BE SENT: Back to the Philippines
Meet Glen Earle. Glen has been serving with CBM’s SENT Program, which provides Canadians with hands-on global discipleship experiences, here in Roxas City, Capiz, Philippines for the past number of weeks. Glen was part of a SENT team from Kingston Baptist and Midland Baptist (New Brunswick) last November and decided he wanted to ‘be sent’ again this year to continue serving and learning alongside our ministry partners, Kabuganaan Philippines Ministries.
Earlier this week we had an opportunity to ask Glen a few questions about himself and what has led him to the Philippines for a second time in as many years.
Q1: What can you tell us about yourself?
I am from Erbs Cove, New Brunswick and am married to Lynda for the past 27 years. Our son, Jordan is 18, and we are members at Kingston Baptist Church in Kingston, NB. I retired after almost 25 years of service with Manulife Travel Insurance and currently run a small business helping people who have struggled finding meaningful employment.
Q2: Last year you were part of CBM’s SENT program to the Philippines with a team from Kingston and Midland Baptist in NB. What can you tell us about that SENT experience?
When we travelled to the Philippines last year I was simply awestruck with the work in the field and the Filipino culture. All of us were moved with the challenges and at times worked to exhaustion as we assisted with the building of the Hopevale Baptist Church and Centre for Community Transformation and Peace. It was psychically tough because of the heavy work and extremely heavy rain. When the trip ended, I knew God wanted me to return.
I have been told many times that I have a heart bigger than my head. All kidding aside, it is considered a compliment. My heart was touched and left me wanting to do more long before the SENT program was completed.
Q3: Often times people talk about the transformation that these cross-cultural ministry experiences produce in their own lives. Can you tell us how your SENT experience in the Philippines last November impacted you?
I have been very blessed to have had the opportunity to travel many times all over the world. Transformation? Without question; what we saw on this trip wasn’t especially new as it was meaningful.
The people were so incredibly genuine and grateful for any effort we put forth. At times they were in shock that everyone on the team worked as hard as we did, and that people would come from the other side of the world to assist after the natural disasters. I like to think we all did this for them but regardless of the hard work and conditions we took more away than we could have given. The experience inspired me to make some significant changes in my own life.
Q4: Do you have a story you could share of how you saw God working in a way you weren’t expecting?
At the end of one day I was exhausted and dirty from lugging 100-pound bags of dirt and gravel. We mixed cement by hand on the ground and bailed the mixture in forms with buckets. I was completely spent, dirty and soar. There were no showers or running water, so I decided to walk down the valley to a very shallow stream. As I sat in the 3 inches of water bathing 3 little boys came along. They played at a distance for awhile until I cast the first splash. Game ON! The laughter was amazing but hearing the laughter from the elders in the village is when I realized that God created this moment for us. I was sitting in a stream on the other side of the world laughing with children and entertaining the elders. It was then that I understood that we were truly accepted into the community and that the only difference between the two cultures was miles. We worship a loving God, we love our families and we share the same dreams. Simply profound.
Q5: So, you decided to come back again this year. Can you share with us what led to your decision to return through CBM’s SENT program?
Yes, I decided to return again this year on my own. I honestly made the decision to return prior to leaving the Philippines last year. The work here has just begun even though I don’t know how it will look in the future. My wife and I discussed it many times when I returned home and agreed that this chapter was still being written. I was so inspired with the people in Hopevale and their love of community and God. They are inspiring. During countless hours of reflection and prayer I knew this was where I needed to be.
Q6: What has been the highlight of this experience? What has been the most challenging?
My return has been exceptional in countless ways; however not an easy journey. I have been working in the very poor community of Libas outside of Roxas City. To be honest I was shocked to see that the community is struggling more than what we witnessed from last year. There was more waste lying around, open sewerage and hungry children. Some of the children had very little clothing to wear and were malnourished. Most children suffered from significant lack of dental care as well. It broke my heart and honestly, I doubted my ability to stay and help. That first night I went back to my guest house and spent most of the night reflecting on the sad conditions and praying for guidance and strength to continue. The next morning the sun was shining bright and all was right with the world!
Through family and friends, enough funds were raised to purchase educational toys for the Libas Childcare Center and paint both the inside and outside of the building. I was able to work along side Pastor Celeste, teach classes, and lead several Bible Studies in the community. I cannot tell you the feeling when you can genially help someone and know it has all been inspired through God. What I have taken away is far greater than I could ever give.
I have also had the pleasure to see other ministries here. Most recently the interfaith development in Mindaneo; simply remarkable. Understanding how this ministry has implemented a program so that both Christians and Muslims can come along and understand each other’s faith is truly a blessing. With their new understanding comes reconciliation and peace.
Q7: What would you say to someone who is considering, or maybe has never considered, participating with CBM’s SENT program?
There is an opportunity to participate in a CBM SENT program for almost everyone and I cannot stress how rewarding it is. There are many to choose from and everyone can offer something to the program. It isn’t just the physical work; it is about connecting with other people, sharing our walk with Christ and understanding other cultures. Praying with the poor and letting them know we truly care has been one of the most rewarding gifts. I spent a morning with Pastor Dave visiting patients at Capiz Emmanuel Hospital.
Praying with the sick and holding their hand while listening to their story was a tremendous gift to everyone.
Be prepared and work with your home church prior to leaving. Financial support for the ministry goes a very long way but witnessing how that support is being used provides great satisfaction and instills a giving heart.
Do your research and talk with CBM’s field staff in the area so you can better understand the needs. God has given all of us unique talents that can be used in the field. I won’t hesitate to tell you it is tough and very emotional at times. However, it has been one of the greatest experiences of my life and I hope to continue to do this as long as God grants me the ability.
If you would like more information on CBM’s SENT Program, which provides Canadians with hands-on global discipleship experience, please contact Adrian Gardner, and he will be happy to discuss future opportunities to the Philippines or any other field where CBM is working.
If you are interested in becoming a Partner-in-Mission with our family, please contact Barb Keys (firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-905-821-3533) at Canadian Baptist Ministries. You can also visit their website at www.cbmin.org to give online or for more information. We are only able to follow God’s leading in our lives thanks to the monthly support of generous individuals and churches.
All donations of $10.00 or more will receive a charitable tax receipt at year end.
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