Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Together Bear the Burdens and Share the Joys

Dear friends and family,

Serving and working alongside the poor comes with trials and struggles, but the blessings that follow give joy and strength to endure. The last couple months had been more difficult than I wanted to admit to my friends and supporters. My apartment was recently broken into, but I didn't want people to worry about me. I didn't want others to dwell on my struggles as opposed to focusing on the much greater and urgent struggles of the poor communities I'm serving. However, I can now admit that it was discouraging to have a thief break in and steal my digital camera, ipod and some money.

Jam was also discouraged when someone came into her family's home this week and took her laptop, her father's money and his cell phone, and other items. Over the last week, many families across Metro Manila have literally lost everything due to extreme flooding. Some have even lost family members. My team was quick to act, bringing food and relief goods to the families in our community. We continue to pray for those affected by flooding.

Despite these difficult times, there are always reasons to be joyful and to thank God. I told Jam that we are so blessed because we have each other. The things we lost are just that - "things". In fact, Jam and I are overwhelmed with joy and gratefulness for how God has been moving in our lives recently. Together we have been inspired to pray more, to read the scriptures, and to serve the street children alongside each other. Our relationship with each other has only grown, and I really believe we are ready to move forward to the next phase in our lives together.

On August 20th I proposed to Jam on the 70th floor of a hotel with a spectacular view of Singapore in front of us. We could hardly imagine that God would bring us to such a beautiful place, especially since Jam never had the opportunity before to travel outside the Philippines. This trip wouldn't have been possible without the kindness of our hosts Paul, Marcia, and Mark and the generosity of my parents who helped send us to Singapore. There Jam and I enjoyed some much needed rest. Also, the new stamps on Jam's passport will help her chances in acquiring a visa to visit Canada hopefully next summer before our wedding in Manila in the fall of 2014.

Throughout the trails and the joys of these past weeks, the following verses have really been on my mind: Matthew 6:19-21 and James 1:2-3. They gave me a lot of strength and I recommend them to anyone.

Thank you for sharing in our trials and our joys here in Manila. ESPECIALLY in the joy of Jam and I's engagement! Yehey!!!

Jam's first international flight!
We hopped on a bus to Malaysia for another stamp on Jam's passport.
Our gracious and exceptional hosts: Paul & Marcia with their son Mark.
70th floor of Swissotel Singapore where we dined at the Equinox Restaurant.

The incredible view we had during dinner.

She said "YES!!!" ...after she joked "just give me a moment to think about it".

God bless you, and always remember to share with your loved ones - the burdens, the joys, and everything in between. An insightful youth once wrote "Happiness is only real when shared".

Take care!

John Coffey
Director of IT Tender

Caring for street children ~ Isaiah 58:10


  1. That's tough about the break ins and flooding. My one friend had a break in and it was harder for him feel trusting and safe in his own home. Another friend had her purse stolen in a NY subway.

    I'll say what I said to her at the time- I'm glad no one was physically hurt! Losing things is an absolute bummer but we are more precious in the end. I can't even comprehend the flooding since the worse flooding I've been in was only a rise of a coupla feet!

    I'm very happy for you and Jam, and glad you can focus on the positive as well! I had a feeling for a long time you'd meet a special girl over there..and lo and behold it has happened!

    Look fwd to seeing you when you come visit in some months!

  2. Congratulations on your engagement...may God be your strength and protector.

  3. Congratulations John! I'm so happy for you. May God Bless you two with many happy years.