What a beautiful and inspiring day it was!
We traveled to the island of Masbate, considered one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines, and spent the day with our sweet Compassion daughter Florianlyn and her entire family... so awesome to see her again after three years!
We stepped foot on and saw with our very own eyes the classrooms that Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy built!
We also saw a Compassion project in full operation and bustling with children, staff and volunteers.
There are no words to adequately describe what the day meant to me. It was pure gift. God truly is so good... such wild grace!
I am in awe and humbled that He would invite our family, as unqualified as we are, to partner with Him in His Kingdom work... to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him.
He calls us out of our comfort zones to the kind of fasting He's after.
His love truly relentless.
He takes our yes, one yes at a time... our obedience, one step at a time.
His grace truly indescribable.
He makes our joy complete.
His gifts truly extravagant.
|Arriving in Masbate, after missing our flight the previous day!|
|Masbate's very small airport.|
|Masbate's only paved road.|
|One of the many rice fields we drove past on our way to Patnubay Child Development Center.|
|People in Masbate spend a lot of time fetching water. There is no running water in many places.|
|The sight that met us upon our arrival at Patnubay Child Development Center.|
|It took us a while to spot our sweet Florianlyn in the crowd of children!|
|The classrooms (and three washrooms) that Eucharisteo built!|
It is, apparently, the most talked about building in Masbate. :)
|Florianlyn and her friends.|
|Just before the morning's worship service started. This was where I experienced the most|
authentic worship in all of our time in the Philippines this trip! The kids sang like they really meant the words.
|Florianlyn even sang a solo! :)|
|After the worship service, kids went into the classrooms for their classes.|
|Inside one of the classrooms that Eucharisteo built!!!|
|They are still using some of the old classrooms as they are continually growing in numbers.|
|Our family, with Florianlyn and her parents and also Pastor Ben.|
|Home visit! We brought her a Canada Day t-shirt.|
|Flipping through the encyclopedia book that we brought for her.|
|Hubby talking to Florianlyn's dad about their home. The home is much improved |
as compared to how it was during our last visit. This is proof that a small gift (small, in terms of dollar amount to us)
makes a world of difference in how a family living in extreme poverty can have shelter.
|Siblings through Compassion. :)|
|She has kept all of our letters.|
|Devotion verses are posted all over their home. This really warmed my heart!!!|
|This is the small convenience store that we helped their family to re-start up. |
The income it generates now pays for much of their daily needs.
|Florianlyn is fascinated with Jon's cube. :)|
|Our family and Florianlyn's family... connected via Compassion!|
|The entire neighbourhood's children gather for a speed-cubing demonstration!|
|Florianlyn's cousin scambles the cube.|
|The center's medical doctor is doing one of the two yearly check-ups.|
We also met the center's dentist that day!
|Lunch is being cooked! Pork abodo... yum!|
|New children are being registered!|
|Getting newly registered children's weight.|
|I can't get over God's wild grace... in allowing us to be a part in building this!|
|Lunch is almost ready...|
|The little ones get to eat first.|
|She's enjoying her lunch!|
|A special lunch of grilled fish and squid and vegetables was prepared for us. Wow, such hospitality!|
|Hubby takes a turn at serving the kids.|
|I take a turn as well. :)|
|The difference truly is Jesus!!!|
|We sit down to eat lunch.|
|Our family with Pastor Ben and his wife, Florianlyn's caseworker and the center's Project Director.|
|Children playing a game of basketball, not far from the Compassion center.|
Will you sponsor one of them... one of those outside the gate, for such a time as this?
|The day ended with us back at our hotel room. The view outside was window was beautiful.|
Much like the day we just experienced!
Friends, as you can see from the photos above...
Time and again our family has seen with our very own eyes how Compassion's ministry is making a real difference in people's lives, physically and more importantly, spiritually. Yet, I'm sure that you can also see that the need is still so great... the poverty situation so dire.
We had the opportunity to sit down at dinner with Compassion Philippines' Country Director, Noel Pabiona, this past Sunday night. It was an inspiring time of fellowship. We learned much about how Compassion's ministry is being run here... from how Complementary Interventions (CIV) funds are being disbursed... to how each child is required to learn at least one life skill before graduating from the Compassion program in order to ensure a livelihood... to how fundraising in-country works!
Compassion's work here in the Philippines as a field country is lauded as top-notch in many ways! The biggest Child Development Center (CDC) globally is located here. A third of all Compassion children globally enrolled in post-secondary education are from here... the most among all of the field countries.
Friends, will you heed God's call to practice the kind of fasting He's after?
Shout! A full-throated shout! Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout! Tell my people what’s wrong with their lives, face my family Jacob with their sins!
They’re busy, busy, busy at worship, and love studying all about me. To all appearances they’re a nation of right-living people— law-abiding, God-honoring.
They ask me, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’ and love having me on their side. But they also complain, ‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’
Well, here’s why: The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit. You drive your employees much too hard. You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. You fast, but you swing a mean fist. The kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground. Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after: a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, GOD, would like?
This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The GOD of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, GOD will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’
If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins, If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places— firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again. (Isaiah 58:1-12 MSG)