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After 45 hours of total travel, we arrived safely last night around 4:00 pm in Malaybalay. We are in the Bukidnon (means “mountains”) region of Mindanao. Mindanao is the southern-most section of the three areas of the Philippines islands – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Chris Anastos, David Schrader, Tiffany and I are staying for a couple days with veteran missionaries Dan and Edna Cadavos.

Report by Matt Herbster

Yesterday morning, Tiffany and I had the privilege of being at Mount Calvary Christian school for teacher devotions. I shared for about 20 minutes, from our Psalm 119 study that I had been doing with our Wilds staff this fall. We then stayed around long enough to hear the students do their pledges and sing their Philippine and local anthems. It is almost impossible to not have your heart moved and melted by these adorable children in the Philippines.

Pastor Dan Cadavos was given this property many years ago so that he could start growing trees in order to provide lumber for future projects. The property is beautiful and primitive. I was in this area two years ago with our CampsAbroad team, but I didn't get a chance to see this property. Tim and Cherie Meals and Matt Tracy tried to describe it to me. I was extremely grateful to be able to see it for myself and I understood their enthusiasm about the beauty. Chris, David and I joined in with Pastor Cadavos and took an unexpected swim in the cold mountain water. Much work has gone in to this place and it is clear to see that Pastor Dan has a special place in his heart for this camp.

After a lunch of fresh fish (from the pond on the property), rice, pork and vegetables cooked on an open fire, Pastor Dan led us on a hike up to a quiet place in the woods with a built-in rock wall amphitheater seating. Pastor Dan uses this spot at the end of camp to allow the campers to focus on the names of God
and what they’ve learned during camp. While there, we took time to pray for The Wilds, the camp here this week and the Cadavos’ ministry. We also prayed earnestly for Mrs. Cadavos who was facing surgery that day.

Driving back down the winding path, I enjoyed listening to Pastor Dan and his heart for spreading the gospel. He grew up here in Malaybalay, and he has invested in starting a church, Christian school and camp. His smile is contagious, and he uses his humor to break down barriers with people everywhere he goes. One of the joys of the CampsAbroad trips is interacting with men like this. I’m humbled and challenged.

Thank you for your continued prayers. We are all (Tiffany, Chris, David and I) thoroughly enjoying our time here. We have staff training every night and our days are filled with planning, speaking at local Christian schools and meetings with pastors.

Report by Matt Herbster

Our CampsAbroad history here in the Philippines started in 2009. Since that time, we have been able to see several Filipinos trained to run camp without us. Pastor Mike Mendiola, originally from Iloilo, had been heading up the camp outreach here. We met in 2009, and we have become very close friends over the years. He is a man of vision, integrity and humility. He is here with us in the Valencia/Malaybalay area to help with this camp. He, Tan and Ronald have been our constant Filipino companions this entire time. We have laughed much, eaten much, and shared much. They are some of the most teachable men
I’ve been around. Their questions are well thought out, and they are willing to listen to our ideas/thoughts. There is no question that our hearts have been knit together even more this last week.

Today I experienced something I’d never experienced in the Philippines. We rode a horse. We went out to eat at a church member’s restaurant. While our food was being prepared, he wanted to show us the rest of his property. Out back were several beautiful horses – forty to be exact. At one point he asked Chris Anastos if he wanted to ride one of the horses. We all affirmed our interest so Chris, David, Tiffany and I all did our best “Secretariat” impersonation with the horse. Thankfully nobody fell off!

Report by Matt Herbster

David and I have been incredibly blessed by the experience, but are excited to be on our way home. Matt and Tiffany will be spending a couple extra days in Manila to meet with some pastors there about spreading the vision of Christian camping.

I believe the final count of campers was 57, less than we expected, but it made for good counselor/camper interaction. The gospel was presented multiple times throughout the weekend, and many stood to receive Christ, after an invitation given by Pastor Jerry, the local pastor at Heritage Baptist Church. It was very exciting and encouraging to see. We know that God is at work whenever His Word is presented, but it is also a blessing when He allows us to visibly see His working.

The campers were excited all weekend, and we had a blast interacting with them through the various games, activities, and services. There were frisbees, footballs, and soccer balls flying everywhere during free time. It was great.

Please continue to pray for Mike and Cherry Mendiola, Pastor and Mrs. Cadavos, and our brothers and sisters ministering and spreading the good news of Christ through the ministry of camping in the Philippines.

Report by Chris Anastos

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