Friday, May 16, 2008

The Philippine Mission Trip (prequel)

Welcome to the first entry in my Philippine Mission trip diary. My name is Joseph Spurgeon and I am a film maker/dj in Huntington, WV. I also work with autistic children and do several other things around the town. My biggest passion is serving God through missions. I have been on several mission trips throughout the United States. In January 2007, I was given the opportunity to go on a mission trip half way around the world in the Philippines. It was on this trip that my love for international missions began. Even on the flight home I was plotting out my return trip. I was wanting to go back in January of this year but no matter what I did I couldn't seem to raise the funds. I know now that God had a plan and that was for me to go in May instead. Thanks to the help of friends from church and through facebook, I was able to raise the money to go and in 3 short days I will be jumping on a plane and headed back to my friends in the tropical isles of the Philippines.

I wanted to begin this blog with a bit of information about the philippines for those who will be following along with me via this diary. Wikipedia says, The Philippine archipelago comprises 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, bordering countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Palau and the Republic of China, although it is the only Southeast Asian country to share no land borders with its neighbors. The Philippines is the world's 12th most populous country with a population approaching 90 million people.

The Philippines was formerly a Spanish then an American colony. The Philippine Revolution was an attempt to gain independence from Spain, and later from the U.S. in the Philippine-American War. The Philippines ultimately gained its independence from the United States on July 4, 1946.

Today, the Philippines has many affinities with the Western world, derived mainly from the cultures of Spain, Latin America, and the United States. Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion, although pre-Hispanic indigenous religious practices still exist. There are also followers of Islam. The two official languages are Filipino and English.

The philippines are a paradox of sorts. The islands have been gifted by God with great beauty. The many beaches are like scenes from a tropical paradise.

The people are also blessed with beauty. The Smiling faces of the children will melt any heart. The people are also some of the most gracious and hospitable people on the planet. Everywhere you go someone is smiling and saying hello.
The paradox comes because most of the filipinos live in poverty. Most people work for what would be the equivelant to a 2-3 dollars a day. There is some good news as some technological jobs move to the region but many people are far from seeing that economic growth. Even while living in poverty, the people I met never once complained or grumbled. Instead they went out of their way to make me comfortable.

On my trip, I will be headed back to the same city that I went last year. It is called Dumaguete City. It lives up to its nickname of the City of the Gentle people. It is a college town and will afford many opportunities to share the gospel. The people of the region speak Cebuano. I have learned a little bit.

I will be accompained by my pastor, CJ Adkins, and about 10 other people from New Orleans seminary. We will be flying out of Huntington on monday and headed to LAX where we will fly onto Hong Kong and then the Philippines. On our schedule for this trip is a pastors seminar to help train local preachers, a large outdoor crusade, and trips to various villages to speak to people. Last year God brought 300 people into his family through the trip. We are excited about what God will do this year. One of the things I like to do is work with the children. I like to teach them english and tell them Bible stories.

Please pray for our team and for the people of the philippines. Please pray for good weather. They have been experiencing some monsoons and we are hoping that we will have clear and sunny skies for our time there. I will post as much as I can to update you on our trip. I will be filming it and posting pictures as well. I have posted below the documentary from last year for you to enjoy.

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