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Pressing   Upward

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My wrist felt the stab of pain first. Then my shoulder. What’s going on here? What is stinging or biting me? I wondered as I swung my machete and hacked through the jungle on my way to the top of the mountain ridge. Not knowing what foe I was facing, I started swinging my machete more cautiously through the dense bushes on the side of the steep mountain. Then they got me really good—two or three times right by my mouth! My face burning, I retreated as fast as I could. Watching from a safe distance behind me, my son Luke was able to spot the villains. They were a type of small but aggressive wasp the Palawanos call lamuctul.

“O God,” I prayed. “I don’t know if I can do this. Do you want me to continue this project?” I was working on getting Internet into our mountain village of Kamantian. As God has continued to grow the work here, our need for better communications has increased. Just this week, three new Filipino missionaries joined us. This is a blessing since no new student missionaries were able to come to the Philippines this year because of COVID-19.

Before I even prayed, God had His answer on the way! Scarcely had the prayer left my lips when I heard someone on the trail below. I called to Luke who had walked down to the main trail. “Who is it, Luke? Can you ask them to help us?” It turned out to be a Palawano church member named Augus. He hike up to where I was to see what was going on. I explained to him that I was trying to make my way to the top of the mountain ridge to find a place suitable for a relay station that could send a wireless Internet connection to the village below. The teachers at our mission school need the Internet to submit documents for the Department of Education.

Angus quickly offered to help. He did not try to go the way I was going when I got stung. Seasoned jungle expert that he is, he found the best way to the top of the mountain in what seemed like 10 or 15 minutes. Luke and I followed behind as fast as we could go, amazed at how God was answering prayer.

The spot Angus led us to was just what we were looking for. We have now ordered the equipment necessary to make the project a reality. I am so thankful to God for His providence that day. He knows the number of the hairs of our heads, and He cares about us. He cares about the big things and the small things in our lives. As I think about the new year and the big things I would like to see accomplished, this quote inspires me: “It is difficult for human beings to give attention to the lesser matters of life while the mind is engaged in business of vast importance. But should not this union exist? Man formed in the image of his Maker should unite the larger responsibilities with the smaller. He may be engrossed with occupations of overwhelming importance and neglect the instruction which his children need. These duties may be looked upon as the lesser duties of life, when in reality they lie at the very foundation of society. The happiness of families and churches depends upon home influences. Eternal interests depend upon the proper discharge of the duties of this life. The world is not so much in need of great minds as of good men who will be a blessing in their homes” (4T 522). My prayer is that this will be your experience and mine in 2021.

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