God’s Hand of Provision
This is a bit overdue, but it recounts how the hand of our God has allowed us to stand in awe of His perfect timing and provision over the course of our ministry thus far…
Today, I ventured out on my own for the first time since we moved here almost three weeks ago. I am trying to regain some of my independence that was lost since our move. I was anxious to do this because Manila is very different from home… It’s very crowded and I am a large minority, so that can be intimidating. Also, for those of you that don’t know this Metro Manila was voted “Worst city in the World to Drive in” Eek!! Today, I took a trike and came to a local Starbucks to reflect on the provision of our God during this unbelievable journey. Actually, I am even drinking coffee from Africa where our mission calling began to brew in our hearts. Let me recount for you some of what our God has done over the past few months…. My hope is that this will increase your faith as it has ours. <3
At the end of 2015, we moved on from our ministry at Camp Tulakadik. We are excited to know that God has provided some incredible leadership for 2016 and beyond. Our time at Camp Tulakadik was filled with nothing but joy and peace. TBH…. we thought we’d be running Camp T for the rest of our lives, but our God had other plans. “Many are the plans of a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21
In January, Michael finished his time at Midland Baptist as their interim pastor. As a result, we were left without an income. On January 17th we began our fundraising journey and we needed to reach 50% of our sustainable giving before going on payroll with CBM. This was very stressful! At the same time, our family will never forget how our great God stepped in and provided for our “needs.” Also, it allowed for us to teach our children the clear difference between having a want and a need. Which we hope will help them have a greater understanding and increase their compassion towards the hurting and the poor that we’ll be serving here in the Philippines. We experienced this through generous individuals giving us gift cards, meals, money, love and support. God provided just as He promised us… “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19
Here are a few of the stories:
*One amazing and incredible gift that was anonymously given to us hours after we spent about $700 (that we didn’t really have) on items our family needed to travel to Toronto for pre-field training were two RBC gift cards. The next day we took our receipts into the stores where we purchased the items and got the money back. Praise God and thank you to the kind hearts that blessed our family! It was timely!
*MissionPREP was another awesome gift the Lord gave us on an emotional and spiritual level. Our family met people from all over North America being sent to various parts of the world from various organizations. Our hearts were deeply moved. We have seen how some of the strategies they gave us can easily apply to our new life here in Manila. Currently, we’re still living in a bit of chaos, but we’re learning how to deal with that and discover our new normal by embracing our new surroundings. We thank God for the opportunity to go to MissionPREP to learn and grow closer to Him and each other.
*God dearly knows the hearts of our children and He knew that letting go of our sweet Rusty would be extremely hard for them. Actually, it was hard on us too. We’re so thankful He provided a very familiar home for our boy. The night we said “see you soon” was heartbreaking, but our kids couldn’t be happier that he’s living with Grammie and Grampie Hall.
*CBM decided to release us to the field when we were sitting at approximately 70% fundraised. This was a leap of faith for the organization because they don’t release Field Staff until they reach 80%, but our kids started school in early August so they decided they needed to trust God to provide the rest. Now here we are 3 weeks after landing here sitting at well over 80% fundraised. Praise the Lord!
*Also, that same day we decided to post our home on Kijiji for rent. We were inundated with interest. We prayed the Lord would lead us in the right direction and the first family we interviewed became a perfect fit. We’re so thankful to God for that provision. Our minds are at ease and we couldn’t feel better about the choice we made to rent to the “Cleveland” family. If you’re reading this and you live in the Norton/Belleisle area go and introduce yourselves to them. They’re beautiful souls!
* Months ago, I was laying awake at night worrying about where we were going to live here in Manila. I was picturing us landing at the airport with our 25 bags (including our carry-ons) and not having a place to sleep. I knew God would provide, but sometimes it’s hard to trust Him. I’ll never forget when Duane and Carin emailed us to tell us they secured a place for us to live for the first few months. What a relief and an answer to my midnight prayers!
*The transition… Overall it’s been tough and it’s hard to watch our kids grieve over the loss of Rusty, our extended family, their friends, summer fun at my parent’s cottage, hockey, figure skating and the list goes on…. BUT it’s been beautiful to watch some new connections start to develop. Here are just a few of those connections:
<One of our neighbours is from Moncton and graduated from ABU. They have an 8 year old daughter in Allie’s class.
<Our boys were separated into different grade 6 classes, but share the same new friends.
<The time change has allowed us to stay in regular contact with our family. Our loves! <3 We’re 11 hours ahead. Our morning is their night and vice versa.
<The grief we’re experiencing the Lord is using to refine us and teach us about being utterly dependant on Him. “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5b
<Our kids are memorizing God’s Word and talking about it at school.
<There is a dog named “Asia” living in the apartment below us.
<The Filipino people are filled with hospitality, grace, love and compassion.
<The presence of our God is felt at a much deeper level. I have heard His voice deep in my soul as I worship Him in prayer and praise. Our senses have been heightened!
<God is using really cool and tangible items back home to remind our supporters to pray for us here. Thank you for your stories! We feel your prayers! xo
Overall, this experience has been intense! Thankfully, it’s been filled with His goodness and His grace amongst the fear and anxiety. Our lives will never be the same because of this opportunity and our willingness to follow Him in this capacity. We’re waiting with anticipation to see what God is going to do in our lives, the lives of our children and our loved ones. This experience has increased all of our faith. I thought I trusted God, but I never really trusted Him completely and this experience has allowed me to tangibly give everything to Him. Praise be to God for taking ahold of our hands and leading us to this unfamiliar land, yet familiar place. The familiarity is here because He is here and He has gone before us every step of the way. It’s because of this that I can sing ….”Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith will be made stronger. In the presence of my Saviour.” Now not without tears pouring out of my eyes and down my cheeks, but with great peace in my heart to know He is with us every step of the way.
Praise be to God!
If you are interested in becoming a Partner-in-Mission please contact Barb Keys(firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-905-821-3533) at Canadian Baptist Ministries. You can also visit their website at www.cbmin.org to give online or for more information. We are only able to follow God’s leading in our lives thanks to the monthly support of generous individuals and churches.
All donations of $10.00 or more will receive a charitable tax receipt at year end.
Michael & Melanie
Kyla, Sean, Carter & Allie