Transitioning Home: Reflections from OBI Leader, Jade Landis

Jade Landis spent a large portion of her summer leading the Operation Barnabas International team to the Philippines. Jade has been a student on OB (domestic) and OBI, and has now been a team leader in both areas as well. She also traveled to the Philippines with Lancaster Bible College. It is safe to say that these ministries have had long lasting, life changing effects on Jade, and that part of her heart stays on the island of Boracay. If you missed her last update from the trip, click here! Below are some concluding thoughts and pictures from Jade. Please continue to pray for her transition back to life in Lancaster.

OBI 2014 has officially come to a close and as I sit down to reflect on the trip there are so many things that God did in and through our team and my personal life as well. Though there are a million stories I could share, I just want to share a personal lesson that God taught me and I hope that it challenges you as well!

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With this being my third trip I was excited to see what God was going to teach me through the Filipino culture and it was definitely more than I could have expected or asked for. Many times when people return from missions trips their first thoughts are in regards to the MANY materialistic things we have compared to those they just ministered to. Though this is very true and a realization that we should come to, I have realized that often we let the impact of the trip stop there. Instead this trip to the Philippines reminded me of the importance of relationships. The Filipinos continually seek to serve others, be kind to others, and always put others before themselves! This type of relationships goes against everything that our culture today teaches us about relationships. The relationships that I have formed with the Filipinos have a greater depth to them in my two weeks there than a lot of my relationships at home do. God really used my relationships with them to challenge me in my relationships here at home. We are all a part of the body of Christ and because of that there needs to be a depth and intentionality to our relationships.

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Returning from the Philippines is always difficult because it is always a place that will feel like home to me. Yet I am so thankful to be able to return home to Grace because I know of the wonderful church family that awaits me. Thank you for supporting me and praying for me as I led OBI this summer! Though this is only one story of what God did in my life while being there, there are MANY other stories and I would love to be able to tell you about! Do not hesitate to stop and ask me what God did in and through the OBI team in our time there! Thank you again for the many prayers!

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Understanding Joy: a Philippines update from Jade

Jade Landis will be home this Friday after weeks of ministry in Boracay, Philippines. The Lord has been working through her OBI team, and lives have been changed forever. Please be praying for the remainder of their trip as they wrap up their ministry in the Philippines. Also, pray for their travel coming home…it’s a LONG trip and they will be exhausted!

July 10

Boracay is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been but what makes it so beautiful is the joy within the Filipino people. Having been here 3 times I learn something different about the people and the culture. This time the Lord has really been teaching me about joy. The Filipino people have great joy that comes as a result of their relationship with God and their relationships with others. Yesterday my OBI students put on a puppet program at a feeding site for some of the children. The neat thing was that they organized their feeding site on this specific day because they knew that foreigners could come and put on a puppet show. I have never seen children get so excited for puppets!! It was so encouraging to see how joyful these people were and I know it is only because they truly understand. They understand that God loves them even though they don’t have the material things that we often use to describe God’s love for us. They understand God’s love because of what He has done in their lives and not because of what He has given them. This is such a challenge to me as I look at my own life. Too often we describe God’s love in materialistic manners but the truth is that God loves us because we are His children. May we never forget the great love that God has for us!

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Thank you for prayer for the OBI team and for me as I lead. We have been here for a week and a half and only have 5 days left on the island of Boracay before we head to Manila. Please be praying that God would continue to break our hearts and that we would share the Gospel with those we come in contact with. We would also like to ask for a prayer for one of the Filipinos we have met. Jazer is the individual who drives us to the Ati Village everyday but just last week his wife got really sick and got transferred to a hospital at the other end of the island. She is in need of a blood transfusion and many of the staff at the Ati Village are going to go give blood for her. Please be praying that God would provide healing and that financial support for the large hospital bills would be provided as well. Thank you for joining us in prayer for our Filipino brothers and sisters!

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July 14

Sundays in the Philippines are always a day of joy, precious moments, and memories that last a lifetime and this Sunday was no exception! It began with a church service at Pastor Peter’s church where OBI was able to put on a little program and share the Gospel. My students did incredible and you could see the way that lives were touched! When I returned to my seat it was filled with 8 Filipino children that sat on my lap. Even though it was incredibly hot I allowed them to sit on my lap and move in very close to me on either side. As we sat there we sang worship songs together and they all just sang at the top of their lungs. It was so incredible to worship our great God together and the picture is one that brought tears to my eyes!

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Our afternoon was then spent at the Malindog Ati Tribe in the mountains. There we got to hike to a waterfall and as we hiked there we were accompanied by 20-30 Filipino children. They jumped off the cliffs with us, swam with us, laughed with us, and spent time creating memories with us. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been not only because of the physical location of it, but also because of the people who were there with me. There is nothing more encouraging than building relationships with the Filipino people even if there is a language barrier. God’s love that shines through us breaks down any language barriers and allows deep relationships to be built. I fell asleep on Sunday realizing how blessed I am to be here experiencing these things and building wonderful relationships! God is so good and continues to use this OBI team in great ways! Thank you for your continued prayers!

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Painting in the Rain: an OBI update

Jade Landis is busy leading a team of students through Operation Barnabas International in Boracay, Philippines. Please continue to pray for Jade and the students as they continue their ministry. If you missed the last update, check it out here!

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Here is the most recent email update:

July 7

Sorry for the delay in the update as the internet was not working again. But please enjoy your long awaited update from Rachel!

Hello! Waking up to another downpour, the team met for devotions and finished reading James 1. We learned that as a team we need to be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (James 1:19), especially since the weather has been discouraging and our plans often get changed. We were originally going to carry rocks and sand to mix cement for the Ministry Center on Boracay, but those plans changed about 20 times before we were assigned to paint a classroom at the Ati school on Panay.

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I was really excited to go there because we hadn’t seen the kids in two days, but when we arrived the school had already been canceled due to the rain. We finished the entire room and it looks great! I played volleyball afterwards with a group of girls who were there, and the guys played basketball. Despite the fact that the feeding site we were supposed to go to was canceled, I enjoyed the time I spent with the kids at the school. Our team and the California team headed back, mostly soaking wet, but with a few smart people wearing ponchos (they may have been smart, but they also looked ridiculous).

Back at the Vista House, we sat around and played cards like we always do (someone save me).  Now I’m writing this, and we’ll close out today talking about each of our favorite parts of the day. Mine was hands down playing with the Ati girls, laughing with them and getting to know their names. Seeing joy in their faces and giving them hope makes me forget that I’m tired, dirty or soaked. I just can’t wait until tomorrow! 🙂

OBI in the Ati Village

Below is a personal update from Jade Landis, leader of the 2014 Operation Barnabas International team! Please continue to pray for them as they are just beginning their weeks of ministry in the Philippines. If you missed the last update, click here.

Note: We will not be posting every update we receive from the team. If you’d like to see more pictures and stay updated with the team’s happenings, sign up for their email updates here or check their blog here.

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July 2:

Good Morning from Boracay! God has been so faithful and our team arrived to Boracay Tuesday morning after 48 hours of travel. Leading a team of 7 teenagers through customs and immigration was definitely difficult but each of them did extremely well. Our first day here was spent relaxing and then a feeding site. Feeding sites are where we go into a village and play games, sing songs, teach a bible story, feed, and clean the wounds of the children there. It has been a highlight of each of my trips! Yesterday our team was able to get our first glimpse of manual labor and construction here. We worked hard to move and level the dirt beside their basketball court. They currently have a half court built and are working towards building the other half. Our job is to work to move and level that dirt so that they can finish building. Our team worked extremely hard but it was most rewarding when a few of the children joined us after they were out of school.

With each of my trips I find myself loving this culture more and more. One of the greatest things about the Filipinos is their generosity. Though they have so little, they are so quick to give. Not only do they give materials but they give of their time. In America our time is so precious to us so we struggle to give it to those around us. This is not the case in the Philippines! They want to get to know you and they want to help you. It is a daily challenge to me to be a person who is quick to give of my time and resources to those around me! Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for our physical health as the days are long and hot. And continue to pray for wisdom as I lead this team both logistically and spiritually. Thank you for your support!

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OBI Update… they have arrived!

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Last week, the OBI team met up at Grace Church of Orange in California for orientation. Our very own Jade Landis is the leader for this team of seven students. They spend days learning from God’s Word, practicing their programs, helping out with a VBS, learning Tagalog (the language of the Philippines), and preparing for the three weeks of ministry they will do in Boracay. After orientation and two full days of travel, the OBI team is in Boracay, Philippines!

All of the team’s updates are on their blog here or come through email (subscribe HERE)!

Please continue to pray for Jade as she leads these students, for their safety, and for effective ministry!

If you’d like more information about Jade’s history with OB, click here.

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What I Learned…Steve Weaver Reflects on the Philippines

Steve Weaver recently returned from the Philippines. Be sure to check out the previous posts about his trip with his Lancaster Bible College Journey Team. I asked him to summarize for me a few of the things he learned. Have you considered what God might want to teach YOU through a short-term missions experience? Thank you for investing in people like Steve!

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It has been almost a week since I have returned home from my trip with LBC to Boracay, Philippines and I have been processing my trip throughout this week. This trip has impacted me in a huge way and taught me a few things. I was able to meet some amazing people who are serving the Lord faithfully in the Philippines. I met children who were filled with so much joy despite having so little. I had the opportunity to help in construction and sports ministry while on my trip. I will enjoy sharing in the future joy and ministry that come from the places we worked and served at. God used the people I met and the things I had the opportunity to do to teach me some things about serving Him and living for Him:

  • God showed me how blessed I am living in America and how ungrateful I am for all of the things I have, big and small.
  • I do not feel called to missions but I believe God showed me the love and passion He has placed in my heart for people of the world.
  • The coolest thing that God showed me was that the gospel message is being spread all around the world. We were told that ministries in the Philippines were equipping Filipino missionaries to reach people in the Middle East. God is making His name known all over the world! Will you join in the mission?

Thank you to everyone who supported me financially and through prayer!

Steve Weaver UPDATE

Here’s another update from the Lancaster Bible College Journey team with whom Grace Church’s Steve Weaver is serving:

Good day America! Rachel reporting to you with our last full day on the island. The morning started off on a really good note with everyone actually being on time for breakfast, for once, and a truly amazing testimony from Christy. Put in lots of hard work with a day of construction work with Boss Bong (our construction leader/master) We exceeded expectations in the morning with concrete mixing, by hand, and pouring pillars and of course plastering yet another wall, only this one being quite a vertical challenge. It was awesome to see all the team members coming together and figuring out the best ways they could contribute. EVERYONE was a vital part in today’s construction. There was even a cute little puppy roaming around the site to make us smile and laugh, we might have taken more puppy petting breaks than water breaks!

After we finished the pouring, we came back for a nice lunch break and a cat nap, some of us lucky enough to find a nice cool spot on the floor. After a few moments of being dazed and confused by the wake up call, we were ready to go back for more work. It was a nice wind down of some little things we already mastered such as bending rebar, twisting wires, and plastering a wall.  Many of us found some energy in singing while worked with such classics as Queen, Beauty and the Beast and many worship songs. The community living next door got quite a treat. After we got back to the house, we got to get the cement off of us and headed out to our last feeding site.

The local kids we were playing with on the beach all week was our targeted outreach today. It was so awesome to know most of their names and play games with them. Christy and Dean, led an amazing song session, making every kid smile. Paul got to read the story of how Jesus walked on the water and the kids absorbed it right up. When we got back to our house, we finished our last supper here on the island overlooking yet another beautiful and unbelievable sunset on the ocean. Kody wrapped it up with his testimony, with no doubt making us laugh at points but bringing everything together with a Christ centered message.

 After that, the team parted ways to finish up some shopping (you will see what we bought in no time!) Somehow, most of us still found our way back to De Marios for our last delicious milkshake on the beach. To think that our time here is almost over is so bitter sweet for many. Sad to leave the friendships we have made here, on and off the team, but yet so excited to see our loving friends and family back home. Though we only have a day left here, keep the e-mails coming because they keep our spirits up and we’ll need it over the next two days of traveling!

Sincerely,

The Philippines Journey Team

This team has a LOT of travel ahead of them; please keep them in your prayers! Also be praying for this time of transition as it can be hard to merge the lessons they have learned in the Philippines with their everyday life here.