Philippines Mission Trip 2017

Our annual Philippines Mission Trip was again a success, this year sending two teams to different locations. Below is an extract from the student blog, written by Karsen Holloway.
"Reflecting on the trip, it has no doubt been exhausting. The team worked long days on the CR and with kids at events. The physical element of this trip became very real for all of us very quickly. However our sore muscles, sun burn and bruises were quickly remedied by the faces of the Filipinos. Every day brought new jokes, games and an overwhelming amount of reasons to smile.  As we waited during our layover at Manila Airport for our Sydney flight, we debriefed. The team went around and shared our highs, lows and what we think we will take away or change about ourselves. Some of the lows mentioned were leaving the families of the community as well as the beautiful ICM choir kids, seeing the layers of rubbish that the people live upon and being unable to perform to our full potential because of various reasons like the intense tropical heat or sickness. The positives of this trip however, vastly outweighed the negatives. Going around the circle, people's faces started to light up as the fun and silly things that had happened to us were remembered. From little things like a hot-sauce-spiked glass of water to our ridiculously professional song performance for the ICM choir. We remembered a runaway toddler jumping around, appearing seemingly from nowhere just to have a cuddle or if we preferred a whole swarm of them, it would happen in an instant. The physical love we received was astounding, but it would in no way compare to the impact that has been left on the hearts of both the community we served and us as a team. After the kids camp, the mothers of the community lined up and expressed their immense gratitude and thanks for us. There were tears from both sides as the day came to an end but it just showed just how strong of a bond we had created with these amazing people. At the end of the day, we all are incredibly honoured and lucky for the opportunity to serve in the Philippines. We are grateful for the initial and continued support we have received from friends, family and everyone else who has contributed to our fundraising and prayed for our safety. We received a few letters from some of the girls we got to know from the community and the yr 11 girls read them out on our bus back to the hotel after the kids camp on our last Saturday. "Our experiences," it read in letters from Jovelyn and Andrea, "may be forgotten by our minds, but our hearts will never forget." We certainly won't ever forget this incredibly unique and irreplaceable experience."