The Kirk of the Hills team trip here had been bathed in prayer. They come every other year and sponsor a 3 day camp on the beach for all of the ABP kids. The 2 previous years they have had to run, or should I say try and outrun a typhoon on their way back home from the beach. The day after they arrived a typhoon was beginning to make its path across the Philippine Islands. Their hearts were broken, although we continued to pray that it would pass before the Thursday that we were supposed to leave. As Wednesday night approached directors, leaders, and house parents discussed, and the desicion was made to wait one more day. The wind was howling inland, and the rain was pouring in sheets non-stop. With the lives of 75 kids, 20+ staff, and missionaries at stake, we all decided to be patient and continue in prayer.
As we awoke on Thursday it proved to be a great desicion, the rain was still pouring, wind still howling, and the seas must have been rough. So we continued praying.... We awoke on Friday morning one day late and raring to go. The rain had subsided, the wind was calm, and the port authorities gave an all clear. The kids were ecstatic, the staff was relieved, and the missionaries were praising God! We took off early on Friday morning headed toward the port of Batangas. We were trusting the Lord for the waters to be calm for a safe crossing over to Mindoro Island. God was good! The waters were as smooth as they could be after a typhoon had just come ripping through. The boat ride over was enjoyable, all 100+ campers were excited! We arrived in Puerto Galera and squished, crammed, and loaded onto 3 jeepneys.
A quick 20 minute ride and we were finally at Camp Rock! The kids flooded out to make their way down to the ocean shore. As the adults slowly followed down the hill, we saw them all standing in awe at the 6 foot high waves that were crashing on the shore. The seas might have been calm on the way over, but the aftermath of the typhoon was seen in the enormous waves that boomed on the shore! The kids with mouths gaped open watched in amazement, but not for too long. They quickly were changed into swim suits & trunks, and were easing their way close to the water. After all they did not just go to the beach to 'watch' the waves dance on the shore. They eased their way out into the foam, and then inched closer and closer to the huge breakers. Their faces showed intimidation, and ours showed absolute fear! We knew if the waves were that strong on top; the under current must be unreal! We all switched to life guard mode, and watched with careful eyes. As the waves broke I would count the farthest heads that went under. If the same number popped back up we were good, if not, we were going swimming! A few had to be rescued, most too tired to make it back to shore, but Praise the Lord we came away from camp with all kids, none lost to the sea! One girl did sustain a nice size gash on her head from a wave that broke over her, sending her crashing to the bottom, which was full of rocks washed up from the typhoon. Praise the Lord Cheryl, our resident nurse, who was there to administer 4 staples, and tender love and care.
The camp was wonderful... Each day there were tons of fun in the sun, games, crafts, more fun in the sun, and always a Bible story at night. Those three days the kids studied the life of Joseph, and enjoyed the lessons, applications, and the last night created & directed their own skits of the story. The staff was even able to enjoy American day. The American team was in charge of all the kids, while the Filipino staff went around the mountain to a local beach. They seemed to truly enjoy their day of fun, play, and relaxation for themselves.
Once again God provided, in His time, a wonderful trip to Camp Rock. Praise the Lord for the Kirk of the Hills team that continually finds the value of investing time and love into the lives of these kids! They are remembered by all, as each year has proved to be a memorable one! Praise God for His safe keeping, protection, love and care for us all! He is good ALL the time!