Sunday, July 29, 2012

A week on Camiguin

My favorite mission partner and I waiting at the port for the boat.
I arrived on Camiguin Island on Saturday, June 23 and stayed for one week.  I arrived with my mission team and the members of the SSME (Summer School of Missionary Evangelism).  I didn’t know what to expect; I had only seen pictures and heard stories about this little Island.  Once we arrived at the port, Father Joe was waiting for us.  He picked us up and brought us to his house for lunch.  It had been a long day of traveling.  While we were eating lunch, he asked, “Are you guys here for a mission, or more like a vacation?”   We responded with, “We are here for a mission.”  He said, “Oh good, I have work for you to do.”  He brought us to the mission house and we spent the rest of the day relaxing.
SSME standing in front of a volcano.
            Sunday morning, the whole team and I went to mass and then a few of us took part in the John the Baptist procession.  Father Joe invited us.  We walked through the streets of Sagay with a picture of John the Baptist, praying the rosary, and later listening to a high school band play.  The procession stopped at the water where there were many fishing boats.  Pretty much everyone from the procession got into one of the boats, along with John the Baptist, and we rode around in the bay.  While we were on the boat, I asked Kylie, “Is this real life?”  I was completely in awe of the beauty that surrounded me.  I could see mountains with clouds covering the tops and the bluest water I’ve ever seen in my life.  It was the perfect sunny day and I couldn’t believe that my God would choose me to have this life.
Prayer meeting at a bario.
            Later on Sunday, James and Susanna met with Father Joe to discuss the week and see what he had for us to do.  Father had a week packed with missionary activity for us.  On Monday we shared at a teacher’s recollection.  Tuesday we put on an all day recollection for the teachers of Holy Rosary High School, the school Father is a part of.  Wednesday we visited a bario (small village) and a chapel and put on prayer meetings.  Thursday we put on a recollection for all of the fourth year high school students at Holy Rosary, and Friday we had desert day/fun day.  I really want to share with you my experience on Wednesday.
Wednesday morning, James and a few others went to a store close by and bought thirty kilos of rice along with soap and dried fish.  We planned on brining it with us to the bario to give away to the people there.  Father met us at our house at around 8:30 and drove us as far as he could.  We had to hike the rest of the way.  We first stopped at his farm and had fresh coconuts.  I actually climbed one of the coconut trees.  After that, we started our hike.  It took about forty-five minutes to get to the barrio and the whole hike I was fill with so much joy.  I was so excited to have a backpack on my back filled with food, hiking through the jungle, walking through the mud and rough terrain, slipping and falling occasionally to bring the word of God this far flung village.  It was the most exhilarating experience I’ve had as a missionary.  Once we reached the chapel in the barrio, my joy increased.  There were already more people than could fit in the chapel waiting.
Talking with Melody at a small village in the jungle.
            We immediately began talking to people and inviting them into the chapel.  We started the prayer meeting with praise and worship.  Their favorite song was “Trading my Sorrows”.  Everyone sang loudly and did the hand motions as we sang, “Yes Lord, yes Lord, yes, yes Lord!”.  James preached while Fr Joe translated and then Joanna and Michelle shared testimonies.  After that we offered a time of prayer.  Many people came up and I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.  We prayed for multiple people, but one little old lady named Raquel stands out to me.  She came up and asked for healing of her eyesight.  Susanna and Joanna were in my group, so we immediately began praying in faith and I really felt like God was going to move.  After we finished praying over her and the others we sang “Trading my Sorrows” once more.  I could see Raquel in the crowd, this time, singing along and doing the hand motions with tears in her eyes.  It brought tears to my eyes, because God really worked in her life and I believe He restored her eyesight.
Ahh...come Holy Spirit!
 My week in Camiguin was really busy and exhausting, but one of the most blessed weeks I’ve had so far in the Philippines.  God stretched me and renewed my zeal for missions.  I cannot wait to visit again and see the wonderful things God has in store.