Dear church family. I just want to start by thanking all of those of you who gave of clothes stationary and money towards the building repairs that we did in the Philippines. Our team of seven guys ( Darin, Danny, Henrik, Max, Geoff, Raymond, Rays friend Norm from Malaysia and myself) went with an extra 14 bags of clothes, LOTS of stationary, $4000 taken on a single Sunday and another $400 from the faithful coffee morning ladies (led by Carol) went with abundant blessing! (and full bags).
But more than being a blessing, we were blessed by faithful, fruitful, servant-hearted brothers and sisters in the Philippines. We really didn’t know what to expect, even sometimes on the day. But each day was full of surprises. From impromptu speaking to Danny becoming a Godparent and attending a pretty upmarket Pilipino wedding where we were welcomed as family.
The guys were busy lining the ceiling of one of the churches while I was off doing the “women’s” work. Sometimes speaking or attending a gathering. Our sister church, Full Gospel Worship Centre is big on discipleship. So I found that wherever I went I was being taught/shown how to do the ministry. Whether that was visiting a family that wanted to know more about Jesus or helping out at the village outreach feeding program. This was in a poorer village where 100 children were fed and shared the gospel by the passionate assistant pastor, a 22 year old bible college student. Full Gospel Worship Centre has a pattern of training, sending, planting (new churches) across the Philippines. Welly and Leonila (the senior pastors, and the team/family) modeled consistent, passionate, faithful and servant-hearted pursuit of the kingdom of God to us in a way that has really challenged me personally. I’m sure each of us will have different stories of moments of impact. So ask the guys what was their most impacting memory. For me, it was the feeding program out in the village. I was asked to “pray” for the thinnest child I have ever seen. I thought Mario was newborn. Shocked to find he was 5 months old I “prayed” for this precious child who mainly needed food. All I could think of was Heidi Bakers words “Love looks like something”. We returned the following day with milk powder, baby and mother vitamins and clothes. The baby is alive and growing (see the photos). We will continue to send money for food to this baby, also mother and other children.
Darin saw to it that our trip wasn’t just all hard work and we had some really fun days snorkeling at 100 Islands, visiting the hot springs and zip-lining… all part of the fun in the Philippines. Overall it was a great trip.
Where to from here
As a team it was overwhelming at times to see so much that could be done and a number of needs. It has been a week or two of stepping back and praying about where to go from here.
Part of the ministry at Umingan is a school of 85 students that need to get registered with the government, God willing by August. Students currently don’t leave the school with a government recognised certificate. Parents are currently paying for their children to get a Christian education. Also once the school is registered the Bible College students will come out with an accredited certificate and in future, there is potential for trade qualifications. I believe we have the ability to help them become accredited. The school is the avenue for self-sufficiency from support from the west. The church and leadership desire this. So for a time, this will be the focus. There is a list of requirements set by the government for registration. Below is a list of needs that I thought we might have as a congregation or feel to purchase. All items need to be new or in good working condition as we want to be a blessing to them and will be covering the cost of freight:
I have picked out some needed items. Most other needs are just impractical to send or small enough for them to purchase.
Giving to specific missions
Introduced in the next few weeks will be an envelope for giving into missions in a specific area. It may be for the school, a specific pastor or church in the Philippines. Or even a specific ministry within or outside of the church. (for example Mark and Caroline working with Wycliffe), or Care Outreach. In time I will share about pastors and churches in the Philippines.