Friday, December 31, 2010

One Year Ago

One year ago today I dropped my husband off at the airport for the 2nd mission to the Philippines.  This mission was very different than the first.  They were preparing the orphanage for children to arrive.  Building, painting, buying supplies, meeting families of the children God had selected to live at WHY.

Wesley Home for Youth, the prayer
While there, NINE children were taken off of the streets and out of the dumpsite.  NINE children moved from horrendous conditions of neglect, starvation and abuse to Wesley Home for Youth.

Wesley Home for Youth, the prayer answered

During 2010 WHY has grown to support 14 children, with the potential for more as more sponsors are added.  It is amazing to see the work of God's hand and exciting to know that more lies ahead.

Will you make 2011 the year you join us on this journey.  There are so many ways to be involved -- being a monthly sponsor, being a part of the upcoming mission team, donating time, services, or resources to help with fundraisers, using your talents to make things that can be given in the dumpsite, _____ (fill in the blank).  Let us know how you want to be involved.  There is room for you!

Happy Birthday WHY!

Thankful, Sheryl

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Resolutions Anyone?

Do you set New Year's Resolutions?  I typically don't since I never seem to keep them.  But with the beginning of 2011 I will instead set some goals; to spend more time in God's word, to be healthier, to continue to become more organized and make my home a nicer place.

I have one goal that I could use your help with - 214 pillowcase dresses.  How many will you make for our mission?  One, twenty-one, fifty-one?  So easy to make that I taught myself to sew making these dresses.  Seriously, anyone can do it!  If you will join me please email me for more information.  Dresses need to completed and shipped by mid-May -- that gives you almost 6 months!  Winter is a great time to get some sewing done.  Sooo, ladies dust off those machines and let's do it together!

Below are several tutorials, all with the same basic dress.  Choose the one that suits you best.

 I will update the Project Pillowcase page as dresses are completed/shipped to let you know our progress. Thanks to each of you!

Thankful, Sheryl

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Giving at Christmas

Today we are blessed with words from my sweet friend Amanda.  She has such a way of getting a point across.

Giving at Christmas…Why?

It seems a common theme we hear every year at about this time—giving gifts at Christmas. It is a sweet tradition to buy gifts for our children and family members. The joy on their faces on Christmas morning makes the planning, saving, and wrapping completely worth it. This Christmas, I’ve been focusing on what I’m thankful for. My husband just finished his time in the Army and we have been experiencing the dreaded unemployment. The last couple of months, I have been half-jokingly saying that everyone can forget about getting gifts from us this year. Cards would have to do. Knowing that our income would be seriously limited, I decided to try to be thankful for what we do have rather than be bitter about what we could have. As I was reading in my daily Bible lesson today, the focus was on Psalm 136. The challenge: Add ten things to the list that I am thankful for because of God’s loving-kindness. Can you do that? I know we are challenged to things like this all the time, especially around Thanksgiving. However, I encourage you to truly spend some time with this one. Truly focus on God’s loving-kindness to you, his beloved, and meditate on this poem.

 My God, I love Thee;

Not because I hope for Heaven thereby

Not yet because who love Thee not must die eternally.

Thou, O my Jesus, Thou didst me upon the cross embrace;

For me didst bear the nails, and spear, and manifold disgrace.

Why, then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,

Should I not love Thee well?

Not for the hope of winning heaven or of escaping hell;

Nor with the hope of gaining aught,

Not seeking a reward: But as Thyself hast loved me, O everloving Lord!

Even so I love Thee, and will love, and in Thy praise will sing;

Solely because Thou art my God, and my Eternal King.

-Frances Xavier

My one year-old and I were in Belk today. She has a fascination with Christmas trees and “wights!” so, we stopped at the tree by the door. I noticed that it wasn’t covered in ornaments, but rather with slips of paper that said “Be a Santa to a Senior”. I have always had a special place in my heart for senior citizens, so this struck deep within me. I was reading each card. They had the person’s name, age, and wish list. Fairly soon, I came across one for a sweet lady who is 89. Instead of a wish list, she had written that she would like “prayers”. That’s all. Just prayers. What wisdom, simplicity, and love are in that one expression of gratitude to Jesus Christ. We pray to our Maker, the Giver of life because He alone is God. He loves his creation so deeply—enough that He sent His son to save us so that we can spend eternity with Him.

Here’s the problem: a huge chunk of the world’s population are needy. They need the basics like socks, shoes, coats, food, shelter, and even water. Why do we restrict our giving to our equally-well-off family members? I could post picture after picture of starving kids in Africa, Haiti, the Philippines, and even the nooks and crannies of the Appalachian Mountains—right here next to us. I don’t feel that I need to because we’ve all seen them and know of what I speak. Perhaps we get desensitized by it all. Buying gifts for our family members is a beautiful thing, but buying gifts for less privileged strangers is a worthy cause and a self-sacrificial act. My prayer is that we as a Christian body would open our hearts back up to these needs and pour our resources into them as an act of worship and thankfulness to our great King. He loves the little children, all the children of the world.


Thanks to Amanda for this challenge!  How easy it is to get caught up in all the gift giving and forget about God's loving-kindness and giving back what He has given to us, love.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How about positive?

I have recently been teaching lessons in my computer lab about Cyberbullying.  As part of the lesson I have been encouraging my 3rd-5th grade students to be positive.  Think positive, speak positive, compliment, etc.  I would've thought this would be no big deal, but they actually enjoy giving compliments to their classmates and teachers. 

But time after time it is amazing to see how difficult it is for them to change their mind set.  Our world is so extremely negative, so surrounded with throughts of ourselves only, rushing around....  Sometimes even making eye contact and smiling at someone in Walmart is tough. 

So how about positive? 
Show some patience to the cashier who is doing her best to quickly process customers.
Strike up a positive and encouraging converstaion with the person next to you in line.
Let someone with only a couple of items go in front of you.

All of these are simple jestures of kindness, but you have to take the time to notice.

Thankful, Sheryl

Monday, November 22, 2010


1 Chronicles 16:33-35
Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.”

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Take time for a visit

I have several blogs that I follow almost daily linked to this one.  Today one of my regular blogs The Stay-at-Home Missionary lead me to one of her favorites, A Holy Experience

I have been secretly dreading Christmas this year.  Although it is fun for my children, Christmas has really lost its meaning in so many aspects.  We get away from celebrating Jesus or celebrate Him so we can hurry on to celebrating how much we "get".  At our house we try to limit how much our children receive in an effort to keep them humble, but still we are all just not getting it.  Its not how it should be!

In NEED of shelter and someone to take care of them

When I clicked on A Holy Experience, it was the right idea.  The perfect way to celebrate Christmas - giving to the least of these.  They don't have any wrapped gifts under their tree.  They give to people who truly NEED something.

NEED shelter

NEED food

How many times have you shopped for "the person who has everything"?  Every year we do this for people in our families, just to have something to give.  Blech, blech and more blech I say!

I hope you will take time to visit A Holy Experience and think radically about celebrating Christmas this year!  It is not too late!  It takes so little to sponsor a child at Wesley Home for Youth.  Consider your gifts.  What will you give to Jesus for His birthday?

Thankful, Sheryl

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Psalm 100:3-5
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Why does our human nature need to see, touch, smell, taste, hear in order to believe?

On Saturday night I had the privilege to be in the worship service with Good News Church (the international church skyped between us and the Wesley Home in the town of Liloan, Philippines).  It was so moving to see the children in live action, singing and worshipping God IN REAL LIFE!  Since I haven't returned to the Philippines since WHY opened I have yet to meet them in person.  I have written about, seen pictures of, heard stories of these children for one year.  Seeing them in real life brought me to tears. 

While I watched and listened to them singing songs, reciting memory verses and giving their interpretations of those verses my mind wandered to where they were only months ago (for some a few weeks).  Living in the trash dump, being used inappropriately to put food in the bellies of their families, not knowing the one true and living God exists and they can know Him personally.

I think sometimes that we, in this rich country, are at a disadvatage because we have too much, we know too much.  I pray that we can again have child-like faith and trust our God to do just as He promises -- supply our needs.

Thankful, Sheryl

Friday, November 12, 2010


In preparation for my favorite holiday of the year....
Thanksgiving, only 2 short weeks away....

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Thankful, Sheryl

Wednesday, November 10, 2010



please visit the project pillowcase page

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nope, it's not Christmas!

As I was shopping this past weekend Halloween candy was flying off the shelves at 75% off.  Meanwhile workers were frantically making room for Christmas decorations, trees, cards, etc.  What's missing here?  Oh that's right, we skipped that holiday that seems to be forgotten, overlooked, unimportant each year....uhhh, it's coming to me, oh yeah, Thanksgiving.  That's it, Thanksgiving.  That holiday when Charlie Brown doesn't want to invite Peppermint Patty to his house for dinner because he has plans with his grandparents.  But of course, she being Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown being the push over he is can't say no to her.  Come on people!  I don't think our forefathers were quite that shallow to celebrate a holiday just to have a roast turkey and stuffing.

The holiday is celebrated because we (ALL OF US!) have so much to be thankful for every day, every moment of our lives.  Check out what Wikipedia lists as "Thanksgiving".

Thanksgiving is a holiday to express thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation to God, family and friends for which all have been blessed of material possessions and relationships. Traditionally, it has been a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. This holiday has since moved away from its religious roots.

As an American I have so many privileges - going to church, getting an education, freedoms that some around the world couldn't even imagine!  Yet we have become so spoiled and ungrateful that I am sickened by my own society.  Sadly, Wikipedia even states that the celebration has moved away from its roots.

thankful for a drink

Read it again; "appreciation to God, family and friends..."  That's right, God!  Thankfulness to God.  Oh friends, even in our darkest moments of sickness, pain, heartache, despair, as victims, as perpetrators, as whatever we find ourselves to be, WE can be thankful to God for all He does for us.  

Here is a chorus of a song that reminds me of what we must do to truly become humbled and thankful -- lay down ourselves at the cross. 
Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Lead me, lead me to the cross

"Lord I lay me down" is my favorite part....the hardest, but the best.  I pray that each of us will lay ourselves down and receive the mercy and grace God offers us.  I pray that we will become softened as we count our blessings and remember daily the bounty we have to be grateful for in this life.

Thankful, Sheryl

Thursday, November 4, 2010


God's Word is chock full of goodness.  Goodness for predicaments we get ourselves into, goodness for sad times, goodness for when we are praising God in wonderful mountain top times...but sometimes we run across some kick-in-the-pants goodness.  
When we start thinking, "I'm doing a good job" and words like I and me and my and we and our creep into our conversations, it is often then that God needs to remind us that HE alone is in charge.  We can't do anything without His power in us.

1 Cor 1:26-31
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

I hope and pray that as you go through your day, you will boast in the Lord!

And add a smile to your wardrobe....

Thankful, Sheryl

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Good News Church

The Good News Church has now had its first official service.  It is wonderful to see the children singing and playing worship songs for Jesus.  The children are also memorizing scripture and giving prayer requests.  It is a blessing to have these children who have come from deplorable conditions praising the one true and living God that they are coming to know.

We are thankful for the donors who have provided the funds for the necessary technology tools so that the Sunday services can take place.  It is a way that we can stay connected with the children half a world away!

Thankful, Sheryl 

Monday, October 25, 2010


Obedience is not a virtue my children often display.  We are continuously re-introducing this task to help them understand what is expected of them.  They sometimes have selective hearing problems and claim this was the problem and not their disobedience...."But Mama!  I didn't know you wanted me to pick up my toys!"

As children of God are we guilty of the same? Not intentionally disobeying, but having selective hearing when God speaks.  Thinking that we can pick and choose what parts of the Bible we want to apply to our lives and ignoring the other parts.  One word I think some Christians want to ignore is a small word that even a Kindergarten student can read. 

Why is this word so scary for us?  This tiny little word causes us to give up control, it may cause us to question God -- Where? When? Who me?  We want to be ignorant of this word, this command that God clearly gives.

Mark 16:15

He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.

Genesis 12:1

The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. "

Matthew 28:19

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Today I am actually...thankful that my children are at times disobedient....It helps me understand how frustrating I am to God when I disobey Him and that makes me want to obey Him even more!
A once heard a wise man say "Doing God's work is not a hobby.  It is necessary, it is what God tells us to do -- all of us."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just today....

I hope my notes yesterday on darkness weren't offensive.  Just keeping it real.  I am super aware of how much I have to be thankful situation could be hopeless and horrible.  It is not by any stretch of the imagination.  I just feel down-heartened and confused.  I hope that is what came across to you.  

We are never promised another minute, day or I am taking one day, one step at a time to get back to the warm sunshiney place I so want to be in.

Today I am dwelling on this....

Micah 6:6-8 (New International Version)

6 With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?

7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Darkness surrounds us like a dense fog.  The local news, the world news, cancer, drug addiction, life.....It is easy to begin believing Satan's lies. 
You can't do it.
You're a failure!
Who are you kidding, do you really think you can be a ____?
You'll never make it!
What about _______?
You are on the wrong path.
Is this really what God wants?

Satan's darkness adds confusion to our stressful lives, minds and hearts.  He feasts on our insecurities and kicks us when we are down, convincing us we are complete and total failures.  And possibly we truly are failures in the eyes of the world....

But the people the world sees as failures, inadequate, less than capable are the people that God wants to use!  How exciting for those of us who aren't perfect....wait that would be all of us!  He wants to prove that He can take imperfection, challenging situations and mistake ridden lives and use them for His glory.

Since August my family has experienced sickness, stress, loneliness, confusion and SOOO much change.  I have felt completely beat up by life and the world around me.  Can you relate?

It's as though I am stuck in the mud and can't move forward.  People around me are moving forward, the ministry is growing and great things are happening.  So why not me?  Although in my head I know God's promises still remain, sometimes I feel like my arms aren't long enough to reach them.  The more I search God's word and spend time with Jesus, Satan's voice will be squelched!

Join me today on the journey out of the pit of despair as we turn toward Jesus, raise up on our tippy toes and reach to Him.

Still thankful, Sheryl

I would love for you to leave a scripture of encouragement or inspiration under comments if you choose.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tomorrow became a week....

I apologize for letting time get away from me.  Just as all of yours are I'm is crazy.
Below are several pictures of different scenarios of "The Dumpsite".  Umapad is the name of the community we refer to as "The Dumpsite".  I will do my best to describe them.

Waiting in line, hoping for a dress

Handing out supplies  is always an adventure and treasured time on the missions.  They are eager to receive any items we are willing to give.  Vitamins, school supplies, backpacks, clothing, shoes, etc.  The following pictures are of the distribution of the pillowcase dresses.

Pure excitement!


visiting high school for Bible distribution and salvation message

10 yr old girl, caring for her dying mother and three siblings and managing the home; the father has left the home
Please pray for this family, by now the mother is most likely deceased.  She was very ill during the visit.  Wesley Home staff and The Rescue Ministries is trying to get permission from the father to help the four children. 

**Blogger is not being my friend right now.  I will do my best to get more pics on this weekend.

Thankful, Sheryl

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Visual me

I am a super visual person.  I have to literally see it in my mind's eye to understand it.....Here is a recap of some of the trip through pictures.

Wesley Home for Youth
Boy's Dorm Outside

Boy's Dorm Inside

New Residents
Judy Ann


Marit lives in the Umapad dumpsite.  We met her on the first trip in June 2009.  She has guided us through the dumpsite to families in need during each trip since.  She has become an asset to Wesley Home for Youth.   We are giving her educational support for her daughter, Mary Ann so that she can afford to go to school. 
Marit & Mary Ann

More to come tomorrow!
Thankful, Sheryl

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Well....I am home now...along with the rest of the team.  It is great to be back with my family and to be able to share about all the God did while we were gone.  I have to admit...the Philippines feels more and more like home and East TN feels less and less like home.  I can't remember a time in my life when I have encountered people who are so grateful for help, who are so hungry for the gospel and have a true desire to read God's Word rather than go by what a church or a leader says.  I so want to be able to be there and share the Word of God with my Filipino friends and struggle with them as we read scripture and apply it to our lives. 

This will be my last blog about the mission trip... I think.. and again it will not have pictures.  I left my camera battery charger in Bohol very early in the trip and my last 3-4 days in the Philippines I had no camera due to the batteries being dead.

Our last few days was pretty awesome as well.  Pastor Lemuel visited the orphanage and he has committed to pastoring the kids beginning in November!  He was already forming relationships with the kids and spending lots of time with them.  The music instructor will begin this coming weekend to teach the kids how to play the drums, play the keyboards and guitar.  The kids at the orphanage are very excited about learning how to play the musical instruments so that they can sing praises to God as a group.  The youth more and more are seeking to learn of God's Word and what it teaches.  It is extremely encouraging to me to know that pastor Lemuel will be spending at least a day a week teaching the kids about the Bible!

Ronelldo (sp?) is a new youth from the dumpsite who is now staying at the orphanage.  He is shy and doesn't talk that much.  He is a bit older than some of our kids but appears to be making the transition well.  Ronelldo now has a Bible, a bed of his own, clothes and school supplies.  He talked about how thankful and grateful he is to be able to pursue his education.

Sheila was hired as our director.  She has been doing great working with the kids.  She has already implemented some more structure and clear expectations for the kids to follow.  Sheila appears to truly love the kids and is enjoying taking care of them.  There is also another Filipino who we have hired to work with the kids who truly loves tutoring and spending time with them. It is so great to see Filipinos investing in the lives of the Filipinos at the orphanage.  That is my hope and promise that one day we will get to the point where financially we do not need to give to the orphanage but that Filipinos will see the value and the importance of rescuing these children off of the streets and dumpsite areas.

So, the last few days were encouraging to see that the church at the orphanage is possible and that there is a pastor.  That we have new staff who are invested in loving and developing the kids.  That there is a music instructor who is there willing to teach the kids how to play the instruments the team purchased and provided to the kids.  That there are children in the dumpsites and in the schools who have now heard the gospel and were given Bibles.  What a productive and amazing 10 days!!  We started it off by going to Camotes where one day we hope and pray that the orphanage will be located.  The mayor of Camotes wants to give us land where we can have a school and/or training center for adults and families where they can get jobs... The progress made in the few days is quite simply amazing and quite obvious that God provided it all and that He gets all of the glory for all of the good things that were done.  I am thankful that I and the team were able to be a part of it. 

Thank you for your prayers and support.  Let me know how you would like to be involved.  I am traveling to different states and counties to share about the orphanage; let me know if you would like for me to visit your church.  We are meeting at the end of October to discuss the mission trip in June of 2011.  We still need sponsors and support to pay for the school, church and music ministry of the orphanage.  We need tons and tons of prayer as we move forward.  our website is  may God bless you!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Goodbye Philippines

It is already Thursday in the Philippines.  Today will be a bittersweet day for the team.  In a little over 12 hrs they will board a plane in Cebu to begin making their way home to Tennessee.  They will have the despidida (goodbye/celebration) today at the orphange and there is so much to celebrate!  God has opened doors, raised up filipinos, tore down obstacles and blessed abundantly just as His word promises!  Please pray for safe and easy travels for the team.

Thankful, Sheryl

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Precious in His Sight

When I saw these pics I just couldn't wait to share them with you.  These are just two of the 107 dresses donated through Project Pillowcase. 

The first is on Judy Ann, the newest resident of Wesley Home for Youth.  She is a tiny 13 year old and only in grade 2.  She has been victimized in so many unspeakable ways.  We are currently in great need of sponsors for Judy Ann.  I hope you will be the one to support her.

This sweet baby girl lives in the Umapad dumpsite and is now clothed with a beautiful new dress! 

Thankful, Sheryl


Wanted to send a quick update.... I am running behind this morning...

Mitch boarded the plane last night at midnight and is headed back to the US.  We have a friend at the airport who confirmed his flight for us.

Glen and John Michael shared with us that they are Christians now!!  They shared that they have asked Jesus to save their souls...and now we will get to spend eternity with them.

We met a girl named Sheila who applied for the director position.  She seems to be really positive and we believe she will be great with the kids.

We met with the DSWD official for a seminar.  It was exciting to get to know her and receive needed answers to so many questions that we have.  We really have a much better structure at the orphanage and the progress has been great.

We will be worshipping with the kids at 9:30am on Saturday morning via Skype.  This is an answer to prayer!!  I am really looking forward to it!


Monday, September 27, 2010

coming to an end

So, our team has only 3 more days left in our trip.  we are still hoping to hire a director, find a full time pastor and get some approvals from the government for our orphanage.  We have just a few days to get these major goals accomplished.  We had discussed..but never really thought that a church would be started..but it is certainly in the process.  It is so exciting for us to know that our kids will be spiritually fed and provided for.  Our team has really experienced alot in the dumpsites, visiting the homes of our kids, going to the schools and experiencing worship with our kids.  This week and a half has really flown by for us.

Today was really no different.  We started our morning fairly early.  We went to the high school to pass out Bibles and share the gospel with the students.  We had an awesome time going into the class rooms and passing out the salvation bracelets.  Most of the 200 students that we spoke with prayed for salvation.  It was truly an awesome experience.

A teacher at the elementary school was sharing with us that one of the girl students was taking her 4 year old brother to school every day.  They were sharing that the family life was hard and that the family really needed help.  So, we investigated.  This afternoon, we went to visit with the mother of these two children and were really shocked with what we discovered.  The mother has been sick for quite some time with kidney failure.  She takes dialysis 2 times a day.  The 10 year old girl cooks for her mom and the 3 younger siblings.  She washes their clothes, cleans their home and basically runs the home.  The father of the children has left the family and has a younger girlfriend.  The mother will be dead soon...and there is no where to place the kids.  The kids will be homeless in a matter of weeks.  There are a few concerns with taking all 4 kids.  First is that if all 4 are gone...who will cook for the mother and make sure that she is okay.  Second, the mother does not want the kids to go without the father's consent..though the father is rarely around...and lastly it appears that the entire family has TB.  .. We are getting them all tested tomorrow to hopefully determine what their medical condition is.  Please pray for this family..I cannot imagine being 10 years old and having the responsibility of taking care of my dying mother ...while making sure my siblings are fed and in school...and getting myself taken care of..with food, bath and homework... it is way too much for this little girl.  Below are pics of the mom and kids.

I am praying that this family will be able to be with us soon....they certainly represent what we are trying to do with our mission.

Lastly... after visiting with this family..our hope and prayer for a church remains former pastor while in Cebu.. pastor Lemuel, lived over an hour from the orphanage...but he kept on coming up in conversation and prayer.  So, we went to visit with him this evening.  It was a great time of fellowship and catching up...he had not really changed that much in 10 years.  It was a true joy and blessing to share with him.  Pastor Lemuel continues to have a burden and a passion for the young people of the Philippines.  He agreed off the bat to help start the church and get a good foundation in place for the kids.  His family is from another island however...and in the future he has plans to go to Leyte to be with his family.  When this occurs he will not be physically present to be able to help and support the kids.  So, for now.. Pastor Lemuel plans to come by on Wednesday to meet the kids and for us to discuss what kind of schedule we can create for the kids so that they can have bible study and worship.  This is certainly a huge step in the right direction and an answer to alot of prayer.  Please continue to pray that God will send laborers to minister to our kids after we leave.

We will be interviewing all of the director candidates tomorrow and meeting with government officials tomorrow.  Alot of big picture "stuff" will be taking place and some pretty big decisions will be made tomorrow.  Pray for a good nights rest...and discernment for the team and decision makers.  I certainly appreciate all of the kind words, support and prayers that you all have been giving these past few weeks.

God we come to the end of our mission trip here...


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Good News

The team has been very busy the past two days.  That is why I was unable to post a blog yesterday.  Yesterday (Saturday)..was chore days for the kids at the orphanage.  They planted in the garden, harvested the fruits and vegetables and learned how to sew pillow cases.  During the afternoon, the kids got out the musical instruments that were purchased the day before and were practicing for worship on Sunday.  All of our kids at the orphanage had invited their family and classmates to come on Sunday to worship with them on Sunday.  It was amazing to see how they would stay organized and focused on playing the worship songs though they did not have an instructor or anyone really to help them.  After practice, the property owner came by.  We discussed the future of the orphanage and how he may be able to help us.  He mentioned that he would be willing to finance the home and property with us.  This would be a huge asset and help if he were able to do this.  Please pray as we look at buying the property that we would have the financial means to do so and that the properry that we are currently on is not just leased but owned.  Later that evening a business friend of Arnell's came by.  He was so moved by the kids and their stories that he stated that he wanted to be a sponsor for our children and help out with the cost of the orphanage.  He is officially one of our largest sponsors...and the crazy thing is that it take 44 pesos to equal one of our dollars.  This man is willing to really give 44 times the amount of anyone due to the difference in peso to dollar.  What a true gift and sacrifice!

Sunday morning was filled with questions, curiousity and alot of hope.  Our kids practiced all day, we purchased instruments and a microphone system; chairs were borrowed; communion was prepared....we were ready for worship.  The question was, would anyone come.  Would anyone respond to hearing the good news from former children who lived in trash and were abused?  Would anyone want to know what they had to say and share?  It was truly overwhelming to see people come walking through our gates for worship.  There was standing room only.  They all stood up during worship and appeared to really mean the words they were singing to God.  There were several little babies that were present.  You never heared a cry or a whimper..though it was 90 degrees and we were outside...everyone was focused on the message and the time of worship.  Mitch again, led the congregation through the salvation bracelet.  He used the different colors of shirts as visual aids and the Filipinos really enjoyed being a part of the presentation.  At the end, Mitch shared an example of a prayer that could be said to ask for salvation from God.  He let them know that God looks at the heart and would be the one to convict; but he wanted to give them some words that may help them as they sought to seek forgiveness for their sins.  It appeared that all present prayed that prayer to God.  Again, I cannot state what God did in the hearts and lives of the 70 there..but it certainly appeared that many were moved.

After worship we all got together for fellowship and food.  All 70 plus stayed and enjoyed the orphanage.  The parents and the kids appeared to really enjoy catching up with one another and sharing about their weeks and about their siblings.  It was great to see them hugging and interacting with one another.  The food was great!  After the fellowship we took a group picture and provided transportation for the parents to go back home.  We then took the kids swimming.  Though they live right next to the is always a treat for them to go to the beach because they rarely have the time or opportunity to go.  The kids were so much fun playing different water games, jumping off each other's shoulders and some were learning to swim.  They enjoyed trying to teach me how to swim...but to no success.

After swimming we took the kids to McDonalds!  Which is always a treat.  Mitch and I met with Kicks and the missionary from Atlanta.  We talked about how few evangelical churches are in the Mandaue/Liloan area.  He reported to us that it was under 1% of the population was evangelical or knew of how to have a personal relationship with Christ.  We talked for over an hour about options and possibilities and how we may partner together.  We will just hope and pray that an opportunity will arise where our kids can have a permanent pastor.  That is a great prayer for us right now.

Today we will be going to the high school to pass out Bibles and share the salvation bracelets.  We should interact with around 180 high school youth.  We will be interviewing 2 people for the director position at the orphanage.  We will hopefully be going out to meet with another pastor who may have interest in working with our kids at the orphanage.  It should be a busy day.... but I cannot think of anything else I would rather be busy doing.

Please continue to pray for us....


Friday, September 24, 2010


Today our team went and visited where all of the kids at WHY used to live.  Most of our kids have some family... Catherine only has a grandmother who is deaf..but the rest have siblings and at least one parent who is alive or incarcerated.

The team left early and went to pick up all of the parent(s) of the WHY children at a central location so that all of the parents could go on the trip to each child's home.

You can't really tell in the picture above, but it was taken in the door way of the home.  This is Daisy's former home.  The people sleep and stay here.  It was all that we could do to fit into their home...I could not imagine living there.

The goal of the trip was simple.  To see where the kids have come from, to pray with and encourage the parents and leave a gift that would help and sustain that home for a month or so. 
The sizes of the homes varied...but all of them were very small.  The floors  where 3-7 people slept (and yes I meant to type floors) were about the size of one American fact most were smaller.  IN the photo above you can see that an American bed would not even come close to fitting in their entire home.  I think (I don't like making statements that lumps everyone together) that none of them had running water inside their homes; I know the majority didn't.  Most did not have a bathroom inside their home it was outside.  None of them had a stove; they just had a designated area at the side of their home where they would put coals or build fires in order to cook their food.  All of them had Catholic idols and imagery in their homes.  And I guess the obvious..there are no refrigerators, recliners, stoves, couches, carpet, wall paper, .. basically what is in there are dirt or cement floors, plastic chairs and uhm, candles.

All of the families had smiles on their faces.  All of them were working when we arrived.  Doing laundry, sweeping the floors, getting out chairs, cleaning off shoes...what little they have, they took pride in and valued.  It was amazing and encouraging to see.

As you read about the early church....Saul went from house to house to persecute the church.  That was b/c that the home was where the early church worshipped and that you could distinguish and recognize a Christian home from the rest of the culture and people.  It was simply amazing for us as a team to go from home to home to share our faith, to express Christ's love and get to know the kind of homes and environment our kids came from.  We are truly blessed.  It "feels" like missionary work when you are physically going to different homes to pray and share your faith.  It was truly an amazing day.  The parents will be coming to the orphanage on Sunday for church.  Our very first church service.  The first time that many will hear the good news.  We have decided we will call the church, the Good News Church.  Because that is what we want the focus to be the good news.

Prayer points:  Some of the homes had NO food.  This was very concerning for me.  Every home I have been in while I lived in the Philippines has food, rice is so cheap and readily available it concerned me greatly that some homes had none.  Please pray that all of our children's extended family will have the means to eat.

Spiritually none of our families are born again Christians.  Several of the families attend church on Sundays..but none of them profess having an individual relationship with Christ.

Mentally..I cannot imagine living where these folks live; not knowing if you will eat that day, not having a bathroom, having a small mat to call a bed..and then to leave that one day (which our kids did) but leave behind the rest of my family..knowing I had my own bed and all the food I can eat...but not knowing if my mom, dad or siblings were eatting has to be traumatic for our kids.  I cannot imagine the worry that they must be under.  Most of our kids worked in some form or fashion to provide food for their they are in school and in the orphanage and the families have lost this extra income.

Continue to pray about the director for the orphanage, a pastor for the church, and a way we can raise enough funds to have a projector so that we can worship together on Sundays.

Pray for our health and strength....

Now to Him who is able to do abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine......
To Him be glory forever and ever,

Thursday, September 23, 2010

big enough

As I am typing...I am quite tired from a long day...I don't think you are supposed to gripe on a blog..I am sure that is ettiquite somewhere, so I will refrain.

My day was quite simply amazing.  After breakfast and picking up the team at the orphanage we went to the dumpsite.  In hand we had around 100 Bibles from the Gideons, about 100 dresses, several pair of pants, shirts and shorts...tons of different kinds of candies and our objective was to love on and share the love of Christ with hundreds of kids who call where people dump their trash home.  I was quite fond of that idea...and continue to be tonight.  It was great to see these kids seemingly just come from anywhere and everywhere to get their Bibles and clothes.  Many of them naked, many with diseases, many hungry and all with a smile on their faces.  We could have stayed there for days handing out the candies, Bibles and clothes..many did not get anything, and those who did will go hungry again, and be naked again....and so we are reminded of how big our God is.  That He is big enough to hold them when there is no one there to; big enough to use birds, strangers, or even angels to clothe and protect these precious kids.  God certainly does not NEED us to do any of these things..He is without question Big Enough and great enough to supply all of their needs.  But by His design and purpose He has called all of HIs followers to be His hands and feet.  He has called us to go to the ends of the globe proclaiming the Good News and showing the love of God the best ways that we know how.  I, nor any of the team are worthy to be used by God...yet while we were sinners He died for us..and now that we are His children He is shaping us to be more like Him...

After the dumpsite, the burden and vision for starting the church at the orphanage has continued to be laid on our hearts.  The entire team basically emptied out our wallets to purchase a drum, a keyboard and a microphone with a speaker.  We now have enough musical instruments to play and worship God (not that just our voices or a guitar would not have been enough)!!  WE are still praying for a pastor.  A leader within the community to rise up and say that they will pastor our children. Until then, our mission team has coveted with the kids at the orphanage that we will worship with them VIA SKYPE every SAturday night (their SUnday morning)..and the director that we will hopefully hire, will do Bible studies and quiet time with our kids.  However, we are officially without money...and we do not have a projector where the kids can see us as we worship, pray and listen together.... a projector here costs around $500 (for the cheaper ones).  Please pray that a heart or an opportunity will arise so that we may get a projector for our worship service.

Last night was the first night that all of us had a chance to really pray, talk about God and sing worship music with our orphans.  What an amazing experience to sit beside a child who is trying to figure out where passages are in their Bible and be the one to show them where it is.  To see their smiling faces as they give thanks and praise to God in song.  To watch them intently listen to the Good News of Jesus Christ and what it may look like in their lives to have Him as their personal Savior.  Though I love the dumpsite...sitting next to our 11 kids who use to live in the dumpsite but are now learning about the riches of God is simpy overwhelming.  To know that our team and supporters all in our each small way but collaboratively have worked together to rescue these children from prostitution and abuse is simply amazing.  I praise and thank God as I am overwhelmed by His goodness and mercies. 

Please continue to pray for the team.  We have been here about 4 days now and have had some really busy days.  We are all tired, we are all anxious and we simply anticipate with excitement all that God will do in the days to come.  Pray for discernment, good health, clarity for our team.  Thank you for all of your support!