BE AN ENCOURAGER: 9 LETTERS WITH INCREDIBLE LESSONS
BE AN ENCOURAGER
9 Letters with Incredible Lessons
Michel, aka Mitch is a dear friend and a mentor.
We’re in the same batch of teachers in 2009. A friendship that started when we’re processing all our documents.
Mitch just finished her one-year contract with the school, but our friendship remained strong after she left. And thankfully until today, we still get in touch despite the distance.
Our first year abroad was challenging, long hours of work, endless demos, unstable schedules… you’d see us all sleeping late, and most of the time Mitch was the last one to sleep. It was tough, so it’s not surprising that just after a year, some batchmates left.
Mitch was our encourager, motivator, and comedian. She’d just make us laugh with her stories and jokes. And the best part, she could also see humor in everything, even in annoying situations. Like one time, when we got our health certificate, an important document to certify that we’re “Fit to Work”. I remember her laughing while sharing the information that hers was, “Fat to Work”. What a hassle to request for another document, how could they miss letter “i” on Fit, but she just had a big laugh, and so did we.
Before going abroad, my phone was my ever precious Nokia 3310, we bought an extra phone for local use. I chose an LG phone, a slight level up with colored screen saver. I remember Mitch telling me, “Diane, now when you’re sad and when the sky is so gloomy, you could just look at your blue sky screensaver.” Sweet!
They knew how I missed blue skies back home. When we first arrived, the sky was always gloomy; I felt so disconnected from everything; I felt being in a dome waiting for doom’s day. Our emotions were so mixed up: missing home, gloomy sky, long hours of work, half-day rest day, adjustments…
Mitch was always having a countdown when she decided not to renew her contract. It’s fun listening to her, “30 days to go, 10 days to go…” Unknowingly, she started writing me letters and gave them before leaving. She said, “Diane, since I’ll not be here with you anymore, read these letters when you’re sad or looking for encouragement.” That’s touching!
It’s a privilege to share them here after 10 long years, same as Thesa’s Art Work. Be a Real Friend: 7 Ways to Triumph and Keep a Friendship
Here are Mitch’s 9 Letters with Incredible Lessons, sharing some excerpts and Bible verses.
mitch: the best encourager
first letter: From Caterpillar to Butterfly
For her first letter, it’s a long one, handwritten! How I wish handwritten letters will be on trend again. Mitch shared one of her published articles in their church’s e-magazine, From Caterpillar to Butterfly.
It’s a story about the journey of a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly which she related to our journey as Christians from the time we accepted Jesus as our Savior to the time we’re growing and walking in faith.
“From an ugly caterpillar, we can sprout wings from our own inner depths and fly like a beautiful butterfly. Be persistent and steadfast in the Lord and be a beautiful butterfly in Him. Let the beauty of God be seen in us!” (Michel Rocha)
SECOND LETTER: Make Time - You can’t go back and repeat the “missed time” with people close TO your heart
… Being at a distance may also test our friendship. But as I always say to you, “MAKE TIME!”… You can’t go back and repeat the “missed time” with people close to your heart.
… Girl, no matter where you would like to pursue your future, always bear in mind that God weighs the heart. …
… By focusing our heart’s desire on Christ and letting the Holy Spirit transform us from the inside out, we are indeed becoming beautiful where it really counts. …
THIRD LETTER: KEEP CLIMBING UP
… Cheer up! The Lord blesses us another day to enjoy life… We have so many things lined up before us, to finish within the day… Take each task one at a time, whatever we can finish today, that’s it. …
… I know you will face challenges again this coming school year. But Diane, keep climbing up on your mountains. There will be time that you’ll get tired climbing up, it’s ok to stop, to rest, and to recharge in the Lord. …
FOURTH LETTER: Even in Our Moonless Sea’s Voyage, God has Proven Himself that He’s Enough
… I just want to share this devotion with you….
… Yes, perhaps, we seem to be voyaging on a moonless sea. Things are uncertain, our plans seem to be unsure, and we are engulfed with loneliness and longing for our family and friends back home. But we still have to be glad and happy because even in our moonless sea’s voyage, God has proven Himself that He is enough! Smile. …
FIFTH LETTER: know by heart
She shared another article she wrote, Know By Heart. Mitch also loves to write.
I remember when I had a problem … the Lord responded that He is the dearest friend.
I remember my pride when I received recognitions and awards from school…the Lord reminded me the value of eternal rewards.
I remember when my father was hospitalized … the Lord transformed my anxious heart to faith.
I remember when I doubted over raising funds for my mission trip exposure… the Lord transformed my doubt to trust.
I remember when I moaned over a lost job opportunity… the Lord transformed my regrets into praises.
I remember when I grieved over a broken friendship…the Lord transformed my pains to spiritual wholeness.
To remember God’s workmanship is to know them by our heart. He grants us the heart to be the well spring of His love and faithfulness. (Michel Rocha)
SIXTH LETTER: GOD CARRIES US THROUGH
… You may be very busy now preparing for your classes and pressured how to fit all your tasks with your limited time. But just go on, girl! You will not go forward alone, but God carries you through. …
… He will enable you to endure all the challenges at school which will also strengthen your character in the LORD. Press on sis! Keep moving! …
Always keep in mind that God is able to use whatever you go through today (you might be very tired) to display His splendor through you tomorrow. …
SEVENTH LETTER: THE LORD ENABLES US
… maybe your mind is very busy thinking on how to deliver your lesson each day …
…the Lord enables you already. He has given you ability and skill to know how to carry out all the work He has entrusted to you. And He will give you more than enough to do all your work.
… every day – the Lord renews our strength to move on…
EIGHTH LETTER: Shelter in a Strange Land
… Hope you’re still up in your Spirit at this time and you’re still happily serving your purpose there as you obey God’s plan.” …
… It’s October… the leaves from the trees now maybe starting to fall… but as you watch the leaves fall… may you not experience the downs of your emotions. I understand that you sometimes experience how much you miss your family and friends. But you may find comfort in the Lord as you serve Him there… The place which I believe the Lord chose for your ministry. …
… My friend, may you always find God as your sanctuary. Me too! It is only Him who can wipe out sadness and tears…
NINTH LETTER: God is with You and will Watch over You
… How are you coping up with work?
… I just want to share a wonderful verse to you (Genesis 28:15) …
… This verse has been an encouragement for me here. It’s true that the Lord will not leave us where he transported us. He will give us wisdom and strength every day as we do our ministry for Him, and we need to be happy… because the Lord has a wonderful promise, that He is accomplishing through us. Let’s continue to cooperate with the Lord. We may not see the fruit of our hard work now, but the Lord said our effort will not be wasted.
SUCH A BLESSING TO HAVE A FRIEND LIKE MITCH
Imagine how exciting it was when I was opening one letter after the other, reading them and contemplating on the Bible verses, the reminders, the encouragement, the stories. It’s like she prepared me for the challenges ahead of me. The 9 Letters remain to be one of the best gifts ever received.
For people with loved ones working abroad, this gesture is priceless. There are other means that can keep us connected, but with a well-thought letter, there’s just something about it. It has its old school feeling that brings us back to moments when we just sit down, get our pen, choose a stationary and write someone. A hand-written letter that makes it so personal and special.
Now your turn to be an encourager! Be inspired by Mitch’s letters.
Be an encourager by being the butterfly for someone.
The transition of an ugly caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly is one of my favorite topics to discuss in class and also in life. We can all be beautiful butterflies, we just differ on the transition phase. Some stay longer as ugly caterpillars, unwilling to let go of anger, unforgiveness, hurts, and bitterness. While others choose to accept, forgive, trust and love again. If you’re the latter, then you my friend is eligible to be an encourager of caterpillars to be butterflies themselves.
Be an encourager by making time.
The intention to visit someone, to write a letter or an email, to send flowers, to invite someone are all good. But they will remain as intentions if you don’t make time. You have to go out your way, arrange your schedule, meet people half way, compromise, adjust, suggest for it to happen. Most of my friends are scattered around the world, and Mitch is indeed a woman of her words. She makes sure that we have virtual dates from time to time.
Be an encourager by climbing together.
Sometimes you literally climb together with a friend. You’re there when she needs a companion, a support, a listening ear, an eating buddy… You’re there cheering her up. Good job! Other times, you’re not physically present, but a call, a text or an email – all shows you care to get in touch and be updated.
Be an encourager by sharing God's promises.
Our faith is a great source of encouragement and Mitch took advantage of it and shared God’s promises all throughout the 9 Letters to remind me of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Like…
God has proven himself that He is enough.
God will guide you always, will satisfy your needs, and will strengthen your frame.
God enables you already with ability and skill to know how to carry out all the work He has entrusted you.
God is your sanctuary. He can wipe out sadness and tears.
God will not leave you where He transported you. He is with you and will watch over you.