By CHRISTINA ALPAD / THE MANILA TIMES
Caring and sharing knows no boundaries. This much was true when an American family church flew more than 8,000 miles and endured a day’s worth of travel time to help out a community in the Philippines. At the height of the country’s hottest season, five volunteer builders from Trinity Life Baptist Church in Garland, Texas sought out Barangay Narra in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental to renovate its church and simultaneously build a children’s outreach center. Bayawan City is approximately 20 kilometers and three-hours away from Negros Oriental’s capital, Dumaguete. “Trinity Life is a loving, compassionate and caring group of Christians who believe that our Christ-mandated ministry reaches people of every race, color, nationality and ethnicity. Therefore, when we learned of the opportunity to help a church in Negros Oriental with the construction of a new children’s outreach center and improvements to their current facilities, we were excited to share our resources and our labor,” Russell Rogers, Trinity Life’s senior pastor and mission team leader said in introduction to The Sunday Times Magazine. Asked how they were able to learn the needs of Voice of Zion—the local church in said locality—halfway around the world, the senior pastor gave the credit to their friend who lives in Denver, Colorado. “He runs a company that gathers information from churches and ministry organizations all around the world and informed us of a need in the Bayawan area. Thereafter, we sent financial resources to purchase materials and raise our funding to come and work along with Filipinos to build the facility,” Rogers answered. In the subject of working with Filipinos, Rogers shared that the warm welcome of the locals inspired them even more to carry their mission. The Baptist missionaries did all the physical labor in their capacity and enjoyed their interaction with the denizens, children most especially, of Narra. “What a joy it is to partner with new friends halfway around the world,” Rogers expressed. Unfortunately, Rogers and his team—comprising of Mike Hildebrandt, Casey Rodgers, Jay Alan Walden, Fred Hogue and Adam Bryan—had a limited stay in the province and therefore were not able to see the facilities in full completion. Nevertheless, the team was satisfied to see the fast progression of the facilities. “We were able to see great strides made toward the completion of the children’s center. In a short period of time, the location has gone from an empty field, to now having all of the walls and windows completed with cinder block construction,” the senior pastor said. “We might not be physical there as the roof is placed on the building, but our joy is very full knowing that the building will be completed and many children will be able to enjoy the use of the center for many years to come,” Rogers added. Trinity Life’s senior pastor informed that the facilities would help children of all ages to “find love, help, education, encouragement, nutrition, and most importantly, the joy of learning what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” “We believe that the Bible teaches us to go around world and share the love of Jesus Christ. Helping with the construction of the Children’s Outreach Center in Narra, and also being able to help a couple of other churches in the Saiton area on this trip, has allowed us a great sense of accomplishment and the honor of partnership with the local churches in reaching people with the love of Jesus Christ. When we partner together for the benefit of humanity, we fulfill our Biblical mandate,” Rogers answered when asked for the significance of their mission in the Philippines. In ending, the senior pastor told The Sunday Times Magazine that it has been a tremendous experience for his team to serve the local citizens of Narra but what they felt after leaving the community was far greater. “It’s hard to put into words the joy of knowing that not only the children in Narra today, but their children and their grand children will also be blessed through our efforts and labors,” Rogers finally noted.