Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Camechile Christmas

On December 19 a Christmas party was held at Holiness in Jesus Christian Church in San Pedro, Philippines. This church has an amazing and thriving outreach to a squatter village just near them. The squatter village is called Camechile. The outreach targets children and their mothers, in hopes to bring the Gospel of Christ into their homes. There is a continuing Bible study & feeding program that the Church invests in to do word and deed ministry. All 230+ chldren from Camechile were gathered around ready to begin the festivities for their Christmas party. The mothers were separated, sitting inside the church, listening to the sermon and watching the puppet show. The puppet show was performed by youth from a sister MTW church, Grace Covenant Church in Lipa. The kids were all gathered outside and began with singing songs to the Lord. What an amazing, joyful sound it was to hear 230+ children singing praise songs to our God! After singing there were fun and games to entertain them. They began with a water balloon toss, then balloon pop, and followed by a creative Filipino game. The kids were singing, laughing, and enjoying every moment. After the games, the children were settled into listening to the Bible lesson. Lindsey taught the kids as Pastor Christopher Sablay translated it into Tagalog. The kids learned about the true meaning of Christmas, which is found in John 1:9-12. The kids were suprisingly attentive, they listened, and even answered questions... yet all the while waiting patiently to receive their Christmas gifts. After the lesson was finished they filed into the Church sanctuary one by one, where they then enjoyed the puppet show that had been performed earlier for their mothers. They enjoyed the wonderful performance, which captured their attention and held it off of the gifts that were being prepared. :o)
After the performance the children were waiting with baited breath. Each child's name was called, and they came to the front one by one to receive their gifts. MTW Philippines had graciously put together small gift bags for each child. Just enough to make each child feel important, loved, and cared about. The gift bags included: peanuts, raisins, candy, a banana, marbles, crayons, a color sheet, also a little truck or watch game. As each little one received their gifts their faces were aglow with excitement and joy! As we walked outside with them we found them all ripping into their gift bags and digging out all the food. Our hearts went from sheer joy to broken sadness as we watched each child desperately and quickly eat all their food from their bags. It was if they hadn't eaten in so long, and were not assured of their next meal. Once again we were reminded of the reason we are here, to preach Jesus, the Bread of Life, to the hungry in Spirit, and to feed those who are physically hungry.

God's grace continues to sustain them as well as our hearts, as we continue to reach out to them with the love of the Lord. The Camechile outreach continues every Thursday and Saturday. The children and mothers feast, as the Word is taught and their hunger pains eased. Our prayer for their daily lives is that the pull of the world, Santa Claus, hunger pains, sickness, and death will not drown out the true reason and purpose for life, which is only to enjoy God and glorify Him forever. That is why we continue to minister and press on in the work here. Please pray with us for the Camechile families. Pray that they will seek God's face and peace in their daily lives, which are anything but easy. Pray that the teaching the children and mothers receive will also penetrate into their homes, drawing fathers and families alike into the Kingdom. Pray that God's Word will not return unto Him void, and will penetrate their hearts with His love, and hope for an eternity with Him!

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