“Come walk with me”, as I recap a recent week-long mission trip to Polilio Islands. It’s written in such a way that hopefully some of you can kind of feel like you’ve “been here”, come along, and done it too, vicariously…
October 1 (Friday)
Launch for Polilio Islands by myself, in our LFH (Love, Faith, Hope) van – picking up floor tiles for our VCO (Virgin Coconut Oil) livelihood building project along the way. Proceeded to Manila. Stayed overnight at SIL (Wycliff) Guest house. Travel early to a kitchen equipment store (they opened 1 hour early especially upon request to accommodate) to pick up a stainless steel stand-alone sink for the VCO building project. Met with the rest of our mission team in Manila, who came early in the morning from Tarlac City.
Once-A-Day Boat Ride
They transferred to the LFH van, and we all proceeded to Real, which is the fishing port where we catch the ferry boat to our mission base in Norte, Patnanungan, Polilio Islands. We were barely able to make it there in time to catch the “once-a-day” boat ride.
We got to our mission base that evening, after another shuttle ride on a flatboat after we landed in Poblacion (the principal town) on the island of Patnanungan.
Our assisting pastor at our mission base greeted us with a warm “welcome home”. Jesus said, “In our father’s house are many dwelling places…” We seem to have so many “homes”! Delicious meal and suitable accommodations were provided for the team. (6 of us on the team – 3 interns involved with practicum this year after graduating from 2 years of training at LFH this year; one of our staff ministers; a father of one of our staff here in Tarlac City who is especially interested in establishing livelihood assistance among the poor there, and myself).
October 2 (Saturday)
Exercise on the beach. Preparations made for the day, followed by orientation, devotions, and visitation assignments with our mission team.
I spent time with our assisting Pastor and his wife, discussing urgent matters.
I must have gotten into some kind of food poisoning, or bad water along the way – and got quite “sickish” for awhile…Laid kinda low for the afternoon, and evening…
October 3 (Sunday)
Up very early to prepare for ministry, and hiking jungle trail. Three of us launched for approx. 4 hour hike to Busdak (back and forth) – (approx. 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m, including a street meeting in a remote fishing village across the island).
Our team split, and simultaneously part of our team went to another fellowship gathering that morning in another nearby village (Inusukan) down the coastline from our mission base in Norte.
Letting Our Light Shine
At our meeting there in Busdak, we gathered some of the believers, and had a spontaneous meeting right in the street in front of one of their homes. It was quite the experience, with motorcycles driving sometimes between our chairs, and people walking through where we were having fellowship together! Letting our light shine…
Then back over slick, wet, jungle trails back to our mission base. On our hike that morning, one of our interns slipped on the, wet and slick, clay type soil trail. I jokingly showed more concern for not ruining the umbrella than for her. Well, then I slipped, and wouldn’t you know it, it was their turn to laugh at me, and show more concern for the umbrellas that I was carrying that flew out of my hand, than for me!
We got back from our hike over the slick jungle trails dirty and wet, and barely in time to clean-up before the next service started that afternoon at our mission base. In fact, it had already started before I was able to manage to grab some food in our dirty outside kitchen nearby
The afternoon meeting there at our mission base in Norte went several more hours, followed by a baby dedication after the service, and a party held in celebration of that event.
Immediately following, I needed to prepare to leave for another village on the other side of the island, where the pastors association for the island of Patnanungan was having a special meeting. I had been asked to be the guest speaker at it. However, our motorcycle would not start! Finally, we hired another one, with driver… which ran out of gas before we got to the next village. By the time we got it going, and finally to the home of the pastor’s home, who was planning to join us via motorcycle in the dark going over muddy jungle dirt trails to the other side of the island, he had gotten worried about us, and went riding back to our mission base to find us. Well, we missed each other in the dark going different streets, so we were again further delayed… Finally, we just had to cancel/postpone our trip that night, and stay overnight there with the pastor.
October 4 (Monday)
We headed out again early in the morning to join the waiting pastors. We had a wonderful time of fellowship, with excellent reception, and the Lord did some healing and unifying things among us all. That time with the pastors association was one of the highlights of our trip! I’m so glad we were able to push through with it! We came back to the mission base by that evening, and spent time with our assistant pastor and caretaker of our mission base, discussing important details of the work, ministry, and livelihood project development.
October 5 (Tuesday)
Up really early (approx. 4:30 a.m.) to prepare to go fishing with some of the men before departing to return home. However, with various time delays, and a boat motor that was hard starting and wouldn’t cooperate for the longest time, we actually missed a lot of the best fishing time, of the precious little that we had… We had a lot of fun! Our little fishing boat was a glorified canoe type design, with bamboo outriggers on both sides to help stabilize it. There were 4 of us men in the boat. At one point, the little boat almost capsized, and one of the men lost balance and fell/jumped into the water – but no big deal! We ate breakfast in the boat together–that’s what you call “reel fellowship”!
Made it back to the camp in time to barely pack out, ride a shuttle flatboat down to where we could board the ferry boat back to Real – getting there just a few minutes before departure – barely in time to catch it! By that evening we were back to Real where we accessed our parked LFH van, and headed homeward. However, I stopped over in Manila, once again at SIL Guest House, and sent the rest of the team on back to Tarlac City with a driver.
October 6 (Wednesday)
Errands In Manila
I had some appointments and errands in Manila that needed attention. One of the contacts was with a key person in a major business chain, who plans to visit our mission base the latter part of November, to assist us with the livelihood project training needs there. Another was with an interested potential worker who is seriously considering joining our mission efforts in Polilio, to assist with some of the many ministry needs there.
Interesting Conversations With Taxi Drivers
In the process of going to and fro, I had several interesting conversations with taxi drivers – who seem eager to have Bibles sent to them. I plan to mail each of them their own bi-lingual English/Tagalog New Testaments this week.
Our driver brought our LFH van back to Manila, and I was able to access it, and drive on back to Tarlac City, getting home later that evening. It was a busy, fruitful, and exciting week on mission for our Lord!
For those of you interested enough to take time to read this, it gives you a real-to-life feel for what’s going on around here, and what a week on the mission field with me is like. It included long hours of travel, shopping, eating,ministry, prayer/praise/worship, preaching/teaching, evangelism, pastoral fellowship, mentoring, fishing, exercising, beautiful time on beaches, finding shells, celebrating dedication of a child, some young people praying to receive the Lord, hiking jungle trails, boat and motorcycle rides, visitation, witnessing and sharing the gospel to taxi drivers eager for Bibles, etc…
That’s life as it really is here. Thanks for your interest, support, prayers, and networking with us to help reach the harvest!
With loving appreciation and thankfulness for teamwork!