Building on five previous summer trips, this past summer we sent a WildFire intergenerational team out to the Philippines. The team spanned an impressive 54 years in age, as well as varying background and experience. Partnered, as always, with key local leaders and an existing 'on the ground' team of Filipinos, our all-age team spent time investing in two communities that will be the focus of the local YWAM ministry for the coming 2 years. On top of all this, it was super exciting that we could finally go as a family for a Filipino adventure and meet all my South-East Asian extended family!
Partnered with the local church and a team of local youth and builders, the WildFire team were able to remodel a rotten and rusty shack and build on a foundation of rat and cockroach infested rubbish/sewage to see it transformed into a community centre.
We're continuing to get alongside the long term local team by supporting in the process of writing some vision and values documents and encouraging the development of some 'best practice' guidelines for how the community centre is developed and run. Long term, we believe that this process will not only allow the community centre to genuinely serve and resource the local community, but also better equip the local team to get alongside other communities in need to see them work themselves toward their aspirations, which reflect, for the most part, the kingdom of God. We hope, over the coming years, to be able to continue to support our partners in the Philippines with greater training in sustainability and community development.
As a family we developed a really special relationship with a local family and spent lots of time eating together, sharing stories and praying for one another. It was a lot of fun for the kids who had some very specific words of knowledge for members of the family. The kids stepping out in this way, taking risks and seeing God at work through them was inspirational for some of the older members of our team.
One key thing for us as a team this year was introducing bible timeline(ing) to our morning devotions. Previously we've had a bible study working through a theme or book which has always been beneficial but introducing the time really blew the lid off! Basically, you have a 10 metre roll of lining paper or wallpaper, a load of pens, everyone's bible at the ready and go! People fill in bits they know in their (vaguely) chronological order - some in great detail, some not so - some with elaborate art and some with stick men - some with biblical text and some needing no explanation at all. People can enter in at any level from having some almost forgotten Sunday school knowledge or even reading a bible story for the first time through to people with PhDs in soteriology. At the end of a 30 minute session its amazing to stand back and see how some of the big story of scripture sits together and be able to trace key themes that appear repeatedly or are woven across the whole narrative. For people who are new to bible study it's accessible and gives them a starting point to locate future bible study. For people who've devoured scripture over years it provides reminders of those forgotten gems that someone else depicts but also a great opportunity to disciple others in a fun and interactive way.