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.


Emily Barlow said...

I am so proud of you three! What about moving on to Bolivia after your term in the Philippines? May God continue to shower you in His blessings and lead you in his love!

Emily Barlow

Momma Miller said...

Being new at "blogging" I just wanted you to know we got the messaage sent out over our PIE exchange Sunday. That message from you was needed to prod me, the computer challanged, to go to your blog site finally!! Thank you for your specific prayer requests. The narratives at your site (and Photos!!) are great. We will be praying. Love, Pam (for all the MIllers and now a grandma!)

Marian said...

I check your blog every couple of days just to see what's new. I sure do miss you all and keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I love the face painting pictures and its really something to hear about the teams that come and what they do and how God uses them in different ways. I love you. Marian :)