|The Team: Jeff, Randi, me, and Daniel on location for where our church will be serving for the next few years.|
|Right side is us before leaving for the Philippines, and Left side is us leaving the Philippines and headed home!|
|Our hotel in Manila|
|Eating at the Pancake House - pretty good breakfast!|
|This is a large "taxi". It can fit about 10 people. That's Joie on the bike behind us. This is how we got from the airport to the hotel.|
|Dottie's Place Hotel|
|Looking at a clinic and some bunk rooms on the Farm|
|Biosand Water Filters that need to be finished.|
|In front of the beautiful rice fields|
|climbing the tree to get us a fresh coconut|
|My first time to have coconut water|
|Enjoying fresh pineapple and coconuts|
|Everyone ordered chicken on a stick. It was good!|
|This is what we rode for 4 hours on.|
|This is how we rode on that bike for 4 hours. Yep.|
|Crossing a river on a bamboo raft.|
|A "road". However, this is actually a very good section of the road. A lot of the time part of the road was washed out or had huge ruts in it from motorcycles going through it when it was mud.|
|Our welcome group when we arrived in Bhen's village.|
|The homes may not be much in our opinion, but I love that they take pride in what they have by planting flowers and decorating!|
|Walking around with the kids. The Church building is behind us.|
|One of the classrooms in the village.|
|This is a view of the village from a large hill. In the very back is the school, the triangle shaped roof is the church, and you can see some of the houses.|
|A new building.|
|This is how they cut lumber in the Philippines. With a chainsaw.|
|We were welcomed by the military.|
|The stage in the church.|
|There were soooooo many people there wanting to hear us speak. This is about 1/3 of one of the sides of the church.|
|Jeff hanging a mosquito net above one of the twin beds|
|This is the area in the Philippines where our church will be serving. Who wouldn't want to live here!?|
|Explanation of what Bhen and his team want to do in the area.|
|Pastor Bhen and his team and our team|
|Blessed to have the opportunity to be here.|
|SR team with Pastor Bhen and his family. The sign we are doing is for "love God, love people"|
|Market we walked through.|
|We started getting lazy taking pictures, so this is the only picture to show you how nice this hotel was. They had cold Starbucks in the lobby.|
The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and walked down the street to catch a ferry out to Dinegat Island. The boat rode was about 4 hours and we got to see a lot of little villages along the way. We rode on top of the boat instead of inside where it was crowded, hot, and smelled like fumes.
We snacked on bread and fruits that Joie and Jeff picked up in the market before we left. Some of the water got a little rough so we ended up wet frequently.
|Daniel talking with a man in the street while waiting for our ferry - turns out he was a believer!|
|Our ride to the island.|
|Enjoying a Red Bull before we left!|
|Just riding a boat.|
|It's amazing what the waves do the rocks.|
|A town that we passed.|
|This is how we rode for 4 hours.|
|walking to the church to drop off our bags|
|The church and Pastor's home upstairs|
|All the kids listening to Daniel tell a story|
The next morning we woke, snacked a little and went to get a boat to take us to some of the smaller villages. We assumed it would be a big boat but it was very small and we all just barely for in it.
|Small boat. Very small boat.|
|Gorgeous blue water|
|Yummy! Crab! It was sooooo good!|
|Our "vacation" spot|
After lunch we took a boat ride to another area where the coral ref was better and it was so amazing! I've never swam at a reef and the water was just beautiful. We had lots of fun with an underwater camera. (Unfortunately no one has posted any of those pictures so I can't share any of them with you.) We walked back to the village where all the kids were waiting for us. It was too dark to play anymore and we were so tired from being in the sun all day. We wanted to just sleep but we had dinner being prepared. We scarfed down some dinner (we hardly ate anything) and went back downstairs to get ready for bed. All the kids were outside watching. Some church members had shown up. But we didn't care. We were drained from the sun and swimming and we just wanted to sleep. So we did. For a few hours at least. We woke up bright and early to catch the ferry back to the main island. We had to check the night before to make sure it had arrived. We were afraid for a while that we were going to be stuck on the island for another day. But the ferry was there. Still exhausted we took our packs down to the docks and sat on the boat for a long time waiting to leave.
|SR team and Pastor Arnel and his wife|
We got back to Surigoa and hired a van to take us back to Butuan City. That was a really long van ride too. We all passed out in the van.
|Ready to start the long trip home!|
Jeff, Randi, and I ate at an Italian restaurant while Daniel went to go see a movie. (Turns out he didn't get to see it and ended up walking around the mall for about an hour looking for us.) And then we headed back to the airport that evening to catch our plane for the long part of the trip back to the US.
And that is the story of our trip the Philippines.
This is something that I listened to while we were in the Philippines. It really hit home with why we were there and what God has called us to do.
Are we willing to be where Jesus is? Why would God reward our obedience with suffering and not prosperity? It's biblical.
Jesus wasn't clean or comfortable. He wasn't up scale. He calls us to go, not stay. He does not promise wealth or prosperity or health. If we follow Jesus, he went to the dirty, despised placed, he lied those who were unloveable, touched those who were untouchable and he paid for it. He was persecuted - threatened, mocked, beaten, and crucified.
So do we really want to be where Jesus is?
We won't get thanks, we may not be able to protect our family, it will be dirty, may be hostile. This is a struggle for most Christians.
When Jesus called us to himself he did not call us to prosperity but to suffering. Deny yourself. Take up your cross. Follow me. Christ is all we need. That needs to be our focus.
Suffering isn't just a consequence of obedience. It is a strategy of mission. If we are to show Christ to the world then we have to show the true Christ of scripture.
Mission without suffering is Christianity without a cross.
- summarized parts from David Platt's sermon "Out of the Camp". Go listen to it.