We did several ‘Come walk with me’ videos a number of years ago that some of you took special interest in. I thought you might enjoy reading a continuation of that series.
Here are some highlights from our missions trip to our Norte, Patnanungan missions base here in the Polilio Islands, Philippines. They are from a ‘Come walk with me” team perspective. In some of this journal entry, I will be communicating to you as if you are right here walking with me, as I give a report of the trip… J
June 7, 2022
We are already starting into day 9 of our trip. I got up early this morning (2-3 a.m.) to have a chat with you. Days are generally very ‘busy-busy’ around here with our 8-member team. There are so many things that need to get done! Our plans for a 1-week trip have extended to a little over 2 weeks due to unexpected delays and complications.
So– are you ready? To begin with, let’s go back to Tarlac City since that’s our launching spot for this trip.
May 30-June 1 – After packing and preparing, we were excited to finally be on our way with our team. Our travel plans had already been delayed for several weeks due to some schedule complications.
We were fully loaded into 2 vehicles, with lots of cargo (banana and fruit trees to plant, relief goods, ministry resources and equipment, personal luggage, etc…). As we launched into the night, planning to get halfway to our destination before stopping overnight at a hotel – we barely got onto the expressway, when our L300 van quit running and stalled out alongside the road. That was sort of a highway nightmare! We needed to tow it to a repair shop. Since they don’t allow vehicles to be personally towed on the expressway, we were forced to have the expensive highway patrol tow truck take charge of that. It was good that this happened before we were very far along, though, so we were able to bring our team back to Tarlac City and re-group. We are also thankful that it happened not far away from our friend’s car repair shop, and could be quite easily towed there for repair.
We were thankful not to lose anybody. All on our team still wanted to push ahead with our trip. PTL! We finally were ready to launch again in several days, after our van had some major overhaul work done on its very worn-out engine (replacing some rocker arms, bushings, belts, and a broken guide on the camshaft, etc).
After the van was repaired and put back together, the manager and chief mechanic at the shop road-tested it and gave us the ‘good to go’ signal and we started out again. This time we got a little farther down the expressway, and our van died again, and would not run. So, once again, we had to have it towed to another repair shop. The diesel fuel injection system needed major attention this time.
If at first (and 2nd time) you don’t succeed – try, try again (for the third time) 🙂
We realized it was risky to keep trying to take our L300 any more on this trip, even when we to it fixed since obviously it wasn’t proven and dependable for a long trip. We re-shuffled out things into another vehicle, to continue on with our trip. However, with the other vehicle, the load room capacity was greatly diminished, so we needed to downsize, and leave some of our baggage in Tarlac City (including some boxes of relief goods, ministry equipment and whiteboard, some of the trees we were bringing to plant, etc.).
We re-launched for the 3rd time, and this time we’re able to make the long trip fine. We made it all the way to the Port of Real where we planned to get on a ferry boat and ride approximately 4 hours out to Patnanungan, our island of destination.
Denied travel entry on the passenger ferry
However, even though we got there in plenty of time to catch the ferry boat while it was still docked at the port, we were not allowed to board. The Coast Guard regulations have become very strict due to recent traveling complications in that area, and the ferry had a limited passenger capacity. The restricted capacity limit for the ferry had already been reached. We Investigated further and even checked directly with the Coast Guard station about other options. It did not look like we were going to be able to find any boats to take us that day. They were telling us that we would need to wait for another day. Needless to say, it was extremely disappointing to stand there at the dock, watching as the ferry boat that we had expected to be on left the Port without us. Another boat was also there at the dock. It was a cargo boat, not a passenger boat. We were hoping they would allow us to take our cargo (we had plenty of that) along with us as passengers and continue on – but our hopes for doing that were soon dashed, too.
All things work together for good!
Of course, we were reminding ourselves that “all things work together for good for those who love the Lord…” (Romans 8:28) but honestly it was very hard to understand at that time how all of this would do that. We had made a major effort to get there and had finally make it to the Port. Then, to have such an unexpected turn of events like that, and to be denied entry at the Port was disheartening, to say the least!
While we were standing there, trying to figure out what to do, the dispatcher who previously had not given us any hope to travel that day approached us. He said that if we got quickly over to another spot (not the port) there was a boat waiting there to take us directly to our mission base. WOW! That was definitely good news! With the ferry, we would have had to unload at the port in Patnanungan and then rent a truck to take us and our things onward to our mission’s base on the island. This was an amazing turn of events! We quickly went down the road to find the boat he was talking about. Sure enough, there was a fishing boat ready, and waiting for us to board. The boat was in such a hurry to leave, we barely had time to board before we were on our way! We quickly loaded our things and found a parking place at a nearby church for our vehicles. While the team was boarding I went to a nearby hardware store to try to find some plastic covers to put over our vehicles to protect them. However, while I was at the Hardware counter I got some urgent calls from our team saying that I needed to come immediately. The boatmen were very anxious to leave. I left the counter with my in-completed transaction still in process (not even taking the time to explain to the poor clerk why I needed to cancel my order and hurriedly disappear), and found a tricycle that was able to take me directly to the boat that was waiting for me. The boat was in such a big hurry to leave that I barely made it there in time before we were on our way! The boat was in close to the shore when I got there. I took my shoes off, rolled up my pants, waded out to the boat, hopped on board, and we were immediately on the move (probably just seconds from the time I got on board). There was no time to spare! Whew! That was a close call! I’m so glad that they waited for me!
ON OUR WAY
The boat was just the right size (we were the only passengers aboard), and the seas were calm. They were so accommodating and helpful! They took us right to our base, only charging us a similar amount as the ferry would have! It seemed like a miraculous, faithful provision of the Lord for us. We are so thankful! We give Him praise!
We were reminded of the song – “Waymaker, Miracle-Worker, Promise-keeper…” as we pulled away in the special boat the Lord had provided for us! The Lord faithfully had made a way for us – through the sea…! He is able to make a way where there seems to be no way! What an amazing answer to our prayers!
TO BE CONTINUED…
This is only the beginning of some of our exciting adventures. It was definitely a wonderful and amazing trip! What a fun and fruitful time of ministry it was! All of our team thoroughly enjoyed it! Polilio is one of my favorite places in the PI…
The obvious blessing of the Lord was upon our time there. There are many exciting testimonies of revival and life-change impact, several got re-baptized, some testified to receiving the Holy Spirit as evidenced by speaking in tongues, etc.! I hope and pray that we can go back there to Polilio asap and continue to make good progress with things, as able…
(‘Come walk with me’ will be continued in the next post. Please take time to check it out! I know you will be blessed! 🙂