I want to tell you about the inspiration that my occasional trips to the Philippines brings me. The Philippine youth are full of smiles, hugs and photographs! My latest trip was only for 2 days, but because of complicated travel it took me a full week.
“Light” Graduation, Laoag City, Nueva Era Mountain
So last week I travelled to Laoag City to speak for the “Light” graduation. This is a branch of medical missionary training, to prepare the young people to work for God. I was a little confused about my complicated travel itinerary. I must stop over in Malaysia, change planes to Manila, and spend the night in Manila. Now Manila has 4 terminals, and the one you arrive in is usually not the one you need to fly out of, so I must spend the night in one terminal and get myself to another terminal the other side of that crowded city, early in the morning so I can catch that early flight to Laoag City, a small country town which is on the northern most tip of the Philippines. One redeeming feature is that most of the people in the Philippines can speak English! I heard it was cold there up north, but I did not take very warm clothes – I love to travel light! My trip back to Bangkok was even more complicated because I had to travel to another terminal at 2 o’clock in the morning and not sure of transportation!
I made it to Laoag City, and was met by Diomar Cruz, the Associate Director, and 2 others who work at “Light.” We boarded their jeepny and drove 2 hours through villages and gardens of corn and rice to a place in the mountains called Nueva Era Mountain. Finally our road became dirt and rock, then we walked the remainder short distance to a beautiful campus deep in nature, where I met the students and staff. I slept in a bamboo hut, (which I loved)!
The food was plant based and delicious.
The presentations seemed to change the future decisions of several of the students to be missionaries and give their all to God! I was thrilled! The classes that they have attended over the past 6 months had also changed their hearts and helped them gain victories in their lives!
I love to speak to the young people in the Philippines, they are enthusiastic, loving and teachable. Their motto: Steadfastly Testify. I loved that topic and fit my presentations around it.
Before my Sabbath presentation for the divine worship, Diomar Cruz presented me with a gift that brought sudden tears to my eyes as soon as I saw it. It showed me with Jesus and His arm was around me! Printed beside it was the poem sung by Darryl Sawyer: “I’m never alone,” and the verse in Matthew 28:20 “I am with thee alway, even unto the end of the world.” There was a personal note on the back – so precious! I will treasure it until Jesus comes and really puts His arm around me!
Saturday night they asked me if I would like to hike with them to the top of the mountain where they would sleep in hammocks and enjoy worship there in the morning. I would love to, so together after 8 p.m. we hiked for 45 mins in the dark to the top. It was very VERY windy up there, but I slept well. In the morning I had a lovely surprise! What a breathtaking view all the way around us! After worship there was singing, hugs and many pictures. Then we descended the mountain and prepared for departure.
I praise the Lord because compared to BYT it was not cold up there, and all my travels went so smoothly, I felt the presence the Lord beside me all the way leading me in a plain path. See Psalm 27:11
Once again the love and joy of the Philippine youth touched my heart. I was deeply blessed and refreshed to continue my work in BYT.