Saturday, July 21, 2007

An awesome week!

As I write this, the Alabama team should be boarding the plane in Manila to head for home. It was a great week! Some final statistics from the week:
  • American team members: 8 (Mike, Tammy, Debra, Kathryn, Jess, Wendy, Krysten, Betsy)
  • Filipino team members: 9 (Glee, Reinel, Bong, Isais, Allen, Dante, Fely, JoyJoy, Rey)
  • Clinic sites: 5
  • Families registered: 329. (Adults: 355, Children: 554)
  • Peanut butter sandwiches eaten: too many!
  • Miles on the final hike: 5-50 depending on who you ask!
  • Sets of scrubs left behind: 20
  • Flat tires: None!!
  • Difference made in the lives of some: eternal

Thank you so much for your prayers for the team this past week... they truly made a difference! Continue to pray for the workers who minister in these areas. Pray for the gospel seeds that were planted to take root & grow into mature fruit.

How much further???

That was the question asked...and thought... many times Friday morning as the team headed to their last clinic site. After a muddy ride, the team parked the trucks and hiked the remaining distance to the site. Just how far was it? Some say 3-4 miles... others said it had to be at least 10! Whatever the distance, the trail lasted for about 2 hours and crossed the same creek about 10 times! Regardless of the distance... it was worth it to see the smiles of the people when the team set up clinic for the day.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Coming for the Sick

“One, Two, Three, Four, Five!…” The children in the next classroom of Higaon-on elementary are screaming out numbers as their teacher leads them in their math lesson. As the children continue, Dr. Mike & his wife Tammy are in the next room looking at patient after patient, determining what is ailing each one and prescribing medicine to help their needs.

As I sit in the corner of the steamy Filipino classroom, I watch as family after family make their way to the hut in the school yard to sign a card so that they can see this American doctor and his team. As they wait their turn, the Gospel story is shown to them through a picture book because of the high illiteracy rate of the adults. The line gets longer and longer as the patients wait their turn outside the room. A majority of them pass the time by looking through the windows so they can see these Americans who have come help them.

When their turn arrives, they make their way to the small wooden chairs, most of them carrying babies, and tell the doctor and his interpreter of their sicknesses. I was surprised to see that a majority of the medicine on the table was simple, over the counter drugs that most of us have in our homes. Most of these people have never taken a Tylenol or vitamin in their entire lives, and today their needs are being met. Dr. Mike diagnoses each person and Mrs. Tammy sorts out the medicine from her tabletop pharmacy. Each patient is also given toothpaste and a toothbrush. This cycle continued for a few hours until it was time for a lunch break. As the ham sandwiches and chips were finished, I sat down with the Storys to find out more about them.

Dr. Mike has been in pediatrics since 1990 and he and his family reside in northeastern Alabama. When I asked how he got involved in these short-term medical missions he replied, “One of my former nurses was Jess's sister-in-law. That’s how I met and got to know Jess and through a relationship with him I felt the desire to come and work on these missions.”

This is his fifth trip to the Philippines and his wife’s third visit. “From all the clinics that you’ve participated in here, what have you gotten out of them?” I asked.

It's expanded my worldview of the church, from being something local to being something more universal. That the kingdom of God isn’t limited to just the local church.” Mrs. Tammy replied, “Coming here and seeing all these children, how they don’t have to have all the things children do back home and they’re so happy. They get to learn about God through His creation and in ways that we don’t take time to notice. Its taught me to be more patient with my children and encourage them to come out and be missionaries. I want their eyes to be opened and to share Christ all over the world."

The time and effort put forth into these trips are rewarding. Dr. Mike recalls one experience from the trip they made last year. “In the last village that we visited, there was a small baby, very sick, that we were able to take care of and take to the hospital. If we wouldn’t have been there that day the baby probably wouldn’t have lived. This year we got a report that the baby is a year older and doing fine.”

The Story’s brought along Debra, their 14 year old daughter, and Kathryn, who is a member of their church's youth group. The two girls have been working with the medical team as they travel from village to village. “The truck rides up the mountain are always fun,” they said. “Sometimes there are motorcycles that break down on the side of the road and the guys get out to help and slide down in the mud. It’s really funny! There’s never a dull moment. These medical trips are a good way to start out on missions.”

Please pray that more people would answer the call to come and do God’s work here in the Philippines! And ask yourself what are you doing to further the Kingdom of God.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Make 'em sweat!"

Those were the instructions Jess gave the Habitiat for Humanity Nehemiah Team as Katherine, Debra, Krysten, & David headed for the worksite Wednesday morning. They spent the day bagging sand & gravel, dumping on a roadway, carrying cement, and whatever else they were told to do. And yes... they did sweat!
To read more about the ministry of the Habitat for Humanity team as well as other Nehemiah Teams, go to or link to the blog through the main website

They did a good day's work... and had a great time doing it!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday pictures

Monday started at 5:30AM when the team left out for the first clinic site. It was a long way! Arrived at the clinic site a little after 9:00 and then got started!
Katherine, Debra, & Krysten shared a dental/gospel presentation in 3 elementary classrooms. Each student was taught how to brush their teeth correctly and then heard the Gospel explained in a way that hopefully they could understand. Pray for clean teeth & clean hearts!

Katherine was glad for the nice breeze that blew all day long... keeping all that sweat away!

Sunday update

The road to church was a little muddy in places and lot of bumpy in other places! But it was a beautiful drive along the Agusan River and up through the mountains of the Agusan River Valley.
Sunday morning the team worshipped with a new group that has just begun meeting together in the past few months. These are people from the village of Lawan-Lawan (a village where the team held clinic last summer). However, due to circumstances in the last month, 42 families in the village have evacuated to another area. As Southern Baptists, we have helped these families through the distribution of relief goods during this relocation.

Mike & Tammy both shared a short testimony while Debra & Katherine helped with a class for the children. Afterwards they had a great time taking pictures, especially of the children, and showing them to the kids! They'll have some great pictures to share from this first morning!

Saturday pictures

Waiting in Manila airport

Still waiting in Manila....

View of Butuan area from the plane... almost there!

De-planing in Butuan City... we made it!!

Krysten is glad to have you here!!!

Abundant Life Medical Clinics 2007

A team of 4 from FBC, Ft. Payne, Alabama arrived July 14 to conduct a week of free medical clinics. Partnering with national believers and local government health units, the team is conducting clinics in 5 rural areas among the Hiagon-on tribal people.
In the first day, the 2 doctors saw 76 families- 77 children & 74 adults- for a total of 151 patients. As people come through the clinic they also hear about the Great Physician and His desire for them to have a personal relationship with Him.
  • Pray for safety in travel each day.
  • Pray for the Gospel to take root in the hearts of those who hear it.
  • Pray for our Filipino staff as they have on-going ministries in these areas that they would continue to share the Gospel clearly & effectively.