Our Trip to Manila, Philippines – Sept 11th to 20th
We had the amazing opportunity to travel to Manila, Philippines from September 11th to 20th. It was a week filled with emotions as we anticipate and consider the many details of our eventual move to Manila. The purpose of our trip was ‘exploratory’ in nature. We went to consider what life and ministry would be like in Manila, for us as a couple and for our four kids.
We came home from our trip with probably more questions then we went with, but we returned with a deep sense that God is in all of this and that He would continue to make the way clear for us. We felt completely affirmed in our calling to join God in what He is already doing in the Philippines and we are so excited to be joining the amazing CBM team that is being formed there.
What follows is a brief overview (Highlights) of our week in Manila.
We arrived in Manila late Saturday evening (12th) and were greeted by our new CBM Colleagues, Duane & Carin Guthrie. We had skyped with the Guthrie’s a number of times but this was our first time to meet them face to face. Our friendship was quickly formed and grew deeper throughout the week. They took us back to their home to settle in, freshen up and get some much needed sleep after a long 27 hours of flights and airports.
Sunday morning we ventured out for the first time on the public transit system to make our way to a nearby church plant at CWC Eastwood. They are meeting in a vocational college. It was a great morning of worship and teaching. Later that evening we had the privilege of sharing a meal with some of the World Venture team members that are serving at Faith Academy as dorm parents and teachers. It was really great to get to know them and share our stories with each other. They gave us some really great advice for moving a family to the Philippines.
On Monday we left Duane & Carin’s home around 9am to go visit the Missional Business Center (MBC) in Addition Hills. This is a great center that is doing some amazing work for the people in their community. MCB is run by a man named Bronno from the Netherlands and he has an incredible heart for his community. He, with help from a few nationals, is helping people develop small business ideas, write business plans, helps them start-up and then journey’s with them for the first year of business to help ensure their success.
Later that afternoon we had the opportunity to continue our orientation of the Manila transit system by riding the LTR sky train. It is a very efficient form of transportation but extremely over crowded. Throughout the week we had the opportunity to try various forms of public transit including Jeepney’s, Trike’s, UV Express vans, Taxi’s, and Uber.
On Tuesday we made our way over to Faith Academy by Trike (and a long, hot walk up a steep hill) to visit the school that all four of our kids will attend while in Manila. Faith Academy is a school that was founded to support missionary families by offering top quality education rooted in the Christian faith. It was founded by missionary families over 50 years ago and remains a school that is committed to supporting missionary families by taking great care of missionary kids from around the world. We were so impressed by Faith and their staff and we look forward to our kids getting a great education from this amazing school.Later that afternoon we joined up with Emo & Kathy Yango, colleagues working with CBM in the southern Philippines. The Yango’s are awesome and it was so great to share Yellow Cab Pizza together while having great conversations and learning from their experiences in the Philippines. Emo & Kathy work in Theological education as well as in community development with various community partners. Emo & Kathy were able to spend parts of the next few days with us which gave way for some great team building time as we talked, laughed, explored and learned together.
We also had the opportunity to meet a young couple serving with SEND Canada in Manila, Trent & Christine Rollings. This enthusiastic young couple is beginning to explore opportunities within the context of Business for Mission enterprise. They are learning the craft of fine Coffee and are involved in some really cutting edge ministry within the urban culture of Manila. We are really excited to see how these two develop this ministry.
On Thursday we journeyed downtown Manila to take part in a cultural, historical and political learning tour of Manila and the Philippines. We were lead by Bryan, a Filipino who is committed to help educate those who are interested in learning more about Filipino culture, history and politics. Bryan is a committed follower of Jesus and that is evident by his commitment to help others learn and grow in their understanding of the Gospel. This was by far that hardest day that we had in Manila as we encountered extreme poverty and excessive wealth all in the same hour. At the conclusion of our day we stopped for a late lunch and we sat around reflecting on what we saw and heard, and what we would take away from our experiences of the day.
On our final day in Manila Duane & Carin sent us off by ourselves on a ‘treasure hunt’. The hunt consisted of getting ourselves to Mega Mall (using public transit) to do some shopping for souvenirs for our kids, then make our way across the city to meet them for a coffee at the Krispy Kreme Donut shop in the BGC (Bonafacio Global City). In case you are wondering, we made out just fine, although we were 15 minutes late to our final destination (although in Manila that’s not really late)! It was quite an adventure for the two of us, who grew up in the country, to find our way around a city of 24 million people. We felt quite accomplished for just 6 days in the country!
We had an absolutely amazing week exploring Manila. We only began to scratch the surface of all the possibilities and opportunities Manila presents. We are beyond excited (and slightly overwhelmed) that we get to serve the Lord in a place like this and with people like these. Our experiences would not have been the same if it not for the wonderful hospitality of Duane & Carin, and their kids Caleb & Paige. They are the best and we count it a blessing to be forming a new team focused on Marketplace Ministry with the two of them. (If you would like to see more pictures of our time in Manila look for the blue button on the right hand side of this page titled ‘Manila Photos’)
Are you wondering what Marketplace Ministry is all about? Stay tuned to our blog in the coming weeks/months as we will be unpacking some of this for you.
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If you would like to become a Partner in Mission please contact Barbara Keys at email@example.com or visit our Partner-in-Mission page at http://www.cbmin.org/who-we-are/field-staff/michael-melanie-waddell/