During orientation, I stopped to wonder if God was really invested in my journey, if it really mattered so much where I went in life. After a time of prayer with a staff member, God gave me a metaphor – a slip and slide.
I can remember sleep away camps where I would stand at the top of a big hill, staring down at a makeshift waterslide and feeling completely alone. But that wasn’t the first image that came to mind. Instead I saw blue and felt cold water on my arms. I was home on a blue tarp covered dish soap and hose water and I was not alone. AND I was loved.
Through these two images, as the big hill came next, I came to realize that as I think of the future at times, I feel like a little girl at the top of a big hill facing an unfamiliar slip and slide designed by a stranger. But God is not a stranger. He is a good and loving father who wants me to push off the side of a mountain for the ride of a lifetime – one that will make me laugh and my stomach turn, one that will force me to trust that he will protect me.
The world feels so much bigger after two weeks of being here and so does the future. Every kwento (story), every Jeepney ride, every rainstorm feels like an invitation to step onto the waterslide God has created for me. I especially have felt that today during team time. After sharing that I have been struggling with my appearance, in that I am half Filipino (but many cannot tell), my teammates prayed over me. This week I found myself looking at my nose more closely wondering if it should be flatter, I kept trying to smooth down my curly hair. I wondered if I could belong here in the Philippines. I wondered if this country could belong to me. But as I quietly cried and my teammates prayed my staff worker spoke truth I needed to hear, “This belongs to you.”
Last week, God invited me into his home of the Philippines; this week he is pulling me deeper into the truth that this is my home as well. This country is my story, this country is my blood, and in the same DNA that makes my hair curly and my skin lighter than most Filipinos! I was able to see my cousins and aunt for the first time in 7 years. As visitor’s day came to a close, I had one prayer in my head – “Dad, can I comeback? Can I see my family again?” I didn’t know 7 years would go by so quickly, I didn’t know I would be sitting in a room wishing I had spent these past 7 years learning Tagalog. I didn’t know I thought that our stories were separate, that I forgot that we share a history, grandparents, and a province. I hope one day we can share a language.
I don’t know when I will be back but I pray it would be sooner than 7 years.