Sunday, May 2, 2010

Three DVBS's Down, One More To Go!

Dear friends, family, and framily (ie. the ones who are too hard to distinguish whether they're just friends or more like family...which probably refers to the majority of you),

April was a month full of excitement with so many DVBS camps (Daily Vacation Bible School). This is our way of reaching out to street children during the Filipino summer. On the rooftop of our building, we held a DVBS for the impoverished in our own community. I've really been looking forward to this DVBS, because we already have such tight-knit relationships with the kids. Not only do many of them attend our regular programs, such as the daycare and feeding initiatives, but these are the children I greet each day whenever I step outside onto the street.

Us crazy teachers singing and dancing on the rooftop.

The equally-crazy kids love dancing along with us.

Children from three nearby squatter communities came to enjoy a week of games, songs, crafts, stories, plays, food, and absurd amounts of fun. I'm sure even us teachers enjoyed the activities as much as the children. I could tell many stories of kids who experienced new found joy and friendships, and who really fell in love with Christ. The kids are thankful for the type of Saviour who leads people to care for them in a world that often seems to hardly notice them. We also want to thank God and give Him all the glory for guiding us and making this event such a success.

Nicole is also one of my daycare students.

Also, with regards to our community, please pray for more male role models. Most of the congregation in our church are women and children. One of our daycare kids - a 5-yr old named Princess - has a father in jail and a mother who works during the day and thus can't look after her child. Princess's mother has been worried about how she would take care of her daughter from the start. When she gave birth to Princess, she couldn't afford the hospital costs to deliver her with any aid from a doctor or nurse. Today though, she often tells our team how happy she is that we're here to help look after Princess, particularly through the daycare. Without a father figure, Princess clings tightly to myself and the other male teachers/helpers.

Princess (5 yrs old, bottom-left corner) - whose father is in jail
and mother struggles to earn an income during the day - is kept
off the streets through our Daycare and DVBS programs.

After the DVBS in Manila, we travelled to a rural area called Bataan for the next DVBS. However, instead of our team running the program, we encouraged the youth leaders of the local church to teach the kids and run the activities. Only myself and two other Filipinos from my team (Che Che and Rico) went to Bataan to help assist the DVBS - to encourage and empower the teachers as opposed to running the show. I admire the youth there for doing such a great job, and I was honoured to help!

Hiking to the Bataan DVBS site, some use umbrellas to combat the oppresive heat.

As the only foreigner there, I completely submerged myself in the community and culture. I felt blessed to meet many families who graciously opened their door to me, and I was able to really grow through new understandings of Filipino culture and language. I was even very inspired by the children there. In one of the remote tribes I visited, the elementary school only goes up to grade 4. Any child older than that has to walk for 2 hours just to get to the next closest elementary school. Many young children do this walk everyday, to school and back home again.

Notebooks, pencils, and hygiene supplies are packaged for each child in the DVBS.

DVBS teachers and students enjoy a meal together.

Zaira (nicknamed "Sy Sy") - my new best friend in Bataan,
we were truly attached at the hip ever since we met on the first day.

Thanks for reading my blog! Please keep my team in your prayers as we leave tomorrow for another rural community called Olongapo for our very last DVBS. Also, pray for the 120 children that we hope to include in our program there! Take care!


  1. Hey John - thanks so much for being so faithful to your blog! It's so great to get the day to day stories and of course the great pictures! Fun to hear that you'll be in Olongapo - my team from Wallenstein spent a couple days there - we really enjoyed the beautiful location and warm-hearted, generous people :)

  2. Hey bro, keep it coming! I think it's awesome that you are involved with work both in urban slums and remote both have equal need for hope and proactivity. When I saw some of those pics, like especially of the Kalinga tribe awhile back..those were straight outta N.G. ! Godspeed...