Philippines Mission Trip

We are back in the land of Oz! The Philippines missionaries have arrived back from an amazing two weeks. We began the trip with a three day retreat encounter with the Verbum Dei communities from around Asia, and a young man called Yugi joined us from Taiwan. We had the opportunity to serve with street children who live on a dump site; singing and playing games with them. We visited a prison, served with the sisters of charity who work with the disabled children and elderly and so much more...

Here is what Bianca, one of the youth missionaries from our parish, had to say about the experience. Bianca shared this reflection with parishioners at 6pm mass at St Charles last Sunday.

I have never been on a Mission Trip before this one, but I've seen some parts of the Philippines. Except, this time it was different- we were going there to meet Jesus or to get to know Him better. Because, can we ever really say that we know who He is and that we love Him perfectly?

Jesus took us to many places through the people who generously dedicated their time and patience to help us. In a way, these people were like our John the Baptists leading us to places people would never dare to visit in a lifetime! There were the slums at Payatas, the medium-security prison at Muntinlupa, to the homes for abandoned children and the elderly, to the crowded streets of Metro Manila or to the top of Mt Batolao. We saw both the high and low and experienced it; allowing it to touch our hearts deeply. We were challenged, but our hearts were opened- how can you deny the bleeding wounds of Christ? The hunger and thirst of souls?

People in the Philippines have such rich reserves of faith that is waiting to be illumined by the fire of God's love. And our hearts too were yearning for this consuming love. And there it was that our hearts and theirs would meet and the flame rekindled. It was a blessing to drink from this richness of faith shown in the immense gratitude of a mother and her child after a moment of prayer with them, the lingering smiling gaze of a special needs child who can barely respond to the smallest interactions, the hospitality and warmth of the families in the local area and the joy of the children meeting strangers from a foreign land.

And learning so much more about the Verbum Dei Charism and its firm roots in prayer and the Word really just opened our eyes to see the needs of humanity differently in such a way that we begin to desire to share our faith as much as possible with others by reaching out. And although, this may seem scary, I believe God gives us the courage and the grace to do something- for Jesus Himself has told us "Do not be afraid". And He only desires that we live our lives to the full!