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So... the Philippines...

Hey everybody. Bear with me. This is long, but I think you'll appreciate the detail. Especially if you played some part in the process, by financial support or otherwise.

As many of you know by now I spent Christmas and New Years in the Philippines. Which means I experienced both before most of you did. So HA!

But seriously, God rerouted us and we've been greatly rewarded. A lot of our time has been spent singing Christmas carols and hanging out with children.

But before that we spent a week traveling and exploring Manila and Cebu city. We took trains, Jeepneys, trikes and taxis. We began to get accustomed to eating rice everyday (at just about every meal too). We stayed in a decent hotel for two nights and we stayed at the YWAM Cebu base for a few nights. And I changed some American money to Filipino money and I felt like a very rich man. We took an overnight ferry to Panay Island where we went to our first outreach destination.

Our first destination was in a town called Tibiao. We actually stayed at a hotel called the Homtel on the grounds of the University of Antique. We stayed there for the better part of 3 weeks in the hotel, which is apparently very nice for missionaries. Two of our team were particularly surprised. I was happy. Our stay was fantastic. That we were fed well is an understatement. We ate a lot. Our families would be contented by how well fed we were.

We met a pastor and his family as well as a family that was with us virtually everyday of our time there. They were all amazing people. They helped us with our meals and transportation and most of the other arrangements we needed to make.

The first week was mostly us being invited to a whole lot of school Christmas parties to do a program. We sang songs, did some rap, did some dramas and some teaching among other things. All the children enjoyed it and a lot of the schools invited us back for something else (usually another party or to stay for lunch). Needless to say, we were received well by the community. On the Thursday we had 4 presentations in about 7 hours. Earlier in the week we helped clear some rubble for the house of a local school teacher and his family so his house could be rebuilt. We invested about $600 USD (a whole lot of Filipino money) for the materials and labour to rebuild his house. When we left Tibiao construction was still ongoing but it looked like it was progressing really well. Clearing rubble became a theme during our stay.

Week 2 was Christmas week. We helped clear a road on Christmas Eve. We hired 52 locals and paid them 200 pesos each (about $5 USD) which was a real blessing to them. We also did an evening program for the people there working with the pastor and missionary family. We gave out some supplies that the church we were working with provided. On Wednesday we had a good brunch and exchanged secret Santa gifts. I got my first pair of flip-flops ever. We did a Christmas program in the evening for a lot of locals. On Thursday we went caroling through the local neighbourhood and asked the people we sang to what help they needed to rebuild. Most of it was clearing stuff out and help with supplies. On Friday we helped to clean a beach up and we did more Christmas program stuff for the locals. Overall I think we helped 40 families by providing them the money for some of the resources through the pastor and his church. These families are now receiving help faster than they were expecting.

On our third week there we did more caroling and investigating local needs with the intention to help provide supplies. We helped to rebuild a roof as well. Our New Years celebration brought 4 meals in 13ish hours. We were all stuffed before we went to bed on New Year's Eve and by noon on New Year's Day. We also did a New Year's program for a local school. There were a lot of children there. Special note to my camp friends, our special In the Hall of the Mountain King routine has invaded the Philippines. And it was well received. I hope you are all proud of me for that. We also provided lots of flip flops for the kids (maybe the adults too). Thursday was all about final parties. We hosted some local seniors in the early afternoon before we had our final farewell party in the evening where many of our local friends came. In the Hall of the Mountain King made its way there too. It was a truly blessed time. We all received gifts which really blessed us. I got 2 hats. I was happy. Friday morning was full of goodbyes and pictures and traveling to make our overnight ferry. We went to Cebu to start part 2 of our outreach working with the YWAM base there.

The first week of that we did a lot of ministry. Most of our ministry was done in the slums of Cebu where we provided children and mothers with chocolate porridge. We did more ministry presentations for them alongside the Cebu Sports DTS. We also spent time getting to know them a bit more in small groups. We also did some hospital ministry where we ended up paying for a young girl's overnight stay as well as food for her family for the night. She was extremely sick and her family could not afford to admit her to the hospital. The next day some of us went to see her and we were told that she was basically healed overnight. She looked significantly better. We also did ministry with a local jail. The inmates really enjoyed seeing us do our performance. We also brought bread to them.

The second week we went to Tacloban; one of the hardest hit cities (if not the hardest hit) from the typhoon. We mostly did more feeding ministry and handing out food to the locals. They were incredibly thankful and they willingly shared their stories of grief or blessing through the storm. It was incredibly humbling since there wasn't a lot we could do for them. We did some children's ministry alongside the feeding ministry on the Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. We didn't do much in terms of rebuilding but some members were able to clear a tree that was a problem for some of the locals. Ask Maxwell Myers for the whole story. I mostly took pictures and video. More on Tacloban later.

On the way back to Cebu, we were stranded for a few days in Ormoc City due to stormy conditions around our route and where we were. Many of the local ferries were cancelled. It was a time of waiting for us. We were grateful that a local church was able and willing to let us stay there for as long as we were stranded. Some of us went to another city to do more kids ministry one of the days we were there. The rest of the group remained in Ormoc and took care of some needs.
Our final days in Cebu were spent at the YWAM base during a YWAM leadership conference. Leaders from all over the Philippines came and had fellowship as well as discuss relevant YWAMmy-Philippines stuff. We did some final ministries in Cebu as we were in the home stretch of our trip.

On our final Friday we flew to Manila and stayed at one of the YWAM bases there. The next day, we did our final kids ministry presentation for a group of high school students. Everyone had a lot of fun. Later on we went out for dinner to celebrate our time in the Philippines. Before we ate though, we were able to catch a fireworks display. We all enjoyed that too. In my mind, our final night could not have been much better than it was.

That pretty much summarizes our trip. It was a lot of fun and a lot was accomplished and many relief efforts were put in motion. However I did leave out some personal experiences as well as things I learned. I hope to do that in my next note as I have provided enough information to read for now. Hopefully I will also add where I am going and just maybe how I'm getting there. I hope this is pleasing to read as you learn more about my experience in missions. Special thanks to Daniel Bryan for confirming some of the financial information that I presented here.

If you want to see the pictures I took, please go here and here.

Thank you all for whatever part you played in our journey. May our Father in Heaven see you blessed accordingly.

This post first appeared on 23 Musings, please read the originial post: here

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So... the Philippines...


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