I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Philippines and Macau Gleanings


 
Delores Topliff
People don’t take mission trips to gain new material for stories or fill emotional diaries to overflowing, but that happens. Our team of five had unforgettable times in Macau and the Philippines connecting with and ministering to people deeply needing and appreciating encouragement. After flying 18 hours to Manila, we were up most of that night and, days later, all of a second, which was hard since I don’t sleep traveling. My original flight was delayed by mechanical trouble, so I was rescheduled but my suitcase didn’t and by its arrival 24 hours later, we’d had gone to Macau, China. I didn’t get luggage for 5 days. Delta authorized me to buy new clothes in Macau but they had nothing for my height and size.

Another trip member had one skirt I poured into each day that didn’t reach my knees. Because of leg issues, I wore support hose that didn’t reach my knees. It’s hard to speak confidently when you look dorky. Speaking on stage to leaders from 13 churches, I went bare-legged—overjoyed to find my belongings and ruined suitcase when arriving in the northern Philippines.

But the people made us forget hardships. Perhaps because of being conquered many times, they have precious gentle spirits and serve with extreme graciousness. In Macau the small church is primarily women (and some grown sons), working as domestics no matter their levels of qualification, earning around $6/hr. six or seven days a week. They fill two year contracts while employers hold their passports. They may go home to visit after a year, but travel would cut into the goals of their labor. Most work for their children’s better futures, or to build homes, or immigrate families to North America

They have a 50% chance of good work situations. One young pastor’s wife’s employers were really human traffickers. When she resisted, they held her hands over gas burners, but she still didn’t cooperate. When ordered to take out the trash, she removed herself with it, leaving her passport and belongings behind but taking her cell phone with the number inside of the small Hong Kong branch of the Philippine church network we partner with. They provided safety and contacted a government office who extricated her passport and ended her work contract. She and others from Hong Kong joined us in Macau, drinking in every word, song and prayer.

We also were part of three wonderful school grads including a Bible college where I spoke in full gown. The graduating pastors and teachers fill assignments throughout the Philippines and beyond, including many Muslim countries. They know they’ll face hardships, perhaps even death, but go with strong committed hearts. I’ve supported a 9-year-old orphan girl there for three years. In the loving children’s home and school, she and her twin sister now speak enough English for us to talk some. Instead of adopting children out, this organization raises them to be wonderfully contributing adults with answers for the Philippines. Since my first trip in 2008, I’ve seen young people who were teenagers then being effective loving leaders now. But when I reflect on this trip, it is the faces of women of all ages in Macau and Hong Kong I see most—my heart and prayers go to them often.

Mission trips are rigorous and strenuous. I reached one exhausted melt down point when I thought, “I’m too old for this, I can’t do this again, this is my last trip.” But by the end, after so many positive results, I thought, “It’s so worth it. Maybe, if God helps me, I can come again.” In the meantime, my heart and life are invested there. Every effort and support dollar I’ve spent brings far-better returns than Dow-Jones investments.

What’s next? Live an enriched life. Care, pray, give sacrificially, and write all that God puts in me.

 

11 comments:

  1. Dee,

    Your "dorky" outfit of mini-skirt and support hose made me laugh out loud. ;-) But your story of the young pastor's wife who was burned because she resisted sexual slavery broke my heart. Thanks for serving on this trip and for sharing your stories. We need to hear both the good and bad, but especially the wonderful news of what the gospel is doing in the Philippines.

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  2. My heart breaks for these people, especially those who are forced into sexual slavery. What an awesome opportunity to minister. I know God blesses your work and if that's where He wants you, you will go back! Thanks for the wonderful report.

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  3. I'm already wanting to go next year if I can raise the trip funds. Thanks both for your interest, wonderful friendships and prayer support--that makes all the difference!

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  4. Dee, thank you for sharing about your trip and making us aware of the trials of others. Your ministering heart wasn't shared with just them but us also. You're an amazing woman. And I know they will be so blessed by your presence long after your departure.

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  5. Dee,
    Thank you for sharing. We live in our own little world and so often get so busy we sometimes forget the plight of others trying to reach the level of freedom we take for granted. My parents did menial work until they could bring my older brothers from Trinidad here. I will forever be grateful for their sacrifice for us -- to have a better life.

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  6. Dee, thank you for sharing the details of your trip. I too laughed at your dorky outfit, but I'm sure being in your presence made much more of an impact to their lives. Much the same as your story has enriched us. We live through you vicariously, and thank God for your loving spirit and willingness to minister to others--a gift we have all received!

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  7. Thank you, ladies. Your lives and stories are gifts and strength to me!

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  8. OH, Dee, I love reading your stories of your travels. You had me laughing, and even tearing up. I loved the Philippines when I went there many years ago. They are "real" not pretentious, and so precious. Their simplicity and beautiful spirits blessed our team far more than anything we did for them. My heart breaks for them in some of the hardships they face. I hope you get to go back again. Thanks for sharing your stories and life lessons.

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  9. Dee,
    I loved hearing about your trip again -- and, yes, I'm saying, "Oh, the places she goes, oh the people she meets" in my head! I know you were both blessed and a blessing.

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  10. Thanks, each of you, who commented and matter to me. So nice to connect. Be blessed!

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  11. Dee, the tale of your travels both warmed my heart and brought back memories of some of my missionary travels. There are times indeed when you must choose to laugh at some things that happen...or else you just might cry! Only in eternity with our Lord will we know fully of all the blessings of your travels.

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