We will be sending a short-term mission team from our church to the Philippines on Nov. 1-11, 2016. The team has already met multiple times for training sessions, and it’s exciting to see this team grow together in preparation. I’m also excited for what God will do on this trip both within the hearts of our team and also in the people of the Philippines.
The trip is packed with projects. For most of the trip, the team will be several hours north of Manila in rural farming villages. In those villages, they will split into two separate teams visiting local schools. At the schools, we have arranged for the teams to lead a general assembly for all the students at each school. It will be a time to share songs, proclaim the Gospel, share Jesus, meet one on one with students and teachers, and give school supplies to every student there. Even though the schools are smaller in those villages, we are planning on giving out school supplies and sharing the Gospel to over 2,000 children. As busy as that sounds, that’s just the morning activities. In the afternoons, the team will be going through the village sharing the Gospel directly with those in the community. They will also be involved with a community work project where they will work alongside local church members to help with needs in the local village – also giving them more opportunity to share the Gospel. There is going to be a day dedicated for a medical clinic. We have worked with a team of local doctors and nurses who will volunteer their services by providing free medical care in a village that normally doesn’t have readily accessible local medical care. Our team will be busy sharing the Gospel with every person there. The team will then transition to serving in impoverished areas of inner-city Manila in the last few days of their trip.
I tell you about these projects because I’m asking our church to come together and be in prayer for the team and for the people of the Philippines. Also, while it’s more efficient (and cost effective) to get most of our supplies there that will be distributed to the schools, there are some things that we will be gathering here beforehand to take with us. We are getting together at least 200 care packages for local farmers in the villages. These care packages will consist of basic necessities such as toothpaste, toothbrush, wash cloth, and soap. We will be collecting these items here and ask for your help. There will be a box in the church office if you’d like to help out by giving any of those supplies to be distributed to local farmers in the Philippines.
As the team has been preparing, they have been learning different methods to share the Gospel, writing out their testimony to be ready to share it with others, praying, gathering prayer partners, learning songs for the school assemblies, and learning about the local culture and cross-cultural evangelism. I couldn’t help but think about how useful this preparation would be to all of our church members including myself. As much as we know how important these things are, it sometimes takes a tangible distinct event like a mission trip to help us prepare and grow in these areas. Perhaps there is someone in your life that you could share the Gospel with – maybe it’s a neighbor, a friend, a family member, a colleague, or someone else you regularly interact with. I encourage you to begin praying for them and an opportunity to share the Gospel with them. I also encourage you to begin preparing how you would share the Gospel with them and how you would share what God has done in your life. Be ready for when the opportunity arrives.
If you’d like to learn more about sharing your faith with practical ways to tell someone about Jesus, Pastor Jarod will be leading a 6-week discipleship class on evangelism at 4:30 PM on Sundays, beginning September 18. I hope to see you there!