Onward to Tagkawayan

20 years is a very long time. A newborn baby would have bid farewell to his teenage years at 20. A fledgling business would have become well-known after 20 years. Two decades equal 20 years or a "score" as in Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address," "Four score and seven years ago..."

But for us at the UP Dormitories Christian Fellowship (UPDCF), 20 years signify our sovereign God's faithfulness to the Missions Exposure Trip (MET).  From its beginnings in 1994, God has enabled generation after generation of DCFers to go out into different parts of the Philippines to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Based on available data and interviews with alumni, I've compiled a list of the different provinces, cities and municipalities God has blessed through the MET. They are as follows:

1994: Calapan, Mindoro
1995: Lucena, Quezon
1996: Catanauan, Quezon
1997: Manaoag, Pangasinan
1998: Benguet
1999: Sorsogon City, Sorsogon
2000: Daraga, Legazpi
2001: Mindoro
2002: Sta. Maria, Isabela
2003: Antique and Guimaras
2004: Irosin, Sorsogon
2005: Amulung, Cagayan
2006: Lucban, Quezon
2007: Sibalom, Antique
2008: Sta. Maria, Isabela
2009: Infanta, Quezon
2010: Sta. Maria, Boac, Marinduque
2011: Catanauan, Quezon
2012: Sorsogon City, Sorsogon

And this October 15-22, 2013, the executive committee and Kuya Caloy Novisteros decided to help a pioneering church-based campus ministry in Tagkawayan, Quezon.

This will be my sixth Missions Expo since my sophomore days in UP Diliman, and I can attest to the transforming power of the Gospel both in the lives of the team and the communities we visit.

1 John 4:10 and 19 serve as the MET team's battle cry this year. Here we read two of the most striking verses about "agape" or unconditional love penned by the Apostle John, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins...We love because he first loved us."

God defined love as Jesus' ultimate sacrifice for the human race. Motivated by this love, we also share Christ to people who don't know Him yet so that they too may take part of the joy of salvation. The truth is, unless God loved us first, called us first, we would be unable to respond to the Gospel. It is truly purely by grace that we are saved.

As with last year's MET, several activities have been lined up to bless the communities we'll be visiting. At the heart of the Missions Trip is a day-long campus evangelism. We will be visiting the Katimo National High School and the Kinatakutan National High School to share Jesus on campus and in the classrooms.

Please pray with us so that the school principals and officials will open the schools to the team. Pray also for adequate preparations and training for each team member, especially for those who are joining the first time.

We will also invite the students to a whole day seminar on love, sex and marriage using the "True Love Waits" curriculum. The talks and activities aim to give the students Biblical foundations on these three crucial issues. It is our desire to see the attendees committing themselves to a life of purity as they wait on God's perfect plan for their lives.

Other than the campus, the team will also be sent to the community to do house-to-house evangelism. This usually happens in the neighborhood where the team stays. In the past years, I found this kind of evangelism more challenging because people do not readily open their houses to strangers.

We ask for your prayers, then, so that God will soften the hearts of the people in the community. Pray also that the Lord will embolden the team so that they can share the Gospel clearly and powerfully to the people they'll encounter.

The last evangelistic activity involves a ministry originally started by Kuya Dave Griffiths in the Philippines. Kuya Dave is a British Missionary who spent several years helping the dorms fellowships. He brought the Beach Missions (BM) in the country almost four years ago.

The BM is originally designed to engage locals and tourists who flock the Philippine beaches during the Holy Week. We included the BM in our MET last year because Sorsogon City has several coastal barangays.
Instead of foreigners, however, we ministered to more locals who live just around the area.

Because we're going to help a church-planting effort in Tagkawayan, I'm not sure if there is an established youth fellowship that can partner with us there, but we have still prepared a night of worship and fellowship. This is our way of strengthen and encouraging one another to continue God's work in our individual Jerusalems.

Songs and Biblical exhortations will fill the program. This will also help recharge our spiritual batteries as we continue to minister to the community.

And at the end of the entire MET, the team will spend time relaxing and resting in preparation for the long journey home. The RnR (rest and recreation) is usually a simple fellowship where the entire team shares about God's mighty workings throughout the trip. It is during this time that we echo back God's goodness through our individual experiences in sharing the Gospel and leading people to Christ.


In this 20th year of the Missions Exposure Trip, I invite you all to journey with us. Journey with the 40-member team in prayer and giving. Pray especially as we begin to invite people to join the trip. Pray also as we start to raise funds for the needed Php 150,000 for this year's MET.

It may seem a large amount, but God has been faithful these past 19 years, we're confident that He will again provide for His work in Tagkawayan, Quezon.

Pray for the workers who have gone ahead of us and will be staying long after we've finished the Missions Trip. May God ever empower them to continue proclaiming His Name in their Jerusalem.

Finally, pray for all of us in DCF and the Living Word Christian Fellowship (LWCF), our partner ministry from Lucban, Quezon. May God prepare us for this ministry. May God transform lives through this ministry. May we learn to love the Gospel more, share it more and live it more not only in MET communities but most especially in our campuses, dorms, families, churches, neighborhood and classrooms.

To God be all the glory, honor and praise!


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