Greetings from the Other Boat!
My last trip was in February of 2020 to meet TEAMs for a medical outreach in Bangladesh. As I entered the immigration area, health workers in hazmat suits were collecting our health declaration forms. Honestly, I was so amused and laughing about it as I left the area. My return flight to Manila wasn’t anything unusual; immigration’s only concern was my contact number. But two weeks later, the news feeds were bombarding us with the announcement of a global pandemic, and nations began closing their borders.
Philippine cities and towns are divided into districts with local officials who assist mayors in the dissemination of information. We had heard over the national news of a nationwide lockdown, and the next update was from a vehicle with a loud speaker going around our neighborhood telling us we couldn’t leave our homes. They informed us that they would bring passes that indicated the day we would be assigned to go out for essentials. To make a long story short, a year later, we go in and out of various restrictions, but everyone has made the necessary adjustments.
For the first time in history, everyone worldwide has a shared experience. Never in any of our lives did we think we would face something of this magnitude. As I speak to friends in various nations, I leave the conversation with the same thought each time, “We’re all in the same boat.” I have a lot of funny thoughts of Noah’s family’s day to day activities. I’m sure it took a few days to get into the swing of things during meals, sharing about their crazy encounters with their level of the ark. However, after a month, it’s not so amusing. A few months later, they don’t want to hear about it anymore. Your elephant encounter, well... been there, done that.
As I’m writing this, it is our Sunday. I attended my 48th online service; as it concluded, I decided to take communion. I love the Lord’s Supper and especially His request, “Do this to remember me.” Today was a wonderful day to thank Him for every provision in Jesus, while also thanking Him for all He has done in the previous months. I praised Him for sustaining our church, our members, and their extended families. I thanked Him for the many households protected from covid and those in the marketplace throughout this time.
I am so thankful that the Child Sponsorship of People to People continues to be a great blessing. Our leaders, through challenging restrictions, did their best to touch base with the parents. It’s the common remarks of so many parents around the world; kids want to see their classmates and church friends; home schooling is difficult when many don’t have smart phones, etc. As I touched base with the coordinators in each country, I was so thankful to hear everyone was remaining healthy. I see that as a miracle.
I’m thankful for contributions to the PTP Covid-19 International Relief Fund. There are multiple testimonies of churches having access to previously closed communities because they assisted in this relief effort. Hearts are being prepared for the harvest because of the love demonstrated to these communities.
I’m thankful for you! As you have been through an unbelievable year, your faithful prayers, concern, and support have been such an encouragement. Today, Let our roots grow down into Him and let our lives be built on Him. Then our faith will grow strong in the truth we were taught, and we will overflow with thankfulness. (Col.2:7 NLT paraphrased).
May God sustain you wherever your boat is. Some are moored. Maybe a tug boat is getting you closer to where you can disembark. Others are waiting for the dove with the olive leaf. Together, let us thank Him and allow our hearts to overflow in gratitude.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough” – anonymous--