Here comes the countdown.

Midnight just hit here in California. It is now July 2, exactly a week from our scheduled departure date for the Philippines next Thursday. (Some will be leaving on Tuesday) I don’t know exactly how to describe the week I’ve been having so far. Each sleepless night this week came with new thoughts and new revelations.

It’s still very surreal to me that we’re here once again, as a team, and even more that we will be returning to the Philippines. God is good. All the time. Years of ministry where God’s work has been evident has taken place in the mountains of Cebu, where I have visited several times. I was able to witness firsthand the growth of churches, the decline of some, followed by the rebuilding of most, as well as the journeys of new, young leaders responding to the call for the first time. Let me first acknowledge that it is ALL HIM. None of this is about us, Zeal, or the One More Village Foundation. Over these past years through several trips, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with many people, meet new friends, and share stories. And although I am only able to interact with most of these people for a couple of weeks at a time, I’m thankful that God allowed us to form lifelong friendships even when separated by distance. I can’t wait to see many familiar faces next week. I think I’m starting to understand the significance of connection and creating community, especially in ministry. To know that there are believers on the other side of the world, on your team, working hand in hand to build the Kingdom, is such an encouraging feeling.

Preparing for this trip is different. So different. Although I feel like I’ve grown significantly in my spiritual walk since our last trip as a team in 2010-11, my faith has been challenged more than ever. I once wrote a song, “This is faith, that nothing is impossible through Christ who lives in me”, yet I find myself consumed by doubts with every little detail that comes with planning. Also, with this theme of “Light The Way”, I feel like God has made me more aware of the darkness. He opened my eyes to the brokenness, the pain, and the diminishing joy that surrounds us. I was made more aware of the stories behind the faces I encountered. I was made even more aware of the brokenness within myself. It’s been a humbling past few years for me as God walked with me through the refiner’s fire, a time when I felt so ashamed of the person I became, that I felt I could never sing a song for Him again. God placed me in opportunities to be used by him, yet I took it upon myself, countless times, relying on my own strength and knowledge.

I pray that God will have His way.  I pray for the the Holy Spirit to speak through us, to mold and shape us in preparation for this trip. I am forever thankful that God refueled my passion, gave me a fresh ZEAL to build His Kingdom again. There’s not a song I can sing, a prayer I can shout that can give God the glory and praise He deserves. He is good and I know he will light the way for us.

I can’t wait to see our friends again. I can’t wait to see God move again.

#LightTheWay

– Josh

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