When I met the people in Mindoro and Batangas, my first impression was that they were very friendly. The people there were also very enthusiastic and receptive. They sang passionately without being driven by music or atmosphere. In Mindoro’s church, the instruments used were very simple, only guitar and cajon. Sometimes, no instrument at all. Yet, they could still sing joyfully.
Although I also noticed, some of the younger teens were still quite shy to blend in with the others. Mangyan (indigenous group at Mindoro) in particular, they were very shy. And when I washed their hands, some of them tried to cover the lump on their hands and feet. We could also help them with their physical needs. Batangas and Bigain were also very friendly. They were very thirsty and hungry for God.
Summary of the trip
Day 1 - Traveling.
Arrived safely through wind and sea, although there were difficulties in getting to the ferry.
Day 2 - Mindoro’s church.
In the morning we prayed at capitol no Occidental Mindoro (Governor’s palace). Then, we went to the church for induction, kids ministry, youth and adult services, and fellowship with the workers in Mindoro.
Day 3 - Serving the Mangyan.
We went and ministered to the Mangyan tribe. For the first group, I washed their hands and feet. For the second group, I cut their nails. The people from the local church showed us how to do those and helped us to communicate with the Mangyans. We travelled back to Batangas at night.
Day 4 - Fellowship with the Batangas community.
We had workers prayer meeting and also prayer, praise and worship equipping. We shared about prayer, praise and worship. For the technical, we shared about chord progression. They still remembered ko Ben’s teaching. eg. using ‘hand signal’. We practiced with keyboard here. So, I attached a copy of the chord progression sheet. I gave them because I noticed they tend to always use the same progression. I hoped it would be useful for them.
Day 5. Sunday service ministry.
The sermon was taken from John 4 (living water), followed with COOL activity for the youth. Me and Paulii were in the same group. The topic was about spiritual gifts. We explained about the type of gifts, the purpose, and the unity in the body and love.
It was a great experience to minister the excluded society. It reminded me of God’s love reaching out to us although we do not deserve Him. It also inspired me when I heard the story from the pastors and ministers in Mindoro, of how they have the heart and passion for Mangyan, although these people are the least of all in Mindoro. But they were willing to let go of their comfort and be with them and serve the Mangyans. They reminded me of the Macedonian, who are physically not as fortunate but are very rich in the spirit.
I can see how we all have different gifts yet every one of them really complement each other. None of these gifts are better than the others, as they will not work well without one or the others. God also allocated us in Bigain perfectly, although I was not happy with the changes at first. But I could see that it was God’s plan so the church could be blessed more. I could see how each member contributed according to what God has put in our heart beforehand and saw how God’s works were real. Really grateful to see how God worked on that Sunday.
Personally, I thought I would mostly be playing music, but I realised God wanted me to do something more. It was a step out of my comfort zone, it was not easy for me to initiate conversation with someone I just met. Also Ps. Gideon kept reminding us not to make a group of our own. Instead, we needed to mingle with the locals. It was also not easy for me to speak in front of many people, let alone to preach. But I realised God has prepared me before the trip, to share God’s Word in my COOL before I went for this trip. I know it was not me, but God who gave me strength, compassion and wisdom to speak and pray for people.
Jane shared about the dance ministry, that the dancers are now serving God every Sunday. It has been a blessing for the congregation there. When she shared about this, I was very happy to hear that. It is just like what is written in the Bible, whatever we do for the Lord will not be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). And the Word that are proceeded from His mouth will not return to Him empty (Isaiah 55:11).