Monday, August 21, 2006

Camp Rizal Re-Creation

ABP Summer Camp w/ Chestnut Mountain Pres. & Christ Community Pres.

Every year Chestnut Mtn. Presbyterian Church brings a team from Georgia to sponsor a week long camp for all the ABP kids at Rizal Re-Creation Center. This year Christ Community Pres. joined them in sponsoring the camp. The kids were sooo excited about the team returning. Since the Chestnut Mtn. team members come every year they have really formed deep relationships with the kids. About January the kids began asking about camp and when the team would arrive. So when it was finally time, the kids were ready to go! The team is always very organized, and ran the camp on their own so that the ABP staff could have a week long vacation. This year the two churches decided to team up and work together. We all watched with bated breath hoping the two teams could work well and effectively together. They worked together beautifully, it was a match made in heaven. They decided from now on they would both run the camp every summer. It was a blessing to see strangers, yet believers come together and work together for one purpose, the furthering of the Kingdom.
Every day began with exercise very very early in the morning!

After exercise the days were off and going. They were packed full with morning devotion, 2 Bible story times, followed by arts & crafts, sports, relays, swim time, and then preaching at night. The kids started out strong each morning and then were exhausted by the end of the day. They gave everything 110% percent, and played as hard and as fast as they could. Mom and I were able to teach Bible lessons, play, assist the team, and lived in the cabins with the girls. There were many opportunities to love the girls, and shine the light of God's grace on them.
The week was so much fun! The kids' favorite time was swimming, of course! They rarely have time to swim through out the year, so they love to take advantage of the freezing, natural spring fed pool. There is a slide that they waited in line 10 minutes for, and after waiting they slid down over and over and over again! The little ones slid down with a team member, and the older ones went down with their best friends. They loved the slide... before the words swim time could get out of our mouths; the kids had already changed into their bathing suits and were running across camp to be the first one in the pool! Every night Pastor Christopher Sablay preached a wonderful sermon for the kids, in Tagalog.
The ABP staff was given a week vacation, therefore church members assisted with the kids the whole week. This was a great venture to allow the supporting churches to be more involved with the kids, camp fun, and their lives. The church members were a great help, teaching lessons, translating, caring for, encouraging, and loving the kids and the team.
As the week went on the Chestnut Mtn. team picked right up where their relationships left off. Although they were sad and disappointed that some of the same kids were not still in the homes, and able to join. Some had been reconciled back to their families, and others had to be let go. Christ Community Pres. quickly fell in love with the kids, and the kids with them. Relationships were formed, hearts were bound together, love was shared, and memories were made.

As the last day came to a close hearts were heavy. The kids and teams were preparing to go their separate ways. As I scanned the pavilion I saw Robin, 13 yr. old boy from ABP2, and Megan, from Chestnut Mtn. They have been best friends for 3 years. They were hugging and weeping together, because after camp Robin was going to be reconciled back to his family. So Megan did not know if and when she would ever see him again. They both cried, and told each other how much they loved and meant to one other. It was a beautiful picture of what the camp and this ministry is all about. These teams come not only to provide fun for the kids; They invest their time, money, energy, love, and lives into these kids. They share with them the best and most wonderful gift they have, the Love of God. It's a bond that will last forever, and will never be broken. Through these churches, their willingness to serve, and their gift of this camp there were many kids who were impacted for life. Although they will be separated by distance for now, they will be reunited in heaven one day. Teams may come and go, kids may leave our homes and go back to their families, but God and His love will remain. The work that He does through teams, camps, and His ministry here will last forever. Relationships were bound, seeds were planted, hearts were won, and the Kingdom goes on.... Posted by Picasa

Camp Rizal Re-Creation Pics

Volleyball & Fun in the Sun
Arts & Crafts
Daily Bible Stories & Lessons
Skits & Bible Story Truths
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More Camp Rizal Pics

Cultural Dances
Talent Night
Native Dresses
Swimming every day!!!
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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Camp Rock, Mindoro Island

The Kirk of the Hills team trip here had been bathed in prayer. They come every other year and sponsor a 3 day camp on the beach for all of the ABP kids. The 2 previous years they have had to run, or should I say try and outrun a typhoon on their way back home from the beach. The day after they arrived a typhoon was beginning to make its path across the Philippine Islands. Their hearts were broken, although we continued to pray that it would pass before the Thursday that we were supposed to leave. As Wednesday night approached directors, leaders, and house parents discussed, and the desicion was made to wait one more day. The wind was howling inland, and the rain was pouring in sheets non-stop. With the lives of 75 kids, 20+ staff, and missionaries at stake, we all decided to be patient and continue in prayer.

As we awoke on Thursday it proved to be a great desicion, the rain was still pouring, wind still howling, and the seas must have been rough. So we continued praying.... We awoke on Friday morning one day late and raring to go. The rain had subsided, the wind was calm, and the port authorities gave an all clear. The kids were ecstatic, the staff was relieved, and the missionaries were praising God! We took off early on Friday morning headed toward the port of Batangas. We were trusting the Lord for the waters to be calm for a safe crossing over to Mindoro Island. God was good! The waters were as smooth as they could be after a typhoon had just come ripping through. The boat ride over was enjoyable, all 100+ campers were excited! We arrived in Puerto Galera and squished, crammed, and loaded onto 3 jeepneys.

A quick 20 minute ride and we were finally at Camp Rock! The kids flooded out to make their way down to the ocean shore. As the adults slowly followed down the hill, we saw them all standing in awe at the 6 foot high waves that were crashing on the shore. The seas might have been calm on the way over, but the aftermath of the typhoon was seen in the enormous waves that boomed on the shore! The kids with mouths gaped open watched in amazement, but not for too long. They quickly were changed into swim suits & trunks, and were easing their way close to the water. After all they did not just go to the beach to 'watch' the waves dance on the shore. They eased their way out into the foam, and then inched closer and closer to the huge breakers. Their faces showed intimidation, and ours showed absolute fear! We knew if the waves were that strong on top; the under current must be unreal! We all switched to life guard mode, and watched with careful eyes. As the waves broke I would count the farthest heads that went under. If the same number popped back up we were good, if not, we were going swimming! A few had to be rescued, most too tired to make it back to shore, but Praise the Lord we came away from camp with all kids, none lost to the sea! One girl did sustain a nice size gash on her head from a wave that broke over her, sending her crashing to the bottom, which was full of rocks washed up from the typhoon. Praise the Lord Cheryl, our resident nurse, who was there to administer 4 staples, and tender love and care.
The camp was wonderful... Each day there were tons of fun in the sun, games, crafts, more fun in the sun, and always a Bible story at night. Those three days the kids studied the life of Joseph, and enjoyed the lessons, applications, and the last night created & directed their own skits of the story. The staff was even able to enjoy American day. The American team was in charge of all the kids, while the Filipino staff went around the mountain to a local beach. They seemed to truly enjoy their day of fun, play, and relaxation for themselves.
Once again God provided, in His time, a wonderful trip to Camp Rock. Praise the Lord for the Kirk of the Hills team that continually finds the value of investing time and love into the lives of these kids! They are remembered by all, as each year has proved to be a memorable one! Praise God for His safe keeping, protection, love and care for us all! He is good ALL the time!
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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wedding pics of US!!

All dressed up and somewhere to go...
Most beautiful Ninang (god mother)
Whitest bridesmaid :o)
Movie Stars!!!!
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Extra Wedding Pics

Josephine being escorted by her sponsor father
giving the beautiful bride away
The soon to be married couple
The two best looking Ninangs (god parents) in th wedding party
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Wedding Event of the Season!

Rev. and Mrs. Christopher SablayChristopher and Josephine Sablay
July 22 started out beautifully. It was warm, but without the usual scorching heat! We arrived in San Pedro around 2pm; The wedding was to begin at 4pm. Josephine and Chris'Topher' were in their separate rooms anxiously preparing for the biggest day they had long waited for. They wanted to marry in 2004, but Josephine's sponsor father, who lives in Canada, was not able to visit the Philippines until '06. The couple dated for 4 years and patiently waited for 2 of those to wed. Their day was finally here. The Villa Leonilla Resort was decorated, the cake wa set, the flowers were beautiful, and the chairs & tables were set perfectly; everything was ready for their perfect outdoor garden wedding...
The Villa
As the time drew closer and closer Josephine got more and more nervous. Her sponsor father would tease and pick on her in an effort to make her laugh & help lighten the mood. All of the bridesmaids were encouraging her and doting over her. She had her make up finished, her gown on, and her hair all fixed up. She had on her stunning diamond necklace and earrings, her white lacy gloves, and her beautiful veil. She looked gorgeous; a stunning bride! She was finally ready to go marry her prince!The wedding party
As we all waited for the hour of 4 to come, we wondered where the maid of honor was. I texted Leni to ask her where she was... 'she was on the way!' At 3:30 Josephine and the rest of us were getting a little nervous about her arrival. At 3:50 all of the bridesmaids were rushed down stairs to line up at the back of the Villa. The prinicipal sponsors were all announced as they slowly made their way down the aisle. About 2 minutes before we walked down the aisle Leni arrived. We were all very excited to see her, and Josephine breathed a huge sigh of relief. As I thought, "welcome to the Philippines; Only here would the maid of honor arrive 2 minutes before the wedding began!"
Topher singing to Josephine as she walked the aisle
Finally Josephine was brought out of her upstairs room and escorted down the aisle by her sponsor father. She cried the whole way there as Topher sang a love song to her in Tagalog. I was amazed, as Topher faught back the tears, his voice cracked only a couple of times. As we were sitting during the opening of the ceremony we noticed dark storm clouds approaching in the distance. We all continued to pray! After about 10 minutes into the service it started to rain. Praise the Lord backup provisions had been made in case it rained. It is the rainy season after all!
So we all moved inside under a pavillion and the ceremony went on. Vows were exchanged, charges were given, the sermon was preached, the veil & cord were placed, songs were sung, and the knot was tied!!! The newly married couple turned to face the crowd with gleaming smiles that reached from ear to ear! The proceeded to the front of the reception area to take their seats of honor. From there they gave touching remarks, thanks, and toasts to all their sponsors and friends. After all of the stresses of the service were over, we all sat down to a nice meal. After the meal the couple mixed, mingled, hugged, took pictures, and had enough fun to last them through the whole year! We are so thankful for Topher & Josephine and their new lives together. Praise God for the blessings He has poured out on their lives. Most importantly praise God for His love that is so evident in their hearts. Please continue with us to lift them up in prayer as they begin their lives together, loving and serving the Lord their God!

Pray 4 Healing

We covet your prayers for 2 of our ABP1 girls!

Jing Jing Macandog
The first week after we arrived in the Philippines, Lindsey was asked to sit in the hospital with Jing2. She was at that time diagnosed with diabetes at 10 years old. For the last year the staff of ABP1 has worked with her, and tried their best to keep her blood sugar at a normal level. She has had to change her diet and she regularly has to give herself insulin shots. It is extremely hard for her; The girls eat rice at every meal, sweets, and are treated by visiting missionaries. Jing2 struggles being a young girl, now 11, and not being able to live normally like the other 24 girls in the home.

Recently Jing Jing became sick and her blood sugar sky rocketed to over 400. She passed out one morning, and was immediately taken to the nearest hospital. There she was found to have a bacterial infection, which threw her body out of sorts and made her sugar shoot up. With her diabetes, any other illness affects her differently then it would a normal person. Therefore she was on an antibiotic and insulin for several days in the hospital. Her blood sugar was brought back down to a reasonable number, and she was observed for several days. After this scare we learned from several girls that Jing Jing was sneaking snacks out of the kitchen at night while everyone else was sleeping. The refridgerator has now been moved into the office, where it is not easily accessible. :o) It must be extremely hard for her being a child with diabetes. We covet your prayers for complete recovery, stabalized blood sugar, discipline for her, and education for the staff about the disease. They are now cooking her meals separate, and caring for her the best they can. They are actually praying for a family to adopt her that will be able to adequately care for her needs.

Girlie Brown
Girlie was recently extremely sick with high fever, cough, conjestion, vommiting, and loss of weight. She was examined by doctors, and found to have TB or Tburculosis. She has had her cough ever since she was found on the streets. Therefore she has probably had the TB for a while now. She is now on medicine to cure her of it, but is still a sick little girl. Last week they had a birthday party for several of the girls in the home. After Girlie had been sick for a couple weeks she wanted to EAT!!! Well eat she did; she ate so much that it all came right back up. Please pray for Girlie that God will completely heal her of the TB, and that she will be back to her sweet little self. Thank your for lifting these two up with us, to our Heavenly Father who loves them so much more then we ever could!

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

10 Person Wedding!

5 marriage couples with sponsors
MTW church plants growing in numbers! This summer Holiness in Jesus Chritian Church in San Pedro, Laguna held a mass wedding. The church has held an ongoing outreach and feeding program that reaches a nearby squatter village. Every saturday afternoon Asst. Pastor Christopher Sablay and members hold a feeding program for the children of the Camichile village. Over 100 chilren regularly attend, while their mothers are taught through a Bible study. The children gather, listen, sing, hear God's word, and then are fed. The families of this squatter village are extrememly poor.
special musical number by CMPC girls
One day 10 couples from this village approached the pastor with a desire to be married legally, the way God desires. The couples were so poor that they could not even afford the fee to be wed at the Judicial Courthouse. In an effort to show the love of God and encourage families to live by God's law the church began to make preparations for a mass wedding.

yoking together w/ veil & cord tradition
Veils, cords, a few small roses, and tiny decorations were bought. Food was prepared and members, missionaries, and the community was invited. The couples arrived in their best wedding attire: some with beautful gowns, some with borrowed dresses that were too small, and some with nothing but a nice white shirt and skirt. Church memebers, missionaries, and even short term teams were involved in the ceremony. The couples proceeded down the aisle; some with heads held high, some hung in shame. These couples came from differing backgrounds. Several had been living together for a long time and felt the conviction of the Lord to be married. Some have families, children, and lives already begun together. All were brought into the covenant of marriage under God that day.

in sickness & in health...
It was a day of celebration and answered prayers. God's church is truly growing by His grace. God is moving in the hearts of men, women, and families. These churches are reaching out in faith serving God. What a blessing to the host church; The fruits of their labor for the kingdom of God is becoming evident.
God is good!
He will draw people from every nation, tribe, and tongue unto Himself!
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Sewing Seeds by Word & Deed

Sewing Livelihood...
Sto. Thomas livelihood project
Recently an anonymous donor blessed MTW Philippines with 30 new Singer sewing machines. The team prayed for a long time for God to provide an opportunity to use the sewing machines for His glory. He has answered prayers! Recently the MTW's pastor's wives have begun a new livelihood project. The churches are using the sewing machines as an outreach to the members and into the surrounding communities. God is answering prayer and spreading His kingdom here through the gift of sewing machines.

30 New Singer sewing machines
The MTW pastor's wives have taken initiative, and started sewing livelihood projects. Holiness in Jesus, in San Pedro sews rags (pot holder type), table runners, placemats, purses, etc.. In particular they will manufacture the rags in bulk and supply companies with the product. Another church in Sto. Thomas sews clothes, purses, uniforms, etc... They are in the process of entering their garments into a local department store. Many other churches are benefiting from this wonderful gift. Not only are they able to provide income for struggling members, but this livelihood is drawing in the community! A few churches have Mormons, Catholics, Iglesia Ni Cristo, and unbelievers working in their outreaches. In return for the service the workers are asked to attend the local MTW church service every week. This has produced amazing fruit! This gracious gift of 30 sewing machines is providing income, creating community, and spreading the gospel through church affiliation.
God is good! He provides for all of our needs and more! We could have never imagined a more effective way of reaching the community for Christ, while providing livelihood for Filipinos.
This is the TRUE essence of Word and Deed ministry!
Praise God!
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Summer Fun

Interns, Interns, Interns... Jenni Johnson
This summer we had the priviledge of facilitating the work of interns in the Philippines. They come for a time period of 2 weeks to 11 months. Most of our interns come for the summer months, which are our busiest. We were able to put them right to work. Jenni worked mainly with the girls at ABP1. She is studying Psychology, and was able to come in coop form with her school. She was a great help to the Myrtle, the social worker at ABP1, as she taught her invaluable counseling material. She was able to offer wonderful wisdom about conseling young abused girls. She also taught the girls sewing, cooking, and art, along with loving and caring for them. She made a huge impact, as the girls frequently ask about Ate Jenni...

Noah Stephens
Noah came for 2 months and was an amazing help in our Church planting minstry. He lived with Pastor Christopher at Holiness in Jesus, in San Pedro. He was busy all summer, doing Bible studies, youth discipleship, member visitation, tutoring & devotions with ABP2 boys, and street outreaches. He had such a servant's heart, willing to work where ever he was needed. We are praying for him as he seeks God's will for his life involving long term missions...

Michele Yu
Michele was our latest intern. She is a 7th grade teacher in CA with a huge heart for missions. She came ready to work wherever we needed her. She worked in ABP1, as well as served in many different aspects of ministry here. She played a vital role at ABP1! While she was there the girls home ran into trial after trial. Hospital stays with Jing Jing who has diabetes, late nights with Girlie who has TB, and caring for the staff who are very exhausted. She was able to help with preparations for school, buying shoes, books, clothes, and supplies. She was able to go on home visits with the social worker to see more clearly the lives that the girls come from. She was a great encouragement to our family, as she loved & served us in ways we could not imagine!
One intern is not mentioned. Ronnie is here working with us still. He is a Filipino who lives in NJ but has extended family here. He was gracious to want to volunteer in our Tutorial Learning Center. He has used his wonderful knowledge of English & Tagalog to teach the boys english lessons while investing in their lives with devotions, tutoring, time and love.
They have all been a blessing to us, and and we are so thankful for God leading them here to work. It was amazing to see God draw specific people to give of their summer, talents, love for kids & church planting, and love for God as they served here to advance God's kingdom.
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