Teacups in the Jungle

Life stories from a missionary mama


It has been a few months since I have written anything here on my little blog. The silence has not been because of our transition to a new village. It isn’t because I haven’t had anything to write about; but simply because it has been easier not to. It is easier to be quiet than to wrestle with words and motives of the heart. I have fought so much fear with each path the Lord has called me along. Fear of what others may think. Fear of not giving the glory to Jesus alone. Fear of humiliation. Fear of pride.

Rather than deal with the fear, it has been easier to hide.

It has felt safer to be quiet.

I thought I was taking the higher road.

Until it no longer felt like the right road – or the easy road.

A few weeks ago, after a morning of homeschooling Izzy and Judah, I took my Bible, a notebook, and a book I have been reading out to my in-laws beautiful backyard in California. It was peaceful, quiet and I was so grateful for the extended time to spend with the Lord.

The book I was reading led me to a parable in Matthew 25:14-30; The parable of the three servants who were entrusted with an amount of money while their master went on a trip. The story tells us of how they each invested the money given to them and the subsequent reaction of their master. The two servants who had been given the larger amounts of money had invested it and gained more money. Their master, on his return, was so pleased with their faithfulness that he entrusted them with even more responsibilities.

However, it was the third and final servant who had my full attention. He was afraid of losing the money and so he hid it in the ground. He buried what was given to him and, due to fear, he missed the opportunity to invest it.

He buried it because he was afraid he wouldn’t handle it correctly for his master.

It sounded awfully familiar.

The book I was reading said, “In doing no wrong, he did the biggest wrong of all by not taking initiative, not taking part in what the Master was doing.” – Dallas Willard.


It is easier to hide, it is easier to be quiet, it is easier to stay in the background – but it isn’t always right.

As children of God, he has saved us, redeemed us and given us a new life to live for Him. He has given us all different abilities, opportunities, gifts and desires and He wants us to invest them in the kingdom of God, for His glory alone.

Our opportunities may seem so much smaller than others around us. But, it isn’t important how much he has placed in our hands, but rather how much we are willing to give back to Him. God doesn’t call us all to be successful, but He does want us to be faithful. It was the faithfulness of the first two servants that the master praised. It is our faithfulness that brings praise to our Heavenly Father.

It is easier to hide on the pew at church, than to sign up to help with Vacation Bible School.

It is easier to stay at home than to go to the prayer meeting.

It is easier to let another week go by, than to extend a hand of hospitality to the new family in your neighborhood, or in your church.

It’s easier to use our “gift of the gab” with friends than to use that gift to honor and praise the Lord in our conversations with whomever we meet.

We can excuse our silence and our inactivity away with false humility; that someone else can say it or do it better. However, by doing nothing we fail to be faithful to the Lord with the little He has asked of us.

We can tell ourselves that our little bit won’t ever make a big difference to anyone in the church, or in the community, or in our family. And it is true, no one may ever notice the things that we do, but the Lord sees the faithfulness of our hearts and He is the One whom we serve.

So if, like me, you have been standing back, sitting down, ignoring the prompts and letting doubt and fear keep you back, let me encourage you to look again at what the Lord has given you and to consider giving it back to Him. No matter how small it may seem, not matter how little time you can give – give it all. We have nothing to lose when we give it to Jesus. He is the Lord of taking the inadequate, the not enough, and using it for His purposes to bring honor and glory to His name.

I recently read this quote and it turned all my insecurities upside down as the perspective of eternity filtered through all these hours and days we have been given.

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.”  Emma Bombeck.

That’s what I long for – no matter how uncomfortable it may feel for me here.

There is a difference in burying something and planting something. One is to hide, the other is to grow. One follows death and the other leads to life.

I don’t want to hide from fear or insecurity, I want to grow and live fully the life that God has given to me.

The beautiful, life-giving truth is that we have nothing to fear when we live fully for our God. He is not a harsh taskmaster, but a loving Heavenly Father who sent His only Son to make a way for us to forever be made right with Him. Hopefully, as we really ponder this truth, it will move more than our emotions and it will send us back out into the world to dig up the opportunities we have been given, the gifts we have buried, and the talents we have overlooked. Instead may we plant them in faith believing that our Father has a purpose for our lives in the great Kingdom of God.

Let’s step out in faith, not fear, and invest our lives for eternity. Jesus isn’t asking us to be great – just to be faithful.




We are now back from California and we are on the last leg of getting our home ready for our family to be able to move into the new village we will be living in. There are lots of obstacles – mainly with a very muddy road that makes it difficult to get our water tank and other necessary items into the village. We greatly appreciate your prayers for these next weeks as we try to move in and settle into our new home. We can’t wait to get to know these little faces we had the privilege to meet when we visited in March.



18 thoughts on “Buried in Fear, or Planted in Faith?

  1. Joyce Larmore says:

    As always, when I read your posts, I am overwhelmed with the insight and faith that you walk in each day. I thank God for your lessons that you so eloquently pass on to us, your readers, so that we may recognize those same inadequacies in our lives, confess them, and tackle them with renewed hope and joy! Thank you for opening up your heart so willingly so that we may benefit from all God is teaching you. Praise the Lord for your faithfulness in following Him wherever He leads you, encountering obstacles along the way with wisdom from above. You are such a delight!


    1. Joyce, you are a faithful encourager to me. Thank you for your very kind words as I seek to be faithful with the words I write here on my little blog. We are so grateful for your prayers and send lots of love to you and Pastor Tom in Guam. Love, Philippa.


  2. Thank you Philippa for sharing your heart and prompting me to search my heart. The BSF ladies in Lurgan still ask about you. We have just finished John’s gospel and look forward to Romans in Sept. We now have 4 discussion groups on a Wed am and hope to start a children’s pre school age teaching group as soon as the leaders are traned up. As well as Belfast, we had a Pilot class in Newtownstewart for a few weeks. It’s wonderful to see ladies dig in to God’s word for themselves and then see how God is changing them! Praying as you take this huge step of moving in to a yet another tribe, learn the language/culture and introduce them to Jesus. Hope you enoyed your short break in Ca.


    1. Jennifer, this is wonderful to hear. I loved attending the Wednesday morning Bible Study there in Kurgan. Please let the ladies there know I was asking for them. Great to hear from you – love Philppa.


  3. Beautiful and true words. Thank you for this encouragement. ❤️


    1. You are welcome Lori. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jane Morrow says:


    Another lovely post. Sending you lots of good wishes and the strength to settle everyone in to your new home. You are on an amazing adventure.

    Lots of love

    Jane xox


  5. Patty says:

    Thank you Phillipa for sharing what God is teaching you. Everytime I read what you share, it blesses me and encourages me. My husband and I just took on a new ministry that we feel God has been leading us and it is something we have never done before. So as you say, we really don’t have anything to fear as long as we keep trusting in Him and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. If He calls us to do something, He will equip us. God bless you Phillipa in your new place of ministry.


    1. Hi Patty, I trust your new ministry goes well as you seek to serve the Lord and be faithful to Him. It is always wonderful to see the Lord go before us and to trust that He will give us the grace, strength and joy needed for each new day, new stage, new ministry or whatever He calls us to. Sending love, Philippa.


  6. Margaret Forbes says:

    Thank you, Phillipa, for this encouraging blog. I have been thinking lately that there might be a message from you soon!! It is good to have news about where you are etc, so we can pray for specific needs.
    Love and Blessings,
    Margaret & Ronnie xoxoxoxo


    1. Hi Margaret, it is lovely to hear from you. Thank you so much for your prayers for us as we head into this new village. There has been a lot of rain this week and it makes it very difficult to get our things in by road as it is so terribly muddy. So we are praying and waiting on the Lord’s timing to get us all in there. We are anxious to get settled into a home again and to start getting to know the people in the village and beginning language study. There is a long road ahead, so we will just take it a step at a time. Sending love to you and Ronnie, Philippa.


  7. Wise Hearted says:

    Hello Philippa…what truth you have spoken in your post. I passed up a chance recently to sing for the Lord. As soon as I said no after being ask I knew I was wrong. I sit in the pew the rest of the service feeling let down and sorry I did nothing. I always blame this issue on my old voice is not what it use to be, I am 70 so it does wobbled a little. But the lessons I have learned from obeying the Lord go right out the window when I focus on myself, my voice as If I created my voice. So next time they ask me to sing, guess what I am going to. So very glad we got to connect with you and Danny…praying for this upcoming move.


  8. Heidi Bamford says:

    Thank you, Pip, for writing this. It is amazing to me how many times your blog speaks to my heart in a timely way.
    Thinking of you and your family as you prepare to move in to Paradi soon. We are so thankful for you guys.


  9. hkrathbun says:

    I just found your blog through Velvet Ashes today. I haven’t had a chance to read much, but from I saw a few pictures and it looks like we live in similar parts of the world. I look forward to coming back to read more when kiddos are in bed and glean from your thoughts. Thanks for posting!!


    1. Nice to meet you Hollie and thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂


  10. Sarah says:

    A very challenging post, thank you.


  11. “There is a difference in burying something and planting something. One is to hide, the other is to grow. One follows death and the other leads to life.”

    Loved this whole post- I can totally relate…thank you for sharing!


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