The past few days have been very busy with ministry and other activities. Monday morning we went to City Hall for the weekly flag raising ceremony. They sing the national anthem, then have a time of prayer for the city and the workers. It was so encouraging to see the leaders pray for each other. The Mayor of Butuan City is a Christian and is in his second term. He has really helped to bring Christianity to the people here and get more Christian government workers. They welcomed the team also and thanked us for what we are doing with the street children. While we were waiting for the ceremony, we heard someone singing over the PA system. It was the Mayor singing Christian songs! Following the ceremony, we were invited up to the Mayor’s office to meet him and he personally thanked us for our ministry. His “right-hand man” is also a Christian and is the pastor of the church we shared at on Sunday. They asked Anthony (head leader) to pray over the Mayor and the city of Butuan. Then the lady who is in charge of tourism, asked to be prayed over also. We toured City Hall, then we went to the market for some souvenir shopping. One of the local business men loaned us a bus for the day! In the afternoon we went to one of the village boroughs and did a presentation for the parents and children. There were about 200 people there.Yesterday 7/16) we went to the Barangay District. It is always an adventure when we take the “taxis” (three-wheel bikes with carts) where ever we go. There are thousands of them in the city…and only one stop light in the middle of town! We hire six of the taxis to take the team and the EV equipment to where we are going. When we arrived at the Barangay District, we were greeted by hundreds of children and their parents, probably 300. We drove into the area where there is a community volleyball, basketball and meeting area. They sang some songs for us, then we did puppets, dramas and sang. At the end of each presentation we “mingle” and go into the crowd to meet the people. The Filipinos love to have their picture taken with Americans (and Canadians!).They just love to have some attention and someone to play with. After a few hours, we headed back to the home where we are staying and had a wonderful supper of BBQ chicken and pork kabobs. The pastor and his wife ate with us and LOVED the mashed potatoes. She said “I will make these for pastor!”The day ended with a traditional food of the Philippines–balout. It is a delicacy here. It is a boiled egg, where there is still a chicken in side. There are different stages of balout being 16 days and 21 days. We had the 16 day old balout.. Most of us tried it, but couldn’t believe we were eating it.Josh Coleman, who was born in the Philippines, ate three! The missionary kept saying, “You can’t come to the Philippines and not have balout!” Parents, ask for the pictures when they get home!
This is our last evening here and the missionaries have made a pork and rice meal for us to thank us. We are sad as we bring our ministry time with the street children to a close. We have done all we can to help these people who live in poverty and leave them with the Lord. As the team has shared, they have very little physically, but are so happy. It has shown all of us that things are not really important to make us happy. We will continue to pray for them as we move back to the TMI base and begin our work project.Josh Coleman: I am very grateful for this opportunity to serve the people of Butuan. I feel that God has some very big plans for the street children’s ministry and I pray that God blesses the pastor and his family who are running it. Personally, I feel that I have grown into a stronger witness for Christ while participating in presentations our team does for the children here. I am thankful for the example the street children set for us, for even though they have little, they still will Praise the Lord.Rachel Profio: The Philippines is a very beautiful place, not only the country but the people. The locals are very friendly and so happy. A few days ago the 2013 Philippines team fed and did our presentation to the street children and orphans. We played games, sang sons, and did puppet shows. Afterwards, we gave meals and drinks to the little ones. They were all very respectful and did not touch their food until everyone got their plate and after we prayed. They were all so happy and joyful. Not just for food, but also that we were that we were there ministering to them. I learned a lot from these groups of kids. Most of them do not have parents, much food, a place to sleep and many clothes to wear, yet they were still so grateful and happy. They truly had the joy of the Lord. How come we can’t be like that? We are so truly blessed with so much even just the little things like the love from our parents or shoes to protect our feet, and yet we often still are not completely satisfied and happy. From those children, I clearly see the that possessions are not what makes me happy. It s the Lord, His everlasting love and compassion. I don’t need money, movies, clothes or food to make me completely happy and fulfilled. No, I get my joy from the Lord!