Monday, August 25, 2008

the truth is

i'm scared.

after making the decision to leave, it was pure excitement that motivated me to tackle all the logistical issues that were presented before me. immunizations, vaccinations, medication, documentation, registration -- these were entries in a list that i simply had to check off as i completed the necessary tasks. and after checking off the last entry on that list, it suddenly occurred to me that i had done absolutely nothing.

was i being prayerful about all the preparation that needed to be done?

or was i just depending on myself?

today was the biggest reality check on this particular issue. i had registered for the gre's a few weeks into the summer after having made my decision to leave for africa for a year. i believed it to be most practical and convenient to take the test before my departure date in order to enroll in a graduate program next fall. my thought process was that if i prepared my application in advance and had taken care of everything before leaving, i would be able to completely focus on my missions trip this upcoming year without having to delay the process for school next year. with such an attitude, i spent many of my summer evenings studying for the gre's. i wasn't too worried about doing well or poorly as long as i received a decent score. and so i drove to alameda this morning to take the exam. i entered the door, sat down in the cubicle, and began the test. and three hours thereafter, i found myself canceling my score for the test.

what happened?

i was simply unprepared. i was foolish. i rushed into what seemed like the perfect opportunity set up for me, but really, i was setting up the opportunity for myself. i was planning ahead, but didn't realize that God might be holding different plans for me. and so after beating myself for clicking the "cancel" button, i was finally able to come to peace.

other thoughts have also been crossing my mind as i am preparing to leave this thursday -- rather ridiculous thoughts, actually:

what if i get malaria and never come back? what if i get attacked by wild animals and never come back?? what if get amnesia, don't remember anything, and never come back??? what if get too emotionally/mentally distraught that i never come back (normally)???? i guess i'm just worried i would never come back for one reason or another -_-;;

haha, but what am i saying.

who knows what will happen?

my worries will only be worries, and my plans will only be my plans; they will remain a fleeting thought.

so what should i do?

absolutely nothing.

just surrender myself wholly to God and allow Him to do all the work in changing me. and that itself is grueling preparation.

i don't know what will happen with school, wild animals, disease, or illnesses, but maybe there are things in this world that are too wonderful for me to know.

and i'm happy with that.


Then Job replied to the LORD :
"I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?'
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.'
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."
- Job 42:1-6

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

peace in knowing you

it's weird knowing that life on this earth can be so fleeting.

i attended a memorial service for one of my college friends today. he was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year and passed away on the 11th of this month because of complications with pneumonia. he was 24. i didn't know him well, but certain images of him have been stuck in my mind ever since i heard the news, one image especially. during worship services on campus, he would always praise so fervently. glancing over, i always saw him closing his eyes, lifting up his hands, and swaying his body back and forth as if only he and God existed on earth at that moment. i didn't expect myself to cry at the service, but i found myself in tears. it wasn't the grief that struck me, but the suddenness of such an event. and at that moment, i realized how much more i am bound to see this upcoming year.

will i be able to handle it?

of course not.

at least not in the most immediate of senses.

no matter how much i try to prepare myself mentally/emotionally/spiritually for the suffering i will witness, i don't think i'll ever be able to overcome that perpetual question of "why." i could brush it off and suppress this urge to face the matter with a nonchalant and almost cold, "that's life" and "life goes on," but i don't think that's the way to go about it either.

it's simply a matter of being able to answer that question with and fully understand the meanings of one simple and bold truth:

because God is God. because God is good, all the time.

this may seem dogmatic, doctrinaire, and even colder than the response above, but i have to hold on to it. i have to trust in that. because it's the truth. and there's always peace in truth.

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
- Psalm 24:4-5

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

dear friends and family,

at one point or another, i probably mentioned to you of my desire to live abroad for an extended period of time.  i was searching for the perfect program/organization, but nothing seemed to really fit.  

it wasn't until this summer that i actually made a decision!

i will be going on a one-year mission trip to africa with hands at work.  it's funny how things work in life: only after making the decision, i became absolutely certain that this was the perfect opportunity for me.

despite my initial doubts and hesitations, i thank God that He reveals these things to me in His time. 

with only 3 weeks left, there is still much preparation to be done! 

please pray for me!  :)

you can click on the image above to read about my trip in more detail. would you also consider supporting me with a donation?

hope everything has been going well for everyone!  feel free to leave a comment and keep me updated on how you're doing and how i could pray for you, too :)

God bless!