I am the Way, the Truth and the Life - Jesus
The SPY Mission Trip 2017 will leave New Zealand in July 2017, you can remember details from the 2015 team here below.
The team split into two groups today. One group went with pastor ric to help with a gospel seminar within the local community here in tondo. neil and Andrew s shared testimonies along with a drama and some prayer time. the team also visited some people in the permanent accommodation around smoky mountain. this is one of the most impoverished places in the philippines.
The other part of the team ran a medical mission with another group ministering to the people in tondo. kids we encounter on the medical mission have some pretty disturbing skin conditions like scabies. I have grown to hate this condition and the horrific impact is has on children. At the same time i am full of admiration for the team members like aleisha tiffany and louis who have provided compassionate care for their wounds.
The tough treatments and circumstances of the people we encounter have unsettled a number of our team.
We have been gone now for nearly 2 weeks and our emotional strength is diminishing. Being able to cope with the circumstances and illnesses we see is getting harder.
Also some of the team are struggling with a bit of a tummy upset.
Please pray for the kids to be able to process the conditions here amongst the people we meet and for the health of the team.
Thank you for your much appreciated ongoing support.
Today the team travelled up to manila via ferry and bus. the travel was a very smooth considering some of the conditions manila has to offer. a couple of the team members who aren't feeling very well put on a brave face to complete a long days travel.
Most of the team visited the mall of asia for some shopping .
We briefly stopped at rizal park on our way to our new accommodation at balut base in tondo manila.
Please pray for the health of the team and for good rest trip.
This morning the team ran the service at the mercy link base. we sang a couple of songs including hosanna which the locals knew and participated in heartily.
Frances and Nathanael shared their testimonies during a congregational time of thanksgiving. the drama team also performed their sculpture mime which was received very well. cathy and some of the team also lead the kids through a sunday school program.
We have very much enjoyed our time here at the mercy link base and it was a touch said to farewell some of the locals. the team is currently packing and cleaning in preparation for our return to manila tomorrow.
Please pray for a safe and easy ferry crossing and travel by bus.
Today the whole team traveled into the mountains to run a medical clinic and feeding program for a mangyan village.
Unfortunately Cathy could not join us as she wasn't feeling very well. it was sad that she could not make it to give out the clothes she had worked so hard to get together.
We traveled about an hour by jeepney. we arrived in the village which is home to about 150 families. they welcomed us warmly and greeted us with a song formed by some of the children. we presented a drama and shared a short gospel message before setting up a medical clinic, face painting and balloon animal area, food giveaway area and clothing distribution.
It was a remarkable opportunity for the team to see so much of the fundraising effort and preparation put to use all at 1 time. Many of the kids had significant encounters and beautiful stories to tell and share after we returned home. There are too many stories to share here, so a couple will have to suffice.
A small girl noticed Danny had muddy feet and promptly washed them for her. We saw many sick children the first of whom was so severely malnourished that she needed immediate hospital care. We were privileged enough to be able to contribute to her welfare. another small child needed treatment and the team were surprised to discover the he was nearly 6 years old though he looked closer to 3.
It is both remarkably encouraging to be part of such a significant ministry that is a clear answer to prayer and at the same time see such desperate need among people who have so little.
Please pray for the team as they process what they have seen and felt.
Today the team got to spend the day relaxing. The break was very welcome considering the physical emotional and spiritual effort we have all put in recently.
We jumped on tricycles and visited a market in calapan city.
From there we went to robinsons mall and had lunch at a local restaurant. we have shopped a little swum a little and enjoyed a quiet day together.
This evening the leaders were invited to have dinner was rupert and Angel the directors of mercy link.
The team was catered for back at the base and were happy for us to be away for a couple of hours. the leaders had a lovely time out and enjoyed the company of two inspirational people. When we returned the team had assembled gift packs of appreciation and generosity. they featured rocks painted in our likeness poems and a comical depiction of the leadership team on a whiteboard.
The day off has invigorated us 4 the rest of our trip and work ahead.
Please pray for our medical mission tomorrow and the ministry of the workers here at mercy link.
this morning the team split in two once more. 1 half went to the Ruel foundation and cared for the babies and toddlers and monash kids.
The other half went with Danny to help with the construction of the new dormitories at his ministry base.
They lugged bricks and gravel and dug a large hole.
the afternoon saw the team split into 3. one group went to the local hospital where the other half of the team visited yesterday. we went from room to room on the wards and prayed for the patients. An emotional and difficult ministry time and the kids rose to the occasion superbly.
Another group went with Danny to run a bible study with his ministry. it is very encouraging to see the growth in this place.
The final group ran a woman's study at the mercy link base. From all accounts there was much fun and laughter amidst discussion of Jesus and the things of the christian faith.
Please pray for the kids who are coming to terms with some of the difficult things we see and do.
The team once again split into two, half the group visited Ruel
They were involved with caring for babies and landscaping duties
The hot sun makes it very difficult and tiresome
Some of the children at the home are very easy to love
One boy has both legs in cast and pulls himself around by his arms
He is happiest when held up to look out the windows
Another boy in the malnourished centre has had a very hard life
He was kept in a cage with his sister for the first four years of his life. He also has autism but is the happiest boy and a bit of a rascal.
The other half of the team renee mini-medical machine with the leaders at mercy link. we visited the tribal people in the philippines cold mannion. The team was very busy doing triage, face painting, pharmacy and wound care in support of Todd and mercylink staff. the team were excellent in their care for the people. one little boy had a bad case of conjunctivitis. his eyes needed to be wiped clean of pus before being treated. Aleisha did this well with patience and compassion.
in the afternoon some kids visited and prayed for people at a local hospital. This is well out of comfort zones and the kids encountered some tough stories. others ran a children's program at the mercy link base.
Games were played stories were told songs were sung and much laughter was had.
Some of the team are still feeling a bit ill. it is hard to exclude yourself from our program when you're feeling unwell. please continue praying for the health of the team and that some of the rain might ease.
Thanks for all the support.
We left KIM this morning in the rain. It was a good stay and good memories too. We have spent many hours in buses and on the ferry worming our way down to Mindoro and Calapan city. The team has already noticed a difference in the surrounds and feel of the place. The scenic views and more relaxed energy in Calapan are a far cry from the grey hustle and bustle of Manila. We have settled into our accommodation and have been made to feel very welcome by Rupert and Angel. Our schedule for the week is full and the team is excited about the opportunities ahead. Please pray thanks for safe travel and for good rest.
This morning the team attended the church service at the Jesus Christ Church in the Valley, which happens to be right next door. The church is full of local kids and whoever is around the KIM base at the time. The 3 piece band rocked it.
At the first service Holly and Andrew D shared testimonies with the congregation which were very well received and stirred the people, including the team. The dancers - Dani, Niemke, Sasha and Laura - then performed the piece they had spent so much time preparing. At the end Dani shared her thoughts on dance as a language to God in excellent fashion. This too was very much appreciated by all present.
We stayed for the start of the 2nd Service which is in the national Tagalog [or Taglish] language. Nathanael and Sarah shared their testimonies at this Service and did a superb job. It is not easy to stand in front of a room full of new faces and share such a personal story. The drama team then shared one of their mimes which had all the congregation riveted. I heard people whispering as they began to understand the scene that was being played out. Once again the team has performed with excellence.
After the local Service we bused closer into the heart of Metro Manila to attend a CCF service. This church is remarkably different. A 7-storey building with polished floors and a staff of greeters and helpers the size of most NZ congregations. There was a 6 person music team accompanied by around 20 onstage singers; lights, smoke, the works! The building seats well over 5,000 people [some estimates run closer to 9,000] and we were up on the top balcony. The Services were quite different in that the CCF service was slick and precise where JCCV was more casual and easy. CCF has technology everywhere, including six 5-6m wide TV screens.
There were confusing points that many of the kids recognised between the two Services.
"How can they rationalise a multi-million dollar building when out the window you can observe immense poverty?" is the general gist of the confusion. The CCF does run a community education program that aims to bring families out of poverty and currently is helping over 800 kids. It's a tough dynamic to manage that is going to remain in the kids minds after they come home.
We finished our outing with a trip to 'Megamall'. A spralling multi-storied shopping experience where many of the kids had their first taste of genuine Filipino food. Many of them returned with bargains from the supermarket [don't count on them having any of that to share when they get home].
We are packing up now in preparation for our journey south to Calapan. There was rumour of bad weather that may have delayed our travel but that seems to have disappeared.
Please pray for uneventful travel and good rest.
The whole team ran a medical clinic for the local [Cuatro] community this morning. Functioning largely as support for Todd we face painted, triaged, prayed, dressed and played with locals as they came to get care. We saw around 30+ men, women and children in pretty stifling heat. The kids did a superb and professional job at all points.
They are getting to know some of the locals and sharing in their stories. These were shared in our team meeting tonight and there was much laughter and shared joy. We also see the less happy side of orphange life in the story that Tiffany shared of a group of kids who were asking for high fives. When she came to a wee kid to offer a high five he flinched and backed off. Happily he returned later for the high five.
This afternoon Grace, Sasha and Nathanael had a session with the wee ones in the Nursery at the kids home where we again ran devotionals tonight. The kids who live there are friendly and always asking if we are coming to sing tonight. It will be hard to leave them all on Monday. Grace, Andrew D and Frances made a script for the devotional and had some help with acting it out. The team also led the singing and prayer with the kids without any input from leaders. The team are rising well to the occasion!
Please pray for the growing community our team is enjoying and good health.
Today some of the team got to help with lessons at local schools. They were singing english songs to teach language and generally helping at class time. The kids are adorable but there is a strict no hugging or picking up policy as the kids are at risk of being taken by kidnappers/traffickers and any physical contact of that kind is taught to the kids as risky. One of the more sobering realities of life here. All of the team who helped at the school were buzzing when they came back.
Other members got to attend another feeding program where Aleisha and Cate [the rev one] taught some hand clappy type games and Nathanael got sweaty playing with kids.
Some of the feeding program kids got to go to a local bible study and when we were welcomed into a home and gathered with around 20 or so mums and kids they asked us if we could share testimony. Bravely Danielle and Andrew S spoke and did an exceptional job.
In the afternoon we helped with another feeding program and mixed in with some local kids playing sport and face painting at their after school program. This was very sweaty. The kids are basketball mad and the boys against girls game was a surprise win for the girls.
We finished our day running devotions at the kids home again. The singing is boisterous! Cate [the not officially rev one] wrote and read a rendition of the Lost Sheep parable that had a 'we're going on a bear hunt' flavour.
Please pray for team health and that the kids can adapt to programming that is different than expected.
Day #2 done and dusted.
Everyone pretty much in bed by 9pm. We had a tour of the ministry that KIM does in the Cuatro area and were impressed by the significant impact made by people who love like Jesus does. The facility here has an amazing pool which the group made use of today. It even has a water slide.
After the mornings tour we divided into 2 groups, with one going to a feeding program in the local community where they were thoroughly engaged with enthusiastic kids. The rest of us played some basketball with local kids and set up a devotion for around 20+ residents of the kids home run by KIM. They sang heartily for us and we taught them a song after which Andrew D read an interactive story Cathy had written. The kids here love to hold hands and be around the team.
The team is a little weary from travel and heat but are doing really well. Please pray for good sleeps and quiet dogs, remembering to drink a lot of water and peace for the kids.
Hello one and all.
We have arrived safely at KIM in Manila after over 24 hours of travelling. There are many tired faces now. The drive and flight all went swimmingly.Thanks to Dave, Penny and Glen! The kids are excited and looking forward to getting stuck in tomorrow.
Some initial first impressions:
- The humidity. Hard to express in language, much easier to appreciate in reality.
- The peculiar scent of Asia. The freshness was noted as absent.
- "Interesting" the kids had 1.5-2 hours of driving through Manila to get to our base and observe the city.
Prayer for good sleep and rapid adjustment to heat and time difference would be good.
Cate's first text. I got this at 1.30am Thursday morning. “Hi, we have arrived in Manila. Still on our way to KIM through the crazy traffic! The team has been excellent! Cate.”