A group of 12 people made up of young adults and families from The Vine Church and Gateway went on a mission trip for 5 days to Iloilo, Philippines.
Partnering with two organisations based in the city, the team visited a Leprosy Home, an HIV Centre, a Single Moms & Babies Centre, a Women’s Jail, helped with renovation works in one church, and supported another church in a beach slum.
These are some highlights that the participants shared with us:
We went there to sing worship songs with those mothers and babies; we also had a chance to pray for them, and made rainbow bracelets with the mothers, and balloon animals for the little children.
Most of the little children there were afraid of people, and there were no sparkling nor lights in their eyes; no matter what gifts you gave to hem, it was hard to see a smile on their faces. But when my teammate raised a kid up high above his head, the child suddenly had a big smile on his face.
My heart broke when seeing this, I realized that child perhaps never had someone as an adult make to play with him before; to his childhood, and even when he grows up in future, he may not have the chance to experience the fatherly love… And sadly this did not just happen to one child there, but to many many children... This just broke my heart completely…”- Zoe, Hong Kong
"The children in our team were very appreciated during our visit to the women’s jail. There was an old lady with a very short hair-style that just wanted one of them to brush her hair for once, because she was deeply missing her own children. Behind all these laughters and smiles, we saw the broken hearts of those who experienced a father-less, husband-less, and children-less life."- from a team member
"The condition of the jail is very bad. The jail was packed with people but it had a very poor ventilation which made us sweat so much by only standing there. So difficult to imagine them living in these conditions. We worshiped God in the jail, performed a drama and shared life stories. We shared that each one of them is so beautiful and so loved by God.
We also talked and prayed for them. One of the ladies was a mother of 5 children, and the reason she is in jail is that she stole a pack of milk from the supermarket… She has been already processed by the court and she could pay the penalty fees to replace her sentence, but she is unable to pay the 5000 peso penalty fee (Approximately $ 926 HKD) making her not know when she can leave the jail. That broke my heart"- Zoe, Hong Kong
"I realized helping the children it's just a part of it; this is what I learned form one of the organizations we partnered with: Helping children starts with strengthening those that care for them - their mothers. In the Philippines, mothers are usually the primary caretakers who provide for the physical, emotional and spiritual development of their children. They are the providers of fuel and water for their homes. They manage household health, hygiene and nutrition."- Menno, The Netherlands/Hong Kong
"What impacted us deeply was to see how much they need this support. If you think that 3 children in one family is already a lot? Go to some places in the Philippines: it is very common to have 5, 6 or even 7 children. These families live in poverty. Poor hygiene, no income and natural disasters keeps hitting them. But what encouraged us, was to see how simple practical tools like a hand-washing rack and bottled garden can increase their hygiene and nutrition intake. We’ve seen that these are part of the transformation it brings and it brought us from faces with "no hope" written on it, to faces with an amazing smile and joy. We could share God’s love and care in a practical way."- from two team members
"The trip was amazing, busy, heartbreaking, encouraging, confronting and building up at the same time. Many new experiences for us... but because of the people we got to meet, the ministries we got to serve with, and the hearts we got to impact... It was worth it..."- Menno, The Netherlands/Hong Kong