I feel like when we landed in Manila, we hit the ground running. I have been in Malaybalay for a little over a month and God has provided us with plenty to do. Our first week here, we spent three days at a Diocesan Assembly. The next week we attended a Catholic teachers meeting, as well as an assembly for the Ang Buhing Pulong community. Lindsey and Sammy renewed their vows at a pre-Valentines day party and Rebekah and I karaoke-d at a pre-Valentines day party for the singles of the community. We have been busy meeting people, learning the city, settling into our house, and starting ministry.
About three weeks after we got here, Father Vir gave us our assignments at San Isidro college. Sammy is working with the guidance counselors, Lindsey is working in the research and development office, Rebekah in the religious formation office, and I am working in the school's clinic. I am excited to be able to observe closely what the nurses do and to help in whatever ways I can. I was already able to pray with some of the sick students who came in. The clinic is not only for the college, but also the grade school and high school. I am looking forward to the ways God is going to use me, and also to get a little experience.
Two weeks ago, the whole team was giving the opportunity to speak at a mini-retreat about self esteem for the school. Sammy and Lindsey spoke in the morning, and Rebekah and I in the afternoon. If you know me at all, you probably know that it is not my favorite to stand up in front of people and speak, but God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called. For the mini-retreat, I shared my testimony for about 100 college students. Right up until I shared, I couldn't breathe because I was so nervous, but once I got behind the podium, God took over. Who knows? Maybe I'll do it again. :)
Sometime either before the mini-retreat we shared at, or after, we visited San Isidro's partner community, Isla Bonita. It is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. I think I said that about Malaybalay, but as we discover more of the city, we stumble upon more and more splendor. I am thankful that God had me in the desert last year and the land of life this year! Back to Isla Bonita. It is several acres of land where squatters are living. These people were told that they own their land, because they paid a certain amount of money, but they do not own their land. San Isdro is partnering with them and has started a few projects like,livelihood, literacy, catechism classes, and a few other things I cannot remember right now.
We have started going on our own to Isla Bonita to build relationships with the people and through building relationships, we hope to learn what their needs are and share Jesus with them. Just today, we visited a few houses. Rebekah and I visited two houses. Cecille, her son, and a few of his friends, and also Geraldine's house. We made small talk and prayed with them. It was a wonderful start!
After a few visits to Isla Bonita we were invited to one of the livlihood meetings with some of the women living there. A few teachers from San Isidro taught the ladies how to make pillows to sale. They also taught the ladies how to make rugs and pot holders. The college is selling these things for the ladies. It is a start, but has a long way to go.
Things have been very busy, but so wonderful! I am challenged by the fast pace, but enjoying it. I am looking forward to the many other things God has in store for this team! Hope you've enjoyed this blog. More to come soon!!!!