Greetings from the Philippines! I have been here nearly 4 weeks already and so much has happened, but I’ll just catch you up on my final week in Perth first!
Our last topic was Holy Spirit week which was a really inspiring way to prepare for everything thats going to happen on outreach and created a real expectancy for God to move. It was a very full on week, involving lots of packing and also team meetings and trainings in preparation for outreach. We also had a commissioning night where people shared some testimonies from lecture phase and we were prayed for and sent off in our teams.
I also learnt a Hakka this week from one of the New Zealanders in my class. It was used as an act of spiritual warfare but it was super fun to learn especially with the scary faces! On our final morning we had a breakfast together as a class and shared some memories which was really nice. I did lunch dishes for the final time, what a shame.
On Saturday evening we drove to Perth airport and got a plane to Cebu, Philippines via Singapore. We arrived at the YWAM Cebu base the Sunday afternoon. The base and all the staff are so nice and the food was amazing! The base has lots of different connections and ministries within the local community that we were able to get involved with. They have connections with some islands neighbouring Cebu. We had the opportunity to join with the current YWAM Cebu DTS students on one of these islands for the night. Its a very small island, it only takes about 20 mins to walk the perimeter, and apparently we were the biggest group of foreigners ever to visit. As a small group of us walked around masses of children would follow us- it was a very surreal experience to be seen as such celebrities! It was also so heart-breaking to see how much the kids all wanted to look like us and they would always say how much they loved our skin and our hair, when they were so beautiful too! We did an open air presentation in the evening which was very highly attended and we had opportunities to share testimonies and lead people to give their lives to Jesus. Me and a partner also had lots of people come forward for prayer for healing too.
The base here is also involved in kids ministry in 10 different slum locations, so we went to one of these pretty much everyday. We played games, sang songs, performed skits and gave teachings. One week we did a week course DVBS- Daily Vacation Bible School in one slum area. The kids were so lovely and I helped with a group aged 10-12. I was able to do some teachings for them, and also help them to say a prayer to accept Jesus into their hearts. Its such a good opportunity to disciple these kids who have no other connections to church or the gospel but they are so open and eager to learn.
We also went and did prison ministry one morning. It was a little intimidating at first, but the people there were already Christian and were so responsive to our drama skit and messages which was really encouraging to see! We had the opportunity to pray for some of them afterwards.
Our stay also included lots of one-on-one evangelism, in the markets, beach front or going around door to door in slum areas. Everyone here is super friendly and eager to speak to us. The Philippines is a very catholic nation so most people have heard the gospel but a lot of them don’t have a personal relationship with God and don’t know how to. A lot of our evangelism has involved discipleship and handing out Christian bibles, in their language, to help people grow in their faith. On Good Friday we showed the Jesus Film for local people and invited them to know God on a deeper level.
We have been doing lots of fun things in our free time and have times together as a team to play games and catch up on how we are doing. We were invited to a wedding of two of the base staff which was super exciting. On an off-day we also visited the Kawasan falls which was a place that had some waterfalls which were great for swimming in and exploring. During our time staying at the base we got to know the staff so well and they really made us feel so at home. They cooked a ‘love feast’ for us before we left which was amazing and we have had many opportunities to try lots of filipino foods. My fave has been mango float which is like a trifle mango thing. We have also spent off-days in malls, enjoying free wifi, western food and trips to the cinema.
This week was also my birthday! It was a little disrupted due to it being a travelling day but everyone did a great job of making it feel special for me. We went out for dessert the evening before which was yummy. We are now in our second location in the Philippines, in Manila and we also went out for a birthday dinner as a team.
Ill send an update on Manila in a few weeks, but so far we are finding the city life very different to Cebu but I am sure we will get settled soon! If you could all continue to pray for good health for me and the rest of the team as we adjust to the new food and the new climates that would be great. I also have some plans shaping up for my next steps after DTS which I will try and update you on very soon, but prayer for that would still be appreciated. Sorry to keep you all waiting for this post, my time and internet connection is limited- I know you must have missed me lots:(
love, peace etc
hope you had a good Easter and had more chocolate than I did:(:(