Feb 3, 2011

Let's Get Moving!

“For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” Romans 10:13-15

You know what’s scary? Venturing into the unknown.
But do you know what’s really exhilarating? Venturing into the unknown with God.
Last week I traveled there with Him quite a lot, specifically and especially on Monday through Thursday. Those were awesome days. Here’s how they went.
After packing my daypack with my Bible, notebook, water bottle, and wallet, I would walk across the street to the large house with the big garden. “Carina?” She would instantly appear around the corner, her bag over her shoulder, a smile on her lips. Then came the walk to the trike. The first couple steps were always in silence. But conversation and laughter soon followed. At the town center, Carina would wave a trike driver over to us. “To Subec,” was all we had to say as we climbed inside the cozy sidecar.
It's such a pretty place
Those seven minutes to Subec were always scary ones. Not because of the ride—I’ve long since gotten used to drives in the Philippines. But in those seven minutes, I would think about what was to come during the next several hours. I would think about the few people I knew in the barangay of Subec, the little English they spoke, and the long stretch of time we had to fill.
You see, the week before, I had felt a strong, passionate desire to minister in Subec. I’d been there on several occasions and had made acquaintanceships, but I really wanted to get to know people there, to pray with them, and to connect with them. I didn’t fully understand it, to be honest: I just really wanted to go. Since there was going to be a medical mission there soon (it happened yesterday), I had a lead-in tidbit of information to open up a way for more conversation.
There seemed to be only one problem with me going to Subec everyday: who would go with me? The other girl SMs’ parents were here and they would want to be spending time with them. Kim, Justin, and Aaron had other projects they wanted to work on, and I really couldn’t go by myself. But, God had a fantastic answer to that. Recently, I’ve been getting to know one of the AY (Adventist Youth) girls in particular. Carina is kind of quiet, and it has taken me the longest time to get to know her, but we’ve been growing closer these last couple weeks. One evening while I was still uncertain how I would be able to go to Subec, I was having a conversation with Carina about dreams and goals. As we were talking, she mentioned that she loved visiting and meeting people, saying that she would even like to spend time as a missionary. I was so ecstatic to hear here say that! I encouraged her not to give up on her long-term dream of being trained as a missionary, and then I asked her if she’d like to go with me to Subec. “Of course!” she replied.
So my trips to Subec grew a second purpose: to get Carina involved in the mission life. Awesome!
Being with Carina was great. But everyday, I would spend that seven-minute trike ride wondering what was going to happen. Were we just going to wander around all day? Would we actually meet with people? Would they want to talk to us? What would we say? My desire to take the area by storm for God always seemed just beyond reach during the journey.
Then we would stop, get out of the trike, ask “manu?” (“how much?”), pay 50 pesos, and watch the trike drive away. There was always a moment where Carina would look at me and ask, either with words or just with her eyes, “Where do we go from here?”
 “Let’s pray.” That’s what made the difference, I think. Before going anywhere, we wanted to make sure that God took us somewhere. After asking God to guide our way, I always felt better—and for good reason. After praying, it seemed like opportunity leapt out at us. Our days were all filled with people, prayer, and the Word of God.
There are so many kids in Subec!

The second day, I forgot to have us pray before setting out down the road. We had a long conversation with a couple of men who’d already had a drink or two (one hit on Carina in Ilocano—afterward I insisted that if that happened again she needed to tell me so we could leave). There was a woman I remembered visiting with a group of people in November, and I wanted to find her. So after talking to the men, we went in search of her house. But I had no idea what her name was or where she lived. After wandering down the road, looking up and down the sides of the street for a familiar sign, a realization hit me. “Carina, we didn’t pray!” Immediately we bowed our heads and devoted our day’s work to God. In particular, we asked Him to help us find the woman’s house. Once done praying, we set out again.
We wandered and wandered, going down to the end of the pavement, stepping off down trails of mud. But after about 20 minutes or so of searching, I finally spotted the trail. We traversed the mud, waded across the river, climbed up a hill, asked a neighbor for help (“What’s the name?” “…we don’t know…”), until finally, by God’s grace alone, we miraculously found the house. I praised God as we sat down and began talking with the woman. We ended up having a short Bible study together. Then we just talked and ended in prayer. As we walked away, Carina and I both rejoiced that God had led us to her successfully.

Two missionaries going wherever
they're led: even across condemned bridges

Once, as we were trying to cross a rickety old bridge, we commented to each other how working in Subec made us feel like real, hard-core missionaries, going out into the wild to find people to meet. Several steps and a couple loud, ominous creaks later, Carina said, “If I die on this bridge, I will die happy.” We both laughed. Who was on the other side of the bridge? A couple young women who wanted to study the Bible. Now we’ll be crossing that bridge every week.
Around 4 or 5 we would walk back to the highway and hire a trike. Two days we went and visited an extra house along the way before going back to the church. But once we arrived in the middle of the road with the church to our left and her home to our right, before departing from one another’s company, we would stop and pray together again, thanking God for a safe and fruitful day of working for His kingdom.
Our week in Subec was an absolutely amazing experience for me. It was incredible to see where God led us each day. It was clear that He had certain people He wanted us to meet, and at times I could even sense words He wanted us to speak. There are so many possibilities and opportunities available to us while working for the kingdom of Heaven. There is so much we can do, so much God wants to do through us. But until we move, nothing will happen. Carina and I were clueless as to what God had in store for us from day to day. But that didn’t matter. What mattered was that we packed our Bibles into our bags, packed ourselves into the trike, and packed our day with prayers for guidance. God took care of the rest.
If we don’t move, there is no gain—not for ourselves and not for others. It’s not until we choose to move for God that things start to happen. If we truly want the whole world to know about God’s good news of salvation, we simply need to start moving and praying. God tends to do the rest.
So let's get moving! I for one would like to see where God will take us.