The second day at San Agustin Elementary school called for another 6:30 AM wake up call…but we weren’t complaining. We excitedly ate our breakfast of emoji shaped pancakes and fresh mango as we mentally prepared for the day ahead. We hopped on the jeepneys and were off the resort by 8. We decided to take an alternative route so we could get a glimpse of what the city of Bantayan had to offer. Our 45 minute jeepney adventure included lots of great conversation and dubstep music (interesting combo, I know). We pulled into the school and it was love at first sight all over again. We were immediately greeted with flowers, cards, HUGE hugs, and intricately woven flower crowns. Kids were grabbing our hands (and shirts) left and right, pulling us right back into the madness. The kids immediately got back to tackling the boys, weaving flowers back into any and all of the girls’ braids, it was like we had never skipped a beat.
Our hearts were filled once again as familiar faces from the day before approached us with huge smiles yelling “Ate!” or “Kuya.” After many rounds of Little Sally Walker, we got the chance to take over the classrooms and talk about John 3:16 and God’s love for us. We taught the kids through a series of symbols that God loved, God gave, we believe, we receive. We got to hand out crayons, a coloring sheet, and a bracelet that said “Jesus loves you.” We went around and individually put the bracelets on their wrists and told them that God loves them personally. Some of us even got to connect with the teachers of the classrooms. They were telling us how pleased they were with the impact we had on each child and how they admired our strong faiths.
I don’t know if it was just the fact that we were very hungry… but lunch hit the SPOT today. The Filipinos cooked us fried chicken, white rice, noodles (not ANY kind you could find back home) and the greatest mango we have ever tasted. Then it was back to running, playing, sweating, painting. Yesterday we began our painting project. The goal is to paint the whole wall surrounding the school with bright shades of blue and yellow (which was evident due to the paint covering our arms and legs.) Everyone was eager to help, which fortunately led to a lot of progress. Even the kids were quick to grab a paint brush and pitch in.
Half of us got the chance to go visit homes of the students. We got to see a glimpse into the students’ and families lives here in Bantayan. Tomorrow, the other half of the team will go on home visits and we will be able to fully share the details of this experience with you guys.
Our midday snack was a total TREAT and worth telling you guys about. It was unlike anything we’ve had before. The Filipinos put a banana, covered in honey and sugar, on a stick and grilled it. Some of us happily enjoyed one while some of us enjoyed four or five (not to name names… Eli and Cole.)
Although our hearts will be breaking when it’s time to pack up and say our goodbyes, it’s impossible not to have a bursting heart when given a hug from swarms of kids. Even though the many “mahal kitas” and “I love yous” do make it so hard to go. Kisses are being blown left and right as we are ushered like royalty to our jeepneys and waved off until their little hands fade off into the distance. Not to mention the few that chase after our jeepneys, as though they’re going to follow us all the way back to Anika.
We are so blessed that God gave us another unbelievable day here. The joy we get from serving God’s people will never get old. We pray that tomorrow may be another amazing day and that God may continue to shine His light and His love through us in the days to come. We pray that God would continue to have His hands over us, protecting us, and keeping us safe. We rejoice in all that He has already done and continues to do. God is so dang good. Thanks for tuning in. If you’re reading this, chances are we love you and we are starting to miss ya. Catch ya on the flip.
-Emma D., Carter & Maddie