IU Chi Alpha Philippines Missions Trip
In March of 2016, during spring break, a team of 5 IU Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship members traveled 26 hours to an island in the Philippines called Coron. We spent the week learning about life in the Philippines as well as helping build a kitchen for a local elementary school.
✈ The Travel
It took over 26 hours to make it to the island. The sheer amount of time we spent traveling was exhausting but it went by fast being around awesome people and getting to sleep on the planes!
Bloomington, Indiana → Chicago, Illinois → Seoul, South Korea → Coron, Philippines → Busuanga, Philippines
Working at Lajala Elementary School
We spent three full days working at the Lajala Elementary School where we helped lay a foundation, move dirt, put up roof trusses, and build tables for a new kitchen for the Feed One feeding program. Its safe to say that after three full days working in the Philippine sun we were tired!
At the end of the third day, we started to see significant progress of what we had helped build alongside the local Filipino workers.
Visiting Other Feed One Programs
We spent one day traveling across the island visiting other schools where the Philippines Feed One Coordinator, Jeff Co, had other Feed One feeding programs. Jeff travels by boat, dirt bike, and van to distribute boxes of food and supplies to 11 different elementary schools per week! He is a true hero and we experienced, firsthand, the experience of navigating mountainous terrain and dangerous roads in order to make it to these remote villages where the schools were located. For example, it took us 2 hours to make it to our first school. We road in a van that drove across a bumpy and dusty path. By the time we finally arrived I was feeling very car sick!
Another amazing experience was getting able to pray, worship, and learn more about God’s love with the Filipino church. We were able to attend a Wednesday night prayer meeting and a Sunday morning church service. Although it was hard to understand the sermon just being present amongst fellow believers in a entirely different culture half way across the world was amazing.
Meeting the People
Meeting the people was one of the best parts of the trip. It is one of the main reasons I keep going on short-term missions trips. Watching a video online about the people can be inspiring and help provide better context but there is nothing better than being in the hometown of local person and looking them in the eye and hearing their story. Living amongst the local Filipino people for a week in their culture was a special experience. Their love for their country and for each other was evident. When talking to local Filipino Christians, their love for God and passion for what He is doing in their nation is exciting.
Exploring the Island
One of the last days in the Philippines we were able to take a day to explore the islands around us. We went snorkeling, ate lunch at a beachside resort, and traveled by boat to many smaller islands. Being around such beauty was an unforgettable experience.
Things I Learned
Water is Essential
I never fully realized how important water is to life. I have taken it for granted my entire life. Being able to access clean water to drink, use to wash dishes, take baths, and grow food is crucial to a community being able to live healthy lives. Jeff told me that when a community receives fresh water for the first time it brings them hope. Hope for a better life for them and future generations. They are able to find jobs and a better education because they don’t have to spend hours a day walking to get water. For me this added more weight to the verse in the Bible where it talks about Jesus being the living water that we drink and never thirst again. Jesus is the ultimate hope and when we have Him we are able to live a life full of eternal purpose.
Love is Urgent
I learned how urgent our love for others must be. Seeing the missionaries urgency for feeding the physical and spiritual needs of their communities was refreshing. We need to approach our daily lives with the same kind of urgency with the people God has placed in our lives. That means being fearless in going deep into conversation with someone. Living an unselfish daily life dedicated to others around us. Taking the time to listen to peoples stories and being unashamed to share the love of Jesus with them. Don’t wait to love your friends, family, and coworkers tomorrow. Love today.
God’s Creation is Breathtaking
Over the years, I have been taken back by beautiful Indiana skylines at sunset, the peaceful trails of the Appalachian Mountains, and amazing views of the vast ocean on the beaches in Florida. However, visiting the Philippines was the most amazing experience of my life. Seeing pictures is one thing, actually being there and being surrounded by God’s beautiful creation is simply breathtaking. Here are some pictures that don’t even begin to do the islands justice…
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You
Thank you to all who helped support me. Thanks for your encouraging letters, prayers, and financial support which made this experience possible. God has truly blessed me with a great group of family and friends who support me and my endeavors. God bless you all!
Also, thanks to all the people who were with me during this experience: Zac, Ava, Alan, Allison, and Becca. Thanks for being so awesome.