I have completed week two of the summer mission work I've been doing in St. Louis and it went very well in spite of some challenges that I know the enemy tried to hinder my focus with. This is my weekly report I had to send in to the MBC...it's pretty much exactly what I would be writing anyway so I figured it would be okay to recycle it :)
I unfortunately am now working alone since Shawnee, the other summer missionary left, so that was sort of a shock and kind of a downer, but I'm completely at peace and content with it now.
I have accomplished a lot in my work at Oasis International refugee ministry. I am enjoying every minute I spend there and developing an even deeper passion for this ministry than I ever imagined God would place on my heart. I am continuing to meet new refugee families everyday I am there. In the last week, there were 3 new families that just arrived from Iraq with nothing to live with. They came in asking for furniture and whatever else could be provided to help get them started. It still amazes me at how happy and joyful they are in spite of their circumstance. I definitely believe that God is using them in my life as much as He is using me in theirs. I am continuing to tutor Dina, an Iraqi woman who just moved here in May with her family from Baghdad. I get along so well with her and her husband, Anwar. Anwar speaks very good english for not being here very long. He and some other Iraqi men are always making jokes with Jenna (an intern from IL) and me. They are also teaching us some Arabic, too. They all find it quite entertaining when I greet them with "Shaku Maku", which translates sort of like "What's up?" here. On Wednesday morning last week, we went to the farm that they are working on with refugees in Columbia,IL. My dad even got to come help out. I helped harvest some of the crops like cucumbers and zucchini while the other did weeding and plowing. It was a blessing to be a part of that day working together to help prepare the produce for selling at a stand they have set up by the local McDonalds. We have used opportunities where we are all together to share that we believe God is blessing us. As they are mostly Muslim, they respect us for being follower of Christ. I have not yet been able to fully share the gospel with any of them, but I pray that God will open opportunities for me to do so.
I have not yet spent a lot of time with International students. We did not have any Washington University students show for our Wednesday night outing to Botanical Gardens which was a bummer. I hope this week we have better luck in building relationships with the students there on campus. I want to hopefully plan a few extra fun events this week and next week to continue getting to know them.
I was in my best friend's wedding as her maid of honor on Saturday so that took a lot of energy out of me, but I feel pretty well recovered after resting. It was amazing to see so many faces that I've not seen in years there come together like old times. The Filipino ministry that my dad started in the early 90's is still going...even without a pastor right now. I got to attend a service/fellowship Sunday afternoon to hear their hearts for plans to continue trying to spread the good news to the Filipino community in St. Louis. I pray they can be successful in their attempts and I hope I can be a part of that too.
I can't wait to see what God will do this week as I continue to serve.