Missions Trip to Cebu, Phillippines
Human existence is about love. We seek love in all it's forms, it is embedded deep in our psyche and nature... because He first created us to be loved by Him, to love Him, and then to love others.
In all my ugliness, darkness & sin, God still loved this girl with a furious love. Through people, prophecies and other miraculous means, He steadfastedly wooed me back to His side. How incomprehensible, the thought that a perfect almighty God, maker of heavens and earth, could ever want a close relationship with a fallen soul like me. I am wholly undeserving! But when love and blessings are lavished upon you freely by grace, how could you possibly not feel the joyful compulsion to pass some love on?
I made my way to Cebu Island with a group of 13 friends from my Christian community :)
We worked together with a local church and missions group.
They were lovely people with a heart for God! We brought the fire of revival to them as there was great outpouring of the holy spirit during our worship sessions and as we prayed and ministered to the workers.
For the first time, I was thrown into the deep waters of a third world country. Although the "chalet" we stayed at was considered quite liveable and relatively clean, it was still a drastic change from what I'm normally used to. Cockroaches and a host of other assorted creepy crawlies ran amok all over the room; hot water was a luxury we did not have :X
Yet, when we walked around the villages and towns daily to interact with locals, we encountered much worse. Faced with abject poverty and impoverished living conditions, it was a wake-up call that hey, how insignificant in comparison are our complaints that we don't have the latest Chanel bag, that our public transport sucks, that our homes are too small?
I was truly shamed and humbled. I felt immensely blessed. I felt even more driven to help them.
Because after all, I believe we are blessed to be a blessing to others!
One thing that struck me - the kids don't need expensive homes, nice clothes, cars, or iPads to live with smiles on their faces. In fact, they seem happier, friendlier and more spirited than our city kids!
THE BAIT: The guys in our team were adept at attracting the children with their balloon twisting, haha.
After which, we would share with them about Jesus, acting out skits and pray for them.
Our regular meals consisted of fried chicken (omg! my arteries!) and quick meals at the Philippine's own rampant fast food chain Jollibee.
The adventurous (and in my opinion, insane) amongst us plucked up the courage to try Philippine's delicacy (in my opinion, something best eaten in the 10th level of hell) called Balut.
The "17" indicates how many days old the fertilized duck egg is. 17 is apparently the most ideal at which point it's known as balut sa puti ("wrapped in white").
I literally screamed and immediately dashed away from our table when I saw it. I practically closed my eyes while taking the pictures. That's how terrifying and disgusting it was to me. Would YOU dare try it?
Alright, let me soothe your traumatized nerves.... Here's an adorable little girl I fell in love with :)
Isn't she lovely? What a smile of sunshine!
Let's talk about transport. Thailand has their tuk tuks, and Philippines has a curious thing called the... Jeepney.
Filipinos clearly have a penchant for loud colors and crazy designs, perhaps to cheer up the dreariness of their everyday lives. These buses or vans that make up the backbone of the country's chaotic mass transport system. They're locally assembled using second-hand truck engines and transmission systems imported from Japan. We rode in them all the time! I found them peculiar and rather funny, yet pretty fun to travel around in.
Melancholic cool shot of our leader Jeff and his guitar.
He is probably having an intimate conversation with God here, lol.
We also got around by boat. Cebu, with it's white sandy beaches, is a popular resort destination. What a pleasure sailing into the gorgeous blue ocean, breathing in the salty sea breeze and singing songs of worship together!
We visited a few different high schools to reach out to the youths, many got saved and healed!
I shared my testimony publicly for the first time, all glory to Him.
Before we left, the students all clamoured to take photos with us and asked for our Facebook pages; they were so sweet!
A cell phone photo one of the girls took and tagged on Facebook. x
We would hold evangelistic night rallies in public basketball courts. In the day, we'd spend some time giving out flyers telling the villagers to come join us.
Love the little children :)
Praise God that turnout to the rallies were always great, rain or shine.
Praying for both young & old to receive Jesus, for healings and restoration :)
Cebu City by night
This elderly lady lives in a wooden shack in the forest.
Through a translator we heard snippets of her life story and ministered to her. God is so good, He healed her legs, she could walk much better after!
Helping to reconcile families
According to nurses and mothers at the local health centers we spoke to, there is a lack of funding, facilities, medicines and resources. Hospitals are scarce and health care is often too expensive for them to afford. With resigned despair and a tinge of anger, they tell us that their government is corrupt.
While we brought donations of money, clothes and books to them, that's just looking at the trees. To bring about real long-lasting, positive change in the lives of these people, we have to also aim for the forest. In the bigger scheme of things, the welfare of a nation is largely dependent on good governance, good public policies and leaders with integrity. It is my wish that I could one day help impact these poor countries in a more powerful way by starting at the top.
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14
Starting the day with some crazy fellowship over breakfast :)
Sightseeing! Bagacay Point Lighthouse
This lighthouse stands at a towering height of 72 feet in an uphill area overlooking the splendid Mactan Channel. The landmark was built in 1904 by virtue of an executive order issued on July 28, 1903 by William Howard Taft, who came to the country in 1900 as president of the Philippine Commission and later appointed US governor general.
Going on this missions trip was not only incredibly eye-opening, it was an adventure of a lifetime and allowed God to prune me as I stepped out of my comfort zone. It was an opportunity to grow and let Him use me to make His love known. I further discovered my identity in Christ, got equipped, and became empowered to advance God's kingdom by sharing and living out the gospel to the poor and under privileged.
What other missions veterans told me is true - you go to bless others but you end up being more blessed as well.
I look forward to my next missions someday soon!