Philippines 2017_Day 7

"Awaking for the Final Morning"


Jason Ho

Awaking for the final morning - what a beautifully woven sequence of days.

The light ache in the bones quickly fades as the soul remembers and pauses in awe of God’s mighty and steadfast hand over this village and its welcoming residents.

We awake early and excited for one last dental session - an unplanned session but one we know is absolutely necessary. A small token (though arguably grim) of our appreciation to our hardworking translators and partnering brothers and sisters who faithfully served alongside us. They too have been suffering from toothache over the past months but had held back to ensure everyone else was able to be seen first. Praise God for their servant hearts.

There’s a slight longing to see the usual smiling faces of the children that we’ve grown accustomed to each morning at devotion but it’s an honour to be asked and trusted by the new family who have seen you treating everyone else throughout the week. We must have done something right.

We start with the ladies as of course the boys are delayed. They’ve snuck in a last minute, well deserved session of basketball with Yang and Jung Yin as they know the dentists will insist on rest after treatment. The court proves a rewarding time of laughter and friendly competition after a week of shoulder to shoulder collaboration. UK still leads Philippines…this time.

With the terminus of the last patient, we pack the remaining medicines and dental equipment - a dental set is packed for safe travel back to UK and another is set aside in San Isidro. We already anticipate coming back soon.

The sound of worship from the church service down the road echoes across the village as we collect our belongings and ourselves. Goodbyes are never easy, especially between family but the knowledge that ‘God with Us’ is comfort to the soul. We have shared intimate moments centred around the Saviour and it will shape all of our realities.

Among the goodbyes, a love gift is shared to our Philippino family – a small blessingand gesture of appreciation. Furthermore, a sponsoring of two of the children – Deborah and Kenneth for their future education and care. Deborah is a young lady with a vibrant yet quiet smile. She glows with a gentle confidence in God. Kenneth is one of the older ones among the kids at the orphanage – his cajon playing reflects his heart in worship, fierce but steady.

The river journey to Delores is not one of silence as the out-board motor is ferocious to the ears. It also contends with the overlying prayers of praise, thanks and yearning for more of what has been experienced these few days. It is a time of remembrance of God’s hand in humanly unexplainable restoration of vision, hearing, sensation and the removal of pain both physical and emotional. How markedly different is the posture of the team coming away from River of life.

We retrace our steps down the River to Delores, through the mountains back to Tacloban and then onward over the azure seas to Manila. Our conversations are different as we progress and shift from this week to looking forward to the future.

The final day in Manila is a stepping stone towards ‘21st century’ life. In our final hours, we share good food, communion, search and send our last gifts back to San Isidro.

Items of love and investment:

(1)   Strings to replace the ones on the untunable guitar

(2)   Plectrums to encourage all to have ownership over music

(3)   A rainbow strap to remember promise

(4)   Egg shakers to fortify communal song making

(5)   A basketball to gather friends and those not yet

(6)   T-shirts which remind of God's word

San Isidro (River of Life), we shall see you soon.

As you have taught us – Praise be to God