPS the online way to yell?] For the record: I’m really not always sick.)

So I ask God for victory…He, in His infinite mercy, grants me some help when I can’t seem to do it on my own.

Last night, I lay on the couch. I was frustrated. I came home from babysitting for the day and suddenly noticed that the tiredness that had been in my eyes all afternoon was fever. I was having difficulties with changing the offices and positions I hold at church. (Last two years I was: chorister, Kindie Sabbath School assistant and greeter. It didn’t work out when different agreements came together and I was the Greeter, Song Leader, and Sabbath School Teacher all in one week! So, this year I’m only accepting Kindie Sabbath School assistant. But, the work is great and the laborers are few.) My room was a mess–and there was NO way I wanted it to stay that way! But I was tired. I told Mom all I wanted to do was sleep…And she said that was probably a good idea. But, no! I didn’t really want to sleep.

My sweet sister then came over and felt my forehead. “Oh, you’re quite hot!” And off she ran. Before long she was back with a cool washcloth and placed it on my head. I said something about freezing to death (quite the exaggeration, and I wasn’t even talking about current situations), but off she ran again. Quickly she returned with her warm feather comforter and snuggled me up cozily, there on the couch. Then she got another bright idea. “May I go in your room, Samantha?” “Uh, I guess” (She didn’t seem in the mood to get into mischief 😉 ) Off she ran again and soon returned with Mr. White. (My teddy bear…that I seem to not sleep well without.) She lifted the blanket and put it in my arms. Touching the washcloth she exclaimed, “this is already quite warm!” and again, off she ran to cool my washcloth. The timer went off and she ran to get dinner out of the oven. Dinner time! I considered getting up out of my cozy bed to get something to eat. Not for long…My dear sister was soon by my side with a plateful of food.

How could I be angry???

It makes me think: God in His great mercy came down to this earth, suffered for me, paid the price for my sins, served His whole life long, went back to Heaven and sent us the Comforter, and is currently preparing a place for me.

How could I be angry???

He did the same for you.

How could you be angry? Or depressed? Or troubled?

Jesus longs to give rest to the weary soul. I think it’s about time we ask, don’t you?

“Dear Father, thank you so much for coming down to this dreary place to save us. I pray that you would draw very near to all who would read this, that you would grant them the peace you have promised (John 14:27). I thank you for hearing and answering this prayer. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.”

This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us!

Until next time,

Samantha

Happy Birthday to me…

So just a couple weekends ago I had another birthday. It was on Sabbath and therefore was extra special to me, besides the fact that to me, this is a milestone year.

But, even all that could not slightly compare to the beautiful morning that I spent with God.

The day before I had resolved to make the last day of my current year the best it could be. I wanted to look back and remember it as a positive day. Then I’d have a great start to the next year, as well!

There is just something so special about spending time close to God. Close to His throne. In His presence.

That Sabbath/birthday morning I could feel God’s presence, and hear His voice so clearly. It was as though my bedroom floor was holy ground. It had been a long time since I was really up early enough to be able to spend time with my Savior in perfect silence–to truly “be still”.

And all I have to say to you is this: “Be still and know that He is God!”  It’s an awesome experience.

During that time, I decided that I was finally going to write a sermon like my Pastor has suggested (or rather requested). (I told God that I so enjoyed the peace in my heart that nothing could stop me from sharing Him with others…careful what you tell God!) I’m eager to share, yes, (how could you not be??) but I am also quite nervous! I’d appreciate your prayers, I don’t like talking!

But, you know what I learned that beautiful morning? When my Lord is by my side, I have absolutely nothing to fear!

 

Pressing Heavenward,

Samantha

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hands

My cute little buddy’s hands… 🙂


When I read the subject of this week’s photo challenge my mind immediately went back to a FB note that I wrote nearly a year ago (June, 2011). So, I thought I’d share it with you…(It’s only slightly edited for my blog-I fixed typos and names 😉 )

The Blessing of…Hands! 🙂

“Okay, the day is finally over! (And I’m typing with both hands! *relief sigh*)

I started the day well, getting up, but I was using both of my hands until breakfast.

At breakfast Strawbriella was joking about not using her right hand since I had read her a story about a boy who had to have his dominant hand amputated. I thought “hmmm..good idea” Well, I have to say it wasn’t hard to eat with my left hand–though scooping food out of the pot and not holding my bowl up with the other hand was a slightly different story. 🙂 A harder challenge was the idea that I figured if I didn’t have my right arm I probably wouldn’t be wearing my watch on my non-existent arm. So, I decided to wear my watch on my left arm–ergh! I tried to put it on my left wrist, with my left hand. That was…difficult! I finally used my teeth to help a little bit, my watch is NOT slip-over. The bracelet I was wearing was a little easier to transfer. Mom said I would have to get a slip-over watch if I really lost my right arm…

Breakfast over, I went to brush my teeth. Um, may I say “I can’t!”? It took Strawbriella a little longer than me–so I guess it wasn’t too bad. 🙂

Getting the lid off the toothpaste(screw-top): easy

Putting the lid back on: just as easy

Wetting toothbrush: easy

“Brushing” teeth: well, let’s just say difficult…again 🙂

Since I wasn’t dressed yet(I got up just before breakfast) my sister and I decided that dressing must come next. Okay, find your clothes(the ones that I wanted weren’t in my closet), then get your socks out of your drawer–with your hanging clothes in your hand(remember you are only using your un-dominant hand). I decided to wear my jeans under my skirt today–probably not a good choice considering the zipper is a bit difficult with 2 hands. Don’t forget to brush your hair!

Well, once you are dressed in that way, in my house shoes are always next, we practically live in our shoes! LOL Just a quick question: Have you ever tried to tie your shoes with only your not-dominant hand? It took me a minute to decide how to do it–Strawbriella had given up and used both hands. 🙂 So, I decided that I would use my left hand and right toes to tie my left shoe. The problem? Well, once one shoe is on you can’t use those toes to tie the other shoe. So, I tucked one side of the tie into my shoe to tighten the other side, then vice-versa. My shoes felt a little loose, needless to say. I think I finally had them fairly snug by the end of the day, after they un-tied themselves 5 or 6 times. lol (Even things that we think are purely annoying can be a blessing)

Next, on to the dishes! With one hand, Mom told Strawbriella that drying was probably easier, so I got washing. Uh, when you are washing a big bowl that likes to spin around and around as you try to wash it: What do you do? I just kept fighting with it ’till I finally managed to get it clean. Dishes took about twice as long as usual.

Okay, school. I am reading a college book on Pediatric Nursing so that is what I did first–it sounded(and was) easier than Math, because I have to write for Math.

Then, lunch. I tried to cut the bread–NOT successful! Challenge: spread nut butter on a slice of bread, and jelly on another slice of bread, to make a sandwich. Reminder: Use only your not-dominant hand. I like challenge!

Now, dishes. Again, so we decided we’d trade jobs–Strawbriella would wash, I would dry. There were only a few plates and butter knives and jelly spoons to do…EASY!

Let’s fold laundry now. Okay, I admit, it wasn’t our choice, but still something we needed to do. How do you fold a large T-shirt with one hand? I guess you do your best, and remember how much of a blessing our hands really are!

Okay, now school again! This time Math which I really did not do. I got my notebook out that I use for scratch paper because I figured I’d try my left hand at writing before I wrote in my Math notebook. I did NOT want that in my book!

Then, Jonathon got home from work. Strawbriella and I ran out and told him our “game”. What did he think? You silly girls! hehe I don’t care–I appreciate my right hand more than I ever have before!

I am thankful for my hands because I LOVE to type. I usually get over 60 or 70 GWAM while typing. I enjoy it. I may get a job of it when I grow older.

I am thankful for my hands because I LOVE to play the piano. I’m not very good at it–I play for Kindergarten Sabbath School, and have played once for Junior–but I would NOT play in the church service! I am learning, I love to spend extra time at church for practicing on one of the pianos and I try to practice on Mom’s Casio Keyboard when I get a chance, although I have a difficult time getting over the idea that the keys don’t feel right. 🙂

I am thankful for my hands because I can’t hold babies without them. I can’t play well with Doodle because when I hold him he likes to play…WILD! We are both “daredevils” and we make a really good match even though we are 13 years apart according to age. He loves to stand on my shoulders, and I wouldn’t even try that with only one hand.

I am thankful for my hands because they make it so that I can cook properly, they allow me to fold laundry, tie my shoes, brush my teeth, dress, eat, crochet, sew, play, and so many other things that I don’t want to type all night to mention here.

My sister and I decided we’d finish our “day” at 7PM and now being 8PM I am summing up the days events. With both hands, which are SUCH a HUGE blessing!

Counting blessings,

Samantha F. E. 🙂

THE END!

Wow, I just noticed there are a LOT of smiley faces in that!!

What do you love to do with your hands?

Choices–Who’s Making Yours?

The last year or so has been a whirlwind of activity for me.  Not only has my life gotten busier getting ready for college, I’ve seen myself growing in ways I didn’t know I could grow in!  One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is learning to make my own decisions.

In November of 2010 when my family and I first went to Christian Berdahl’s music seminar we left with a commitment to fast from media for 90 days-in all it’s forms; TV, social networking, email, video, music, stories…Read the Bible and study books, do what’s necessary for school and work, and leave the rest alone! The problem with this was that not all of us were committed. My Father who had not attended most of the seminar had no interest in the challenge, and my little sister was dependent on music to go to sleep at night.  Needless to say we gave up within a couple weeks-even those of us who started the challenge and had intended on finishing!

Fast forward half a year to YD camp 2011.  Christian Berdahl was one of the speakers for Mission/Music camp and at campfire one night he challenged us Young Disciples to the 90-day media fast.  My whole unit stood, but I had a problem: I’d tried this before and failed!  After the meeting I went to Christian, briefly told him my situation and asked him what to do. This was his answer “How many people did Daniel and Joseph have with them?” Hmmmm…that’s a question I wasn’t sure I wanted to answer so I said “Not very many” to which he replied “NONE!”  He told me it would be hard, but that I could do it. Stay in God’s Word and pray for strength!  If the TV or music was on…go outside! (I didn’t mention music at bedtime… 🙂 ) It was all my choice what books I read and even though my family is often behind computers I could decide whether to be part of that or not. He encouraged us before we left on Sunday to ask our families for a commitment to family time-find something better to do!

This time the commitment was mine.  None of my family wanted to try again and family time only lasted less than a week, but I didn’t let it bother me!  Some were amazed that I thought I could possibly stay off Facebook for 3 months! Goes to show how my priorities were set. I did succeed in the challenge. At bedtime I simply folded my pillow in half-with my head in the middle-and that kept me from hearing the music. (My siblings kept it low for me.) I finished  a book I’d been working on for a long time (The Desire of Ages) and found lots of time for Bible reading and prayer.  I even stayed off FB though a couple times I went to the login screen, I never logged in. Praise God! And during the challenge Jonathon had bought an awesome CD and I was very excited when I could listen to it!! 😉

 

This (along with some other things) has taught me some very valuable lessons. One day I’ll be on my own without my parents there to make choices for me, and besides that I’ve learned that there is no power in my parents’ choice. There is no power in the preacher’s choice. There is no power in “going with the flow”. But there is power in Jesus Christ when we as individuals make a choice and depend on Him to help us fulfill our commitments!

Do you have any experiences where you learned that it’s your choice that really matters? I’d love to hear!

Until next time,

Samantha