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Week twenty eight to thirty one – ‘Travel Travel Travel!’

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So I've been AWOL for the last few weeks because I've been staying in the Philippines with family for a big wedding…and what a trip!

Have you been to the Philippines? Flopping loved it! My better half is Philippino, as is his extended family both here in Australia and back in the Philippines, so our trip there was basically one big reunion! It was brilliant! We travelled around with family, we met family we’d never met before, we caught up with family we hadn’t seen in a long time and we stayed with family we’d only ever heard about 🙂 what an adventure and a fantastic way to get to know people!

So we left early February and arrived back yesterday morning in a whirlwind. Our first stop after landing in Manila and spending less than 12 hours there was Palawan. The flight was short and there were only 11 of us going – the bride and groom, the bride’s brother and girlfriend and the bride’s parents and their friends. We stayed in a lovely hotel, had a tour of the city and surrounding areas, visited the underground river, went zip lining (for you Aussies, that’s a flying fox), did some impromptu rock climbing in flip flops (only in the Philippines! Ha!), Island hopped and went snorkelling. Such a blur but such fun! A great mix of people to share the adventure with and such a beautiful place to visit! It was also a great opportunity to spend time with the bride and groom, hear how their planning and preparation was coming along and get to know the bride’s family a bit better too 🙂

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After spending another less-than-12-hour stop over in Manila, hubby and I took another short flight to Cebu. Our church is connected to a few ministries on this island and we were really keen to finally check these out first-hand and meet some key ministry partners. We visited the House of Hope Christian drug rehabilitation ministry, a children’s ministry called Lily of the Valley and also an outreach ministry set up in the foothills outside of the city. Hubby’s mum, dad, younger brother and sister joined us for these adventures too which made them doubly special and fun 🙂 it was so encouraging to meet all the people who are involved in these various ministries and hear their stories. We saw glimpses of The Kingdom through their passionate accounts of how they are involved in the services and how their hearts are so invested in the work. I love that our church family can support these ministries and can’t wait see how we can be involved in the future too! (furthermore, our hotel was amahhhhhzing!!)

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After Cebu we flew back to Manila where we would all be staying with hubby’s dad’s mother’s cousin and his family…say that 10 times quickly! 🙂 two nights with these rellies and a bit of touristy stuff with other cousins and aunts and uncles before the bus trip to Batangas for the long-awaited big day!! Couldn’t wait to see the wedding unfold! The beach resort it would be held at was stunning – right on the beach with a gorgeous pool and amazing view of the blue sea and white sands…just perfect for a beach wedding. So much work and planning went in to the event and it went OFF! What a beautiful celebration for the bride and groom (who incidentally were actually renewing their vows after 4.5 years of wedded bliss 🙂 hehe) so much fun with a photo booth, great food, great music, fireworks and even the release of lanterns into the night sky! Such an epic evening and I truly think the couple should be crazy-proud of what they put together for everyone! So memorable…

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Back to Manila after the wedding for our last week in the Philippines and with no ‘set in stone’ plans. We caught up with other relatives who were kind enough to show us a few more places in Manila we wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise 🙂 we did a fair bit of shopping and the crazy-big malls and markets and I even had the opportunity to meet up with a special friend from my time onboard the Logos Hope ship 4 years ago!!! What a blessing that was!

We took in a couple of movies (so much cheaper to go to the cinema in the Philippines!), enjoyed multiple stops at Krispy Kreme and just generally hung out with family we hardly ever see.

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The Philippines is such a chilled, friendly, content and beautiful destination and I felt so blessed and pleased that I was able to go and that we were invited to the wedding of the year! God really has a hand on that country – on the people He has called to serve their brothers and sisters and on the people He has called to serve the country from afar. I can’t wait to see how He might have us be involved in serving in the coming years and truly truly look forward to getting back there soon!!

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Week six – ‘coffee, sweet treats and recycled goods’

I know I know – I’m a couple of days late in this blog entry! My bad…got caught up in homework and Father’s Day and eating delicious home made goodies!

So a couple of things to report on from this past week. I want to ‘introduce’ you first off to my tutoring student. I’ve had several meetings with him now, we get together on Monday mornings for a couple of hours and basically my job is to get to know him and his needs/wants in terms of English language and offer help. He’s a Masters of Divinity student at the same college I’m at, but is a Korean national. He and his wife and 2 kids live here while he studies and works.

He’s such a friendly, smart guy and his English is pretty well top-notch! We look over his assignment requirements, look at specific instructions, define words and look at certain texts a bit more in depth. In that, I try to explain anything he doesn’t quite understand (as much as I can!) and also check over any assignments he wants me to. It’s really a fun task! He makes this assignment of mine – yes, it’s a requirement for me to meet with him as per my own studies – much more interesting and enjoyable! I just hope I’m being useful to him too.

Now lend me your ear, because I want to rave for a moment! One of my most favourite parts of each week is getting along to Junktion. What on earth am I on about, you ask? (I don’t care if you didn’t ask, imma tell you anyway!) 🙂

Junktion is a not-for-profit recycled goods shop – complete with coffee, tea and sweet treats for sale – that I volunteer in. It’s an initiative set up by Youth Ministries Australia (who I just happened to do my internship through and love the vision of!) that is located in the office next door. Trav, the YMA National Leader works out of the office and his wife Pixi works out of Junktion. It’s such a fun and warm place to work in! Not only do I thoroughly enjoy spending time with Pixi, but the shop itself is awesome. So many cool things come across the counter and so many different people walk through the door – you just never know what a day at Junktion might hold!

I think one of the things that truly resonates with me though, is what lies at the heart of Junktion. To be a light – a friendly, Godly light – in the community. Somewhere for people to meet, hang out, pick up something incredibly awesome for incredibly little $$ and be a part of something bigger than themselves. The shop also functions in a financial way for YMA too, covering the rent for the office and the shop as well as helping to fund different youth and youth leader related events/training run through the office.

Have I raved enough for you yet? I just LOVE being a part of the volunteering team! It truly is a huge highlight of my week 🙂 check Junktion out on Facebook!

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