Monday, October 21, 2013

Misson Trip Last Days

Sorry it is taking me so long to finish writing about the trip.  I'm trying to catch up on life!

As I mentioned before, we didn't realize we would be staying at a school and be surrounded with adorable kids.  The school is only for Aeta children who used to live in the mountain villages.  Most of them are no orphans, but many have a single parent.  All are very poor and have no way of climbing out of poverty without getting an education.  There are currently 70 children there but they have potential for 100 and are hoping to add more soon.  The children range in age from 4-18.  The kids are amazing singers!  As we would walk around the school compound, we could hear singing all over the place--and it was so beautiful.  Bible verses decorate the walls and there is a feeling of happiness and peace throughout.  There is a clinic and a church on the grounds as well as the dorms, classrooms, cafeteria, and offices.  I just found out that it's possible to sponsor a child for $30 a month through Advancing Native Missions.  (Just in case any of you are interested!)

Pictures tell their story better than words....

From these conditions....

To these:

The last night we were there, the kids put on a musical program that was incredible.  Not only can they SING, they can dance and act.  We enjoyed it so much!  (And all the songs were in English!)  They obviously have excellent teachers and have made good use of their talents.  One of the boys is a talented artist and drew the 'Good bye" sign on the chalkboard.
(these pictures are from another team member as my camera was dead at this point)
He also drew cards for all of us--all different designs.  The children helped add other pages to the cards with Bible verses and decorated by them.  Sooooo cute!  Here is one of the cards....
We are trying to think of ways to market his artwork and the kids' singing to help them raise funds to support themselves.  Ideas anyone?

It was interesting how we went there to help pastor's wives and do medicals but came away carrying those children in our hearts.  Maybe part of it was the reminder that my own kids faced a dismal future had they not been adopted, and those Aeta children face a future of poverty in mud huts without the Children's Home where their lives and futures are transformed. 

Sunday morning, we attended their church and then had to leave for Manila to avoid another incoming typhoon that was predicted.
We spent Monday in Manila doing a bit of sightseeing and shopping.  Dr. Joy took us to a local market where we had to suppress our American need for personal space.  It got a tad overwhelming after awhile.  Not to mention HOT and HUMID.  We were sweating far more than the locals who are acclimated to the heat.  How they wear jeans in that weather is mind-boggling to me (as I was sweating buckets in khaki capri's and a sleeveless cotton shirt--ugh).

The rest of the pictures are from my iphone.  I was quite frustrated seeing all the photo-ops and having a broken camera.  Gah!

My mom and I at Pizza Hut the night before we flew home.  We ate Filipino food every day, every meal--and it was yummy--but we wanted some pizza!
The next day we got up at 3AM and headed for the airport and 24+ hours later, we were HOME.  When I got to JFK around 3:00PM, they told me my connection was too tight to get my luggage on the plane.  I could either wait until 9:30PM to catch another flight or take a taxi to La Guardia to catch a 5:30PM flight.  Siiigh.   I just wanna be home already!  I knew the kids were waiting and I didn't want to disappoint them, so I opted for the taxi to LaGuardia (even though I was slightly terrified to do that by myself--ugh).  I told the girl behind the counter that I had never been in NYC by myself and was a bit nervous about catching a taxi.  Thankfully, she sent an employee upstairs with me to help me hail one--which was a good thing because the one they called was NOWHERE to be seen.  She had to get on her radio and make some more calls to get it there.  If I had been standing there with all my luggage and no taxi, I would have been fit to be tied.  But...all was well...and I got a short tour of NYC from the back of a taxi.  I saw nothing but highway.  Drat.
And so my little travel saga ends...I'm very glad I was able to go to the Philippines and I was so glad to get home to my family!  I am so grateful to live in America but so mindful that many around the world live in dire conditions and God wants us to do what we can to help.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Our Trip to the Villages

Friday night in the Philippines was the beginning of a typhoon.  It poured and howled all night long.  Some time during the night the power went out.  We were on the third (and top) floor with a metal roof over our heads.  I wondered if it would hold and what would happen if it didn't.  Later, at breakfast, the man who runs the school said he and his wife were up much of the night praying that there would be no mudslides and that the roofs would hold.

It continued to rain heavily all day Saturday, which required us to change our plans about going up into the mountain villages.  It was just too dangerous (mostly the threat of mudslides).
Friday night, we scooped rice into bags to take to the villagers who we had been told were hungry and sick.

                This was the way the mountain across from us looked when there was a lull in the typhoon.
                                     And how it looked when the rain was coming down.
Usually when I photograph rain, you can't see it.  

It was finally decided that we would go to two villages that were at the base of the mountains and were safe to get to.  

Although I had seen pictures on Go*gle about the living conditions in the Aeta villages, I was not emotionally prepared to see where the women I had just spent two days with, lived their lives.
Our first glimpse of village number one.
This was their church.
At this point, my camera totally died.
The following pictures are from another team member, used with permission.
We crossed this bridge to get to the village (the van did not cross--but still got stuck trying to turn around in the mud).
And we climbed this hill...  
Our feet became covered in mud and I was glad I was wearing flip flops so I could just wash everything later.
The homes in the village.
Precious kids coming to the church to sing, get rice, and see the doctor.  And boy...can they SING!
This is where they sit in church.
Precious, beautiful kids!
This is the other side of the tiny church.
The church kitchen.
Despite their living conditions, these kids pray and sing with all their hearts.
 Their outhouse.
The pastor's wife (who was a sweetheart and had attended the conference) made beans for the whole village and served the whole pot to them.  They all came with their bowls.  Some did not even have spoons and ate by dipping their fingers into their bowls.
I struggle to wrap my mind around this precious woman living in a hut with a mud floor. We found out that day that she was one of the cooks at the school and had helped make our food while we were there.  The food was beautifully and artfully prepared every day--almost too pretty to eat.  She is so talented.

The doctor straddles a bench to see patients.  My mom and I counted pills for him as he prescribed meds.
This sweet Mama had four beautiful kids.
The ever-present flies that come to feed on the empty bowls.
Each of the team was asked to say something to the crowd and I had asked the kids for a hug but they were all too shy.  However, as we were leaving the village, these little girls came running up and threw their arms around me.  wah!  So precious!
You may recognize the little girl in red.  She is "Princess" who lives most of the time at the school.
Slogging back through the mud to get to the van.

The next village was quite different.  It was near a river with far fewer trees.
The homes also seemed more make-shift.  We were told that this particular village was growing quickly as families were being displaced from the mountains (I believe due to the mudslides--but I'm not sure).
It was getting dark, so we weren't able to stay long.

The Chief and his wife.  The Chief is very concerned about the fast growth of the village because they need some type of bathroom facility (outhouses), and a good well.
We gave them rice and then passed out candy to the children.  I'm thinking maybe it would have been better to pass out fruit but we didn't think of that at the time.
This pic shows about half of the kids who came to see us.

I will tell you more about the significance of the school where we stayed in another post.  This post is already too long!


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Safely back in Manila

We are back in Manila (it's Sunday night for us).  I am really tired and cannot drum up enough energy to type a long post--so I apologize.

We were able to get to two villages at the base of the mountains.  I am still trying to comprehend what I saw there--and describe it adequately.  It will have to come later because I am still struggling with it.  Unbelievable poverty and living conditions.

Also, my camera completely died as we pulled up to the village.  :(  I am sooooo bummed about that.  One of the other team members took a lot of pictures so I am hopeful that tomorrow I can buy a card reader that accommodates her camera card and get her pictures so that I can show you the village children and their families.  Such BEAUTIFUL children--seriously. 

Grateful to have a roof over my head and a soft bed tonight--unlike my friends in those villages who will suffer the wrath of yet another typhoon tonight or tomorrow. 

I also cannot wait to show you pictures of the kids who live at the school where we stayed.  After seeing the villages where those children came from, we are soooooo happy for them to be able to attend that school.  It's their only way of getting out of the horrible poverty they were born into.  Such beautiful kids with incredible talent for singing and one extremely talented artist.

So if anyone has any connections or suggestions to help us help them make a CD of their beautiful singing, please let me know.  Also, the artist--we are brainstorming some ways to market his paintings (calendar, note cards, etc.).  Ideas anyone??  The school is trying to come up with the money to have a trade school on site to teach welding and sewing skills so their graduates can get jobs.  The kids are so talented and it would be nice to use their skills to help them fundraise for themselves.

Friday, October 11, 2013


We have been hit with a typhoon.  It started last night and has continued today.  It's currently pouring and extremely windy.

Our trip to the villages has been delayed and might possibly be cancelled.  There is only one village that we could walk to and we have been told that it's a possibility if it stops raining.

We have no power but there is a generator giving us limited power.  We are so thankful for that!  We know the villagers are hungry and we are still hoping we can get to them with rice.  We shall see...  Not sure if the medical clinic can happen but if not, we can leave the medicines here with the doctor.  They will all get used!

We have been told to pray that there are no mudslides, as there is a lot of mountain above us.  For now we are safe!

The typhoon reminds me of the hurricane we had in Boston two years ago.  Soooo....been there, done that!  At least the generator here keeps the bathroom working!

Good-bye's to New Friends

It seems like each time we do these women's retreats, we are all just getting to know each other and then we have to say good-bye.  It's better than never meeting, however!

This morning we asked the women to share with us about themselves and wow....  There were so many stories of heartbreak and then healing because of their relationship with Jesus Christ.  Some of them have been through so much.  Two of the ladies realized after spending time with the others that they didn't have the relationship with God that the rest of them did--and decided that they wanted to know Him by accepting Him!  So precious.

Last night the whole group had a nail painting party with the new nail polish they got.  So hilarious this morning as they showed us their pretty nails and new make-up.  I think we should have given it to them BEFORE their portraits! 

Before lunch some of the ladies wanted to get pictures taken with us.  It was so sweet.  One young girl came up to me and gave me a beautiful fan and told me that she wanted me to remember her by taking it home with me.  Wah!  They have so little--it's incredibly touching to have them give from their hearts.

After lunch, I gave the ladies their portraits.  I LOVE THIS!!!!!!  It's so FUN to see their reaction.  Some are giddy, laughing and self-conscious.  One cried.  (Hopefully because she was touched--not because she hated her portrait!)  It's so humbling to see the joy that one simple photo brings. 

As soon as I was done handing out the portraits, I went to find the school kids so we could get started on theirs.  I was pretty worried that we wouldn't be able to finish by the time the light faded but I had been praying that it would all work out.  I seriously think that God multiplies my time because what takes me 4 hours in the US, often takes me half that on mission trips.  It doesn't make sense....but I'm grateful!  We cranked through all the kids and teachers and then had time to do class pictures as well.  I didn't have time to get them printed but I put them on a flash drive and we will give it to them with money for printing.
A new friend...
One of the class pictures of the kids.
This class of girls just cracked me up when they all struck this pose!   I love their spunk!
This beautiful woman was our translator and is also a teacher at the school.
This girl's name was Karen so we decided we needed a picture together.

Tomorrow we are going to two villages where we will do medical clinics and pass out rice.  We leave bright and early and I can't wait to go!  This is where the mosquitoes will most likely be a problem (they have not been a problem at all so far).  We have DEET spray so I think we will be okay. 

It is pouring rain right now and sounds so cool on our metal roof.  Sounds like a typhoon, but I'm sure it isn't!