Missions Exposure Trip to Marinduque Part 1

The people of Marinduque like to think of their island as the "heart" of the Philippine archipelago because of its shape and location. Found in Southern Luzon, between the provinces of Mindoro and Quezon, the island-province boasts of pristine beaches, waterfalls, caves and other natural wonders that can truly make the heart skip a beat.

It is a place I can easily love. But I went to Marinduque not as a tourist but as a missionary. Together with a team of almost 30 individuals, I spent a week in the island helping in seminars and small group discussions on Sunday School, evangelism, holiness and purity, sexuality and relationships. We also shared the Gospel to a number of people in a community, and I acted as a counselor for my teammates during that long week.

Editing what I posted on my Facebook the day I arrived home after the trip, I will summarize the Missions Exposure Trip of 2010 as "tiring but satisfying."

The Missions Trip to Marinduque was my third, the first two were in Isabela and Infanta. This trip was unique because as the team ministered to the people of Sta. Cruz and Boac, the older and more experienced members also had to intensively minister to the first-timers and the younger teammates.

Thus, our missions trip focused on evangelism and equipping, the latter being the need of the local churches and some team members, and the former being the very essence of the trip.

We spent roughly nine hours on the road and the sea to reach Boac from Manila. We rode a bus, a boat and a jeep to reach our temporary shelter-- a recreation site run by Pastor Paul's sister, Tita Grace. We stayed in Boac for three days and spent the remainder of the trip in the neighboring town of Sta. Cruz.

While in Boac, the ladies slept in a Nipa Hut in the middle of a fish pond. The gentlemen, on the other hand, slept in a tree house. I was with Mark, Mike and Randy in the first floor while the rest of the guys crowded the second floor. Some members chose to stay in the multi-purpose hall where there was more space.

We spent our first day in Marinduque resting, eating, training and getting to know one another. There was an abundance of food and we are grateful to our host for taking care of us. But I miss the days when Missions Trip also meant standing on our own feet even in simple chores like cooking. I believe this is something we can incorporate in the coming years.

Ate Lucky, Ate My, Marvee and myself worked together to train the team for Sunday School. We relayed what we learned from Ate Diane, a full-time church worker from Michigan who focuses on kids' ministry. She provided us with materials, including an evangelism apron that works like the Wordless Book. It is an excellent tool in presenting the Gospel to children because of the pictures, the colors and the reading cards that come with it.

We also had time to review the True Love Waits materials for a seminar the following day. We formed smaller groups made up of an experienced ate or kuya, a less experienced member and a newbie. This structure was used throughout to train the next generation of leaders while we ministered to the local churches and youth in Marinduque.

Day 1 was our chance to bond with new and old friends from the Living Word Christian Fellowship, our mission partner from Lucban, Quezon. We had team-building and getting-to-know-you activities and games. This year, we also had a short-term youth missionary from Switzerland joining our team. It was Daniel's first time in Asia and he's spending six months in the Philippines.

The real work began on our second day. I got up at four in the morning because my phone's clock was an hour advanced. Not knowing this, I went on to spend time with the Lord in prayer and meditation. The morning air was cool and refreshing. After my quiet time, I was beginning to feel worried because no one's up yet aside from Mike who had to charge his phone. I was still sleepy but I resisted the temptation of going back to bed. It was already six in my phone's clock but everything was still dark and quiet.

"This is unusual," I thought to myself, "At least the sun should be rising by now." Thinking that everyone's still tired from the journey, I discarded the idea of waking my teammates in their sleeping quarters. I'm glad I did because at around 6:20 a.m. (my time) several phones started ringing. I glanced at Mark Willian's phone and, lo and behold! it was just 5:30 in the morning. The team wasn't late; I was just an hour early.

The extra hour, however, gave me more time to spend with God before our morning group devotions. In the next five days, we would all wake up at around 5:30 a.m. for our daily group quiet time. My favorite one happened in the seashore on our third day. The sound of the waves and the smell of the sea felt great early in the morning. We sat in a circle, Indian style, while Myko led a devotion on Mark 2: 1-12 (The Healing of the Paralytic).

I wouldn't forget how she compared the paralytic to the spiritually sick. I am also forever grateful to God for healing me from my sins and giving me new life by grace through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Like the paralytic, I come to God with my requests thinking that I need these most. But He knows my depravity and my real need-- forgiveness and reconciliation.
After the morning devotions, some members took a dip into the cool waters of Boac. I chose to go back to the camp site because I wanted to prepare for the trainings. Besides, I grew up in a coastal town so the sea's a normal sight for me now.

At around 9 in the morning, youth from the Boac Gospel Church started arriving at the recreation site. We were scheduled to give a lecture on Sunday School and to introduce Ate Diane’s evangelistic apron to the youth. Ate Lucky took care of the nitty-gritty, while the rest of the team broke into smaller groups to explain the tools to the attendees.

I was with Bheng, Edmund and Kath, and we were assigned to a group of three. I can only remember Sherwin from our group now because I often called him to answer my questions. He was a shy and quiet boy, but later I would find out he plays the guitar well. We demonstrated how to use the apron and the wordless book, and also asked them to try the tools. Sherwin and his companions were reluctant to try so we had to repeat the demonstration, praying that they would master the tools and use them in their church.

After the Sunday School lecture, we proceeded to do a marathon of the True Love Waits Seminar. This would be our first, the second happened on our last day in Sta. Cruz. Personally, I’d rather that the proper pacing and time allotment be used for TLW. But because we had limited time, we compressed the lecture so that the participants would at least hear God’s standards on sex and relationship even in a shortened lecture.

In our last day, Arjay and I had a casual talk on TLW and I felt the need to produce a shortened material in Filipino that could be used in future Missions Trip. It should be shorter but with the heart and soul intact. It should also be in Filipino so that the leaders and readers could understand it clearly and could relate to the examples and illustrations better.

Our third day fell on a Sunday. Kuya Caloy went back to Manila to meet his mother and would be back early Tuesday. God gave me the privilege to share my testimony during the Sunday Service. Though I had been involved in many ministries in the past, this was only my third time to share my testimony in public. I prepared a quick outline the night before while helping Mark prepare his. Mark was also scheduled to share his testimony in a community visit after the Service.

Pastor Paul, on the other hand, spoke on Acts 13:36. He entitled his sermon,” Keys of a Greater Life.” In a nutshell, a great life serves God, reaches out to the present generation and obeys God’s purpose.

In the afternoon, we divided the group into two. I was with Mark N., Ate Jana, Randy, Kuya Oslec, Edmund, Ate Tess, Marvee, Mike and Yen. We were assigned to a church in Barangay Taguak in Boac. We were expecting a small fellowship with much time for small group discussions and sharing. But when we reached the place, we were asked to lead the Sunday Service. I prepared a short message for small group discussions, but I was suddenly asked to share a full-blown sermon!

My initial reaction was, “Well, you’ve been dreaming of this since you can remember, so just lift it to the Lord!” I was excited but unsure if the message I prepared was enough for a sermon. I had Mark 2:1-12 in my notes, similar to what Myko shared in our morning devotions. My message was evangelistic. I focused on God’s view of man’s greatest need in contrast to what we think we need. The paralytic and his friends came for physical healing, but God offered forgiveness and spiritual cleansing first. That is our real need, and God knows it.

The message went well and my prayer is that they’ll consider it in their life. After the sermon, we broke into smaller groups based on age. The youth was one group, the children, another and the adults were divided into two more groups. We used the evangelistic apron and the wordless book to share to the youth and the children. I was assigned with the mothers and I enjoyed the sharing time and prayer with them.

What struck me was their request to pray for their sons to come back to the faith. They shared that many of the young men in the area were backsliding. They were once the leaders in the youth fellowship but had “gone astray.” The mothers were encouraged upon seeing Mark N., Kuya Oslec, Randy and Edmund leading in the Sunday Service. They asked for prayers so that their sons would not forsake the Savior and would delight in Him once more.

The rest of the fellowship was spent eating local delicacies and sharing stories with the youth and the mothers. I don’t know what happened to our second group but they also enjoyed their fellowship no doubt. Perhaps I could interview Ate Lucky or Dado to share their experience so that I could also include them in my post.
Writer's Note: Read part 2 here

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  1. Gusto ko lang magcomment hehehe :) Wait for the second part. Marami kasi akong inaasikaso kaya hindi ako makapagsulat. AT ang bagal ko kasin magsulat waaa :) God bless sa mga mambabasa :)

  2. WOW! It sounds like you had a wonderful experience. Mission work gets into your blood and is very invigorating. What a blessing to be involved with God's Kingdom building. Your writing made me feel I was right there! And indeed part of me was. I am so blessed! Great pictures too. I can't wait for part 2!

  3. Praising God for this! As always, the Lord never fails to work wonders in mission trips like this.

    I'm excited for the next installment. :D

  4. Hi Kuya Lance!

    God is good indeed! I'll be posting the second part real soon. I'm a bit preoccupied with a lot of things as I go full-time in the ministry.

    May God bless you always!

    In Christ,


  5. Hi Kuya Lance!

    God is good indeed! I'll be posting the second part real soon. I'm a bit preoccupied with a lot of things as I go full-time in the ministry.

    May God bless you always!

    In Christ,


  6. So it's true. You're going full-time! God be with you all the way! :D

  7. @ Kuya Lance and Ate Diane:

    I finally finished the second part of this post.

    Read it here:


    But I decided to have part 3 :)

  8. Kito here! Kuya Pao, thanks for this encouraging update. Nakuwento nga ni Maynard na magf-full-time ka na. I'm excited for you, and for the rest of us whom the Lord will bless through young ministers like you. :D

  9. @ Kito: Hello hello Kuya Kito! :) Thank you for dropping a note today. Oo nga po, I'm going full time al the way. Praise God because I'm enjoying every single bit of the ministry. Continue to pray for me :)

    Ps. Ang gaganda ng mga libro sa blog mo :) I'll borrow some someday :) pag nabasa ko na ang sarili kong mga libro :D