Feb 10, 2013 - Iloco Sur Trip: Day 4
8:12 am - Eating breakfast. Pastor Jorge enjoys singing his feelings in opera style at random moments. Haha. "I like this mango..."
5:02 pm - Mostly been at the basketball court all day, where there is a more reliable signal for Internet. Preparing sermons and talking with my parents has kept me busy. Now the boys are all playing, and it seems some have some sort of crush on me or something. Kuya Lyndon, one of the guys who came with us, just told me (since he is paying attention to the game and I am not) that one of the guys said, "I love you Valerie" before taking a shot. Sigh.
6:58 pm - Another bumpy jeepney ride. This time the meetings are at the proper venue. Now I am sitting listening to one of the students lead the children's program. She sounds like quite a good speaker. Of course, I don't know about the content, since it is all Tagalog. The kids are paying pretty close attention. Now they are repeating a verse with her. Tonight I think I'm playing two songs.
Feb 11, 2013 - Iloco Sur Trip: Day 5
(I had something written for this day, mostly an apology for not writing much, but it seems like Simplenote has lost it somewhere in the cloud. So much for secure files.)
Feb 12, 2013 - Iloco Sur Trip: Day 6
10:25 am - Morning meeting over. Some of the girls just brought me a snack: noodle soup and buko (coconut) juice. It is so nice of them, but unfortunately I am still so full from breakfast. I think I can make it through the juice (it's really good!) but as for the noodles...
Praying for the message today. After yesterday's message I realized my complete inability to be a "good" preacher. I know it comes with practice, and it is not by might, nor by power, but by God's Spirit. I just don't want anything of "self" to get in the way -- whether self-dependence, self-pity, self-sufficiency, or pride (even the spiritual kind). I cannot rely on anything of my own for this. I simply don't have anything to give, except what God gives me to give.
I must go beyond self-depreciation and look to Christ.
Jesus, help me. You who won every victory for me...for us...You who promised to supply all our need -- I need so much right now. I need You. I lack faith, Lord, but You are teaching me to simply trust in Jesus' faithfulness. Please, unlock my mind to see Your beauty. This is the only way I can communicate the message to others. Sometimes I wonder why You would choose me for this when I am so incapable. But You Yourself said that Your grace is sufficient for me, for Your strength is made is made perfect in weakness. That makes me speechless, Lord.
Lord, please give me strength, physically, mentally, and most importantly, spiritually. Cleanse me from my secret faults. And my known ones too. I give myself to You -- or rather, I ask that You would "take my heart, for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul" (COL159).
Lord, thank You. I don't know what else to say. But I want to exercise faith. I believe; help my unbelief. Bring me to the cross, and break me again. Crush my pride. Then renew me in Your Spirit, not my own. Jesus won the victory for us over sin, and He will give us that victory moment by moment if we simply trust that fact. Cleanse my heart and mind, and fill me. This is my earnest plea. You have reminded me of so many promises; now it is time to claim them and move forward.
I have just this for a specific request: please fill me with Jesus' love for these people, and help me balance sermon preparation time with spending time with people, like Jesus did.
Thank You, Father.
I love You, because You first loved me.
In Jesus' precious name,
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6,7