Too much to express
Hello Journey Family!
There is so much that is going here in the Philippines, I need an entire day to post all of the videos, pictures, and the story behind them. But on mission time, a day is entirely too precious. Our internet access here is also hit-or-miss so right now I am not able to upload any videos.
Kelly has posted images and some of the story over on her blog:
So here is what has happened so far on our trip.
The medical mission was a great success. We saw between 200-300 patients. They were all extremely grateful as many of them have no access to any other healthcare. It was heartbreaking to see some of the problems they were struggling with that are so easy to correct in the U.S.
One older man was at the clinic because he was struggling with high blood pressure. With no access to medications he was experiencing massive headaches, dizziness, blurry vision, and chest pain. When he was examined his blood pressure was so high he could die of a stroke at any moment. Literally, at any moment. He was given medication to control his blood pressure but that is the extent of the services we could provide for him.
Our clinic was held in an outdoor basketball court that was built by another mission team. The clinic consisted of several areas of care. We had a medical team of 4-5 doctors who were seeing patients, a dental clinic where the only service provided was tooth extractions, hair cutting, vision screening, and a massage therapist. The massage therapist was a great treat for the people.
We were blessed to have it because it was covered and large enough to hold all of the people and the entire medical team. Everyone on our team was able to use their gifts and talents to help. God was really providing us with opportunities to reach the community.
Ryan G. was able to lift everyone’s mood by playing his guitar on a small stage with a portable sound system. Kelly was able to provide medications and counseling to all of the patients. She was the only registered pharmacist so her knowledge was extremely valuable. Tim was sharing the gospel and talking with the people while they waited to see the doctors. Celina was able to help with the vision screening, Xochy played with the children. She had coloring books and crayons for them to color with. Danny spoke with the pastors and the patients at the clinic. I was able to provide triage services by taking vitals and getting the patient histories. One of the primary languages here is English which made it significantly easier.
The medical mission trip lasted until about 2pm. After the medical mission we quickly ate lunch and then went to the 168 mall (the second Journey Church Manilla location.) The Journey Church Manilla worship team was practicing for Sunday and Ryan G. needed to practice with them. They were doing multiple sets of U.S. and Filipino worship songs. Their worship team is amazing. We are constantly amazed at how EVERYONE in the Philippines can sing. Not only sing, but sing incredibly well. They practiced for several hours and that lasted most of the evening. It was an amazing first day on the mission trip.
On Sunday, we went to the Journey Church Manilla main campus. It is located in another mall. The church consists of a single room for everything. There are no classroom or separate areas for children’s ministry. Everyone including the children sit in the main worship. When we arrived they had setup 500 chairs for the Sunday service. Those chairs quickly filled up and they had to setup an additional 250 chairs to accommodate the large crowd. The music and worship was amazing. Not only do they have the band and singers, but they also have multiple sets of teenage and college girls performing dance routines. The music was loud but the crowd was louder. Have I mentioned yet that everyone here can sing, and sing amazingly well?
The praise and worship lasted for about 2 1/2 hours and then Pastor Marlon introduced Pastor Danny to give the message. It was a great message of encouragement to the group as Sunday was their 4th anniversary.
After the service, everyone wanted to have their picture taken. We ate lunch and then we travelled to the 168 mall for a second service that afternoon. The worship team again was amazing and the crowd rocked the mall. The music and worship was so loud you could here it in the mall and in the food court below.
On Monday, we traveled back to the 168 mall for a church leadership training. Pastor Danny and myself spoke to the church leadership to help them in their ministries and encourage them to start small groups on their campuses. We then did a Q/A session with the pastors. The pastors had some good questions about ministry and some of the challenges that they face.
That afternoon, we traveled to the church office. We spend a lot of time traveling here in the Philippines. Even though we are only going a few miles, the traffic is incredible. It takes roughly 30 minutes to an hour to get across town. The church office is located in the World Trade Center in Manilla. The offices are donated to the church by the manager of the building who is a Christ follower. It is amazing to see God provide for the church here. The church ministers primarily to the poor. Many tithe but finances are extremely tight especially with the constant threat of being evicted from the primary mall location. The church does not have a long term lease on the building and may be evicted at any time. With a congregation of over 500 on a normal Sunday, it is hard to find a location that is capable of handling the crowd.
It is heartbreaking to see the challenges and struggles facing this city and country. The people here are extremely poor and have very little. It is humbling to see the joy and happiness they have in their poverty. We will post more on this later including pictures. It is hard to describe with words, you must see the pictures to fully grasp the level of poverty they are combating.
Please continue to pray for the people and the Journey Church network of churches here.