It's getting late, and we have been up since 4.30am. Today has been a long day, travelling to the bay - getting a boat across to the Island and then getting a horse up to the crater of the volcano. It was an exciting morning, but now most of the others have gone to bed and I am left (once again) to contemplate the meaning of life.
England. What a thought, what a privilege! It has definitely been a life-changing experience, these last few weeks - but I suppose the art of that is that life has not ended. It has only just begun, and new things are now in motion, which perhaps weren't always before. New friendships are blossoming that wouldn't have had a chance to, had I never been on this trip. I am so grateful to those who have made it possible, and I want to pass that love on with a new zest for life that I have never experienced before. How long it will last is as long as I keep my head focused on what God is telling me to do - where He is telling me to go, and the small ways in which I can have a real impact on the people I meet.
Life is about the small things - a smile, a hug, a story - and although we only remember some of the huge moments in life - sometimes we need to recognise those small moments of hope and glory that occur every day - in lives all over this world. I imagine my life this moment as a blank sheet of paper - God has forgotten the messiness of yesterday - and is waiting for me to get up, so that he can develop me into the work of art He created me to be. We all need only step up to the easel so that He can begin His work. God doesn't use complete pieces to work with - He moulds together all the broken pieces of our lives so that what is made is unique and beautiful.
He is a great God who provides a wonderful world for us to live in, we just need to learn to appreciate it more. Us ourselves are magnificently created, perfect in the loving eyes of the Father. I look up at the stars sometimes and I just can't take it in - the extreme vastness of God that cannot be described, although many have tried. And then I also see the extreme poverty of those living in Payatas, Dacutan or Tatalon, and I think, "Wow. Where is God in that?"
But He is there, hard though it may be for me to understand it. And He also goes with me as I visit, and as I build relationships with His children. God is so incredibly complex really. And He's got it all in hand, hard though it may be sometimes for me to see it - and as I say goodbye to this wonderful country tomorrow, I have no doubt that I will feel a sadness and a loneliness in my heart. But through whatever emotions and heartache I experience over the next few weeks and months, I will remember that God is close to the brokenhearted - and to those who mourn and love His lost children.
God knows the pain of being separated from His beloved, the injustice of suffering for something you do not deserve. And really - no matter how my life turns out - these people will continue to be the beautiful people they are. They are Filipino's. And they are awesome.
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Sunday 13th April
5:00pm - Fly from Manila (Philippines) to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
11:50pm - Fly from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) to Heathrow (UK).
Monday 14th April
Arrive in the UK - 5:50am (local time)