After clearing customs in Manila, we proceeded down some long stairs to claim our two bags. Excitedly I looked down to see a man holding a sign that said, “Mr. Curt Sharp.” For a second I felt special thinking there might be some service taking us to the NTM guesthouse. I was wrong. As we got closer to the man, I saw the words “baggage claim” below my name and I knew something was wrong with our luggage. It turned out that one of our two bags never left Denver but eventually showed up two days later. Unfortunately, it was the bag with all of our clothes! It was humbling driving through some of the slums of Manila which reminded us how blessed and fortunate we were to even have the clothes we were wearing.
We are currently staying at the New Tribe Mission guesthouse in Manila which is connected to their headquarters. The guesthouse is bigger than we expected and has roughly 30 different rooms. When missionaries have to come out of the tribe for various reasons they often stay here. Over the different meals we’ve been able to meet many different missionaries serving all over the country. We were challenged and encouraged by one missionary in particular who has been serving in the Philippines since 1980. In her many years of service, she has been forced to leave her tribe because of guerrilla activity, civil wars, and health. In recent years her husband passed away from cancer. Despite all of these hardships, she told us, “It was a privilege that God allowed her to go back into the tribe to finish the work He allowed them to start.” Her testimony reminded how hard serving the Lord can be, but also what a privilege it is to be able to partner with our Lord in His eternal work. This missionary also encouraged us by telling us how desperate the Philippines is for support missionaries. We left dinner feeling needed, encouraged and challenged by the way God chooses to use His people.
One of the ministries we anticipate doing in the Philippines is teaching and discipling missionary children. There are two schools we could possibly serve at with one being in Manila and the other located in Davao City. Yesterday we visited the Manila campus and met with different faculty and staff. Soon we will head down to Davao City to visit Faith Academy there and also the different ministry opportunities in the south. We will spend roughly 8 days in the southern island of Mindanao.
Some of you might be interested in how Sadie has been adjusting to the Philippines. She was nearly perfect on the three flights over. Her first two nights were a little rough but in many ways she’s gotten over jet lag faster than us. Filipinos love babies, so she’s been a celebrity!
We thank you for your prayers and support. Not everyone gets to take a pre-field trip before they move overseas. We are learning so much and know this will help us be better prepared and equipped for life in the Philippines.