Today, the team had an early wake up call and made their way to breakfast where everyone was eager to get on with the exciting day ahead. Shortly after, everyone hopped into the jeepneys and we were on our way to the San Augustin Elementary School. As we pulled up to the school the team was welcomed by hundreds of students awaiting our arrival. As we walked through the parade of students, our hearts were filled seeing the happiness that was radiating from the children’s faces. Many of us became emotional as we walked through all of the smiling boys and girls. Our hearts melted to the floor each time we held the hands that were pushed towards us.
It all seemed like a dream. Quickly, all of the expectations that any of us had disappeared. Moments after greeting all of the children upon entering the school, a parade of music and dancing moved in. A group of students created a dance routine to welcome all of us and eventually, three of us were asked to join in on the dancing. When the parade finished, it was time for all of us to interact with the students of the school, and did not take long for each of us to connect with the children. Some of us had one child with us and some of us had over 10, but each of us were overwhelmed with large amounts of joy.
The school was 45 minutes north west inland from our resort. It was surrounded by trees and it was in a very quiet place on the island. There were not very many houses or people around the school, but somehow 550 students make the trip to the school everyday of the week. The buildings are very run down but they are extremely beautiful at the same time. Students fill every space of the school ground. Students of different ages, sizes, and personalities are filled with a happiness that can not be explained into words. The whole time that our team was serving, we could not stop thinking about how all of the children have close to nothing and are happier than all of us back home. They find a way to make the most out of every situation and material that is around them. For example, these children loved to make their own hacky sacks using three washers and a candy wrapper that they grab off of the ground. They would play games to see how many times each person could kick it up in the air. These students showed us a new way to live and love that none of us will ever forget.
Many of us on the trip can describe this day as overwhelmingly joyous. All of us felt emotions that we did not think existed. Some of us that do not usually cry of happiness cried, and those that do cry of happiness cried even more than they usually do (Kyle Fredriksen). This day provided purpose. It gave each and every person on the team to get out of their comfort zones. We all got the chance to expand our borders and broaden our hearts to see more of God. We are all excited for what God has in store for the days to come on this trip. God has already taught us so much. Please continue to pray for all of us here in the Philippines. We love you all.
See you soon,
-Martin and Jenna