Sunday, August 1, 2010
The impoverished culture in the Philippines is frustrating. Though certain services were available, the family was embarrassed to ask for help, and didn't have any resources to help Alonamae with. So when I arrived in the spring of 2008, I found Alonamae frozen in time. She looked much the same as before, and her mom was caring for her in the same way; breast and bottle feeding her at age 4.
In the summer of 2008 my family provided some funds to Jeff Long at Kids International Ministries to get her involved in better health care. Kids International receives ongoing funds to pay Alonamae's father, Tirso, a salary. Funds were also provided to build a sturdy concrete home in Cuatro community, the squatter area near the New Faith Family Children's home. These were all positive steps to get the family closer to a resource that could help, but Alonamae still wasn't getting the care she needed. The reasons go back to the impoverished culture and Alonamae's mom not understanding the proper way to care for and nurture her special needs kiddo. Alonamae is the fourth of soon to be 7 children in a very small house in a squatter area.
God brings a variety of missionaries through the area where Alonamae lives, and Jeff Long tells them about her. Certain heroes have stepped forward and are working on long term solutions to Alonamae's posture and mobility as well as her nutritional health. Among them; Holly Clark, Paula Pittman, and Linda Zipprich. I'm extremely thankful that I can network with these good people who truly care about Alonamae and want God's best for her.
She was not out of harms way when I arrived in Manila. Her mother still fed her while Alonamae was flat on her back, so she aspirates the
milk frequently; choking down the only food source offered. Her mother felt that Alonamae couldn't handle other kinds of food so she didn't try to feed her anything but the cheap powdered milk they could get at the market. Alonamae was lying on the floor of their home when I met her. She had aspiration pneumonia, and was starving to death. At the age of 6 years and 3 months, she weighed 12 pounds and was in respiratory distress. It was painful to watch her just try to survive. When we tried to make her more comfortable, I witnessed a "silent scream". It was horrifying to watch. She couldn't muster the strength to cry out or even cough. Only her face told the story of the pain in her tiny little body.
Alonamae is now on antibiotics, nebulizer treatments, cough medicine, and is getting better quality powdered milk, cereal, and tasty combinations of fruits and vegetables under the guidance of Lydia; a nurse at the Children's Home. Alonamae's health is dramatically better in just the last 5 days, as we observe her relaxed breathing, and the doctor told us she now weighs 16 pounds. Some new friends; Brian and Emilee Helton, provided a baby stroller for Alonamae which has been a huge advantage to keeping her sitting up and allowing her to breathe much more easily. The stroller also provides much needed mobility for the family so they can take Alonamae to Lydia for check ups, and go to church as a family more easily.
Alonamae Cardinosa now has a hopeful future although we wait to see what God is going to do in her life. God willing, Alonamae will be a delight to her family and so many people like me who have fallen in love with her for many years to come. It is extremely gratifying to me that Alonamae is no longer an invisible child in the vast sea of poverty in the Philippines.
Cañon City, Colorado
Saturday, July 10, 2010
I take my coffee with 1 splenda, 1 Tbs. of hazelnut sugar free creamer, and 3-4 ants. The last part isn't a preference, it's more like a reality. There's always ants in the coffee pot here. There's just too many to get out, so instead we ignore them and brew the coffee, ants included. Because this is the Philippines-- T.I.P. as we like to say-- there's a long list of normalcies that you would never find back in the good 'ol US of A. But that's okay, because not only have I learned to live with them, but I've accepted them, and they have become a part of my everyday life… a part of who I am. This is my life.
This is my life. Instead of wake up and smell the coffee, I wake up and smell the fish. I live in Cuatro, a poor, mostly squatters area representative of your average Filipino "homes". The streets are filled with trash and dirty, hungry kids playing in it. The mangy, starving dog with ribs popping out and sores covering it's body begins to blend in with the background…. a sight that would previously make me stop and stare in genuine concern for the 'poor dog' has now become normal. How do I worry about the animal, after all, when their are so many starving and needy people instead?
This is my life. I live in the dirt. It blows into my window and on my bed every day. I sweat 70% of the time. The other 30% is when I'm sleeping. I drive like a native. I swerve, I honk, I never signal, and I regularly cut people off; I drive on the opposite side of the road when needed, I go through the intersection when it's not my turn, and when I'm driving, pedestrians never have the right of way. I eat fruit about five times a day, it's so cheap and so delicious! I live in a house with anywhere from 10 to 100 people, depending on how many teams are here. It's always a mess, always noisy, and the dishes are sprawled out everywhere. And no matter what, I know never to plan anything, because plans always fall through, things are always changing, and you always have to keep on your toes!
This is my life, and somehow it's all worth it. The completely different, often frustrating cultural differences, the lack of a comfortable home, the go go go and the constant exhaustion, the being away from family and friends and the difficulties of support raising…. it's all very much worth it! Because when I feed my two little rascals breakfast or give them their first shower in days, it's worth it. When I'm greeted at the children's home by la pair of tiny legs running at me, arms wide open, yelling "Tita Kissty," it's worth it. When I look at Roseanne and I see the wheels turning and my devotion message start to make sense in her head, it's worth it. And when Vanessa jumps up to hug me at the end of every devotion, and thanks me for sharing, it is very much worth it!
This is my life. I live in a community of focused, intentional people. I share my life with other people called to minister to the same people group as me. We share stories over meals and meet for 10am coffee breaks, sweating extra but enjoying every second of it. I walk up the street with tons of kids yelling my name who I haven't even met yet. They smile and they wave yelling "hello" until you return the gesture. We fight for kids who can't fight for themselves. We provide education to kids who can't afford to go to school. We talk to anyone who will listen about our experiences because these kids and the people we meet have become our family! I'd give up my life to protect any one of them because they mean the world to me and I love them.
This is my life. This is how I live. And the thought of that changing is absolutely killing me. I don't want it to change. I don't want to say goodbye to my friends. I don't want to not be there to feed Imon breakfast. I don't want to stop Tuesday/Thursday devotions with the older girls. And I don't want to live in a place where people are more focused on themselves than they are on others. How can I be okay with my big room and soft, clean carpet, when my two favorite boys in the world are sleeping on hard dirt floor? How can I go back to school to get my masters degree when 14 year old Vanessa is still in grade 5 and needs a lot of help to catch up. How can I share a house with my two dogs, healthier than most of the kids I meet on the street? How can I yet again adjust my "normal" and return to the way things used to be???
I'm addicted to the dirty Manila air. Somewhere along the way, I got used to it. I've been breathing this dirty, polluted air for so long now that I'm not sure I even know how to breathe clean air anymore. I don't know how to be American. And I'm not really sure if I want to....
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
By Liz Phillips
Should I go to Manila with Mark and my sis?
Leaving Scott back at home, it would be him I would miss.
Though the kids needed care and money was low,
I was off to the Philippines, friends told me, "Just go!"
The jet lag no fun, all your strength it will sap,
2 a.m. arrival, then tucked in for a nap.
We woke to the sounds, Filipinos out walking,
We peered from our porch, the roosters were cocking.
The sights, sounds and smells; the food, heat and training;
The pool time with Ellie when it wasn't raining.
The jeepneys! The traffic! No one could conceive it!
So many close calls! I still can't believe it!
The time on the train, not my favorite place.
Oh, WOW! It was full! Sardines have more space!
First view of the squatters, sights too sad...Oh, my!
This pen can't convey, I won't even try.
Orphans inside the gate, so well cared for,
Can't help but notice the smiles they wore.
Fed other kids who were hungry, the poorest of poor,
We'd give them their scoop—ran out...needed more.
The sweet time at Erroll's, so proud of his place,
No wealth from this world, just quite rich in grace.
The teachers we trained, those women so dear,
Last day said good-bye, with gifts, hugs and a tear.
How can I say thanks for a privilege so rare?
To learn what I mean, you too can come share!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
First Baptist Church Norco in California. We arrived here on May 10th
and have about a month of service to go, as we are planning on
returning to the States on July 5th. It has been an absolute delight
for us to be here and we have already been blessed ourselves in many
Our involvement here has been diverse, allowing us to gain a wide
variety of experiences and serve in several different areas. Rachael
and Trisha, for example, were able to spend their first few weeks in
the Philippines serving in MalayBalay before returning to us here in
Manila. Jessica and myself have been rooted here in Manila from day
one and it has been fabulous.
One of our key focus areas since we have been here has been working
with a group of 18 community girls that Josie Long disciples, each
with their own unique personalities and stories. Serving at the
children’s home has also been a priority: spending time with the kids,
working shifts in the nursery, and leading devotions. Other activities
have included participating in community feeding projects, and simply
doing whatever else arises as a need. We have grown to love all of
these kids so much and are sad to be leaving in just a month, but
cannot wait to see what God does in the time we have allotted. It is
crazy to us how quickly our time is passing. Our trip has certainly
been dynamic, as we are continuously gaining new environments to serve
in and to be grown in. God has already blessed us in innumerable ways
just being here; we feel right at home and pray that our service is a
blessing to those around us.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Who would have thought five years ago that a 12-year-old little girl (referring to Janel Long’s request of her parents to help the children) would have had such a worldwide impact. When Jeff and his family opened their hearts and their door to orphaned and unwanted children, they probably wouldn't have guessed at the number of lives they would touch.
Today K.I.M. is accustomed to opening its doors to volunteers from around the globe, although it is not often that they host such a diverse group of nationalities simultaneously. This week sees the return of Seoul Foreign School on its fourth annual mission trip, whose students and staff come from around the world.
As you look around the Ministry Center, you will see 10 different nationalities: Korean, American, Canadian, Filipino, British, Australian, Japanese, German, South African and Taiwanese. In addition to our school joining the efforts, we had two Aussie construction company owners join us, and man, did they work hard and fast—yet they interacted great with our kids. Also, a father/son combo joined us from a school in Taiwan. Together these all worked side by side with the 15 or so Filipino workers in a very harmonious way.
It has been a pleasure to see God's wonderful people from around the globe join together in one place, all with a heart to serve.
Written By: Seoul Foreign School teacher
Friday, May 28, 2010
Three years ago, in 2007, they helped pour the second floor of our Cuatro Community Center, which is now the main sanctuary for the Tugumpay Evangelical Baptist Church and also doubles as the location for several of our Cuatro Christian School classes.
In 2008 they returned, this time to help with our children's home extension. At maximum capacity and running out of space, the SFS Team helped with adding a new wing onto the far side of our children's home. This new wing included a sala (living room) for the children's home boys, a bigger, more spacious kitchen, a state-of-the-art nursery for our babies and toddlers, as well as a nice, large dining room for mealtimes and other special events.
Then last year, in 2009, they came back to work on the church building next door, the JCCV (Jesus Christ Church in the Valley). In the early stages of adding a fourth story to the building, SFS played a huge role in transferring hollow blocks up to the roof. The seventy-five high school students and teachers/staff made an assembly line that started on the ground level and climbed up two flights of stairs, went through the church sanctuary on the third floor, and then climbed another flight of stairs on the back side, all the way up to the roof (soon to be fourth story). For a week they passed hollow blocks, mixed cement, swung hammers, and even helped to dig the first three holes for the footings for our YMC Extension Project. They even found time to help transfer hundreds of books from our old CCS Library to the new location.
This week, May 22nd-May 29th, SFS is back and already working very hard! Despite the exhausting temperatures as of late, the SFS students and staff are up early everyday, working with shovels, axes, hammers, scrapers, paintbrushes, and a variety of other tools. They are working on a two hour rotation that includes scraping and re-painting the Cuatro Christian School (at two different locations), digging, moving dirt, and mixing cement at the back of the YMC for a new building currently being constructed, and also playing with kids at the children's home.
And somehow, despite the many hours of hard physical labor, each year, the SFS Team also finds time to hold a community carnival, do devotions at the children's home, have a community concert, and go shopping for donations for the children's home, the cuatro christian school, and the community kids.
As the famous expression goes, the SFS Team comes to Manila every year, and pours blood, sweat, and tears into Kids International Ministries. On behalf of KIM, thank you for all your help, thank you for getting dirty and working hard, thank you for the many donations and your giving heart, and thank you for the impact that you have on this organization and in the Kingdom of God.
We can't wait to see you next year!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Upon my arrival on May 20th, while being picked up at the airport, I was introduced to little seven year old Manny. He has grown quite fond of Christie and follows her around on a regular basis. The next morning I met little four year old, beautiful, big brown eyed Imon. These two little brothers are desperate for a sense of belonging, so Christie has welcomed them into her heart showing them love as a mother would her own.
I love seeing firsthand how God uses a willing heart. God first asked her to come to Manila and in her obedience she said yes. Then God showed her these two brothers and placed a special love in her heart for them and asked her to show His kind of love and she responded yes Lord. Christie now is on a quest to implement a sponsorship program for these children to help the community children who have so many needs to get monthly support that will be used to help feed and educate them. It is her hope that they will know that they are loved and will be cared for and that God sees them and has not forgot about them. He is using KIM to help them and to let them know that they have a place to belong.
Written By: Jackie Albaugh
Sunday, April 4, 2010
This video is presenting the children in the New Faith Family Children's Home in Malaybalay, Philippines and how many of them will be going to school this coming summer. Many of these kids have just recently been orphaned, abandoned, or rescued and have never even sat in a classroom setting. The cost is around $400 per year for each student and God has placed it on my heart to make this goal happen by June 1. If you are interested, please contact me and I will tell you a little more about the program and how you can help....
If interested in sponsoring the education of one of our Malaybalay children, please contact Jeremy Moody @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I told my team today during a meeting that I have enjoyed watching them work this month.
Most of them come alive when we step into our small community called Karlangan.
And the amazing thing is, we all come alive in different ways.
So here's a small taste of what our days are filled with.
I hope you enjoy watching a little taste of my team coming alive.
My favorite part of every day is at the end of the video.
Blog and Video By: Margie Termeer
Friday, March 19, 2010
As I mentioned in my last blog, we have been doing a census here in the community, trying to connect with over 5,000 people. Every day we ask people what their immediate needs are, they respond with needs of water, food, vitamins and medicine. One family said they just wanted plates to eat their food, another said diapers for their new born baby, and the list goes on. Then we ask for prayer requests, person after person responded with asking for a better life. My heart sank and broke into pieces as I held back the tears. Most houses are made from anything they can find, scraps of old woods, medal and old signs. Holes invade their whole house-I am afraid for when it rains. How will they stay dry? The wires of electricity unsafely stream everywhere. This is what we walk into everyday, one day I was walking through sewage trying to get to some homes and I said to myself, " this is the worst I have seen", but as the day flew by I seemed to be hearing and seeing situations that seemed more hopeless then the next.
I met an eight year old girl named Roxanne. She has one leg and the other is prosthetic. The first encounter with her was with Michelle and David, she was hobbling home from school and they asked if they could carry her home. The prosthesis barley stays on and sits on an angel so her foot is twisted to the right at all times. A couple days ago Michelle and I decided to go see if she would like go to the swing set with us. We got the ok from her mom and carried her down to the set. As we were talking with her trying to get her to a crack smile, I started to think, " If it is for only one person I am here I will be honoured and blessed to serve and love" ( just like Angelica in Australia). We took her to get some ice cream, sat and ate it together, laughing as we smeared the ice cream across our lips as lipgloss. I asked Roxanne her favourite song and she began to sing Jesus loves me. I could not stop smiling; at that point I knew her hope was in Jesus. We brought her home and said our goodbyes and walked away. I kept my tears back, telling her we will come back to color with her soon. I truly believe God is a big God and wants something big to happen in her life. I am praying we can help her as the process is already in play for getting her a new leg. Please keep her in your prayers. This is reality for eight year old Roxanne. Where people, old and young stare at her and point. WE just love and encourage.
One afternoon as I arrived back from a specific village, I was broken and crying out to God. A team works there daily so I went to them to inquire more information. They began telling me a story about a blind eleven year old girl who cannot walk. She lives in a house alone, with her stepmom down the road. She sleeps on a plank of woods as her bed and lies there all day. If she has to go to the bathroom she just goes because there is no one to help her up. Most days they do not know if she eats or not. The team has invested time into her, speaking life and love into her life. A nurse has come to look at her, and they have brought her back to the place we are staying to give her a real bath and clean her up. This is another story that makes me angry and I stand wondering why. I trust this team is doing the best they can. Please pray and ask God to keep intervening to give her a better life. This is reality for this blind eleven year old girl. Abandoned and forgotten.
Another ministry a group is doing is under a bridge where over 100 families live. Families, babies and children living in the garbage dump. They have nothing, each day they dig through the garage hoping to find metal or copper so they can sell it for a little money. Eight years old kids sniff glue so the hunger pains go away. They have been there since the flood in October. They sleep on old piece of carpet or cardboard; they have no water to keep clean, no food, nothing. I wonder why them as anger and frustration boil over inside. This is their home, their reality.
I hope these stories just give you a glimpse of what we see and hear each day. It is not easy coming back to a bed, food and a shower each night, knowing many do not have what we have. It is sad that the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. What would happen if the rich invested into the poor? One day we hitch hiked home and a young man picked us up (do not worry we were safe). We hopped into his nice car and he drove us home. He was talking to us with perfect English keeping a good conversation and as he dropped us off he said he lived down the street from where we lived. I wonder how someone can live here without noticing the poverty and do nothing about it. It seemed as if he just closed his eyes and pretended it was not there.
Imagine this; you're in the line for the ATM machine. This time the line is long but you notice people acting weird when they get to the front. When you approach the front of the line you see an eight year old boy passed out from alcohol right before the ATM. What has been happening this entire time is people see the boy, step over him to get to the ATM, finish their business and walk away. How would you react? What would you do?
This story happened to one of the ministry workers here in the Philippines. As he approached the boy, he picked him up; made sure he was breathing and brought him to the police to contact his parents. Before this act everyone ignored the boy, as if this was normal but when did something like this become normal?
Please be praying. This is reality for many but the question is- should this be reality? Should this be normal? Living in the garbage dump, being walked over, living in homes no bigger than our bathrooms as nine people sleep there, being abandoned blind at the age of eleven, sniffing glue to take away the hunger pain at age eight. Having no education, water, plates to eat off of, the list just goes on. THIS IS NOT OK and not suppose to be normal. Please be praying and lift these situations up to God. Pray from the depth of who you are, with passion and fight for justice, intercede for these lives with me.
I am humbled, broken, blessed to serve here in Cainta, Manila. As for prayer requests please lift me up whenever you think about me; each day seems to get harder, battling with the hard unknown answers of injustice.
Written By: Charlotte Clark
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I have started helping with a local magazine called the Jeepney a couple days a week. The Jeepney is a street magazine, modeled similarly to homeless newspapers sold in many major cities in the U.S. The concept is inspirational-it is a magazine featuring local homeless, raising awareness of issues facing the multitudes of Filipinos living in poverty. It is then sold by homeless vendors as a way for them to make an income and support their families.
The Jeepney office is located on the property we are living at, so it was a natural fit for World Racers to start pitching in. We have opportunities to help with everything from photography to graphic design to editing and layout to promoting, and more. I have been working with a few other girls to promote the magazine and search for homeless people on the streets that want to sell the magazine as a source of income. This morning we left for Chinatown at 6:30 am to assist with some street promoting. We visited Chinatown once last week. While promoting the magazine Jeanne and I ran into a firecracker named Annie, a spirited Chinese woman in her early 50's. Actually, she found us. She approached us and asked if we were tourists. She seemed alarmed and told us it was not safe for us to be in Chinatown walking around by ourselves. We assured her we had a local assisting us nearby. We explained to her why we are in the Philippines and then told her all about the Jeepney magazine. Then we parted ways.
We learned later that Annie sent a text message to the Jeepney a couple hours after our encounter saying "I met a couple young Caucasian women in Chinatown today and I want to help them". This morning when we went back we contacted her on the off chance she would have some tips for us. She was available and offered to meet with us. She gave us some great insight into the area from a local perspective and directed us to an area she felt would be our target market. A couple hours later through an amazing series of events, which I will spare you, Annie managed to get us on stage at an assembly at her children's high school, where students and parents were gathered for their final day of school. Had we continued street marketing this morning we would have only contacted a handful of people, but thanks to the help of a complete stranger who was willing to sacrifice half her day to help us we were able to reach hundreds and encourage them to support the local homeless community. Annie also invited us into her home and offered us a place to stay if we ever return to the Philippines.
It's cool to see how God opens up opportunities sometimes. We got connected to Annie randomly on the street. We wouldn't have been able to get into the school if it weren't for her personal connections. If we had gone out any other day we couldn't have reached that audience because it was the very last day of school. Sometimes things add up way too much to be coincidence, even a skeptic like me must accredit days like today entirely to "a God thing".
Written By: Jillian Hensley
A copy of this article can be found at http://jillianhensley.theworldrace.org/?filename=how-i-ended-up-on-stage-in-front-of-600-chinesefilipinos&bookmark=true#comments
Sunday, March 14, 2010
The Children’s Garden takes 15-18 year old boys off from the streets, from under the freeway bridges, from within the dumps, and from the sewers to give them a hope and a future. Some of the boys parents have died or they chose to run away from home. Most have been on drugs since age 8. It’s not uncommon for their parents to put their kids on drugs and force them to beg for money for the family. Drugs were a way of control.
The Children’s Garden picks up these kids and immediately puts them on a drug rehab program. Then, the teens would gain job training skills in welding and woodworking, learn karate, and attend Bible studies.
Keturah, a WR missionary and a volunteer at TCG, says that her greatest joy is being able to see their lives change. She says, “It‘s been amazing being able to connect with them because we have more in common that they or I would‘ve thought.” Kim, one of the boys in the program, says that his parents have been dead for years, but through the program, he’s gotten off the streets, quit drugs, and now wants to be a missionary. Kim’s life testifies that life can be different for all the boys from what they‘ve known. His life testifies that God indeed does have a hope and a future for all their lives.
Written By: Christine Louie
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Healings happening. People coming to know Jesus. A feeding program thriving. Then, comes
Three more signs.
Three more people.
Emily. Rose. Gina.
Emily found my team and invited us into her home as soon as we arrived in Ramaville. She shared with us that her husband use to play the guitar for the church and that he wants to play for us. She asked to have a Bible study at her home. She said she was going to talk to the owners of one of the buildings so that we can host church services there. Her prayer request was that God would send workers, instruments, and a building so that they can have a church in the community.
There is a thirst for fellowship.
Soon after we left Emily's place, Rose invited us into her home. She began to share with us her former involvement at church and how she wanted to have a Bible study in her home as well.
There is a hunger to know and be known by God.
After leaving Rose's home, we ran upon Gina. Gina had been a seminary student for two months and had once been committed to the way of Jesus.
There is an opportunity to serve. An opportunity for a revival of the Spirit.
The first three people we met that morning were the few Christians in that entire community yet in those encounters we recognized the continuing confirmation of God's desire to plant a church there.
Written By: Christine Louie
A version of this article appeared on March 5, 2010, at www.christinelouie.theworldrace.org.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
We went to do home visits in the morning to listen to the stories of the families that suffered from the typhoon to learn about their lives, to take a needs assessment to see what aid we could provide, and to offer prayer for any requests and petitions they had. My team split up into two groups with Brook, Jake, Margie, and Pastor Ray in one group and with John, Emily, Pastor Jun and me in the other group.
One of the homes that Brook's group visited was the home of Linda, Ann, and Mercy. After they spent some time talking, Linda and Ann shared their prayer needs including good health and financial provisions. This was very common in the families we visited because they were malnourished and had no medical care at all. Moreover, many of them were unable to find jobs. Mercy, however, said that her one request was to get into heaven. What? Of the many things she could've asked for, she wanted to know the certainty of her eternity. That team explained to her that it's never about doing things to be "good" enough to get into heaven, but that her faith and trust in Jesus would be the key to the present and eternal freedom of her spirit. She invited Jesus into her life.*
My team was going around different homes for visitations when a woman named Ana, who we had never met before, pops out of her house and tells us to come in. We see a man of at least 40 years old lying on the floor curled up next to the door. Ana explained to Pastor Jun that he was her brother, Fernando. Fernando has been having stomach pains for the past twelve days. He has been in so much pain that he hasn't been able to go to work, which was also a huge problem since he was the bread winner between the two siblings that lived together. He could not walk and could hardly move. We asked him to put his hand on his stomach and we laid hands on top of that hand and prayed for his healing in Jesus name. We didn't know if anything happened to him or to anyone else we had prayed for that day. The next day, I was leading a study of Ruth with the women in the community and Ana, Fernando's sister, declared that her brother was fully healed. She asked for the group to pray that her brother would know Jesus. The very next day after that as my group was leaving for lunch from the home visits, Fernando ran into my team as he was walking to town and tells us that not only is he healed, but that he has invited Jesus into his life.
I never know where God is going to take me or my team next. I can never predict what He is going to do. I just know that his heart is always in pursuit of our hearts and our freedom.
Written By: Christine Louie
A version of this article appeared on March 4, 2010, at www.christinelouie.theworldrace.org.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
And the truth is, I've been there, and I've done that. I've traveled thousands of miles, seen some of the neediest people in the world, and somehow, at the end of it, I've managed to go back to "normal life."
This past January, a team of 15 college students came from Taylor University in Indiana. They came as a part of their academic program, needing hours for their social work and physical education degrees. But they also reached out to those in need during their time here. They touched people's lives and in return, their lives were touched. Angie, one of the professors that accompanied the students, wrote us an email explaining her thoughts as she returned back home...
"Well, it's been almost a couple weeks since we've been there with you and your staff but I think often of KIM and the Philippines. I finally got all my shorts and summer clothes put away. Everything makes me think of the Philippines and the kids and the people there. I spoke in my church Sunday. eople were very moved by the information (feedings, etc.) I am hoping they will step up and support KIM. I speak to another church at the end of the month. I have also been asked to speak to two different groups after I spoke to the church Sunday. None of this I ever expected to do. I didn’t get a chance to talk to you before I left but I was deeply impacted by staying there with KIM and seeing the needs there. Please know I want to help however I can but I have never seen myself as a “missionary”. How can someone like me help?"
How can someone like you help? You're doing it right now! You're speaking, and you're getting the word out. You're sharing your experiences. You're keeping in contact. You're sharing your heart with those around you. You're not just going back to "normal life."
Thank you to all those people who have not only come and served here in the Philippines, but continue to serve back at home through awareness, prayer, financial support, and by remembering the names and the faces of the people you met during your time here.
We hope to see you again one day soon!
Friday, February 19, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Which sometimes makes it hard to remember what else is right outside the door. I live in the Cuatro Community, named so for the location alongside the 4th hole of a neighboring golf course. Cuatro is home to 5,000 people (and no, it's not that big of an area.) Those 5,000 people live in about 800ish homes, packed in to little shanty houses like sardines. They live in the dirt, they sleep in the dirt, and they don't have three hot meals waiting for them throughout the day.
This morning, Manny, a young boy that has heavily weighed on my heart since I came here, was found wandering around by one of our teachers at the school, when he himself was supposed to be in class up at the CCC, our other school location. We brought him inside and asked him why he wasn't at school. One of the common excuses we hear from students-- his uniform was dirty, so he couldn't go to class.
Manny is 7 years old. And as I look into his story more and more, it feels as though it keeps getting more and more hopeless. Manny is the eldest of his siblings. He has a 6 year old sister and a 3 year old brother. Either both his parents are dead, or the the mother is dead and the father leaves Monday through Friday to go to work in another province, we have heard both stories and are not sure which is the truth yet. Regardless, this little boy is 7 years old, trying to take care of his siblings, trying to be the man in the family, while only just a little boy himself. He collects paper and plastic at the school each day to turn into the recycling center for money. A large bag will get him 10 pesos, or about a quarter. He told us he needed to get money to buy rice for the family.
My heart breaks for this boy. I want more for him than how he is living right now. I want him to be a kid and for an adult to do the providing and the caring. I want him to continue going to school, to learn English, continue on to college, and go places in this life! I want him to come to church and bible class on Sundays, to learn about God the Father, who is the Father figure he has never known but always needed, the Father that won't let him down and will always be there for him. I want him to have three meals a day, vitamins to keep him healthy, strong and sturdy teeth, and a place that he can feel safe each night.
What can I do for Manny? Or Angela? Sunshine and Sanjie and their family? For Pin? These are just a few of the many kids that need help. What can I do to help them? How can I help to break them out of this cycle that they are in?
When my time in Manila has come to an end, and I go back to my home in California, Manny WILL NOT be in the exact same place as when I came. Though at times I feel helpless, and the situation feels hopeless, something will change. It has to.
Friday, February 12, 2010
A few weeks ago, Jeff Long came down to Malaybalay with a bunch of damaged Bibles that had been donated while he was on a recent trip to the States. Well, among these was a NLT Study Bible, the one I had been wanting for six months. Huge blessing to me!
But the story gets even better. That same evening I took the remaining Bibles to Grace Ayala's place; she wanted to give some to the Saturday Kids Fellowship workers. One of them, Pastor Rhogene, recently attended a hermeneutics seminar and the speaker used the NLT for the classes. Pastor Rhogene started praying that day that he would be able to get a copy of the NLT and about a week later, he did. Isn’t it wonderful how God meets our needs and in such unexpected ways?
Friday, January 22, 2010
May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart
May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people
So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace
May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
To turn their pain into Joy
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Party Party Party, thats is what we were doing at Mindanao for the week we were there. The staff and locals are friendly and welcoming and are so keen to get together for any reason to celebrate in fellowship. We attended 4 parties in the 5 days at Malaybalay. The biggest and best of course was the KIM Christmas party.
After planning for weeks before the 19th Dec the preparations started 24 hours before the party. Over 65 volunteers were devoted to making this party special for the local underprivileged families. All day on the 18th volunteers sat making lumpia and bulabula and cooked them late into the night. Other volunteers turned up to decorate and make hamburger patties. We began setting up and putting together 300 gift bags containing candy, toothpaste, toothbrushes, noodles, marshmallow sticks, pencils, juice, soap, canned sardines, and more candies.
There was a problem, the donations had been spent and there was no rice to feed the guests or to put in there gift bags for them to take home. Grace asked a couple of us to pray for 7 bags of rice. We did this and went on with the preparations. 1 hour later 7 big bags of rice were delivered. The rice was already bagged into 1kg lots to place straight into the gift bags. It would have taken longer than 1 hour just to bag the rice. Wow God is awesome! He knows what we need even before we ask for it and He provides. Not only did the rice arrive but more noodles, sugar, canned meat, candies, soap and more toys. What a blessing. We then distributed this into the bags as well.
The morning of the party people were being picked up in the minicab by the hundreds. They usually have around 150 people turn up to meetings so they were estimated and planned for up to 300 people but ended up with over 700 people. More than 500 children. This was an awesome turnout and we wanted to bless all of the children with a gift bag for their families so we had to work fast and make 300 bags into over 500. More noodles and candy were purchased as well as plastic bags and we split the contents of the other 300 bags. Hamburgers were made up and put into the bags as well.
Every child received a gift bag and there were some left over for the parents. The looks on their thankful faces were precious and their smiles were heartwarming. Everyone enjoyed lots of food, songs, plays, dances, games and a service to learn and rejoice in the birth of Jesus. This was an incredible day of witnessing Gods love in action. Im sure everyone involved was greatly blessed. I know we were.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
We decided to do a fun filled teenage girls afternoon and sleepover. It was a total surprise for the girls and when we collected them they were told they were coming to do jobs for us. They were not happy! We told them to bring some jeans and a good dress with them as well as their pj’s as they may be working till late. They became a little suspicious and kept asking questions. All I could do is smile and tell them not to ask questions they would see when they got there.
When we got to the green house one of the girls picked up a broom and started sweeping. We got some basins to do foot soaks in and had the girls carry one each into the room. They thought they were going to wash the walls. haha..... I told them to sit on the lounge and that their job for the afternoon was to relax and enjoy themselves. They just looked at me puzzled and asked again.
We rolled up their jeans and stuck their feet in the basins to soak. Each girls received a foot wash and massage followed by a pedicure and manicure. They had a face cleans and then we did their makeup and hair. They were all starting to smile by this stage.
Dressed in their white shirts and jeans we did some photos of each of them on their own and some of them together. After this ordeal they got changed into their good dresses and we took a couple more photos and then took them out for dinner. Some of the girls couldn’t make up their minds what to order and changed their order at least 3-4 times. The food took a while to come and the girls were getting hungry and a little impatient. When dinner arrived they loved it and where flattered by the waiter calling them maam. We returned to the green house after dessert and changed into pj’s and laid on the mattresses on the floor. We gave them facial masks as they watched movies with popcorn, chocolate, candy and soda.
The girls have seen their photos and picked out some they would like printed. They can see that they have outer beauty and that they should be respected for who they are. That it is ok to smile and have fun and that they are all special and beautiful on the inside. Each unique as God made them to be.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
In 2009 a massive effort by countless teams and a construction crew from the Cuatro area, affectionately called the “magnificent seven,” brought this reconstruction project to a beautiful finish as seen by these posted pictures.
Besides housing a seminary and the Cuatro Community School where the NFFCH elementary kids attend school, the JCCV also is a church—Jesus Christ Church of the Valley—where many new families are now attending… men, women, and children.
While the NBA touts “It’s Amazing” in its promo commercials, the real “amazing” is what’s happening now at the JCCV as lives are being changed as people are studying God's word and knowing Him in a personal way. To God be the glory
great things He has done!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
But the main event is the FIREWORKS! For weeks leading up to the day, malls and street vendors can be seen selling all different kinds of fireworks and firecrackers to the masses. Even this past week leading up to New Years Eve, fireworks can be heard on the street all throughout the day! (And we can be seen jumping in our seats when we hear the loud POP). But on the actual night of New Years Eve, as soon as it gets dark, the show begins! Sitting atop a local hill provides access to firework shows all around the city! And the closer it gets to midnight, the crazier and more frequent the fireworks get.
At the strike of 12:00 midnight, the noise becomes defeaning: churchbells ring, firecrackers rule the sky, kids gape in awe as they see the different firecrackers, blooming in the sky. The banging and booming rises to a climax which includes clanging of old pots and pans, blowing jeep, car or tricyle horns, and ambulances sound their sirens for one full minute as they countdown to the New Year.
To put it mildly, New Years Eve in Manila is like the 4th of July in America... on steroids!! Two years ago I was here in Manila over New Years and enjoyed the experience very much! It's a fun holiday and an amazing sight to see.
Wherever you are, and however you plan on ringing in the New Year, be safe and have fun, and start planning on spending your next New Years in Manila. We guarantee you will have a BLAST!
Before we got home, we were already planning our next visit.
So 2 weeks later we jumped on a plane and came back dragging my little brother and Dad along for the ride. The second time here we spent most of our time in the Nursery with all the little ones. We fell in love with them straight away. We ended up staying in the nursery each night. During the day we went out and visited some of our little buddies we had made during our previous visit. Jenny was one of them, I took my family down to visit her and while we were at her place we met her neighbor. A single alcoholic mother with a 4 & 5yr old boy and girl and a 6 month old baby named James. James was very malnourished he would lay in a hammock all day, not making eye contact, not making a sound. Not even urinating. He was a vegetable. His Mum picked him up and handed him to Mum and told us to take him. That he was better off with us. But as you know you can’t just take a baby. So we gave him back and went home.
We bought food, clothes, nappies, formula, soap, toys & many more things and took them up to the family. But they were all so dirty and had so many infected bites that we took them back to the guest house and bathed them, dressed them, fed them and treated their wounds. We did this everyday.
By the end of a week we could already see improvements in James, he was smiling, looking around and getting bigger. By the end of our visit he was laughing, lifting his head, and had a fat belly. We left enough formula to last him the rest of the year, but the Mother very well could have sold it to buy alcohol.
We also met many other families, one with a 16 year old blind girl Joanne, a 2 year old boy with TB, deaf, mute and crippled, and another girl with with fluid on her brain.
We left knowing we would be back for Christmas. Boy that was a long 3 months.
So now we’re back, our third trip in 6 months. This time we headed up to Malaybalay children’s home for a week before coming back to Manila. Whilst in Malaybalay we helped with a big christmas party for needy families. Over 600 people came. Overall it was a very good day. We got to meet lots of people and spend time in fellowship with them.
A couple days into our visit in Malaybalay we got two new additions to the home a little boy John Carlo (1) and a little girl Mary-Grace (2). They came in very late at night and poor Mary-Grace couldn’t get to sleep. She was tired and im sure very scared. So i sat with her for an hour or so until about midnight. Went to bed and got up 5 hours later to be there when she woke up. She and i got very attached. She is such a sweet girl who is lots of fun to be around even if she wouldn’t let me put her down without her screaming. I did not want to leave her.
Right now we’re in Manila. We were here for Christmas and helped with a community christmas gift giving and also spending time with the Children’s home kids. Were also involved with going to feeding programs where we take 2 big containers full of a rice and meat substitute where we feed over 100 people.
I just love it here. Everyone is friendly and the kids are gorgeous. I don’t want to go home. Im trying to figure out ways to stay. No matter what i will be back. There is no way to keep this aussie away.
That’s the beauty of KIM and serving alongside it’s mission- you don’t have time to get selfish. There are ample opportunities to give of yourself, to dig in and sacrifice your time, energy, and money.
This being our third trip to the PI, we were able to solidify friendships, learn more, and really get to know the kids at the Children’s Home. We had the opportunity to smile with them as they opened many Christmas presents from friends around the world. We also got to see them learning how to bless others as they gave away one of their gifts to the kids living in utter poverty right outside the gate- most of the time, being cheerful, sacrificial givers.
We also got to meet a family of 11 kids who live off of $20 a week, sleep on concrete floors, and barely get enough food to eat, yet smile their dirty little smiles just because we showed them attention. We saw children and adults lining up for Christmas presents, listening eagerly to the Christmas story, and going away happy that they would have food to eat that night.
The best thing we saw, though, was Jesus’ love being poured out of overflowing hearts. People from all over giving their time and energy to bless these Filipino people. It’s awesome, and it’s how we should be living all of the time, not just at Christmas. It’s hard to leave this place, and we will anticipate our return next Christmas. Until then, Lord, help us be thankful for the many blessings you’ve given us and help us strive to be a blessing to others.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Our long term volunteers hail from Canada and the United States (North Carolina, Colorado, Kansas, and California). Our short term volunteers come from all over the world! Just during the nine months that I have been here, I have met people from Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, India, Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada, Guam, England, Switzerland, Cambodia, Malaysia, Japan, Finland, and probably a lot more countries that I am forgetting!
In fact, on Christmas morning we were talking about Christmas cultural traditions when we realized that we had SEVEN cultures represented by all the people there.... people who had willingly traded in their familiar traditions and family Christmas to instead share Christmas with the New Faith Family Children.
We could not do what we do without YOU
A bold and honest statement! Everything that happens here at K.I.M is possible because of people who come from all over the world to be a part of this ministry... because of people who take the time to collect donations and send them halfway across the world... because of people who are focused on sharing their wealth and joy with others instead of keeping it all for themselves...because of people who every month send money to provide for the needs of our kids/staff/volunteers...
2009 was a blessed year for the K.I.M. family. Thank you for your generous and compassionate hearts for the Filipino people. We are so thankful to all our volunteers all around the world!
In the Manila area or outside the children’s home there are hundreds of families, that are living off less than a few dollars a day. There are thousands in evacuation centers that don’t have running water and living in filth. Showers are taken on the street out of a bin, if there is water. Children are caring for children if there are no parents or adults.
If things such as water, food, and families for orphans are not indispensable but are needed then why are not all these and other needs being filled? I see families and children begging for money while I know that back in the United States people are driving $70,000 escalades. Ruby Payne in her book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty, says that wealth and poverty are relative. I see that everything is relative unless it can be compared with something that is greater or less. Is that escalade a necessity even if there is greater poverty that trumps it?
In a previous blog, it was mentioned how here at K.I.M. we are moving as the body of Christ and that we are Christ to others. I believe this to be evident by watching the efforts done by many to help or care for families and orphans. I see teams and staff loving on the children in the community and in the children’s home. I see rice given to families on Christmas. I see also that everyday there still is more to be done here. There is more and more love to be given. This disparity is real but it is hard to understand when poverty has only been in a picture.
My eyes have been opened while being here in Manila to how much work does need to be done by God with our hands and feet. Psalm 54:4 says, “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” I encourage those that are reading this blog to look around. What do you consider a necessity? What wealth of yours is dispensable to those who need it more?
I grew up in a family of four. Dad, mom, sister (Sarah), and me (Christie). We also have a pretty small extended family, most of which lived far away when we were growing up. So on holidays it was usually only five of us, since Grandma would never miss spending a holiday with us! And every now and then some of the other grandparents would make it; but I never remember a holiday with more than seven of us.
So this year was definitely a new experience for me, spending my Christmas with 33 kids and over twenty volunteers!! Excited kids on Christmas morning takes on a whole new meaning when you're dealing with that many kids! We almost had to hire a guard just to keep the kids from ripping into their gifts before it was time!!
With a little help (from two locked doors), we managed to keep the kids away from the tree until nine in the morning. Around that time Uncle Jeff and the Long family, along with a bunch of out-of-town volunteers headed up to the children's home and we all piled into the Christmas tree/present room!
We sang Christmas carols, shared holiday tradition stories, and remembered the birth of Jesus together as one big family! We prayed and thanked God for all the many gifts donated and then began passing the out to the kids, with a few of our men volunteers jumping into the "Santa" roll.
On behalf of Kids International Ministries and all the kids, thank you to everyone who donated clothes, toys, candies, games, stuffed animals, and many other Christmas gifts. It is a blessing for these kids to have gifts to open on Christmas morning! We hope that your Christmas was as blessed as ours!
Monday, December 28, 2009
So for Christmas this year we decided to welcome those in the community to the Yun Jun Ministry Center where we had some Christmas gifts prepared and bagged to be handed out (thanks to many donations sent our way over the Christmas season!).
We started the event off by bringing the two hundred or so people into the gates of the YMC and taking a few moments to share the real meaning of Christmas and to pray to God to speak to these people and to thank Him for his many blessings!
After Pastor Nick finished sharing the message, we had them line up and everyone was given a Christmas gift! Clothes, candies, stuffed animals, toys, shoes, rice, etc. were handed out.
"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." Deuteronomy 15:11
Meet Anthony. Anthony is one of our fifth grade students at Cuatro Christian School. Anthony is a great kid. I can honestly say I've never had any problems with him in class. He is completely obedient, a hard worker, loves to laugh and have fun, a little bit shy, and is always kind to all the other kids.
His mother works at the school/church cleaning and cooking, so even when school is out, you can often find Anthony hanging around the building. I also see him walking/wandering around the street a lot.
A few months ago I saw Anthony wearing his school shoes on the weekend (a dressier black pair of shoes). I asked him where his tschinelas (flip flops) were. Shaking his hand (wala) to signal that he didn't have any, he smiled and moved on. The next day I brought him to the chilren's home storage unit and found him a pair of bright green tschinelas that fit just right.
Anthony's dad isn't in the picture (typical for many Filipinos), his mother works hard to feed and support the family, while living in a squatters home in the community.
Maybe it's due in part to his sober demeanor, but I always get a little sad for Anthony. I'm sad that he has no dad around, especially in his teenage years. I'm sad that he doesn't get to go home and play in his backyard with his friends. I'm sad that odds are he doesn't have any running water at his home, sleeps on a mat on the floor, and his toilet is a hole in the ground.
But Anthony's situation isn't an isolated one. The Metro Manila area is packed full of 3 million squatters. People whose lives closely resemble that of Anthony's... struggling just to get by.
Right outside our door, 5,000 squatters live in the area that we call home: Cuatro Community. We may not be able to feed/help all 5,000 at once. But a tschinela here, a meal there, some clothes thrown in, vitamins distributed daily, a smile and wave to the half naked little boy sitting on the curb... and we can be Jesus to all those who God places in our path each and every day.
Pastor Ray started the day off by blessing us with a short message on the meaning of Christmas. Afterwards, the different grades took turns performing skits, songs, and dances for all those in attendance! From preschool all the way up to fifth grade, our students shared the joy of Christmas and the love of a Savior with their families and the Cuatro Community--the teachers even sang a Christmas carol a cappella!
And what Christmas program would be complete without food?!? To wrap up the morning program, pancit, spaghetti, rice, and juice boxes were handed out to all in attendance!
A Very Merry Christmas indeed!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Days passed by. Then one day I went to the class 2 room and saw these cards. I felt awful inside and I must admit that I was very uncomfortable knowing that dealing with an issue like this would take much time and might lead to uncontrollable emotional expressions coming from specific students. I must say that dealing with whatever kind of issues is never easy for a young teacher who just started teaching 7 months ago. For the past months, I encountered issues that made me realize how hard it is to deal with them. I am, in a way, aware of the possible outcomes of dealing with issues like shouting, crying, and other stuffs alike. But I know that issues should never left unsettled especially that the goal of our school is to make sure that the children would know Christ more in their daily lives.
To be honest, I had no idea what to do (like I always do). I was very silent. I took a chair and sat at the front as I try to earnestly seek God. I don’t want to miss this opportunity to minister to these children. Back in my school, our teacher in counseling always reminded us that we can rely on God in moments like these – that we can seek Him and He will meet us right where we ought to be. I know that the Lord would help me like what He has been doing for the past 7 months of my teaching. I sat there, very silent, and talked less about the agreement that we had. I sat there wondering what might happen, waiting for what the Lord has to do.
Then a student came up to me, gave me a handful of these cards. I slowly took the box of trash and tore them one by one. As I did that, I feel awful inside knowing that these things are important for them. But I would never be prepared for what happened next. Another student came up to me and out from his pocket came a great amount of text cards. All the more my heart cried as I held in my hands more. I took time tearing everything. I thought it was over. I was still not finished with the second batch of playing cards when another student came up and gave every card he has. I was so shocked to see so much. And I felt worse inside. I was holding my tears as I try to think how hard it is for them to do this.
But the Lord even more surprised me that day, my students came up to me and helped me tear the texts cards, their text cards and it was really funny because they started laughing (like what they love to do). As I try to look at them, I realized how powerful God is in the lives of these students. Once again, I found myself in a position wherein I was the one being ministered with instead of me ministering to them. That day, the Lord made me realize the reality of laying down what’s important for His glory.
I am privileged to be there at that point and see them respond in a very positive way. Up until now, that event still brings tears in my eyes and joy in my heart.
I am not sure if they would stop playing and collecting playing cards, what I am sure of is the reality of God working in their lives progressively. They might not be that perfectly consistent in their daily application of God’s truth, but I have faith that our God is alive and He has amazing ways to show His glory to us and also to these young hearts.
That day marked as an important event in my life as a teacher. The Lord reminded me that life is beautiful and life is worth living for His glory. He reminded me that He is amazing; thus, He can make amazing things happen. He showed me the impossible in so many ways. He taught me all the more about life. I went to this school to be an instrument by God, but most of the time, I found myself being ministered more by these children. Indeed, everything in life when lived for Him will never be predictable and boring – To God be the Glory!
Teacher Kim Aranas