Dear family & friends,
If there's anything I've learned about the culture here, it's that family is central to the Filipino identity. Family comes first. In the slums, the tension between trying to hold one's family together while continually failing to provide for them is enough to tear a family apart - despite the central importance of family.
My team and I are in the business of repairing broken families in these communities. Last Saturday, we held our own "Family Day" celebration in which we brought 85 clients from our outreach programs to a beautiful resort in Laguna, Philippines. This was a rare opportunity for the parents to completely relax, to enjoy the blessings of abundant food and bonding, and to attend training sessions on how to maintain a healthy family amidst their struggles.
Here's a "photo tour" of the outing so you can vicariously share in the joy these families experienced. You can follow the details of each event through the captions...
|A busload of excited kids, parents, and staff|
arrives at the resort at the break of dawn.
My first big test of the year - my teammates ask me to lead
the opening prayer completely in Tagalog. It's a delight for
the families to witness my efforts in learning their language.
|Pastor John leads a devotion with the men and opens a dialogue|
on the roles and responsibility of the father in the family.
|Gela and Princess lead a devotion and seminar for the mothers.|
|My teammates Cecile, Jizza, Gabby, & Ryan lead the children in|
a devotion and discussion on the advocacy of children's rights.
|Toph, Lorna and I engage kids ages 2-5 in storytelling and colouring activities.|
|Amongst other events, we enjoyed worship songs, prayer,|
and a talk from Pastor Joshua on the role of Christ in the family.
|We enjoyed family bonding at it's best with some teambuilding games.|
For most, it was their first opportunity to experience swimming in a pool.
|A little healthy competition through a relay activity promoting|
problem-solving, trust, and the role of each family member.
|Just enjoying being silly! After hours of play with the kids,|
I agreed that this was the most fun I'd had in ages!
|Food, food, and more delicious, healthy food.|
|...whew, all that fun and relaxation is exhausting!|