san francisco –> tokyo –> manilla –> pampangaga –> i will never be the same.

photo (24)As I boarded the flight, I could not comprehend what I was embarking on, but everything in me longed for it to unfold.  Leaving behind my worries and people I loved, I was determined to focus on what God had planned for me; I didn’t want to miss anything.

After long flights, a unique journey through Tokyo and car rides through the roller coaster traffic of Manila, our team arrived in Pampanga.  As I stepped out of the van I heard a noise I will never forget.  The children of MCF (Macabebe Christian Fellowship) were chanting and singing, expectantly waiting our arrival.  Stepping into the courtyard of the church I was moved to tears. The excitement and anticipation on their faces was overwhelming.

They adorned us with flower garlands of Sampaguita (which is the national flower of the Philippines with an aroma that was sweet and calming after such a longer journey) and handed us freshly cut coconuts.  It is a welcome I will carry in my heart.  Not only were they welcoming us to the Philippines, they became the gate into my world changing forever.

Pampanga showed me what being a servant really looks like.  I was humbled by the way they took care of me and it pushed me to a new level of humility and desire to serve.  What was striking was their hope and belief that we were an answer to prayer.  Their receptivity was phenomenal.  It placed a new picture in me of what desperation looked like; what depth the hunger for God could go to.

kids My heart has such a burden for children.  One of my deepest desires is to see children walk into the purpose of their lives; for them to believe that they are born on purpose and with a purpose.  These children were longing for Hope, longing for Love.  The wonder in their eyes and the joy in their smiles as we played with them, prayed over them, performed dances or skits, will remain one of the most beautiful wonders this world could ever show me.

serveHaving the opportunity to serve them will remain one of the greatest privileges I’ve been given.  Their lives, words and love have made a lasting impact on me.  Through meeting them I’ve been given new eyes to see.  Coming home I was not able to participate in my everyday life in a “business as usual” sort of way. Meeting them has challenged me to walk in the way I’ve been called to; to give up comforts and live for something far better than myself. My life is not my own and it is not lived simply for my pleasure or desires.  This life I’ve been given is because there are young people all over this world longing for someone to uncover in them the Power they already possess.  They are waiting for someone to believe in them so they can believe in themselves.

IMG_8293 IMG_8294It is young people like Jescie (left) and Angel (right) who inspire me to continually grow and understand that when I am obedient to what He calls me to, I am blessed in the process.  Meeting these two young ladies was an honor.  Jescie is talented, beautiful and ready to change the world.  She is a leader and a dreamer.  The desire and passion she has for Jesus was inspiring to me.  I didn’t know how to have that sort of desperation until I met her.  Angel is a sweet, sensitive and fun-loving girl.  I had a vision of her leading a group of children through her province bringing revival, hope and love to her community.  Angel had the ability to touch God and feel His compassion for others in a way I long to.  Her tears as I would pray over her, reminded me that my heart should break for what breaks His.  Her tears showed me that feeling His presence is a gift and should bring me to a place of humility each time.

There is more to tell about my time in Pampanga and my MCF family, but for now, I will say thank you for memories that have become the fabric of my everyday life.  Your stories, your lives, your passion, are forever knitted to my own and now my world is forever changed for the better.

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