Philippines Mission Trip Blog
Day 9 - We'll be home tomorrow!!! We will be taking a bus home from the SFO airport--but I know some of you will be meeting us there as well. We will arrive around 8:30--then customs etc.
Anyway, we had a wonderful peaceful day on the island today. After breakfast about 35 of us went on a snorkel tour and enjoyed some amazing beauty under the sea--I only wish I was a better underwater photographer so I could share it better. After lunch I had some baptismal studies with Egon and his family--they are such a wonderful loving family. I wish all five of them were moving to Lodi to join our church. The baptism was planned for just at sunset on the beach and was a wonderful spiritual time together--what a blessing and perfect way to spend the last day of our trip (not including the grueling travel day to come). Sixty of us singing on the beach was quite an attention getter and the whole thing was the most public display of new commitment to Jesus I've seen. The whole service was witnessed by dozens of people on the beach! Praise God!
Thanks for your prayers--many of our team members are saying this was one of the best experiences of their lives and can't wait to do it again! Continue to pray for our safe return--we have been praying for everyone back home too.
We'll be home soon!
Pastor Scott Ward
Day 7/8 - I'm so tired right now that I can hardly keep my eyes open--but I'll try : ) Last night we left the Northern Luzon Adventist College at midnight in order to get to the airport before the Manilla gridlock began. That's why I wasn't able to write yesterday with all the packing and finishing up our work at the college and hospital before leaving.
So, here's what happened yesterday! The crew working on the hospital finished painting the second story and it really looks great! The girls dorm project made some more progress and was officially turned over to the locals with the passing of the level (they were still using an old-time water level--ask Dwight for details on this one). We finished painting the faculty housing unit we were working on and we all put our hands in the red paint and left our handprints across the wall (see photos). It was a really neat way to close our work at the college.
But the coolest, greatest, most amazing thing in the world happened that totally overshadowed everything else we did. There's this guy named Egan who is the contractor at the hospital and he is the hardest working, nicest, most responsible guy you could ever meet. He's been working for Adventist institutions for ten years or so, but he has never actually joined an Adventist church. Well, Egan has really connected with our group and he and his family have all decided to get baptized! They have come here to Boracay with us and we'll be having their baptisms tomorrow afternoon in the ocean--all five of them! Isn't that amazing?!
Other than that, we finally made it to our hotel on the island for a little R&R. It will be so nice to sleep tonight!
Pastor Scott Ward
Day 6 - It is now late in the afternoon on Sunday--our sixth day in the Philippines. We are getting into a comfortable routine and moving forward each day. Mornings are the most productive--by afternoon the heat and humidity starts to slow us down and everyone starts feeling tired. We're still making good progress--especially with the painting. The painting crew is so motivated and productive that I'm having trouble keeping enough work lined up for them! VBS didn't have an outreach today--they were organizing and cleaning their prep area and getting ready for two programs tomorrow. The dorm job site did a lot of clean-up today--clearing out a new area to work in and some of the students started really taking off laying block themselves--they are so excited that they have learned a new trade!
Dr Ajayi joined us today and reported on his work in Manilla. He put in two solid days of surgery--some cases taking 4 hours to complete, and the patients are so excited to receive help that is simply not available any other way in this country--what a blessing. Dr Ing (accompanied by a couple of our students) headed off to lecture to the ophthalmologists of the region on new techniques in eye surgery. Dr Ing is on the cutting edge of his profession and the local doctors are excited to have the chance to learn from him. It is a privilege to have such skilled professionals willing to share their talents with the indigent patients here.
I think the most unique thing about this trip is the friendships that have formed with the local filipinos. As you look at the pictures you'll see many new faces--our people have fallen in love with the local people and their culture. Every morning our kids go looking for their new found friends and when I get to the campus the local kids have often come up to me looking for Dakota or George etc.... Today several of our adult couples and families told me they have found students to sponsor with their education. One families met a girl who works in the kitchen and found out that she has been working to pay her tuition since she was in the fourth grade! They are sponsoring her for college next year so she can focus more on her studies. College tuition here is only $500 per semester for room, board and tuition! That's about $100 per month! Some of our families are considering sending their children to college here!!!
Well, we have been invited to the alumni dinner at the college tonight and then we will be enjoying a lecture from the history professor here on the long relationship between the Americans and the Filipinos--this place is rich with history--especially from the World War II era.
God bless and good night.
Pastor Scott Ward
Day 5 - The break is over--it's Sunday morning now and back to work! We did have a wonderful Sabbath break that started Friday around 1 PM. We took the afternoon off (since they stop working at noon on Friday here) and went to a hot springs and pool about 15 minutes away in the mountains. As you look over the photos you'll see we had a fun and refreshing time cooling off a bit.
Sabbath was great! It's graduation weekend so the place was packed and standing room only for church. I had the privilege of preaching and challenging the graduates to live for Jesus in everything they do for the rest of their lives! After church we had a great lunch out on the lawn complete with whole fried fish and barbecued goat for those who wanted it!
Sabbath afternoon we had a VBS program for some kids in a nearby barrio, then later in the afternoon took a drive up into the mountains to Baguio and stopped along the was to see "Lion Rock." It was great to get up into the cooler air and relax a bit--the mountains were absolutely beautiful!
All right--I better get off to the job site and make sure things are moving forward--tomorrow is our last day on the job before we take off for the beach!
Please continue to keep us in your prayers!
Thanks for the 38 emails!!!!!!!!!
Pastor Scott Ward
Day 4 - So, is anyone out there? I'm emailing every day and no one is emailing back--what's up? Is there any life in the good ol' USA? (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We worked a half day today because it's Friday! Absolutely everything shuts down at noon on this campus--so we decided to take a break and go to the local hot springs in the afternoon! Well, they have regular cool pools too--I don't think we need anymore heat!
Anyway, it was somewhat of a quieter day--still doing block construction, painting, VBS, follow-up with yesterday's patients--getting loose ends wrapped up. I had to visit some of our kids that were not feeling well--just a little too much sun yesterday and not enough water and gatorade, had a meeting at the mission office to deliver some evangelism funds, met with the senior class here since I am speaking for their baccalaureate tomorrow, and discussing more job site stuff, budgets, transportation, exchanging money, etc, etc, etc.......
All is well, I think we're just a little wiped out from our HUGE day yesterday--I better go now and finish up my sermon for tomorrow : )
Please pray for us AGAIN!
Pastor Scott Ward
Day 3 - Well, what a day--things ended yesterday as well as we thought they would--amazing progress. Partnering with the local block layers was just what the doctor ordered! We accomplished a ton and are slowly feeling out our relationship with the locals. We have to be careful not to force our ways on them--give them some leadership and support and yet let it be theirs because they are the ones who will have to finish it once we're gone. Pray that we will be full of grace and love and understanding.
Day 2 - It was sooooooo nice to finally get some sleep last night--we missed at least one night's sleep if not more during our travels--but a good night's sleep last night has us feeling rather refreshed!
Yesterday we didn't get a lot accomplished--we were getting orientated to our jobs, establishing the leaders for the various projects and getting organized. I was a bit concerned about our main building project because our leaders are used to doing framing with wood and steel--not so much experience laying block--especially filipino blocks! So we decided to hire three local block layers to work with us and show us how they do it locally and what a difference--it's not even 9 AM and we are off and running--I think we'll accomplish four times as much with the construction today! VBS is organized and was very productive yesterday--they're ready for kids today! Dr. Ing had only a few patients yesterday, but is already flooded today, and we're working away with painting and tiling and other various projects on the hospital--looks like we're off to the races!
I have a local phone and am letting the kids call home--you should be hearing from your little ones soon!
Thanks for your love and prayers,
Pastor Scott Ward
Day 1 - Sunday morning we woke up so excited to leave and first thing got a call from our travel agent that our flight had been canceled! There were engine troubles with the incoming flight from Manilla--so, our flight was rescheduled for 2 PM Monday. I sent an email to the team and everyone took it very well--better safe than sorry. So, 17 hours late we finally took off and were on our way!
After flying 12 hours, stopping in Guam for fuel, then flying another 3 and a half hours, then going through customs for 2 hours and riding busses and vans for 4 more hours we ALL arrived safely around 4:30 AM local time! We unloaded, had breakfast at 6:30 and were working by 7 AM! This team is more than ready to go and excited about the chance to serve!
Thanks for praying for our safe travel and continue to pray for our safety and success with the mission!
Pastor Scott Ward
March 14 - Dedication of missionaries going on the Philippines mission trip, at English Oaks Church Service.