Life to the Fullest

Hello friend!! It’s been entirely too long since I’ve written an update. When we first got here to Hawaii, we didn’t know what things would look like as far as our everyday lives. Then, once things started happening and falling into place, I didn’t take time to write about it. Jason let you all in on what he’s been up to here in Kona in his last post, so I’ll give you a glimpse of my time here!

After an unexpected and much-needed visit to Missouri in July, we arrived in Kona. Actually, it’s Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, but everyone abbreviates it to Kona. I (Monica) became staff at the YWAM base here in Kona, at the Campus Clinic, which serves the health needs of YWAM Kona’s students and staff. Things were pretty slow at first, because we were only able to offer physician services a few hours per week at that point. When the Campus Clinic leaders prayed about accepting me as staff, they didn’t need me. It didn’t make any sense to take on more staff when they didn’t have anything for me to do! However, they sensed a nudge from God to say “Yes”. So, I began working at the clinic, mostly cleaning and organizing at first.

The leadership of the clinic and health services had a much bigger dream in mind for the clinic, however. They envisioned a fully-functional and self-contained clinic that would be able to serve the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of the students and staff full-time. This group of leaders were already serving the community in this way through an urgent care, Aloha Kona Urgent Care.

Although not a direct YWAM entity, the urgent care is managed under YWAM leadership. It functions as a ‘normal’ urgent care, except that all the staff are deeply concerned not only about physical ailments, but patients’ spiritual well-being as well. The urgent care is covered in prayer at the beginning if each day, and the patients are offered prayer. The staff gets to minister to the heart, body, soul, and spirit of each patient, if they are willing!

After the city approved all the necessary zoning for the campus clinic building, and the campus gave financial and legal approval, the dream started to become a reality. We were able to utilize some of the providers and staff of the urgent care to start seeing patients at the Campus Clinic, renamed Ola Pona (‘health’ in Hawaiian) Health Center, on a regular basis. This came none-too-soon, as the largest quarter of students EVER arrived on campus in September, with well over 600 students and staff! We began seeing patients from the campus almost every week night. It has gone over really well and has helped fill a huge need for the missionaries on campus. They can be seen by the physician for only $10, regardless of insurance!

So, that is one of my ‘jobs’, volunteering as a nurse at Ola Pona Health Center. I also became involved with the large homeless community of Kona. The church Jason and I began to attend serves a weekly meal at the local homeless shelter. We joined in serving the lunch, but I couldn’t focus on the food I was supposed to be serving. Time after time, a person would come through the line with cuts, scrapes, and gaping, infected wounds. My nurse eyes were drawn to them, and I felt I had do something. I asked the leader of the program if I could bring some supplies and start providing wound care while the meals were served. He not only agreed, but gave me a budget to purchase would care supplies!

I began offering wound care each week, which became a hit. The need is soooo great! The homeless are especially at risk for injuries, due to a number of factors, including fighting (or protecting their few possessions), animal bites, falls (especially if intoxicated), and being out in the elements 24/7. They are even more susceptible to infection of these wounds, due to lack of showering facilities, lack of antibiotic ointment and clean bandages, and the humid environment. Staph infection of wounds runs rampant here, especially in this population. A simple cut or scrape can easily turn into a life-threatening infection if left untreated. It is so rewarding to treat a wound that is on the verge of becoming or is already infected, and the person shows up the next week, after caring for it themselves the rest of the week, with the wound almost healed! Praise Jesus! The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but Jesus came so that we may have life TO THE FULLEST (John 10:10)!!!!

Through a former housemate, I was also introduced to the planning committee of the West Hawaii Faith-Based Summit to End Family Homelessness. This is a mouth-full, but basically, the committee meets all year-long to plan this Summit, which gathers all the faith (and some non-faith-based) organizations, churches, etc. in the area that provide any kind of aid/services to the homeless in order to learn from each other and brainstorm how to help end family homelessness on the island. The committee recognized the need for wound care for the homeless, so they were trying to find someone to head up a first aid kit ministry. Naturally, I jumped at this opportunity to do and teach what I love, although I was a bit nervous at first! I was also back in school at this time, and time was a hot commodity! However, with God’s grace, I was able to find the time, courage, and resources to make the First Aid Kit Ministry a reality at the annual Summit, which was in September.

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Through left-over money given in a grant for the Summit, I was able to purchase the supplies needed for the kits. At the Summit, I taught those who were interested about basic wound care, and we assembled first aid kits together. I called my first aid kit ministry ‘More Than Skin Deep’, because physically, wounds move beyond just the skin, and infection can invade the entire body through them. These first aid kits are not just physical, though. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, especially to ‘the least of these’. These first aid kits can minister to heart wounds as well, as I pray with someone who desperately wants to overcome alcohol addiction.

Later, I gave these first aid kits out to the homeless at a Thanksgiving feast. The kits were a huge hit, and I gave 100 of them, which was just enough! Now, unfortunately, I am almost completely out of supplies. If we are able to get another grant to help with this year’s Summit, and if there is enough money left over after covering other costs, our ministries will probably be given an allotted amount to spend on supplies. However, I don’t want this ministry to just be a once-per-year event! I want it to be a real ministry. I want to be able to give out first aid kits at all the homeless events, not just the Thanksgiving feast. I wish to be able to send first aid kits away with those who come to me weekly with wounds, so they can continue treating them the rest of the week and greatly decrease their risk of infection. I want to help these homeless live life to the fullest in the area of health.

Sooo, I’m asking for your help. I desperately need more antibiotic ointment and bandages to hand out at events or to people I see on the street or to those I see at the shelter with wounds. If you are interested in helping, I have set up an Amazon Wishlist of supplies for the first aid kits. The most critical things are antibiotic ointment and bandaids. I love the individual packets of antibiotic ointment, but tubes are great too! Regular-sized and large bandaids are also really critical. I am super partial to fabric bandaids, as opposed to the plastic ones, because the plastic ones don’t stick, especially in the humidity. If you don’t have Amazon or would rather buy some supplies from the store and mail them, you can send them to me at this address:

Monica Hallquist

75-5851 Kuakini Hwy #365

   Kailua-Kona, Hi. 96740

Or , here is the link to the Amazon Wish List. You can also go to the Amazon website, and there is a place to search for Wish Lists. Just type in Monica Hallquist, and it will pop up! Thank you so much for considering donating to the More Than Skin Deep first aid kit ministry!!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to, along with school, which was quite stressful after being on a year-and-a-half leave of absence. But, God lavished on the grace, and I had a successful semester.  Thank you so much for reading my long post and being interested in my life!! You all mean so much, and it is so encouraging to know you support us in this crazy adventure!!

We love and miss you lots,

Monica

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Jason Writes a Post!!

This last year and a half, God has taken Monica and I on an incredible journey with him. We started out last July, traveling to Australia and doing a 3 month Discipleship school; then we took what we learned to Papua New Guinea for 3 Months.
After that, Monica and I traveled to the west coast of Australia, where we split up our time and did two separate schools. I did a 3 month discipleship bible school, and Monica, being a nurse, did a 3 month medical mission school. After this, God gave us the opportunity to go with a team of doctors, nurses, and a dentist to the Philippines for 3 months. As you can probably see, we have been moving around every three months. There is something unique about the number three, though (this is the bible nerd coming out in me, sorry! In Hebrew, as you may know, numbers have meanings, and the meaning for the number three Is Divine Completeness or perfection).
So all this moving around has been a big change of plans from our original plan. When we started this journey, we thought we were going to stay for two and a half years in Townsville, Australia and fly back and forth to Papua New Guinea, but God has stirred our hearts every couple of months and told us somewhere new to go. Needless to say, we quit making plans; now we just ask where and when, God. Now we are in Hawaii, yes, Hawaii- not my plan, but his. You can even ask my wife, I did not want to come to this beautiful place. But we are here now, and I know this is right where we are supposed to be. Right now I am staffing the same bible school (discipleship bible school) that I took in January. As of now, there are almost 20 of these schools around the world, and it is the fastest growing bible school, with the projected number of 100 schools by 2020. There are 17 students in my class that range in age from 18-62. As of now, we are halfway through the bible. There are students that came to this class hating to read the bible, because they were afraid of what God would show them. Now they are saying ‘I can’t believe I use to hate this book! Now, even in my free time I am reading and rereading, trying to gain more knowledge and have more of a relationship with God’. It is seriously so amazing to read with my students and watch them get thrown back in their chair with excitement as they have these deep, new revelations of God.
With all that being said, if you know me, what I struggle with the most is asking for help. I always try to do everything myself, because I don’t want to be a burden on other people. I have realized I can’t do everything myself. So now, when I think I can do something difficult by myself, that’s actually when I need to ask for help the most. At the beginning of our journey, we found enough supporters to fund us for 2 and a half years, PRAISE GOD. Well, that was for Australia, where the U.S. Dollar at the time was worth  about 0.50 more. Now that we are back in the states and living in Hawaii, where the cost of living is crazy and gallon of milk is over $5, we are looking for more supporters. I know some of you may be rolling your eyes and saying well, sounds like you need to get a job. Well, I have been working since August, and it’s been great. I like working, and I’m not afraid to work, but working and helping staff a bible school has been rather difficult. I feel like I haven’t been around to help disciple students like I should, and I have been missing out on a number of things, including having time to spend with my wife. So here it is. Below is what I would like our monthly budget to look like. My goal is to raise enough money so I do not  have to work, or at least work less so I can have more time with Monica and my students. I know this can be accomplished with your help.

 

Expenses Income
Planned Actual Diff. Planned
Totals $2,189 $0 +$2,189 Totals $2,189
Food $2.25 per meal $405 $0 +$405 Savings $0
Tithes/donations $100 $0 +$100 Paycheck $0
Health/medical/ insurance $500 $0 +$500 Bonus $0
Home/Rent $950 $0 +$950 Interest $0
Transportation $112 $0 +$112 Other $0
Personal $0 $0 $0 Monthly Supporters $2,189
Pets $0 $0 $0
Phone $57 $0 +$57
Travel $0 $0 $0
Debt $0 $0 $0
Other $0 $0 $0
Car insurance $65 $0 +$65
Custom category 2 $0 $0 $0
Custom category 3 $0 $0 $0
As of now, our average monthly support is $1000, and our goal is to raise another $1189 a month for this next year, to make it to the total of $2,189 that is on the budget. This sounds like a huge amount, but this is living modestly. We rent a room in a house with 6 other people. Our monthly rent right now is $850, but our hope is to be able to rent the master bedroom when it becomes available in March. This way, we could have our own private bathroom! We also need to purchase real health insurance. Right now, I have insurance through work, but Monica is in a medical sharing program. Basically, it covers most new problems, but does not cover any existing ones. She has acid reflux and is supposed to get another upper GI endoscopy, because her last one 2 years ago showed some changes in the lining of her esophagus. This would not be covered at all by her current plan. All this might seem crazy to some of you, but God is so much bigger than this number.
How can you help?
First off, you can just pray that we reach this amount.
You can give monthly or just one time. It could be a one time donation or $1 a day or $50, $100, or $500 a month. Maybe you don’t go to a church but still feel like giving a 10% tithe, and you just don’t know who or what to give to. If you feel led, you could even give the complete amount, praise God! Seriously, any amount you can give is greatly appreciated.
How can you give?
 Here is a link to our church account just make sure to scroll down in the donate tab and click where it says Hallquist. All donations will go directly to us.
 I really, really encourage you to pray and talk it over with your family or church family and friends. I hate asking for money, so this month of December will be our support month for the next year. After next December, we will be going home to see friends and family and find out what God wants us to do next, so once again, we are only asking for support for the next year.
We would like for you to help cheer us on. I will try my best to send out updates twice a week so you know where we stand.
We really appreciate all your help and prayers!! We miss you all so, so much!!
Much love and blessings,
Jason and Monica IMG_8296 (2)

Hope

I want to give an update on my nurse practitioner program and the preceptor situation. First of all, I want to thank all of you for your prayers and encouragement! It means so much to Jason and I to know that we have such a big family of supporters to stand with and to lean on when things get rough.

In addition to stretching my faith and trust, this experience has taught me hope. I’m a realist, and I don’t like to be disappointed. So, I tend to guard my heart in situations in which I think I may be let down. This often prevents me from truly hoping. Instead, I hope that it will happen, but I consciously prepare for a let-down.

My post on Saturday was me working through my thoughts and feelings with God related to the disappointment of losing my preceptor. I wrote it in my journal and then decided to share it, word for word. I often can’t verbalize what I’m feeling in a situation, but if I begin to write it out, it just flows. After writing it all out, I felt a sense of relief. God and I both knew how I truly felt. I knew I had to make a choice, then, to choose to have hope and choose to have faith. I wasn’t sure if a feeling of hopefulness would come, but it did. By Saturday afternoon, I had a renewed sense of hope. Even though I didn’t know how it would turn out, I knew that it would work out.

My school was very gracious and encouraged me to keep trying to find a preceptor. I sent out a plea to everyone I know on the island that may have a connection with a doctor. I chased several leads, but nothing came to fruition. A woman I volunteer with at the YWAM Health Clinic had told me that she was going to see a new doctor on Monday. I asked her to ask this doctor if he would accept me for clinicals. I had already called this office several times, but they said they weren’t accepting students. I gave her a copy of my resume anyway, along with a letter explaining what I needed. I didn’t hear anything back, so I figured it was another dead end.

On Tuesday, I went on an outreach with a group of people from a clinic in town, along with a police officer and an EMT. We went around to areas that the homeless frequently stay, and we gave out hygiene kits and offered wound care. I had already been communicating with an office manager at this clinic about doing clinicals there. The ladies that I went on outreach said that they would talk to the appropriate people to get me in for a clinical experience. I was so encouraged! I thought this was the ‘in’ I needed to finally find a preceptor!

I talked to an administrator from the clinic later on that day, and she informed me that they already had a student doing clinicals there, and they had just hired several new staff members, so they would not be able to accommodate me at least until mid-October.

My sense of hopefulness quickly faded. Even though my university was being gracious, I knew I had to have a preceptor at least before my first clinical assignment was due, which is this coming Monday. Jason and I were in the kitchen on Tuesday evening, cleaning our dinner dishes. I asked him, “At what point do I give up? Every single door that I thought would open has been slammed in my face. When do I stop trying?”. He said, “Well, I guess when God tells you to stop”. Not the answer I wanted to hear. God hadn’t told me to stop trying, but I felt that it was useless.

Five to 10 minutes later, my phone rang. It was a doctor from the office that my friend had taken my resume to! He said that he hasn’t taken a student in a couple of years, but he would like to help me, since I’m doing it for missions! I got all the information from him I needed and hung up. I ran to Jason, yelling that he’d said he would do it, and then I cried tears of joy. I laughed at God’s timing in the phone call right after questioning if I should give up.

I still don’t understand God’s timing, and I probably never will. But, I know that it is for His glory and for my good and the good of all His people. I don’t understand why, when you pray for something, it could happen instantly, or it could take a few days, months, years, decades, or a lifetime. But I do know that prayer changes things. It does something in the heavenly realms that we can’t understand. Sometimes it feels pointless to pray, especially if we’ve been praying for something for a long time and nothing has happened, or if you’ve prayed for a loved one to be healed, but they end up passing away.

 

I can’t tell you why it seems that some prayers are answered easily and others take years of crying out to God, and some are answered with a “no”. The Bible tells us to pray relentlessly. There is a parable in Luke 11:5-10 that Jesus told about the persistent friend. He instructs us to pray so much that it almost gets annoying! Persistence is key. God wants to help us, but there is so much going on in the spiritual realm that we don’t understand. Not to mention that Satan is trying to wreck everything. So, we must stand strong in our faith and “pray without ceasing”. I have seen prayer do incredible things right before my eyes. You just have to take a step of faith and have hope. God will ALWAYS meet you there, even if it doesn’t turn out like you expected.

Thanks for your part in this breakthrough of finding a preceptor! I hope it will encourage you to keep praying and hold onto the hope that God offers us!

Love and blessings,

Jason and Monica

butterfly

 

Are You Letting Me Down?

I Trust You. 3 simple words. Kinda roll off the tongue for a ‘good Christian girl’.

But do I really mean them??

When the rubber meets the road, when my dreams are shattered, when my faith is shaken, do I really mean it?

When God brought us to Kona, I thought it was so that I could continue working on my Nurse Practitioner program. God is the reason I even started the program. It was His will and His prodding that made me decide to do it. And it just makes sense. I can do so much more as an NP in medical missions than as a nurse.

So, I began looking for a preceptor to do clinicals with for my school back in June, when we were still in Manila. I called several family practices, but no was was available and/or willing to accommodate me. I tried again when we went home for church camp. Again, a lot of dead ends. Then, someone finally called me back and said that they could take me. After that didn’t work out, I re-visited a clinic I had already tried. They changed their minds and said they could accommodate me, but then said maybe not, but that they would try. I tried one more doctor, who said he would do it! I turned in all the necessary paperwork to my university. Once I finally got approved to start clinicals on Wednesday, I called the doctor to schedule a time to start. He never called back. I tried again the next day. Nothing. On Friday, I got an email saying that, basically, the approval process had taken too long, and he was not willing to proceed as my preceptor.

I was crushed. Really, after all the ups and downs in this process, it all comes crashing down? My course syllabus states that if a student doesn’t have a preceptor by week 3, he/she may be administratively withdrawn from the course, and they would have to wait another year to take the course again. Friday was the end of week 3. And I’ve already called every doctor’s office in this town, as well as some an hour away. Even if I found another preceptor today, it may take weeks to be approved.

I thought this was your will, God! I’m doing this for You! Why is this happening??

I Trust You.

I certainly hope I mean these words. I think I mean them. I guess you never really know till it’s tested. Like gold, you never truly know it’s real till you put it in the fire.

Refinement.

It sounds like such as elegant word, but it hurts like hell.

I thought this was Your will, God! I literally left everything for You! And, honestly, it feels like You let me down.

I always think about the song, King of My Heart. At the end, we sing, “You’re never gonna let, Never gonna let me down” over and over. I remember singing that hesitantly the first few times, because I wasn’t sure that I truly believed it in the depths of my heart. After a couple of months, however, I knew it to be true with every fiber of my being. I still know it. So, why do I still feel like You’ve let me down?

I guess this is where faith, trust, and hope come in. I KNOW You’re working this all out for my good, even if I can’t see it yet. I KNOW you are always, always good, even if I can’t wrap my head around it. I KNOW I can trust in You, no matter what.

One of my favorite verses has always been Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose”. I know without a doubt that, yes, God is working all things out for the good of His Kingdom, the Church. Us. The Body of Christ.

But what about me personally? Is God working everything out for MY good?? After all, I gave up everything to follow you, so I deserve………Wait. I don’t deserve. I don’t actually deserve anything. Because God sent His Son to DIE for me. He was the Prince of Heaven; Earth and all that’s in it was made through Him. He deserved nothing but a life of glory.

Instead, He chose to come to the earth, that “was created by him, but the world did not recognize him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him” John 1:10-11. He deserved to be worshiped day and night, but, instead, he was beaten, spit on, and nailed to a tree.

So, why do I deserve to have everything work out the way I want it to? Don’t get me wrong, God LOVES his children and wants what is best for them. That’s why, sometimes, things happen, and we can only see them as bad, as road blocks, as dream-killers. But God can see the whole picture. And through that, He can work EVERYTHING out for the good of those who love Him.

So, whether I’m able to continue school this semester, or if I get withdrawn from my course; if I finish it 2 years from now, or 10 years from now, or maybe even not at all, I can trust that His hand is in it and that it’s all going to work out for my good.

Because He’s never gonna let me down.

Please join us in praying that God’s will be done in this situation, and pray for grace and peace for me, whatever the outcome.

Love and blessings,

Monica and Jason

prayer picture

Surprises

oh my! Where do I begin?! Well, surprise, we are home! It was a complete surprise to us as well! Last Saturday, we were talking with Justin, our church’s youth pastor, who said that he was in desperate need of more leaders for youth camp. Jason told him that we would pray about and consider coming home to help. We are in a transition period, so we have a couple of weeks off. Jason told him that we are already trusting God for 5 or 6 more supporters to give $100 per month, so what’s one more? Justin replied that we are crazy, then asked if we were serious. He then told Jason that he would try to find the funds to get us here.

We are so exhausted from traveling, so we wanted to be sure that coming home was God’s will. We both prayed and felt that it was right. Justin called back and said that he found someone willing to pay for our trip home! So, we bought plane tickets and left Hawaii about 5 hours later! Yes, I said Hawaii.

I have been trying to figure out the best way to explain that we will be missionaries based in Hawaii, without people thinking we’re just there on vacation. I have been quite nervous about announcing it, but then I realized that that fear is just Satan trying to discourage us. God clearly told Jason and I when we were in Perth, around March, that our next step would be Kona, Hawaii.

This was a very scary decision for us for a number of reasons. First of all, Hawaii is super expensive. When we look at the numbers, we won’t be able to afford it. But, we keep reminding ourselves that God called us there, and He won’t abandon us. He will provide whatever we need; we just have to trust! It’s also scary because Kona is by far the biggest base in YWAM, and we are country people who like small communities. Then, there’s also the fear that people won’t understand or take seriously what we’ll be doing in Hawaii.

We were only in Kona for 2 days before leaving to come home. When we go back this Friday, I will be on staff part-time with the on-campus health clinic as well as an urgent care that YWAM operates off-campus. This urgent care is open to the public and offers holistic care, including prayer, if the patient wishes. I am super excited to work with the local community while blending my faith and nursing. I will also be picking up my nurse practitioner program, from which I have taken a one year leave of absence to do missions. I don’t know what it will look like, doing school and missions at the same time, and I don’t know if I will work on it the whole time we’re in Hawaii. I will just take it one semester at a time and ask God what each 6 month block should look like. Jason will be staffing a Discipleship Bible School in Kona. He is looking forward to digging deeper into the Word while leading and discipling students.

We’re not completely sure how long we will be in Kona. The ‘plan’ is 18 months, but we will see what the Lord says and where He will lead us.

It has been so good to be home. Going to camp reenergized us and filled us up again. God is so cool! We’ve been saying for months that youth camp is the one thing we really wished we could come home for. We never thought it would actually happen! What an amazing God we serve!

If you would like to help support us in this mission that God is leading us on, you can donate through our account at Good News Community Church. You can do it online at http://www.gnccjc.org/giving. Just select ‘Hallquist’ on the drop down menu.

Thank you so much for reading! Oh, by the way, we were able to raise enough funds to give out 1,103 bibles in Manila! Thank you for all you do; we love you!!

~Jason and Monica

Miraculous Hope

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This is our friend Boying. We met him and his wife the first week we were here. He fell 5 years ago and injured his back, causing spinal cord compression and spinal stenosis; he has been bed-bound ever since. He has a wheelchair, but he is quite heavy to lift. His son is the only person who can transfer him, and he works most of the time. The last time he was out of bed was May 9, 2016.

Boying and his family had lost all hope that he could ever recover. He hasn’t been back to the doctor since his fall, because they cannot afford it. Even though Boying is confined to his bed all the time, he is surprisingly joyful and quite funny! He is an amazing man!

We did a little research and found out that there is a hospital in Manila that would see him for free, since he is a resident. So, we took him there for a repeat MRI, to see if there is anything that can be done for him, but the hospital said that it would be a 4-6 month waiting period for it! We were so discouraged, but we waited for him to be seen by Family Medicine, at least. After about an hour of waiting, he was in terrible pain from sitting up in his wheelchair. I went inside to see how much longer it would be until they could see him. A woman pointed to a mound of papers, which were all people who were ahead of him and said it would be another 2 hours. I went back and told him in total defeat.

I felt so hopeless; we had just dragged him all this way in intense pain for nothing. He kept telling Jason and I that it was ok and that it is very hard for poor people to get good medical help here. I was about to burst into tears! Boying’s son, who came with us, went to try to find a jeepney to take us back.

Just after his son left, Boying said, “They just called my name!”. I couldn’t believe it! It was a miracle! I saw how many people were in front of him, and there’s no way his name should have been called, but it was! He was able to be seen and even got his blood drawn and ECG. The people and service was great, which greatly encouraged Boying. It planted a seed of hope in him that he had completely lost!

Even though we weren’t able to get the MRI, Boying got a thorough check up and was able to apply for disability benefits. More importantly, he and his family were able to see that there is hope for him!

Our team decided to pay the extra cost and get Boying an appointment for an MRI at a private hospital, so we could get it done before we leave. I called Boying the night before to tell him what time we would pick him up.

Much to my surprise, he said that the free hospital was able to get him an appointment for next week, instead of 4-6 months!! Another miracle! His wife even had the transportation set up already. I was overjoyed, because Boying and his family now see that there IS hope and options for him! It also allowed them to see that they don’t need us around to take action.

After Boying gets his MRI results, he will go to another hospital with a spinal surgeon to see if he is a candidate for surgery. If he is able to have surgery, he could quite possibly walk again, or at least be able to get in and out of bed and his wheelchair easier! Please pray that all of this will come to fruition, so that he can have a better quality of life. We would love to see our sweet friend walk again!!

Thanks for reading!

Jason and Monica

 

Beauty For Ashes

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Smokey Mountain is a former garbage dump that people live on. It is literally a mountain of garbage. There used to be thousands of people living on it, but after a land slide killed many people, the Filipino government evacuated the mountain. Many people returned, however, and about 100 families live there today.

The decomposing trash and ash from many fires has created a layer of soil on top of the mountain. Trees, plants, and even bananas and vegetables now grow where there was once only trash. Smokey Mountain is actually the greenest place we have found in Manila!

imageThe people, especially the children, are also some of the most joyful people I have met. There is extreme poverty in some places, but there is so much joy in their hearts. I am reminded of a verse, Isaiah 61:3, which says, “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory”. This is my prayer for Smokey Mountain, and I have been able to see the fulfillment of this in the joy of the children.

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Our team began going to Smokey Mountain every week. At first, we held a clinic for children. Then, we began going house-to-house, offering medical services and prayer.  Being able to offer medical help opens so many doors. As soon as people hear that you are available to do check-ups or treat the sick, they immediately become engaged and lead you to the ones that need help. We have met so many amazing people that way! Then, we are able to follow up with them the next week.

We met a woman who has a special needs child. She led us to her home, where we prayed for the child. We gave the family a bible, but neither her, nor her husband, could see well enough to read it. We were able to get some reading glasses and give them both a pair, after which they could read the bible!

Please join me in praying for the inhabitants of Smokey Mountain. Pray for increased joy and hope in their hearts and for a greater understanding of God’s love for them.

Love and blessings,

Jason and Monica

 

The Word of God is Loud

Hey friend! Jason and I are officially half-way through our outreach in Manila already! Jason and I have always said that you couldn’t pay us enough to live in the city, and now we are living in one of the most densely-populated cities in the world! I have definitely learned to never say never! It’s amazing how much grace God has given us while living here, though. It has made the transition much easier than I expected.

Manila is quite a loud, bustling city. The public transport, called Jeepneys, are modeled from WWII jeeps, and they make quite a ruckus, along with many motorcycles day and night. Filipinos are also very fond of karaoke and basketball games, both of which can be heard from our room all hours of the night. Haha! For the first couple of weeks, I slept with ear plugs and wondered how anyone could ever sleep through all the noise. Now I never use ear plugs and always fall straight to sleep. I think I could sleep through anything now!

Ministry times have been very fruitful. We have been doing medical and dental clinics almost everyday. We pray with each patient and often share the gospel with them and/or give them a bible. As of the end of last week, our team has shared the gospel with 981 people, seen 244 salvations, prayed for 1,323 people, and seen 33 healings!

Everyone in Manila knows of Jesus, but many people do not know what He did for them or how or why He lived on Earth. There are a lot of misconceptions about God and how to be saved. That is why we have a goal to give out at least 1,000 bibles. We have already given 450 people a bible. Our team is fundraising for the rest of the money needed to buy the other 550 bibles. If you would like to help us reach this goal, you can click on the link at the bottom, which will take you to a paypal account set up for the bibles.

A couple of weeks ago, a few of us visited a hospital to encourage and pray with patients. I came across a man whom was staying with his wife, whom had had a stroke and could no longer speak. I could tell that the man was worried and tired from continuously staying at the hospital for over a week. I prayed for his wife and then for him. I asked if he had a bible. He replied that he had one at home, but he wasn’t able to go home and get it. He lived far away and needed to stay with his wife. When I offered to give him a bible to read while his wife was admitted, he readily accepted, with tears in his eyes. As I was getting him a bible out of a book bag, I accidentally dropped it on the floor, making a big thud. The man said, “The word of God is loud!”. I laughed as I agreed and let this thought sink in. The word of God is indeed loud. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”.

After I left this man and had visited more patients, I walked back past his wife’s room and saw him reading the bible I had just given him. There are many more stories like this one about people receiving bibles. You can help us get even more amazing stories by helping us raise the remaining $1,200 needed to purchase the rest of the bibles. We have been giving out both full bibles and New Testaments, which are cheaper. We would like to give out as many full bibles as we can, which cost about $2.50 USD each.

Here is the link to donate, and thank you so much for reading! Love and miss you,

Monica and Jason

https://www.youcaring.com/manilabibleproject-799288

 

Manila Bound

IMG_3680We made it to Manila!!! When I first started writing this post, the first line said that we were heading to Manila soon, but I wasn’t able to finish it before we left! Now we’re sitting in the airport, waiting for our ride to take us to the church we’ll be staying at. I can’t believe outreach is already here; the time has just flown by!! We will be in Manila for 11 weeks. We are here with my (Monica’s) school, the Medical Missions School, so Jason will be the lone male among 11 women! Haha! Jason definitely won’t be idle while we’re doing clinics, though! He will probably be evangelizing, discipling, worshipping, taking blood pressures, etc.

We will be staying in the heart of the city, in the district and city of Manila. We would appreciate prayer, not only for safety, but for Jason and I to adjust to the city. We do not like city living; it has been a struggle for us since coming to Perth. Manila is one of the most densely populated cities in the world! (God definitely has a sense of humor, hey?) But God has been teaching us a lot about contentment and joy in every situation. He is beautiful, even if our surroundings are not!

During our first week in Manila, we will be doing prayer walks through the streets. We will also read the Bible out loud, in shifts, continuously, from cover-to-cover. This should take around 72 hours. After the first week, we’re not sure what we’ll be doing, exactly. We are hoping to partner with a local hospital in Manila. We will definitely be setting up our own clinics and treating patients. Evangelism and discipleship are definitely on the itinerary, as well; this will be the heart of everything we do.

Even though we don’t know what outreach will look like, I do know that God has some amazing miracles in store! We are super excited to see Him move in this city! We hope to send updates from Manila, assuming there will be access to wifi. Please continue to pray for our team, for grace as we adjust to the city, and that God would ready our hearts and the hearts of the people we will meet.

Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers! We can’t wait to post more updates of what God is doing in Manila! Love you!
~Jason and Monica

 

Heart Strings

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Hello Friends!!! Apparently we’ve been in Perth 7 weeks already! What?! Time has absolutely flown by!

The transition from Townsville to home to Perth has been quite challenging. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions! First, we had to adjust to being back in Western culture after going to PNG, then we had to say goodbye to all our Townsville DTS friends, followed by joy when we were able to see our families again back home, then a very difficult goodbye to them, and finally, adjusting to Perth and beginning friendships all over again. Although YWAM Perth is a great base, we have had a difficult time adjusting. Things are very different from what we were used to in Townsville, and it is a much, much bigger base. The city is also much bigger, and we hate city living! In addition, our schedules are quite different, so Jason and I don’t get to spend much time together.

God has been working overtime in our hearts, however, teaching us contentment, joy, perseverance, and His goodness and faithfulness. He is molding and shaping us to be more like Him and more in love with Him, which has been amazing! I thought I was a pretty strong, well-rounded Christian after our DTS, but I quickly realized I have a long way to go! We never arrive at a place where we have it all figured out. It is a life-long journey – a marathon, and each day has a new set of challenges. But God is right beside us the whole way; sometimes he is gently leading us, sometimes He is walking beside us, and sometimes, in the most difficult times, He carries us. It is a beautiful journey when we have Jesus to guide us!

I (Monica) am doing a Medical Missions School here in Perth. This school is for medical professionals or those with a medical background who have a heart for missions. We learn how to mesh our medical experience with the Gospel in order to heal people holistically and bring them the hope of Jesus. So far, I have learned clinical examination skills, spiritual healing, HIV and communicable diseases, malnutrition/dehydration, skin diseases, community health, mental health, dentistry, emergency response, Aboriginal health, and much more. I am learning how to integrate physical and spiritual healing, in order to tangibly show God’s love and hopefully bring some people to Jesus!

Jason has been doing a Discipleship Bible School, in which he goes through the whole Bible in 3 months, learning more about it and about God’s character. He is just finishing up the Old Testament this week! He has lectures every morning, and in the afternoons, he is in a reading group with some of his fellow classmates. They read aloud the assigned chapters and discuss it. For each book, he writes out an assignment about the author, content, context, God’s character in the book, and how he can apply it to his life.

We really enjoy our schools! God has also been opening my eyes to the needs of the homeless in the city. Every Friday, my class goes to a park in the city, where the homeless tend to gather, to do evangelism. I must admit, I was a bit leery to interact with homeless people and try to tell them about Jesus. The second week of evangelism, my partner, Alyssa, and I met a man named Abdul. Abdul came to Australia illegally from Afghanistan, so as a result, he spent 3 years in a detention center. He came to Australia try to find work, in hopes that he would be able to send money to his wife and children, who had fled to Pakistan, and maybe even bring them here eventually.

Abdul’s family used to own a successful store in Afghanistan, but the Taliban came and killed his mother, father, and his oldest children; tortured Abdul, and then burned down the store. That is when he and the rest of his family fled to Pakistan, and then Abdul came to Australia. As a result of all of this, Abdul now has mental health disturbances. As you can imagine, he has difficulty sleeping and often has night terrors, so he often opts to sleep in the park or on the train, even though he has an apartment.

Abdul is very, very kind. He is also very lonely, because he has no way of contacting his family in Pakistan, and he doesn’t know many people here. He knows who Jesus is, but it is difficult to know if he fully understands what it means to be a Christian, due to the language barrier. He has been to many churches, looking for help, and he has told us of his frustrations associated with the Church. Christians often invite him to come to church. They give him coffee and a biscuit and say, “Come back next week”, but they don’t actually do anything to help or create close relationship. In Afghanistan, family and community are central to everyday life. If someone is in need, they are immediately taken in and helped until they are able to help themselves.

When I heard Abdul’s stories, I immediately felt so convicted. What have I done for the poor and needy? If Abdul was in my town back home, would I have helped him? Probably not. What are churches doing to counteract homelessness and poverty? In the Western world, it’s every man for himself, and the Church is obviously not doing its job to help ‘the least of these’.

Abdul now looks forward to Fridays, as do I, and he loves talking to Alyssa and I. We pray over him every week, and he always says he feels better after prayer. Please join us in praying for Abdul- for his mental and physical health, his family in Pakistan, and that he would come to know Jesus personally.

Thank you for reading and for your prayers! If there is anything Jason and I could be praying for you about, please put it in the comments or message us! Love and miss you!!

~Monica and Jason