Recently I was encouraged by my team leader Pastor John to be a counselor at a 3-day camp for out-of-school youth. This was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the situation of many street youth in Metro Manila. The camp was run by an NGO called Action International - a partner organization of International Teams. The focus of the camp was on teaching the values of Christ and caring for the community through teaching sports. We taught basketball and volleyball while simultaneously teaching teamwork, trust, and strength amidst adversity. The camp was also an opportunity for us to connect those youth to our free programs that offer tutoring to out-of-school youth for them to pass their high school equivalency exam. Each morning we woke up early to encourage the youth through a devotion and a time of prayer, then myself and an American missionary named Matt (who I met a few years ago at language school) led the youth in some morning exercises. In just three days, we made lasting bonds with many of the youth, and I was even able to meet with six of the youth from my cabin for dinner last saturday. Please pray for the street youth who attended this camp - that they will be able to complete their high school education and find fulfilling and sustainable work to provide for their families. Despite their struggles, many of them gave witness to the faithfulness and goodness of God in bringing them to camp and opening doors for new opportunities.
|Shoes, sandals, or barefoot - everyone took part in the basketball training|
and tournament. Basketball is the most popular sport in the Philippines.
|Applying the teachings of Christ to the principles|
of basketball through small group discussions.
|Prayer and worship.|
|Every camper received a free medical check-up from a licensed doctor.|
|The energetic class of 2012-2013 at Simula Learning Center.|
|Ate Cecile (right) and Ate Lorna (back) generously volunteer|
their time to teach and look after our daycare students.
|These bonds amongst friends are tight...literally.|
I've already told many stories about Tin Tin Ramos and Toph Purificacion. They are the head teacher and administor (in that order) of our first daycare called Educare. Each time I volunteer at Educare on Wednesdays I'm excited not only to witness the development of those students, but also to see my godchildren! Most of the students in Educare are godchildren of either Toph, Tin, or myself. We feel very blessed not only to support the education of these kids, but also to be considered by their families as truly part of the community. Last Sunday we had another child dedication service at Jesus King of Kings Community Church and I was honoured to be named a Godfather to a handsome young boy named Dwane. We are amazed how much our church has grown in the last couple years as many new families are now attending. I think a big reason for this growth is because of the practical programs we're offering for the community and the personal relationships our workers have developed with the families in the streets.
|Rhianne and Shane-Shane playing with educational toys|
|Ate Tin Tin leads the way at Educare, and we're blessed to|
have helpers from the community like Kuya Ryan (back).
|Dropping the kids off, including my goddaughter Shelly.|
|Arriving home, where the mothers await the return of|
their kids while washing laundry in basins on the street.
|Jam & I at Manila Ocean Park.|
Thanks again for following along with me here in Manila! I pray that you're encouraged by what God is doing here and that you too will be motivated and blessed at your work, school, and home!
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11