My name is Wendy and I had the opportunity and privilege to serve at Hope for the Island with a mission team from Cross Church in Winnipeg. All 17 of us had a wonderful time sharing God’s love by serving and using the gifts and talents God has given to us in a variety of ways.
We had a fantastic time working alongside the Hope staff, who day in and day out faithfully serve the Lord and the people on the island. We spent time with youth and children who regularly visit Hope. The love of Jesus was shared in tangible ways as we spent time with them. We did acting classes as well as volleyball and baseball camps. Relationships were made, all had fun and we made some great memories! I praise God for the amazing things He is doing in the lives of the people there.
Other opportunities included doing outreaches in two different towns or barangays as they are called. There, we were able to connect with kids and adults of all ages and share the Gospel with them. We had lots of fun singing, sharing Bible stories and playing games with the kids. What a sight to see even the adults joining in a game of musical chairs and dancing the “Hokey Pokey”. We also took part in handing out Bags of Hope for the children that included small toys and simple toiletries among other things. There were quilts and clothing for the adults; things we tend to take for granted in North America. It was thrilling to see the look of joy on their faces.
It was amazing to visit with believers in their homes in Burgos. God reminded me of this verse of scripture while we were there: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself untainted from the world.” James 1:27 ESV
During my visit with a widow named Florencia or Nanay Floring, we had a great time in fellowship and God really opened my eyes and made me think about how I live my life back home. We brought a love gift for her and in the bag was a towel. I will never forget the look of happiness on her face as she wrapped the towel around her shoulders, snuggled right in and giggled to herself. All this because of a towel!
After a time of prayer for her failing eyesight, we asked if she had any other prayers requests. She very simply replied, “I have everything I need”. Looking around, I couldn’t help but think how little she had, but how content she was. For me, it was a humbling experience realizing how blessed I really am and what “things” bring me joy and what I could be without.
Our time at Hope was filled with many wonderful experiences and we learned a lot from everyone we met. We are so thankful to God first and foremost and give Him ALL the honour and glory! And we are so thankful to Derek and Jenn and the rest of the Hope staff for allowing us to come to serve and love the people of Siargao Island.