"Sorry, sir! Two of your kids will not be able to go to Philippines..."
Just before getting on the airplane in New York headed for a lay-over in Korea, we were told that two of our girls could not go, because their passports were valid less than 6 months and Philippines immigration would not let them in. “Get new passports, then they can go.” We flew on to Seoul, Korea and were able to deal with the passport issue there, while Jette and the other two flew on to our destination. After 30 hours, the passport issue was sorted and off we went to meet the others in Cebu, Philippines. We are glad the girls have passports from two countries, and that we had team members coming a day later, who could bring the other passports!
Philippines Culture and Statistics
Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands, with the population reaching 100 million at the beginning of 2014. We went to three islands, so I still have a long way to go to see them all.
Filipinos are exceptionally hospitable; they love to fellowship and love to cook for their guests. They love their roast pig: Whole pigs are roasted over an open fire and 6 hours later - it’s time to eat!
Filipinos are a gentle people and very servant-hearted, and also a very scattered people. You can find Filipinos all over the world working, looking for ways to send money back home. This also means that either a mom/dad, sometimes even both are away, at times for several years, leaving kids behind to be raised by others, making unstable families in desperate situations. One would ask if money is really worth it. My personal worldview and situation says no, but I must be careful not to judge.
On a sad note; it is said that Philippines is quickly becoming the second highest nation for human trafficking. One can buy slaves in secret markets for $200 - $500. Certificate of ownership is issued along with counterfeit passports etc. Legal or not, it is being done. Let us increase in prayer and intercession for this situation!
Philippines is known for mangoes, pineapples, coconuts, white sand beaches and seashells.
|Selling coconuts, "buko"|
The girls enjoyed their time so much, reminded them of home in Africa in so many ways. They continue to ask when we are going home. We took several trips out to the country side, enjoyed the white sand beaches but also the fresh green mountain sides, coconut water and lots of rice to keep us full. Of course we had to eat the local delicacy “balut” once again, a boiled fertilized duck egg. It is a mind thing really, but it does taste just like an ordinary egg; it is the little feathers and the beak that is harder to swallow…
|Performing the Judah Ben Hur Musical in a mall in Cebu city!|
|We were so excited to meet two Kenyan ladies after one|
of the shows, and be able to speak Swahili! They are in
Philippines studying to become nurses.
In short, we had 7 Judah Ben-Hur Musical performances throughout several islands; with wonderful prayer times following the shows. The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is powerfully portrayed and serves as a wonderful testimony to everyone watching it.
The practical aspect of the musical was a challenge in most venues due to small stages and various electrical problems.
One venue, a sports complex, had lost most of its roof during the typhoon. It rained during one of our shows there so that night ended with a new musical called ‘Dancing in the Rain’, in which everyone participated, great fun!
|Naomi had many fans...|
There were several trips to a local prison for ministry and our kids especially enjoyed the weekly trips into some of the slum areas for children’s programs. Also visiting homes of some desperate people. My “pen” can tell you the story but it is unable to give you the soul and heart of their reality. Losing their homes, and now even 3 months later basically living in grass huts and hoping they will soon be able to afford re-building their homes. But always welcoming us with a smile and offering us a bite to eat…
|Acacia loving on the kids in the slum areas|
The YWAM team headed back to Florida USA while I, Lyle, stayed on for an additional 2 weeks. I spent time with my mom who had brought a team from their church in Japan. We had a great time of ministry on the island of Bohol. Then my dad called and said “That’s not fair, come and see me in Japan, since you’re already in this part of the world.” So I flew to Japan for a few days and had a great time with my dad and in the church there. My parents have now been pastoring in Japan for 20 years. I have amazing parents, love you mom and dad… After almost 50 hours of sitting in planes and airports I too arrived back here in Florida. (On the parent note, Jette’s parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, Congratulations! We were sad that we weren't able to be in Denmark to celebrate with them.)
|On one of our last days there, our hosts took us Island Hopping|
and the snorkeling was amazing! Here's Mikaela showing a starfish
she picked up from the bottom (and later returned to the water).
These trips, though a bit costly, will benefit our girls the rest of their lives, and the few souls that we touch with the heart of God, bringing a smile to the Filipino people, often mixed with the tears of life, makes it worth every penny.
Thank you to everyone who stood with us in prayer and support for this outreach!
God bless you!!