You've heard the phrase: "hit the ground running", right? Well, I am not sure where it came from and now that I am curious, I WILL google it, but it describes our trip thus far to a "T".
We arrived early Sunday am and Trent and Jon headed out to PARC to attend the am service. Ella and I elected to stay home and get some rest and try to prepare ourselves for the rest of the day. That night, was a Section 3 crusade at ACTS, so we were all ready to go for the service.
Monday, Trent and I attended the LDI Conference. LDI stands for Leadership Development International. For the next 3 days, we had leadership training along with the Filipino brethren at the Crown Plaza Hotel. We had such incredible teaching and encouragement from various speakers and I learned A LOT of new info and was inspired and encouraged. Truly, a great "jump start" to this trip!!
Thursday morning, I substituted for Ma'am Flowers class. I taught Christian Education. That afternoon, we had outreach for the upcoming crusade sponsored by Hope Center in Redding, CA and that was quite an interesting experience. We got separated from the group and weren't sure where to go. But never fear!! A student was on his motorcycle and found us and we eventually were reunited with the group and all gathered at an intersection in an outdoor market for a street service. There, the students took turns preaching and testifying. It's great practice, experience and exposure for them!
Friday, I subbed again for Sis Flowers and taught Bible Intro. What an experience!! Such a great group of first year students and I could FEEL God using me to talk into their lives and what an emotional feeling that is. I am very humbled. Friday evening was the first night of the crusade and Pastor Bo(bo) preached an awesome message about "Today is your day!" That night, 40 received the Holy Ghost and 17 were baptized! The Redding group was blown away at the response and vibrancy of worship and intensity in the altars. It is NOT for the faint of heart!!!
Saturday was a "rest day" and we spent the day taking the Redding group to various sites. We toured the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila Bay, the Embassy and Greenhills--a local shopping mall.
Sunday, we went to PARC with Lilly, while the rest of the Redding group preached out in Novaliches. That night, was crusade night again at ACTS and we had an incredible crowd turn out! They estimated 450+ persons in attendance! After Pastor Bo(bo) preached, over 100 received the Holy Ghost and 11 were baptized in Jesus name! During this crusade, Jon made a little friend who didn't speak any English, but he understood the language of "play". They hit it off great and Jon was his "kuya" (big brother) by the end of the night!
Monday, Pastor Bo(bo) preached chapel service and we took them back to Greenhills for more shopping, then ordered pizza from Shakey's for dinner that night.
Tuesday, was spent touring MANY different locations, including the Church of the Black Nazarene, Quiapo (Muslim souvenir shopping site), the Filipino UPCI Headquarters & church.
Wednesday, the group tried again to visit Greenhills but for some reason all the stores were closed down, so they had lunch at Bacolod Chicken (the group's favorite!!!) and then Sha & Annie escorted them to Divisoria for some MORE shopping. They barely made it back to the school by 6:30 pm for their trip to the airport, but as of this posting, they have all landed home safe and forever changed. Trent said that the kids cried and wanted to come back soon.
There is just something about this country that captures your heart and when you leave a little piece of you is left behind and a little piece of the Philippines fills that void.
Please forgive the length and detail of this blog post. I am not able to connect to the wireless except at the nearby mall and I am recording my thoughts in a journal so that I can share them with you all via blog.
I am super happy to be "home" here and I'm happy to have reconnected with my pinsans (cousins) and looking forward to the next several weeks. It appears I will be doing even more teaching in the school than I had originally thought, but I am excited about this and I'm using it as an opportunity to GROW!!! The entire school has been fighting some kind of little virus or bug, so please keep us and the students in prayer. We have had several who have been unable to attend class so far because of this and various other ailments. It hurts when "your kids" are sick. We are really enjoying our time with Ma'am and Sir Flowers, they are such sweet people and we are hoping to learn quite a lot from them in the next several weeks.
Thanks to you all for your prayer and support! We are very happy and thankful to be here!