The CMF Headquarters where we have been staying since arriving 3 days ago is
a busy thoroughfare. Some faces have become familiar to us now, those who
are partaking in other short term missions, such as the Kiwi group which is
the first team from New Zealand ever to be involved with Bukang Liwayway!
Then there are always new people to greet, such as Helga from Germany, who
has been a missionary here since the 1980’s. She will come with us tomorrow
and be one of our interpreters in Trece Martires where we will start our
first clinical session. We also met Pastor Fred and his wife Mimi. Pastor
Fred is the Director of Bukang Liwayway and our first impression of him is
that he is so young and yet very capable, a man who clearly loves the Lord
and possesses a natural warm personality filled with passion for helping the
needy. He was also very grateful that we can partner with them for this
Our morning session was spent attending the OMF Orientation. Sally who works
for OMF as the coordinator provided us with an informative presentation to
serve as an introduction to the Filipino’s way of life and also about their
culture. A light hearted summary of their history is depicted in this
description: Philippines spent “300 years in the convent” ( the Spanish
conquest brought Catholicism into the country) and “50 years in Hollywood”
(American colonisation). Other cultural topics discussed included a brief
language lesson in Tagalog, popular Filipino dishes that we should
try….including balut, a Filipino delicacy sold as street food that is not
for the faint hearted ( boiled chicken embryos still inside the egg; bones,
feathers and all!) One bemused attendee queried, “why do people eat this?”
And the quick reply was, “because it is yummy!” We also learnt about body
language that is unique to the Filipino culture, such as raising one’s
eyebrows several times means ‘hello’, or pointing to something or someone by
using one’s lips! There are so many choices when it comes to public
transport….although none of them are efficient according to our standards
because the roads are just so congested. These include the tricycle which is
motorised, pedicab which is attached to a bicycle, the very popular jeepney
(perhaps where the saying ‘packed like sardines’ originated from…) and the
usual bus and taxi.
This was followed by a group prayer meeting, which started with some
singing, followed by a devotional led by Pastor Dan on Isaiah 46:1-9 who
talked about our one true and living God as opposed to the many false Gods
of the Babylonians and how privileged we are to be shown His grace and
mercy, and to be able to show God’s love to others in our different ways
through our individual gifts from God. Pastor Fred then involved us to
participate in one to one and small group sessions in a clockwork manner to
learn about each other’s backgrounds, our personal goals in life , to pray
for our personal needs, for our mission, our personal work and for our
countries. This certainly gave me a sense of how great our God is in working
in our lives with such a multitude of different issues and yet He answers
all our prayers!
After lunch, we attended the Bukang Liwayway Orientation which was given by
Mimi. She grew up in one of the slum areas called Welfareville, was
sponsored for her high school and University education. She gave us an
insight of the variety of work this mission group is involved with as they
seek to provide Christian ministry to six slum areas. This work includes
spiritual discipleship (in the form of men’s groups and house churches),
financial (livelihood and sponsorship), intellectual (seminars and
conferences for leadership training), social (camps, team building and small
groups in schools and colleges) and physical ( health assistance and medical
and dental mission).
In the early evening we attended the OMF prayer meeting. The New Zealand
team was put in charge of leading us in singing and our faithful team leader
Betty gave a short talk on the reasons why we are involved with this short
term mission: It is a privilege to be in partnership with fellow Filipino
Christians to serve our God, who oversees the global church. We have an
immediate bond with the members here as we try our best to pursue this
common purpose.Through this trip we will widen our own personal worldview
and develop a deeper understanding for mission by first hand experience. The
rest of the meeting was spent praying for each other in small groups.
We are now finishing off our final packing and we plan to leave for Trece
very early tomorrow morning as it will involve 2 vans to carry us and our
equipment on a 3 hour journey. We are so looking forward to our first
Thank God for – our safe travels so far.
– providing us with so much encouragement through the Christians we have met.
– for bringing our team of 7 together for the first time.
Please pray for – minimal delays in tomorrow’s road trip from unpredictable traffic.
– a smooth and efficient set up of medical and dental equipment, sterilisation table and pharmaceutical table.
– ideal weather for working on a basketball court.
– that the people treated there will see God’s love through us and that treatment provided will be beneficial.