Brief Bio

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Quezon City, Metro-Manila, Philippines
I am a runner, pastor, sociologist, teacher, and missionary. After living in Chicago for 6 years, I discerned a call to go to Manila, Philippines to live and work among the urban poor, and combine my passions for ministry, running, and the oppressed. After serving in the Philippines in 2012 and 2013, I returned to the United States for two years to finish my dissertation, get ordained, spend time with my family, and work at a neighborhood center in Kansas City. Since then, I have been working in the Philippines with Companion With the Poor as a missionary. Each day I look forward to how God will direct my steps as I live into His work of restoring a broken world.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Lent Devotional #3: Taize

Last Friday night I went to a Taize church service, a type of service focused around prayer and repetitious song. It was beautiful. The sanctuary was beautiful and the people were beautiful. There were two parts during the service that I felt tied together perfectly in relation to Lent. The first part included everyone lighting a candle we had picked up upon entering, and after singing a song with the candle in our hands, putting them in clay pots of sand in the middle of the sanctuary to represent the light of Christ. Later in the service there was a time when the congregants were invited to come up to a wooden cross located a little ways off of all the lit candles, and as the bulletin said "lay your head on the cross to lift up your burdens and the burdens of suffering people all around the world." In expectation of the light of Christ, and yet in view of the cross, I realized something. I have always been told that we must see our lives through the lens of Christ. I realized, as I bowed at the cross facing the lights, that even though we are on this side of Jesus' death and resurrection, as faithful followers of Jesus Christ, we are called for a time to endure suffering as Jesus did in patient expectation of His glorious return. And yet, even in waiting for His return, we have already experienced His triumphant victory over death and His resurrection to His rightful throne next to His Father in Heaven.

This encouraged me greatly during a hard week at the homeless shelter. I volunteered two nights last week, and yet with a heavy and nearly hardened heart. Without getting into details, I was greatly disrespected by one of the shelter's administrators who I rarely see at the shelter, having their office a few miles up town. In being disrespected, I wanted to respond the way Jesus did to His perpetrators on His way to the cross when He asked them for which of His good deeds they were trying to kill him. We find a similar verse in 1 Peter 2:12 that says, "Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." And what is more, in James we are told "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." (James 1:2-3) Honestly, my experience last week was only one of many things in the last year that could have made me quit or back down. It has been through pushing through that I've developed perseverance. And joy. I'm encouraged this week by our savior's example, and I desire to know more of Him and His experiences leading up to the cross.

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