Friday, February 5, 2010

Rainbow Fish, Basketballs, and a friend named Love

Hi there!

Thanks for checking in on me! I pray that you're doing well, wherever you happen to be - whether in chilly Ontario, sweltering Manila, or anywhere in the world. I also hope you're encouraged and moved by the ways in which God has blessed the ministries of my team here. Amidst all the joys and the challenges that come with serving the poor, I'm thankful simply for the opportunity to serve. And in particular, I'm thankful for you, because without your encouragement, support, and prayer, I wouldn't be here in the Philippines.

Here's another quick update of what I've been up to lately...

1) "The Sucat Community"
Visiting the squatter community in Sucat is the highlight of my week. Ironically, my energy and strength are renewed each week through the joy of 50 street children climbing all over me. One of the elders in this community went to the hospital after suffering from a stroke and from tuberculosis. I was able to visit and encourage him, and help with some of his immediate needs.

Feeding the street children in Sucat.

2) "The Nightlife Program in Alabang"
We're so thankful that we always seem to have enough food and helpers to feed the families that come to our evening program in Alabang. Despite my limited Tagalog, I'm fostering great relationships with the children and youth. I'm so proud to see some of the youth now helping clean up and wash dishes at the end of the evening. They also like to remind me that I'm their brother in Christ, and they are thankful for my friendship and my support. Despite coming from broken homes, they know that our team welcomes them as part of our own big family. On Thursday, one of our youth approached us and asked for help. Through signing and non-verbal communication (he is deaf and mute), he explained that he had fallen on his wrist when playing with friends, and the bone in his forearm was noticeably moved out of place. On his own, he has no access or financial means to get proper medical attention. However, two members of our team took him to a hospital to get treatment.

One big family.

Taking Nightlife to new heights.

3) "Daycare"
Tin Tin and I have started picking up and walking home the daycare care children ourselves each morning from their squatter community. This allows us to ensure they are safely accompanied to and from the church, to help them arrive on time, and to daily meet with their parents (many of whom are single mothers). I'm exceedingly proud of my students, and I'd love to showcase some of their recent art projects...

The students apply their knowledge and vocabulary on colours.

Instilling confidence and self-esteem through projects
that express how special and unique each student is.

4) "Sportsfest"
Basketball is the most popular sport for urban youth in the Philippines. For this reason, Pastor John decided to rent a gym, host a basketball tournament, and invite various street youth and youth groups to join in on the action. Every Thursday afternoon for the month of February, we play a few games in a round-robin tournament for the four teams we've put together. The purpose of the tournament - which Pastor John has entitled "Sportsfest" - is not for competitive rivalry, but for fellowship and comradery. After each game, we enjoy a meal with the youth, and at the end of the tournament each team will receive a trophy.

The JKKCC ("Jesus King of Kings Community Church") Knights
(aka. the youth from our small Filipino church)
The ALS ("Alternative Learning System") Slashers
(aka. street youth in Alabang who are studying
to pass their high school equivalency test)

5) Prayer request
Please pray for my friend Love ('s true, I have a friend named Love), her husband, and her new daughter Rhianna who was born yesterday. Rhianna is in very poor condition with a weak immune system and potentially with pneumonia. The doctor told us her chances of survival are 50/50. I believe God has a purpose for Rhianna's life, no matter how short or long her life is. I'm also honoured to call her my Goddaughter.

Thanks again for reading! On Wednesday I'll be leaving the city for a week and taking a 9-hour bus ride to visit a rural community called the Kalinga tribe. My mentor and friend Hart Wiens ('s true, I have a friend named Love and a friend named Hart) is coming from my church at home to visit and introduce me to the Kalinga community that he lived in for many years as a missionary. I'll be sure to update you on that adventure when I return. Take care and God bless!


  1. Dude. All the good you're doing, it's too much. God is putting some of it in my column for balance. FYI. Bronson