A Special Birthday

For lots of kids, birthdays feel different than all the other days of the year. They’re special. Noah’s 7th birthday was no exception. On August 24th, he woke up early, excited for the day and the upcoming celebrations. We sent him off to school like normal with hugs and promises of cake and presents that evening.

When Noah rushed through the door after school, his face was beaming. He had two balloons in hand and a backpack full of goodies. Surprised, I asked him who had brought him all the fun treats. He excitedly pulled the gifts out of his bookbag and explained in great detail each item that his friends had given him.

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“Mom! Check this out! Weison gave me this colorful hacky sack! And he brought me those two balloons! One is green and one is orange! And look! Seba gave me a new coloring book. It has all these pictures I can color. Oh, and Berwee brought me all these things, see? I got a plastic baby car rattle, a turtle compass, and a whole army set!”

“Wow, buddy! That is so neat! I hope you told them how thankful you were for those sweet gestures. They probably worked hard to get those things for you. What good friends you have!”

Later, I was talking with Noah’s teacher, Emma. She said that his friends used their good behavior “points” they earn to “buy” those presents from the school store. As sweet as that was, she was especially touched by Weison’s gift of the two balloons. He had bought them at his village colmado the day before, specifically with Noah in mind. Weison had to put some thought into the gift – what a neat thing to see one of our students planning ahead to put someone else first!

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Weison, Noah, Sebastian, Berwee

I am thankful for the unique influence that Noah has in the lives of his classmates. He already communicates with them in a way I certainly can’t. Oh, how I pray these four young men grow up to love the Lord with all they have. Such special boys!

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August and September 2017 in Pictures

Click the photos below to see some of the highlights from the last two months!

Ang’s September Reads and QOTMs

Finished two books this month. Not much, I know. But at least it’s forward progress.

Redeeming LoveI feel like I haven’t found any good fiction in a long while. A sweet friend of Freedom recently visited the DR and discovered I had never read Redeeming Love. She promptly sent me her copy, which I devoured in about four days. Oh, Mylanta. If you can handle historical romance, this book is an incredible retelling of the story of Hosea and Gomer. What a precious picture of God’s redeeming love and forgiveness. If you walk away from this book with dry eyes, you have no heart. Heh.

 

Hudson Taylor's Spiritual SecretHudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret was refreshing and encouraging and heartbreaking and… all the emotions. Taylor, missionary to China and “Father of Faith Missions”, lived an incredible life – so deeply rooted in Christ alone. It was clear that the Lord completely cared for him and his ministry through the darkest of times. How I pray I can learn to rest in Jesus in the same way, no matter what may come. This book is worth the read – and currently just $.99 on Amazon!

 

Below: another installment of some quotes that stood out to me this month.

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“I want to be free, Michael, for once in my life, I just want to be free.”
“You are free. You just don’t know it yet.” ¹

Love is the way back into Eden. It is the way back to life. ¹

Bear not a single care thyself,
One is too much for thee;
The work is Mine, and Mine alone;
Thy work – to rest in Me. ²

I feel as if I could not live if something is not done for China. ²

If we are faithful to God in little things, we shall gain experience and strength that will be helpful to us in the more serious trials of life. ²

Pray much for me. It is easy to talk of leaving all for Christ, but when it comes to the proof – it is only as we stand “complete in Him” we can go through with it. ²

Their utter wretchedness and misery and my inability to help them or even point them to Jesus powerfully affected me. Satan came in as a flood, but there was One who lifted up a standard against him. Jesus is here, and though unknown by the majority and uncared-for by many who might know Him, He is present and precious to His own. ²

We thank Thee, Lord, for pilgrim days
When desert springs were dry,
When first we knew what depths of need
Thy love could satisfy. ²

“My father sought the Truth,” he continued sadly, “and died without finding it. Oh why did you not come sooner?” It was a moment, the pain of which Hudson Taylor could never forget, and which deepened his earnestness in seeking to bring Christ to those who might still be reached. ²

The very last bag of rice had been opened, and was disappearing rapidly. “Then,” replied Hudson Taylor, “the Lord’s time for helping must be close at hand.” And so it proved… ²

Depend upon it, God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supplies. ²

It doesn’t matter, really, how great the pressure is,” he used to say; “it only matters where the pressure lies. See that it never comes between you and the Lord – then, the greater the pressure, the more it presses you to His breast. ²

But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting in the Faithful One. ²

“Come unto me and drink.” Not, come and take a hasty draught; not, come and slightly alleviate, or for a short time remove one’s thirst. No! “drink,” or “be drinking” constantly, habitually. The cause of thirst may be irremediable. One coming, one drinking may refresh and comfort: but we are to be ever coming, ever drinking. No fear of emptying the fountain or exhausting the river!” ²

Compared with this union with Christ, heaven or earth are unimportant accidents. ²

It were well that we oftener read our own diaries, especially noting the hand of the Lord in helping us in suffering, want, labour, or dilemma. This is the grand use of memory, to furnish us with proofs of the Lord’s faithfulness, and lead us onward to a growing confidence in him. ³

The very shade of God is sweet to a believer. Under the eagle wings of Jehovah we hide from all fear, and we do this naturally and at once, because we have aforetime tried and proved both his love and his power. We are not only safe but happy in God: we rejoice as well as repose. ³

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¹ Francine Rivers, Redeeming Love
² Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret
³ Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Psalm 63:7

Ang’s August Reads and QOTMs

Pilgrim's ProgressThis month, I revisited my favorite classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress. Yes, there are some sections that can be cumbersome to read, but the overall picture of Christian’s journey, complete with difficulties and triumphs, is such an encouragement to me. How it made me long for the day that I get to cross the river and enter the Celestial City!

 

 

Fanny Crosby's Life StoryI finally finished Fanny Crosby’s Life Story. This was a short little read that took me entirely too long to get through. (Can I blame it on the kids?) Lots of quaint and endearing stories. She seemed to have a mischievous side and a fun sense of humor. I love Fanny’s testimony – she truly walked with the Lord, day by day. Her lyrics make me want to know Him more.

 

 

Below: Round 2 of my monthly collection of quotes that “captured” me.  How thankful I am for the ability to read. Can’t wait til our students are old enough to share ideas that “capture” them!

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To go back is nothing but death; to go forward is fear of death, and life-everlasting beyond it. I will yet go forward. ¹

But since I live, let JESUS wear the crown. ¹

… that man that takes up religion for the world, will throw away religion for the world. ¹

The hill, though high, I covet to ascend,
The difficulty will not me offend;
For I perceive the way to life lies here.
Come, pluck up heart, let’s neither faint nor fear;
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe. ¹

Arise, O Christian soldiers,
And consecrate anew
Your all upon the altar,
Of Him who died for you!
Arise in faith united,
And let this year record,
Your undivided service,
To Christ, our risen Lord!

O rally ’round His standard;
Defend the cross you love;
And look to Him for wisdom
And counsel from above.
Against the arch deceiver,
Against the host of sin,
March on with steady purpose
The world for Christ to win!

Be strong, O Christian soldiers,
On Jesus cast your care!
And when the conflict rages,
Let every breath be prayer.
Fear not; the Lord is with you:
‘Tis He who speaks within;
March on with zeal and courage
The world for Christ to win!

Go forth, go forth rejoicing,
And in the Master’s name,
To weary souls that perish,
Eternal life proclaim!
The crowning day is coming;
The end of toil and sin;
March on through grace determined
The world for Christ to win! ²

Dark signs of present or coming ill must not dishearten us; if the Lord had meant to destroy us he would not have given us the gospel; the very fact that he has revealed himself in Christ Jesus involves the certainty of victory.
Hard things thou hast upon us laid,
And made us drink most bitter wine;
But still thy banner we have displayed,
And borne aloft thy truth divine.
Our courage fails not, though the night
No earthly lamp avails to break,
For thou wilt soon arise in might,
And of our captors captives make. ³

Thus far I did come laden with my sin;
Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in
Till I came hither: What place is this!
Must here be the beginning of my bliss?
Must here the burden fall from off my back?
Must here the strings that bound it to me crack?
Blest cross! blest sepulchre! blest rather be
The Man that there was put to shame for me! ¹

Then I thought that it is easier going out of the way, when we are in, than going in when we are out. ¹

Unless I could obtain the righteousness of a man that never had sinned, neither mine own, nor all the righteousness of the world could save me. ¹

I am dying of thirst by the side of the fountain. 4

Go, and thou shalt find him upon a mercy-seat, where he sits all the year long, to give pardon and forgiveness to them that come. ¹

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¹ John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress
² Fanny Crosby, Fanny Crosby’s Life Story, “The World for Christ – A New-Year Rallying Song”
³ Charles H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, Psalm 69:4
4 Charles D’Orléans

Angel’s Week

The Lord is so good. He continues to provide individuals to keep things moving forward here.

Some people volunteer their time from the States.
Others have joined our ground team for the long haul.
Some sacrifice by giving financially.
And others spend a short time with us here – usually just a week.

We’ve been asked before, “What good could someone possibly do in a week?”

“No offense,” they say, “but isn’t it a ‘waste’ of money, time, and resources?”

In July, a group from Illinois came to stay with us for seven days. A lady named Angel joined her church for their first trek to the Dominican. Angel admitted that the whole time leading up to the trip, she questioned why she was coming and what she had to offer. Even as she sat on the airplane, she was unsure of why she was on her way. But the Lord had been impressing on her to just “show up”. So she did.

She didn’t have to wait long for God to reveal Himself to her.

Monday morning, Angel and the rest of her team stood in the breezeway and listened as our principal, Toni, called out the names of the 3-year-olds they’d be working with that day. Suddenly, Toni paused.

“Guys,” she said, “I’ve got one little man here who needs some extra love and one-on-one attention.”

Without skipping a beat, Angel said, “I’ll take him!” As she looked down at the slip of paper that Toni had handed to her, she read the name of the little guy she’d be interacting with for four hours.

Angel.

His name was hers. And she knew that he was her “why.”

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Later, Angel poignantly shared with us that each moment in the classroom with Angel was such a blessing for her. She was able to interact with him in a special way. And he seemed to respond to her as well. When she was willing to let go and just show up, God provided a unique opportunity for her to see Him in a bigger way.

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Angel plans on being involved in little Angel’s life in the years to come. I like to think that their relationship will deepen as time goes by. I pray that as Angel grows up, he’ll come to know the love of His Savior. He doesn’t yet understand the impact of that week on his life. He doesn’t recognize how the Lord miraculously orchestrated circumstances so that the two of them would meet. But what an incredible way for Angel to start his first year at Freedom!

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So when people ask me if I think it’s worth it to come for a week, I say, “Absolutely.”

In our context, at least, a week can be worth eternity.

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July 2017 in Pictures

A full and exciting July! Click the photos to learn more.

Chapel

 

 

Entryway Paintings

 

 

The New Playground

 

 

Interns

 

 

New School Library

 

 

Family

 

 

Thanks for loving, giving, encouraging, and praying! On to August!

Ang’s July QOTMs

Call me judgmental or lazy, but I’ve always preferred to critique others’ work instead of come up with my own thoughts. That’s probably why it’s so important that I read, or else I’d never think critically. Heh. I want to start remembering some of the ideas that are making an impact on me each month. So without further ado, my “Quotes of the Month” from July!

It seemed intended by the blessed Providence of God, that I should be blind all my life; and I thank Him for the dispensation…. This sounds strangely to you, reader? … If perfect earthly sight were offered me to-morrow, I would not accept it…. Although it may have been a blunder on the physician’s part, it was no mistake of God’s. I verily believe it was His intention that I should live my days in physical darkness, so as to be better prepared to sing His praises and incite others so to do….  – Fanny Crosby, Fanny Crosby’s Life Story

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.   – James 1:2-4

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.   – 1 Peter 5:7

Other things move swiftly to their centres; stones fall tumbling downward, sparks fly apace upward, coneys run with speed to their burrows, rivers with violence to the ocean, and yet silly man hangs off from his Maker, that neither entreaties nor threatenings, nor the word, nor the works of God, nor the hope of heaven, nor fear of hell, can quicken or hasten him to his happiness. Who would imagine that a reasonable soul should act so much against sense and reason?   – George Swinnock, 1627-1673.