Friends,

This little girl is half Agta and lives in a village next to the village I and my siblings grew up in. Her mom is an Agta woman and her dad is the Filipino pastor of their village. She needs help. Her dad has taken her to a city, a day’s bus drive away (each way), to have medicine put in her eye, and they need money to be able to do this on a regular basis. The family is very, very poor. Please consider giving to this girl and please tell others who also may be able to help.

Here is the link where a person can donate to help in this cause: http://partnersacrosscultures.org/donate In the box that says, “Person or trip for funds to go to” a person must type in “Agta” and then contact me at my comment page (which I will not publish) to let me know the amount given for this little daughter of the pastor. If someone would prefer to give to her through Paypal, just reach me through my comment page and I will send you my brother’s Paypal information.

For the Agta, even a fews dollars goes a long way. Thank you so much for contributing.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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Friends,
My sister’s daughter, Violet, was on Japan’s national news today. She and some others volunteered to help with the clean-up necessary due to the terrible flood damage that happened in Hita, Oita, Japan the first week of this month.

The reason she is there is because she joined the group (for the first time) that my brother organizes every year to go to Hita to help him and his family share Christ and God’s Message with the Japanese. Each young person stays in a Japanese home and commits to serving their host family, while also helping with the evangelism activities my brother administrates.

I hope people are praying for those affected by the flood. There is much ruin and some family’s homes were washed away completely. May God comfort the people of Hita and may they see their need for The One who is All-powerful and is able to heal and help and save.

Violet can be seen working in several of the clips, and they also recorded a few statements from her. Watching her reminded me again of what a tender heart she has for others, and how she gives of her life whenever and wherever she can. (She is the one who raised over 22K through bake sales, etc. to purchase a well for the Hadza in Tanzania, Africa, which I posted about last year on 7/26/16.)

Here is the link to the Japanese newscast today:

 

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
My brother (Steve), his oldest son (Kael), another teenage boy, and two young men (not the same two who went in 2015) took a trip to the Philippines last month to visit the Agta –the people with whom I and my siblings grew up and for whom my parents translated the New Testament.

It appears that the Agta are doing much better than they were several years ago. There is a thriving church there and most of the Agta throughout the penisula seem to love Jesus. The children are eager to go to school and to learn and the adults want this for them –very different than when we lived there, for it was so hard to get anyone interested in learning to read then. However, there is a need for a school to be built in another Agta village so that those children don’t have to board away from home. There is a need for funds for this project, as Steve is trying to arrange plans for the building. Here is something I posted after their trip in 2015 and it includes the information on how to donate:

“New houses, a church, and a school have been made in one Agta village from money being donated from various people wanting to help the Agta. The Agtas’ needs have received more attention since APECO’s efforts to take their land have become known internationally. (The Rom. 8:28 promise at work, I’d say.) May the Lord bless all who are helping them! If you would like to be one of those helpers, there is an opportunity to become a sponsor for the many six-graders wanting to go on to high school (there is no middle school), which costs, including room and board, approximately $340 a year. Here is the link you can click on to donate and receive a tax deduction:http://partnersacrosscultures.org/donate Please specify that you are donating to “the Casiguran Agta” in the blank space that says, “Person or trip”. If you are wanting to sponsor a student, their names will be available after you fill out the application. Thank you so much for prayerfully considering this.”

Please also support the Agta through prayer. Pray for their health, for their provision regarding food, medicine, surgeries, and education, for them to grow in spiritual knowledge, maturity, and holiness, for them and their land to be safe from land-grabbers, for their safety from disease and accidents and hurricanes, and for their total well-being.

I thank the Lord for all He has so wonderfully done for the Agta since my parents went there to live out their lives with them two years before I was born. God loves the Agta so very much. He cares for them and wants to use others to extend His care and love through. Thank you for your consideration, dear Reader, in helping.

Below are some photos, with captions underneath each, of this year’s trip.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

My brother with “uncle” Saysay (pronounced Sysy) who, as a child, became blind from having measles.

My brother and a Filipino man who is a pastor in the area.

Kael and the other teenage boy enjoying one of the peninsula’s exquisite beaches.

This man’s life was saved by my mom about 25 years ago when he was dying. My mom hiked to his home one night to pray over him and he miraculously recovered by the next morning. This is his wife and kids this year.

This photo is of two of our elderly “aunties” trying out the reading glasses my parents sent.

Two of our friends have this small ferry business because the river, near its mouth, rises at high tide.

Two children amazed at a young hornbill bird.

Agta grandma ready to play ball too!

American group involving themselves in village life.

Kael with new friends.

Friends,
Three members of my sister’s family (see photos 2, 4, and 7 at link below), along with several others from their church, went to Tanzania, Africa to watch a water well installed for the Hadza people. My sister’s children were instigators in raising the money, often through bake sales, for this project, and they raised over $22,000. My sister and her family, having a loving concern for the Hadza after having lived with them for a few years in the 90s, have periodically gone back to visit them, help them, and promote Jesus. Click this link to view photos of this latest trip a few weeks ago:

http://kylepaliotto.zenfolio.com/p403102053

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

The Unborn Are Persons

February 2, 2015

Friends,
If you, or your wife, or your sister, or your friend, said she was five months pregnant, would you consider that baby in the womb to be a person? I should think so. Does not everyone who joyfully anticipates the birth of any baby know that that baby is a human being from the time he or she is conceived? Why then do so many people uphold laws that allow for the murder of these helpless human beings? It is unconscionable. Yet in their selfishness, such adults deliberately deny what is true while pretending that abortion is merely the removal of tissue.

On January 22, the 42nd anniversary of Roe v Wade, a bill to ban abortions at and after 20 weeks gestation was ready for a vote in the House. Unfortunately though, it has been stalled. Please read here and sign the petition on behalf of unborn persons:

http://aclj.org/pro-life/womb-should-be-a-place-of-protection-not-murder?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=newsletter

Thank you.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
How deeply, how earnestly, how diligently and faithfully, do we crave God’s presence? We should evaluate ourselves on this point because God’s Word tells us that we are to love God above everything and everyone else. (Dt. 5:7 & 6:13-15) We are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Mark 12:30) We are to give up all –all things, all people, and our own life– in order to belong to Him. (Luke 9:23-25 & 14:25-27,33) And we are to show this love consistently / faithfully / till the end. (Mt. 24:12,13 // Heb. 3:12-14 // 1 Peter 4:2 // Rev. 2:4,5) How well are we doing this?

Most people, I believe, have to admit that they are not doing very well concerning this. Instead of loving the Lord’s presence, they love the world’s presence. They love movies, Facebook friends, their career, their hobbies, their idols, and most of all themselves. Oh, some hate themselves, true; but how they cater to their own desires, how they refuse to control their tongues, their thoughts, their attitudes, and their actions, reveals very clearly that they worship themselves, even if it be a love/hate reality.

Ps. 84:10 says, “For a day in Your courts [O LORD] is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Do we feel the same as the psalmist? Can we express the same thing to God? Do we think, “O Lord, even one day near You is better than a thousand days anywhere else, even a thousand days doing those other things that I love to do [–like eat, sleep, ski, golf, shop, fish, etc.].”

And what about our importance, our prestige? I’ve heard that the word here for “doorkeeper” is found nowhere else in Scripture but that we know it refers to a person of the lowest rank. Does this verse ring true in our own hearts? Are we one who has given up all pursuit of worldly recognition that might interfere with our ability to dwell in God’s presence? Have we rejected all our love of anything wicked so that we can love God whole-heartedly? Have we traded in the hangouts of sin and rebels for the company of God?

We are to love God and desire His presence just because He is who He is. He is the compassionate, mighty, Most High King and Creator, our Ransomer and our Shepherd, the One who is always and forever good. We are to desire God because He is God, the one and only God.

Even so, because God is so good, He bestows great favor on those who long to be in His presence and who live in Him. They are ever rejoicing in Him, trusting in Him, and thus receiving protection, honor, strength, refreshment, joy, and all good things from Him. (See whole of Ps. 84) Truly, being with God brings immense reward, both here in this life and in the one to come.

So, how deeply do we really desire God’s presence? Let’s be honest and alter our lives according to the claims we make.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
My brother was telling me the other day how he and some others from their church went knocking on apartment doors asking people what they want for Christmas. He said that most people wouldn’t really say, but a few did. And the ones that did were in for a very pleasant surprise. For what my brother and his friends were up to was this: My brother and a couple of others would knock on doors, give a small gift, invite the residents to their church, ask them what they want for Christmas, and then write down each one’s answer. As soon as they had said goodbye, my brother would call another church member who was waiting at Walmart, that person would buy the item, and another church member waiting in the Walmart parking lot with a van would pick it up and deliver it to my brother still at the apartments. So, about an hour after the request, my brother and his friends with him would deliver it to the resident who had told them what they were wishing for this Christmas.

One lady they visited had said she was longing for a vacuum cleaner. Pointing out her dirty carpet, as well as her mouth full of missing teeth, she had said she just couldn’t afford a vacuum cleaner but was sure wishing for one for Christmas. When my brother and the others delivered to her an hour later a brand new vacuum cleaner with a huge Christmas bow on it, saying, “Here’s what you wished for”, the woman burst into tears and screams of joy. She kept screaming with joy and crying so that even when my brother and his little group left and were way out in the parking lot getting ready to leave, they could still hear the woman screaming and shouting for joy. My brother was laughing as he told me, “The woman was so hysterical that we were afraid people were going to think we’d murdered her husband or something!” I couldn’t help laughing too. And I thought what they’d done sounded so fun! For isn’t it great to bless people, especially when they aren’t expecting it?

I hope we all can find someone needy to bless this holiday season. I already found such a family this last Saturday who I knew really needed some money and encouragement, so in giving to them, I was blessed as well. And I hope to find at least one more family to give to.

What would Jesus do? What did Jesus already do? And what has He done for us day after day? He has given us abundant blessings of all kinds that we so often take for granted. Like a towel rack in our bathroom. Or salt for seasoning food. Or a safety pin. Or a warm jacket. Or a spouse who loves and cares for us. Even when many things aren’t right, or society’s selfishness sometimes makes us want to get far away from everyone, or one problem after another pops up, we nevertheless have multitudes of blessings. We just need to notice them. Or if we can’t, then going without them for a week should open our eyes. When my husband and I went out after four days of being without some “necessities” in our new home –like a bathroom towel rack– and he installed them, I couldn’t believe how thankful I was to just have a towel rack available!

But some people have NEVER had a towel rack. They’ve never even had a towel. To dry off, they have to resort to using, at best, an old piece of cloth. My dad was telling me last month how the Agta, after he would periodically ask them what their upcoming meal would be consisting of, would usually say, “Rice and salt.” They felt it a luxury just to have salt with their rice. This is how most of the world lives, even while others gorge themselves on all sorts of luxuries –year after year, day after day, hour after hour.

If only people would let the change begin with their own family. If only they would agree that this Christmas, instead of piling gifts up under their own tree, the money would be spent to bring gifts to those who need necessities. For as Paul reminds us of Jesus’ words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), we are also reminded to work hard to help the weak. (same verse) Not the lazy, or those who take advantage of kindnesses, but those who are truly in need.

Let’s remember that whatever we do for (and to) the least of them –the most impoverished, neglected, diseased, or insignificant of people– we have done it for (and to) Christ. (Mt. 25:35-40) –Whether it is love and help we’ve extended, or neglect. (v. 41-46)

This Christmas let’s take these things to heart, and act accordingly.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel