Diary: Baguio Market and Whitrina da pups!

Journal Entry: July 9, 2011

Children I shared the gospel with in the market.

Children I shared the gospel with in the market.

Papa John’s girls are down to three. We said goodbye to Dana, Katy, Hannah (and Abby) today. Very sad after spending two incredible weeks together but they are heading back to the states. We had fellowship bracelets made for us in the Baguio City market before they left. I bought one for Lindsay, Chloe and John as well. I miss those three so much!! 

In the Baguio market, God also provided some really cool ministry opportunities. There were young girls trying to sell us bags and I told them I didn’t need a bag but I would love to share something with them if they had a few minutes. I shared with them the gospel and how God sent me to the Philippines to share the love of Christ. I asked them if they wanted to pray with me to invite Jesus into their hearts and they said yes! After we prayed they asked if I had time for them to go find their brothers, they wanted them to know Jesus too!! It was an incredible experience. I also gave them tracks (a little handout book the Tebow’s made to share the gospel with them in Tagalog) so they go go home and share with the rest of their family and friends! It was really special because every time we went into the market after that, the girls would find me and give me hugs! Praise God for my new brothers and sisters at the Baguio market!

Ps: Wilmark brought over our puppy today! We gave her a bath and kept her in our hotel for a day, before Wilmark took the puppy to his wife. The puppy is so tiny and black and has been snuggling and sleeping the whole time. So cute and sweet! I love Whitrina!

Whitrina

Whitrina

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Diary: Bad mountain weather in the Jeepney

Journal Entry: July 8, 2011

I got my journal back! Thank you God and thank you Pastor Charlie. I left my notebook at a school over two hours from where we are staying in Baguio City. I thought it was gone forever. But the Filipino people are the most loving, caring and generous people I have ever met! After 16+ hour days, Pastor Charlie still managed to get in touch with the school and get my journal back! What a blessing! I was extremely sad when I realized I left my journal on the table at the school, but thought God must have meant it for someone else to find and be touched by my stories of sharing Christ’s love with the Filipino people. But I am so glad God brought it back to me!

Katrina and I in the Jeepney!

Katrina and I in the Jeepney!

Today I had a great day with Katrina, Wilmark, Jem Jim and Ticong aka King Kong. We woke up at 3am and we didn’t get home till 6:30pm because we drove so far in the mountains. The fog and rain was so bad we had about 3 feet of visibility. It was pretty sketch driving through the winding mountain roads. Wilmark could not even see out of the Jeepney. Jim Jem had to wipe an area in front of Wilmark’s face so he could see out of the driver side windshield. We had no windshield wipers and no air conditioning but had all the flaps down on the Jeepney due to rain so the windshield was all fogged. As Katrina and I prayed for safety and sang songs about Jesus, Ticong slept peacefully in the back while his head bobbed like a bobble doll. It was a drive I will never forget! Thank you Jesus for keeping us safe!

We also want Wilmark to get Katrina and I a puppy. We want to name it Whitrina and have Wilmark keep it for us with his wife so when we come back to the Philippines we have a dog. 🙂 The Filipino pastors are absolutely incredible! We have so much fun with them. Katrina and I made a few fun videos as well with them today… including one about the C.R. (Filipino bathrooms).

Sharing the gospel at a school in the mountains and one little boy was representing Florida!

Sharing the gospel at a school in the mountains and one little boy was representing Florida!

*After today, I personally have shared the gospel with 8,085 filipinos and 7,967 of them prayed to accept Christ for the first time!! And our team has shared with over 50,000 people in the last two weeks! As Pastor Charlie would say, Aaaaaaamen!

Diary: The 1st time seeing a person with white skin…

Journal Entry: July 6, 2011

crossing the bridge to the rice fields

the narrow paths in the woods

Today has been one of the best days of my life. I was put in a group with Dana and Pastor Phil. I started at a school by myself with Pastor Arnold sharing the gospel with 1500+ high schoolers. Then we traveled up the mountain where I at some ‘mystery meat’ before giving what was left to the roaming dogs. I had no idea God was preparing something so special for us after lunch. The clouds got dark and started to swell with rain as we made our way to this awesome bridge. We left our jeepney and started to cross the bridge in the rain. As we crossed the river I truly knew I was experiencing a gift from God. After crossing we walked trails that reminded me of hiking the Appalachian Trail… we took narrow winding paths through trees right on the edge of the cliff.

hoping the fence to enter the rice fields

caraboa working in the rice fields in the rain

After the woods it opened up to a huge and beautiful rice field. We had to hop fences and walk through a huge rice field filled with pigs, caraboa, goats and chickens. It was amazing and I could experience God everywhere around me as it rained on us. The caraboa was plowing through the rice fields with a filipino man in a raincoat, the pigs and piglets were running around us hoping to get food, some pigs were hiding under roofs to try to beat the rain along with goats, chickens and roosters.

Forty-five minutes later we finally made it to the school. When I walked in, the children all screamed and ran away from me. I had no idea what was going on or what I did that scared them. Then their teacher laughed and said that her students had never seen a person with white skin before. The children literally ran, hiding in corners, left the classroom and were watching me from outside the windows. One brave boy finally decided he would accept my offer of a high-five. He slowly walked toward me, slapped my hand and ran away as quick as possible while the other students screamed and laughed. It was amazing to see how after sharing the gospel and the love of Jesus the children were not scared anymore. They knew we came to spread love, hope, mercy and grace. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life. I will be forever blessed to our Lord for using me to be a part of the children’s journey to know Him. 

the children running away from me because they had never seen a person with white skin before

the children running away from me because they had never seen a person with white skin before

mama and baby pigs begging for food

mama and baby pigs begging for food

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.

‘Blessed Redeemer’ Video: PLEASE WATCH!

Very rarely do I say “Whatever you are doing – stop now and watch this video!” In fact, I have never said those words. I post with the intent of people reading and being encouraged by the Lord and or being inspired by my journey with Christ. I don’t do this so I can talk about myself – I do it to share the love I feel from God! I pray everyone will one day feel His love and plan for our lives! So back to the point… STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND WATCH THIS VIDEO!! And maybe have a box of tissues handy! I cried and watched this over and over again!

If you read my blog then you have heard this song before. It is called ‘Blessed Redeemer’ by Casting Crowns. I used the song also for the Summit Baptism video blog.