Tears of Joy

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I have shed many tears throughout my life. There have been tears of pain, sadness, sorrow, and suffering. However, for some odd, unexplainable reason, I thought that serving as a student missionary would not involve any tears. I could not have been more wrong.

I am serving my second term with the Palawanos of the Philippines as the high school math and science teacher. Papa Dios has given me His love for these people. They are my family. My students are my kids. It is a tremendous blessing to be here and to be of service to my God. So, when Mrs. George and the high school staff planned a week-long Bible camp at Oring-Oring in the lowlands, I was excited to be a part of it. But nothing could’ve prepared me for what God had in mind.

We spent our days and some nights (when my girls weren’t tackling and tickling me) singing, playing on the beach, having powerful worships, doing leadership and teamwork activities, and debriefing. The students did their Bible classes in Steps to Christ, Prophets and Kings, and Acts of the Apostles. We also mentored each of our students. For the grand finale, we held a foot washing ceremony on the beach and communion in a beautifully candlelit gazebo.

Throughout that week, the Holy Spirit was working overtime healing wounded hearts and bringing the young people to the point of complete surrender to God. Listening to my kids share about their tumultuous histories and testify to God’s strength in the midst of the storms was incredible. My God is an awesome and powerful God.

Since then, we have conducted two more weeks of prayer, one at home in Kemantian, led by the student missionaries with our elementary school students, and one at another of our small mission schools in Kensuli.

And I have cried. I have cried tears of unexplainable and overwhelming joy. It began in Oring-Oring as I heard each student’s testimony and saw the mighty hand of God. It continued as hearts were being mended and weights lifted from my students’ shoulders. My tears continued to pour down during the week of prayer in Kemantian as the high school students and I caught a glimpse of how wonderful heaven will be as we all sat together in an Agape Feast praising the One and Only.

The waterworks didn’t end there. During the week of prayer in Kensuli, as the high school students led out and shared powerful testimonies each day, tears ran down my cheeks in joy and praise for the work the Lord is doing. The high school students also mentored teenagers in Kensuli, strengthening them, praying for them, and reassuring them of God’s love. There is a glow radiating from each student that can only come from the Almighty.

I do not know why I have the privilege of being a witness to how the Lord is working among the Palawanos, but I am eternally thankful.

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