Hindsight – One Year Later
One year ago today, we traveled 3 hours by car to the Iloilo airport and boarded a repatriation flight, organized by the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines, and began the long journey back to New Brunswick due to the covid-19 pandemic. Amidst all the chaos and uncertainty that was surrounding us one year ago, and as we were making a rush decision of whether to stay in Roxas or return to Canada, we had no idea the full impact of the decisions we were making. In many way, we naively believed that we were just returning to Canada 6-weeks early to begin our scheduled home assignment. We were confident that we would be returning to the Philippines in September 2020 as originally planned to continue our work with CBM and our partner, Kabuganaan Philippines Ministries (KPM). Of course, those plans didn’t work out and now it’s mid-April 2021 and we still don’t have any clarity or certainty around when a possible safe return to the Philippines could occur.
According to the Cambridge online dictionary, hindsight is ‘the ability to understand a situation or event only after it has happened‘. We wish that were true for us as we reflect back on the events and decisions that brought us back to Canada. It all still seems like a blur, and there are many days when we feel like our heads are in the clouds. We keep praying for clarity and certainty, but we remain in the midst of uncertainty, while struggling to live and work in two different places.
When will you return to the Philippines? Do you still plan to go back? Are you back in Canada for good? What do your kids think about going back? Do they want to go back? What is CBM saying to you? Do they want you to go back? When? These are all questions that we get from churches, supporters, friends and family, and some of them are questions we ask ourselves from time to time. The reality is, we don’t really know the answers to most of these questions.
Almost 5-years ago, when we moved to the Philippines, and were in the midst of significant transition and dealing with a lot of uncertainty, I came across a story that really encouraged me and helped put things in proper focus. It’s a story about a man named John Kavanaugh. He travelled to Calcutta to work for 3 months at ‘The House of Dying’ alongside Mother Theresa. It was during a time in his life when he was looking for clarity from God as he was in the midst of major transition and looking for God’s direction. Upon meeting Mother Theresa she asked him what she could do for him. He replied, ‘pray that I have clarity’. Her response shocked him. She replied, ‘No, I will not do that’. When he asked her why she would not, she explained, ‘clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of’. The man was surprised by her response and said, ‘but you seem to have clarity from God’. Mother Theresa laughed and said, ‘I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God’.
Although we have times of doubt, we are choosing to put our trust in God – We’re trusting him with our families future, with our work and partners in the Philippines, with our relationships and friendships in the Philippines, with our grief over our unplanned departure from the Philippines a year ago, with our kids hearts and minds, with our pets in Roxas, with our important personal belonging that are still in the Philippines, and so much more. Oh, we have times of doubt, but we’re doing our best to place our trust in him, for these things and so much more.
We know that we are not the only ones who have been impacted by the pandemic. In fact, our circumstances are minor compared to what some people have endured. We find comfort and peace in these words from the prophet Isaiah, and pray that you do as well.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock. (Isaiah 26:3-4)
Thank-you for your faithful prayers and support for our family. We are humbled and grateful for your partnership-in-mission, and we pray God’s blessing upon you and your family.
Michael & Melanie (Kyla, Sean, Carter, & Allie)
For more information on CBM’s work around the world, including the Philippines, or to donate please visit www.cbmin.org or call 1-905-821-3533.
If you are interested in becoming a Partner-in-Mission with our family, 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