I hope you've enjoyed your holiday! I truly missed home this Christmas season. However, my Filipino friends made me feel like family as they included me in their many holiday celebrations and traditions. I also owe a big "thank you" to my mom, dad, sister, and brother-in-law for the Christmas gift they gave me - a vacation to another island in the Philippines called Palawan. My friend Jared and I enjoyed many adventures and some much appreciated rest on the trip. We arrived back in Metro Manila yesterday with renewed energy to serve the poor and devote ourselves to the community here and now in 2010.
One of the monkeys I met on a trek through the jungles of Palawan, Philippines.
For me, 2010 is looking to be a busy but exciting year. I've decided to focus my efforts in three main areas...
1) The first is the new day care centre which runs out of our church. For now, I'm preparing the daily curriculum for the kids and teaching the lessons along with the help of two young Filipinos (named Toph and Tin Tin). Toph is the one who envisioned and created the day care center. Our main curriculum goals include teaching basic literacy and numeracy. I'm hoping and praying that in the future, we might be able to hire a Filipino teacher and one day have the day care accredited as an actual school. In the meantime, we'll provide these children with the best care and schooling we can offer - which of course is significantly better than what they'd learn in the streets if they didn't have the day care.
2) Tuesday and Thursday nights I'll be helping with an evening ministry for squatter communities living under an overpass and in the slums of Alabang (a bus ride away from my apartment). I've discussed this ministry in earlier posts - the program includes providing a meal, a shower, and enjoying some fun and fellowship together.
3) Starting this week, Jared and I will be taking Tagalog language lessons every Monday and Friday morning in a place called Quezon City. It's a bit of a commute (we'll have to ride a combination of transportations to get there, including a train, bus, and "jeepney"). However, this school came highly recommended, and the Filipino teachers are trained specifically to equip missionaries with the necessary language and cultural knowledge for working with the communities we'll be helping.
Please pray for strength and wisdom for my team and myself as we eagerly await what God has in store for our ministries this year!