Thursday, June 23, 2011

Where I've Been: Philippines (Second time)



I never got over the things I saw and learned in the Philippines in 2007. By the summer of 2008, I was a new person in more ways than one. In that short period of time my health had rapidly declined. (I was very sick for most of college, but then God healed me...which is an amazing story I will tell another time.) For the first time in years I was whole physically, and I had just met Jonathan a few months back. We started dating just before I left to fly across the world. I kept a picture of him with me at all times, and I'll admit that I was more than a little love-sick for him. Still I felt compelled to go, so I did.

This time I was even more exited to return and see the people with whom I left part of my heart. However, this was definitely not the same trip. We still woke up early to visit and speak in the schools, but the team and terrain were vastly different. Before we had a small, intimate group. Now there were over 70 of us on the team and we were closer to the coast in the northern region of the Philippines.

I was struck even more so by the beauty of the country.

As I was sharing the gospel with a group of students at this school, I noticed the teachers nodding in accordance to the things I was saying. These teachers came up to us afterwards and with a new light in their eyes said, "Brother and sister, I will see you again when we are with Jesus!" I can't explain to you what it feels like to hear something like that.
This is one of my favorite pictures. Don't you love the umbrellas? Everywhere we went there were rice fields.
I loved making the kids laugh by speaking the phrases I knew in their language. The only things I remember now are "Mahal ka ng Diyos" (but I don't remember what it means) and "buhay na walang hanggang"...I think it means "life is good but eternal is better."
The children stole my heart once again.

This was the most interesting I ate while I was there...and yes, I ate it. Most of the food was absolutely delicious and the people were so hospitible! I especially love the mangos. You haven't eaten a mango until you've eaten a mango from the Philippines!
We stayed at a place near this beach for the last week I was there. They have brown sand here, not like the beaches in the States, but still beautiful nonetheless.

Some of the team came back from my first trip, like the lovely girl to my right and her sister. One of my favorite parts of the day was getting to hear everyone's testimony on our long treks from school to school. Every day there were different people in your group, so there was always a new testimony to hear.


At one school they asked us to sing for a large group. Since I was the only singer in the group, I steped up to the plate and sang "How Deep the Father's Love." I don't think I've ever sung better in my entire life or ever will. It was a powerful moment to be singing of how God sent His Son to die for us, for them, though we were the ones who had sinned against God. I stood there singing and praying that the love of God would penetrate the hearts of these people, the ones He died for. I'll never forget it.

By the end of the trip, I was very ready to come home to see my man (and family too). I was excited to come home because I knew that this wasn't the end. My life had a mission - to make Jesus famous and God had just led me to man walking down that same path. Though it was not as soul-shaking as my first trip, I came back with a new love for sharing the gospel. I wish I could tell you that I was incredibly focused on the Lord after that, but first relationship ever had my head more that a little in the clouds...but there is more to come about that in the next "where I've been" post.

21 comments:

Kaycie said...

This looks so incredible! My brother went there for a couple of years and ever since I've wanted to visit and just help.

Krysta said...

Beautiful. I love this "where I have been"-I can't wait to see the next post.

Haley K said...

STUNNING photos...and such touching stories! I loved when you wrote about the teachers telling you they'll see you again when we're all with Jesus. :) And how you felt you've never sang better...Oh I wish I could've been there to listen!! I've never heard the song, but the message you talked about is beautiful, and so true. I can only imagine how grateful they were for you sharing your talent :) My sister-in-law Katie served a mission in the Phillipines for 18 months and she said the people there are some of the most humble and Christ-like she's ever met :) Thank you for sharing your experience with us Jennifer!

Kristen said...

Your so lucky to go to somewhere that is so beautiful; nature, children, even the Mango's!

Mary said...

Wow...how beautiful! I would love to go on mission trips some day...if thats what God wants me to do...but I must admit, I'm a bit jealous of you:)
Love this post and pictures!<3

Vivian said...

Awww..you make me wish to be there. The fish soup looks great..I grew up eating that stuff...and mangos..YUM I'm eating one as I write this post! Another reason why I lOVE summer...mangoes everywhere...even at Walmart LOL

Notes She Wrote said...

Wow, beautiful stories! You are an incredible person. Thank you so much for sharing!

notesshewrote.blogspot.com

Laura said...

ah, I love all these photos! That is wonderful you had that experience, I hope to do something like that myself when I am older. That fish, oh, I can't believe you ate that! I don't think I could in a life time. :)
Laura.
www.luluanddumps.blogspot.com

Jessica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica said...

The Philippines looks like such a beautiful country! It reminds me of my home, PNG. Thank you for sharing the photos and testifying of how God used you there, Jennifer. :)

bonjourvictoria said...

i'm so encouraged by your blog! i too, have a heart for missions, and have been so blessed to already have taken part in two trips this summer- one to romania, one to seattle. thanks for letting your blog glorify the Lord and inspire a little college girl like me! xo

Gelai said...

Awwwww, this post makes my heart melt. "Mahal ka ng Diyos" means "God loves you" and "buhay na walang hanggan" is "eternal life". Maraming salamat (thank you) for your kind words! I hope to meet you someday when you come back here in the Philippines!

Ingat (take care) at (and) pagpalain ka ng Diyos (God bless you!)

Natalie @ NS Pottery said...

I was thoroughly enjoying your photos (very pretty!!) until I got to the one with eyes in a bowl! haha Looks, amazing there. I've never been to another country (expect Canada- but that doesn't count) :)

Annie said...

i'm loving this series of yours. can't wait to read the next installment!

SavedthruLove said...

i started crying when I read the part about you singing the best you had ever sang. I totally understand what you mean. You were so in alignment with the spirit and Gods will at that moment that your voice was the last thing you cared about. Spilling the love of God within you was all that anyone probably heard that day. I feel like I was there in some odd way. ha ha I AM QUITE the nut.

Love you!!!

♥cheche

http://savedthrulove.blogspot.com

denise* paper angels said...

amazing! i wanna go to the philippines now too :) thanks for sharing :) God is truly the God of the whole world isn't he :) x

Mariel Sarah said...

Beautiful pictures! Both of my parents are from the Philippines (but they met here in the US), but finances and time have prevented them from going back/bringing us kids to visit. All of our family is here now, so there really isn't a reason to go back unless we did a mission trip, which I would love to do someday! Filipinos are just naturally so warm-hearted, so it is amazing to see God working in their hearts. Oh, and you're right, some food is interesting, but it all just tastes SO good! :) My dad's church ministers to the Filipino community in Milwaukee, and their fellowship lunches are the BEST! hahaha.

And i think "Mahal ka ng Diyos" means God loves you. I don't speak Tagalog, but recognize a lot of it and know that one from a song. Someday I will finally buckle down and learn my parents native tongue!!

AmyLee said...

wow, looks like an amazing trip! and holy cow, i can't believe you ate that :) how was it??

Ana(space)Patricia said...

Filipina girl here. Recently discovered this blog of yours and it's. so. amazing.

Glory to God for the wonderful experience you had here in the Philippines! Following you now. Looking forward to more of your posts!

Rhoda said...

Been there several times, but not on a missions' trip! (My mom is from there).

Love this! Love that the Lord is working through you! :)

Ainsley Sy said...

"Mahal ka ng Diyos" means "God loves you" ("Diyos" means "God"). "Buhay ng walang hanggan" means "life without end" (eternal life).

Your entries are so inspiring and encouraging. Time and again I've been challenged to grow, to know God deeper, to love others more. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

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