The mission trip to Coron was my husband, Peter’s fifth medical mission in the Philippines and my second. Peter first travelled with GAiN to Tacloban in 2014, at the invitation of Dr Malcom Hughes. At the time Peter was a builder; but not for long. He returned home with a passion for dentistry and returned to the Philippines in 2015 as a student. I agreed to accompany Peter in 2016 and travelled to Legaspi to join the team. I missed the 2017 trip but was able to accompany the team to Coron this year.
When we told close friends in Brisbane that we were going to Coron for this year's medical mission, they laughed at our 'hardship' going to such a beautiful place to do mission. Coron is a beautiful place, but so is every place mission takes us to in the Philippines. Each location has it's own particular beauty or scenery. The backdrop of Le Mayon in Legaspi is equally spectacular as Coron Island.
Our primary objective is not to experience a place nor is it to have a good time. Our reason for mission is to be a blessing to the people of the Philippines and bring glory to God. We also seek to honour and address each person that comes through the clinic by their name, even though we could never hope to remember them all. Each trip though, there are a few who are most memorable.
Two years ago, Peter and I were both upset that a beautiful sixteen-year-old girl had her two front teeth extracted due to cavities. Peter spent time researching how to bring the necessary equipment along the next time so he could start restoring some smiles rather than devastating them. This time he succeeded. One lady by the name of Angeline had her smile restored in February.
In 2016, I supported Peter and the dental team. This time I volunteered to be on the counselling team. It was very humbling to be used by God in spite of my inability to speak or understand Tagalog and the difficulties the Filipino people have understanding my Aussie accent. I prayed each time for the Holy Spirit to do the work and I was not disappointed. One memorable occasion was a man in his mid-30s who repented with eyes brimming with tears after I painstakingly read from the '4 Spiritual Laws' tract trusting God to do the work in spite of me.
At the end of the two weeks, as the team separated at the airport to fly in different directions, it was like saying goodbye to family. And yet, we had only known each other for less than 2 weeks! God is so good, how his love is so evident in and through the team. The highlight for me was snatching quiet times with other team members and listening as they shared their stories.
By Angela May