A stand out memory from my Bible school trip in the Philippines, is their popular form of travel, ‘Jeepnees’. Taking a ride in these, long jeep/buses, moving works of art, decorated all over with brightly coloured images, was really, ‘adventure tourism’.
I remember on one of our travels, we all had to climb over the top of an extra large, sleeping hog’s body, completely blocking the aisle, to reach our seats. After filling all the seats and space inside to overflowing, people then crowded together on top of the roof.
The drivers, surrounded by shrines of plastic flowers with religious icons, dangling crosses, and pictures of the ‘sacred heart’ had only one speed, flat out, which was harrowing. The passengers just had to hope all that divine protection around them would work.
At the various houses where we were billeted out, the local food provided by our generous hosts was a challenge to me. I have never been an adventurous eater and after seeing tiny paws in a stew, I had to try making an excuse to decline without being rude. Shopping for anything I could find in the local store that resembled kiwi food, I lived on Coca cola and packets of biscuits.
On our final morning, everyone was sad to be saying goodbyes and leaving behind the new friends we had made. After being thanked for encouraging them in their faith, we boarded our Jeepney to start our long trip back to New Zealand.
Just as we were starting to move off, our hostess, jumped on board to shout out to us, ‘see you in heaven’, to which we returned ‘see you in heaven’ knowing, none of us would probably ever meet again, until then.
Cruising up above the clouds on the long flight home, looking out the window, the beautiful sight of a huge golden sun rising in the sky across from us, got me thinking of that saying, ‘God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world.’ Giving me a deep peace on the inside.
Just before Mother’s day that year, the children and I were shopping for our groceries in the local mall, when a staff member presented me with a red rose with a number attached. It was for their mother’s day promotion. The idea was to return a few days latter to see if your number was drawn to win one of the prizes.
On the day, I wasn’t going to bother. I sort of thought that raffles and lotteries were a form of gambling and wasn’t really into them. However, as my young daughter had prayed for us to win and wanted to go, to please her, we took our number and joined the crowd gathered in the mall.
As we waited, a strange feeling of knowing that we were going to win, came over me. Sure enough, our number came out for the first prize, a voucher for 500 dollars, to spend in any of the mall stalls.
As we had been living very frugally while I did my bible school, we all enjoyed going from shop to shop having a spend up. I am sure that God was rewarding us with a treat just to let us know he sees and he cares.