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Part 9: Mga Unang Impresyon ni Leah

Philippines Pastor John & Pastor Dave

Mga Unang Impresyon ni Leah (Leah’s First Impressions) 

It was a long journey to get to Ormoc City where the training with the first Cohort is taking place at Bible Baptist Church. It began with a 14-hour flight from Toronto to Hong Kong, a 3-hour stopover, followed by a 3-hour flight to Cebu and about an hour taxi ride to our hotel. Pastor Dave Roberts joined Paul and I here. We had 2 nights to rest up before we met up with the Mahaffeys and Villanuevas, taking a short flight to Tacloban and 2+ hour journey through the mountainous countryside, eventually arriving at our hotel in Ormoc City. 

Philippines Motorbike - Leah
During our 2 days in Cebu, my friend asked me if I had been to The Temple of Leah. Of course, I had to check THAT out! It was very interesting - it was built with a similar mindset of the Taj Mahal, although on a much smaller scale. I have been having fun with the team, reminding them who I am, and that I have my own temple.

On Monday evening we met the pastors and leaders who are taking part in the Leaders Formation Training. All of them are very grateful to be offered this training, and eager to learn. I have the privilege of sitting with a group of amazing women of various ages. Some of the women are already leading Bible Studies and teaching Sunday School classes in their own churches. One young lady, Sari-Leigh, just graduated from Bible College where she received several academic awards. She is now a teacher at the Ormoc City Christian Academy which is attached to the church where we are holding the training. We have had some great discussions around the table during the training sessions. At first most of them were extremely shy and hesitant to speak up in front of the whole group, but in just 2 short days they are enthusiastically participating and presenting their ideas and insights. 

Philippines School Children

My overall first impressions of the Philippines are:

  • The weather is hot
  • The people are warm, joyful, and very hospitable
  • The students are eager to learn
  • The children are so polite, well-mannered (and cute!). They observe a nice tradition where the children greet adults by reaching for your hand then placing it on their forehead. It is a sign of respect and a blessing.
  • God is at work here. There is evidence of spiritual hunger and there are big beautiful churches being built - most of them are not Bible-believing churches though.
  • The food is delicious. There is nothing quite like fresh mangoes and pineapple
  • The vegetation is beautiful - we are surrounded by some gorgeous trees and flowers, which seem in stark contrast to the poverty all around us.

Philippines Flowers & Sunset

I had some idea of what to expect here as Paul has been twice already. Of course, experiencing it for myself has been amazing. I have been blessed already by the people who are hosting us, the Leaders Formation team, and the participants in the program. I am eagerly anticipating tonight’s graduation ceremony and then onto Week 2 in Banga.

- Leah