Church and house visits in Calapan

We arrived at the OMF guesthouse in Calapan, on the island of Mindoro, Friday evening straight from the OMF conference, for which we ran the children’s program. Saturday was a much-needed rest day, the only other thing we needed to do was meet with Mimi and Paulo, from BL (Dawn For The Poor) in the afternoon and discuss the plans for what we would do with them in Calapan. It was good we had that day to rest because we were asked to jump straight into ministry activities, starting with a church service at the BL centre Sunday morning. This included us doing three worship songs, a skit about the parable of the banquet, followed by Sam preaching on this passage from the Gospel of Matthew. Sam was only given notice that he would be preaching Saturday evening, but with God’s help and some work into the night, he put together and preached a great sermon. Paulo translated both the skit and Sam’s talk into Tagalog so the congregation could better understand what we were saying. Unfortunately, Ben was unwell and was unable to be involved in the service.

 

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Acting out the Banquet Drama (from Matthew 22)

 

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Sam preaching from Matthew 22:1-14

 

We shared Sunday lunch with Paulo and the other BL leaders. Following lunch, we played some ice breaker games, which helped us to get to know the leaders and vice versa. We also split into pairs, two of us with two to three of the BL leaders, in preparation for the next day’s visits to families connected to the BL church. After dinner, our host Jen took Kathy, Marge, Dina and Sam shopping so they could buy grocery items (noodles, crackers, toothpaste, laundry soap etc.) to give to the families we would visit the next day. We then put one of each item into shopping bags, 65 in total. 

 

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Discussion time and lunch after the service.

 

Each pair of us had been allocated an area with a certain number of families to visit. Some were within walking distance of the guesthouse, others had to be travelled to by trike (a motorbike with a side car). As Ben was still unwell Monday, he stayed at the guesthouse and rested. Tuesday morning, he had recovered enough to join Dina in visiting a few of the families nearby. The families we visited live in homes which are smaller than the average Australian bedroom and are constructed out of a hodgepodge of building materials, including salvaged pieces of timber and tree branches, cement bricks, tarps and plastic sheeting and corrugated iron. These “buildings” are not strong at the best of times, but following Typhoon Nina, which struck Calapan in late December, many are in need of repair. Some are only accessible by foot bridge, constructed out of loose planks of wood and bamboo posts. The people we met face many struggles, but so many continue to look to God as the source of all their strength. It was an honour to meet and pray with and offer support to fellow Christians. This simple act seemed to touch them greatly and it was encouraging to see the ongoing work that BL is doing, reaching the lost, as well as teaching and building up in faith Christians among the urban poor of Calapan.

 

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Kathy with one of the families we visited, and a couple of local BL leaders.