Hi, my name is Elyssa Zapata. My husband, Jared and I are missionaries in the Philippines and Mexico. We have three beautiful blessings, Gabriella (5), Ezekiel (2) and Kamila (5 mo). Our ministry is called Reaching the Next Generation and our goal is to start children’s homes in different countries, connecting them to a local Baptist church, with high hopes that one day the children growing up in the homes will serve the Lord with their life. All they need is the opportunity, if only given to them!
As I was thinking about what to write, I came across this quote, “Expect Nothing And Appreciate Everything”. And I thought to myself, how true that is!
Growing up in the States in the society we live in, it’s reversed. We expect so much and appreciate so little. It’s not until we step out of our comfort zone do we realize how blessed we really are! Going into the mission field I didn’t know what to expect. But in reality, I didn’t need to expect anything. God already had a plan and He placed me in this particular ministry for His purpose. I knew He would take care of my needs and in the process I’ve learned to appreciate everything He has given me. Whether it be a gift, a friendship, time spent with loved ones, etc.
What are some blessings in our life that the Lord has given us when we don’t expect it? Do we appreciate it as much as we should? For example, the first time we visited the Philippines it was an adjustment for me. Everything was so different from what I was used to. And I cannot begin to count the times that God would send me a hug through someone, showing me He was taking care of me. On that particular trip, I was able to build friendships with some of the ladies that I didn’t expect to have! One lady in particular raised money with the class that she taught so they could buy me a dress! The amount of the dress was about $20 American currency. Twenty dollars for a dress may be a good deal here in the States but for them it was a lot. But it wasn’t the amount that overwhelmed me, it was the love they put into it. Now every time I wear that dress I remember the elementary class in the Philippines who gave what little they had to be a blessing.
Often times it is easy to forget to be thankful for what we have. Especially during the trials that come our way. But God may be using our trial to make it a blessing. Maybe our finances are not where they should be or it seems like every time we get on our feet, something else comes up. How many of us have been there? I know I have. There have been many times my faith has been tested while on the mission field. But then I have to stop and remember that God is good ALL the time and I have to reevaluate what is truly important in the current situation. There is always someone who is struggling more than I am. All around me there are children who either don’t have parents and if they do, the parents want nothing to do with them. When I stop and think about it, I realize my life is not about me, it’s about helping the children that come to our children’s homes. It’s about working along side my husband to be his helpmeet in every aspect of our marriage. It’s about fulfilling what God wanted me to do without any expectations. Sure, there are times I get homesick. I’ve had my share of tears. Yes, I do miss certain comforts of home. But a short time away from my family and the comforts I miss would mean an eternity in Heaven for people who need the Lord. And when I do receive a blessing, it holds a deeper and much sweeter meaning; and definitely teaches me to be so much more thankful for what I do have. 1 Thessalonians 5:18a “In everything give thanks:”
Being in center of God’s will isn’t always easy. Yes, there are times of trials and struggles. II Samuel 22:31,33 says “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.” God is good ALL the time. Therefore, when we expect nothing, we learn to appreciate everything!