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Monday, April 8, 2019

Gracie's Philippines Blog

Going Back
by Grace Beougher (Sales)

Going back was harder at first then I imagined. 

I was so excited to go with the team, including my fiance, Zac, and show them my life there but part of me didn't know if returning would bring back all the stress that I felt when I was there or if it would feel like a heartbreak when the time came to return to the States again. 

Ever since my first overseas missions trip with my dad to Malawi when I was 17 yrs. old (nearly 10 years ago!), I've struggled with culture-shock and heartache each time I stepped off a plane and back onto U.S. soil. Part of my heart was left with each ministry I worked with and each seed I planted/watered. However, leaving the Philippines last year to return to the U.S. was a much more severe separation than ever before. I had been gone longer this time and I experienced stress, fatigue, and loss during my time in the Philippines. Being back home in the U.S. felt comfortable and safe which made part of me want to avoid the feelings involved in returning to my host culture (the Philippines) and then having to say goodbye to it once more. 

With my dad on one side and Zac on the other, I gained the courage and motivation to return. If they experienced what I had maybe they would begin to understand my stories. 

We returned to the small mountain village where I had spent almost a month 3 years prior. The little community of believers that my previous team had the privilege of baptizing was now ready for their first church building and they were in need of supplies to build the foundation. Our small team, my dad (Carlos), my fiance (now husband! Zac), med-student (Kenya), basketball guru (Tanner), and myself were packed onto several motorcycles for the hour trip up the mountain into the village. We spent the night in hammocks, visited the homes of the people, and hosted a Jesus film "movie night" for everyone there. After our night in the village, we hopped on a bus for 7 hours and headed toward Davao (where I had spent majority of my two and a half years there serving in the maternity clinic). There we met our ministry partners the Wicks. 

With the Wick family and their ministry team we got to:

  • Visit House of Hope (a home for children fighting cancer)
  • Help with their kids ministry "Buhi" (much like a weekly VBS program)
  • Play lots of basketball with their basketball ministry (which instills godly principles in children and teaches them how to memorize scripture)
  • Serve with a food program
  • Share at a truck rally (with some of the wealthiest and most influential men in Davao)
  • Attend & Encourage the Wick's church
  • Distribute Love Packs (food, toiletries, & other necessities delivered door-to-door to the poorest communities in Davao)
  • Pray over many many people!
  • Also, Kenya and I were able to serve a couple times in the clinic that I had worked with before. It was a whirlwind of a trip and God worked mightily. 
It was a privilege to show my home to the team and I was reminded of all the wonderful things I missed about living in the Philippines. It was filled with fun memories and joy and less anxiety then I had imagined in returning. God allowed me to re-experience so many things that I loved about my previous time in my host culture.

Ultimately, I was reminded that the anxieties a person can have when traveling to another country can happen for a variety of reasons. Whether this is the first time going on a trip or whether they've been going for 10 years, stepping off a plane in a new culture is not an easy thing to do, even if you're certain it's what God has asked you to do. Mission Trips are difficult; they can be stressful and anxiety-producing but when you take the opportunities that God has given you, to love in ways that He has equipped you, He will show up. God will always reach towards us through ways we couldn't have imagined and often in ways that stretch us in our fears and anxieties. Going on a Mission Trip and following through with the prayer, fundraising, traveling, and evangelism may just be God's way of reaching towards you & His children living half a world away. 

If you see some of yourself in my story or maybe you sense God asking you to reach out, consider joining RTH on the next trip to the Philippines this summer:

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Thank you for your words of encouragement. The Sales Family