Tuesday, April 21, 2015

p h i l i p p i n e s // personal

Ever since I was a young girl, it's been a dream of mine to go on a missions trip. I wanted to visit different cultures. I wanted to meet new people. I wanted to see how others did life. But I especially wanted to share the Gospel, and share about the hope we're able to find at the heart of Jesus Christ and in His blood. I've never been on a missions trip before...but knew that if I ever did, I'd partner with those who had the same mindset towards missions as I did. 

Admittedly, there was a point in my life where missions seemed like the "cool" thing to do. All my friends were doing it! Since I wasn't one to miss out on anything, why couldn't I? Thankfully, the Lord knows our hearts better than we know them ourselves (Psalm 139), and there's a reason why He kept this door closed for a while. My heart wasn't in the right place. He knew I'd of gone for the spotlight, for the applause, for the fun. Of course He's able to use our sin and turn it around for His glory, but if my heart and eyes were focused on self...how could anyone see a real difference? Why would anyone care what I had to say if I was just another person walking around with eyes looking to self instead of up and "others focused"? 

Thankfully, the Lord is so gracious...and continues to refine my heart as the years go on. I'm far from perfect, but He's taught me. He's taught me that a missions trip isn't something you join to get a vacation out of. You don't go to have fun, you go to joyfully serve. You don't join something like this to be applauded for it, you go so the Lord will teach you contentment and even humility. What I believe to be the most important, is that you go to be used as laborers in His ripened field. (Luke 10:2) 

It's with so much joy that I'm finally able to share with you all about the 2 week missions trip I will (Lord-willing) be taking to the Philippines later this Fall in October. The plan is to meet up with a group from Texas, and from there we'll head off to our first stop in Baguio City which is a few hours by bus from Manila (the Capitol). I had my friend and leader of this trip, Celina Henderson, write a few words about what we'll specifically be doing in the Philippines while we're there, but before getting to that, 
let me just be super real.

I can't even put into words how excited I am for this trip, but at the same time I'm 100% nervous. Not necessarily about the trip itself (i'm sure that'll come as the time gets closer), but mostly as I think through all that needs to be done from now until then. Raising money (i'll get to that shortly), learning the tools needed for effective evangelizing, working a part time job, and (not to mention) staying on top of the sessions and weddings I have lined up for this year. Here's the thing, fear begins to set in when I start believing that somehow I'm supposed to carry all this alone. If you know me well, you know that one of the hardest things for me to do is ask anyone for help. I pride myself in being this independent woman, yet when I take a look at what Jesus has to say, being "independent" in selfish ways only robs ourselves of the gifts found in Christian community (Galatians 6:2). The call here is to bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. 

So, how can you help? More than anything, I'd ask every single person who is reading this post to be in prayer for our group as we prepare for this trip. This isn't something we spontaneously decided to do. We didn't just wake up one sunny morning and think to ourselves "Wouldn't it be nice to go the Philippines?" It was a call that we prayerfully considered, sought counsel for, and then decided to go. I believe that even now the Lord is preparing the hearts of those people who we will be so blessed to meet and minister to. Yet there's no way we can do this without the prayer and support of you, our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need you. We need your prayers. 

I haven't told many about this trip because I wanted to provide all the information necessary in one place. However, the few individuals I did share with asked if I needed any financial support. The short answer is yes. My goal is to raise $3,000 to use toward my plane ticket and also toward the cost of travel expenses. Any extra money would go straight to the mission we'll be working with in the Philippines. To help with these costs, I've set up a GoFundMe campaign, and if the Lord is leading your heart to give, here is the link where you can donate: 

Onto the Mission: by Celina Henderson

"Greetings to all our friends and loved ones!

We would like to let everyone know about the upcoming missions outreach to the Philippines in October of this year. This is all possible because of your continual support! We will be returning to Tondo (Smokey Mountain) which is the largest trash dump in the world. There we will feed and disciple more than 120 children who are part of the feeding program. They and their families live and make a living by digging through loads of trash for recyclables and more importantly, their livelihood. 

Our good friends, Paul and Chona Ariaga, are the founders of the 4/14 feeding program and also run a college ministry there. We have trained, ministered with, and have known them for over 7 years. The college students Paul and Chona help sponsor need to earn their Christian scholarships by ministering to each other and participating in weekly discipleship. They also get trained on how to disciple the children in the feeding program. 

Prior to our trip to Tondo, we will be spending our time in the cooler mountains of Baguio City, which is 6 hours by bus from Manila (the Capitol of the Philippines). We have a great house church family that we'll be meeting up with who are very evangelistic, well trained, and who have been active for many years now. We will team up with them to do city evangelism at a very popular city park where we personally have had great success in the past. We will also be there as a source of encouragement to Edmond and MaryAn Limpayos, who are the leaders of the Baguio house church. We will have two house church members that will be joining us on our trip back from Tondo, Manila. We are so very glad to welcome back Chelsea L. Limpayos and Janelle M. Cabading who are young college students and yet, very experienced evangelists. They have worked with us for years both in Baguio and in Tondo. 

The second phase of the outreach will be two separate activities in Tondo. We will be ministering and training at Smokey Mountain. Our plan will be to train the new college students who have never had the opportunity to share their faith by doing evangelism and also we will have a refresher course for those previously trained using "The Way of the Master". We will train them for a day and a half followed by one to one street evangelism. The first half will consist of a class room lecture and the second half will be one-on-one practice with all the students prior to going out. We have used "The Way of the Master" training before in Asia, North America, and even Africa! We find this method of evangelism to be very effective in every place and circumstance. Our plan is to spend a full day evangelizing throughout the area of the Smokey Mountain trash dump, visiting the locals in the area, sharing our faith, and ministering to them. In the past, they have proven to be very receptive to the Gospel. We will also help with the children's feeding program by teaching, having worship, and of course feeding them. We find this to be one of the most moving and powerful moments as we watch children sing their hearts out, praising, and expressing their love and gratitude to Jesus. This is an amazing experience and watching the children who are often very hungry anxiously eating their food and sharing it with their younger siblings, often leaves us in tears. In order for these children to be a part of this moving ministry, the parents must agree to allow Bible teaching. Many families throughout the years have come to Christ because of the witness these children have displayed at home as well as the outpouring of love and support that Paul and Chona have demonstrated to them. 

This year, we have two new sisters who will be joining us on our mission trip. We are so glad to have Sierra Candler from Illinois and Tan Burchell from Australia be joining us for the first time. Those coming on this trip are gong to experience many new and exciting thing as well as many challenges. Third world living with very impoverished and desperate people will bring sobering moments, and the severe tropical heat is one trial we've had to prepare ourselves for every time. Yet despite any challenges we may face, we are confident that those who join us will fall in love with the culture as we have! The Lord always shows up in different and powerful ways when we make ourselves available and move outside our comfort zones. 

We also have two other tentative team members that are both pending due to schedule conflicts. Please include them in your prayers: Marlene Lazalde (a Registered Nursing student in the USA) and Gerly Tolentino (a Medical Student in the Philippines). Both have had experience as evangelists and in ministry on previous trips and on many other occasions. We hope they can join us! 

Last but certainly not least, please remember us all in your prayers. I consider it an honor and privilege to be leading and working side by side with each of these sisters in Christ. It is normal to be excited and nervous at the same time as we wait to see what it is the Lord will do with us individually and as a group. It is always powerful to submit and obey Jesus' commands to seek, save, and serve the lost. Please consider contacting these ladies about any needs they may have prior to this trip. In the meantime, please pray and call out to God for wisdom as He equips us for many divine appointments. Pray especially that our God would send His angels before us. 

Blessings to all!

Celina Henderson

Mission of Reconciliation 

Before signing off, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who took to the time to read this post. To everyone who might prayerfully consider giving whatever they can, and to all of you who will join me and others as we flood the gates of heaven with prayer requests for this trip, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I expect our Lord to do great things through the prayers of His children. To Him be all the Glory.  

Much love, 



  1. Hey Sierra! What a neat opportunity. Know that I will be pray for you now as you prepare for your trip and later on as minister to those in need! Please keep us updated on how things are progressing!

    in Christ ~

    1. I will, Moriah! Thank you *so* much for your support:)



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