Archive for ‘Cebu, Philippines’

Medical mission…spiritual healing

36 Commentsby   |  07.23.11  |  Cebu, Philippines

June 18, Cebu Bible College in cooperation with the Consolacion Church of Christ sponsored a medical mission in Consolacion. The event took place in the gymnasium of a local public school.

Medical Mission at Consolacion Central School Gymnasium

There were about 145 patients who were given medical attention which included: medical check-ups, tooth extractions, blood typing and testing. Doctors also gave out free reading glasses to patients who were 40 years of age and older.

CBC students praying with the patient

CBC students interviewed and prayed with the patients which gave them the opportunity to set up follow-up bible studies. As for us interns, it was our job to keep the kids busy while their parents/guardians were being treated. We had print outs for them to color, crafts for making bracelets, stories, songs, and anything else we could think of to keep them preoccupied.

reading the kids a story to keep them preoccupied

Ian got to assist the dentist in holding people’s heads while they got their teeth pulled, so he got to witness tooth extractions first hand (fun! haha! you’ll have to ask him about that).

Ian helping out with tooth extractions

The medical mission was a great success and all the patients were of course very thankful. It’s always a great experience being able to take part in helping people with their physical needs, but it’s always a greater blessing when God opens doors for these people to be spiritually healed.

the whole team

Inspiration

2 Commentsby   |  07.22.11  |  Cebu, Philippines

Another group of kids and ministry that we have been privileged to work with are the kindergarten kids at Lilia’s place. Missionaries from Texas, Doug and Lisa Simpson, who minister to orphans and homeless families (http://liliasplace.blogspot.com/) have just recently started this kindergarten and they have about ten students from the different families that they minister to.

Before classes started we helped them with setting up their classroom and getting everything ready for the kiddos. It was so exciting when we finally got to see the kids and their teachers in action. It was such a blessing to watch them learn and to be able to take part in it.

Lisa teaching the kids

Friday, June 17th was a very eventful day for all of us at Lilia’s place. Our day started at Faith homes (the apartment complex where the kindergarten is and where the street families are housed) where we fed the kids breakfast and got them ready for their fun day. While the kids were finishing up with breakfast, one of the mothers, who apparently was already in labor when we arrived, gave birth in the room next door! It all happened so fast and we were all caught by surprise. Luckily one of the assistant teachers (Irish) is also a nurse, so she knew exactly what to do while we waited for the midwife to arrive.

Nurse Irish..and baby Irish :)

While all of that was taking place, some of us went ahead and took the kids to Lucy’s where the main event was to be held…and from there it was all fun and games galore! Not even the rain stopped us from having a good time. There were two other groups of kids there from the Inayawan dump site and the pier. The event was sponsored by two other interns from Denmark and they did a great job preparing everything for all the kids to enjoy. It was an afternoon full of singing, dancing, laughing and kids just being kids…not to mention even adults reliving their childhood. By the end of the day, I had completely fallen in love with those kids. It’s hard not to because they are such a joy to be around.  When you actually get to see where these kids come from and their living conditions, their smiles become an even bigger inspiration. ..

Michelle and Reahlyn

We plant the seeds, God makes them grow

5 Commentsby   |  07.22.11  |  Cebu, Philippines, Uncategorized

During our time here in Cebu we’ve had a lot of opportunity to work with various groups of kids. One of the groups that we have invested quite a bit of time in is the high school group at our local congregation in Consolacion. Most of these kids have been with us for at least 3 years now and considering the sweet and loving kids that they are, it’s hard not to get attached to such a great group of kids.

Saturdays are typically when we get together with the kids and we usually start off by teaching them a few songs, followed by a short lesson (I say short because these kids have a very short attention span. Let’s keep in mind that high school kids here are typically 12-16 years old), then it’s game time!! Like any other group of kids, they always enjoy the games the most, although you’d be surprised at how much these kids love to sing and learn new songs.  :) Oh, and let’s not forget about the snacks…believe it or not, snacks work as a really good incentive for these kids. I can’t tell you how many times my mom got the kids to behave by threatening to not give them their share if they didn’t pay attention. Works like a charm! ;)

Occasionally we would take the group out on “special outings” as a reward for their perfect attendance for that month. So far we’ve taken them to the mall to see Kung Fu Panda 2, topped off with ice cream from Jollibee (local fast food chain). We also took them to the park for some fun games and hotdogs. We taught them how to “assemble” their own hotdog buns, which was a first for most if not all of them (pretty hard to fathom for the typical american wouldn’t you say?). But let me just say, they sure enjoyed it! Next week we’re looking forward to having them over here at the house for more food, fun, and fellowship! :)

with the Consolacion High School group at the park for their monthly outing

All of these kids have not been brought up in Christian homes. They come from very poor families and some of them don’t exactly have the best role models that they can look up to. Giving them something to look forward to once a week and being a positive influence to them lessens their chances of them getting involved with the wrong crowd and the wrong things. But most importantly, it means a lot to them just to know that someone cares about them. These kids just want to be loved, and what better way to share the love of God with them than to just be there to spend time with them. The kids of today will be the church of tomorrow…we plant the seeds, and we nurture them, but it is God who will make them grow.

Switching sites

3 Commentsby   |  06.19.11  |  Cebu, Philippines

Jesus loves the little children :)

3 Commentsby   |  06.09.11  |  Cebu, Philippines

“Jesus loves the little children…All the children of the world…” I’m sure a lot of us know how the rest of that song goes. I grew up singing that song in Sunday school, VBS, and all that good stuff, but today was just one of those days where the words of that song filled the air!

“Jesus loves the little children, ALL the children of the world. Red and Yellow, Black and White, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world!

We went to visit the kids from our VBS and Sunday school in their homes. All of these kids live in a very poor neighborhood in what we typically call a “squatters area”. Some of the kids have houses the size of my bathroom (which is not very big) with about 6 or even 10 children in the family. They live a very very simple lifestyle and they don’t have much at all. But despite their living conditions, i’ve never seen happier children. The minute we drove up they came running to greet us with their laughter and big smiles. We went around the neighborhood to look for some of the older kids so we could tell them about an activity we were having for them this Saturday. Once we were done with that, we spent the rest of the time playing with the kids out on the street.

It didn’t take much at all to make them happy. Just having us there to spend time with them made them feel pretty special. But if you ask me, they made me feel special.

“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matt. 19:14

A Humbling Reminder

3 Commentsby   |  06.01.11  |  Cebu, Philippines

Today was a good reminder of just how much God has blessed me through the things I have been exposed to and the many experiences I’ve had over my lifetime. Hiking up and down the poor neighborhoods under the heat of the sun, blessing members of the church with prayers, fellowship and sharing the word of God, the in-between times and conversations, seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter of precious kids who just want to play with you and hold your hand…I was reminded today of the things that matter. God has a heart for these people and He loves His children. As I type this, I am sitting in a room that’s a lot bigger than many of those kids’ houses. Let me tell you, there’s nothing more humbling than coming face to face with people who hardly have anything yet still welcome you into their homes and greet you with a warm and cheerful smile. I grew up seeing these things on a daily basis, but even I still need to be reminded of just how blessed I am to have the things that I often take for granted.

“Thank You”

10 Commentsby   |  06.01.11  |  Cebu, Philippines

Saturday we went to Consolacion Church where we had VBS with the kids there. It was funny to watch their reactions to seeing us for the first time. Some were eager to come say “hi,” and others would keep a safe distance even though you could tell they were curious. They began to warm up to us, and I soon had a group of mainly girls (the guys were playing basketball with Ian) gathered around me. Some of them would touch me really quickly before I could turn around. It was as if they wanted to touch my skin to see if it would feel different since it was light. Then they started touching my hair. After a while they realized I didn’t mind, and one girl kept running her fingers through it. We started worship soon. Filipinos love to sing! Most of the songs were in English, led by Caidy who just moved here 3 months ago with her Filipino husband who is from here. Small world again: Caidy’s sister attends the small church in Nashville that I grew up at, and I just so happened to run into her one week before leaving for Cebu at the church’s 50th anniversary. Benjoseph also led a few songs in Cebuano. Then we split up into classes. I went with the youngest kids. They were so cute, but I could barely understand anything that was happening. I did notice the word “salamat” in the teacher’s prayer a lot. I knew that meant “thank you.” I also could tell she was telling the story of Benjamin and Joseph. I helped the kids with their crafts, but it was very hard not being able to understand their questions or get their attention. I was relieved when we got back together with the older kids for more English songs. One 11 year old boy, Ken, knew English very well. He was very nice and explained things to me without me even asking.

Sunday we went back to the Consolacion Church for bible class with the children follwed by church. Once again, I couldn’t understand what was going on during bible class. I just watched the kids color, and tried to talk to them if I could. They are so precious. It was fun to see a lot of the same faces again. The kids leave after bible class (the church is in their neighborhood and their parents rarely come), and the adults have church. There were about 14 of us there. Most of the service was in English with maybe a prayer or two in a different dialect. During the prayer I again recognized the word “salamat.” I begin thinking about how much I had heard it in the prayer yesterday and today. It touched me how thankful these people were- many of them poorer than we’ve ever been. I stopped to think about how many times we say “please, please, please” when we’re praying to God when we should be saying “thank you, thank you, thank you!” That’s what these people were saying, and seeing everything I’d seen the past week, I was feeling as though that’s what I needed to be saying too. Don’t get me wrong. There are times to say “please.” We are told to ask for God’s wisdom, and God longs to hear our desires. Asking for his help shows our dependence on Him. But sometimes we just need to stop and say “thank you.” There is not a second of any day that we don’t have a reason to thank Him. I realized that even if I couldn’t understand the prayer, God could still speak to me through it. In the same service we sang “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” I’ve sung this song a million times, rarely thinking much about the lyrics. However, it had been a while since I’d sung it. Singing it again for the first time in a long time, in a new situation gave me a fresh mind. The words hit me in a way they never had before. The line “What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer,” really stuck out to me. Prayer really is such a privilege, and often we rush through it (or even skip it) as if it’s something to mark off a check list. We forget what a blessing it is. We have a loving God who is Father, Savior, and Friend that wants us to come to Him with everything! That is something to be thankful for!

Feeding the Homeless with Lilia’s Place

194 Commentsby   |  05.28.11  |  Cebu, Philippines

5-27 Friday we spent all day with Doug and Lisa Simpson, a family that moved to Cebu 2 years ago in hopes of starting an orphanage. They ended up getting involved with the homeless instead. They have two older sons (one that I actually have met at ACU… small world!) and two adorable little girls that they’ve adopted. Lilia’s Place is named after their oldest adopted daughter, and it helps get homeless families off the streets and back on their feet. They have a three bedroom apartment that they use. Three famlies (with about 20 kids) live in two of the apartments, and the third apartment is set up as a school for the children. Doug and Lisa also help feed homeless on the streets every other Friday through an organization called Cebu Missionary Foundation. CMF is run by Lucy (from Australia). Lucy is another amazing person who helps absolutely everyone she can. She has even helped a man that was dying from infected grease and fire burns, a man that had been kept in a dog cage by his family because of mental illness, and even a schizophrenic that started attacking her. CMF does a lot of the same things that Lilia’s Place does- giving homeless women jobs, providing a school for the homeless children, providing medical care, and providing a church for them (http://cebu-mission.org/ has more information on the organization). CMF is located in the middle of a huge dump site where many of the homeless live. There were a ton of children and adults picking through the trash. They build their houses wherever they can find the littlest bit of space between the trash out of whatever scaps they can find.

We quickly made friends with the kids there. They loved posing for pictures and would bust out laughing when they saw themselves on the camera screen. They thought it was the funniest thing. Notice the one boy without pants. It’s very common to see poor Filipino children without pants or any clothes at all. You even see that on the main street in the city. After looking around the dump site we helped prepare some food that we would hand out to homeless families later on that night. Later that night about 20 of us loaded into that back of a flatbed truck with three HUGE pots of food, bagged mango and bread. We headed to a cemetary in the dark to begin handing out the food to the homeless. Cemetaries in the Philippines are aboveground. They slide the caskets into openings in a cement wall. A lot of the homeless will make their beds on the top of the cemetary walls. It was mainly children that came bringing pitchers, big tupperware containers, bowls, or whatever they could find to fill with food. After that we drove up and down the streets handing out plastic bags of hot rice mixes we had made. The mixture was kind of runny like porridge, and very hot. We had to be careful filling the thin, plastics bags in the back of a moving truck. It was quite a sticky job! We also were only supposed to give the food to homeless people because merchants would sell it for money. Because a lot of Filipinos are very poor, it’s sometimes hard to tell the homeless from the merchants. The merchants will sometimes live on the streets in their tiny shed-like stores to protect their stuff. It was really fun hanging out with the Simpsons all day and getting to know them better and hear about everything they’re doing here. One of the neatest things is that the moms living in their apartments that used to be homeless now come to help cook and feed other homeless. We got to spend most of the day with those ladies as well. They are some of the sweetest people you will ever meet. They are constantly smiling. Jennifer, one of the moms, knows pretty much everyone on the street. It was really awesome to see these ladies give back to people that are where they used to be. I’m looking forward to the next feeding!

The beginnings

17 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.

Going to Cebu

7 Commentsby   |  04.27.11  |  Cebu, Philippines

I never planned to do missionary work, but sometimes God has other plans for our lives. I’ve always been an introvert, and I’m usually afraid to try new things for fear I’ll fail, or for the thought that I should leave “that” to someone else who’d do it better. So naturally, the thought of mission work makes me nervous. I’m afraid I won’t know what to say or do. I feel like I’m too shy to share the gospel boldly. Luckily, I’ve come out of my introverted shell a little more in the past few years, and have pushed myself to take on leadership roles that I was a little scared to try at first. However, I still never really gave mission work a thought until last semester.

A representative from a program about teaching English through the bible in foreign countries came to talk to one of my classes last semester. Normally I’d think “that’d probably be too much money,” or “I don’t know if I could do that.” But for some reason I was really interested in the opportunity and really had an urge to look into it. After that I kept hearing about a lot of different opportunities for mission work. I felt like it was all around me. One of the programs I was hearing a lot about was Worldwide Witness. I knew WWW was a highly trusted program and I had only heard great things about it from people who had gone on mission internships through the program. I started looking into WWW more and talked to Gary about where I would want to go. I really love kids, so he helped me look into some locations that worked with children. I was still really hesitant to commit to the program, knowing I really needed an internship, and this would be my last summer before I graduated. I talked to some professors to see if I could double my missions internship as my field experience for my family studies major (having a focus in child development). My professor sounded like it might could work, but he didn’t seem very confident in that statement. It didn’t sound very promising, leaving me torn between doing this internship and trying to find a “normal” internship in Texas. However, I couldn’t seem to let go of the opportunity to serve abroad. I finally decided if I felt such a strong pull to be an intern with Worldwide Witness when I had never wanted to do mission work before maybe that meant something. I decided to let go of all reservations and just trust that God would work out the rest.

As soon as I made up my mind I felt a peace about my decision and an excitement about the opportunity of this summer’s internship. That doesn’t mean I don’t still get nervous sometimes. But at the same time I am also really excited, and I know God will do great things. I am really excited about the opportunity to experience how faith is lived out in another culture, as well as just experiencing a new culture in general. There will be many different opportunities for different types of mission work in Cebu including working with children, new churches as well as established churches, and the bible college. I am really excited about working with the children in the ministry as that was what I wanted to focus on coming into the program as well as with my degree. However, I am also excited to experience an array of mission work. I know that my eyes will be opened, and I will learn so much.  I have a heart for people and a heart for Christ, and I am ready to use those passions to love, serve, and share the Good News!