Well, we made it home. Thanks to all who were praying! By God’s grace the trip was a resounding success. We cared for about 2000 people with medical needs ranging from check ups to serious illnesses to surgical procedures. We gave out tens of thousands of dollars worth of medications donated by companies and churches like ours. It was estimated we collected $250,000 worth (retail) of medications to take over with us and we purchased another $1000 or so of meds while there. We carried it all over in suitcases (each of the team members had one) and by the grace of God made it through customs unscathed. Anything left over we left behind to be used by the local churches and medical personnel to give out or use as they felt best.
The medical camps were obviously the highlight. On the first day we were supposed to attend church at pastor Nilo’s church and start the camp after, but when we got there the place was crammed with people and Nilo said his church members weren’t even able to find a seat, but had to stand around the perimeter of the church. So...we preached the gospel. I preached first in english, which most understand, then Nilo preached in Cebuano. Many heard the gospel and we need to continue to pray for much fruit in the days and months to come. The glorious chaos that ensued as we tried to get it all organized was worth it as we saw so much physical need and were able to pray for people’s spiritual needs. The rest of the camps were equally successful. One was up in the mountains while raining and some were in gymnasiums. The highlight for me was the one we did with the Badjao people (still listed as an unreached people group). They were particularly needy and very appreciative. We saw over 500 people that day and it was exhausting but fulfilling. Afterwards we walked out the their stilt village over the water which can be an unnerving experience as it is a very rickety walkway built for 110 lb. Filipino’s not a weighty american. We made it in one piece though. In my opinion our own Marilyn Matison gets the most improved player award. When we first started it was hard for her and she was unsure of what to do to be most effective. By the end she was confidently serving in numerous was and loved caring for and entertaining the children. It was great to have her along.
We obviously need to continue to pray for the results of these camps that God will heal people, save souls and add them to local churches. The churches we served there, His Dwelling Christian Church (Cebu), and Sovereign Grace Church (Bohol) were heroic in undertaking these camps. They had many volunteers involved and nothing could have happened with out their diligent service. The pastors, Nilo Ebo, and Pete Valdez, not only had organized things well, which made for smooth running camps, but took great care of us as well. We are indebted to them and their church members/volunteers for all their hard work and preparation.
Trips like this will happen again. If Marilyn and I can do it, so can you! (actually four of the people involved on the team were grandparents!) The life that is effected the most on trips like this will most likely be yours. Thanks for all the prayers and donations both financially and meds. You are a great church and it is a privilege and joy to serve with you!