Where you lead us, we will follow.

My heart has been beating so fast. I didn't think this would be such a hard post to write. Putting these thoughts into words and pounding them into this keyboard adds an air of finality---something that I have trouble reconciling with. But the Lord has brought me here at 10:23AM and I am compelled to write about it. In a few days, our dear friends Deedee and Noel will be leaving for good.They are not leaving the country to better themselves (seeking career opportunities abroad, improving their lifestyle, taking up a Master's degree,etc). They are leaving the country to let go of themselves and better OTHERS. These two perfectly happy, perfectly healthy, financially stable and fulfilled individuals have decided to sell all their properties and possessions and give up all the comforts of life here in Manila to serve an impoverished community in Africa. 

Deedee is one of Patrick's closest friends. They've known each other since grade school and she has been like a big sister to Patrick all these years. My husband is not one to express any mushiness but yesterday as he spoke in front of the CS congregation, he shared how much he admired Deedee and her husband Noel's mission. I was on the verge of tears. I could feel that Patrick's heart ached upon saying this, knowing that the possibility of never seeing his dear friend was just too real for him to hack. But I also could sense how proud he was to call this person (and her husband) his friend. Just the honor of knowing someone who would choose to serve the Lord so bravely and passionately was more than enough to compensate for the feeling of loss. 

The other day Deedee and I were exchanging text messages and joking about what to pack for Africa. It brought me back to a few weeks ago where I was faced with a dilemma for packing for a 5 day trip---can you imagine packing for LIFE?!?! How do you manage to squeeze in your essentials and your life memories into a 20 kg suitcase?!?! 

Deedee and Noel showed us a video of the community they will be serving in a remote region in Africa--so remote in fact that I had to ask three times how to pronounce the town's name. Until now, I can't pronounce it--so wag kayong aasa that I will be able to spell it! Hahaha! The video felt like it was a clip from a CNN special and I'll admit I've seen images like this all my life. But I watched this video with fresh new eyes and a whole new perspective thanks to Deedee's careful explanation. I felt the connection. I regained consciousness about the issues of abuse, sickness, grave poverty, malnutrition, lack of education, absence of water, electricity, and shelter. 

In an email thread to Patrick's high school barkada, Deedee shared how Acts 23 spoke to her. "Take Courage" Just two words that summarized this whole new journey for them as missionaries. It is the same courage we could only dream of having someday---courage to stand up for the oppressed, courage to speak boldly for justice, courage to make sacrifices for the good of others, courage to live a life FOR CHRIST. Wow. How do you wake up with that courage?!?! Because of Deedee and Noel's testimony, I had a complete change of heart. I know now what to pray for as I enter my 30s. It seems that good health, career plans, financial security and all these things seemed too shallow to pray for---now, I want to pray for COURAGE! Courage to live boldly and passionately for the BIG DUDE up there!:) Thank you Noel and Deedee, we love you!!!

4 comments:

Donna Rose Juezan said...

Very touching! I admire the couple. Hope ganun din ang mission ng mga pulitiko na tumatakbo for the position. Sana ganun sila mag forsee when they will be elected in the office

Meg said...

Very inspiring. It takes a lot of sacrifice to be out of our comfort zone to serve others for the sake of the call. I admire them for their courage and pray for them and their missions. I know God is with them and they will be blessed!

My Orange Pen said...

Inspiring! Thanks for sharing!

mary rosalie Olandesca said...

AMEN! Sometimes, it's hard for us to take up the cross but God is forever faithful in our lives. Whatever He has started, He will finish. Running towards the goal entails sacrifices. Truly, we have to take courage for greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. Thank you for sharing this, Patty! :)

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