Missions Trip Day 10: Thrilla in Manila

It was sad to be leaving the team. They prayed over me and gave me a touching send off.

Arrived at the Bangkok Airport. It was an extremely slow process. A note to myself: always get there early to avoid the stress. It was a 3-hour flight, but it took two hours to check in.

Here is what happened once I arrived in Manila that night. After Immigration & Customs, I got my bag. I went to find the Money Exchange. There I was greeted by a “dude” with an ID (not sure what kind.) He pointed me to the Money Exchange counter. So far so good. Then he points to their office in the terminal. Looks legit since they must be paying rent. He tells me that he can get me a flat taxi rate since the traffic is so bad. The price seems high (like Hawai’i prices and not Thailand prices,) but I agree. An unmarked speeding car zooms in to pick me up, and we go. This dude asks me if I want to stop to eat. I say no thanks. Then he insists on taking me around for a “night on the town” (paraphrasing here.) Because he is persistent, I finally say that I’m a Christian pastor (I know, I lied.) Then he says that he’s a Christian too (anything for a tip.) Then we got lost. He asked three police officers, one armed soldier, one taxi driver, and two pedestrians for directions. Finally, we found the hotel. He dropped me off and said, “God bless you.”

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Here is a pic of my hotel (taken the next morning.) Glad I made it unscathed. Thank you Lord.

Missions Trip Day 11: Dream Come True

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Background: I’ve been sponsoring a child through Compassion International for 9 years now. I believe that it’s the most important thing that I do. It’s been a dream to someday meet up.

When I joined the medical missions team to Thailand, I knew that I would have a one-day layover alone. This was the one day that I dreaded. But God had different plans.

I decided to look into where my sponsored child lived. I had no idea where Makati was. To my surprise, I found that it was not far from the airport in Manila. I booked my hotel in Makati. A coworker advised that the Greenbelt area was a good place to be. I made a request to Compassion International. Unfortunately, visitations are not granted on weekends. I was ok with that. Apparently, some of my friends (sister, minichurch, etc.) continued praying. A few days later, Compassion emailed me and accepted my request.

I believe that I received God’s favor because I have been faithful in my letter writing.

Dream come true. Here we are meeting in the hotel lobby. She is with her mother and Beth from the Compassion Project. At first I was nervous. I hoped that they wanted to meet me too. I later found out that they had to travel 2 hours to get here (they had moved.) I was overwhelmed.

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I am so proud of my Compassion child. She is kind, polite, confident, and bright. She is a very special person.

We took a cab to the Greenbelt Mall and walked around. We found a fish food vending machine. Then she shared her photo album with me. Later, we had mocha frappes. We were planning to look for a Timezone (arcade) to play games.

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I asked Beth if there were something that I could get for the family. She said yes. Now here’s God’s timing in this… Monday is the start of school in the Philippines. Beth asked if I could bless her with school supplies. I was absolutely happy to help! God filled my heart with joy.

We went to National Bookstore for school supplies for her and her sister. She also got a bag and a few books. I asked her if she needed an umbrella. She smiled and said, “Yes, the rainy season begins next month.” It was a blessing to be visiting at the right time.

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I remembered in one of her letters that her favorite food was crispy pata. Soon, we came across a huge restaurant sign advertising it. Yes, we had it for lunch, and it was especially good.

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She said that she hadn’t felt blessed like this since her father left. I told her that she’s the daughter I never had. It was difficult to say goodbye. Thank you God that it was so difficult.