This past week I had the privilege of hanging out with the Sabraw family at Joni & Friends Family Retreat. (more info) Along with 2 other volunteers we were paired up to be buddies to this family for all the activities of the week.
After a few days being home from the amazing week of helping out in medical clinics in the Philippines, we find we have been asked why we go...do we really see the power of God? What keeps us returning again and again to these beautiful people? The stories we share are about real individuals, precious people who are able to experience God's love and compassion through us, maybe for the first time. Could there be anything more valuable and thrilling to be a part of?
We are so thankful for another incredible trip to the Philippines to help bring the love of God to a beautiful tribe of people. We joined an amazingly passionate and efficient team for 4 days of medical clinics to villages with little or no healthcare. The traveling was rough, heat was intense, mosquitoes were insidious but the smiles of happy patients and the adventure of seeing God's love invading the darkness greatly overshadowed any discomforts.
What moves you away from the confident assurance of who you are in Christ? Colossians 1:22 says we are reconciled and brought near to God where we stand before Him holy and blameless-without a single fault. The reality of this statement is almost to great for words and the apostle Paul charges followers to actively persevere in this hope.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled." Jesus' words of comfort in John 14 are quickly followed by the reason we can have peace and hope - He is going to prepare a place for us and will come back to take us there to be with Him forever. I don't know about you but I want the hope of heaven and seeing Jesus' face to form my heart and be an ever-present reality in the midst of my day to day struggles.
One of the biggest blessing of this trip was the generosity of 3 of Royal's Simi Valley patients who donated funding for the purchase of life saving medicines. These giving souls gave abundantly so we could buy bulk antibiotics, diabetes and high blood pressure meds as well as cures for scabies, coughs and colds
I was recently reminded of how much we all need friends. Not just the acquaintance-type but the kind that's willing to get into the fox hole with us and face life's battles together. Author Christina Di Mari shares how she surrounds herself with a group of friends she compares to a pod of dolphins, remarkable creatures that travel and live as close family groups or pods. Dolphins must surface regularly to breathe and sometimes a dolphin may become injured or sick and not be able to surface regularly for air. The other dolphins in the pod will come around and swim underneath the injured one, lifting him to the surface for air. They don’t swim off and leave him to fend for himself.
Isn’t this a beautiful picture of what friends can do in a season of pain? When we feel like our brokenness is a heavy weight pulling us down, true friends come with listening ears, physical help and kind words like oxygen to our drowning souls. They can lift us up so we can breathe again. I want to be intentional to take time to build these kind of friendships as well as to be part of others' "pods."
"So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Here's a local event I'm doing- Love to see you there! https://newheart.us/calendar/formed/
Need a women’s event speaker? http://www.ericadean.com/women-event-speaker/
Find out how to purchase Embraced: Becoming Who You Are in Christ at http://www.ericadean.com