My experience of volunteering in Cebu

An insight into volunteering on our projects in the Philippines, by Kristel

Last year, I was initially going to the Philippines for a mission trip with a group of students but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend. My heart for missions and children was still in place. One night, in the midst of my research, I stumbled upon “Mercy in Action” in Cebu, Philippines. The great thing was, I was born and raised in Cebu but I hadn’t been there for over 10 years. After a week of finding out about MiA, without any hesitation, I signed up to volunteer with them. So on July 06, 2014, I flew from Canada to the Philippines on my own. I would never have thought that at 18 years-old I would be travelling across the world to work with street children! I didn’t really know what to expect or what I’d be doing for the next 7 weeks of my life.

During my time with Mercy in Action, I volunteered at the drop in centre from Monday to Saturday with street and community children. I usually worked with the street children from 8am until 5pm and then, from 5pm until 8pm I worked with the children from the local community and helped them with their homework, hosted arts and crafts events or games nights. The drop-in centre teacher assigned me some weekly tasks and assignments for the children such as arts and crafts, games, music, teaching, devotional for the teens, bible study, and many more. The staff gave me many opportunities to serve and show children the love of Jesus.

My favourite time of the day at the drop-in centre was lunch time. It was such a JOY to serve these children. I enjoyed serving their food, watching them eat, washing dishes, serving their drinks, cleaning up and much more. Lunch time is the crazy-fun time! Everyone is hungry so it’s pretty crazy in the kitchen area but I loved it.

My favourite day of the week was Thursday. Thursday was a special day for the children at the drop-in centre, as it was “outing” day. On outing day, we took the kids out, whether it be to the mall, a restaurant, the park, to the arcade, the zoo, to the movies – anywhere but the streets. The children were given a chance to explore, to have fun, to “get-away” and such. It was the time where they can just be kids and enjoy their time as kids. The part that made this even more exciting was that the children didn’t know where the “special” place was until they got there. So it was a great thrill for them.

One thing that really broke my heart was knowing that these children would be going back onto the streets at the end of the day. The time I had with MiA and the children there will never be forgotten. I will also never forget the MiA staff. They have become my family. It’s inspiring to see their heart for these children. The staff were so loving, so kind, so forgiving, so generous, so teachable, so caring, and most of all, they were people who loved the Lord. There were always people around you, encouraging you and helping you in whatever you were struggling with.

Island hopping on an outing

Excited about what the destination will be!

 

 

 

 

 

During my time volunteering with MiA I have learned that we have to meet and love people where they are at. We are all different. Our life stories are different. When you are working with street children every day, you learn something new about them. These children come from a very rough situation and for me; it was about embracing and loving them as equal, valuable and significant.

If you are interested in volunteering like Kristel, please email globalvolunteers@mercyinaction.org.uk

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