Hope for the Island Canada Board Member, Charlene shares about her recent visit to the Philippines.
The sights and sounds of Dapa greeted me as I walked off the boat and headed from the port into town. Vendors were selling their fruit and vegetable produce. Trikes and multi cabs were honking at each other as they transported their fares to various destinations. The smells of roasting chicken and other delicacies wafted through the air as the lunch hour approached. I smiled and with tears in my eyes, I knew I was back home just where I belonged!
In the midst of numerous trials and struggles here in Canada this past year, my Lord once again answered my prayer and sent me across the world back to Hope for the Island for my fourth visit. Brian and Elaine and my husband Dennis joined me. It is always so good to see our extended family again. What a joy to get to know and spend time with some of the newer additions to Hope – Jerry and Ching, Leah, Janice, Jennifer, Gina and Govani!
I went to town every chance I could. I love embracing the every day life of Burgos, watching rice drying on the road, women sweeping or baking bread and mostly loved watching the kids play and call out our names as we walked by. The kids know how to make fun from anything! Whether its a 2-boy ride on a skate board or my favourite was a boy with a roller blade on only one foot and a flip flop on his elbow for a pad! He zoomed and raced with big smiles having the most fun ever!
One memory I will cherish always was my visits with JoyJoy. She sits quietly on her porch listening to her favourite praise and worship music from within the house and sings the songs quietly to herself. As we walk up and sit beside her and embrace her small hands her infectious smile beams and she warmly invites us to sit with her a while. I learned a Visayan song “Sa Presentia”. JoyJoy said she knew the song and I held back tears as JoyJoy and I sang that precious worship song together.
Saturday morning Kid’s Ministry was a joy to be a part of! I love spending time with the kids singing songs, playing games and learning Bible verses as a lesson is shared from God’s Word. The children soon knew my name as we all sat together coloring our Bible lesson. We then provide a hot nutritious lunch for each of them.
On hot afternoons at Hope, children will wander over either to play a game in the sand or chat together under the shade of a coconut tree. Those were perfect times for the making of fun animal balloons for everyone! What fun to watch them giggle and smile as they ran around playing with their new found toy!
No matter what the task, no matter what is required or needed, I am happy to serve in whatever capacity at Hope for the Island. At times, the tasks take their toll on my physical body in such a hot humid climate, but for me they seem effortless. My joy and inner strength come from His strength and grace. I have returned to Canada knowing God will once again send me to Hope for the Island next year. I pray for Derek, Jenn, Makana and Brison and for the Hope Staff as they continue to serve their God showcasing the love of our Lord Jesus Christ to each and every person they encounter.