Mission Navi Group from Okinawa. Meiko is second from the right.
Playing Games in the Philippines
Preparations for the Trip.
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” 1 Cor. 3:7
At Kin Childcare Center where Leslie works teaching English to the 2, 3 and 4 year olds there, learning a monthly Bible verse in English is something all the children look forward to. Leslie takes the Bible verse, simplifies it a bit and then finds pictures and images on Google to illustrate it so it can be read and remembered. This month, the above verse sounds something like, “I planted, Apollo watered and God makes it grow”. The teachers at the school planted sunflowers last week as an object lesson to help the youngsters understand and now we have a great way to help them learn the truth of the Bible verse. This week as we went over the verse, I asked the children who makes the flowers grow and their response was a rousing, "GOD".
It was a special coincidence that last week at the Okinawa Baptist Office, where Leslie also teaches English to the staff, Meiko Kamiya shared about her recent mission trip to the Philippines. As she talked about her trip in her turn at devotions, Meiko became animated and passionate sharing that the above Bible verse from First Corinthians became the theme of their recent trip.
Meiko has been going to the Philippines every year for the past 7 years to work with children living in impoverished areas there. The main work has been with families who make their living by scavenging in the garbage and selling it. She and other members of the “Mission Navi” group from churches in Okinawa prepare many boxes of school supplies, take them to a church near Manila for distribution to children and lead games and activities for hundreds of children there. The heat, the dirt and the poverty aren’t a deterrent; in fact they are an indication that this is just where they should serve...the group sees their time as helping “the least of these...”
This year, the 10 member strong group was able to see how what they have been doing makes a difference...not just in what they bring and do, but in the relationships formed with the churches and people there. They learned that different activities they have organized and some of their suggestions to the pastors and workers in the churches on each of their trips have been taken and used and shared with other churches and other groups. This trip they heard from some of the pastors and younger assistants about just what a difference their group has made as they have shared with the churches and individuals who in turn share and then trust God for the growth....not just in the one area where Mission Navi works, but in an ever widening area.
For me, this “coincidence” made me aware yet again of the importance of planting seeds of the Gospel trusting that they will be watered by others and caused to grow by God. It's not about just me doing it all and what I do but about my relationship with others and my trust in God as I am faithful for that first step. I am not responsible for the result...just the step. God doesn’t expect us to do it all ourselves...but wants us to work together in relationship with each other and with Him to do His important work in the world. We simply must reach out trusting that He will do the work and as He does what a wonderful blessing it is to know we have been part of His great plan. What is God calling you to do and what are the seeds He is calling you to plant in partnership with Him and others around you?