May 22, 2012
Written by Johanna (17)
I recently went through a small box filled with memorabilia from my trip to the Philippine Islands, remembering my first real mission trip. It was over a year ago, yet everything is as clear as a bell to me. I was very excited about my trip, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that mission work is not romantic at all! Of course, I expected conditions to be different than in America, but I found myself shocked by the extent of differences. I still have vivid pictures in my mind of little children taking care of small babies, and of young boys begging for food and money, and yet still of the cramped hut that a family of 4 lived in. The “house” was probably as big as my bedroom – maybe even smaller. The people and the poverty that they lived in broke my heart many times, yet in the midst of it God was there. The mission team I was with ministered the word of God to the many people who came and I sat amazed at how hungry they were for God. The Filipinos gave testimony after testimony of how blessed they were with this word and how it was changing their lives for the better. Their hunger and desire for more of God overwhelmed me with my own lack of commitment and zeal for the things of the kingdom. I pray that God would give me a soft heart that hungers after Him!
Our time in the Philippines was very busy with conference meetings, traveling to new locations and the meeting of new people. While there, we also visited Sister Merlinda’s school, Kingdom Message Ministry Foundation, in Butuan, which is one of my favorite memories. I looked out at the students with their sweet faces and brown eyes looking curiously at us and felt my heart melt. It was so beautiful and amazing to see what God was doing there. The Bible says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Having seven younger siblings, I know how impressionable children’s minds can be; this can be for good or for bad. If children see people in their lives doing or saying things that are not pleasing to the Lord, what do you think they begin to do? However, in the converse, if children have authorities in their lives that are seeking after the Lord and striving to overcome, they will follow their example. So many times now children are not given good examples, but at Kingdom Message School they are being given the opportunity to have a solid foundation. Not only do they learn the alphabet and numbers, they learn about the Bible and the Creator who made them and how He loves each one of them. These children will have been given a strong foundation in the Lord and will be as lights going out into the world to share this gospel with many others who are searching for truth. That is why I have chosen to sponsor a child at the school. If in this way I can help with the work and spreading of the gospel in the Philippines, I will.
God is in the process of putting together His body – and it’s not limited only to our local fellowships. His body is throughout the world, and we cannot neglect to help those in other places, whether it is though prayer, mission work, or financial aid.
My trip to the Philippines was a life-changing event and I will never be the same. It has opened my eyes to the world beyond my comfortable life here in America. I pray to God that we as people might rise up and begin to do the tasks that God has set before us. May God bless each one of you.
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14)