Philippines 2018_Day 6_Friday
Friday marks the closeness to the end of the mission as we hold the last medical and dental clinics for the community.
Like the rest of the week we started with morning devotion consisting of worship and God’s word – things to think about and perhaps have in our hearts as we prepare for the day’s events ahead. Seeing the children every morning is really something…not every child likes to get up and ready by 6am but these kids have something different in them, something so strong and pure – a heart for God. To catch a glimpse of the children with their eyes closed and raising their hands up to God really shows how much love they have for God. A love so real and strong that they are fearless when asked to speak about their faith. And the amusing part is that they get so shy when asked what their name and age is. God is definitely doing amazing things in this place.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” - Ephesians 4: 11-13
During the morning’s devotion, I asked the children and the youth about the kinds of people they surround themselves with. Ephesians describes ‘unity’, and attainment of the ‘whole measure’ of Christ, only through the gift of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. It is these characters who challenge us, make us grow and mature. I was already aware of at least one budding pastor in the orphanage, and likewise, evangelists and teachers in the youth. A pastor is a friend who is always there with kind words and support; they are by their nature nurturing. Prophets are those friends who call you out on foolish or sinful behaviour; they bring you back onto the right path when you stray. While a pastor is crucial to one’s personal happiness, providing support and comfort, one cannot change, and therefore grow, without the prophet to guide them. Likewise, while the evangelist inspires others to take up the cross and to dream big, the teachers patiently enable their students to learn how to achieve these dreams and ambitions. And the apostles write love letters, encouraging those close and far to keep maturing in faith and wisdom. Thus one must surround themselves with all of these people to keep on growing, and help others to grow, by supporting others like the pastor, teaching when they are able to share knowledge, and like the prophet, having the courage to stop their friends from walking a destructive path.
@ Santa Monica
After morning devotion and breakfast comes the expected boat trip to wherever we planned to visit - which was Santa Monica this time. Thank God that it was not a choppy boat trip even though we entered open waters and we safely arrived in the stunning Santa Monica. The area was almost like you would see on a holiday brochure but that was not the most beautiful part of the visit.
The BLi team headed to Santa Monica for the final dental and medical clinic. It has been a long week but well worth it for the glory of God.
Santa Monica is a fishing village. People are friendly and have a heart for God.
Jo and I shared at the Santa Monica church. I talked about my testimony and shared with the church about Psalm 46. It is one of my favourite Psalms which always reminds me of God’s love, kindness and his steadfastness. Afterwards there was an alter call for salvation and I was truly amazed by the number of hands that went up to say the sinner’s prayer.
The people who put their hands up were mostly children. If God can convict these children at such a young age, what great plans our God has for each and every one of them! I also had the privilege of praying for some of these children individually with a prayer of blessing and hope.
It has been a week of miraculous healing and God continued to move here at Santa Monica. As our team prayed over the sick, I witnessed healing over a man with eye problem who can now see better. His knees were healed and he was able to walk freely from pain. Praise God! God is GOOD ALL THE TIME!
‘Power of agreement’
I was blessed to be a part of the prayer team during the Santa Monica clinic and witness many healings through prayer. One of the gentlemen we prayed for relayed that he had poor vision, and also had pain going flowing from his right hip and along his left leg and knee. Initially Jo prayed for him, however after the first prayer he relayed that his vision had not improved and the pain in his hip / leg remained.
Knowing that there is power in agreement in prayer, Jo asked for several of the youth & myself to join and agree together in the prayer for healing. I asked what he could see prior to the prayer – he was not able to read the writing on my shirt while standing right next to him. We laid hands on his eyes & prayed again for healing. This time, he reported that he saw a bright light as we prayed together, and when he opened his eyes his eyesight greatly improved – he could easily read the writing on my shirt! (I had not moved my feet). He indicated that the pain in his hip/leg had partially improved, we encouraged him to continue to ask God for complete healing.
The team went straight to action and we set up the clinics and prepared for sharing. There is always something about these moments which speaks volumes – a majority of complete strangers, people - young and old gathered together to worship and know the one God. Yes, there were the healthcare clinics, however they could have just turned up whenever they were next instead of listening to anything. God was doing something…something none of us could ever do.
Whenever I had the opportunity to help with the dental clinics, I realised that God would always send me subtle but yet powerful messages. One of the dentists would always say to their patient after their treatment, “Ok, no more pain now” …these few words may have been simple but were powerful to give the patient relief and joy and the best part was knowing that if they were to accept Christ in their lives, for sure – no more pain. Amazing moments throughout the trip as a whole was always seeing the ROLM youths and leaders taking every spare moment to worship God, even when holding a patient’s head during a tooth extraction – why not sing Amazing Grace? The hands are occupied…not the heart and mouth. Praise God!
When our session ended for the day, our stomachs were ready for a scrumptious lunch spread over a long table with freshly caught pan fried fish, rice, smoked eggplant, mangoes and bananas. It was such a joyous occasion to share the good food with the ROLM team to mark the end of medical and dental clinics.
The humbling parts of the trip was when it came down to what was provided for the team. Seeing the locals provide us with the best of what they could provide was love at its most pure and beautiful form. The sense of community whenever we ate together was always heart-warming, especially when we all stood around a long table eating fresh fish, rice and mangoes (eaten by hand) whilst swatting flies.
After lunch we headed to the beach on the other side of the island which required tracking over dense forest! Not bad to work off the calories from lunch. Everyone had fun swimming and diving. Swimming competition also started between team members with each representing different countries such as Philippines, UK, Malaysia etc. At the end of day there was no clear winner but people’s fun loving character started to come out and it was a really enjoyable time.
After an exciting lunch came a time of fun at the rocky beach. Surviving the mini jungle trail led to diving, racing and many photos. Praise God for the unity of the team and for His healing (always a bad idea to run on wet and uneven surfaces with an ankle injury!)
@ San Isidro
Basketball + Youth Ministry Outreach
Following that was our time to head back to base in San Isidro and after dinner came sports ministry (basketball) which was basically the BLi team getting shown up by the locals who could probably play at an elite level…if they wore appropriate footwear! Although the evening consisted mostly of sweaty men flying through the air, you have to admit the unity of the people, joyfulness and innocence of the locals was a lovely sight.
Thoughts on today? Although the day was not as ‘packed’ as the others in terms of travelling and the clinics etc, this day was particular special for the mission trip group as a whole. From mostly being complete strangers to start off with to a united team of different characters, complimenting each other and obviously, most importantly, all with a serving heart for God and the people – this was His plan. Seeing the group come together and bond in more ‘social’ hours highlights the beauty of God’ love. How it can bring different people together and break barriers. It never fails.
On that note…
Every Friday evening a prayer meeting is held at ROLM church in San Isidro. I truly believe that all the amazing work that God has done in and through ROLM over the past 15 years, with so many lives and communities transformed by the love and hope given in Christ, including many orphans, prisoners & villages; have been birthed from a place of prayer. Ps Fely herself has for many years been getting up to pray every morning at 3am without fail.
This evening Tammy & I joined the prayer meeting, while the youth basketball ministry was running. We shared about the importance of prayer, being the very engine driving the church to do what God has called, moving God’s hands to fulfil His purposes on earth. I shared from John 17.20-23, of Jesus’ prayer for unity of the church, and encouraged the people to also pray for unity in ROLM, and for the people and ministries.
It was so encouraging to pray together with the people of ROLM, the presence of God upon us, most of the people weeping as they prayed/interceded on behalf of ROLM. We know that God certainly heard our prayers & continues to hear and answer our prayers, being our good Father, doing the work only He is able to do.