This post is brought to you by Kristy H, fellow blogger and inspiring guest author here at Her Perspective Collective. Follow Kristy’s blog by visiting http://philoscupcakes.wordpress.com/.
A ‘heart plunge’ mission trip is exactly what it is made out to be. When you go on a ‘heart plunge’ your heart is well and truly pulled out, twisted, cut up, hurt, changed, challenged and put back into place. You see things you haven’t seen; you smell things you have never smelt; your whole world is changed from the time you have been on this trip and after.
My experience of this happened in the Philippines – I really should add that even though there are a lot of hard things, there are also a lot of amazing things. Something to remember is that God’s joy outweighs all things.
I have been over there twice now and have absolutely loved it and grown from the experiences I have had on my visits. My absolute favourite part of our trip is seeing our sponsor children. When we meet our sponsor children it is just incredible to physically see the person you have been writing to for however long – the feeling is one of a kind.
My sponsor child, Melissa is a very bright young girl who wants to be an English teacher. Since visiting Melissa last year her English has improved which is so exciting and means she is making progress with her studies. She is also very healthy and happy which is a blessing.
Meeting Melissa has been such an eye opener for me. On the trip we do ‘house visits’ where we get to go and see their living situation first hand. The first year, Melissa’s family wouldn’t let me inside their house. This was rather hard for me, especially after hearing the stories from the others about how it was to see their child’s house and their situation. So this years’ trip I asked again if I could look inside their house, and they let me. From what I experienced last trip – I had no idea how hard their situation was and for me that was hard. I would love to tell you all about it, but out of respect for the family I will not share their circumstances with you. But I am so thankful that I now know their situation and that I can further support them.
Last year as we were making our way back to Manilla we stopped in Calapan and were able to meet with one of the Compassion projects there. We took part in a house visit to one of the families that weren’t yet sponsored. The family were not in a great situation, not just financially, but there were family matters there that were, and still are, a struggle. A group of us decided that we would like to help them financially.
This year we were able to meet with that same family and see how they were going – and their family situation hadn’t changed BUT their living situation did. You could just tell there was such a difference in the mother’s attitude you couldn’t help but be overjoyed about everything that had changed in this beautiful woman’s life. She was happy! We took them out for lunch at a restaurant which they had never experienced – the smiles and bright eyes of the kids were something that just had to be seen! We then said our emotional good-byes and prayed for them. The feelings that I had after seeing that family again were a mixture of sadness, happiness, gratefulness and encouragement. I say encouragement because I couldn’t help but be so happy to see what this mother had done for her family. The family and mother are in safe hands thanks to Compassion.
Which leads me into the next thing I want to tell you about – Compassion! This organisation is hands down one of the best child sponsorship organisations around. The way they deal with our personal finances, how it impacts the family (because we need to remember we may be sponsoring a child but really we are sponsoring a whole family – in my case two!), how they assist the family in making good decisions, the encouragement, the prayer, the passion, the love … I could seriously go on! Within the projects are compassion workers who devote their lives to God and his children within the projects. They will do whatever it takes for these children and their families. Their testimonies are incredible and their love, faith and hope are so contagious. I take my hat off to the project coordinators. Incredible!
We also had the honour and privilege to meet some of the indigenous community who are named “Mangyans”. These guys work and work and work out in the fields everyday from early in the morning till late in the afternoon in time for dinner. The community we visited had a church right smack bang in the middle of the community built by Korean missionaries. Surrounding that were about 30 or so little huts where they would only sleep. It was here where I realised how bad we are doing at this thing we call “community” back home. They would only use their little abodes for sleeping – the rest of the time they were out working – or playing games together – or cooking! These guys may have seemed to be poor – but they were so rich in love, hope and community, it was incredible.
We were invited into their church building where we got to ask the community questions about what they did and at the end we got to pray for them and get photos taken with them. As we were leaving we left them some rice and other useful bits and pieces for them. We soon found out that they actually hadn’t eaten for three days before us coming and they saw it as a blessing from our God and were forever grateful. When I heard that news – it filled my heart – to know that we could do such little when it was their greatest need – they glorified God for the provision. It was such a blessing meeting this community – I hope do to more when I return.
To finish this off I want to share with you how we experienced our “Australia Day” there. As a team we decided to put together an Australian Day dinner for all the leaders we met up with during our stay to simply bless them and let them know just how thankful we are for them and the work they do. We whipped out the footy, frisbee and cricket gear and we got to teach them some of our pretty incredible sports (which they ALL picked up so so well). We also brought out the green and yellow zinc and painted out faces with it, put on Australian flag tattoos and other Australian things up as decorations – we seriously went all out! We made coleslaw, potato salad, and of course we needed to add something they would actually eat – so we made a rice salad! We got one of the local resultants to cook and prepare hamburgers for us also. We had all the fizzy cordial you could imagine and made so much punch! It was crazy – like I said – we went all out!
So we played, we sat and ate, spoke to one another and celebrated everything that had happened over the past few weeks. The bible college students did a few dances for us, we shared communion, prayed and thanked the projects from the bottom of our hearts. At the end of the gathering there were many photos taken, tears, laughter and “see you soon’s” said. For me it was just such an incredible experience seeing all these people who do so much for the projects, the children and the families it brought me to tears both of sadness and joy! We later were told that would have been the first time that all of those people would have combined and spoken to each other in that kind of way. That just blew me away – to think they have never come together like that before to be in fellowship with one another just threw me. But what a blessing it was to be able to bring them all together like we did.
To sum it all up – I have had the privilege and honour to be able to travel to the Philippines twice to do this ‘Heart Plunge’ and both times have changed me, challenged me and encouraged me about my own life, my possessions and my actions back here in my world. Something you can take from this is that the poor may be poor in possessions – but they are rich in love, joy, hope and faith – which is worth so much more than anything you could ever own. I hope me sharing my experience has inspired you to either consider visiting a place like the Philippines – look into sponsoring a child – or something as simple as reassessing some of the things in your life. A quote I found today:
“The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.”
– Chuck Palahniuk
Thanks for reading,