Our Trip to the Philippines
Subalit tatanggap kayo ng kapangyarihan kapag dumating na sa inyo ang Banal na Espiritu. Kayo ay magiging mga patotoo sa akin sa Jerusalem, sa buong Judea, sa Samaria, at sa pinakamalayong bahagi ng lubpa.
Mga Gawa 1:8
Before his return to heaven, Jesus was pretty straightforward to his disciples when he told them to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19) and to be his witnesses throughout the entire known world (Acts 1:8). Today however, we often look at those commands as optional. Not wanting to be pushed from our comfort zones, we simply allow others to take charge on this particular assignment God has planned for us. In an attempt to combat this thinking, seven men from our congregation, myself included, decided to answer God’s calling to missions, step out of our own comfort zones, and make the 20-plus hour trek to Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. Now, I wouldn’t say that we all agreed to go on this trip very willingly to begin with. As you all know, fear can play a huge roll in our decision-making processes. That fear manifested itself in different ways for all of us, whether it was the fear of flying (I’ll own up to this one), fear of being in a different country, fear or sharing the gospel or even fear of missing too much time at work. But in the words of Louie Giglio, “Faith thrives in holy discomfort,” and man did our faith thrive! Thank God for His provision in all things! While we were in the Philippines, our primary goal was to be able to share the gospel with as many people as possible through basketball. We partnered with Hillcrest Baptist Church as well as Upraise Church to venture out into the local communities to play pick-up games with whomever happened to be at the local courts, run a basketball clinic for students, and share love and encouragement to all involved. Several times during the week, we also were blessed with the chance to come alongside the great people of Hillcrest Baptist and help them with their feeding program, a program that provides food for children in some of the more impoverished areas of the region. The neatest thing about this program they have established is, not only do they feed these children physically, but they make sure to feed them spiritually by sharing the love of Jesus before every meal! I could write all day about the things we were able to experience, the incredible people we were able to meet, and the amazing things God did along the way. But instead, I’ll keep it short and just say Thank You!! From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your prayers, for sending us, and for encouraging us in our journey. Most importantly, thank you for your financial support and for your donations of basketball shoes. One of the coolest parts of our trip was being able to give basketballs and those shoes away. To see the smiles and joy on the faces of those that received them is indescribable. While you may never meet any of the students who received those shoes or basketballs, you have made an impact for eternity simply by your generosity. As you finish reading this, I pray that you are encouraged and that you are challenged to live out God’s calling on your life to build His kingdom, even if it is just right here in Calvert County, Maryland. May God allow your faith to thrive in uncomfortable situations as we continue to be witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world! -God Bless, Nathan Orlandi]]>