Team leader Jake writes...

Philippines blog day 5

Day 5 saw us kicking off bleary eyed but full of beans, ready to head off to Opol Natonal Technical Secondary School. A 7am start. The team, along with some of the DTS from the Kings lodge, yammed some breakfast down their necks before loading a packed jeepney for an hour long & rather sweaty prep time. The teams were rather in at the deep end - they knew we would be sharing on culture, politics & faith in our respective nations across 4 classes but didn't know which teams they would be in until just before we loaded the jeepney. 

Teams devised plans and majored in different areas ranging from fish & chips through to the differences between constitutional monarchies and democratic republics... Wasn't expecting that! 

From what I saw, most teams were a little overwhelmed by the Filipino high school culture, the rowdiness and the near celebrity status visitors often end up attributed with; for any of the team wishing to go into teaching, this was a brutal crash course in class room management. Most went softly-softly, engineering ways of managing the energy and Hannah creatively employed the 'if you talk over me, you come sit on the floor tactic'. Though the first class brought out some nerves and hesitation, by the next two classes all seven groups had found their stride. 

By sharing life stories & cultural traditions through well used ice breakers like hangman & ceilidh dancing many of the teams were able to transition into heartfelt autobiographies and also teach on well rooted identity and the kingdom of God. 

Following the classes we went through the obligatory 100,000 selfies & many of the team took the opportunity to pray and prophesy over individuals. Pray that the various interactions would settle into the hearts of these young lives and would truly be transformative. 

During a massive storm we set off for smokey mountain, the rubbish sorting powerhouse of Cagayan, where people also make their home. This conglomeration of shanty habitations has become the topic of many sociologists' academic inclinations in recent years. Smokey can be dangerous in adverse weather with lots of debris filling the air. Thankfully, by the time we arrived, the storm had died down and we just had to watch our step in the gunk of mud and seismic bin juice. 

Some of the team cared for wounds, others de-loused and braided hair whilst small teams visited house to house, prayed for the sick and learned about smokey mountain life. 

I finally got to see the work of Kuya Thomas, a Swiss guy who went from tourist to NGO pioneer who has set up a centre working to economically empower women and get kids in to school. It's a taken a while but I'm starting to learn about how of some of the dots join together up on smokey; I feel that there is a long way to go. Strategic partnerships are not the easiest to comprehend in a different culture, much less in the midst of this intricate microcosm. Pray for continued wisdom for Pastora Ruth & the others dreaming of how we can continue to model kingdom living in this strange and wonderful place.