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Corps combine for mission trip to the Philippines

The mission team to the Philippines visited 12 corps to help with repair work, school supplies for children, spiritual support and “anything at all we could assist with”.

Major Rod Serojales, Corps Officer at Sunraysia (Mildura), recently led a two-week mission trip to the Philippines.

The mission team worked with 12 different corps in Mindoro Island and the Antique Province of Panay Island. The 11 team members came from corps in Sunraysia, Latrobe Valley (Vic.), Carindale (Qld), and the Mildura Chinese Christian Fellowship (MCCF).

The purpose of the trip was to assist with the ministries of the Filipino corps in whatever ways were needed. This included repairing and repainting buildings, providing spiritual support, and working with local corps and community members to assist with ministries already operating there.

The team gave out around 350 backpacks to children.

During the trip, school bags and supplies funded by individuals in Australia were distributed to 350 children. The team also led Home League meetings where they taught crafts to the women. There were opportunities to connect with people of all ages in the local communities throughout each day and over meals.

Team member Dr Grace (from the MCCF) conducted basic medical check-ups and health conversations.

Four members of the mission team in the Philippines also travelled with the team for its entire visit, ensuring their safety and basic needs were met, providing transport and assisting with the mission.

Team reflections

When Margaret Anderson accepted the invitation to join the trip, she was worried whether she would have the energy needed to do all that was required of her. “But I have discovered that, ‘With God all things are possible,’” she says. “I found it a privilege to pray in the medical clinics as Dr Grace was seeing the patients. Also, what a joy to spend time with the Filipino people who were so welcoming and so generous as they shared food with us and comfortable places to stay.”

At first, Heather Anderson didn’t want to accept the invitation to the mission trip as she did not feel adequate for the task. “But as a step of faith, I said yes to God and to the experience,” she shares.

Heather says she was overwhelmed with the generosity of the Filipino Salvos and how warm and welcoming they were to the team.

“They have given so much to us all, even though they have little resources,” she says. “Every day I had some occasion where tears filled my eyes, where whatever activity we were involved with ... has caused me to realise that God is involved in every person’s life and each one is special, worthy, important and loved by him. I know that my life has been radically changed forever because of this experience!”

Medical outreach

Dr Grace, who was on her fourth mission trip, was surprised at how expensive medications were in the Philippines, as well as the lack of resources and access to medical care, especially in rural areas.

“For me as a GP, it was rewarding to provide consults, teach people about preventive health and give some medications to patients who need treatment,” she explains. “One man in the Samalagi area had a stroke a year ago but was not on any blood thinners ... we were able to provide him a month’s supply.”

Danni Gray says the most eye-opening experience for her was “seeing the lack of what we would call the ‘normal everyday things’ we take for granted, like clean running water. When we visited Narra Outpost, I was told the whole town shares water, and if the tank runs empty, you just have to try the next day!”

Outreach and practical assistance in schools was included in the mission work.

“I always find joy participating in mission trips," says Lyndon Gray, “because I enjoy the different cultures and being able to do simple things that can often make such a difference. I love that people are always willing to share and interact. And that faith crosses the cultural divide. I have enjoyed sharing my faith with the people and seeing God move among those we shared with, despite our language barrier.

“It has also been interesting to see the people here so committed to ... furthering of God’s kingdom. They have so little but are willing to share what they have.”

Ashleigh Gray had felt for some time that he was called to this kind of mission. “We were able to build the capacity of the local church,” he shares. “Having the members involved means that they have pride in their work and the church and have ownership of the work done.”

Julie echoed the depth of respect for the Filipino people experienced by the whole team. “The most challenging experience was to see people living such simple lifestyles, yet they are still very faithful to our Lord and are happy and joyful with his blessings,” she said.

Julie’s husband Tiang, also on the trip, adds, “Major Rod and the officers in the Philippines have done a great job. Major Rod [who is originally from the Philippines] put so much time and effort into the planning and was always ensuring the safety of the team and making sure all the logistics were going smoothly. It was a very humbling experience and taught me to appreciate things that I have and not to take things for granted.”


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