Category: OBI Philippines
OBI – Ciao, Boracay! – July 6

It is with heavy hearts that we fall asleep one last time in Boracay tonight.  It will be hard to leave this island in the morning…to leave the kids we’ve grown to love…the adults we’ve become friends with…and the amazing work that God is doing in and through these people.  It will be hard to leave the beauty of this island…it is simply stunning.

Today was our last day here, but it was definitely a full one.  Slightly insane and crazy and last minute, but we wouldn’t want it any other way.  In God’s perfect timing, the third floor of the ministry center was finally prepared to have concrete poured today, our very last day.  Even though our “schedule” did not have the ministry center listed today, we threw in one last rigorous manual labor session.  Rigorous…dirty…hard…crazy…tough.  In addition to the 18 of us, there were 10+ Filipino workers helping to pour concrete on the third floor.  In total, about 30 people were standing under the beating sun (the lucky ones standing under tarps) shoveling, mixing cement, moving rock and sand, helping with the bucket brigade and pouring concrete.  It was quite the sight from the top floor to see so many people working on so many different jobs simultaneously in such a small area.  We stayed through lunch today to help finish the cross beams in one section of the floor.  What an accomplishment!  The team worked so hard today with cheerful hearts and energetic spirits.

Covered in concrete and drenched in sweat, we made our final trek from the Ministry Center to the Jungle Barn.  However, only a few people actually made it back to the Jungle Barn right away.  The majority of the team walked right into the ocean to cool off and clean up.  Yep, in their clothes.  This is what we do on OBI.

In the afternoon, we headed off to our last two feeding sites.  Our last programs here on Boracay…our last time to ride tricycles and motorcycles…our last time to meet new kids and feed them a warm meal…our last afternoon to enjoy the beauty of this island.

Both groups met up for dinner on the beach as the sun was setting upon our final day.  We sat at a table sinking our feet into the soft white sand as thunderclouds loomed in the distance and before we knew it, the heavens opened and dumped upon us one last time.  It was a scrambled mad dash inside to finish our dinner, but we are used to that now so it was fitting to have one final storm as we said goodbye to this island.

We spent the rest of the evening hanging out with each other, playing with the kids at the Jungle Barn, singing, shopping, relaxing and packing.  It will definitely be difficult to leave this place in the morning.  We feel at home here.  We love the people here.  We love the ministry here.  We just love everything here.  The Lord is working on this island and working in our lives.  It’s been incredible.

OBI Mystery Quote of the Day – “I’ve learned two things on OBI…how to say goodbye.  And how to have fun!”

For the last time…from, Boracay…Goodnight!


OBI – Packin’ Up – July 5

Well, it doesn’t seem possible but we’ve reached our last day here in the Philippines. And what a day it is going to be. We are eating a quick and early breakfast, heading to a nearby Christian school for their chapel program, coming back to the condos to pack up our luggage, doing one last program in North Manila, and then heading straight to the airport from there for a 10pm flight back to Los Angeles. It is going to be crazy.

We are praying that God will work in and through us even on this last day and that our travels will be safe as we all head home. Once we reach LAX, our team will all part ways for flights back to our respective homes around the country. Lots of flying today/tomorrow/we don’t really understand the date when we fly over the Pacific.

Have a good night of sleep, world! And we will have a great day…

From Manila…Good morning!

OBI – Just for Kicks – July 4

Good morning, World!  And Happy 4th of July!

We are just starting our second to last day here in Manila…hard to believe tomorrow night we board a plane bound for Los Angeles.  Oh how we wish we had even just one more week!

Today is Sarah C.’s birthday!  Tanti auguri a te!

We are currently having a quick team meeting where Josiah and Sara are recommending books and sermons that will help these students continue to grow in their walk with the Lord and dig deeper into the Scriptures.  In just a few minutes we are heading out to one of the largest high schools in the world to do a program…crazy?  Yes!  We aren’t quite sure what it will look like, but be praying that God will use us effectively.  There is also the possibility for another program this afternoon for the ENTIRE school, but the details of that are still being worked out with the school administration.  We are praying that God will open that door.  We know that He is able to do abundantly more than anything we can ask or imagine.

And just for kicks…

If you are curious what a feeding site looks like, or who the Ati tribe people are, or what First Love International Missions does in Boracay, check out this video of Dan & Tori Beaver visiting the Ati tribe last week…Enjoy!

OBI – Too Good to be True – Wednesday, June 29

Our life here in Boracay has started to become pretty routine…you know…wake up, spend some time with the Lord, eat some ridiculously delicious pancakes,  walk to the Ministry Center, get dirty working, walk back to the Jungle Barn for lunch, swim in the ocean, go to a feeding site.  Our Filipino life really is too good to be true sometimes, and today was definitely one of those days.  Legit.

After breakfast, instead of walking to the Ministry Center in our sneakers and cementing clothes, we took a van to the pier and hopped on a boat wearing our swim suits and flip flops.  What for, one may ask??  Snorkling…obviously!  We spent a few hours hopping between islands seeing all the best snorkeling spots near Crocodile Island.  And oh the things we saw!  The water here is pretty clear so you can see basically all the way to the bottom anyways…but when you put on goggles it is absolutely INSANE what the naked eye misses!  There is no mistaking the existence of a Creator God after snorkeling.  And that is fact.  We saw purple, turquoise and bright orange fish…bright green coral…water snakes…and the bluest starfish we’ve ever laid eyes on.   It was ridiculous.  Such a wonderful morning relaxing a bit, taking a break from our fast pace, and being mesmerized by the beauty of God’s creation.  Our Filipino life really is too good to be true sometimes.

Once we had finished snorkeling we rode the boat all the way around the island and got dropped off on the beach right in front of the Jungle Barn.  For real?  Our Filipino life really is too good to be true sometimes.

We changed super quick and were back out the door within 45 minutes to get back on a boat to head to the Malay Malay Public High School on a nearby island.  School ended at 3pm and we wanted to be set up and ready to go by 2:30 to grab the student’s attention and encourage them to stay for our program.  The last time Dan Beaver took a group here to share the gospel, they were given 50 students from one class.  This time we were told the entire school was invited.  The entire school!  Not only was the whole school invited, but they had prepared a welcome ceremony for us, their “honored guests from the United States of America!”  We have never had a group of strangers so excited to see us before.  Ever.  And by “group of strangers” we are talking 400+ people.  The student body president had a welcome speech for us.  Another student talked about how honored they were to host us for the afternoon and how thankful the Filipino’s are for the US helping them to gain independence.  Another student sang a beautiful prayer asking the Lord to guide his path…he blew us all away with his incredible voice.  As a special surprise, a choir from one of the Ati tribes sang…a choir made up of people we’ve met and come to love this past week.  Seriously, special.  Our Filipino life really is too good to be true sometimes.

After the heartfelt welcome ceremony, we were given the stage to…well…share the Gospel, plain and simple.  Absolutely unheard of in the States to have a school say, “Nice to meet you, Sara & Josiah…here are all 500 of our students…tell them about Jesus.  We are so glad you are here!”  Too good to be true.

For the next hour and a half we danced some silly dances that got everyone up and moving…shared testimonies that explained how Christ has changed lives…used speech choir to boldly proclaim that Jesus is alive and has overcome the penalty for sin.  We danced joyfully, spoke boldly, played crazily, loved deeply and prayed sincerely for the high school students we met today.  How incredible it is to see the door God has opened here for His Word to be preached and for His glory to shine.  Just incredible.  We met so many kids today who are desperate for hope and for love…who are in need of a Savior.  Several of us met a 14 year old girl who lives on her own in a nearby village.  Her father is dead and her mother abandoned her for a man in Manila.  She has no siblings and no close relatives.  She goes to school during the day and works as a babysitter and cleaner at night to support herself.  Yet, through it all, she praises Jesus.  She thanks Him for the blessings He has given her and for the sacrifice He made for her on the cross.  We pray that she will make an impact on this school for Christ.  She was such an encouragement to us.  So…yea…we preached the gospel at a public school.  Our Filipino life really is too good to be true sometimes.

Our evening ended with a beautiful sunset back on Boracay, dinner out on the town and time to shop at some INSANE local malls (when something is called the D-Talipapa you KNOW it’s going to be awesome…) and hang out with each other.  It was a perfect day.  Our Filipino life really IS too good to be true.

From Boracay…Goodnight!


OBI – Sunday, June 26 – Pictures!

Not a bad walk to church...what a beautiful day!


Mingling with the church family


Our warm welcome


Gabi, Josiah, Joseph & Alec being introduced


It's choir time...

What About Now?

Cosmic Love


Jai Ho during Sunday School with Gabi, Rachel G. and Leah


Alec sharing his children's story during Sunday School

Rachel G. sharing her children's story


Sarah C. doing the cross illustration


Sunday School under the shade of the trees

Rachel G., Gabi & Tarran enjoying lunch on the beach


Tarran & Amanda at lunch