Thursday, June 23, 2011

Basketball with the Stars


Last Friday night the guys joined in a local event called Basketball with the Stars. There was a game with two local teams followed by a game of Tabuelan's best players (including all of us) versus a team of Filipino celebrities. It was lots of fun and the guys represented the US well.


After the game the celebrities were supposed to stay and take pictures but when they hurried off, our guys found time to feel like celebrities. All of the fans started taking pictures with us. In all, a great night and a lot of fun.




Please Prayer

Please be in prayer for a group of young people we've been ministering to here. There are seven girls and one guy who have all prayed to receive Christ. So far only one has been able to get permission from her parents to be baptized. We are continuing to disciple them and hold Bible studies and we are hoping to be able to baptize them soon, as it is a symbol of their acceptance of Christ and turning from the works based Catholicism they have been raised in.

(Six of the girls and the guy mentioned above, plus another boy and girl who came for the Bible study today.)

We are doing WHAT?

Thursday June 16th after lunch half the Filter team got to go to the local school a little ways down the road while the others delivered the filter to the office of the ones who controlled the jail.

They were told that they were going to go to the classes and introduce themselves to the students and invite them to a Bible study in the yard of the school after classes. Which then they were going to go over the Bridge example of the gospel. It talks about our sins keep us separated from God, but with the death and resurrection of his son Jesus. We can be with God in paradise. So Jesus is the Bridge from us to God. How it is set up in the illustration by the end the drawing is in the shape of a cross.



This is what actually happened.  Johnny, Adam, Sergio, myself and our two translators Algie and Dariel arrived at the school and were introduced by the one in charge of the filters. Then he left and continued on with the other guys to deliver the filter. Then the principle started talking about us being there for their adopt-a-minster program. She went on to say that we were going to be substitute teachers for the teachers so they could be excused from class for personal needs or needs for the school. 


Then they said how we were all being assigned to different rooms. So they were splitting all of us up including the translators. So they began to write teachers names on slips of paper. They chose names and went to their classes not knowing what they were going to do. It was chaos but we went knowing God had our backs as well as each other.

I started with Adam and after he was introduced the teacher just walked off and left him alone. Which is what all the other teachers did to the other members too. 



Johnny, being Johnny, just took the bull by the horns and ran with it. He began getting the class to introduce themselves. So I told Adam to do the same.

Then as a joke I told Adam to teach them the Wood Chuck tongue twister. He had nothing else so he ran with it and began teaching.

I went to check on the other two and Johnny was talking about the filters and the gospel illustration that went with it. When I went to check on Sergio he was not in the classroom and neither was the kids. So I went back to check on Adam hoping Sergio was all right where ever he was. He was still going over the twister so I join in the fun there for a while.




 When I returned to Johnny he was there with a friend of the Boost, the church we work with, and they were going through the Bible study we had planned after school. Sergio was still missing.

I asked Dariel where Sergio was but he keep pointing towards the class he was suppose to be in. Later I figured out there was another area of classrooms towards the room he was previously in. Which was what Dariel was pointing at. So I joined Sergio and he was with the older kids, 16 or 17 yr. olds, and he was just standing there. Figured out later that he had been learning Cebuano and teaching some English, but at the time I walked in he was awkwardly standing there while the students took pictures of him with their phones.


So I swooped in to save the day by suggesting Wood Chuck since it went so well earlier. I stayed with Sergio and helped out until it was Bible Study time, all most two hours after we arrived, by that time we were relieved because we knew what to do from there.


After the quick study we talked to the guy that had introduced us and left earlier about the confusion. He got it cleared up for us. So now the team will go every Thursday and Friday. If a teacher needs to leave we take over and get to share Bible studies with the students but if all the teachers stay the Bible study will be held after class.




So pray that God will use these opportunities to have Bible studies at the school to glorify him. Pray that seed with be sowed and harvests watered. We also are going to try to use this to get in the homes of some students to share the gospel there and set up Bible studies in the homes.

Thank you all for your prayers. Please continue as we go out to share the love of God with these people. God Bless.





Hunger

   I often hear of the severe poverty and malnutrition that plagues most of the world, but I seldom hear about the TRUE hunger of these people. This hunger is not for food, but for the gospel!
   I have never met such a great amount of people who are starving for the word of God. I was able to see this spiritual starvation in a very real way this week. The team and I visited a remote village and began holding Bible studies in homes. At first they were very shy, but they began to ask questions and we, nervously, began to give answers. They began to beg for studies at their homes and the questions abounded. The people began to realize that we were not bringing them another religion, but we were bringing the truth of Jesus Christ. We brought hope, of which they had never had. We brought the living water and the bread of life, of which they had never tasted. I began to see lives changed and many, many hearts come to Christ. 
    In total, we witnessed 28 people come to a RELATIONSHIP with Christ and we performed 8 baptisms, one in which I was able to baptize!! Praise God!!!! We did not force baptisms nor did we force commitments. We realized very soon that our words, as elementary as they were, were not our own. We "did not come proclaiming to [them] the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For [we] decided to know nothing among [them] except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (1 Cor 2:1,2). The holy spirit was our voice and Jesus Christ was our message. Nothing more, nothing less. God moved despite some doubts, he saved despite our inequities, and He revealed Himself to many people despite a great language barrier. Our God is great and the people are starving. The world is waiting for the good news and our job is to proclaim it. 
    I leave you with a bit of spiritual food to chew on. Luke 10:2,3 says, " And he said to them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves'". Are you willing to go?

There's a first time for everything


For most of the Healthcare team, Friday the 17th was the first time they have ever performed a "tuli," meaning "circumcision" in Cebuano. We have been looking forward to this day for quite some time! I know,  it might seem a bit strange that we were getting excited about doing circumcisions...but let me give you some background as to why today was a great day for some families here in the Philippines.



For a boy to become a man here in the Philippines, he must be circumcised, and the boys are around the grade school age when they usually have the procedure done. However, since medical care and simple surgeries like circumcisions are rather expensive to come by, the wooden block and machete method is popular...we went the Lidocain (local anesthetic) and suture way. Also, if our team performs the procedure, the child's risk of infection is greatly reduced. Before the kids step up for their tuli, we share the Gospel with them. I think it's obvious why we're doing what we're doing.



All of the Healthcare team was able to be involved in the circumcisions in at least one way. Several assisted, several sutured, several observed, several did the cutting--it really was a beautiful picture of the unity found in the body of Christ. The Healthcare and Water Filter teams have been staying at the same compound for these past few days, and it's been great living and working with them as well. Even though we are two very different teams doing very different projects, God has allowed us to work together in fun ways. The Lord has been showing each of us so much about the unity that his Spirit brings!



Please pray for the Healthcare team as we are about to split off into our four groups for the remainder of the summer.



by Sam

Shoutout:
I want to say, "Hey!" to my mom, family and friends. I'm also sorry to inform everyone in the world that I'm growing a beard this summer...yep, you can't stop me. Lakeside Ducks.

First filter

I was going to do a voice overlay of the video but the situation didn't permit it. So this is what I was going to say and you can watch the video before or after. Enjoy!





The filter team has been hard at work repairing filters and spreading the word of God through basketball.

Wednesday June 15th was the first Installation of a filter. The team got the opportunity to deliver a filter to the jail we went to before. It was a great experience because through the delivering of the filter we got to use it as an example of how God is the filter of our lives. We told them that we are the dirty water, but with God sacrificing His son on the cross for our sins. We can lead righteous and pure lives through the faith of Christ and with out Christ we are only dirty water.

The water before was very dirty. The water they used was contaminated because some of the pipes that they get the water from are broken and in the holes parasites and other things could enter the water. But now since the water filter is installed they can have pure and clean water. Which will bring the level of sickness in the jail down drastically.

The worker and inmates were very grateful for the donation of the filter. The higher authority that was there liked it so much that they purchased one for themselves at their office.

So the Lord has been good and has used this team and their filters to show them his love and I ask you to pray that He continues to use them because they are only tools used by God to bring glory to His name.

Falling In Love at New Faith Family

Tyler – Luzon Media
Moving from my first orphanage to New Faith Family, I didn’t know if I would be able to love a new batch of kids as much as the first. Well, those worries were just stupid because the children here had my heart within the first few hours.

First, let me describe this place. New Faith Family Children’s Home is one part of a huge complex with TONS of ministry opportunities: feeding programs, an orphanage, a school, a separate group specifically for abused girls, and prayer walking. Teams from all over the world are here serving.

My first stop here was the nursery. I used to think I was not a kid person, and especially not a baby person. When I first walked in, all I was thinking was, “please don’t hand me a baby! I don’t know what to do with it!” Well, the first child I met was a ten-month-old baby named Cedric, and I was instantly converted into a warm-hearted, baby-talking, tickling, and head-kissing idiot. Its so sad because he has heart and respiratory problems. I later met the toddlers, and though they are wild sometimes, their sweet moments make you want to take them home just as much as the babies.
Two seconds with this kid (Cedric), and I'm a baby lover - crazy!

If you play tag and slide with the older kids, you are instantly one of the family. Their “leader,” Alvin, is an eleven-year-old walking bible, according to Shelby. The kid is intense and really intelligent and serious at times. I feel like he’s going to grow up into a little Filipino Yoda. Shelby gave him a bracelet that has symbols that tell the story of the gospel, and he explained it to me the first time I met him. His brother is not saved. Alvin hopes to one day be a leader, like Nehemiah in the Bible, so he can show his brother what it is like to be bold for God.
Alvin - the Wise

Heather: It was instantaneous. As soon as I walked into the nursery, they felt like my own. Something about their smiles, their holding your hand, or their crawling into your lap…it just pulls at your heart. You just want to be their mom.

Kaitlyn: This is a feeling I’ve never experienced before. I keep kids at home, but it’s just not the same feeling. They have changed me so much already. I just wonder if I’m helping them near as much as they are helping me.

Shelby: I’ve always had a heart for orphans, and I knew at a very young age that adoption would be a part of my life one day. Coming here and seeing these children puts faces with those plans and ideas. They completely capture you – physically, emotionally, spiritually – you can’t escape them.

Nothing is Mine



            Generosity has been something I have experienced countless times throughout by lifetime. Although many Americans are extremely generous and hospitable, every person should visit a Southeast Asian family at some point in their life. My roommates and I visited a wonderful Burmese family last week. Seriously, they are absolutely amazing! We came in the house and, of course, left our shoes at the door. Unlike a typical American household, we sat on the floor on a huge mat and our host family sat on the side. Spread across the table was grapes, bananas, apples, bottled waters, and large bowls of curry flavored noodles with veggies. Southeast Asians considered it very good to be a little least a little chubby, so the family kept encouraging us to “eat more, eat more!” What food we did not eat they sent back with us. 

            This family has lived in America for only a short time and has struggled to survive ever since. In spite of their hard times, they are willing to share all they have without hesitation. Such a lesson to learn! I have so much, and yet I am still so selfish. Through our new friendship with this family, I have been reminded that nothing I have belongs to me. God has allowed me to hold all I have only to shake it.

by Amanda

P52- Week #2


A new week of experiences including two dinners with two different families and backyard fun!

Two Groups!

There are two groups of people we’ve been studying the Bible with so far. The first is a group of guys at a skills training center. They are there for a 3-month course to learn welding and they represent every barangay (town) in the area. They’ve been very eager to learn about the Bible and have invited us to come back and study with them during their lunch break several times. Please pray that a leader among this group will step up to help continue their Bible study once we have to leave. There are a few who seem very close to doing so, but no one has stepped forward yet.


The other group of people we’ve been having Bible study with is several ladies who, when we came to their barangay to play basketball and share our testimonies, told us they wanted to know how to study the Bible. They understand a lot about God’s Word already and we are really excited that one of them immediately offered her house for the studies. Also, while we were there yesterday, a man came up and asked us if we would be interested in holding a kids Bible study in his home, because he really wanted to teach the kids in that area.


We are heading to a different area in the upcoming days, but we plan on revisiting these two groups, as they are both doing very well.

Open Hearts



Hello everybody!  Living in the Filipino jungle has definitely been an experience, but I am not complaining.  At the moment, our camp is in a small village.  The people here are so very friendly!  They even built us our very own CR (bathroom) out of bamboo and banana leaves.  We are so very blessed to be around such giving people.  Our goal here is to have as many Bible studies as possible that will hopefully grow into a church in the future.  Our Bible studies are stories that especially teach the fact that there is only one God, and only one way to get to Him!  There are a few villagers who have been quite receptive.  One lady specifically wants to continue the Bible studies after we leave.  Her name is Gloria, but we all call her Nanay, or mother.  One day one of my teammates Kelley felt very discouraged & homesick.  Nanay and her husband Tatay were very comforting.  Our hope is that the villagers will remember the stories and share them after we leave to their friends and neighbors.  God has taught me and my team this week about being completely reliant on Him.  God has blessed me with a wonderful team!  They are my home away from home.  Please pray that God will open the hearts of the Agta people to His Word.  Love all of you!

~ by Kari, Agta Team-Rinconada

Kelley Beth & Kari 

our Bible study last night 

O'Neal and some of the local guys 

Kari & Kelley Beth with Nanay

Greetings to everyone from the jungle!  I don’t even know how to begin to describe these past couple of weeks.  I have never experienced anything like this, and it has been hard, but God has been so faithful.  I just want to share one story of His goodness in answering our prayers.  The other morning my teammates Kari and O’Neal and I were all attempting to make pancakes over our fire pit outside.  This was a hard morning.  We hadn’t really been shown an opportunity for leading a consistent Bible study yet and we were praying for people to hear.  I was also very homesick that morning.  As we made pancakes, I thought about eating pancakes with my family the night before I left, and I couldn’t stop the tears.  I tried to hide them, but the man living in the hut next to our tent had seen.  As we visited his house later, he told me that he had hurt when he saw my tears because he knew I missed my family, and that he and his wife would be my “Tatay NS Nanay” (father and mother) while I was here.  He continued to tell us that his wife has confided to him that she wanted to continue a Bible study after we left and how eager she is to learn the Word of God.  This time, the tears were tears of joy!  The Lord had comforted me in my own pain, as well as showing us His faithfulness in providing open hearts and minds ready to hear.  He will redeem His people!  He also uses our weakest moments for His good.  Please pray for us that we will not shrink back in the low times, but that we will claim His promises.  Pray for the people, that their eyes will be opened and that they will be brought from darkness into light.  Thank you for your prayers!

~ Kelley Beth, Agta Team-Rinconada


Hungry for the Word

When we first met Nanay Nory and her husband, they were very cautious about any sort of religion.  She used to Muslim, and her husband was Catholic.  Through our Bible studies, we shared with her that we were not there to bring religion.  We expressed our desire to share the truths of the Bible and about Jesus Christ.  She did not seem very interested, but she was still willing to study with us.  After a few studies with her, Nanay Nory expressed excitement that we were not trying to force religion on her.  There are many religions in this area telling her that she must follow them to know God and be saved.  She shared that she has faith in Christ alone.  She knows He is the only way because her grandmother told her.  Nanay Nory is incredibly hungry for the Lord and His Word.  She was so grateful for someone to tell her more.  We left her and her family with a Bible for them to study after we leave.

~ by Chelsea

Bicol Team:  Donnatello, Rey, Michelle, Chelsea, Nikki & Macey


Some of the groups we are having Bible studies with: