I hope Anne or Monika don’t edit my post!My random thoughts as to date:
* Traffic lanes and signals are mere suggestions. It took an hour to go ten miles. Spent an hour driving to and from the Bishop’s office and only spent 20 minutes talking to him. Driving anywhere around the Manila area is awful.
*You have to go with the flow over here. Ordering pharmaceutical supplies, shopping for sardines and noodles took forever. They checked our order three times when we were buying food supplies. With traffic and just the buying protocols, things more very slowly. . .
* Our first mission day was Friday in Tatalon. This was a very tiring day but an opportunity to touch many lives. Church that we were partnering with was kind of new to this. Didn’t have enough doctors or dentists. Doctors left a noon, which left a number of folks frustrated because they were waiting in line. Plus, the place (a basetball gym) was like a sauna. No air movement. But creative thinking allowed us to make sure that they left with with generous food gifts. The one dentist is a saint. He worked late into the afternoon nonstop. He donated all supplies including anesthetics.
* Local volunteers gave us a tour of the local area. At one point, we took a turn into a very narrow alleyway. Maybe two and ahalf people could walk shold to shoulder. Along both sides of the alleyway were places were people lived, dark holes. It was wet, dark. We were stunned at what we saw. . . Definitely, the services that we provide make a serious impression with the lives of people.
* Church we’re partnering with has been doing outreach in this area and has members from the area attending their church, but they plan to do a church plant within the year in the neighborhood. The medical mission will go far in helping establish their presence in the community!
* Today, SAturday, the mission was in kaunlaran. The event took place in the church area. Very well organized. The medical mission has been going on for several years and the impact of the work along with the education scholarships is very noticiable. They have created 9 cell groups for a total of 200 people around the area for Bible studies. Only 50 are regular church members. Others have been influenced by the medical mission or the scholars program. God is at work in this area. Many of the scholar recipents are leaders in the church. Parents of scholars and relatives are active in the cell grops and the church. The church is truly being the hands and feet of God.
* Heard one give testimony at the Friday revival meeting of leaving the life of child prostitution. Talked to a woman who had taken in one of the scholars who had been an orphan. The mother and grandmother could not support him. He is graduating from high school and wants to be a pastor. The church family that took him in has adopted him. Lots of amazing stories from the work being done here.
* Locals gave us a tour of the community. Alley ways weren’t as narrow, but the homes were packed with people. They are dark and cramped. One place had four families crammed. People took showeres in the alley way, washed their clothes. Life was thriving in the alley ways. We visted the very small homes of several church members. Some of them hosted cell groups. Amazing what is being done with people who have so little. The area seems to be aware that the Methodist Church is at work in the area. God is truly at work.
* Always shocked when winding through the alley ways we’d find a small opening with a basketball area. Saw a bunch of kids playing barefoot on asphalt. Unbelievable. . . (i could’ve taken that particular group).
* Nina, don’t worry about your daughter. Anne and I are carefully watching over her. Pastor Paul and the DS seem to be dead set on finding her an eligible man. They always delight in introducing her as the single Monika Bautista. The Bishop even commented that they should be sure that these men are really single. . . We’re visiting the semminary on Monday and Pastor Paul and the DS have high expectations of finding some possibilities. They have high standards. Summa cum laude minimum! We’re all looking out for the best interest of your daughter. 🙂
God is Good, All the Time!