March 29, 2013

March 23, 2013

Much has transpired in the last two weeks and it has been a joy to work with the team God organized this year.  We have spent the last three days in beautiful Boracay.  This was a time of rest and relaxation after a busy nine days.  Our day began at 3 am in order to arrive on time for our 6 am flight but it was delayed by forty five minutes.  After we landed in Boracay, we took a hour and a half bus ride, followed by a 20 minute boat ride to the island of Boracay.  Boracay is truly a paradise in the Philippines:  the long white sandy beaches, the warm turquoise water and the hot sunshine every day.  We took a boat around the island and on the east side the waters were quite choppy and one of our team members got a little sea sick.  At the north part of the island we moored onto a nice beach and went for a swim.  The boys enjoyed the waves that were coming ashore.  On our way back to our hotel we were able to see Manny Panquio’s summer house.  Unfortunately, he never waved us in for lunch!  We left Boracay on March 28th, and it was a long day of travel as our flight was again delayed.  Kevin Manalo picked us up from the airport and then his grandparents who took us to the Mall of Asia for a wonderful dinner and fellowship.  It was a great evening and our team was very grateful for Kevin and his cousin who drove us back to Angono!   

Each year, I wonder how things will come together:  the correspondence  of communicating between the leaders her in Rizal and with us in Vancouver; the logistics of being able to connect to wifi;   the challenge of raising enough funds to cover medication and feeding three hundred people; the importance of creating a strong spiritual unity among the team; the responsibility we have as leaders to pray that each and every one of us would be changed and that God would give us a bigger picture of how we can serve Him more effectively.   As I have reflected over these past weeks, I’m grateful to God for the opportunities He has given us to be His instruments in reaching out to others.

I also want to express grateful for my church and their commitment to sending people each year to L2G.  Through your support you have made this mission trip successful.  Thank you for loving people and doing your part in the great commission.  On behalf of the team - Salamat TICC!  I’m also aware that others have also contributed to our mission’s trip, I personally want to say thank you.  

Tomorrow we will be home and Matthias, Josh and Nick who were very popular here.   Everywhere they went people stared at them.  At first, I thought it was me!!  I don’t want to be negative but their feet will touch down in Canada and the popularity they have received in the Philippines won’t be the same in Canada.  It was an honour for to have had this chance to be involved in a mission’s trip with my sons.  It was a privilege. 

On behalf of the team I want to express our gratefulness.  Thanks for making this trip possible.

Pastor Garry

Medical Mission

Today is the reason why we came here in the Philippines. To begin with, we woke up at 7am and to prepare for our medical and dental mission. After 6:30am, there were 100 people lining up and waiting. By 9:30am the place was packed by people. The first thing I did was organizing medication and when the clinic opens up at 9 am I was assigned in the circumcision. This experience was very challenging but I did my best to hold their arms down and I did my best to talk to them because some kids were scared. We had three tables set up and each table had two kids to get circumcised. It was hot and tiring day but it was a real honor for me to be part of this team and I am very impressed with doctors and dentist. We are truly blessed to have medical and dental services in Canada. I will no longer take this services that we have in Canada for granted. Tomorrow, we are going to church and my dad is preaching and by 3pm we will be having a feeding program.

Josh Bruce

(P.S I miss my mom <3)

Visitation

Our main activity for this day was to hand out pamphlet promoting for medical clinic which took us 4 different areas in the Angono area. The place that we had visited was extreme poverty and its heart breaking to see people struggling. I had to go to the “C.R” also known as washroom but nothing was available and the locals directed me to the side of the building which I am grateful for. Pastor Garry took a picture of me but I don’t think he will post it. The reason we are here is to reach out people to provide the less fortunate with their basic medical check- up and dental service.  The last place that we had visited was heavily populated and it was kind of unnerving.  The last thing we did for this day was we went for an enjoyable boat ride on Laguna De Bay and we ate some pig intestines and chicken head and feet. And we once again ate our dinner which is roasted chicken from Baliwag store.  I am so  glad to be part of this group. WE ALL MISS YOU TICC CHURCH!!!

Love in Christ,

Lolo D.

Smokey Mountain etc.

Good morning world! It is 7:30 am as I write this blog. We had a long day yesterday, left at 9 am and got back to our hotel REALLY late, 11:45pm! Mind you, we have been sleeping consistently at no later than 9pm! Not sure if it’s because the sun goes down pretty early or if it’s because our jet lag still has effect on us.

So like I said early we started our day at 9am. We headed over to Manila to visit the area of Smokey Mountain, but on the way we made a quick stop in Bangkal to see Lolo Dan's family. Smokey Mountain is a huge landfill where many unfortunate people live in and around garbage. It was quite the experience to observe some of the poor conditions in which these people make their living. There was a long strip of developed road along the middle, more like a small highway with 2-way traffic and on either side were run down shanty houses ranging from 1 - 3 stories and several blocks deep. There was garbage literally everywhere, piles of garbage outside and inside of houses, even garbage on their roofs, which appeared to weigh down and cave in their roofs slightly. There were a lot of electrical lines running into huge tangles just hanging in very close proximity to their homes. Along the road, we saw a few kids taking baths on the street just outside of their house. They would have a small bucket filled with water (not sure where that water came from) and then using a smaller water scoop (named Tabo in Tagalog) they poured that water on their bodies. We then reached an area just down the road where we saw what seemed like a big hill covered in grass, but as we approached closer, it was actually a pile of garbage, layers upon layers of old garbage where grass has now grown over. We headed down to a bridge overpassing a river of dark brown water with garbage floating down stream.  On the edge of the river were children swimming, playing and having fun in the water! We called them over to us and showing off their skills, they jumped off the bridge into the water (don’t worry they survived!). Its just amazing to see how people living in these kinds of conditions manage to find contentment with what they have. A good reminder to us to count our blessings everyday!

After a mini tour of Smokey Mountain, we headed over to Makati to visit Matthias’ dad at the Fairmont, who is on business in the Philippines. We got the chance to have some merienda with him and after that headed to pool for some swimming.  For dinner at the hotel, we feasted on a huge spread of all sorts of food. The best part of the buffet was definitely the desert table!! Anything you could think of, it was there! I usually go all out with dessert, but I think I filled up way too much on the other food (I obviously wasn’t thinking!). You know that saying “our eyes are bigger than our stomachs”, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who committed gluttony last night!

Following dinner we headed to MOA. The boys brought some hockey gear and played on the ice. They did a few drills and all I can say was that there were a lot of open nets missed!  Fastest skaters, hands down were PG and Doug! There were some crazy fans present at the rink, not talking about Jun and Lolo D! They were actually highschool girls screaming for the boys, little did they know, they weren’t legit NHL players! The boys made the girls’ day and posed for pics with them. After all that commotion settled down, Jobelle and I hit the ice. I gotta say our shot accuracy was exceptional! We just need to work on the skating a little bit more. I took a tiny fall on the ice and now have a warrior scar on my knee (I suggest not wearing shorts on the ice unless you’re amazing skaters ;P)!

We then took a long journey home back to Angono, Rizal. Traffic here is crazy btw! We spent most of our time in a van sitting in traffic. Thank God for aircon and our good driver, who can dodge in and out of traffic!

Well I hope you enjoyed my rant!

God Bless,

LAARNI =)

 

 

School during spring break!

Just like a regular school day my dad woke us up at 5:50 am.  We had to be at school by 6:30 am!  We attended Pag-asa National High School and received a warm welcome by the students.  We felt like celebrities there, it was a real honor to be able to participate in their classroom. It was a large classroom and approximately 60 students including us. For lunch, we ate with the students a small burger and pop.  In the afternoon, we went to a cock fight and saw roosters battle out to the death. The place was loud, smoky and crowded. I couldn’t help notice my Dad, Tito Jun and Lolo Dan’s haircut, which only cost them a dollar. It was by far  the best haircut of my dad has had in years.

The motor transportation is probably of the best way to get around and we had a great driver named Dave. The streets were extremely very busy but somehow he finds a way to weave in and out of traffic. I am extremely thankful for Jobelle because she was the only one in our group who speaks Tagalog, I expected more from Laarni.  We’re having a great time and I am looking forward for the ice skating at Mall of Asia tomorrow night.

Josh Bruce

Graduation and Street Food

The team woke up this morning at around 7 and after a quick breakfast that consisted of the cereal brought from home we headed to the Angono National High school for the graduation ceremony. We attended this ceremony because gifts were being donated to a few of the graduates and also to support some of the church youth who were graduating. After this incredibly long event which seemed to include a thousand students we headed back to the resort.

When we returned we all just hanged out for a little while until PG called us all for a devotion time. He spoke to us on being slow to speak and quick to listen. This was something we all knew we needed to work on and one thing we would need to successfully connect with other people.

Around 5 pm we headed down to Laguna De Bay, and bought some Filipino BBQ food which consisted of Fish balls, Chicken heads, intestines and pork. Josh , Laarni and all par took in eating the chicken head for the first time. Matthias was a little to chicken to join us. Along the way home we picked up 3 chickens and some balot. Upon returning home we would devoured all 3 chickens and Josh Laarni and I would try the balot, which didn’t taste as bad as it looked. We didn’t use any utensils for dinner - the way the Lord intended to be. After eating most of the team headed for the WIFI area of the resort and will be going to bed shortly as we have an early rise tomorrow morning. The leaders are making us go to school tomorrow and it starts at 6 am!

Nick

Roosters and Games

We were rudely woken at 5:30am by the rooster once again. We consumed our breakfast at 7:00am and relaxed till 9:00am and then we headed to church.  After an excellent service we got to know some of the people. My Dad swung by for church and lunch which consisted of 5 chickens and some great tasting mangoes.  After lunch we tanned/burned (Josh rocked the pony tail).  All the youth jumped into a tricycle and headed back to the hotel – a little packed but quite a bit of fun.   We are now getting ready for the Angono youth group to join us for dinner, games and a swim.

Matthias Nickel

We spent the whole afternoon with the Angono youth. The first thing we did was getting to know each other’s name; we then played some games like: the boat is sinking and fruit basket. I was their translator from English-Tagalog and vice versa. After that, the youth went swimming and we had our snacks (spaghetti and tasty bread). The spaghetti was really delicious. I’ve got to know most of them; they are so nice and easy to get along with. We all became “close” friends in a short time. The first thing I have learned today is to have a good relationship towards other people.   It was really exhausting and hot but it was all worth it. It is a blessing to have this opportunity to get involved with the lives of the other people.

Jobelle Llavore =)

We've Arrived!

Hello church, family and friends!

We had an extended daylight savings by 8 hours!! Our flight from Vancouver to Seoul Korea was 11 hours followed by a 4 hour layover in Seoul. It was 11:30pm in Vancouver time, we then boarded Asiana Air and had a 4 hour flight to Manila, needless to say, we arrived in Manila very tired but thankful to have arrived here safely. Jobelle, Tito Jun and Lolo Dan were here to pick us up, grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed to our hotel where we had a debriefing and prayer time and crashed for a few short hours.

Up at 6:30am, thankful for the roosters who were used by God to awaken Nick, Josh and Matthias from a deep sleep. Had a wonderful breakfast, we ate 3 bags of pandesal, the boys consumed 2 bags to themselves, the Nutella is a big hit (thanks Lisa N.). We had our devotions this morning, then travelled to the market by tricycle to pick up some food. We came back to hotel from the market and proceeded to conquer three chickens. We then participated in a organized basketball tournament (Nick had height advantage). Tomorrow we will be attending church and will be participating in the youth program.  One of our team members will be sharing their testimony.  

Blessings,

Pastor Garry