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Counting Your Blessings February 10, 2012

Posted by amministry in Inspiritional, Our Mission Stories.
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Counting Your Blessing

Hem Your BlessingsWow, just typing the title of this post makes my head spin. The shear anticipation of where to begin is enough to make me rethink the whole thing.  Count my blessing; yeah this might take a while. But for your sakes I will plod along and just maybe you will also be reminded of just how blessed you are too.

I’ll try to make this short, sweet, and to the point.  Here we go!

This has been a crazy few weeks and a very telling new year. In the few short weeks since this year has begun I have learned some things about myself that were quite frankly surprising. I think I experienced every kind of emotional upset, short of a nervous breakdown, in the last month or so. Being a missionary certainly comes with its ups and downs and I have been on the bottom side of that equation. Or at least that’s what I thought, but I’m getting a head of myself.

So it probably all started back in May, 2011 right around the time our (Oneal and I) visas were about to expire. In Ecuador there is no way to renew your Tourist visa after you have remained in Ecuador for a period of 9 months. The only options are to leave the country and come back after a year or apply for your permanent residency. We chose the latter, believing that the former was not an option since our work here in Ecuador had only just begun.

To make a long story short a friend of a friend who was visiting from the US referred us to his sister, who just happened to be best friends with an Immigration lawyer.  This was not a mere serendipitous circumstance; I know God had our backs.

It was not exactly smooth sailing from there on in — in fact it was anything but. A couple of people who we have Bible studies with lent us a little over $500 with the understanding that the lawyer was going to charge us $600 for a stamp in our passport that would make us legal and free to remain within the borders of Ecuador. Much to our dismay, we learned that this was far from the case. We were sadly informed that there was no such stamp and in order to remain in Ecuador we would have to file for our residency, which would cost us a minimum of $4000 per person.

As missionaries we have pretty much forgotten what it means to have money in the hundreds, let alone thousands. So we definitely did not have that kind of money and we were clueless as to where to get it from.  I made a few calls and my Dad was able to borrow $1000 from a sister at his church.  So we then had approximately $1500.

I am not a fan of borrowing money and all these loans were making me dizzy.  The $1000 loan from the church sister was to be repaid each month in $200 increments. This meant that out of whatever little we would hopefully receive each month from donations, a good chunk of it would have to go to repaying this loan.  If things were tight before, which they were, this was insane.  It was very difficult to meet the expenses of the ministry and we never seemed to have enough for the bills and even food.

In the past months we have often gone without a single penny, and I am not exaggerating, yet the Lord has provided.  The rent for the city mission is almost always late; we are frequently behind by two months on the phone bill, we just barely manage to pay the utilities and the Internet each month and we have not always had the option of eating what we would like.

Of course I could go on and on, lamenting our circumstances, but I’ll spare you.  The purpose of this blog is to show the wonderful goodness of God and his power to provide for His children. During these past few months there has been no end to the marvelous ways He has provided for our needs.

One example is a group of canvassers from Peru and Bolivia.  Oneal and I have grown accustom to feeding the masses, a gift of hospitality passed down from his parents and mine, so we immediately set out on a mission of bread baking and soymilk making. These boys were so appreciative and two of them in particular decided they wanted to eat with us each day. Well we are used to, at the least, always having food, but like I mentioned above this has not been the case in the last few months.  So while we were wondering just how this was to be achieved the Lord was already working out the details.

Henry-Roger-Oneal-Baking

Oneal baking w/w bread with Roger (middle) & Henry (right)

Our two regulars and at least one other would show up almost every day hungry. The first few days we managed quite well, but then our food ran out. Literally!!!  We were not expecting any donations and I was a little embarrassed to tell the young men we were out of food. This of course has happened to us before and somehow someone always showed up with a $20 or with some fresh produce. I was confident this would happen again, but I did not expect that it would come from the canvassers themselves.  It did!

First one boy would show up with a bag of apples, another would bring papayas and kiwis; soon they were buying groceries enough to make a healthy, vegan meal each day for us and themselves.

As for counting my blessings, time would fail me, and my aim is to keep this post short and sweet. How am I doing so far?  Not so good I think.  Well, so much for that. I’d have to say one of the greatest blessings I have received is that of suffering need. Our wonderful loving Savior has been teaching me that it is not enough to give, that I must also need. You see I love to share; it is easy for me to share. Needing and receiving now that is more difficult.

In the last few months I have learned just how much more I need to humble myself.  God’s lessons in humility and anything else for that matter don’t always come in ways you may expect. His lessons may come through personal experience, nature, grief, His word, etc.  Sometimes it even comes by way of poor colporteurs from Peru and Bolivia, who are seemingly in greater need than you are.

Okay, so in case you’re wondering, we still have not paid all the lawyer fees. We have raised little more than the initial $1500; nevertheless we are counting our blessings and focusing our attention on the finish line and not the journey.

“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”—Psalms 37:25.

Click here to read my poem: Finish Line

Love and blessings,

Wonda

First image by Starzyia


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Comments»

1. Tara Chang - February 14, 2012

Hey Wonda and Oneal….it is always a blessing indeed to hear you guys…I sure do miss you guys and your delicious cooking….I often talk about the wonderful work that you all are doing for the Lord….and how you stepped out in faith to do His will…it gives me great motivation and encouragement….Please pray for my family and I and that one day very soon I too will have the courage to let go and let God…since it is our whole duty on this earth. We must hold tight to Gods promises they are sure…I want to share my testimony with dealing with Sabbath at my job…..I have work with the Customs Department for 21 years now and never had a problem…for the past five years I have never worked on Sabbath since accepting the Seventh Day Sabbath as Gods Day of worship. There are three other Adventist in the Department that compromise their faith and attend work on Sabbath so I knew sooner or later the pressure would hit me it was only a matter of time…anyway last year March I was transferred to the Airport where they not only work odd shifts…they also work basically ever weekend and your days off were schedule through the week…I was in shock at first but knew one day I would have to stand and defend my faith…In Govt we are told that when there is an issue we are to follow the chain of command until the issue is resolved. I approached my immediate supervisor first no results…I substituted all my day offs in the week for Friday nights and Saturdays which went on for three months until the supervisors would not allow me to work if I was not scheduled to….I was so stressed I went from one meeting to another with the Senior Supervisor to Assistant to Deputy. I stood my grounds even with all their threats of losing my job. I even sought legal advice and also got Pastor Shian O’connor to do a letter before attending the last meeting with the Collector of Customs….if nothing was resolve at this meeting then I would have to go above him…this last meeting was a bit different because when I sat in there The Holy Spirit told me say nothing…and I sat and listen the whole time and reply not…The Collector is a pastor in a Sunday church and there he was trying to tell be about the Sabbath…the nonsense that came from his mouth and of course nothing was resolved once again…I was so exhausted and the enemy comes in now and I started to feel depress and burden… he began to flood my mind with all my responsibilities mortgage, children, mother, etc I was suffocating and I cried out GET!!! Behind me Satan for my Jesus!!! will deliver and if he so choose not to deliver I will not compromise….I prayed and ask God to give me the strength to overcome the trials before me…I said Father You gave me this job,mortgage, family and if it is your will for me to loose it all Lord let Your will be done. I want to be like Job and the three Hebrew Boys. As I contemplate taking the issue yet Higher…I found myself procrastinating Why??? God was at work…. the last meeting I had was on a Tuesday and I was schedule to work the Friday night and Saturday so I had until Thursday to do what I had to do…but Thursday came I made no effort to fight them any longer….God was telling me all along the battle was His…my friends God is AWESOME!!!…Thursday when I arrived at work the Supervisor in charge of the Airport ask if he could have a word with me… I softly replied yes sir….he said I was thinking about your situation and he ask me if it would be okay if he put me on a steady shift from Sunday to Thursday…with days off on Friday and Saturday…I had no problem with that…as a result of my schedule they had to change the entire Customs Airport shift system and now all officer are given some Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays off and I say to God be the Glory great things He has done…my friends let continue to put our trust in God…He is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble….I cried out praise God for He is worthy….If we don’t standup for Him….how can He standup for us….let us by God marvelous grace press toward the crown that awaits us in Glory.

Love

Tara

amministry - February 15, 2012

Wow…what a testimony!! Thank you for sharing. It is so wonderful when a child of God stands up for their faith. God used you in a mighty way.

We will be praying for you and your family. God bless you sister!


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