Thursday, February 27, 2014

Side-by-Side to Empower the Poor

by John Coffey

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

It's hard to imagine running our programs and leading our team without the support and encouragement of Jam. For months she was assisting at our preschool and Night Life once a week. However, I'm excited to share that as of last Monday she has started working full-time at IT Tender. The entire team is thankful for her passions in teaching children, her creativity in the arts (especially with singing and dancing), and her skills with administration. Jam is currently Cecille's assistant teacher in our preschool, she serves in our Food for Life nutrition program twice a week, she helps with our Night Life program, and she also assists with administration in the office.

Our clients immediately fell in love with "Ate Jam" (big sister Jam).
Jam is passionate about providing healthy meals for the children.
The SLC Preschool students call her "Teacher Jam".
Serving and worshipping together is an opportunity for us to grow, mature, and understand each other better.
Building relationships in the community takes patience, understanding, and dedication. We are already starting to witness the first fruits of our labour in a new community called Putatan. A few months ago we started a one-year nutrition program in the Putatan community. Both Ate Lorna and Karin live in this area and have a deep love for the families and street children there. Three times a week we provide food, multivitamins, and activities for 50 underweight children. This Monday their parents will be attending our Nutrition and Hygiene Seminar at the IT Tender drop-in center.

Ate Lorna and Karin also run a weekly Night Life program in Putatan for youth who mostly live on the street and rely on scavenging through garbage to make a living. Because of our workers strong relationship with these youth, some of the youth have asked us to lead a bible study. Our teammate Gabby has experience in mentoring and discipling street youth, so last week he started leading a youth bible study in Putatan on Monday afternoons.

Ate Lorna is the hardest working woman I know. She cooks and assists in our Night Life and Food for Life programs.
Youth in Putatan scavenge through this refuse pile for plastics, cardboard, newspaper, and glass. They can earn up to a few dollars a day if they sell enough recyclable items.
Ate Lorna cooks over 200 servings of nutritious food each week for our various programs - including Night Life in Putatan.
Many of the kids in Night Life are not in school and very underweight. We hope to change that.
Martin and Janne from Denmark also assist with Gabby's new youth bible study.
Gabby gladly disciples these youth who have asked for a regular bible study.
Please continue to pray for the needs of our team. Some of my teammates are studying part-time (e.g., Jizza in Social Work, Cecille in Education, Karin in Tagalog Language School) and others are praying to go to college (e.g., Gabby can become a licensed Moderator of our tutoring program for out-of-school youth if he completes any 2 to 4 year college course; he is now praying for his tuition costs). Jizza and I are also busily writing a new manual of policies and procedures for IT Tender. While we have a license to run our programs as an NGO with International Teams, we are also praying to acquire a license specifically for our drop-in center which would raise our status and gives us more privileges with the local government. One of the requirements is the submission of our policies and procedures in what's called a Manual of Operations. The Manual of Operations also includes details on our vision, clients, personnel, budget, and documentation. Despite the many hours I will spend on this over the next 3 to 6 months, I'm still thankful to have time to volunteer once a week at the Night Life and Food for Life programs. Please pray that God will give me strength, energy, and even rest so that I can do my job well.

I love leading songs and activities at Food for Life in Putatan.
We pray during our programs because we seek to create lasting transformations in the physical, emotional, intellectual, AND spiritual aspects of each child.
Even Teacher Cecille has set aside time from her busy schedule teaching preschool to serve once a week at Food for Life Putatan.
Thank you for all your encouragement and support! God bless and take care.

1 comment:

  1. Hya Guys. This post is amazing. Praying for Jam as she gets used to the new role with you guys. Really glad the work in Putatan is expanding too. I hope that the kids will be nourished both by the physical and spiritual food. I will be praying for energy for you all. What an amazing thing God is doing through you.