Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I have been in the Philippines for four weeks now and can't believe that the half of outreach is already here. God is continuing to do amazing things in and through our team and we are constantly finding ourselves gripped with His love for the people here.

We began our adventures on an island South of Manila, called Palawan. It's blue waters and vivid green landscape were quite a contrast to the business of the city we had just seen. We were able to work alongside the YWAM base in Puerto Princesa with some of the most amazing people I have had the opportunity to meet. They are truly living a life of complete dependence on God as their father, knowing His character enough to trust Him as their provider and protector. 
We were given the privilege of participating in their ministry that they do within the prison here. We stayed with a family for one night who actually lives on the compound itself, and were able to go into the different barracks and share encouraging words, testimonies, preachings, songs, and dramas with the inmates. The people there were filled with so much joy and held on with anticipation to every word we had to say. The Holy Spirit was so in these times, and it was just incredible to see the ways in which God is moving in a place where most people would struggle to find hope.
Half of our stay, on the island of Palawan, was spent in the tribes of Ransang. The simplicities of this place were filled with so much of our Creator's beauty. We slept on bamboo mats, ate fruits which we had never heard of before, bathed in a river near by, and lived a week of our lives as they live every day. We visited schools and families within the neighborhood, ran multiple church services and children's programs. A highlight for me was the 6 hour hike (3 hrs each way) we were able to do on one of our days in Ransang. We trekked through rice fields, rivers with waters waist deep, and a beautifully muddy jungle (considering it is the typhoon season here). We arrived at a bamboo hut where about 15 locals gathered to listen to us talk about the goodness of God and how much he loves them. There is nowhere else I would rather have been than right there, in that home, with those people, on this island.

We are currently back at the YWAM base in Manila participating in feeding programs and Bible studies within the trash dump community called 'Smokey Mountain.' The people that live in this community earn their living by scavenging through the garbage, searching for items that can be recycled to provide their family a small profit. Some of my best times have been when we've been able to interact with these people; they are so open to visit with us and open up about their lives.When you ask the Lord for His heart for people, be prepared because He will give it to you! And it will wreck you in the best way possible, causing you to do ministry out of a place of compassion and love rather than of duty or obligation.

I am so blessed to be able to be here in the Philippines! Many thanks to those of you who have been supporting my time here through finances and or prayer, I would not be able to do the works God has for me without you.

*More photos to come!