It was my first time visiting the Bontoc church of Christ (COC) in the Philippines where Nove serves as a preacher. Our trip started on 27/7/23 and ended on 2/8/23.
The team was led by bro Jun Wei and accompanied by bro Jimmy, sisters Fong Yoke, Kim Tian, Precious, Katie, Constance, and Ser Ern. The purpose of the mission trip was to conduct a Vacation Bible School (VBS) and a Bible Seminar for adults and teens. The theme of the VBS was The Parable of the Sower.
Jun Wei and Jimmy taught the teenagers in the VBS and the Bible seminar. I taught the Upper Primary class, with Katie and Margie (from Bontoc COC) as assistants. Fong Yoke and Precious, together with Syrelle (nicknamed Esay, from Bontoc COC), taught the Lower Primary class. Constance and Ser Ern, together with Karyl (from Bontoc COC), taught the Nursery class.
There were about 120 kids in total for the VBS. The brethren at Bontoc had done well in sowing the seed and inviting children for the VBS. They decorated the church building in line with the theme: Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23).
We were very impressed with the singing by the kids. They sang so well that I could feel their enthusiasm and love for singing. Certainly, they sang praises to God from their hearts.
"Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely" Psalm 147:1.
Even the young boys were well-trained to lead in the singing during the VBS. Amazing!
I was impressed with the children in the various classes regarding their zeal to learn from God's word. As a teacher, it was so rewarding and satisfying to teach these kids the word of God. I learnt from Margie the way she taught the children to memorize verses by breaking up the various sections of the verse, coupled with actions. They were able to memorize the verses within a very short time.
I was so impressed with their contentment with simple food during meal time. They ate their food with gratitude and cheerfulness. To them, rice is life, and so they ate more rice than dishes. Snacks such as potato chips and chocolates were a rare treat for them. Their faces showed their contentment and satisfaction after each meal. Our kids in Singapore need to learn from them, and not be fussy about their food. We ought to count our many blessings as we can enjoy a wide variety of food here in Singapore.
"Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" Ephesians 5:20.
It was a joy and good experience in teaching, serving, and interacting with these lovely kids on this mission trip. Every one of us played our part well and contributed to this VBS. For example, Ser Ern designed the poster and planned the games for the VBS, and Jun Wei handled the logistics and did all the booking and co-ordinated the trip. Sis Fong Yoke was a great help and shared with me her notes on the Parable of the Sower, and contributed much to the arts and crafts for the primary classes. Stephanie helped us laminate the A3 visual aids for both primary classes, and ordered stationery and door gifts for the Filipino children. Katie was helpful in assisting in the arts and crafts activities for the kids, and taking photos and videos during lessons. Bro Jerry had kindly prepared handmade visual aids in line with the theme: “The Parable of the Sower” for the kids at Bontoc.
God was very gracious to us and blessed us with good weather throughout the trip. We thank God for our safety and good health even though Ser Ern was down with a sore throat and Jimmy was still nursing a persistent cough.
The VBS was indeed a great success. Everyone, including the Bontoc brethren, was very encouraged and motivated. We had a good fellowship with Nove and his wife Margie and some of the Bontoc brethren during dinner time.
As we put God first by labouring for Him on this mission trip, we were greatly rewarded too. We were able to spend some time on tour in Oslob and Cebu. Precious helped us greatly in communicating with the locals. We managed to see God's wonderful creation, such as the sunrise and sunset over the Pacific Ocean, and even the supermoon over the ocean right in front of our accommodation. We had an enjoyable time after the mission trip. We went to Oslob where we swam with the whale sharks.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” Psalm 19:1 (NKJV)
We went and saw to the needs of the brethren at Bontoc. We can contribute and help in improving the facility of the church building. Let us continue to support the good work of this congregation. At the same time, we got to know one another better and by working together, we encourage and motivate one another to continue labouring in the work of the Lord. (Matthew 28:19-20).