Sunday, November 27, 2011

Philippines- Part 3

 After having a tour of the ASHTEC campus we spent the rest of the day and the following days in workshops.  Everything was done very efficiently and on time.  The staff at ASHTEC took turns presenting different aspects of their work and it became clear fairly quickly that the staff was very competent and very committed to the work.  Many of them could get better paying jobs elsewhere.  Some of the staff have skills that no one else or very few others have in that province of the Philippines.  We are talking of being one of the only ones among thousands of others.  They are sought after by companies but they believe in what they are doing and therefore are committed to ASHTEC and training and educating less fortunate young people to better their lives not only materially and economically but especially spiritually.  Many of the students who were not Christians when they first started attending ASHTEC became Christians during their time their through the guiding and mentoring of the staff.  It was truly impressive and moving to see.  You can not buy loyalty and commitment by paying a higher salary (not to say that I am against paying a good salary).  In my experience in Guatemala I have seen that often paying a higher salary leads to materialism and lack of commitment to the work and the vision.  
Apart from being in workshops we also spent a fair bit of time working in small groups and discussing experiences with people from other countries.  There were people there from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and other parts of the Philippines.  
Brian Dennett and I also had the privilege to speak at the Wednesday evening worship service where we were able to share testimonies and the Word of God with the students of ASHTEC.  It was a very special service as we were able to hear the worship of the students.  Filipinos can definitely sing.  They sand mostly in English since in the Philippines a lot of the people speak English and it is something that you see every where.  The Filipino language uses a lot of English and also Spanish so we could understand a lot of what was being said.  (The Philippines used to be a colony of Spain) 
Brian Dennett and I where never able nor did we try to adapt ourselves to local time.  We would go to sleep at around 8-9:00 every night and get up around 4:00am.  We decided that it was no use to try and adapt since we would only be in the Philippines for a week.
On Friday we returned to Guatemala.  We actually had 2 Fridays which was an interesting experience.  Our total flying time back to Guatemala was a little more than 20 hours.  We had 3 stopovers on our way back.  Once in Tokyo, then Los Angeles, and finally Houston.  Each of our flights were slightly delayed which cut down on our connection time.  Basically we got of one plane and were able to make it to the next gate as they started boarding.  We were blessed to get good seats on each of our flights.  We finally arrived quite groggy in Guatemala City at around 10:00 pm.  We were grateful to see that our luggage also made each connecting flight.  It was good to be reunited with out families at the end of such a long day(s) of travel.  It was nice to know as well that we would not have to do any more traveling for a while.  Traveling is nice, but it does get old pretty quick.  Regardless we were both grateful to God for what we had learned and experienced and we hope that we can use many of these things in AMG Guatemala.