If I were given a blank airline ticket, I would fly to Baguio, Philippines - my mother's hometown. Before my mother came to the United States, my Grandfather and Grandmother established an orphanage called Bethesda Children's Home. It was built in the early 1950's shortly after my Grandmother became a missionary to the Philippines and married my Grandfather, who was a pastor at the time. They would later adopt my mother and her twin sister, along with four other children.
When I was little, my mother would tell me stories about what it was like growing up in the children's home. It made me realize that the majority of my family was still living in the Philippines, and although I had heard stories about my aunts, uncles, and cousins, I had never met them. Thankfully, I was finally given the chance when I was two years old. My family joined a mission team from my church on a medical missions trip to the Philippines. It was the first time I had met my extended family in person.
I was only two at the time so I don't remember much, but one of my favorite memories of that particular trip was my Aunt Flora sitting me on the kitchen counter while she cooked every day. It was a simple enough act, but I thought it was a sentimental coincidence when I found out the house's cook used to do the same thing to my mother when she was my age. It made me feel at home and comfortable in a place that was new and foreign to me.
If I were to return now, I would like to visit my family and help out at the children's home. As of today, the orphanage, along with a Bible college is being run by my eldest uncle and his wife. My time would likely be spent making and distributing care packages to children and helping in any way that I can. I might even be able to give violin lessons to small children or chip in by playing violin on the church worship team.
Sometimes, medical missions are held when hospitals from Australia and the United States donate equipment to the rural provinces of the Philippines. Doctors, dentists, and nurses will come for two weeks at a time and set up a clinic in the mountain province. They dispense drugs, antibiotics, and offer free healthcare to those who would otherwise be unable to afford it. Usually, youth are taught and made responsible for completing certain tasks. For instance, I would probably be assisting a nurse: taking temperatures, checking blood pressure, checking pulses, helping patients fill out information sheets, and helping organize the clinic.
Ideally, I would like to spend a summer there. Aside from an email and the occasional Facebook chat, I have not seen my extended family in years and would very much like to spend some time with them. I would also enjoy assisting with the mission work that my grandparents began. It's amazing how a dream or idea can thrive and endure form one generation to another. All it takes is a group of like minded individuals who are impelled by the same cause and conviction. Altogether, I believe it would definitely be a trip to remember.