Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Japan & Taiwan Visit the Philippines

In the month of March we had two teams to visit us and work along side us in the ministry. The team from Japan came first, led by veteran missionary Mrs. Amy Newsome. She, Pastor Alki and wife, Michiyo, and seven youth came ready to focus on ministry. They were constantly on the go involved in ministry. They began with adapting to culture, and then they were off! They helped Pastor Gerry in Santa Rosa with construction of his new church and ABP4. The boys only (as it is not culturally proper for women to work in construction) slaved under the hot Philippine sun loading rocks into bags to make concrete. The women of the team stayed behind at the temporary church site to clean, decorate, and teach oragami. The day ended with a seminar at a local pavillion. They performed skits, gave testimonies, and taught the Word of God. They also held a seminar at Pastor Larry's church in Calamba, teaching, sharing, and encouraging the leaders of their church. They held a street outreach, making contacts and bringing awareness to the community in Sta. Rosa of the upcoming ABP4. They didn't stop there; They visited the Muntinlupa Maximum Security Prison, where they performed they shared their testimonies and witnessed to the inmates. It was their second time to minister at the prison. They worked long days in ABP2 painting the inside of the home, and then did several street outreaches with children in impoverished areas, using their skits, testimonies, and teaching to reach the children, and afterwards distributed food. Needless to say they were hard workers, willing to do whatever it took to reach the Filipino people with the truth of the Gospel. It was a first for us, as we heard the Gospel translated from Japanese into English, then from English to Tagalog :o) They were a fun team, and also very encouraging to our family. God is good to send laborers into His harvest!

Our next visiting team was from Taiwan during Holy Week. The two teams were completely different in make up and ministry. The team from Taiwan was composed of nine young Taiwanese girls and two leaders. Their focus was mainly on the ABP kids in the short time they were here. They were able to learn more about the Filipino culture from a local museum telling of Philippines history. After that they immersed themselves in the ABP homes. Most of the ABP children are dispersed among the church and missionary families over the Easter holiday. But there were several children at ABP1 and ABP3 that were left at the home. So the team was able to minister to them, and make them feel special, cared for, and loved during Holy Week, before Easter. Their first stop was at ABP3 with the young boys. They had the day planned out and scheduled to a Tee! All we had to do was point them in the right direction, help them with meals and logistics, and they were good to go. They had story times, songs of praise, crafts, activities, and many more things to fill the days. They began the day with getting to know the boys, and then moved into a time of singing and praising the Lord. They held a story time and sang songs teaching them different things in English. It was such a surprise to us that they were so fluent in English. It turns out that they were all teachers of English as a second language. So all of their activities really benefitted the kids in learning basic English skills.
They came prepared to bake cookies, dye Easter eggs, and play tons of fun games with the kids. After baking delicious choco oatmeal cookies together they all went outside to dye Easter eggs. This was a new experience for the kids, and they loved it. They took precious time to color designs on the eggs, then had so much fun dipping them in the dye. They were amazed at how the eggs turned colors. After they had finished and the eggs dried, they held a big Easter egg hunt. The kids were like little ants scurrying around to find their beautiful eggs. Then before dinner time came, they had devoured every egg that they made!
They went to ABP1, the girls' home, the next day and held the same program and activities with them. They enjoyed every minute of fun, games, and activities. The team did face painting at each home, and the kids came out looking so cute, colorful, and original. The team not only had fun and games with the kids, they also taught the Easter story to them. They came prepared with 12 plastic eggs, each containing a significant part of the story of Easter. One contained the colt that Jesus rode into town on. Another held a stone representing the stone that was rolled over Jesus' tomb.
Another contained a cotton ball representing Jesus' burial clothes. As the kids held the eggs and opened each one at the right time, the story of Jesus death and resurrection was told. Their excitement grew as they knew the story, but wanted to see what was going to be in the next egg to remind them of the story. At the end as the last child opened his/her egg...... there was nothing there. The egg was empty, because Jesus had risen again and is alive. The kids loved it, they all wanted it repeated and done again. It was such an interesting and refreshing way for the children to hear the story and truth of Easter. We are so thankful for this team of beautiful and sweet women that came to serve and care for the ABP children. The kids soaked up every minute of fun and specialized attention. They felt so loved and important, because a team had come all the way from Taiwan to visit them and spend time with them.
Please continue to pray for the ABP children as their lives are impacted and invested in by precious people who come to visit and work among them. Praise God that He takes care of and provides for the orphans and the fatherless. Pray with us that the work that these teams do will make an impact, not only in the lives of the ABP children, but also in the lives of the Filipinos. We are thankful for the commond bond of the Spirit that brings Christians from every country together to serve under one Name
. We praise God that no matter what nation, tongue, or tribe.... God's gospel and love continue to go forth here in the Philippines! Thank you for your labor, service, encouragement, and prayers! Your labor is not in vain.

The Cutest Lil' Graduates

Marlon and Bong were all smiles the day they graduated and moved up one grade. They were so excited during all the festivities, that were held at the local SM Mall in Molino. They looked just adorable in the little white caps & gowns. We could in no way coax those empty diploma folders out of their hands. They were proud of their accomplishments, and of course we were all beaming as proud representative parents!

Deborah was able to be Marlon's representing mother. As of now both his parents were not able to be involved in the ceremonies. He was very excited and happy that Ate Deborah was able to walk with him down the aisle and share in his graduation. His face lit up that he had a 'mother' there with him that was proud of him, and excited in the accomplishments that he had done!

After the ceremony cafe lunches were provided for the children. We were also able to treat them to ride on some mobile animals, and after that treated them to ice cream. They wasted no time in devouring the ice cream cones and letting the other children at ABP3 know of the treat that they got for graduating.

A week later Apol and Richard graduated from the Little Angels Learning Center. They will move on from there to attend the private Christian school that Marlon & Bong are students of. They were thrilled as well to have Ate Deborah to be involved in their graduation. She was able to be the representing 'mother' for Apol, walking with him, pinning on his ribbons, making him feel speical, and giving him the love and encouragement that a wonderful mother would. She as well as all of us were blessed by these cute little graduates and the hard work they had put into their school work. Please continue to pray for them, as MTW continues to support them through their schooling, in order to better their chances and hopes for the future. Pray not only that they will have the determination in their hearts to excel in school, but also to excel in learning about the knowledge of the Lord God our Savior. Pray that God would impress on their hearts the knowledge of the Lord and His love for them. Please continue to pray with us for these little angels...