Swimming in a sea of ancient religions.

Constance discusses short shorts and Chinese food.
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Short shorts

Recently, I've begun to notice that jogging shorts are...well...shorter. You can't miss it. Go to any track or gym and you will see color co-ordinated joggers in bright hued shorts with contrasting trim. The first time I noticed a 20 something sporting a pair of this "new" fashion trend, I had a flashback to the 70's when shorts exactly like these were in style.
Fashion in the jogging world doesn't really concern me. I'm a walker, not a runner. OK, I aspire to run, but I'm still in that awkward stage in which I'm walking faster than nature ever intended...arms flailing and unfashionably long shorts flapping.
A few nights ago Jeff and I noticed a man and his young son jogging together. The boy had a large frame and was struggling to hit his stride. As we passed and were able to see their faces, it became obvious the boy was giving it all he had but he was definitely not experiencing a runners high. The father, who was in good athletic form, was immediately behind his son encouraging him as they ran. When they passed us, I realized this was a great picture of how our heavenly father draws near and speaks words of encouragement to us when we struggle.
Then it occurred to me that I am like that young boy.
While Jeff has found his niche in traveling to the remote islands to take the gospel, I have wondered at times what ministry niche God might have for me (will I ever "hit my stride?"). Supporting Jeff in his work, running the missionary guest house on Bali, hosting missionaries who come to Singapore for medical care and visa runs and meeting with those who need encouragement and prayer are good things that I believe the Lord has led me to do. Yet, I long for more. I know I am walking out my faith, but I aspire to run.
Have you ever felt like that? That you are doing what God has led you to do, walking out your faith, but longing for more. Aspiring to run?
Recently some opportunities to use my gifts have begun to emerge both in the area of teaching the bible and working with women. I am prayerfully asking the Lord to confirm His leading. As I wait for Him to speak and direct my path, I am reminded again of the father running alongside his son. Isaiah 41:10 encourages me: Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
This reminds me that when the road is long and I wonder if I will ever hit my stride, my heavenly father is right there with me encouraging me onward. These things take time. So I am waiting and listening and praying. Meanwhile, maybe I'll go for a jog.

But, if they start bringing back sweatbands and leg warmers, I'm outta here.

Swimming in a sea of ancient religions

The standing stone on the island of Bonerate is an outrageous testimony to the spiritual understanding and experience of many people in south-east Asia. In the above pictures you see the standing stone on Bonerate which is located just a few hundred yards from the Mosque in the same small village. 
Surprisingly, even in the modern city of Singapore, which boasts safe drinking water, mass transit and low crime rate, it is common to encounter large temples dedicated to multiple gods and goddesses, ancestor worship, and pagan rituals. In some places they are located next door to a church. While a significant percentage of people are Christian (2010 census: 18%) almost 50% of Singaporeans still identify themselves as Buddhist, Taoist or Hindu. 
On the remote islands, the religious heritage of the people is even more complex. 100% of the people will declare that they are Muslims yet most of these will simultaneously continue to engage in animistic rituals and practices--a set of unquestioned beliefs passed down from their ancestors over the centuries. 
The contradictions between their ancestral religious beliefs and those of Islam are not an issue for them. They d not feel compelled to decide between what is true and what is not true. The confusion is evident when we discuss spiritual things. We ask questions and they are surprised that there should be answers.

We sometimes swim in the waters of the islands. Spiritually, we are always swimming in a sea of ancient religions. Only a significant encounter with the Holy Spirit can break through this cloud of apathy and confusion and enable them to turn from the beliefs of their ancestors and contemporaries.

Chinese food

We live in a Chinese enclave here in Singapore. Our closest friends are Singaporeans of Chinese decent. They have introduced us to several local "delicacies" including turtle soup (very chewy...comes complete with the head), fish heads (the eyeball of this dish is the prize) and a special soup made from pig intestine (you choose large or small intestine...yum!). For dessert....a spikey local fruit about the size of a mellon called durien. Durien is best known for its "eau de day-old sock" aroma which is so pungent it is banned from public transportation and certain hotels.
Please pray for us...

That God's leading would be clear on ministry opportunities for Constance.  
Jeff is exploring a new group of closed Indonesian islands. Details to come as the trip develops.

If you are interested in giving to the ministry of the Millers, please click here (our account number is: 111273).
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