The real life update of Joe and Diana

Hello everyone! Diana here to update you with some great praises/updates and much needed prayer requests.

We have a job!

  • thank you so much for all of the prayers! I got a job at International Community School as a part-time substitute teacher. It’s an international Christian school nearby. I’ve worked there for two weeks now and it’s been a great time of getting to know teachers, administrators, and students. (mini prayer request: please pray that God provides enough days for me to work each month.  I work as often as there is need, so…let there be need!)

We have friends!!

  • One thing I love about Singapore is how welcoming the people have been (at least everyone that I’ve met!) It’s been so great making friends –people to laugh, cry, and pray with. I remember praying one week for God to help me make some good friends here…and I feel like He’s been really answering that prayer. Sometimes it feels like the first day of school here: we’re often meeting all sorts of new people, sharing/hearing new stories, experiencing new types of humor, and establishing a new support system.

We have partners and mentors!!!

  • I might be gushing, but seriously, the churches here are AWESOME. We feel so fortunate to have been meeting really great men and women of faith here. The neighboring churches (because everywhere in Singapore is “neighboring”) are so welcoming and supportive of our church. Pastors and ministry leaders have been offering a lot of advice and encouragement. There’s this one couple that we’ve met who have been especially kind, helpful, inspiring, everything. The wife is actually the one who helped me get my job, and she’s full of so much love and advice. SHE’S EVEN TEACHING ME HOW TO COOK AND FIND GOOD FOOD SHOPPING DEALS. Sigh. Girl crush.

In the midst of all these exciting and undeserving praises, we have problems. Lots of problems! This is a season where we feel SO stretched, uncomfortable, confused, uncertain, and still excited, humbled, thankful.

In effort to keep this blog genuine and your prayers accurate, here are two areas that you can pray for us:

  • Joe’s been doing a fantastic job transitioning to preaching every week. Seriously, sometimes he’ll say something and I’ll write it in my planner as the “quote of the week” to remember and meditate on. But it’s definitely hard to meet people, lead 2 life groups, plan ministry, be a husband, take care of a migraine-prone wife, and sermon prep all at once. So please pray for Joe that he can continue to thrive and grow as a pastor and husband and human. (on that note, please hug your pastor and wife this week. Or write them a short note of thanks. Or take them to dinner…or make them dinner and drop it off their house so that they don’t have to cook. ESPECIALLY IF THEY HAVE KIDS. I can’t even begin to comprehend how pastor’s families do what they do. #respect)
  • Being a female in Asia is rough. Maybe I’ll write more on this later, but it’s tough to be larger than an XS here. This week was especially hard. I found myself loathing the part of the morning where I pick something to wear cause I was so scared that it wouldn’t fit or I’d look huge and gross. My mind feels like a warzone of insecurities and it’s been really hard to focus at times. Joe has been the most wonderful and supportive husband, but physical insecurities go way beyond male approval. As I was praying this week, I came away with one conviction: I don’t want to stop struggling with this problem by merely losing weight (because I know how to lose weight, and the process can get ugly). I want to overcome this battle in my mind first. So please pray for personal transformation. I want to be strong in my mind, I want to have godly values, I want to genuinely have eyes that see God’s beauty and not the beauty of this world.

Thank you for the support and prayers everyone! At my lowest point this week, it was the prayer of believers that really got me through. Every prayer matters. And we’re so thankful for each one!

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When to skimp and when to save

Hello everyone! Diana here.

I would say that one of the things I love to do most is find a fantastic deal.  Growing up, I never dreamed about what my wedding would be.  So when wedding planning came around, I dreaded it.  I didn’t care what colors I used, or what matched, or what was placed where.  BUT when it came to haggling down prices, finding good deals, etc, I was in heaven.  I would say one of my top 5 moments of the wedding season was finding my SUPER AFFORDABLE caterer.  He was literally a gift from God.  I was praying earlier for God to provide a caterer that was under a certain price (that was, honestly, pretty impossible) and then BOOM. A married couple suggested this random caterer and after some negotiating, THE PRICE WAS UNDER MY BUDGET.  Top 5 moment EASY.

Amidst all of the wins, there are still some bruises i’m tending from my financial fail moments.  I have a really bad astigmatism (450 for those of you who know eye numbers) and I’ve worn glasses since I was in kindergarten – yes, destined for coolness at a young age.  My glasses have always been incredibly expensive because of my eyesight, so whenever eyeglass dealers offer promotions for free lenses, my prescription is always disqualified.  One day, I found a place that would make my prescription as part of their promotion!  I was so excited because once again, my wallet won.  Unfortunately, what then ensued was a 2 month migraine, living in darkness, suffering under a plethora of drugs and side effects, and a delayed realization that my migraine culprit were my glasses.

After that, I stuck with an old pair of contacts until I could get better quality frames made.  Having come to Singapore, I went to my first Asian eye doctor and I was amazed!  He saw that while my prescription was correct, my lenses weren’t suitable for my eyes.  Long story short, my American eye doctors and frame makers didn’t understand the added complexities of the Asian face and its needs in frames and lenses.  They could diagnose only a fraction of what I needed.  Only an Asian, or someone with experience with Asian people, could understand that a prescription itself is not enough, the prescription also needs to be specifically framed to the wearer.

It was nothing short of revelatory.  I couldn’t help but think about its profound implications on church planting.  The Gospel is the prescription we all need, but in different cultures and countries, we need to frame it in a way that makes sense to the people.

We paid a good amount for the glasses, but it was so worth it.  Because we weren’t just paying for the product, but the expertise and promise of excellence behind it.

I can’t help but think about what I’m willing to “pay” as we build the church here in Singapore.  How much am I willing to sacrifice in order to excellently present the Gospel and God’s community to the people here?

There are definitely days where I’m tempted to skimp and focus more on me, my comfort, and taking shortcuts.  But as I look through these glasses that are suited perfectly for my eyes, my heritage, my life, I see that I want people to experience the kind of Gospel that brings clarity and life, not headache and strife.

Our church is heading into its 5th year of existence, and we’re praying for more stories of transformation, and servants who are willing to sacrifice everything to see that vision come to reality (starting from me and Joe).