So many things are going through my mind as I sit down to write this letter. It’s hard to believe the summer is over already and the kids are back at school. Jessie is a Senior and Darin is in 5th grade. Darin jumped right into football (since they had started while we were gone) and really enjoys it. He plays fullback, linebacker, and is now doing some punting. Brandon is attending Eastern Florida State College in Cocoa. Please pray that the Lord will give him specific direction. Also for Jessie as she decides what to do after high school.
We were truly blessed by being able to go to the Teen Missions base in Buena Vista, Philippines, outside of Butuan City. The staff and students continually sacrifice to keep the ministry going there. They went out of their way to make our stay good and safe. We were comfortable with beds and cold showers. It was in the 90s during the day so a cold shower was nice after a day in the hot sun. Our day began at 4:30 AM, since it was light soon after and it was cooler. Breakfast was at 7:30 AM, then we had devotions and back to work until lunch. The afternoon consisted of a few hours of work, as well as library reading and Bible Study. We were ready for bed by 8:30 PM, after evening devotions, which we sometimes shared with the staff and students.
Our first week we worked with Angels in the Streets ministry to street children and single parent families in Butuan City. We did numerous presentations and a feeding ministry for over 200 people who may only get one meal a day. We would take taxis (three-wheeled bikes with carts) into the barangay. Each barangay is like a village or district that has a central meeting area, which is usually a basketball court covered by a tin roof. It was quite a sight when we would arrive in 6-8 taxis with our puppet equipment on top! Basketball is very popular! We would do a presentation then mingle with the people after. The joy on the little children’s faces as the team spent some individual time with them was priceless! Some would play basketball and volleyball with the adults also. They would ask for the team’s autograph and loved getting pictures with them. We really enjoyed our time with Pastor Recto and his wife, Josefa. They really have a heart for the ministry as they were once living among the homeless. Josefa prepares meals (sometimes up to 800) to help support the ministry and we were able to be a part of that and enjoyed her cooking too!
The next few weeks were spent at the TMI base where we were able to rebuild the House of Prayer that was destroyed by Typhoon Pablo in December 2012. Over 200 people came for shelter at the base during the typhoon, which was a real ministry to the people who lost their homes, etc. The team laid block, built trusses, mixed cement, formed and poured stairs to the prayer building, and poured track for the TMI truck to be able to get up to the top of the property. The staff and students would help us in the afternoons. It is a beautiful location at the very top of the property and overlooks the rice fields, and villages below on all sides. The night before we left we were able to have our evening devotions with the staff and students up at the House of Prayer. When we would sing, it would carry a long ways which is exactly what we wanted it to do! We wanted to share the joyful sound with the people below and let them know that Jesus loves them.
One day we all went to the beach and enjoyed a meal of fish, pork, rice, noodles and cookies prepared by the staff. They requested us to make something for them also, so we came back to the base and had PB&Js and popcorn! They love peanut butter and jelly! Of course most of us had to try balut, a Philippine delicacy. You can look it up…I will not explain what it is! Our team banquet was also graciously prepared by Genelie and some students, which included roasting a pig on the spit. They are such giving people. We will miss them greatly.
Fernando and Genelie Tan are the coordinators at the base and they truly have a heart for the ministry. There are beautiful trees—bananas trees, 300 coconut trees, as well as numerous shade trees. They also have dozens of chickens, dogs, pigs, a rabbit, water buffalo, wild cat, a huge lizard (which escaped while we were there) and a monkey named Cocoy. Some of these animals they are able to use as income for the base and food for the students. They also use the property for church retreats. Please pray for the staff, Fernando, Genelie, Jonell and Violita who faithfully keep the ministry running there.
On the way back to Florida for Debrief, we were able to spend a few days in Hong Kong. We enjoyed traveling around the city, shopping at the market and eating at McDonalds! It was relaxing to stay in a hotel with cushy beds and hot showers! Anthony’s crohn’s acted up quite a bit but he is doing better now. Darin and I stayed pretty healthy over the summer and we are thankful for that.
To the 2013 Philippines team, we were blessed to be your leaders this summer! You are an awesome group of young people and we continue to pray for you. Remember to do your devotions and keep close to the Lord. We had a wonderful summer and miss you.
We had a few weeks off in September which was nice to be home and do some things around the house. We enjoyed having Anthony’s parents come for a week. We were able to get away as a family for a weekend in Tampa to relax and spend time together.
It was a blessing for me to be able to go back to the Philippines as that is where I spent my first summer with Teen Missions in 1980! I am truly humbled by all those who have encouraged and supported us since then. We are honored to represent you and the Lord through this ministry. We are looking forward to going to Canada and Pennsylvania for the Christmas holidays, Lord willing.
We appreciate prayers for Anthony as he will need to have shoulder surgery soon, and for the added expenses it involves.
Anthony, Shawna, Brandon, Jessie and Darin
The Myers Family
See more pictures on Teen Missions Facebook: facebook.com/teenmissions