Embarking on a New Adventure

10 Jan

I haven’t written a lot lately, but I know all of us here at Without a Map are excited for what the new year has in store.  I, for one, am particularly excited about what today has in store.  While my excuses for not writing more in November and December were weak (I moved, was getting ready for Christmas, was spending time with my family in Ohio…), I think this next one’s pretty good.

Children Celebrating in Cagayan de Oro

At 10:45 tonight, I’ll be getting on a plane from LAX to Manila.  From Manila we’re headed to Cagayan de Oro, a city on the northern coast of the Philippines southernmost island.  You may have heard of it recently because a tropical storm hit the region in the middle of the night on December 17th.  Over a thousand people died, partially because the flooding arrived while many people were sleeping.  The sisters I will be staying with didn’t even know there was flooding until they went downstairs for early morning prayers to find the entire first floor of their convent covered in water.  Thousands of people are still without homes, living in tent cities.  Others are staying with friends and relatives. Many more people are still missing.

When I signed up for this trip, it was billed as a mission immersion trip.  We knew we would be helping in the preschool that the nuns run, maybe teaching English or just telling stories, but when the flooding occurred, the trip changed.  I had a few days when I almost backed out.  I was about to visit my family and was missing them terribly.  The images of children left without parents and parents that had lost their children were too strong in my mind.  I wasn’t sure I could handle the emotional trauma of being in a real crisis situation.  After talking it over with friends and family, I calmed down and now I am both nervous and excited that I will be going into a situation where I am needed.

We will be in Cagayan de Oro for about a week.  We leave tonight, but don’t arrive until Thursday night their time.  We’ll spend a week there and then head to Manila for a few days before returning home on January 24th.  I know we will have access to wifi, so I’m hoping to be able to put up a short note while I’m there, but considering I’m barely disciplined enough to do that when I’m at home, I’m not promising anything.

Everyone going on the trip would love your prayers, good vibes, and kind thoughts for us and especially for those affected by the flooding.  If you want you can donate to the relief efforts through Catholic Relief Services (which we’ve been working with) or the Red Cross.

I can’t wait to share some of my experiences and pictures when I come back.

~April

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