Bridges Philippines: We Loved Well


Editors Note: Rev. Mike Broome wrote a reflection on his trip with the Bridges Philippines team earlier this year for Monday Morning in North Georgia (subscribe at the bottom of this page by clicking Subscribe Now).

By Rev. Mike Broome

“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.” 1 Corinthians 3:10

Jan. 26 to Feb. 4, 2014, the North Georgia Conference sent a diverse and gifted team to the Philippines as part of the North Georgia Conference’s Bridges Initiative. As a team of clergy and laity, we embarked on a great adventure.

During our time in the Philippines, we were mobilized into three separate groups: one team worked in partnership with The Good Samaritan UMC to build a church in the village of Angat; the second team worked alongside the students and staff of Wesleyan University in their community development ministry with impoverished villages; and the third team worked with the Mary Johnston Hospital and KKFI (the UMC social ministry in Manila) for feeding and education programs with the large homeless population of Manila.

Each team worked alongside our United Methodist brothers and sisters, careful not to impose our American way of doing things on them, but learning from them. We laughed, we sweated, and we cried. Much of our energy involved building relationship “bridges” that future teams will continue. While the work was exhausting, the sense of accomplishment overwhelmed us as we each realized that God was using our team to establish ministry, offer hope, and share God’s love within such a wonderful and beautiful culture.

As we loaded up in the team van on our last day in Angat, tears welled up in my eyes - tears of joy, tears of hope, and tears of anticipation for what God was doing in that small village. I thought of the children who would run in that church, those who would accept Jesus Christ, the families that would be restored, the sermons that would be preached, and the sacraments that would be celebrated.

Once back at the hotel, our driver asked, “Pastor Mike, why were you crying when we left the village?” I paused for a moment, realizing that our ministry had not only impacted the people there but also our driver. So I responded, “Noli, we came with the love and care of Jesus Christ. We poured ourselves out, and now we leave. The tears are from sadness in saying goodbye, but also from joy in all that God has allowed us to do. I cried because we loved deeply, and we loved well.”

You may find your mission field in another country, in another city, or just outside your church doors. Wherever you find it, serve there and love well.

Rev. Mike Broome is an ordained elder and serves as the Associate Pastor at Carrollton First United Methodist Church, where he leads Carrollton First’s contemporary service and a new ministry called “CrossRoads on the Square” (for college age/young adults in downtown Carrollton) and is responsible for Missions, Christian Education, and Evangelism.