Philippines Mission Trip 2017

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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Arrival

 Arriving at the airport safely, the journey had begun! With Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban there to farewell us (OK... So they may not have actually seen us...) we boarded our flight and settled in for the flight. With everyone fed and watered and some of us even managing a sleep between movies, we landed ready for the next leg. Our trip to the guesthouse was surprisingly civil. The, normally chaotic, traffic was quite good because it was a long weekend with the New Years' public holiday and a lot of the people leave the city.

 

New Year's Eve was not so accommodating... the fireworks started early in the afternoon, we spotted some of the local kids setting off bangers as we walked to and from the local shopping centre. The mall was filled with people. Two of us went separately and had planned to find the rest when we got there, however, realised very quickly that this was going to be impossible! Christmas and new year decorations and celebrations are 'big' here. As the evening progressed, the fireworks and 'bazookers' became more frequent and by the time the Philippines new year arrived there were fireworks all around the centre (no need to travel to see them) although some, myself included, managed to sleep through them! We were awake for the Aussie new year, but to wait 'til what felt like 3am was just too far away...

 

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New Year's Day we attended the GCF (Global Christian Fellowship) church (located not far away - across the 12 lane main road). They were very friendly, with lots of "Happy New Year!" and shaking hands. The sermon was good, including an encouraging message for the new year to:
B - Bless others
E - Eat with others
L - Listen to others
L - Love others and;
S - Serve others.

 

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Enjoying pizza with a missionary couple.


On Monday we travelled to the Conference centre. A very interesting 2 hour trip through a diverse range of lifestyles. From glamorous shopping malls to the poorest of poor and their 'lean-too's.
The centre is very nice, a real blessing to be able to serve here.
Well, here we are a Te conference centre, preparing to start our varied children's program.

 

- Kathy

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Departure

missionteam

 

Dina, Marge, Jono, Kathy, Sam, Ben, Kathryn and I are all busy getting ready to leave tomorrow on our mission trip to the Philippines. As the destructive Typhoon Nina hit the Philippines at Christmas, some of our plans may change and we will have to play a lot of it by ear. The OMF conference where we are running the crèche, children and youth programs is still going ahead and begins on Tuesday the 3rd. These days at the conference will be very full-on (with the kids for almost 12 hours a day) so it’d be great for you to pray for us to have energy and enthusiasm and that the kids will really enjoy and get something out of the program.

 
We will be going to Calapan (on the island of Mindoro) after the Conference and possibly doing concerts, delivering food parcels, teaching and being involved in church services. Please pray for flexibility and that we can be a real encouragement to the Filipinos who may have lost their homes and loved ones. Thank you so much for praying for us on this mission trip. Don’t forget to check this blog for updates while we are in the Philippines!


- Lucy, on behalf of the Philippines Mission Team

 

 

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