In Week 11 of term 2 (and during the first week of the school holidays) I spent time in the Philippines meeting with people who lived there, and organising the trip for our team who will be visiting this November and December. Spending two weeks in the Philippines gave me the opportunity to work in a number of different ministry areas. I spent my first week in Manila, helping in the Children’s home and tutoring some of the Journey for Hope people, helping them out with their Maths and, at times, English.
One particular boy, 18 year old Nano, only went up to Grade 5 with his schooling but is enrolled in an accelerated learning program for next year where he hopes to get his Year 12 certificate in one year. Tutoring him in Maths was so rewarding, he is a very intelligent young man, but hasn’t had the opportunity for an education like all of us. It was great to be considered a part of the Journey Family, to enjoy eating with them, trying Filipino food (sticky rice – seven varieties, a sour fruit called San Tol) and watching movies.
In the second week I went down to Tacloban with a group from Huntingdale Christian Church. This was a sobering and difficult experience. Tacloban was hit by the worlds’ largest typhoon on record eighteen months ago – Typhoon Yolanda (internationally called Typhoon Haiyan). Thousands of people were killed, buildings and homes were destroyed, and a number of cargo ships were washed ten metres onto shore. It was incredible to see the amazing rebuilding effort, but attending the sight of a mass grave where over 4,000 unidentified people were buried was soul destroying.
I spent 5 days in Tacloban, working with Kids International Ministries in their centre called “The Lighthouse”, where they go out and do feeding, have a basketball court for locals to play on, and even a small soccer pitch, where the Homeless World Cup team practice each night. They have a worship night, movie night, and run a type of Sunday School on Saturday afternoons as well as a ladies’ bible study. It was great to see another part of the Philippines and enjoy the slower pace in Tacloban.
Miss M Smoker