Results You Cannot See

I spent today at Corregidor Island, a small space with a detailed history and an important role in WWII.  While there is plenty to be said, the last comments from our guide struck me.  (Keep in mind that this is coming from a non-historian!)

The troops (US and Filipino) at Corregidor, the last stronghold as the Philippines was taken over by the Japanese military, held out for almost a month after the fall of Bataan.  They knew (according to our tour guide) that victory was unlikely or impossible, and yet they held out, living in a damp tunnel under 300 feet of a stone mountain.  The bombs fell, on average, once every five seconds.

Malinta Tunnel, where hundreds of men and women stayed through constant bombing before the surrender of Corregidor Island

The futility of their mission left me wondering why.  Why maintain your position when the end is in sight?

History is full of “now we know…” and today’s tour was no exception.  It is thought that the delayed Japanese victory at Corregidor forced a schedule change that kept Australia free from occupation.  (I don’t recall any of this from my history classes, but at the point, I’m taking the guide at his word.)  Sadly, many of the people, including the president of the Philippines at the time, died before they could see the impact of their courage.

But what they did mattered.  Even if they didn’t see the end result, their courage changed the way WWII played out.

MacArthur- “I shall return” on the beach
Ruins of a barracks
Statue honoring the women of the Philippines and the difference they made

Oh, for courage to do what is right, even when I don’t see results.  While it probably won’t involve extended time in a tunnel under constant shelling for me, I’d like to live with that spirit.

Join the team!

Hello!  Welcome to my little space on the internet.  I’m really excited to share how you can join the team of amazing people who support me in serving at Faith Academy in the Philippines.

First, please pray!  The last two years have been filled with more answered prayers than I had ever seen before, and I know that God is thrilled to partner with us as we pray.  Would you ask God to

  • give me wisdom with selling my car and buying a new one?  She’s strugglin’ lately!
  • help me to keep my focus on Him in the next six especially busy months!
  • provide the financial support I need in His timing.
  • bless these last nine weeks of third grade with this class.

Next, see if you might be part of the solution.  As I finish my “short term” commitment at Faith, there are a few changes to my financial situation.  Between health insurance and visa changes, the cost of being here is going up.  I was also blessed with a lot of one-time support when I first came (which was great!), but I am specifically praying for people to partner with me through:

  • Monthly commitments.  Maybe it’s $10 each month.  Maybe it’s $100 each month.  You can sign up to give automatically through www.OneChallenge.org/give.  This becomes grocery money, gas money, etc.
  • A one-time gift, specifically for replacing my car.  Dori has been awesome, but she’s required major work each month since November.  I just don’t trust her anymore. :(  If you’d like to do this, please note that it is for my car.  This can also be done online.  Or, either type of gift can be mail directly to One Challenge with a note that it is for me.

Finally, share!  If you have a friend who might be interested, attend a church that would like to help send a missionary, or know a small group that would like to learn more, pass the word.  How?

  • I am happy to Skype in to share about this work.
  • Share the video and this blog post.
  • Let me know if we could meet up in June or July when I am back in the States for a bit.

If God is calling you to join the team, please let me know!  Shoot me an email at angeladawn at gmail dot com, message me on Facebook, or fill out the survey at  http://goo.gl/forms/6yyoorykwK.

I’m excited to have you join the team!

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-Angela (with help from a few of my kids!)

What’s next?

The last six months have been filled (internally at least!) with this question.  I initially came to Faith Academy on a two-year commitment, not knowing what God had in store for me beyond those two years.  My usual response to the question about the future was, “God was clear when He sent me; He’ll be clear about the next step.”

Sometimes, I could say that with full confidence.  At other times, my faith wavered, and I worried about a possible uncertainty when the time for decision came.

God has been faithful, though, in making His plan for next year clear.  While I can’t say what the rest of my life will look like, I do feel confident that I should be at Faith Academy, serving the kids of missionaries for the next school year.

What does that mean when you are a missionary?  It means making sure you have a team in place for prayer, emotional, and financial support.  I know that my financial support need will increase some.  (That is, in large part, due to a lot of one-time gifts when I first came to the Philippines.  What a blessing they were!  Now, I’m praying for ongoing monthly support as well.)  If you would like to share your plans to pray, update your subscription preferences for newsletters and email updates, or let me know about your desire to be part of my financial support team, please fill out the survey here: http://goo.gl/forms/6yyoorykwK.

Please feel free to pass on this post and/or the link to others who may be interested, and pray that God will guide me in this journey!  My desire is to see His kingdom come and His will done here on earth, just like it is done in heaven.

Closure Counts

In the last 24 hours, I have had friends stop by my house, call on the phone (a rarity here), make time for a chat, and send emails with the specific purpose of saying, “Good bye.”

I’m not leaving for good.  I’ll be back in a week.

But I can’t tell you how well-sent-off I feel as I leave, sitting here in the airport with my emotional backpack full of good wishes, assurances of prayers, and hugs.  (There were also many offers of help, an amazingly capable and fun guest teacher to take my place, and more. The efforts to send me off, though, really struck me.)

I’m terrible at saying good bye.  I don’t like leaving a party with a farewell; slipping out silently is much easier.

At this moment, though, I think a new goal is in order.  When I leave for a week or less or more, I’ll invest in the moments it takes to close the moment well.  Thanks to my awesome community for showing me how.

The Most Important Thing

What’s the most important thing about you?

As grown ups, we talk about identity and self-esteem and all that.  I was talking with my kids the other day about the most important thing about them.

And then my grandpa died.  Let’s face it: at your funeral, they mostly talk about the most important things about you. Everything else is forgotten.  He would have liked this song.

A few of my favorite artists have a new song and it about- surprise, surprise!- the most important thing about life.

I rejoice in my Redeemer, Greatest treasure
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other;
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

As summer flowers we fade and die:
Fame, youth and beauty hurry by.
But life eternal calls to us at the cross.
I will not boast in wealth or might,
Or human wisdom’s fleeting light.
But I will boast in knowing Christ at the cross.

You can find a free copy of the choir chart and hymn chart here.

So when the stuff of life seems overwhelming, my own wisdom is utterly insufficient, and I watch myself fade, I will trust Him.  That’s the most important thing about me.

Giving Thanks…Health

There’s nothing like being sick to make you thankful for health.  I have never known the truth of that so much as I did with dengue fever.  A week of sleeping all day and all night (literally) with a fever of 103* and weeks of recovery after that contrasted with normal life.

It’s so nice to be back to normal. I’m grateful for all the help I had in my classroom (yay for Emily, my student teacher) and the care of friends and coworkers who supported her, my kids, and me.  I’m thankful for a flexible group of kids who prayed for me and reported to their parents on my increasing time at school each day (2 hours the first day, 3 hours the next, etc.) as I returned to work.

For sleep and healing and feeling good again, I give thanks.

Giving Thanks…technology

for Facetime

instead of  poor-quality but expensive long distance phone call

or a two-month turn around on letters

(…and I am challenged by the sacrifices made before me!)

for little giggles and fresh photos each day

for high fives and “hugs” and peek-a-boo

for videos of sweet songs and silly stories

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(watching Eli read Love and Logic- priceless!)

for staying connected

even when the sharks eat the internet (for real.)

I give thanks.

Giving Thanks…Aunts and Uncles and Cousins, Oh My!

Is it weird that there is no plural, gender-neutral word for aunts and uncles?  Do you ever think about the words that don’t exist in your language?  Or do you know a word like that?

I digress.  This is a quick post to kick off a week of posts dedicated to expressing gratitude.  I’ve been absent from the blog despite many thoughts of “I should post!”  So here goes.

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A very exciting meal of Thai food this summer with my Uncle Rick and Aunt Joy

One of the joys of my adult life (and of the last year in particular) has been fresh, grown up relationships with my parents’ siblings.  As I started the process of sharing my plans to come to the Philippines, my aunts and uncles were some of the first to start supporting me (in various ways), and they continue to do so.  Cousins have jumped in with kind encouragement, scripture, and love.  I get delightful emails sharing how they are praying for me, and I got to see many of them in the States over Christmas.  My Aunt Dondi came to visit in November, and we had a blast!

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Dinner with my Aunt Dondi. (Yes, we like to eat!)

My childhood was filled with holidays and family reunions with extended family, so it’s not that I have discovered people I never knew.  I am, however, enjoying this sweet blessing of extended family putting a lot of effort into investing in my life and ministry.  From gifts for my classroom (math game!) to many prayers for me from my aunts and uncles and cousins,  I am giving thanks for all this love!

Future Plans

I just sent an email out to the people on my email updates list.  If you’re interested in the next steps for me in this journey, read more here.  (Spoiler alert…it involves a bit longer at Faith Academy.:)

Redeeming the Run

I’ve been running for over three months now.  That’s a record for me!

Oh, I’ve run before.  But now, thanks to my good friends and co-workers Wendy and Evangeline, I get up at 4:40am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning.  We run together (and separately, all at our own paces and with personal goals) at school.  We run while the stars disappear, while the sky is painted pink and purple, while the breezes blow cool air, and while just the guards are there, turning off the lights one by one.

Because we run, I run.  Because Wendy and Evangeline are there, I get up and go.

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(Getting more coffee pods on a girls’ morning out with Evangeline and Wendy)

Because Wendy and Evangeline are there, my runs are redeemed.

You may or may not know this, but I’ve spend a large portion of my life (well over half at this point) worrying about how I look.  By the time I started college, that looked like a super-limited wardrobe (neutrals, anyone?) so no one would look at me.  Depending on the time, the stress of life in general, and all manner of other variables, it also meant controlling my food and exercise to manage my appearance.

For the most part, I got frustration and emptiness in pursuit of this “ideal.”  What I didn’t realize at the time, though, was that I also lost the joys of these good gifts: food and exercise.  By grasping for control, I unwittingly gave up the chance to really taste and see God’s goodness in delicious food, the community of the table, and a body that is capable of moving, sweating, and getting stronger.

While I wouldn’t say that those concerns are forever gone, I find delight in the redemption of these gifts.  The discipline of exercising in community (with running and with some strength building- shout out to the FB groups and Marla for inviting me!) has transformed it from a fear-based reaction to a healthy habit.  Instead of working out because I’m worried and trying to control something, anything, I can work out because it’s good for me.  Many mornings, I even enjoy it.  (And when I don’t enjoy the exercise, I do enjoy the company.  Yay for friends!)

There was a time when I despaired of being able to eat or exercise in freedom.   The journey is definitely one step at a time, but I think I’m ready to run.