Friday, June 14, 2013

New Label, Stronger Blend, Same Brand of "Coffey" You Know and Trust

Dear friends and family,

In recent posts I hinted at adopting a greater leadership role on my team at IT Tender. Now that it's official, I can publicly share the news... I am now the Director of IT Tender. Starting today and as long as God will guide me, I will oversee all of the Tender team's programs. This includes the SLC preschool, the ALS program for out-of-school youth, the sponsorship program for elementary/secondary students, the nightlife program for abandoned and runaway street kids, and the feeding program for malnourished kids amongst our partner communities/churches. If that's not enough, by God's grace we hope to soon launch the SMART Kids program for toddlers, though we're temporary delaying the launch to cope up with the transition. Besides overseeing our programs, my role as team leader includes networking with churches/organizations, guiding and counseling my staff, fundraising and approving the dispersement of donations, seeking effective strategies/visions, connecting with our supporters, and orienting our visitors/volunteers.

My mentors and leaders pray over me as the new Director of IT Tender at the Turn-Over Ceremony (behind me from left to right: Pastor John Basiwa, Pastor Joshua Benavidez, Pastor Gani Sison, Ate Gela Basiwa)
My team and I request your prayers at this time as we adapt to the change in leadership. Please also pray for my mentor and former team leader Pastor John Basiwa. I can't exactly say that he is stepping "down" from this role, because in reality he is stepping "up". Him and his wife Ate Gela will take on an even more challenging role as directors of the new Children's Home (an orphanage for street children opening in September under our partner organization Extreme Response). Pastor John and Ate Gela will never be far from IT Tender as the Children's Home is just a 5-minute commute away. They will remain as advisors to IT Tender. We will also have a close partnership with their orphanage as the clients of IT Tender and of the Children's Home can benefit from each other's programs and facilities.

My team at IT Tender! (left to right: Ate Lorna Carro, Cecille De Jesus, Jizza Magallanes, Jamielyn Torres - "in training", me, Gabby Malquisto; missing from photo is IT UK missionary Karin Jose)
I want you to know that taking on the role of Director of IT Tender was not a quick or easy decision. Actually, Pastor John asked me to consider the role back in December of 2012. Through much prayer and discernment, I wrestled with God about this. I was open and honest with Pastor John, and I told him I believed it should really be a Filipino who holds this position. I came to the Philippines to serve Filipinos, not to lead them. However, Pastor John assured me that as much as I will always be Canadian in many ways, I have the heart of a Filipino, and that is my greatest strength as a missionary. I love Filipinos as my own brothers and sisters. He has witnessed how I devoted my time and energy to become fluent in the language, to continually grow in my understanding of the culture, and to respect and honor their traditions. Pastor John says I even joke like a Filipino now. That said, I will still always face many challenges as a Canadian leading a Filipino team. I told Pastor John that I would only accept the role on a few conditions. Firstly, we had to agree as a team at IT Tender that this is truly the best direction for us to take, and that I was the most ideal candidate. Secondly, I needed the assurance that I would still have Filipino leadership above me to guide me and even to question me when necessary if my leadership was not in line with Filipino culture and values. Thankfully, Pastor John will continue to mentor and advise me, and I will also submit directly to the leadership of the Director of IT Philippines, Pastor Gani Sison.

"Director or Dictator?" ...that's the caption I wanted to put here - as a joke of course. But the truth is we do our best to submit to God's direction at IT Tender. Here we are singing a Tagalog worship song at a recent training IT Tender held for one of our partner churches. The purpose was to teach and equip their workers to lead children's programs.
Jesus our Hope Church proudly shows the certificates from our training seminar.
I do believe that God has placed me in this new position for a special purpose. Since 2006, I have been praying that He would place me in a position where I could best serve Him and bless the street children. Be careful what you pray for my friends. I am certain that as the Director of IT Tender I now have a greater opportunity and responsibility to transform communities by God's grace and through your continued support and prayer. Working at IT Tender couldn't be a better fit for me personally, especially with it's educational focus on caring for street children. And I do believe that I bring unique gifts and assets to our team as an international missionary. Having a heart with "dual-citizenship" is not a weakness, but a strength. Now, I am more motivated and passionate than ever about empowering the poor through access to education, relevant skills training, and discipleship.

Please join me in this vision to provide an education and a better future for our Filipino brothers and sisters. 13 years ago, the vision began when Pastor John and Ate Gela started bringing bread to the streets to feed youth addicted to sniffing solvents. Today, IT Tender feeds, teachers, and trains hundreds of street children and youth in multiple communities. I know that God has greater plans for IT Tender in the future. If we continue on with perseverance and faith, I wouldn't be surprised if one day God provided a complete school for us to see street children progress from pre-school to high school and to technical trainings that would develop their talents as skilled professionals and leaders. ...I'll start writing that into our 10-year plan.

Thank you so much for all your support and encouragement!

John Coffey
Director of IT Tender
International Teams

Caring for street children ~ Isaiah 58:10


  1. Congratulations, John. When God is in this, it's the right choice. May you sense Him guiding you in this new role.

  2. (Jaw drops). Awesome man. You're going to be xtra busy now! So proud of you..

  3. What an exciting development! God wouldn't have put you there if He didn't have this step in mind all along. Blessings to you on this new phase!