Wow! What a day. We left the Philippines at 8:00 am on Wednesday and arrived at 8:00 am on Thursday. We lost 12 hours somewhere along the line. We weren’t able to sleep on the plane so as soon as we arrived at the hotel we crashed. I just woke up and finally talked to both of my sons so that they knew I was home. Needless to say it’s been a tiring day and I’m anxious to get home. Next time you hear about the trip will be directly out of our mouths!!! Can’t wait to share what God did on this trip. Thanks for following us on our trip and for the many prayers while we were gone. See you soon
Wednesday we were up at 4:00 am to get ready and head to the Davao City airport. Finally on our way back. We would be stopping and spending the night in Manila before the long stretch from Manila to Seattle. By now, we are so use to toting our luggage around that we have a system. One of my suitcases got misplaced in Family Circus so it’s getting to stay therefore I had to pack everything in my one big bag. Boy is it heavy. I will have great arm muscles when I return. We took one last ride on the Jeepney. I would love to have a Jeepney in the states and you guys would really enjoy riding in one. The airport was a typical airport so not much to say there. When we arrived in Manila we were picked up by a charter bus for the touring part of our visit. We visited the oldest remaining house in Manila with all of it’s carved furniture, china, and restored paintings. It was nice although it was extremely hot. No air conditioning in that house. No glass windows either. Just wooden slatted shutters that you could open.
After there we went to a fort and toured the grounds, another very old structure. The next place was my favorite. It’s the largest cemetary on foreign soil where 17,000 american soldiers are buried that fought in World War II. We fought with the Philippines during that war and the soldiers that died there were all buried on these grounds along with many unidentified soldiers. It was a sobering thought to think about the price these soldiers paid for freedom and the families that were impacted by this war. This reminded me of Washington D.C.s Arlington Cemetary.
After leaving the cemetary we headed to our hotel for one last evening in the Philippines.
Today was absolutely amazing! We left early this morning for our first assembly of 700 students. When we arrived, school was just beginning so we waited for the principal and the team began to set up. It was evident from the posters and decorations on the wall that they openly believed the Bible and knew God. There were scripture verses on the walls and the children were singing Christian songs to Connie as she was interacting with them. When the principal arrived we talked with her briefly and then finished our setup so that we would be ready for the children when the arrived. Our Philippine team managed the entire assembly, ran the sound and presented all the segments. We were so excited to see that they did everything themselves so that when we leave they will successfully be able to present without our help. We are so proud of them and how quickly they learn and their willingness to serve. They did everything with excellence! After the assembly and the children were dismissed the principal invited us into the teacher’s lounge where they fed us fish balls with sauce, mini bananas, pop cola and butter cream wafers. Since we had missed breakfast this was quite a blessing and a treat.
After leaving the school, our Philippine team took us to a butterfly farm where we were able to relax and enjoy the tranquility of the foliage and the butterflies. We were able to laugh and talk about each other’s families and cultures and learn from each other. We have learned so much from our new- found friends.
At our second assembly, we met over 1300 more friendly children who were eager to learn about kindness. They repeated the object lesson enthusiastically and had so much fun that the heat didn’t bother us, that much! We are so thankful to God for the Philippine team that we worked with because we learned as much from them as we hope they learned from us. They showed us with their actions and words the kindness that we talked about at each of the assemblies.
“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat he said to them, Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.”
That’s exactly what we did today, a boat and a solitary place. How perfect. Today was our free day so we packed up Buddy and Gumby and headed to Paradise Island. We arrived at the beach where we had to take a ferry across to the island. It cost 10 pesos or 20 cents each person.
As we got off the boat we saw that there were palm trees, long beaches, lounge chairs, picnic tables, food, ping pong and paths to walk.
It was a day of rest and relaxation. The team has been busy from the time we arrived so this was a day to renew our strength and our spirit. Connie and I got into the water for awhile, played some ping pong and then I took a nap. According to Connie I was snoring but I really think it was buddy
Buddy took advantage of the day also. It’s very tiring being the international representative for this team so he got a few winks, a few rays and he was ready to go again. Gumby thought it would be more fun to take a swim so off he goes.
After spending most of the day relaxing we took a taxi, went to the mall for a bite for lunch and headed back to the hotel for our evening devotions and team meeting. I’m about ready to head to bed so we’ll talk to you tomorrow.
Today was Sunday service with Family Circus. They have 6 services over the weekend because they have so many children that come. In order for the kids to get to church they send out Jeepneys to pick them up at their homes.
Each Jeepney brings as many children as they can haul. One of the Jeepneys had 60 children inside.
Each service has about 600 hundred children in an area smaller than our children’s church.
The kids participate in singing, dramas, and games very similar to our children’s church.
We were also able to be there and pray with a family that was dedicating their children to the Lord. Most times it’s the children that come to Family Circus first and then encourage their family to come. They are often times the reason that other family members come to know Jesus. These families know Jesus and want everyone praying with them so that they can raise their children to know Jesus also.
After service Connie got to help with some first aid needs before leaving. The kids often times get infections from a simple cut because they don’t have simple first aid supplies such as antibiotic cream. We were glad that we were able to bring some of those supplies with us to the Philippines.
After service we had a free afternoon to go shopping and eat. We took a Jeepney to a nearby mall and it cost us 7 pesos each way, which is about 14 cents. The malls are very much like home except much larger. Every person is searched before they are allowed in the mall including your backpack. Although we enjoyed shopping we are excited about getting back to ministry. Tomorrow we are going to the ocean to do a little sight-seeing of Davao. We’ll make sure to post some pictures when we return.
Today we were up early and went to the services at Family Circus. We were able to hand out the food for the kids, a roll and a juice pack. The kids started coming and kept coming by Jeepney until the entire place was packed and they brought all of the available benches. You couldn’t move around hardly at all. It was great seeing all of those kids and watching them as they learned about Jesus. They were great at their memory verse songs. The ministry team was polished and the service went smoothly. There was no air conditioning so it was very very hot inside.
While the service was going on in one room, they were pulling bad teeth in the other room. They didn’t even give the kids any anesthesia or pain killer. I couldn’t believe that they didn’t make a sound. They were very brave. After the tooth was pulled they were given a small cup of ice to put up against their cheek to help with the pain.
There were two services in a row and then we held another service out near the ocean in an undercover basketball court. Everything that was done in the morning was now repeated at this location out of the Family circus truck. The kids were very friendly and I was able to play with them before the service. After the service all of the kids wanted to have their picture taken so they made a line and I just kept taking pictures. I would show it to them on the camera, they would laugh and then ask me to take another. Some of the kids were wearing flip flops that were worn all the way through to the ground because they are too poor to buy new ones. There are so many things that we can do to help these children. We can buy 3 pair of flip flops for $1.00 and then Family Circus gives them to the children that really need new ones.
The area that they lived in was very poor. Their houses were very primitive and small. Most of them were on stilts because of flooding from the ocean. None of them had glass windows or real doors like we have. The sides were made of a very flimsy woven wood and most of the floors were dirt. Very different from how we live.
Today was a great day. We left this morning for our first assembly. We were presenting Character Connex to 4th, 5th and 6th grades. There were about 500 kids. Our Philippine team that we’ve been working with and training has been taking more and more responsibility over the assembly so we are able to watch and see how the kids respond to people from their own country. Here is a picture of the group of people we’re training. There names are Christine, Delio, Rhodel, Booboy and Oning.
They each have a task to learn and to do during setup, presentation and tear down of the assembly. We are so proud of how well they are doing. They are so excited about what they are learning and that they will continue to present in schools after we leave. The kids are enjoying participating in the games and the drama and we know they are learning because we hear them repeating what they were taught as we’re leaving.