Written below is a copy of what I shared to our audience in Jubilee Evangelical Church last April 7, 2014, when our singing group, The Covenant Singers had our mission trip to Iloilo:
(photos taken by Randolph Yap and Filbert Amory Uy)
Hi, we hope that you have enjoyed the songs so far. As the group have their short water break, let me give you a testimony about God’s faithfulness during our mission trip to Iloilo.
It was November last year when Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines. One of the areas hit by typhoon was Concepcion, a simple fishing town where Pastor Asser, one of our fellow choir mates is from.
The group aimed to raise funds for the fishermen to be able to continue their livelihood, as well as gather relief goods. Early on, we realized that meeting their physical needs was incomplete. So this summer of 2014, it was our turn to visit the people and minister to them personally.
Let me give you a report about what happened during our mission tour. Due to the nature of our group being composed of members from different churches, we once again thank you for the privilege of allowing us to share this with you.
Our mission was a mere four-day trip, from March 27 to 30.
Day 1: Thursday. We took a plane ride to Iloilo City, and a three-hour drive to Concepcion. Concepcion is a municipality of Iloilo composed of 25 barangay including 11 island barangay. Bagongon Island, one of its barangay, was our main destination. It was a one hour boat ride from the mainland.
Anticipating our arrival months before, Pastor Asser’s family built a “rest house” for us, about 12 by 12 feet room where all 14 of us would sleep. There was no electricity available in the islands, so we lived by generators. We also had to share one restroom, together with our host family. They took time to get water from a source uphill and fill up two big drums inside the restroom constantly, so we could bathe.
That same night, we conducted a music workshop for their local church. Marktee led it and the rest of us took turns and assisted him by fanning him 🙂
Day 2: Friday. Pastor Asser showed us around and we took the opportunity for leisure and pictorial.
That afternoon, we conducted a Vacation Bible School session with all the children in the island. Our group divided into teams: for songs, stories, games, memory verse and food.
After a quick rest, it was already time for our first concert. It was an evangelistic concert for Bagongon First Baptist Church, same songs as tonight, but instead of me sharing our testimony, it was Pastor Asser preaching. It seems as if everyone in the island attended. We also had visitors from other islands as well.
My favourite part of this leg of the tour was after our prayer time. We went near the shore and simply gazed up at the stars and marvel about how splendid God’s creation is. We couldn’t help but sing “Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the works Thy hand hath made. I see the STARS, I hear the roaring thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed.”
Third day: Saturday morning came, and it was time for us to say goodbye. We thanked the family who hosted us, took care of us, and fed us good food: fresh seafood everyday! We also handed some provisions for Pastor Dennis, to further support his ministries.
We travelled back to Iloilo city and stayed at a guesthouse in Central Philippine University. After two days of cramped space, 14 people sharing one toilet, and limited electricity, we really appreciated basic things we normally took for granted: shower heads, air-con, mirrors, soft pillows, hangers, and even the hot and cold water dispenser.
That afternoon, we conducted another music workshop for Calvario Evangelical Church. Similar with Jubilee, they have a school attached to their church. We listened to them sing and shared basic singing techniques, but more than that, we imparted the vision that as music ministers they have a huge responsibility because it is three-fold: to self, to others, and to God.
That night we held another performance. The audience especially enjoyed the Visayan songs we prepared. I have to admit that I got jealous at this part, because all the women wanted to have their photos taken with Fil
4th and last day: Sunday morning came, and we headed off to Central Philippines University Church to sing for their worship services. We sat on their choir pews for two services. The group rendered two anthems before the message and one more song during the offering.
For lunch, the Church’s pastors brought us to their famous beach side restaurant, Tatoys, and after a quick photo-op at the exact center of the Philippines, it was time to part ways. Some of us went back home directly, and some opted to stay for one more day.
Our ministry in Iloilo would definitely be incomplete without tonight’s privilege to share it with you. There were a lot of you who were part of this: those who prayed for us, who donated goods and services, talent, time and even money. We are all parts of one big body, not just a small part of our local churches. And I thank you for equipping our group, the Covenant Singers, to be able to reach beyond our comfort zone.
Our God is faithful and true, an ever reliable God, and it is indeed a privilege to be used by Him in reaching out to other people in need.
Thank you for listening, let me invite my choir-mates back on stage, for a few more songs.