The beginnings

18 Commentsby   |  05.28.11  |  Cebu, Philippines

Half of me can’t believe we’ve already been in Cebu for a week tomorrow. The other half of me feels as though we’ve been here longer. It’s been such an amazing week and I’m already in love with these people. The city is so alive all the time. The people are so pleasant, and the children are so beautiful! We spent the first few days touring the city and getting over jetlag. The city is so diverse. We were told the city is about the land size of Lubbock, but with over 2 million people. You can imagine how crowded that makes it! There are people everywhere all the time. There are huge buildings and houses and tiny shacks all right next to each other. And somehow there’s room inbetween for mountains, palm trees, and banana fields. You can’t imagine the type of poverty these people live in, and how prevalent it is! It breaks my heart, but at the same time I can’t help but love the city.

5-26 Thursday we had our first experience working in Cebu. We went to Cebu Bible College (CBC) to meet up with two of the college students, Vincent (18) and Benjoseph (21). They were going out to do a bible study with a lady in their congregation. They have been studying with her in hopes of strengthening her faith and witnessing to her partner. She had also hoped that her sister would become a Christian. We took our first Jeepney ride (a common form of transportation) to their house in a poorer part of town. We had plenty of time to talk on the way there and get to know Vincent and Benjoseph a little better. Vincent was pretty quiet, but Benjoseph was very friendly. He kept the conversation going, and never stopped smiling. He asked us about our culture and told us about his. He was very understanding and easy to talk to. When we arrived at the house, Lisa’s partner didn’t join us for the bible study, but her sister did. There were a few neighborhood kids that lingered around the doorway because we were a sight to see! Ian is 6’9,” which is pretty tall in general but especially in the Philippines. Filipinos are pretty short, so they hardly ever see someone that tall. And I was interesting because of my white skin and blond hair. Lisa told me that they wanted to see me because the only Americans they had seen were on TV. They were amazed by my blond hair. As we began the bible study, I was surprised to see quiet Vincent jump right in and start it. He seemed like a different person than the boy in the Jeepney. When it came to sharing the Good News, he was confident and passionate. He spoke over Malachi 1:6-8. Benjoseph picked up after that with Malachi 3:13-14 and 3:8. He talked about how we are like pigs that go back to the mud even right after they’ve been cleaned. He asked each of us why we thought people walk away from God. Some of our answers were that it’s hard for people to break old habits, we don’t want to leave family and friends, or it’s easy for us to stay where we’re comfortable. Benjoseph supported our input with scripture that went along with each of our answers. I really enjoyed being a part of the bible study. We had been told it would probably be in Cebuano, so we would just be observing. However, most of it was in English with a little Cebuano thrown in. I was really glad we got to be a part of the discussion and interact with Lisa and Mary May. It was so encouraging to watch Vincent and Benjoseph share Christ with others. I could see from their comments that they knew a lot about the history of the bible and scripture. You could tell that it was really important to both of them. Even just talking to them on the Jeepney, they had talked about how they will go around knocking on doors to share about Christ. Sometimes they get doors slammed in their faces, but for the most part Filipinos will listen to what you have to say. I could really see how dedicated they were to sharing the gospel just by listening to them talk about it and watching them lead the bible study. It really made me look at myself and ask how dedicated I am to sharing God’s word.

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