Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Imperial Beach -- my Nature Fix

i've been feeling homesick for GOD's nature for a couple weeks...my heart feeling little sharp jabs like a pin cushion.

i would see a fiery patch of late afternoon sky in between the roof tops...and wistfully imagine how that orange patch might look stretched out over unobstructed horizon.

Or a sunrise with blushing clouds through a dusty glass window...and i would press my nose to the glass to see what's beyond the neighbors' roofs.

Or a glowing sickle moon hanging in an already dark sky after a Zumba class...and i would remember other moonlit skies in the bush.

And i would feel compelled to be physically embraced by GOD's nature. So i finally decided to make time to be comforted -- to encourage myself in the LORD, through His creation...

By the tang of the ocean breeze...by the sight of waves foaming and curling...and eddies rippling.

i talked to fishermen on the pier, practicing my Tagalog with a wrinkled old man from San Narcisso, the little town just after Castillejos in Zambales, where i was born. i spoke rusty Spanish with another old man, who was using a net with mussels for bait. He had three (myself and a married couple, Indians from the Navajo tribe visiting from Arizona) as rapt audience each time he pulled up the net, twice with fish.

Then i checked out the "mussel farm" -- the fisherman's ready bait.
i took this photo of the sitting seagull, posing for me like a sitting duck (i like taking pictures of reflections...and i like reflecting at the beach).

Before i became a CHRISTian, i loved His marvelous handiwork, calling it Mother Nature, as if it were itself a god to be worshiped. Today, of course, i worship the Creator, and stand amazed at all His creation.

Here's a gift from above by way of the sea...though i did re-arrange it a little for this photo-op.

And another...someone else had drawn this, but i knew SPIRIT made me notice it so that my heart may be uplifted. And for me, the bottom line always -- it was from GOD.

This is usually how i put myself in the picture...and this is how i want all else in my life to be -- mere shadows compared to JESUS.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

LIFE! In Lagiloa -- BUSH Living in Taveuni

Typical Fijian farmhouse -- bure -- made with corrugated iron and timber from nearby hardwood trees found around the farm. During sunny days, the middle four "windows" are propped up with strong branches and i get a 360-degree view of my garden -- my flowers, vegetables and fruit trees; the surrounding farm -- dalo (taro) and kava plants; the ever changing skies; colorful parrots, various doves, diving swifts, loud mynas and wild chickens flying around...yes, chickens do fly!
i painted leaves typically found around the farm -- except kava leaves...hmm...
Temporary clothesline for river-washed laundry...which took some time to dry because of the chilly weather, accompanied with fog...not unusual in the mountainous bush.
Visiting family from Naselesele Village, enjoying solitude and bush life for a week. The four kids had a ball -- playing in the river, romping around in the woods, helping me pull weeds! (The tin drum at the right is for catching rain water -- for washing dishes, muddy hands and feet, and gumboots.)
Path to the freshwater pool...from the bure to the pool takes around five minutes...more, if muddied by heavy rains.
Way to the fresh-water pool, past a neighbor's kava farm, inundated with Impatience flowers.

Fresh-water pool used for drinking water, bathing and washing clothes, even as a source for tasty prawns.
And even for snorkeling fun for neighbor's kids!
i like to drink my coffee and read my Bible surrounded by these Impatience flowers.
This is where i sit to watch the sun come up, shining through the trees, hearing birds chirping, roosters crowing -- offering prayers, reading my Bible, journaling in my Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest book. (The Snoopy kite is from The ShoppE at Rose's.)
Trees are "ringed" at the base to kill them, for some provide too much shade for the dalo to grow well. The ringed trees eventually die and dry up...that's when farmers have to watch out for falling trees during stormy weathers. The sound of falling timber is loud in the bush.

Planks cut from one of the giant trees which abound around the farm, used for flooring for the porch.
The grass was planted piece by piece and took less than two months to become lawn. Do you know that saying, Somebody's junk is somebody else's treasure. Well, here's my saying akin to that...What may be obnoxious weed at the farm is beautiful green lawn for my garden.
The LORD is my Shepherd, i shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though i walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death,
i will fear no evil, for You are with me.

(Psalm 23:1-4)

P.S. i am again raising funds for the Naselesele Village school children in Taveuni, Fiji. Your charitable donation of any amount is deeply and heartfully appreciated! GOD bless your loving heart!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The ShoppE at ROSE's

Why shop at Ross when you can shoppe at Rose's?

In today's economy, who doesn't want to save a buck or two or three or more? Who doesn't appreciate a "win-win" situation?
In today's society, who hasn't seen a neighbor in need? Whose conscience hasn't been pricked by the excess of material blessings, while many around us are obviously less advantaged?

At Midway's ShoppE at Rose's and at Kathy Garzon's Second-Step Home, the needs of others are considered. In the second chapter of the Book of James, it is written, "What's the use of saying you have faith if you don't prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can't save anyone. Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, and you say, "Well, good-bye and GOD bless you; stay warm and eat well" -- but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, it isn't enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn't show itself by good deeds is no faith at all -- it is dead and useless...Just as the body is dead without a spirit, so also faith is dead without good deeds."
At Rose's -- good deeds abound. Through Midway's kindhearted and generous givers and because of smart shoppers -- all funds earned from this ministry (the "baby" of Midway's young-at-heart "mother hen," Pat Baize) -- have provided for such diverse good works as:
  • helping orphanages in China, Mexico, Cambodia and Ecuador with clothing, school uniforms, washers and dryers, food, high chairs, beds and "half" of a pick-up truck
  • providing motorcycles for two national pastors in the Philippines to enable them to minister to remote tribes...also providing these same families with a gas cook stove and medical care
  • making Bibles available to troops deployed in Iraq
  • buying Turkish-language Bibles for missionaries to distribute
  • helping teens and young adults raise funds to go on mission trips
  • contributing toward a well for clean drinking water in Kenya
  • helping Second-Step Home with clothing and household items
  • providing funds for a pastor's seminar in Nepal
  • assisting a church plant in an inner city area of San Diego
  • sending funds to provide a car for Filipino missionaries serving in India; car repairs for missionaries traveling on deputation; several computers; guitar to Kenya; mattress and box springs for missionaries in Sweden; washer and dryer for a missionary family (with four children) in Germany; optometrist visit and new glasses for an 8-year old daughter of missionaries in Mexico; travel expenses back to the US for two missionaries to be with their dying parents; moving expenses in Cambodia, Bolivia, Australia and Iraq; emergency assistance for a missionary who had been shot and needed to move (fast!)

  • surprise CHRISTmas offering for nearly two dozen missionary families for whom things were very tight
  • funds for the children of Naselesele village -- used to buy children's backpacks for each village family, crabnets for a couple women who each had four school children, shoes for a couple kids, funds for a couple widows, Fijian-language Bibles. (This is but a very short list of all the many, many good works accomplished through the ShoppE at Rose's.)

From the "mother hen's" own words: Odd things some of them...and not always glamorous. But Rose's strive to meet needs and make missionaries' lives easier by providing practical help and encouragement. We particularly like to meet needs that would fall under the radar of other mission groups. We are blessed with a great group of dedicated workers, generous donators and avid shoppers who make all this happen! Never underestimate the power of "little ol' ladies"!!! (Hmm...i would rather say "mature young 'uns"!)

This CHRISTmas, with the hustle and bustle of preparing for the celebration of JESUS' traditional birthday of December 25, we can all take part in the joyful "win-win" situation of helping others in need by shopping at The ShoppE at Rose's, confident that all the monies received will be put to good use conscientiously and with GODly integrity. Your hard earned dollars go a long way at Rose's as you shop for your loved ones because of fantastic low prices for practical and unique items which fill all the nooks and crannies of this most unusual shop.

As James wrote -- faith without good works is dead. So when the giving and receiving of the CHRISTmas season has passed and all the turkey and ham and apples pies and chocolates have gone to the gut and hips -- remember that like the EverReady Bunny commercial, your dollars keep on going...morphing into practical and unusual material aid to those in need all over the world.

It really is so much better to give than to receive, whether to give plenty or but the little we can afford. GOD searches our hearts and sees our genuine desire to help and bless others for His sake. And our GOD is a good Father Who blesses 100-fold those who allow themselves to be His instruments of blessings to those in need of a helping hand.

GOD Himself has said He loves a cheerful giver! (II Corinthians 9:7) And to give in the spirit of CHRIST, agape -- is to give in deed, indeed!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Flip Flops Aplenty!

These flip flops will be part of our WOW (World Outreach Week) -- "Soles for Souls -- a missions ministry to help those devastated by the flooding caused by four successive typhoons in the Philippines. Also those in need in Kenya and China. Rubber sandals may not seem much, but every little bit helps.

Along with flip flops, the missionaries from the Philippines have specifically asked for canned meat (Spam!) and can openers; from Kenya, flip flops, kid scissors, construction paper, finger paints; and from China, money offerings to buy an electronic keyboard for their worship music. Beyond and above these material gifts, our desire and prayer at Midway Church is first and foremost that these people in need will turn to GOD during their need. He is the only one who can truly comfort those who mourn.

i bought mainly small sizes so that these would specifically go to children...and i hope the personal touch will bring smiles to their faces.

If you are interested in helping families in need of material assistance, please contact Midway. Every gift from the heart will make a difference...and it is indeed GOD's will to love in deed.