Thursday, May 3, 2012


"So, what's up with y'all and the Philippines?" 
This is the current most FAQ we get, to which I reply, "Dude. We have no idea."
We really don't. And, shockingly, I'm good with it.

Here's a little back story:
We love Jesus. We love people. For several years we have been traveling when we could, serving and teaching in other cultures (mostly Latin America). Meanwhile, at home, serving in our youth and college ministries, which led to taking two groups on short term trips. The more people outside of our culture we meet, the more people we love. Seriously. There isn't any place we have been, whether in missions or vacation, that Spouse and I haven't said, "We could so live here. I dig these people." Even if we didn't speak their language, which has often been the case! I could always understand "Maleeesa!" Ah! Love it!
Anyway, a few years ago, Spouse went to Manila, Philippines for work. 
Shock and awe: he loved it. He has wanted us to go back there ever since. He saw the mission field. But, what about the mission field here, you say? I know. Welcome to my inner struggle. Not really. We are pretty sure.
Fast forward with a few MelNotes (Like SparkNotes, but from me): 

  • We get a pastor and his family who are evangelistically electric. (I just coined that term this very second.)
  • Our college students enter our life and home. They unknowingly forced us to step up our game in Bible Study, worldview, what we believe about missions, the local church, everything. Blow your hair back, kind of stuff. As a result, we are in the Word like never before.
  • Pastor brought in this hyper, evangelistic-machine of an intern one summer and we got a very wise missions pastor, both of whom the Lord has used to rock our world. Seriously. They had me at 'Go."
  • Spouse & I are sure we belong in 'missions' (as are all Believers).
  • We don't know where. We don't know when. We are clueless. 
  • We made this decision known to our [electric] pastor and church family and family-family.
  • Mark applies to Southeastern and gets accepted! Whoa! It's getting' real.
  • Mark lets the folks at his company know that he is making plans to leave to go to school full time in order to pursue international missions.
  • We pray and commit to the Lord that we will live like paupers, I mean, students, if that's what He wants for us. We do work and have a yard sale.
  • We made plans to visit SEBTS, find a place to live in Wake Forest and brace ourselves for a major lifestyle change. We are fine. We really don't live [relatively] extravagantly now, with the exception of all the BBQ.
  • Weeks pass and Mark gets an assignment in Houston for 3 months, with the possibility of an assignment in Manila for a couple of YEARS. Hello, Mission Field. 
  • We visit the campus of Southeastern and feel very comfortable. Girls love it, we love it. It feels homey.
  • We visit with friends & staff at Southeastern in whom we confide about this Manila thing. They say, "It's a dream. Do missions and pay your own way? As ex-pat missionaries or tentmakers? Your mission field is where you are." Yes! It is!
  • We came home from Wake Forest & Mark went to Houston. We made plans for all of us to go to Houston. We homeschool. Why not? We load up. I started a blog. :)
  • We love Houston. Houston has been a blessing to us and we have loved the people and shared Jesus with each one we could. This place is so diverse. There is every flavor of every kind represented here! THIS is international missions. Dig that! You should have to have a passport to come here! I guess if Texas secedes?? Ha! I hilariously digress!
  • Meetings, praying, relaxing, praying, bathing in Scripture, praying, blogging--this is where we are. A beautiful place. 

Our prayers all along have been simple: if it's not what the Lord wants that He would block it, and that our family's hearts would be united. He has honored the request for our family to be unified. The things our girls have reasoned is beyond the wisdom of any 9 or 11 year old--outside of Holy Spirit-given wisdom. One day last week, Maddy asked how long we would be there. I told her, "It looks like 24 months." She said, "24 months!? 2 years is nothing!" What?! 2 years is an eternity to a 9 year old! It's Jesus. Their prayers are precious. 
And, so far, God hasn't blocked it. I've asked Him to kill it dead, if it's not what He wants for us. Kill it D-E-A-D! It's not dead at all, we just don't have plane tickets yet. 
From the business perspective, we are waiting for budget approval. Mark's peers and superiors at work seem to believe he would be a good fit in Manila; they are working to make it happen. On the flip side, it's expensive to relocate a family of 4 to the other side of the globe. Literally half way around the world. Well, I need numbers. I need probability here, Dude. Mark had been 80% sure, but after a meeting last week, he bumped it up to 98%. Like my wise friend, Rachel, said, "If Weatherman says there's a 98% chance of rain, we're gettin' rain!" We just don't know for sure, for sure!
If I were to be completely truthful, I would tell you that I believe we would be a little disappointed if we don't get to, at this point. Even Maddy, who was a little sketchy at first. She said the other day, "So, Manila is a big city? Like Houston? Well, this has been a good transition for us then." Meghan is so on board. She caught the mission-bug last year when we took her to Guatemala. She sees the potential for our family to make the name of Jesus known in Manila and serve the people, but her temperament is more adventurous. 
I am believing in faith that our excitement is a result of God making His desires our desires. 
Take delight in the LORD, 
and He will give you the desires of your heart. 
Psalm 37:4

So, this is where we are today. This is "What's up with the Philippines". 
I put all this in a post for the purpose of asking you to thank the Lord on our behalf for what we've already seen Him do, and to ask that He continue to unite our hearts with His while He does His thing. 
Let me be clear: we are uncertain, but we are not confused. We are inexplicably at peace with this uncertainty. 
I've gotten doctors and dentist appointments set up for when we get home. I am addicted to blogs about travel and missions in Manila; I text my Ethan (spastic intern above) with questions. I am taking care of what little I can do from here, but mostly, I'm chill. I know you are having a hard time picturing this. Ask Mark. He doesn't really know what to think of it, either.

:)  ~LOVE~


  1. Thanks for the update! Just keep following and go along with the ride. Sounds simple, huh? Ha. We know better. He WILL give you the desires of your heart, because if you love Him that much, His desires become yours. Love you all!

  2. Melissa,
    I love this blog for two reasons! First because I have an awesome new nick name in which I will claim. Second because I think it accurately describes the heart of you and Mark. Both of you have wrote a blank check to Christ with your life allowing him to fill it in with whatever he wants to. So proud to call you both friends and have you in my life.

    1. I'll name it, you claim it? :) Love you!

  3. This is exciting. I hope Kanon and I can come visit one day!

  4. I might be a little disappointed for you too if it falls through! I want to come visit and hear about all of the wonderful things that you are doing on the other side of the world:)

    1. Oh, my word! Can you imagine us hooking up across the globe!?