TWELVE VERBUM DEI Missionaries from Singapore and a group from Sydney went on an eight-day mission trip to Tagaytay City, Philippines recently.

There, they helped farming families plant lettuce and clear pineapple ?elds in the mornings; and in the afternoons they went to squatter areas to teach English, Art, Mathematics and Hygiene to children (photo), and distributed snacks to them.

The mission trip ended with a Christmas party for 200 children.

The mission participants learnt from the trip that they can make a difference in the lives of people in a few days just by being interested enough in the people to want to spend time with them. 

It was hard for them because it brought back painful memories but many were relieved to share their stories in a safe environment.

As a treat for their effort, we took the children to a nearby cultural village and they loved it.

The Singapore team then headed to Mandalay, the ancient cultural city of Myanmar, to conduct a three-day follow-up counselling course for volunteer lay counsellors. Many were trained last June by the team from Family Life Society while others were new participants trained by those who attended the June 2008 course.

At the moment, Archbishop Paul Grawng, the president of the National Family Commission and his team are in the midst of organising the ?rst Catholic counselling centre in Mandalay. Counselling services will be available soon. The centre will also serve as a training centre for volunteer lay counsellors throughout the country.

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