The past couple of days have been jam packed with new experiences so I decided to write now, even though I’m dead tired, so I won’t forget. On Sunday, we went to two different church services. The first service was at Charis’ old congregation and had a lively choir and kind staff. The one thing I noticed is that when I walked by a large crowd of people, they all wanted to shake my hand. It just goes to show the kindheartedness of Filipino culture. Then we went to an international church in downtown Manila that had a massive congregation. We were told that each service (four of them in all) had about 3000 attendees each. That’s like my church back home except multiplied by 12 for the whole day! The pastor was very good though, had a great sermon, and was very talented at speaking and getting everybody to laugh. After experiencing the big church, we headed to the Megamall for lunch and shopping. When I say that this was Megamall, I really mean it was a mega mall. I’ve never seen so many shops in my entire life. Take the biggest mall you’ve ever seen in your entire life and multiply it by 12 (just like the church). We had lunch at this Chinese food restaurant and went to a cultural shop that had Filipino souvenirs in it. As in many Asian countries, there were karaoke machines in the shop we were in and being the Asian that I am, couldn’t help but sing a little. You can ask Chris Reynolds later for videos since he videotaped me singing and the girl behind me singing with me. Oh the joys of being in the Philippines.
From Monday on, we have been helping with school and after school with the kids from the orphanage and from around the community. Basically, our days have consisted of waking up at 7:30 am, going to school and help teachers with class (I help with math), get a lunch break, teach some more, go to the orphanage after school to play basketball and hang out with the children, eat dinner, then do songs and devotions with the children before reading them bedtime stories and putting them to bed. To say the least, after every long day, I crash onto my bed and fall asleep, even though we are probably sleeping in about 82 degree weather with humidity. But these past days have been such a blessing. I absolutely love helping the children to learn different concepts and that it is actually sticking with them. I love playing basketball with the boys and having them laugh when I try to dunk on kiddy baskets. I love worshipping with all the children because they try to sing at the top of their little lungs to praise God. And most of all, I love hanging out with them before bed, reading them bedtime stories and talking about my faith and their lives before the lights are turned off.
Now we have one last day with them before we head off to the village where we will be experiencing totally new things and I know I will probably be out of my comfort zone but that will be just fine. This summer has been about me being out of my comfort zone and embracing that to experience God in a whole new way. I Love It!!!! I would just ask for prayers over out team’s safety and health as we go to the village and that it would be a blessed experience for everyone. Hopefully I won’t be so tired next time I write one of these blogs.