Picture this. With tears in our eyes we get off the jeepney, with a crazy feeling of deja vu, hearing the band playing their drums and xylophones, seeing the girls with their batons, smiling bigger than the moon. As we walk in to Tarong Elementary School for the first time, a hundred tiny hands high five us. Different school, same spirit. Our team had the opportunity to go into classrooms to teach the valuable bible verse, John 3:16, and hand out our “Jesus loves you” bracelets to the kids and teachers. About thirty minutes passed and it was already time to say goodbye. Our visit was short, but our impression will not only last in the hearts of the children, but ours as well.
However, that wasn’t the first goodbye we had to say that day… let’s rewind to the 6:30 wakeup call. Same old, same old a quick breakfast in the morning followed by quiet time gazing at the peaceful beach. Then we were off on the jeepnies singing louder than ever as we prepared our hearts for what the day had in store. We rolled up to San Agustin Elementary School for the last time. Just like the past three days we were greeted at the gates by the smiles of the kids along with their families for the Family Fiesta. In partnership with Quest Church, our team was able to do a raffle that consisted of tons of food, a pig, a bicycle, and $100 (or 5,400 pesos). Seeing the joyful faces of the raffle winners was unforgettable, but in the end all the families rejoiced from the love and fun times the day provided. After the raffle, the team and teachers gathered in a classroom to devour a buffet that had everything from a fully roasted pig to massive oysters and fish. Along with the rice of course… see a trend? But let me tell you it was delicious! We then continued playing games with the kids. I think the entire team can agree the hardest part of the day was saying our final goodbyes. Throughout the day several team members received notes from their kids expressing “mahal kita,” “I will miss you,” and bible verses. Then the time came to have our last moments with our kids. Tears of joy and sadness filled the air. We loaded up the jeepnies surrounded by the kids that would have to return to their normal lives the next day. No more hugs from the team or new games, but the love shown through our team will forever be with San Agustin Elementary. As the jeepnies slowly rolled away, we couldn’t help but notice the brightly painted wall we worked on during the week. In a time that was so hard, our team was reminded the purpose of our mission; we were there to give glory to our Father.
Ten minutes later, some still crying, we arrived at Tarong Elementary School ready to show the love of God all over again. For those that don’t know, the Browns Bridge Philippines missionaries went to Tarong for 3 years before going to San Agustin. The projects that the teams had completed could be seen all over the school. Seeing this gave us insight of how impactful our work would be.
When we got back to the hotel, some of the team rested while others boarded the jeepnies to head to a small alley of restaurants. Some team members enjoyed Mexican while others stayed main stream with some more Filipino food. We topped off the meal with some ice cream. As the day came to an end, the team enjoyed worship led by Eli, Garrett, Martin, and Sophia. Large group was kept short to allow the team to share such impactful experiences in small group and one on ones. Please keep us in your prayers for good health as the trip wraps up. Stay tuned for more updates.
Taylor M., Sophia and G$ (Garrett S)
P.S. this blog is coming to y’all so late due to a power outage (thanks Kyle).