Esther Pavao

Wow...I got on the internet, intending to blog, and it amazes me how much time I put into keeping up with the whole online world. I first had to check my email. I have my email, then my work email, then my HomeLife Academy email (which I still haven't gotten to), then I check the RCV chatroom to see if anyone has answered my question, which they have and I answer back then check all the new topics entered since the last time I was on. I then look up my sister's and friends' picasa albums and see all the new pictures they've put up. After that I read everyone's blogs and all the news from Memphis and other people's lives before I actually get to blogging. And now, after so much time, I don't even remember what it was that drove me to the computer to blog.'s food for thought. I didn't realize I spend so much time on the computer. I remember.

A few months back, I had someone ask me where I get my inspiration to write my blog. I just kind of gave a blank stare. I wasn't sure how to answer. Now I've had time to think about it, I guess I'd have to answer with "Out of the abundance of the heart, [the] mouth speaks."* (Luke 6:45, ESV) I write what I feel. If God shares something good with me, I get excited and want people to know about it. If I'm struggling and being tested, I need to share it. I don't think I'm a gifted writer, and I often forget people actually read what I write. I don't write a blog because I think people should read it or because I think I have something great to say.

I get my inspiration from the way I feel. I get it from the small things God shows me, and from the way I feel. I get it from the people around me, and the things I read and see. If something helps me out, I share it in hopes that it will encourage someone else. These aren't divinely inspired writings, they're the ramblings of a teenage girl trying to find her way.

I don't remember who asked me the question, but since you asked about it, I assume you'll read this, so here's your belated answer.

*Fun Fact: My mom used to quote this to me when I was younger whenever I'd say something harsh or rude, then say that I was kidding, or that I didn't mean it. I didn't quite understand the full meaning and I didn't know it was from the bible until I got a little bit older.
Esther Pavao
I actually got this in my work email address. I assumed it was spam, but since it's my work address, I have to check before deleting, so I was scanning through. Somehow it caught my attention, and I ended up reading the whole thing. Ken actually checked it out on Snopes and it is a true story, though the numbers are a little inaccurate. (i.e. it says 5,500 in one place where it was actually 6,500). I thought it was a very brave thing to do. If only more people would not be ashamed of God and would be ashamed of what our country has turned into, stories like this wouldn't be rare or amazing; no one would expect anything less of anyone who claims to be a Christian.

A  Pastor with GUTS!

Thought you might enjoy this interesting prayer given in Kansas at the opening session of their House of Representatives. It seems prayer still upsets some people. When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual  generalities, but this is what they heard:

"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done.

We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem..
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today;  cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in protest. In 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church,  where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls responding negatively. The church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India , Africa and Korea .

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, 'The Rest of the Story,'and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired.

With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called 'one nation
under God. If possible, please pass this prayer on to
your friends.

'If you don't stand for something, you  will fall for everything.'
Esther Pavao

I was helping Marlene get pictures of Mexico for the Conference the other day, and ended up on the Mexico blog. I found my notes that I wrote of the ladies meeting we had while we were there and the message Gannah brought, and it touched me as deeply that evening as it did the first time she said it.

She read the story of the man who, when he found the one pearl greater than all the others, sold all of his possessions in order to purchase it. She talked about being willing to make that sacrifice and asked whether we were focusing to much on the cost, instead of the pearl.

I have to be honest, the first time I heard this parable, I thought the man was a fool. Who would sell everything they owned for a pearl, no matter how precious? It made no sense to me at all. I'm the person looking at the cost, and deciding the pearl isn't worth it, and walking away. I have no concept of the worth of the pearl.

It scares me to know that I think that way. If the pearl is the kingdom of God and the sacrifice Christ made for us, I should not only be willing to leave all that I have for that pearl, it should be the only thing that I desire. When it seems hard to give up the small things in our life that I treasure, I need to be reminded that they are dust in the wind in comparison with that pearl. I need to focus on the pearl, not the cost.
Esther Pavao
Most of the people who will read this know that I've been planning a trip to Mexico for anyone I can drag along with me. There's a lot of history to that statement, though the purpose of this blog post isn't to explain that. Those who know me well will tell you that when asked to describe my character traits, 'patience' usually isn't mentioned, so you can imagine that when obstacles stand in my way, I get easily frustrated and start pushing people to try and keep things moving along. Sometimes that's a good thing, but somehow, I have difficulty finding that fine line until I've long since crossed it. Unsurprisingly, that happened with this Mexico trip.

Thursday night, I wrote an email to several of the leaders, expressing my frustration at the seeming lack of progress on this trip and my concern that I had missed the point where I needed to stop. I know my tendency to be pushy to a fault and so I wondered if I was really seeking God about this, or I was moving from myself at this point. Essentially, I had done that some (big surprise there), but I got vision on the next steps to take; however, there will still be a certain amount of waiting to do.

That was a struggle for me. It helped knowing that there was a next step to take, but knowing there was more waiting was still difficult. God always knows though, and He takes the time to send us small reasurances that He is aware of what we are going through and He has a plan. In all honesty, if I had the money and an ok from the Village, I'd leave for Mexico this afternoon.

Last night, Paul, Tipharah, and I stayed late at the coffee shop preparing for today, which is the Rockabilly Festival. I got in the car at about 11:30, and turned on the radio to K-LOVE. They were just starting this "behind the music" to the song "Power of Your Name" by Lincoln Brewster. That song was played at my passage, so it's kind of special to me, but it was late and I was only half paying attention as Lincoln was talking about the message of his song. I jumped at the words 'coffee shop'. "This song is not just inspiring people to worship, it's about inspiring people to be God's hands and feet." He was saying. "You never know how the things you say and do affect the people around you. The person in front of you in line at the coffee shop could be praying, 'God, somehow I need to know you're real. I need you to show Yourself to me somehow.' and something you say or do could be that answer for them without even realizing it."

I took that to be  God's answer to me. "You want to go to Mexico, and I put that desire in you, but I also put you right here, in a coffee shop to touch people and reflect Rose Creek Village and to reflect Me. You have no idea the impact you're making on people just where you are. Until I want you to go to Mexico, You need to be content right where I've put you and stop pushing to be somewhere else."

It was one of those moments where you know clearly that God has been trying to give a message to you and you've been missing it, so he had to make it unmistakably clear. And it helped me to see that what I dislike about waiting is feeling that I'm doing nothing to help anyone, just sitting around and living for myself. But when my time is consumed with obeying God in the small things He's put before me, the waiting doesn't seem so bad.
Esther Pavao
One very important part of being a woman which the value of is often underestimated is hospitality. It doesn't seem like much. In fact, it's kind of boring, tedious work that isn't appreciated very much or noticed by most. But it's one of those things that if done carelessly or half-heartedly, everyone can tell. I'm one of those people that don't think to thank those who take the time to make a house a home, but I am probably the first to notice (and complain) if a room is messy.

Hospitality is more than cleaning. It's taking care of people who may never know what you've done for them. A well-known fact is that Mercy used to do hospitality for visitors. A very little known fact is everything it entailed. Not only did she clean the guest trailer, but she made sure there was food in there and she didn't stop at preparing the house. She took the family under her wing and checked on them while they stayed there and if she couldn't, she made sure someone else did. A small detail that even less people know is that while she  was cleaning the rooms and making the beds and cleaning the bathrooms, she prayed for the family that would stay there. She asked God that the family staying there would feel the love that went into preparing a place for them. That is true hospitality.

Mercy is only one outstanding example of hospitality. Each woman in the hospitality group told stories of times they'd been taken care of, and times they'd noticed hospitality was lacking. Something Joy pointed out was that hospitality is the love and care that goes into the preparation.

The ladies then bent down and washed our (Nichole's and my) feet.  This was a little hard for me. I can't help but still feel like a child in the presence of these ladies, and as the day went on, I was more and more overwhelmed. (More on that later....) In any case, I didn't feel I deserved to have my feet washed. I had to keep reminding myself that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and when Peter refused to let Him, he (Peter) was rebuked for it. That thought helped me feel a little less...undeserving, I guess.

They also gave me one of my favorite things I received at my passage. It was a small white shoulder bag with two thin and one wide blue stripes along the flap, just like the Sisters of Charity (Mother Teresa's ministry)'s saris. Mother Teresa is perhaps the most well-known embodiment of hospitality. I now keep my bible in it and seeing that bag hanging by the end of my bed is a constant reminder of her.

We also got to the keep the basin and pitcher, which were beautiful.

I'll post pictures when I get a chance. Internet is too slow right now.
Esther Pavao
It was brought to my attention this morning that I'm shamefully overdue in writing...I guess it's hard to remember people actually read this, so I get busy and forget to write. I'm sorry. Something I've already begun doing, is copying all the posts about my passage and copying them onto a separate page on my blog. There is a link to it on the bottom of the page.

To take up where I left off with the sacrifice group.

They next told a story about a stick of bamboo. I don't have the exact copy with me, but the general summary is that a gardener has a beautiful garden, and his most favorite plant in it is a tall, strong, beautiful stalk of bamboo. One day, he comes to it with a knife and tells it that he will hurt it. He begins carving into the bamboo. Though it is painful, the bamboo knows that the gardener loves it and wouldn't hurt if for no reason. When the pain is over and the gardener stops to inspect his work, the bamboo sees that the master has carved his name into the bamboo so everyone would know that it and all its beauty belongs to the gardener. The bamboo is filled with pride and joy.

Later, the gardener comes with a hatchet. He cuts the bamboo down and strips it of all its branches and leaves and all its beauty. He then cuts it in half and carves out its heart. He then uses the bamboo for irrigation, bringing water to the fields and bringing water to other people. When the bamboo sees the joy and life that it brings by sacrificing itself, it is glad that the master used it.

It's a beautiful picture of sacrifice. We can never know why God puts us through the pain He asks us to. He asks us to give things up and strips us of all that we hold dear and all that we believe is good and beautiful in us. And then, when we find there is nothing good in us at all, then and only then can he use us to bring life and joy to others.