All’s Good

Many many years ago I remember overhearing out oldest son Trevor going on and on with his Japanese friends, telling them about our upcoming trip to America. We were due back for what was then called “Furlough”, a one-year time of touching base with churches and mission leadership that we had to take every four years. Nowadays, they call it “Stateside Assignment”, since the old term suggested “vacation”, but anyway…..

As we listened, Trevor was itemizing the trip from his point of view, which included Disneyland, riding horses in Texas, shopping at all the major toy stores, and of course loading up on the special foods we couldn’t get in Japan.
Later, when his friends had gone home, I asked Trevor (I think he was about 8 or so), “What do you think your friends feel when you tell them about all these wonderful things you’ll be doing?”  Of course, I was looking for him to experience a bit of shame and compassion, having gone on and on about all the things they might never be able to do.
But his answer was unexpected. “Oh!” he answered with all the confidence of a most pampered American prince, “They’ll be SO happy for me!”
That’s become a kind of byword in our family since then, whenever we catch ourselves focusing on how much we’ve been blessed, not taking into account the lives of our friends. And guess what? It’s occurred to me that I’ve been guilty of some “Trevor-isms” these last few weeks, regaling you with how good life has been since we started this time away.
That was not my intent, though.  I’m telling you these things simply because I’m happy, and not to foster any feelings of envy. Our lives are still full of the thuds and thrills we all have to face, not to mention the specter of Tony’s cancer, and all the reality we’ll find waiting for us when we get home in a couple of days
I’ve just been telling you all these wonderful things because (maybe like Trevor) I have a heart full of gratitude for the great journey this has been, and continues to be.  Recently I read that feeling gratitude actually makes your brain function better. If that’s the case, I must have gained an IQ point or two since we left home!
This morning we visited the International Baptist Church here in Manila. I’m pretty sure it was started by our mission many years ago, and it still bears the marks of its founders in everything from the furniture to the music to the excellent preaching.  The pastor turned out to be a ‘friend of a friend’ of many of ours and we were (again) blessed by the visit. I’ve remarked throughout this trip that getting with the family of God always brings happy surprises.  This morning he preached on the Fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22 and following:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things…………… Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
Next Tuesday, we TRY and return home. With all the news about the Corona Virus going around, there’s a possibility that we may find ourselves in quarantine somewhere along the way. I don’t foresee any problems, unless of course one of us pops a fever before we get on the plane. Now you know how you can pray! Our son has already informed us that we will NOT be seeing the grandkids until the 14-day incubation period has passed, and I agree that we might do well to just lock ourselves into the house for a week.  Of course I want to stay in the Philippines, but Tony reminds me that if we are going to be put in isolation somewhere, he’d rather be in a place where our health fund works. We’ll see what the government decides, but rest assured that today we’re very healthy and (as I’ve mentioned many times,) very grateful for this wonderful trip.
I wonder where this blog will come from next week?? You might want to spray a little disinfectant on your computer before you open it!
Love ya,
Marsha

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