A Life-Changing Experience | The Philippines

It may shock people to learn that Carrie left me…for two weeks.  She had her eye on another love…mission and traveling so she went out on mission to the Philippines and is having a great time (though I can’t wait until she gets home)!

She left on March 2, but how crazy is it that we are able to communicate moment-by-moment via texting on our cell phones?  That is, however, made difficult by the fourteen hour time difference.  There really aren’t all that many hours when we are both awake to talk, sadly.

She is really enjoying this  trip.  They are staying on the island of Leyte where there is a University.  One of the problems that the people of the Philippines face is that few women are able to get an education in agriculture and they need to feed their country, so Carrie is with a team of people who are working to build a women’s dormitory at the University.

A mission team started the dormitory 20 years go, finishing two rooms.  In a recent disaster, the roof failed and a mission team was needed to repair it: it re-ignited the dream that began two decades before.  Carrie is very excited to be part of the team that is working to take the project further (with local construction crews, too, of course).  Carrie has been loving this project and feels passionate about the need.

It’s not just construction, though. Her team also collected books and clothes, shipping them in advance of their trip.  The United Methodist Church is finding great success in the Philippines and they have many people who want to be trained as clergy, but there is little education for pastors.  They need help educating pastors, so Carrie is also part of a group providing training for licensed local pastors who have not had the benefit of a seminary education.  Carrie also surprised me the other day when she  suggested that we should plan, in the future, to go to the Philippines to teach.  How fun would that be?

It was a long journey to get to the Philippines.  Her car was making some noise so I decided that we should keep her car here so I could get it to the mechanic (and so that she wasn’t driving an unreliable vehicle, of course).  We both had Ash Wednesday services so we couldn’t go up the night before like many people on the team.  We got up early on Thursday morning so I could get her to Chicago O’Hare Airport by 9 o’clock to meet the group.  We left the house at 5:30am and I got her there at 8:45am to meet the rest of the group, but, then, I rushed back to Hudson for a 12:30pm meeting at my church.  It was a really long day for me, but that was nothing compared to poor Carrie.  She traveled continuously for 52 hours straight!!!  I can’t imagine how miserable that must have been with flights, drives, and the seemingly endless layovers at airports.

It was a crazy-long journey for her, but I think the trip, so far, has been worth it.  Based on the photos she is posting on Facebook the food has been one of the most exciting aspects of the trip for her.  Is anyone really surprised?  I, on the other hand, am not very excited about the food I am eating while she is gone.  I’m going to appreciate her culinary skills all-the-more when she returns!

PS: Check out Carrie’s Instagram and Facebook pages to see more!


Resurrection & New Life:  Betrayed
image found at:  http://mikefriesen05.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/dealing-with-lifes-great-wounds-betrayal/

Scripture:  John 13:21-32

In the scripture today Jesus is said to know that one of his disciples will betray him.  I want you to take a moment to consider this.  How many of us would ever knowingly keep someone who will betray us in our group?  I mean, if I know someone is talking behind my back or acting jealously (etc.) you had better believe that I will stop confiding in them.  If I know that a friend does not have my best interest at heart, you’d better believe that I no longer consider them friend.  My interests have to be important to my friends, right?  My needs have to be a concern for a true friend.

Christ does not define life or friendship as you or I do.  As Jesus approached the cross, he began to make it very clear that Life is far more than what we can see or experience.  In those last days of life, Christ showed us that there is more to experience than this lone world.  When Judas is invited to continue at the meal, in fact, invited to ‘do what he must do’ but quickly…Judas is shown that he is still cared for.  Jesus remained committed to Judas even when Judas was clearly not committed to Jesus.

There will be many times when we will betray our God.  It is part of being human, by the way.  Our God will be hurt and saddened by the decisions that we make and the things that we choose to do, yet God does not send us away from the table.  Jesus not only continues to eat with Judas, he actually dips bread and feeds Judas.  Jesus feeds the one who will betray him!?  I want to suggest that this is what happens for us at communion.  Communion is the act when we come forward in church and feed upon bread and juice as a sign of being fed by Christ….when it comes to that act, we are much like Judas.  We are imperfect human beings, yet God sees beyond us and our limitations.  We will mess up and betray God, yet God will still love us, feed us, commune with us.

During Holy Week consider what it means for us to still be at God’s table after all of these millennia.  What does it mean that Christ still communes with us?  What does it mean that Christ offers body and blood for us to partake in?  What does it mean that God does this knowing that we will commit betrayals?

Christ invites all of us, even though we will mess up, to walk with Him to the cross.  Christ invites all of us to journey the Easter  experience and to know his love.  Will you journey with Christ this Easter?  Are you prepared to be loved in a new way this Easter?