“So, what did you do today?”
“We went to church.”
“Cool, what else?”
That was it! It turns out that on this particular occasion, going to church is an all-day endeavour. Let me tell you about it…
We had our usual breakfast on the waterfront (jealous yet?), with sweet mango juice, omelettes and fresh fruit… albeit slightly rushed, because we needed to get to the ferry before our chauffeur Edwin needed to be at church.
One sweet multicab ride with the wind in our hair later, we jumped onto the ferry (first time I’ve ever taken the ferry to church) and enjoyed the ocean breeze (and space) before squeezing into our next multicab. One hour later, we emerged a little (!) sweatier and more rumpled at Consolacion Church of God. Just slightly early. Three hours early. :)
It was the Thanksgiving service! The service was later than usual because preparations needed to be made for this special celebration service, including decorating the church in beautiful streams of coloured bunting and preparing a spit roast suckling pig. So we joined in! Worship practice included multiple dance parties with the children and belting out Hillsong classics. We also continued the Cebuano lessons and help to turn the spit. (They turn it by hand, for hours!)
Pastor Jessie welcomed us with open arms and warm hospitality. During the service, Jacinta shared her testimony with the congregation articulately and with conviction, encouraging them to know that God has a loving plan in all of life’s circumstances. Our very own Pastor Jo-elle preached, sharing a 3-point message on following God at ‘Full Throttle’ – the theme of the service. Thumbs up all round. I was personally encouraged by the congregation’s energy and joy throughout our time at Consolacion church. Their passion for Jesus and their zeal to make his love known to the people around them was infectious, and worshipping with them was something special.
Following the end of the service, we feasted on roast pork, rice and a myriad of side dishes. A special highlight was the crackling, which can apparently only be described by sounds, hand gestures and facial expressions, because the only word I’ve heard used to describe it was lami – yummy! Then back into the multicab, along with our new Filippino friends (there’s always room for one more), back to the ferry, and sailed in the sunset back to Olango – home sweet home, for our last night.
Meeting us at our hotel was Pastor Victor, with his wife and sweet four-year-old daughter. They joined us for dinner as we wanted to thank them for all they had done for us over the past week. It was a privilege and honour to join in their church’s work for the past week and we’ve learned so much from them. Memories have been made this week!
Time to say goodbye to Olango!
We slept in (8 o’clock breakfast!) and had devos out on the verandah one last time. As always, some challenging questions and discussion. Some packing, some last chills, a few songs on the guitar, a few rounds of Bananagrams, and it was time to go. Pastor Victor and his crew prayed us out with a blessing and we prayed for them in turn.
Then to Cebu! You know the drill by now, right? Multicab and ferry (with mouth hanging slightly open as the ferrymen casually slung our suitcases on their shoulders, striding across on skinny planks over stinky water). At the next port we jumped onto an airconditioned van (luxury!) and drove to YWAM. Lunch was at Jolliebee’s, a Filippino fast food chain that we’ve been itching to try, and we weren’t disappointed.
We were warmly welcomed at YWAM Cebu with welcome notes and mango snacks on our beds, delicious chili con carne for dinner and a cultural orientation session to all the things we’ll be doing during our next ten days. Stay tuned!
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