Diary: A gift from Lae Mae

Journal Entry: July 5, 2011

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Mountain side basketball

Sitting at my first school for the day… about to share the gospel at a flag ceremony with 690+ students. I have so much to share though in a short amount of time. Our jeepney broke down yesterday at a school and we were stranded for about an hour. It turned out to be a blessing because it gave us an opportunity for Carolina and I to play basketball with the kids on the side of the mountain. We were able to talk a lot more with the children about our faith and what Jesus has done for us and before we left a young girl named Lea Mae walked up to me and gave me a note, she then took of her heart necklace from around her neck and gave it to me. The note was so sweet, she thanked me for visiting her school and she wanted me to know she had accepted Christ that day. She was so appreciative she wanted to give me her necklace. I kept asking if she was sure she wanted me to have it and she insisted. I was hesitant to take it because I know it was the nicest thing she probably had. I was not wearing any jewelry but I was wearing one of my favorite headbands, so I took it off and gave it to her.ย Another little girl had been making me a bracelet while we waited for our jeepney to be fixed. She couldn’t speak english but it was so sweet when she stretched out her little hand to hand me a beaded bracelet she had strung. It meant so much to me. And I will treasure these gifts more than gold for the rest of my life.

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Lae Mae after giving me her sweet note and necklace.

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Being silly with the children while waiting for our jeepney to be fixed.ย 

Last night, Pastor Stone also gave me a salvation bracelet he had made in Baguio City. The beads tell the story of Christ and I cant wait to get home and to have people compliment me or ask about my bracelet so I can use it as an opportunity to share the gospel!!

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God, Give me Strength to make it Today!

Do you have a day on the calendar that you wish would go away?! A day you think should be removed completely from the calendar year?! Make that date just go away, so it never happens again?! Maybe the day of your wedding with the ex. Or the day a parent passed away. Or even worse the day you lost a child. I have such a date during the calendar year – and that day is TODAY.

Two years ago today, I woke up to my phone ringing. It was my best friend Donald’s room mate calling me in complete panic. I had spent every day for the last 6 months in their apartment after the radio show and I knew that this call was not a good one…

Donald and I in Mrs. Martin's 3rd grade class photo.

I met Donald when we moved to Winter Park in pre-school. He is the most charming, loving and caring person I have ever met!! Our families were close so we did just about everything together. Growing up we played street hockey, video games, sprayed people with super soakers in the neighborhoods… we were kids who had a great life, families and time together! As we got older Donald was one of the few people from my childhood who remained close. My freshmen year of high school Donald came to my house before homecoming for pictures before going out and meeting all our friends. Even as I met my husband, Donald was still one of my dearest friends and was in our wedding party on the big day! Donald has taught me what being a great friend is!!

That made this day two years ago only that much harder. The call I got shattered my world. I picked up the phone to hear my best friend’s room mate in panic crying that he thought Donald was gone. I have never felt so empty in my life. I had no idea what to do. I have lost friends and family members before but no one in my life like Donald. He was my go-to friend. The friend you call who you know will always pick up and let you come over if you want. Or will help you move all day long. Who comes to all your work events to show their support. That was Donald. He tells me he is proud of me more than any other person has in my life. When I felt defeated from work he would freestyle rap about me and make me feel special and good. Every person needs a friend like Donald!

With Donald on my 25th Birthday!!

When I woke up today, I was depressed, I was miserable. I wanted today to go away. I wanted to act like this day never happened. But it did! Today did happen. And instead of crying and cursing God – I need to celebrate. Donald is in a perfect place – HEAVEN! I wish I was in Heaven not dealing with the stress, burden and pain of life! Donald is at peace and I should be too!

Not only that but this is the time God can do big things…. I can’t handle today on my own. The loss of Donald is too big for me. I can easily never get out of bed today…. just lay there sobbing, crying, cursing God. Just waiting for the sun to rise again the next day where I can pretend like this one never happened… until it creeps up again next year. And that is exactly how I felt this morning till I spent some time in worship and prayer. Now I remember Donald is at peace. Now I remember I will see Donald one day in Heaven. Now I remember how much God has done through his horrific tragedy. Had Donald never passed I would not be a missionary. Before Donald died I was in a dark place myself much of the time. I had battled with depression for years. When Donald took his life it felt like it could be easier for me to do it too. Jesus saved me from those thoughts and feelings. The day Donald died I put my trust in Jesus. I knew His stories… I just never followed them or lived my life according. Now I know the importance of accepting Jesus in your heart! And Donald does too because he is in Heaven with God!! And now I feel devoted to making everyone a follower of Jesus so that we can all be in Heaven and feel God’s grace daily!

This morning I was a train wreck…. but God has delivered me from that. If life is perfect God can’t do big things in your life… but when life is hard… when you want to give up… when everyone has left you… when you know you can’t live another day… that is when God can show up and doing AMAZING things!! So when you hit your hard day… the day you just want to go away and never live again… TURN TO GOD!!! God will give you the strengths in those times you never knew you had. But you have to pray, you can pray angry or sad whatever you are feeling but pray God delivers you from that and can move you to a place of peace. Today instead of crying in my bed – I know God is at work! He is at work in my heart, in the hearts of everyone who knew and loved Donald and in the heart of every one who struggles with massive pain and loss.

With the DeVane's at the 2nd Annual Donald DeVane Memorial Classic

So many people will say that if they could change the most horrible thing that ever happened in the lives they would…. but they wouldn’t change what God did to them during those times! Find hope and love in your hard times… it is there! Harness your pain into something good… I am going to focus my energy on the Donald DeVane Memorial Golf Tournament today… something that will carry on his wonderful legacy for years and help other people who are in a place of darkness!! Ask God to help you turn your pain into more love… it’s hard I know! and it doesn’t come easy, I know! Today I woke up and life was terrible… But I gave my burdens to God and He can handle them!!

Need a little spiritual guidance during grief and loss? click here!!

Orlando Sentinel Memorial on Donald published today.