Archive for the ‘OBI Philippines’ Category

Mahalo from OBI in Hawaii

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Aloha from Hawaii!

We had a wonderful day here on the island of Oahu with the members of Grace Fellowship.  This morning we were treated to two different options: shopping and sightseeing or surf lessons with the church’s local surf champ.  The group that chose to sight-see went up the North Shore stopping at different beaches. One beach called the Seven Mile Miracle, which was summed up in this way, “if surfers were Muslims, this would be their Mecca,” as stated by Jeremiah Higa. They also made stops at Ted’s Bakery and Matsumoto Shave Ice, trying famous local eateries.

The second group had the chance to attempt surfing.  Jacob, the worship leader at the church and Keith an assistant to the pastor, and also surfers, gave us personal lessons. It was a blast and much harder than we thought!  Joel was a natural and got up on the board for the first time and rode a wave all the way to the shore.  The rest of us were not at skilled at first but eventually most of us made it up, if only for a few seconds.

After lunch we headed over to the church where we again broke into two different groups. One group headed into the community where they had the opportunity to pray for families in the neighborhoods.  After praying, they left cards in their doors saying that that their household was prayed for.  Andrew and Spencer were able to stop and pray for a man named Larry, who was a Christian and needed some encouragement.  Luke and Christina were also able to meet someone who actually wanted to pray for them!

The rest of the group joined forces with some church members and packed up ham and cheese sandwiches and drinks and headed out Nanakuli where several homeless individuals and families live.  A few students were able to talk with some people who informed them that Hawaii’s governor is making them evacuate their beach by June 19th.  They were scared and unsure of where they were going to go or do.   The church members from the youth and college group had recently been building relationships with the people along this strip. So everyone person wanted to do nothing less than pour out their heart. Almost every person we talked to began to cry, but it was nice to be able to just talk with them and encourage them through prayer.

We ended the day with an amazing luau with some church members at Jon and Kalei Hiromura’s house.  We were greeted with leis made of shells and beautiful decorations of pineapple and freshly cut flowers.  The team was able to sample quite a collection of local Hawaiian cuisine while interacting with church members.  The final treat of the evening was a hula dance to live music.  Even though we are so tired and jet-lagged, we feel very blessed and encouraged by the people here.  Please pray for travel mercies tomorrow as we complete our final leg of our journey and head back to LA and our respective hometowns.

Seeing as this may be our final blog, we just want to say thank you to all of you who faithfully followed our journey and covered us with your prayers. We could certainly feel them as we have seen God’s hand at work over and over again.  If you have been touched in anyway by our experiences, our prayer is that you would get involved with the opportunities in the Philippines (either in Boracay or in Manila), by supporting the ministries there with your continued prayers or gifts, or possibly even going yourself to serve. The needs are great and the people so receptive to the good news about Jesus. May God bless you all. Mahalo!

Dave and Carly for OBI Philippines

Tuesday, July 6th – OBI in Hawaii

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

And Tuesday continues…

The second of our two Tuesdays led us to Hawaii and to the gracious church family of Grace Fellowship Church here on Oahu.

Tuesday, July 6th (Hawaii Version)

Sometime in the middle of the night/morning we crossed over the International date line.

11:00am – I personally woke up after a cold and restless, but lengthy sleep on the plane. Everyone slept some, some slept most of the trip.

12:53pm – Our plane touched down in Hawaii and thus began the adventure of reentering the U.S.A. via customs and immigration. Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for a better experience on this end of things, we walked through each step seamlessly. Even a few of the students expressed that this was so easy and was nothing to be afraid of, some were nervous of the process, but it was painless.

1:32pm – We just got all our luggage and proceeded to the curb to be picked up by Pastor Ted Kirnbauer and his fleet of vans (3 to be exact)

1:45pm – Pastor Ted, Keith and Jeremiah arrived to pick us up and take us to our homes for the next 2 nights. Jeremiah, the youth director at the church has been a good friend of mine and has had much experience in the Philippines. He was on my OB team in 2002 and then went on OBI in 2003 to the Philippines. He then went back to live for a year and serve with some of the Filipino friends we made in Manila. It was fun to catch up and share common stories about friends we both have.

2:15pm – We went to Costco for a cheap and light lunch ($40 for 20 people…not bad at all, and excellent pizza and hot dogs)

3:00pm – We next went to unload luggage and meet our hosts. Jacob and Briana opened their home to the boys and the Kirnbauer’s welcomed the girls.

4:30pm – We arrived at the beach house of a family in the church and had 90 mins to begin making new friends, play in the North Shore water until dinner at 6pm. While there we were delighted (at least I was) to discover large sea turtles just swimming around and bobbing their heads up for air occasionally. Most of the students tried the water and wimped out because it was too cold (comparatively speaking since the last water we were in was at Boracay and it was like bath water). Down the beach about 100 yards was a large sea turtle just hanging out on the beach and appearing to be asleep.

4:35pm – Jeremiah loaded up 6 LOST fans and Spencer (who got a very fast overview of the show on the way) and went to see the “Others”/Dharma Village and the beach where the plane wreckage scene from LOST was filmed. It was quite exciting…though Caleb was probably the most excited of us all.

6:30pm – An amazing dinner was served and we got to fellowship and share stories about our time in the Philippines. This was especially meaningful because the church is sending a team of students to PI on Saturday to serve for 19 days! We’re so excited for how God will use them, stretch them and break their hearts for lost people. They’ll be staying at the Marikina GBC with Pastor Franco where we were just this past Sunday and they have the opportunity to meet and interact with the other pastors we’ve grown to love and pray for.

8:00pm – We celebrated Christina’s birthday (which was yesterday, sort of, on Monday) thanks to her grandmother tipping off the pastor and providing for a gift. Ironically today was actually Pastor Ted’s birthday and we celebrated his birth as well.

9:15pm – after more time of talking and playing ultimate Frisbee on the beach we departed for our “homes” and settled in for the night.

2:38am (Weds) – As I type this some of the guys downstairs are still awake. Their bodies think it’s 8:38pm on Wednesday.

This concludes the report about the longest day ever. Thanks, as always, for your continued prayers. Please be praying as we head out into some neighborhoods to pray for people and their homes and leave a note of encouragement. Also, we’ll be taking meals to some homeless folks here in Hawaii, be praying for boldness and opportunities to share about Jesus.

Dave for OBI Philippines

Tuesday, July 6th – OBI in Manila

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Today was literally the longest day of our lives.

We experienced Tuesday, July 6th twice, but fortunately we left no regrets the first time around and had nothing that we wanted to redo. We simply added on to the first Tuesday and made it even better with a second Tuesday. Thankfully we are not the crime committing type because we could have had one excellent alibi for where we were on Tuesday, July 6th. Think that’s a lot of Tuesdays…so did we.

Tuesday, July 6th (Manila Version)

9:00am – After having already packed and placed all our luggage in the boys room, we met in the Beavers apartment for one last breakfast in the Philippines. We enjoyed this one last time with all 22 of us together, OBI plus Dan and Tori. We’ve grown to love these amazing people in so many ways, it’s hard to express with mere words. They’ve modeled to us what a missionary can be and how a missionary should be. They not only lead and direct groups well, they love what they do and it shows in every conversation they have had with us. It was so incredible to watch them be incarnational (one of the people) with the Filipino people. We know you’re probably reading this, so for the OBI 2010 team we want to say THANK YOU! Thank you for your friendship

10:00am – Dan and Tori spent just a few minute expressing their gratitude for our team and presented us with quite possibly the coolest plaque of appreciation we’ve seen. Their kind words for our team were humbling but we know who all the glory goes to.

10:30am – We loaded up the vans and left for Rizal High School

11:20am – We were ahead of schedule so we stopped at a grocery store for 20 minutes to buy crazy and unique foods that only can be found in the Philippines. We bought things like, Mango Tang, dried mangos, strange and wonderful flavors of Pringles, various nuts among other things. The OBI team was given a time limit with late minutes counting P100.00 again. Most students shopped in 10 minutes but then ran into some of the slowest moving check out lanes ever. Normally the friendliness and excellence with which Filipinos do their jobs is welcomed but on this occasion we were on a rigid schedule and our (my) American impatience came out. We decided to grant some late minute grace and didn’t fine anyone.

11:45am – we departed for Rizal HS

12:00pm – we arrived at Rizal HS

12:50pm – The students began to arrive for the program and we started shortly after. The program was for 6 sections of students which was about 300 high school students. A section of students consists of 50 students and the school has 50 sections for each of the 4 grades. Let me do the math…that’s 2,500 students in each grade. That’s 10,000 students in 4 grades. Keep in mind they run this school in 3 shifts. That’s approximately 30,000 high school students. And that’s how you get to be the largest high school in the world. We were also blessed to have our friends Pastors Adan and Erick and their families for the program. We have loved getting to know our brothers and sisters in Christ on the other side of the world. The family of God is simply amazing.

2:15pm – An invitation was given at the end of the program for students to come and hear the gospel more clearly and have the opportunity to accept Jesus. Nearly 80% of the room came forward to make some sort of decision for Christ. We were overwhelmed and blessed by the opportunity. In fact, the sponsoring teacher and administration were so impressed that they said it’s unfortunate that we were leaving but next year they’d get OBI into the gymnasium to present a program for 1,000 students at a time. We’re praying that this can happen and thankful that we could lay down a foundation for even greater opportunities for future teams.

3:30pm – After sharing the gospel, praying with and counseling students and exchanging facebook info one again, we departed for the Airport.

4:15pm – We arrived and moved through everything without a hitch, until we got to the gate and began to wait for our time to board the plane.

5:30pm – We hear an announcement with no additional details, that our plane will be delayed…yup. Delayed again.

6:15pm – We encountered a missions group from Washington state that was returning home after 2 weeks of ministry. Our team and theirs exchanged stories and even before departing prayed together for safety and thanking God for amazing ministry opportunities.

7:00pm – Our departure time came and went

8:30pm – We boarded the plane.

9:00pm – We left the Philippines enroute to Hawaii

9:10pm – We all fell asleep…well not all of us, but much sleeping was accomplished over the next 10+ hours.

The Hawaii version will be coming shortly…stay tuned.

Dave for OBI Philippines

Philippines: The Land of Contrast

Monday, July 5th, 2010

“Philippines, the land of contrast and variety – What a day of contrasting experience in the same day, we walked through magnificent malls and rode on modern trains we were in nice schools and now we are in a mosquito infested squatter village in a flood zone, very primitive setting, we had to walk across truck tires to get to this 15ft by 20ft area and yet we still can sing praises to the Lord and have worship with His family” – Dan Beaver (in summary of our day)

…and what a day it was! Not only was our day a day full of contrast and variety it was a day that God blessed incredibly. It was also divided into three distinct experiences along the way.

In the morning after an early breakfast we headed to a Christian School connected with Jesus Christ Church of the Valley. We had prepared a children’s program and had the opportunity to present it to nearly 200 kids. It was very different from the ministry opportunities that we’ve had recently because it was a Christian school. When it came time to share the gospel through the cross illustration story it was fun because the children kept asking for extra paper so they could learn it and share it with their friends. Hopefully, we have had a part in training some little evangelists!

A highlight of the morning was one little boy with some physical and mental disabilities who touched our hearts. When the songs and dances began he immediately grabbed a microphone and jumped on stage to dance and lip-sync with our songs. Not only did it touch us to see his energy and boldness he had us and his classmates nearly rolling in laughter.

We left that school and headed over to JASMS School in Manila, we were a little ahead of schedule so we made a stop at one of the largest and ritziest malls in Manila. It was huge and had everything. Some students shopped, but because of our limited time and the fear of a P100.00 fine for each minute they were late, most just found some food and refreshment close by the meeting point. Everyone was on time and even early…success!

We arrived at the JASMS High School and were blown away by their hospitality and more the power of God working through us and in spite of us. We did our now typical HS program and Paul shared the gospel and gave a challenge at the end for anyone who wanted to come and begin a relationship with Jesus. Partway through the final song, “I Give You Me” two girls stood up and began making their way through the crowd to get to the front. Soon after, more than 50 of their classmates joined them and OBI students peeled out of the choir and gathered in groups around the room to better explain the gospel and help lead many of them to Jesus. It was an amazing experience.

After the program had ended we stayed for nearly 30 minutes signing autographs and posing for MANY pictures. The Filipino people are a gracious and welcoming people, and they certainly build us up and treat us like royalty, as strange as that has been for us, it’s been a great platform and has created great opportunities to share the gospel.

We left that school and began the long journey to our final ministry opportunity of the day, singing, sharing and fellowshipping with the Angono Outreach point of the Greater Manila Grace Brethren Church where Pastor Julius is reaching out and building a community of faith among the people. But, the journey was long…

Certain vehicles in Metro Manila are coded for certain times in order to reduce traffic in the city. Our vans are coded for Monday so when we left the school we had to walk and take trains to get to a point where our vans were waiting for us. All in all the commute was three hours from school to Angono. We walked, went through a mall, took a train, walked some more, went through a couple more malls, walked past the arena where Ali fought Frazier in the Thrilla in Manila, walked through another mall, rode another train and walked some more. Then hopped in our vans to complete the trip.

Finally we arrived at the squatter village in a low lying flood zone near the bay. (Don’t worry about the mosquitoes, we lathered up with bug repellent) This village was completely under water just last fall when the floods hit Manila in late September 2009. In fact, Angono was the last area to remain under water, but the people were resilient and those who were part of this church were faithful and trusted God in spite of the flooding and devastation.

We shared with our new brothers and sisters in Christ testimonies about what God has been teaching us, we sang and worshipped together with them and Caleb challenged and encouraged the people from God’s word. It was hard to say goodbye knowing that many, if not most, of us will never see these people again on this side of eternity. It was made harder by the fact that they are each so amazing and wanted nothing more than for us to stay or at least come back next year. But we know that our earthly homes are temporary and this side of eternity is nothing compared to what lies ahead, not only in the presence of Jesus but also the opportunity to fellowship forever with our new family in the Philippines.

As you can see the day was full of contrast and variety. But despite the contrast between rich and poor, fancy malls and squatter villages, walking on foot or riding on trains, the truth remains, people are dearly loved by God and each soul is equally valuable to our God regardless of position, location or wealth. Continue to pray that our eyes would see people not as those who don’t have as much stuff or opportunity as us but as people who still desperately need a Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. Pray that our hearts break more for their lost souls and than for their lack of material possessions.

It may be a day or so until you hear from us again. Tomorrow is a busy day and a confusing day. Busy, because we’ll be sharing our program and the gospel at Rizal HS, busy, because we’ll be packing in the morning and travelling from Manila to Hawaii. Confusing, because we’ll leave tomorrow night at 7pm and arrive in Honolulu tomorrow morning at 11am. In fact, when we are on our way to Rizal HS it’ll also be the same time that we’ll be landing in Hawaii…yeah, there’s an international date line involved, but it doesn’t make it less confusing.

Thanks for your continued prayers! Each of you are a part of this team and the blessings that God has been lavishing upon us. We would be ineffective without faithful people praying for us each and every day.

Dave for OBI Philippines.

Rizal High School

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Just wanted to post a quick update to thank you all for your prayers for the opportunity to do a program and present the good news of Jesus in the largest public high school in the world. Well, we got in. God provided that opportunity for us.

So, now we’d like to ask that you would begin praying now that the hearts of these 12-16 year olds hearts will be prepared and open to the truth about Jesus.

We will have 6 sections of students and will be starting around 12:30pm.

Happy Independence Day!

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Ok, so, today we woke up. Praise God. After an amazingly good breakfast with scrumptious cinnamon toast and eggs, we mentally prepared for the long day ahead of ourselves in the splendid city known as Manila. Manila is cool. And I don’t mean that literally *insert chuckles at my lame joke here*. Moving on in chronological order, we went to the MGBC (Marikina Grace Brethren Church) which happens – random fact – to be the first GBC in all of the Philippines, founded in 1987. The current pastor of this church is Pastor Franco, who we greatly enjoyed getting to know. We go to each church with the goal of encouraging, but the truth is, I’m pretty sure we leave each service receiving just as much or even more encouragement in return.

This particular church wow-d us through their worship. I speak for the whole team when I say that it stood out and was the perfect way to go into our program. They were, just like all of the other churches in the Philippines, extremely grateful for our service and it amazes us each time to see how God can use 40 minutes of our lives to put such bright smiles on people’s faces.

We then left and ate at the Filipino version of McDonalds called Jollibee. It was a much needed break to fill up and gain some energy back, because we spent the rest of the day in constant movement.

We visited a WW2 memorial, the Manila American Cemetary and Memorial, and sang patriotic songs at all of the different monuments, which is a pretty good way to spend July 4th if I might say so myself. It was amazing to consider what so many soldiers have done to preserve our freedom, it was certainly a moment to be thankful.

After an hour or so there, we took off for the last program of the day. Which happened to be four hours long. Don’t get me wrong, it was a pretty epic four hours. There were three different Grace Brethren churches there, two of which we had visited two and a half weeks ago before our excursion to Boracay. We knew then that on July 4th we would be doing another service with them, but it’s pretty much insanity that time flew that quickly.

They were sooooo so so excited to see us again, and we were equally excited. They opened up with worship (which once again, was pretty much awesome), and then turned the stage over to us. We did a typical program with lots of children’s songs, choir, pantomimes and testimonies. Though there was extremely high enthusiasm throughout the whole thing, the best part of it was when we closed with the song I Give You Me and 15 people made the decision to follow Christ. It’s amazing that God blesses us with the opportunity to share Him with others, and even better that he allows them to respond. In addition to those 15, about 10 others came forward to commit more to him, letting go of sinful lifestyles and moving forward in a life that pleases him more. Talk about freedom and independence…this is eternal freedom!

After some sad goodbyes, we came back to the condos and launched fireworks over a golf course while eating hotdogs and chili. You could say it was a very American moment. It was once again a pretty sweet day, all leading up to right now, when I, Caleb Hughes, am writing this blog. Through all of the hectic and crazy things that occurred, you can imagine that I am pretty tired. Drooping eyelids, head tilting to the side, it’s a miracle I haven’t fallen asleep yetjhy67hhujkkkkkkkzkzzkkzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Caleb (I think) for OBI Philippines

A Day Made for Traveling

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it…

We needed this reminder as three hours of traveling, from our home away from home on Boracay Island to Manila, quickly turned into an all day event.

We awoke, alive and healthy after our balut experience the night before, and spent our last morning quiet time on the beach and in the midst of the beautiful tropical creation of our God. Slowly many of our friends, from the Jungle Barn staff, to Pastor Rolando and his wife Teresa, to feeding site friends and even local children that we’ve gotten to know, began to trickle in as we finished breakfast and frantically went to pack our bags and clean our rooms. We really have made some lifelong friends and it wasn’t easy to take the final walk up the beach to catch our vans to Caticlan.

However, before we left, Pastor Rolando and his wife presented us with a framed certificate that read:

“On The Rock Ministries, Boracay Island, Philippines.

Certificate of Appreciation is given to Operation Barnabas International. For your partnership, love, time and dedicated life for the Lord and for the ministry of Church on the Rock by doing the construction of the feeding center and touching lives of parents and children through feeding and daily Vacation Bible School in the island of Boracay.

Given this 3rd day of July, in the year of the Lord, 2010 at the Jungle Barn, Boracay Island, Philippines.”

It was then signed by both Dan Beaver and Rev. Rolando Atienza. Teresa prayed for us and then we left the Barn for the last time.

Once we boated to Caticlan we learned that visibility was poor in Manila and so we’d have to wait. After waiting for over an hour past our scheduled departure time we learned that the first of our two flights was ready to board. The first group left and some of us remained, settling in for even more waiting. But, suddenly, the group that had moments ago left, was running back and yelling for the second group to run because the flights were mixed up. We bolted and got to the plane in time and departed.

While in the air we learned that visibility was still poor and we would be rerouted to Clark Airport, about a 15 minute flight farther than Manila. We got there, deplaned and waited for another hour or so. Meanwhile back in Caticlan the rest of the team had a couple false hopes of boarding the plane only to be pulled back in to wait some more. They did eventually get on the plane and arrived in Manila as the original second group who was now the first group was still sitting, waiting because of the visibility diversion.

Eventually we hopped back on our plane and headed for Manila. What was to be a short taxi before takeoff turned into nearly an hour of additional waiting time. When we finally left and the landed in Manila, we had a little reunion, it felt like we didn’t know each other anymore since we’d been apart for so long. But God is faithful; he got us safely to Manila without a single lost item and allowed us to bond even more as a team by making some lasting memories.

Once in Manila it was dinnertime, so we went to Fazoli’s and it was the perfect way to restore any discouragement that may have crept into our hearts. After dinner we got the chance to have a crazy Filipino shopping stop that was certainly a cultural experience.

Thus our day was concluded as we arrived safely back at the Condos in Manila and quickly scattered to our rooms to sleep.

Please be praying for our two church events on Sunday. We’ll be a part of a church service at the Marikina Grace Brethren Church in the morning and with a few churches for a combined event in the evening.

Dave for OBI Philippines

The Best Day Ever…and Heaven Rejoiced!

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Today was legitimately the best day ever. It started off with beef jerky for breakfast. Only in the Philippines. After the full day we had yesterday, we had some time to relax before we began ministry. This time was mostly spent hand washing clothes and fighting for free spaces on the clothesline. This was sort of scheduled as “our day off,” no feedings, VBS or construction, but when it comes to ministry, there’s no such thing as a day off.

So we hopped on the trikes praying that we would not die in a tricycle accident. We made it. Just yesterday the pastor’s wife from Church on the Rock lined up the opportunity for a program at Boracay National High School, the largest school on the island. So, we were flexible and added it to the day’s schedule. Once we arrived safely at the school, we all crowded into one room along with approximately 200 students, making the extremely hot Philippines even hotter. From the start, you could tell the Holy Spirit was tangible in the room. The students were surprisingly attentive and responsive, especially during the pantomimes. Dave paced in the back, praying for our hearts to break for the lost, and that’s exactly what happened.

During the last song, “I Give You Me,” it was difficult to sing because of the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit. Paul went to the front and encouraged people to come to the front and make a decision to change their life. He communicated the challenge well and emphasized that this was not a time to be cool, but rather a time to make the most important decision of your life. As soon as he finished speaking, nearly 40 kids came to the front, all 18 OBI students stopped singing, leaving only the background track playing, to talk and pray with them. Many tears were shed, I (Lexie) even held a girl for five minutes while she cried because she was so moved by he Holy Spirit and her decision to live for Christ. And I (Joel) had a kid ask “what is this tingly feeling inside?” My reply was that “there is no other explanation than Jesus Christ.” Another student said to me, “you have changed my life.” But we know that Jesus is the one who changed his life. Most, if not all, of the students got the names of those who made decisions for Christ and plan on not only letting the Church on the Rock follow-up but, also stay involved in the discipleship process through facebook.

We have become so attached to the people of Boracay. And they have made us feel so welcome. A few examples of this are not only the many kids that live right around the Jungle Barn that we get to play with and splash in the water with; but a high school girl who met Virginia at a program a few days ago and the little girls who waited for Katie M. Last night at our program a HS girl showed up looking for Virginia because of the conversation they had days earlier and then she came all the way to the Barn today to find her again. Obviously a connection had been made. As the team returned from the school program two little girls were searching intently as our team walked past them, when asked who they were looking for, they said they’ve been waiting all afternoon for Katie. Soon enough she came, in the last group, and they ran to her and hugged her and walked all the way down the beach enjoying their favorite OBIer.

Later, during team time, we figured out that 36 students from Boracay National High School will be joining us in Heaven. God is so good. To celebrate the new additions to God’s kingdom, we went to Jonah’s to enjoy “the best fruit shake in the world.” After that, we went on our second sunset sail to praise God in a new way while enjoying a different aspect of His creation. The sunset was simply stunning we all appreciated God’s creation even more, especially in light of seeing his saving hand at work just hours before.

Then, all the girls proceeded to destroy their rooms while they dressed up for the last supper (ha-ha, Bible humor) at Mongolian BBQ. The guys did not put as much effort into their attire…at all… Following dinner, we both went, with a few other teammates to experience one of Boracay’s newest attractions, the Zorb. This is basically a giant hamster wheel for humans, or so we thought. While entering the giant bubble, we discovered it was actually a water ride. My (Lexie’s) new dress stained to water in the ball, so the guy had to vacuum the water from the human hamster wheel for the next group. It was pretty much two minutes of disorientation and feeling like you were about to drown.

Of course, like any good day, we ended with the hoedown throw-up (Hannah Montana joke… we all tried baluts… google it…). A balut is a duck or chicken that has been hardboiled 3, yes three, days before it was supposed to hatch. So we personally got to experience biting the head off of a duckling. Luke was the grand champion, after not even ordering one for himself, he ended up eating FIVE baluts. And. He. Loved. Them. We all agreed during team time that he is officially made for this country.

As you can tell, it has been a great day. However, the difference between this day being a good day and the best day ever wasn’t the baluts, the zorb, or even the sunset sail, it was knowing that there will be 36 more familiar faces in heaven, drowned by God’s grace and love. Time for bed. Love from all the OBIers.

Please continue to pray for us and more importantly for the ministry the God has prepared in advance for us in Manila. As most of you are heading to bed on Friday around 9:30pm EST, we’ll be leaving for the airport on Saturday, at 9:30am to catch our flight to Manila. Pray for open hearts for the people of Manila and for broken hearts for the people of this team. And finally, continue to pray for the opportunity to share Jesus at Rizal HS on Tuesday morning. We won’t find out until Monday if we’ll be allowed to have a program at their school.

Lexie and Joel for OBI Philippines

It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Hello There! Luke and Tyler speaking here! Today started with the usual breakfast at 8, with pancakes and a delicious rice soup! Then we were off to the construction site to finish the HUGE concrete job we started (which was 57.6 sq meters).  I have to admit I am not too fond of working construction myself, but after some prayer and some thinking about how much the building we were working on will provide for the pinoy children (Filipino children), that greatly motivated us into working extra hard! We are excited that we were able to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time!  P.S. Condon Family, Luke actually did manual labor!

Then lunch quickly approached, and tasted ever so fantastically!  Then Dave and Carly had us all shaking in our knees about our mid term evaluations, oh which they only got through about half of us cuz they were chattin it up! They were helpful in showing our spiritual strengths and also some things that we could all be working on. Then we had a little bit of free time to get ready for our huge program we had coming (we’ll talk about that later)!

Sadly, today was our last day of VBS with pinoy chilluns, after 4 amazing days of getting super attached to the kids it came to a sad goodbye.

(Lukas’s Story time)  Today was amazing of course, and we got to sing songs, and teach the kids about Lazarus, and then feed the kids a traditional party food called punci (tastes like lo mein)!  Today was rough for me, I have been getting soo close with the kids, and I got really close with a 1 year old girl named Luida Jane, and today I held her for about an hour and then hand fed her, she is so precious, and I cried having to let her go. The first time I held her, her sister came up to me and asked if I have any sisters, I said yes! Two of them, Becca and Lacie, and then the little girl told me that Luidi Jane could be my sister now too. (how cute is that) God has allowed me to make strong relationships with the kids here, especially to local boys at the barn named Une Une and John (but everyone calls him June). They are absolutely hilarious and sooooooo boisterous, and did I mention never run out of energy.  Which works out great cuz neither do I, and God has really allowed that to be a big part of my ministry here, and has allowed me to be able to hang out with them quite often!

(Tyler’s Story Time) Ok so my story is kinda short. So the site leader that my group has been working with for the past couple days, named Candy, is THE best woman! She is so Godly and so great with the kids. I worked with her at the very first site we visited and I prayed that she would be our site leader for the VBS, thank the Lord she really was! She was such an encouragement to me and the rest of the team, and she continually told us how great we are! I would have to say that saying goodbye was the hardest thing I have had to do!

OKAYYYYY! PROGRAMMMM TIMMEEEE! Can you say children?…over 200 children, and mannnny teens, parents, and grand-parents, and a United Nations negotiator, a transvestite, and some off duty night guards, and our construction worker friends. We started off the program doing a team favorite Jai Ho, and the Hoedown Throwdown, then moved into the more “spiritual” things.  We sang our choir songs(all three of them), did several fun dance type songs like “Spin”, “5 Little Monkeys”, “The Father Loves Me”(a kid favorite here, since they screamed the words as loud as they could). We did all three pantomimes interspersed throughout with testimonies accompanying each. Then after the program came to a close we engaged in good conversations with some of the people who were there!

Of course after all the work we packed into this day we ended with the cool refreshing fruit shakes of our dear Jonah’s (a local favorite); we have eaten there three times now as a team. One of the employees at Jonah’s wanted to come to our program but she had to work, so we brought the show to her! We sang our favorite choir song, “Counting on God” (a real crowd pleaser) and then sang her the famous Operation Barnabas “Thank You Song”.  She was so happy she almost cried (cuz she’s such a sweetheart)!!

Magandang Umaga, Mahalkitah!  Good Morning, I love you!

From The Outgoing Duo: Tyler and Lukas for OBI Philippines

A Double Shift of Service

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Today started out a little differently than any other. Breakfast was served at 7 instead of 8 due to the extended construction time. Waking up continues to get harder each day but God graciously provides strength for us throughout the day. Construction was once again mixing and pouring concrete. We began to pour the slab and were amazed at how fast we worked together. By the end of our 3 hour morning shift, we were exhausted but excited to come back for the afternoon.

During one of our water breaks we encountered a quite beautiful lizard; it was grayish blue with orange spots. We enjoyed watching it from a distance and watching Dave poke at it with a palm leaf. As it turns out, it’s called a Tokay Gecko and is known as the “pit bull” of geckos. No one, including the gecko, was injured. But it did hiss at Dave.

After a delicious lunch, we spent time relaxing and doing our devotions. It was so nice to be able to slow down and remember the purpose of everything that we are doing. We once again put on our dirty clothes and headed towards the construction site. At the end of our two hour shift, we had completed almost as much concrete as they had planned for us to do the entire time we are here. And, we still have more scheduled construction time on Thursday morning. It’ll be time for some bonus concrete! It was then time for showers and preparation for our third night of VBS at our feeding sites.

It is has been good to connect with the same children each night at VBS. It allows us to build quality relationships that make sharing Christ’s love a little easier. The kids are beginning to know us by name and become familiar with us. As tomorrow concludes our VBS, please be praying that God would continue to break our hearts for these children and the conditions they live in. Pray also that their hearts would be open to the clear presentation of the gospel that will be given tomorrow evening. It is so awesome to return to the Jungle Barn each night and hear everyone sharing stories of how God used them.

Following dinner, complete with our favorite mango float, we were given an option of what we would like to do for the remainder of the evening. Immediately we all agreed that we wanted to go out and invite people to our program tomorrow night. We broke into groups of 3 and did exactly that. Please pray that the invitations we gave out tonight will be accepted openly. Pray also that God would work through us tomorrow night and that he would continue to provide strength for each member of our team.

Please keep praying for opportunities to get into more public schools in order that we can share the good news about Jesus. Pray for a potential opportunity to get into Rizal High School back in Pasig City, near Manila. It is the largest high school in the world, enrolling 25,000+ students.

We are enjoying our time on Boracay Island very much and are thankful for how God has provided each day! Thank you for your continuous prayers, we can feel them each day in ways of strength, weather, and opportunities.

With love,

Jade and Katie M. for OBI Philippines