I have left the blogging to Lance and Monika since as you have now heard our internet access is spotty. I am usually too tired to jump in.
For some reason I thought mission would be more physically demanding and I would lose weight but we seem to eat large meals and snacks between that are close in size to the meals. One day we had food on the table for breakfast as our appetizer and then cooked food came in addition as our real breakfast! I am better at pacing myself now. We are enjoying the fruit in the provinces and picking up things at the stands on the side of the road. There is always another local treat to have.
As Monika said, we have more been a presence than needed for doing things. Maybe it is an American attitude and it is very humbling. We pray that God will use our presence to encourage and inspire people to know the love of God- that people would come so far to extend care.
We have had many conversations about how people end up in squatters areas, what kinds of work they do, how much they can make, and what life is like.
Though unemployment is a challenge in the US, it will be hard for me to see it the same when people need 1 year of college to work as clerks at the mall and nurses have to volunteer and pay for their training before getting a job.
Last Sunday I was privileged to preach at Kamuning UMC in their English service, former church of Pastor Dave and many others. I am really humbled to hear how many UMC sponsor Mission pastors who start churches in poor areas. They sponsor a woman who has started and leads 2 churches in 5 years. We have a lot to learn about being in mission.
We have also been talking about what does ministry to the poor look like in the US? The economic differences feel wider here and more visible. We went to an SM mall (huge malls here and not the hugest of them all) and could not imagine the people from the slums being here. Things can cost closer to American prices.
It is nice being in the province with cleaner air and less traffic. Manila traffic was definitely making us crazy. Not just the wild driving (have not seen an accident yet though seems like they should be) but also the quantity of traffic (taking so long to get anywhere).
It has been hot and humid and cool to the locals. Feeling damp often. glad we came now and not when it is hot!
Monika mentioned our conversation with Pastor Paul about how important our presence is. We also see it as education about the Philippines and the poor so that we might advocate and support and extend the love of Jesus to them. We are surely making disciples and being made into disciples.
When talking about our presence, he reminded us that one young man came to a mission and said that he received a toy when he was a child. because of that care and experience of others, he became a doctor to care for people. Never know what God’s spirit will do. It sure is not us!
I think too of Jesus coming so far from heaven to be with us and the difference that his physical and spiritual presence makes to us. Humbled. Use us O Lord.