Last Day in the Philippines

Today was our final day in the Philippines. We finished with a simple day of seeing important Filipino historical sites and a dinner with the staff of YWAM Balut. A good end to a good trip.

 

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Medical Outreach Day 2

 

Our last day of ministry in the Philippines is over.

It was a good day to end with as well. We spent another 8 hours providing medical care, medicine, prayer, and gifts for families in the Smokey Mountain area.We worked hard but it was one of those days that even though you are exhausted by the end it felt like only a couple of hours.

During the two medical days, we saw mostly mother’s and their children. It is sometimes rough. It will humble you to see mothers with 5 young children come to you with so much need but everyone is still showing a smile and good attitude. Sometimes we can’t give them all of what they need with our small and limited supply, and the encouragement to really go to the clinic or hospital doesn’t seem like enough to actually push them there. Something like this free checkup and small dose of medicine may really make a difference for their lives, at least for a little bit.

I think it’s important to focus on their happiness and their gratefulness in all situations. It’s also a testament to their immune system. Kids play in streets covered with with trash and the rain water oozes down the avenues but children still run and mother’s watch and supervise. Some kids have only a shirt on. Some kids have nothing but innocence that covers their own eyes of their nakedness. Or maybe it’s ignorance. Maybe it’s normal life. With some clothes that are close enough to fit from us, we can help dress them up for parents to be proud.

We did our best and we did what we could to help out YWAM Balut and the Filipinos of Smokey Mountain. It is a week to remember and hopefully repeat sometime soon.

It’s exciting to accomplish our goals for the trip, but it is also sad. On trips like this I think a change of mindset is inescapable. At least if you are engaging with the people and culture and really working to help them, not just observe them. Engaging with the people and familiarizing yourself with the culture will really show you who you are with and what they need, why they need, and how effective you truly were with your objectives. Curious how helping others helps you. And with that realization you understand that even though you want to get home, you will reminisce about all that was. And I think that’s where the real work gets done. No, at home you are no longer with the people working and physically helping them, but in that missing or remembering we can grow that connection with the grungy streets that you walked (or rode) through and the desire to return and help again one day pulls you back in. Absence may make the heart grow fonder even in less cliché situations.

One time is fun and helpful, but many can truly make a difference.

We have built relationships with YWAM and people in this area, and that is why we return. In those relationships we can see real differences being made. The team here is family and so are the students we sponsor in a way. The Kingdom moves with all of us working together. Our nation or language doesn’t matter or hinder it, and so we keep moving and doing.

Medical Outreach Day 1

Today was the first Medical Outreach.

We were able to help a lot of people and we worked hard for 8 hours. It is safe to say that we are all exhausted but ready for day 2.

In the evening, sponsored kids in elementary school and high school put on a program for us to say Thank You. It was really fun to see what they had prepared and see their skills and excitement.

It’s been a long day and internet will be gone soon so I’ll keep this brief. We need rest for tomorrow.

 

Back in Manila

After a break from the big city in Olongapo, we are back at it again in the capital.

We began the day by preparing for the medical outreaches that we will be doing tomorrow and Friday from 9 am to 3 pm. With our team that has medical background (Heidi, Connie, Pam) and the doctor that just arrived (Mark Schulke), we are hoping to serve 150+ people each day. Those of us that are not from the medical field will participate in evangelism, drug administration (instructed by the pros), passing out eyeglasses and praying. We have a good amount of medical supplies and they will be put to good use tomorrow.

In the middle of the preparation, the “other” team arrived at the YWAM base to see the area and ministries. It was fun to see familiar faces from home in a completely different context. We are all looking forward to their report when they have seen it all.

In the afternoon we had the chance to visit families in the area. Many families that we visited have students that Word of Life sponsors. It is sobering to see the homes that the kids come from and to get a better understanding of where they come from and what their life is like. It is still impressive to see their full, happy life in the midst of areas that anyone from home would find absolutely unlivable. They live and they excel. At one home on top of Smokey Mountain (yes, homes on top of a giant pile of trash-turned-compost-heap) the children wanted to play and have their picture taken the entire time. It was raining but it didn’t matter. New people were here. New friends with cameras to play and talk to. We were there for their entertainment. Anyone new that arrived was herded by a little boy for a picture and then shown the picture on the camera and then it was running and teasing all over again.

Perspective. That’s what it comes to. Maybe being a child without an cares to. They are kids that are playing happily in what they know as home. Their families are doing their best, and a great job, in this part of the world with what they have been given. Thinking from our perspective we may expect some embarrassment or shame, but they show none. To be happy like them in their situation challenges us to be content and grateful for what we have. Maybe we realize we could do with less. Pray for parents. Pray for families. Pray for provision (maybe donate to YWAM Balut….) so they can provide without worry and their children can continue to be children and play at home in the rain.

Good night.

Back to Manila

 

Today we spent our last little bit of time with the base in Manila.

Art and Aldonna taught the mothers on the base about parenting and raising children and Connie and Heidi taught CPR. Pam, Trevan, Paul, and Kim played with the kids for 3 hours and could barely keep up with their energy.

It was a short morning, but it was productive. All of the mothers and children appreciated our time there and we built great relationships with the base leaders and staff. Hopefully we will be able to partner with them many more times in the future.

Asmund wanted to take us to a beach and to see bats (very large bats) in the old naval base area so we headed south and got in the water.

After a quick dinner we had a van back to Manila. Due to the holiday we hit some bad traffic and delayed the trip a bit, but we made it back in decent time and prepared for bed.

Good night!