For many years a lady by the name of Lisa Jane van der Schoor from a church in NSW, took groups of people to Cebu, which is one of the main islands of the central Philippines. These trips were focussed mainly on a slum area called Lorega and a small village on another of the main Islands. They were evangelistic and practical mission trips.
On one of her later trips Ange Zomerdyk from OneWay went along. She met many young ministry workers and leaders including one young pastor called Tim del Monte and his wife Lynlyn. Ange’s enthusiastic reports to the church about the people and the work being done, plus a bit of prodding, encouraged some people from Oneway to be part of the next trip to Cebu.
In 2014, Ange, Graham, Helen and Jake joined Lisa Jane and her sister in law Tanya on a little Island called Mactan which is just off the bigger Island of Cebu. We did a lot of travelling, we visited two other Islands, and travelled on about 11 different forms of transport some of which we’d never seen before! We even had to push one of them ourselves to get it up and over the hill. We met many lovely, beautiful, warm hearted people who have a passion to tell others the good news of Jesus. We saw poverty - poverty that I did not understand, that just overwhelmed us. And we saw Gods love being poured out by pastors and families in communities everywhere we went.
When we returned, Oneway church committed to supporting this mission work on Mactan Island. This young pastor Tim and his wife had shown us their vision for the spread of the gospel, and that vision was to plant 30 churches in 30 years, one in each council area on the Island. That’s a big vision!
For the past 6 years we have been supporting this mission work with our giving, with our prayers, by sending boxes of clothing and materials, by helping them to buy a bit of land and helping them build structures they can use as shelters for services and gatherings in Cordova and Olango, the sites of the first church plants.
Our giving helps to support a number of ministry workers, so they can give more of their time to the mission. For some it’s the only income they have, and its not much., they receive between $7 and $21 per week from us. Our giving also buys lots of ministry resources especially kids outreach materials. It provides food for some of the really poor communities they work in, and it helps the mission teams be able to travel back to these communities week after week.
Another way we support our partners in the Philippines is by going on mission trips each year with a small team of people. We’ve done this each year for 6 years and will do so again in Sept next year. We’re often asked about these visits. Are they useful, shouldn’t we just send the money and save the airfares. The impact of us visiting them is huge. They are amazed and overwhelmed that we would give of our time and money to fly to Cebu to spend time with them. It is such an encouragement for them, that we come to live with them, eat with them pray and worship with them and it is an immense encouragement and stimulus to continue the work.
And it works both ways. Each of us who has been there comes back changed, it changes the way you see the world , it helps you to understand Gods word better, it grows you and helps you to love God and others in a better way. We as individuals but also as a church are so encouraged by our brothers and sisters over there. Visiting them does us and them great good. We aren’t giving to an impersonal cause, we know these people, we have great relationships with them, they’re our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our friends.
So far 19 different people have been on one of these mission trips. We are excited about this and our prayer is that as the work in Cebu grows, so it will grow here. That new partnerships will be fostered and the Gospel, the good news about Jesus will continue to spread.