You’ve likely heard the saying, “it’s hard to hit a target when you don't know what you’re aiming at.” To clarify what we at NFFCH are aiming at, we’ve been busy setting goals and defining roles for the new year. We desire that each of our 41 children in Manila and 11 children in Mindanao grow in their knowledge of Jesus…and so are busy mapping out strategies to effectively pursue each child's success in that area. What an awesome responsibility! Please pray for our missionary and Filipino staff. Do you feel God would have you help us? Please let us know!
Short-term teams continue to converge and transform our landscape. In Manila, over the past three months we have been helping a local church get back on its feet. In turn, their building, facility and yard area have provided us community outreach opportunities we only dreamed about in the past. The combined effort of a few teams and some donations has resulted in hundreds of children previously seen playing in the streets of our community are now seen running and playing on grass, swinging from trees and enjoying the sports of basketball, volleyball, soccer and badminton. To take advantage of these facilities, all kids and adults attend a Bible study prior to each time of play. A new energy level has overtaken the place, and the pastors and lay people alike have jumped in to help. What a blessing for us to be involved in the local body! We are praying that more teams from schools, youth groups, friends, and churches will join us in 2009!
In Mindanao over 100 short-term team members from Australia and the United States have joined forces and literally allowed us to build two more of the eight living units on our donated property near Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Mindanao. The teams have welded, poured concrete, done plumbing, electrical work, and carpentry. The first unit is ready to move into. We are pushing hard to complete sections 2, 3 and 4 in the first quarter of this year. Our camp site is developing as well. We have aspirations of hosting a camp for impoverished kids with a group of Faith Academy students and staff on March 14-20! Please pray that this could happen. Also pray for Jeremy and Sarah Moody and their three young boys to finish up their support raising and join our team in Mindanao this month. In addition to building structures, roads, septic tanks, fences, etc., we also get a chance to build lives. God is so gracious to allow us to take part in these opportunities. Each day our kids in the homes go through struggles. They cry and share with their NFFCH aunts and uncles. Many times our community people come to us for jobs, advice, medicines or food. What a blessing to be in a position to find solutions. One such person recently entered our life—17-year-old Irene. Irene came to us with full-blown tuberculosis, two failing lungs, six months pregnant and a heart defect from birth. We loved on her, the doctors loved on her and in the end this brave heart gave birth to a little girl weighing less than three pounds. Praise God, the yet-to-be-named child is still alive and with God's leading will have a life ahead of her in our home. Sadly Irene lost her battle as so many of the impoverished people do. We are uncertain of Irene's eternal destination, but to honor her life we want to give her baby what Irene rarely had the chance for—knowledge of a Savior, a loving home, clean water, a safe bed to sleep in at night and more. Keep praying we will be found faithful in caring for the widows and orphans for which we have been called to help.
Josie has finished her hours of cosmetology school and is ready to return to the Philippines to launch “Josie's Cut and Curl and Coffee Shop.” We are trusting God will allow her and others through this place to give young women in our community a way to make a living and to equip them in sharing their faith in the Lord. A long-time friend will mentor Josie as well during these coming months. Josie will also be involved in our short-term mission teams. Please pray for the remaining support for Josie to come in.
Jackie is away at Faith Academy’s Outdoor Education this week. This year all the middle school students are in jungle survival training a few hours north of Manila. It's a fun time to learn how to gather water from bamboo trees and to catch and eat bats and snakes...you know, every 7th grade girl's dream! Ha! Speaking of dreams, Kyle got a new addition to his reptile collection this week. A five to six-foot python…maybe I should say nightmare?
God is good! Thanks for allowing us these opportunities.
Jeff for the family