Jason Carpenter lay wide awake on his sofa at midnight on May 12th even though he knew his 3:30 alarm was only a few hours away, and then off to the airport for a 24 hour trek to the Philippines. His mind was racing, reflecting on the past few years of his life’s journey.
His last trip to the Philippines was in 2009. He wasn’t married, he didn’t have a son, and he didn’t have the education and skills he does today.
When Jason touched down in Manila on the morning of May 14th, he arrived a different, more mature man than he did 4 years ago.
But Jason’s circumstances are not unlike the rest of G.O.D. Int’l development workers focused in the Southeast Asia region.
Over the past few years, in the midst of starting families, our development team has worked hard to ensure we are becoming competent to be an asset to those who are poor and marginalized in the Philippines.
Over the course of this summer and through November, we will have seven families working in Olongapo City, on the northern island of Luzon and in Cebu City, on the more southern island of Cebu.
The families have all found homes in close proximity together that will enable them to work together to accomplish both collective and individual goals. Families will meet together regularly for meals and times of prayer and discussion to ensure our objectives as a development team are being accomplished.
One of our primary collective goals for this summer and into the fall is to develop stronger relationships with Filipinos that we can work alongside in the coming years. This will be done through hosting frequent meals and Bible studies in the homes we will be staying in throughout our time there. It is our hope that by sharing meals and the Word with people we will strengthen existing relationships on the foundation of God’s word.
As a team we will also specifically be focusing on researching and understanding the issues associated with previously identified “communities of need” in both Olongapo and Cebu City. We will explore the mindsets of people living in slums, working in bars, dwelling in prisons, and staying in the mountains. It is our hope that such research will aid us in establishing effective programs for ministry in these areas in the future.
We have recognized that solidarity with those whom we are working is necessary to the transformation of the communities in which we work. The team will continue heavily investing in learning the national language, Tagalog, which will further contribute to our solidarity with the people, particularly those who have not learned English in the formal school system.
Team members have individual goals as well. Focuses range from sustainable building to midwifery to alternative education. Please check back with us regularly over the coming months for exciting stories of what’s taking place in the Philippines with our development team!