Elizabeth Baran

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Extension Class Adventures

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Extension Classes have started again! We have several teams going out every Saturday to teach kids about Christ. It’s exciting because this year it’s not just staff and college students, but church members are volunteering to lead classes too! Sometimes getting to the class is an adventure all on its own.  Chris warned me, “Come prepared because we’re going to cross a river.” My husband enjoys teasing me so I didn’t think he was serious; not until I saw the river. :) There are easy places to cross but some days we can’t because the hard rains raise the water levels.  On one such day a teen from our group fell and was completely soaked!  On those days I look at my husband and say, “Why are we doing this?” :) But truly, there is a reason because just across that river is a little town full of people that need Christ! And when they see a foreign family cross that river, they want to know why!  That gives us a great opportunity to share the Gospel with them. 

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The Big 5

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Our son, Micah, turned five on January 20th!  As we look at pictures from the previous year we’re amazed by how much he has grown. His baby chub is gone and he has grown almost as tall as Abigail. Watching your kids grow is a constant reminder of how fast time flies by. It makes you want to hold them a little closer and pray you do your best to raise them right!  The other day Micah looked at me and says, “Mom, I don’t want to get married.” Shocked that his little mind is already thinking about marriage I asked, “Why not?” He said, “Because I don’t have any money in my piggy bank. You need lots of money in your piggy bank to get married.” Wise thinking son! :) This season of life is so short! I’m thankful for these moments that remind me to make the most of my time with these precious blessings. 

 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12

 

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My Journey

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As a missionary wife, there are some questions I get asked a lot.  Whether it be a family member or church, inevitably I’m asked, “Do you like living in the Philippines?” My answer is a genuine YES! But that wasn’t always the case.  As a young wife, I completely supported Chris and was excited to serve the Lord in the Philippines. Then we took our survey trip…and suddenly I found myself looking at the reality of living in a third world country. Honestly, I didn’t think I could do it!  Everything was just so foreign, so different from anything I knew. I prayed, “Lord change this country so I can live here and serve You.” A very spiritual prayer, I know. :) But then something amazing happened in my heart. God brought the testimonies of other missionary wives to my attention. One phrase jumped at me…“Different isn’t always bad, it’s just different.” God used this over and over to prepare me for life in the Philippines. During the rest of our survey trip, God helped take my focus from me to the need around me.  By the time our survey trip was over, my prayer had changed from, “God change these people…” to “God change me so I can help these people.”  Now, almost 5 years later, the Philippines has become home. It’s funny, as a missionary you go to another country to reach out and help people and yet God uses these same people to help us. I’m so thankful to see how God has grown me throughout my personal journey. Not that I’ve “arrived” or become super spiritual but I realize how weak I am and how much I need God to work in my own heart. 

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Provision

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It was one of those mornings…we had traveled several hours the day before and arrived at our hotel late. The kids were full of energy and I was doing my best to keep up. :) The three of us finished our breakfast at the hotel and started to leave when a lady approached us. She told me it had been a treat to watch the kids enjoy their breakfast. She then asked where we were from and I told her we were missionaries to the Philippines.  She smiled, “Thank you so much for what you do! We’re Baptists and we love how God is using missionaries around the world!” I took the kids back to our room and realized that I completely forgot to get Chris his breakfast! I ran back downstairs, a little flustered. This time the lady’s husband approached me. He said, “Are you and your husband missionaries?” I smiled, “Yes, sir.” He reached for my hand and gave me a one hundred dollar bill. I stood there in shock. I didn’t know these people. We weren’t even in church! This was a morning I was just trying to survive. My eyes teared up as I thanked this couple for being a blessing!  Here I was in a hotel in Texas when the Lord brought this dear couple across my path. God let me know I was on His mind, even when I wasn’t expecting it. 

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