“Thank You”

13 Commentsby   |  06.01.11  |  Cebu, Philippines

Saturday we went to Consolacion Church where we had VBS with the kids there. It was funny to watch their reactions to seeing us for the first time. Some were eager to come say “hi,” and others would keep a safe distance even though you could tell they were curious. They began to warm up to us, and I soon had a group of mainly girls (the guys were playing basketball with Ian) gathered around me. Some of them would touch me really quickly before I could turn around. It was as if they wanted to touch my skin to see if it would feel different since it was light. Then they started touching my hair. After a while they realized I didn’t mind, and one girl kept running her fingers through it. We started worship soon. Filipinos love to sing! Most of the songs were in English, led by Caidy who just moved here 3 months ago with her Filipino husband who is from here. Small world again: Caidy’s sister attends the small church in Nashville that I grew up at, and I just so happened to run into her one week before leaving for Cebu at the church’s 50th anniversary. Benjoseph also led a few songs in Cebuano. Then we split up into classes. I went with the youngest kids. They were so cute, but I could barely understand anything that was happening. I did notice the word “salamat” in the teacher’s prayer a lot. I knew that meant “thank you.” I also could tell she was telling the story of Benjamin and Joseph. I helped the kids with their crafts, but it was very hard not being able to understand their questions or get their attention. I was relieved when we got back together with the older kids for more English songs. One 11 year old boy, Ken, knew English very well. He was very nice and explained things to me without me even asking.

Sunday we went back to the Consolacion Church for bible class with the children follwed by church. Once again, I couldn’t understand what was going on during bible class. I just watched the kids color, and tried to talk to them if I could. They are so precious. It was fun to see a lot of the same faces again. The kids leave after bible class (the church is in their neighborhood and their parents rarely come), and the adults have church. There were about 14 of us there. Most of the service was in English with maybe a prayer or two in a different dialect. During the prayer I again recognized the word “salamat.” I begin thinking about how much I had heard it in the prayer yesterday and today. It touched me how thankful these people were- many of them poorer than we’ve ever been. I stopped to think about how many times we say “please, please, please” when we’re praying to God when we should be saying “thank you, thank you, thank you!” That’s what these people were saying, and seeing everything I’d seen the past week, I was feeling as though that’s what I needed to be saying too. Don’t get me wrong. There are times to say “please.” We are told to ask for God’s wisdom, and God longs to hear our desires. Asking for his help shows our dependence on Him. But sometimes we just need to stop and say “thank you.” There is not a second of any day that we don’t have a reason to thank Him. I realized that even if I couldn’t understand the prayer, God could still speak to me through it. In the same service we sang “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” I’ve sung this song a million times, rarely thinking much about the lyrics. However, it had been a while since I’d sung it. Singing it again for the first time in a long time, in a new situation gave me a fresh mind. The words hit me in a way they never had before. The line “What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer,” really stuck out to me. Prayer really is such a privilege, and often we rush through it (or even skip it) as if it’s something to mark off a check list. We forget what a blessing it is. We have a loving God who is Father, Savior, and Friend that wants us to come to Him with everything! That is something to be thankful for!


  1. Jayma Savage
    5:35 pm, 06.03.11

    Bethany, I know only a little of what it feels not to have the language to communicate in another country, so my heart and prayers are with you. And I know that you are touching the children with Abba’s love in ways that go beyond the language barrier. Agape love has no limits. Thank you for sharing your heart freely. I miss you and love you!
    Aunt Jayma

  2. Linda Gregory
    12:12 pm, 06.09.11

    Bethany, This is Aunt Linda and I am with Mamaw and Papaw. We are enjoying your blog and are so proud of you. Hope everything is continuing to go well for you and your work there. Remember Paul’s words in Ephesians 3 the ” love of God in us allows us to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”. We love you, Linda and grands

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