Friday, February 15, 2013

a trip to remember

Early on February 3rd, Michael left for the airport to join the other middle school students traveling up to the Manila area for a week on OE - outdoor education.

It was a week packed full of history lessons, spiritual challenge, ministry, hikes, games, and environmental education.

All the students at the airport...ready to go!  Yes, Michael's in there somewhere... :)

On the first day, the students visited
the memorial at Bataan, a famous WWII site.
 After five months of American involvement in the war, and bitter fighting in the Philippines,
60-80,000 Filipino and American soldiers were forced to march a cruel 80 miles under tortuous circumstances.  It's now known as the Bataan Death March, and this is the place where the march finally came to an end.

They also stopped at Mt. Samat National Shrine, built by Ferdinand Marcos in 1966
in memory of the Filipinos who fought and died on Bataan.

The cross is 320 feet - 250 to the arm, 

where the students could look out from a viewing gallery.

This excellent teacher, Mr. S, has been to this area about 25 times,
and is a master at sharing fascinating historical accounts.

On the next day, Michael's squad worked with students from a local school, singing for them, presenting the gospel, playing with them, and sharing Wordless Book bracelets.
the school was excited to have them come, and did their own presentation for the visitors!
hamming it up...Michael 4th from right
Wednesday, Michael's squad went to the beach.
There they played games, swam, and learned about sea turtles.
Michael (2nd from left) and his group measure and observe a baby sea turtle

 The activity ended with a grand finale of releasing a troupe of baby sea turtles into the sea!
The students slept on the beach that night, in hollowed out sand beds

The next day was Michael's favorite, as they visited the island of Corregidor,
 "Sleep my sons, your duty done...
for freedoms light has come.
Sleep in the silent depths of the sea,
or in your bed of hallowed sod
Until you hear at dawn
the low clear reveille of GOD."

Here they were granted special permission to climb the guns of WWII,

Michael with his squad - 2nd from the top!
jump off a long, tall pier into the warm ocean,

and not only see, but actually climb around in the ruins of  blasted WWII barracks.

They also had an adventurous night hike through the Malinta Tunnel,
in areas still littered with rubble and remains of the war.
Michael on right
 They visited the "Bat Cave" - an old munitions storage area that had been bombed.
The heat at the time of the explosion was so intense, it turned the sand to glass.
Here Michael found an old bullet casing as a souvenir.

 What a great adventure! 
And what a great squad to share it with.
THANKS to Mr. B. (Michael's squad leader)
and to all the other teachers who made this amazing trip possible!
(and to Ms. M, who took all of these photos, except the first one...thank you for sharing!!)

What was something Michael took away from this trip?
I'll let him tell you in his own words: 

"During WWII, Corregidor was nicknamed 'The Rock' 
because it was a stronghold that remained safe from the enemy for a very long time.  
And just like how Corregidor was a stronghold for many soldiers, 
God is our stronghold and our Rock, 
and we need to serve Him with all our heart, 
and give Him first place in everything."


Choate Family said...

What a great idea to take students on this trip!

Judy said...

Very cool! So many fun and interesting things! What a great opportunity for Michael!

Jaymi Bragg said...

I'm so excited for Michael to have had this opportunity. And even more excited for him to share that God is our stronghold. Thanks, Michael, for that encouragement.

us5 said...

:) Michael wrote a summary about his trip to share the following week at the school chapel, and the quote is from what he wrote and presented.