OMF Conference at Mt Makiling - Children's Programme

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Our first afternoon at the conference centre was spent turning a small, rather bland upstairs room into a space setting for the primary aged kids programme. After a couple of hours, some alfoil, gold ribbon, tarps we had had made up of space images and the interior of a rocketship, and other random props we'd brought from home, it looked remarkably different and quite exciting. Meanwhile Sam and Kathryn were scouting out sites for the youth programme, which ended up based in the games room and cafe most of the time. The preschoolers ended up often in an adventure playground for small children and finally also gained a room. On Tuesday 3rd, we practised and prepared, and also had a Philippines orientation session, before lunch, followed by a welcome swim in the beautiful pool, with some of the kids. Kathryn had brought a candle which she stuck in a piece of cake at dinner, and lit, so I had a birthday celebration! 

The conference site is on the side of a mountain, with lush vegetation around it, and to Ben's joy, a couple of snakes in cages. There was also a small monkey on a chain, which stared at us, as we stared at it...slightly unnerving!

 

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By mid afternoon Tuesday, most missionaries had arrived from all over the Philippines and the welcome session began with noisy games and catching up for many of them. We saw some of our old friends from previous mission trips, including Jen Chrystman, Iljo and Ate Helga, and some families, whose children we had kept busy at the conference of 2013.

 

After dinner we began the programmes for kids and youth, and got to know them a little. There were about twelve children in each of the youth and children's programmes, and five or six preschoolers, all without English. Kathy and Dina and parents looked after them, while Jono led the primary aged kids programme, with Lucy, Ben and Marge. We enjoyed the company of kids whose families originated from England, Switzerland, Scotland, Netherlands, Germany, the Philippines and one little Australian Chinese! The children loved the craft, games, drama, songs, small group bible study, and we converted some kids into Colin Buchanan fans! We had the children from 8am - 12pm, then 3-6, 7-9 pm, so it was very full on.

 

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Free time was spent in the Mango Cafe cooling off and having a coffee. The youth used the book "God's Big Picture" by Vaughn Roberts as the basis for studies and Sam and Kathryn also kept them busy with great games, like the photo caption challenge.

 

Although some of the younger Filipino kids had limited English, older ones helped translate from Tagalog, and they could still participate fully in the fun of "Spaced Out".

 

It rained a lot during conference, and later also...the most rain we've ever seen in the Philippines. 

 

On the final night, we led the worship session for everyone, with primary kids enthusiastically singing "wherever I go" and reciting the memory verse Lucy taught them, then us leading three songs, with keyboard, guitar, tin whistle and cahon. The conference finished at lunchtime and we packed up quickly to catch the van with Jen and others to drive to Batangas Pier for the ferry to Calapan on the island of Mindoro. This section of our mission was over, and we were thanked for providing another great programme for the younger members of omf, so that the older ones could gather, spend time together and with God and refocus for the year ahead. 

 

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