Mabuhay! The Philippines Summer Interns from Students Living a Mission have arrived in Palo, Leyte! Each intern endured the long flights to the islands with great anticipation. Through prayer and bible study, the team leadership has been preparing the interns to enter the third world. The students and ministry partners we already have on the ground, welcomed the interns with traditional filipino snacks, Nescafe coffee (a Filipino favorite!), and a handmade banner. The evening ended in a delicious meal of pork adobo shared around a large table where each member of the team partook in eating tasty pork adobo, pancit, and rice.
After settling in, the team walked through the neighborhood that our community center, Tahanan, is located in to make observations of the standing destruction that still plagues so many Filipinos post-typhoon Haiyan. The poverty that once existed has only become worse as the islanders have tried desperately to rebuild their homes, their lives, and their communities while simultaneously grieving the loss of lives, property, and hope. The interns and immersion team are first being exposed to what daily life is like for Filipinos, experiencing what they do in local travel, weather and food. In addition, during these first few days, they are being exposed to the drastic dichotomy between the rich and the poor, as Catholic cathedrals tower over shacks that house the poor.
I have hopes for this team of 6 that God would keep their hearts soft as he shows them a people in need of his kingdom to come to earth in a very real way. They will visit dumpsites, volunteer in an elementary school, and tour local hospitals and clinics. They will visit those who are in prison, boys and girls in homes of refuge, and they will worship with youth groups in local churches. They’ve come prepared with open hearts, dances to perform, educational programs to conduct for children, and health seminars to share.
After just a few short days in country, the team has already seen and felt so much. It is only with the Lord that they will be able to continue opening up their hearts, loving those around them, and ministering to “the least of these”. Pray for their strength of mind, humble hearts, and strength to do the Lord’s will in their lives. We’re expecting a great trip!