Saturday, January 30, 2010


Name: Jeraluz
Birthday: November 9, 1994

Jeraluz is 15 years old and the oldest of five children. She is in her first year of high school and hopes to continue her education. She is a goal-oriented student and dreams of going to college in order to improve her life and that of her family.Jeraluz’s father died some time ago; although her mother remarried, the family struggles to support 5 children with the irregular income of a scrap dealer. Their income is barely above $2 per day which allows only for rice. Her family shares a small shanty house without water and electricity. They live life day to day.

Jeraluz is a happy, young woman with a positive outlook on life. She is certain that given the opportunity to remain in school, she can successfully complete her studies and give something back to her community. At Wesley Home for Youth, her educational goals will be supported and she can continue in school. Jeraluz calls herself a Christian and will be supported as her faith is solidified in Christ. Jeraluz’s family is able to visit her at the home and receive Christian training and support through the home’s family outreach program.

Please consider committing to Jeraluz as a monthly sponsor.

Thankful, Sheryl

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rescue the Perishing

Although much is discussed about rescuing the children, getting them off the streets, fed, clothed and cared for....there is more. We are here to OFFER THEM CHRIST. We are here to let our light shine before men that they may praise our Father in Heaven. We are not condemning them for the lives they have led, many of them do not know better.

We are here to listen.

We are here to lead.

We are here to love.

Please pray for each of the children in Wesley Home that they will let go of beliefs that they can't have a personal relationship with Christ and they will learn to talk directly to our Saviour and not to the Santo Nino or any other false god. Pray for the salvation of each of these lives.

Thankful, Sheryl

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Introducing Jolley

Jolley, a beautiful child, was the first to join Wesley Home. As his name suggests, his smile is a jolly one.

Jolley is 9 years old and before joining the Home in January 2010 was living with an extended relative. His dad was killed several years ago and his mother could not provide for him. Jolley has been living on the streets, his only means of survival was begging. He has been exposed to drugs, prostitution, hunger and abuse. Jolley came with his backpack; eager to never go back to the world as he has known it.

I encourage you to pray for Jolley. Pray specifically about joining as we care for, nurture and support Jolley.
It takes so little....even a soda from the machine...$1/day will feed Jolley healthy meals. But maybe you could do more....a monthly sponsor can cover all needs (food, clothing, shelter, education and medical) by gving only $100/month.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Come Expecting

Conversing with the Father is colored by the need of the day. Let your prayer be something definite, arising either out of the Word which you have read, or out of the real soul needs which you long to be satisfied. Let your prayer be so definite that you can say as you go out, "I know what I asked from my Father, and I expect an answer."
- Andrew Murray

Thankful, Sheryl

Friday, January 22, 2010

Meet Daisy

Name: Daisy
Birthday: July 24, 1996

Daisy is 13 years old and in grade six. She loves school, but has received average ratings due to her home life. The time has come for Daisy to receive support instead of give it. She can now focus on her education as she finds hope in Christ at the Wesley Home.

Her father is in prison for selling illegal drugs. Her mother struggles to support 3 children with an irregular income from working as a street vendor. Daisy's family shares a single room without water and electricity, and her two older siblings were forced to withdraw from school. Life for her has been very difficult.

Daisy is a helpful and obedient child. She was always willing to help her mother sell products on the street in an attempt to better support her family. At Wesley Home for Youth she can continue her education and her dreams will be supported. Daisy’s mother and two older siblings are able to visit her at the home and receive Christian training and support through the home’s family outreach program.

What will your role be in Daisy's life....monthly sponsor, $1/day sponsor, prayer parent? Please pray about supporting Daisy financially and join us as we give her proper meals, clothing and shelter...and hope in Christ.

Thankful, Sheryl

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Since I have been back from the Philippines, the TV has been filled with images of Haiti. I hear stories after stories of how people are trapped under buildings for days. How people have not ate for days on end with hope that someone will come. Images of babies dying or dead. Massive graves being dug. The stories and the imagery is overwhelming. My heart breaks and my desire to do something is overpowering. Should I think about going over there? If I do, what would I do? Should I send my money? It would certainly go to good use and make a difference in many lives.

I have a friend who is currently going to classes in order to better manage his finances. My friend told me that there is such a huge need that he wants to give more. That there are so many projects and overseas that needs funding that he must figure out a way to get out of debt, manage his finances better so that he can give more.

It wasn't long ago that I volunteered for just about anything and everything. Whether it was at my work, church or community. It seems that I have a problem with no. I would run from place to place, sacrificing time with my family, to go to small groups, to meetings at church, for board meetings, for feedings and evangelism purposes. God certainly blessed those efforts and I saw many good things come from it. Is it really wrong to want to help everyone? Is there any fault or any blame to want to do good or help others. The Bible clearly states that we should not grow tired of doing what is good. (Gal 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.)

When I read the Bible and allow God to speak to me He is challenging these beliefs. As I read about Noah, Nehemiah, Moses, Jesus, Paul etc. They were focused. When there were other needs and competing demands Jesus sent out the disciples. When there were many disputes and need for many judges; extras were appointed. When the wall needed to be rebuilt and there were other competing demands; every decision that was made was made in order to meet that one goal and purpose of having the wall rebuilt and restored. Of course there is the Scripture in Luke 14 that I have quoted and referred to many times that indicates that we should consider the cost and be willing to sacrifice all when committing to follow Christ.

This approach and thinking process of, "will doing this benefit the orphanage" when faced with opportunities and decisions has been quite liberating and beneficial. And God has certainly blessed me and given me a peace of mind. When there are competing demands; when natural catastrophes occur, when finances pull me in many directions; my centering question and thought is "will doing this benefit the orphanage". The orphanage has officially become the purpose, my calling in life. I am certainly no biblical character; and I certainly would not presume to tell someone what to do with their finances or time when it is concerning the building of God's kingdom.

When I think about the youth that we serve, there has been no natural disaster to cause the circumstance. The American Red Cross is not filling us with images daily of what happens at night to these kids. Their hunger is silent, the victimization and crimes against them are kept out of the press and it is uncomfortable to talk about. There is no good reason why these children live on the streets. Their home, "the dumpsite", was set on fire and the government forced them to move and relocate. The government provided a place for the families to live an hour away....they don't have food to eat yet they are supposed to be able to travel long distances? The children are on the streets, the concrete is their beds; prostitution and drugs are the ways that they survive. During our mission trip, many of us wanted to provide food and shoes to those currently living in the dumpsite and streets... and we did. However, the goal and reason behind that was so the team could see where our kids are coming from. I celebrate that 12 have been rescued. That the crimes against them have been stopped and they have a hope and a future.

But NOW, NOW is the time that we need people to step up and take action. The time, energy, money, etc. etc. has been poured into this orphanage to get these children off of the streets. Now is the time for you to respond and get involved. We NEED sponsors, we need financial support in order to sustain this crucial ministry. There are ALOT of needs in this world; it is not my job to prioritize these needs....but my challenge and prayer for you is to have focus, to determine your purpose and then invest in that purpose. We certainly must consider the cost; we must now respond to the need. We have made our commitment to these children and now we have the opportunity to get to know them and invest in a life. A life that was broken and rejected...can now be restored. Please be a part of that process.

It has been awhile since I have blogged and I can tell. There is alot on my mind. I also just wanted to make a quick comment about faith. God has certainly challenged me and changed my perception about my faith. I hope I don't sound like I am bragging....but HE has increased my faith.... and I think that has come from a deeper understand of what specifically faith is. Hebrews 11 is of course the faith chapter in the Bible and it starts off by providing a definition of faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. I have then seen many illustrations in church about faith. You have faith that when you sit on a chair that it will hold you up...or when you turn on a faucet that water will come out. I think that is crap! I don't think that comes close to defining or illustrating faith. Really....sitting down requires faith? Turning on a faucet requires faith? REALLY... come on... it is expected. I expect water to come out, I expect a chair to hold me up..if it doesn't I get a new one. That is not faith...its the expected. Faith is the substance of things hoped for... it is something that is tangible that comes about from a hope...a desire that is within you. It is something that occurs that you know that you cannot do; nor others can do... but you go forward anyway...hoping, praying that God will make it tangible ... that it will come to pass. Paying your bills is not living by faith. Paying your bills is that you go to work, you get paid for working and you pay who you owe. If your debt is more than your salary...that is not faith...that is just poor money management and your car is going to get repossessed.

Have you dared to dream what God can do with your life? With your hands, with your work, with your family, your church, your money.... your whatever. Have you taken steps of FAITH ... of Hope .... that would allow God (and not something that you can explain) to make it happen. That He would produce evidence out of the unseen or the unknown? It is hard and difficult to ask others to live by faith. It is hard for me to ask my family... I mean they rely heavily on me to provide the mortgage payments, food, clothing etc. through my job. To ask friends, brothers and sisters in Christ to step out on faith that we are not done with The Rescue Foundation is going to be scary. That we don't have any money in the bank right now and there are 12 youth depending on us to take care of them is scary.... but I know there is more... I have faith there is more. God has more and more laid it on my heart for every 1 child that is in our orphanage there is 1,000 more on the street. I know that we need a church... a church that will reach out to share the gospel with these thousands... a church that will provide food and basic needs as best as it can... as it ministers and shares the love of Christ to these thousands..... The Rescue Foundation is preventing the problem as well...several of the children are yet to be on the of their parents have died and they are at risk but we are intervening before they make it... and we are committing to them that we are going to get them through college so that they in return can reinvest in their families and communities to where they have come from.... .BUT what we have already discovered is that the lifestyles of those who are on the street are lifestyles of violence, of hitting, or drug use and is what they have known from survival... and it is becoming more and more clear that we will need a seperate place to house those who have special needs; who have more extreme behaviors ... and where they stay will require staff to be awake 24/7 to provide adequate care.... we have a call to those who need rescued. It is certainly going to require sacrifice, clarity of our single purpose and goal, and at least a mustard seed of faith to succeed. We must put God in His rightful place as Lord of the orphanage. We must in hand be good stewards and people of prayer as we respond to His leading and will.

It costs about a dollar a day to feed one of the children at the Rescue Foundation. If you can give us a dollar you have given hope to a child for a day. I hope that God will make your purpose clear. I hope that you have a desire to join The Rescue Foundation in rescuing these children from their prison that society has placed them in. No dollar amount is too little... I would love it if you could commit to doing something weekly, or monthly.... please pray for our children. Transitioning into a home after living on the streets is very difficult. Please pray for our staff as they seek to provide the best care possible for these precious youth. I know this has been long.... but I cannot be silent about the overwhelming need we have right now. We need food, we need a car, we need to pay our rent. If you have been waiting for a reason or a good time to give... this would be the time. I pray that God will bless you and increase your faith as we continue this journey together.


Thursday, January 14, 2010


Well the team arrived on Wednesday at 4pm in Knoxville. We started the journey home at 8pm on Monday (7am in Knoxville). Which means our entire trip took us 33 hours. Our last day there we got two more boys. The boy who could not speak and his friend. They were shocked and excited to see a working restroom with a shower. One of the first things they did was take off their clothes and wash; and then brush their teeth. The boys were elated to feel clean. Christine and Kim had purchased clothes for all of the kids at the orphanage. In preparation of their arrival they had a few outfits waiting for them. The boys quickly made the place their home, coloring, playing with the toys and making friends with Jolley. The rest of the children were in school and were not there to greet the boys. When I arrived, the boys gave me a big hug and were eager to help me unload the car and bring items into the home. They were excited to see the radio/CD player and other items that were purchased that morning for the home. The boy who had been chained into his room was now given freedom. Freedom of a new home, new clothes, food, a clean and safe place to live. The chains of not knowing the true love of God and who Jesus truly is has been taken away as well. It is easy to miss the spiritual implications of the orphanage if you are not careful. It is easy to see the transformations that takes place regarding the physical appearance of the children, the food provided, the living conditions..etc etc..but the unseen; what will truly change their lives is the spiritual. I read in an article that it was determined that over 90% of Filipinos are Christian. What is left out of this article is the belief that the Catholic teachings of the Santo Nino being Jesus, and that to approach God you must go through Mary and that Jesus is not a personal Lord and Saviour but a distant God that you cannot have a personal relationship with is considered Christian. If you take out the equation the Catholicism in the Philippines (which I recognize is different from most Catholic teachings in other parts of the world) the percentage of Christians in the Philippines goes down to about 7%.

After taking care of the boys, we left to do some last minute shopping for the orphanage, Gail went to visit with Ben and Bayon at Mercy, we had lunch; and then we returned to the orphanage. Many of us packed, while others prayer walked the entire property. We were also able to meet the Yaya who will be providing day to day care of the youth. We prayed over the gazeebo, where the basketball goal was located; dining area and their bedrooms. Each of us filled with emotions as we prayed for the street children that now had a name. Those who we have coveted with to provide food, shelter, clothing and any other need that they may have. As we were praying our faith was challenged and our trust in the staff was weighed. I think each of us had developed a bond with at least a few of the children if not all. And now what? We were going to leave them; we took them out of an abusive environment to just spend a few days with them and that was it? No, the Lord answered that these few were the ones who were Blessed. The ones who were cherished. They had been rescued, they were safe now.... no the task has just begun to rescue all that He has planned for; our task is not to cry for those that we had got to know and love; but to have a sense of urgency and desire to rescue those that we are yet to meet.

It is odd, but something that I had not considered on this trip is those who joined this journey with me in June of 2009. I had been praying and hoping that there would be a day that I would be a part of helping the street children in Cebu since the year 2000. In 2009 when the first team came and they saw the conditions that the children were living in; were able to wash away their dirt; hold and love children who had been neglected and abused; their hearts were challenged too. The lives of the team were forever changed. Since June 2009 there has been a group of us meeting, praying, raising money, crying and sacrificing time with our families hoping for a day that these children that we encountered would have a safe place to live. That day came this January 2010. God heard our cries and our longings to help these children and he blessed us with a great home and wonderful staff to provide care for these kids. What didn't occur to me is what happened to many in the Bible. Some sowed seed, some watered and God gave the increase. Many of our team members in June have sacrificed so much; there are ALOT of people who have never been to the Philippines who have been touched by the stories of these kids who have financially supported us from day one... yet they did not get to experience the joy of preparing the home and spending time with these children. Perhaps that is a glimpse of what faith is like. Evidence of things not seen; to be able to invest your time, money and energy into something and not get to physically see the children, to not be able to hold them, to not wipe away their tears or hear their words of gratitude; but to know in your heart that this is happening; to know that the orphanage is not all about you that it is not all about me; that it is really not all about these kids. This orphanage is about building God's kingdom. The injustice in the Philippines has no place in God's kingdom. The poverty, the neglect, the abuse and suffering have no place in His Kingdom. God has called His people. He has chosen us and He has chosen this place to be a place to make His name known. Out of these street children that are now at the orphanage will one day be teachers, pastors, doctors and nurses. The sick will become healers; the abused will become teachers; the victims will become pastors. Is it this building that will do this? Is it the Americans who see this need doing this? No, in all of this; whatever is good, whatever is pure; whatever that will be everlasting is totally from God. Our joy comes from the fact that God allows us to be a part of it. Our joy comes from the fact that we get to be obedient to God and make Him known. We are a part of building His kingdom. I cannot think of a better purpose for a life. Will you be a part?


Sunday, January 10, 2010


This trip I have tried to give you snapshots into our days so that you may have an idea of how the team feels and how they may view this trip. I have attempted to even give you a small insight into the Philippine culture, the conditions that they live in and why what we are doing is of importance. To answer the question of why we go to the edge of the globe (that is for you David Madden) and spend literally thousands of dollars to build an orphanage. My goal is not to convince you that what we are doing is right or wrong. My goal is not to convince you that you should somehow be a part of this journey that God has led us on. My hope is that you would see God; that you would see and experience Jesus the way that I have through being in His service and seeking to do His will. The Philippines is my Calcutta. The place where God has called me to serve. My prayer for you is that you discover yours. It may be in your own home, it could be at your enemies house, it may be a few blocks down, or yours may be halfway around the world as well. I just hope you get to experience God in this mighty and real way.

Yesterday was simply amazing. A day of worship....with our kids!! It was the first time that any of them had been to a church outside of their local Catholic Church. It was the first time that they heard in a church setting that Jesus is Lord and the Author of their Salvation. We all got to briefly share why we came to the Philippines and introduce ourselves. Jonathan then shared about unity. Unity of Spirit, Unity of Churches, Unity of purpose; Jonathan posed the question what if all denominations put down the theological differences and united for a common purpose and vision. Jonathan's challenge for the church was for them to be united with us to help the street children of Cebu.....and they accepted the challenge.

We did get to spend some time with the two boys. The ones who were lost for several weeks and who get chained up because they run off. They were happy to see us and eager to go with us. We met with their parents and explained the rules and purposes of the orphanage. They accepted. We were scheduled to pick the boys up last night. But due to a shopping spree of cosmic porportions (we really didn't get fancy stuff, one outfit for each person at our home and school supplies); we were late and unable to get the, as soon as I get done typing this...that is where we are off to.

From church we went to SM. In the Philippines, Sunday is family day. It is truly a Sabbath...and they really truly practice it. You spend the day with those closest to you, who you value the most...and nothing is to interfere with this custom in the Philippines. And we spent it with our kids. We took them to KFC (as any good Baptist would do....of course we are Methodist); then we broke off into teams. Chuck, Chris, Jonathan and Michelle went and watched Alvin and the Chipmunks. Kim (our shopping ninja), Kristine, Gail and myself went with Arnell, Glen (one of our boys) and Emily (our oldest girl) to go shopping. It was truly a day of firsts and the kids eyes just sparkled. They hugged us, kissed us, jumped into our arms, sang to us, they truly loved us the best they knew how....first time of seeing a movie or being in a theater for all, first time of riding an elevator for all, first time of ever being in a mall for all, first time to have a shake..etc. etc. etc. The kids were genuinely appreciative and sweet. 20 hours later (joke..) we left the mall and got some Jollibee (look that up) on our way back to the orphanage. We then had our Despedida (look that up too). All of the kids came out of their rooms and each of them shared about their lives, where they came from and how we were able to give them hope and encouragement. None of them expected to be the one chosen. There were tons of tears and holding each other. I am not sure if I can add video, but if I can I will come back to this post in a few days so you can see the testimony of the kids. They then gave us a picture and frame of our island hopping trip. What a great day.

To end (this will more than likely be my last post); as Arnell and I were leaving the orphanage and talking about our dream of having one; how the first team came and really gave us a clear vision of how that should look; we were two happy grown men basking in the goodness of God and how He knows how to love us and give us more than we can hope or imagine. As we were discussing the time line; Arnell just smiled and laughed saying that it wasn't until 12/1/09 that he was able to sign off on the property and start work on it. He said that he had to really rush and if our team hadn't come to help who knows how long it would have taken. As we were discussing the dates; the orphanage was truly open in 40 days and 40 nights from 12/1. We thought that was cool and kind of joked about it and what a neat coincidence. This morning when I woke up the first thing I did was read the letters from my kids. My daughter Madi wrote me this really sweet letter. At the end of it she quoted Scripture for me. It was the story of Noah and his faithfulness to build the ark...I don't know if you recall the story but in the Scripture that she quoted from me she put "I (God) will cause it to rain on the Earth for forty days and forty nights".... God reminded me that there are no such things as a coincidence; that this was His plan all along; that this is His orphanage and these children are the one that He has picked out and brought to us. What a mighty and amazing God we serve. May I never forget!



This is Michelle. She is one of the children in our "new family". She is eleven years old, in grade six. Please pray about sponsoring Michelle. It only takes $3.75/day to sponsor a child, $100/month covers all meals, education needs, clothing, shelter and healthcare.

Maybe you can't do the entire $100/month, what about your small group or Sunday School class. How quickly do we in America waste $100 on silliness or things we don't need.

Please pray about sponsoring a child at the Wesley Home for Youth.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


The team woke up fairly early as they do every morning. As they got ready and started the regular routine...something was different. This morning there were 7 total kids in the home. As they started to do their chores they saw the children starting to clean up as well...and doing a better job at it; so, the team thought they would cook them breakfast. So, the team gets the items out and begins to prepare the meal...and then the children see what they are doing. They quickly assure the team that they will be the ones to cook the breakfast (I can only assume to save it at this point) ... to wake up and see children who were once out in the street; who were vicitmized to be the ones to care for you, to prepare your meal, is a role reversal no one anticipated; the breakfast was amazing! The team knew right off of the bat that this was going to be a special day.

During the trip to where the boat was located; the oldest boy, Glen was seated next to me. We talked about Jesus, the Santo Nino, praying to the saints and mother Mary..etc.etc. As we talked Glen shared that he believed that the only way to God was through Mother Mary; that she was the intercessor. He shared that he believed in the Santo Nino and that he was Jesus and that Jesus is God. Therefore he believed that the baby doll is God and hears his prayers. I shared with Glen for some time about who Jesus is; that He is personal and talked about in Hebrews that Glen can boldly approach the throne of God. That God is not distant but close. Glen appeared to be really open about discussing God. Chuck also joined the conversation to discuss one's faith and what a relationship with Jesus looks like. With Glen being the oldest boy, he will influence the beliefs and perceptions of all of the kids in the orphanage. He will be the one they look to for protection and advice. So, his role is key. Later that night I gave him my Bible and showed him how to use it properly and all of the resources inside. I challenged him to not follow man or any of his teachings. I asked him if he had questions or wanted to really know something about God that he should read and study it first and then maybe ask someone he trusts. Glen seemed truly open to this suggestion. Please pray for Glen and his salvation as the days come.

As we drove to go island hopping, the youth discussed never have ridden in a nice car, that they had never been on a boat, never been to any beaches off of Cebu Island....that all of this was new and exciting for them. As we boarded the boat the kids were filled with excitement and anticipation. When we stopped, it was between two islands. The water was crystal clear. Since I was one of the only adults that could not swim; I decided it would be a good idea for me to go first. The water was perfect temperature; the only bad thing was my life preserver was on backwards; that was easy to fix. For about 30 minutes or so, very few of the kids would go into the water; but then after awhile they jumped in. They created water games and played with the team for a long time. All of them had huge smiles as they swam (with life jackets) in the ocean for the first time. They all looked out for each other. After we played there for over an hour we went to another island about 20 minutes away. We took our group picture and then walked to the other side where there was a beach. It was GORGEOUS! The beach part itself was small and came to a point. But we walked and walked and walked and it never got above our waists. I would imagine it was at least a 1/2 mile out and the water was still at our waist. The youth and the team played and kind of swam in the water for awhile until we realized we were not the only creatures in the sea. The kids found hundreds of sand dollars and star fish. There were these slug type things and crabs as well. Michelle (one of the youngest girls) enjoyed chasing Kim around the beach with all of the various creatures of the sea. The kids would call out to us "Kuya Chris, Kuya Dustin, Kuya Jonathan..etc.etc." Kuya is a word that can be used for uncle; but it is a more deep seeded word that means "one I respect and honor" they called us by our names we were eager to see what they wanted and or needed. As the youth became part of us and us a part of them I could not keep but thinking of the parallels with us and God. (not that the mission team is even close to being a god)... But is has been a mystery to me of what Jesus meant when he stated that we are in Him and He is in us. I got the He is in us part..with the Holy Spirit..but me in Him. But as I talked and interacted with these children and their joy and tears flowed freely they were becoming a part of me. If one was to holler I would quickly look to see if they were okay and did not need anything; it helps me to understand how we are engrafted into the vine and becoming part of God's family; like these children are becoming a part of my family. We left there with tons of starfish and sand dollars...but the memories and relationships that were formed will last a life time.

We ended the day by all of us going to Arnell's home for BBQ. It was a great time of fellowship and relaxation as we sat around and recapped our day and ate with the kids. They were really funny. They had truly opened up and were talkative. They were 100% part of the group. At the end of the evening we gathered together with all of Arnell's family. Earlier Gail had spent some time providing care for his mother and showing some of Arnell's family members how to take care of her. We then all prayed with Arnell, his wife and his aunts for his mom and extended family. We hope that this was a source of encouragement to them as the have all been providing care for her for many days.

This was one of the best days of my life. Seeing these children happy and safe; away from all of the hardships on the streets. God has truly blessed us beyond anything that we could hope or imagine. Please pray for us today as we go to church with our family from the orphanage. I cannot wait to worship with them. Please pray for Jonathan as he prepares to share the message with the congregation. Pray that as we spend one of our last days with the kids that everything will go well and that they will feel loved and know the grace of God. What a wonderful day!


Friday, January 8, 2010


I am very sorry that I have not updated in awhile. And today is not going to be much better. I have alot of people waiting on me as I type this...but hey it is the Philippines.

My foot is 80% healed and I am doing much better. I spent all day yesterday in Manila and I now have my passport. We spent all day on 1/7/09 with Jolley and getting supplies for the orphanage. Things that should last for at least a month like food and bedding things. We also got some items for the school.

Yesterday the team really got to experience the dumpsite. They went to where hundreds if not thousands of children were staying at the dumpsite. Several shared how much seeing and experiencing this opened their eyes. I believe it may have given a clearer picture as to why the orpahange and not just handed some food and clothes. The need is to great and you must pray and discern who you can help and who really wants the help. It is truly overwhelming...but we have a BIG God.

We now have 7 total in the orphanage. 5 girls and 2 boys. A few will be coming today why we are out island hoppiing with the other 7 kids. The orphanage is slowly but surely filling up. Our hearts are filling up with emotions as we want to stay and invest and give to these kids while missing our own families. This is always a difficult time because we leave out on Monday night...but there is still SO much that still needs to be done. May God give us wisdom and discernment as we seek to be good stewards of our time and resources. Pray for our new children. Some of them could not sleep last night because they believe in witches. They believe they live in the trees and as you have seen our orphanage is surrounded by trees. Pray that we can effectively communicate with them. I must go...lots to share... but I am being a good steward of my time :-)


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


My day certainly started off different from the rest of the team. The team for the first time spent the entire night at the orphanage. The hearts and attitudes are much like Christ's; it appears they cannot give enough or serve enough. Their minds are set on service and giving to the filipinos and to the success of WHY (Wesley Home for Youth). Wouldn't you know that their night would not be complete without a few spiders to greet them, a few lizards and a black out.

They woke up early around 5:30 anxious to get all of the renovations complete. Each team member took on different projects that best utilized their skills. Many were still doing manual labor of elecrician work, completing the bamboo fence, preparing the food, completing the paint work; each member investing their hearts and soul into what is to come.

I woke up still in alot of pain; my foot was just not right; so I went to the hospital and where I had been eatting so much soy sauce and fish; at the ripe old age of 35 has successfully achieved gout. Anyone that has arthritis or known someone with it...when it is enflamed (sp?) you know how much joy that is. So, I personally didn't get to the orphanage until 2pm. Once there, I left 30 minutes later. It was time to go and get the families. We rented a jeepney and put the rest in two cars. Over 12 families were headed to see their new home. They arrived to be greeted with a large meal of hot dogs, hamburgers and spaghetti. The families all gathered around the tables to eat like most if not all have never eatten before. Time would fail me to share each of their stories. Most if not all were large families with too many kids. All of the parents having come to the realization that they cannot provide for their child. Many of them have already been on the streets begging, hoping to get something to eat for the day b/c they had gone without food for days. This placed symbolized hope for these families; it symbolized a better tomorrow; the parents were all smiling realizing how their one child may live and that the place that they were at may also help their other kids from being put out on the streets as well.

Jolley was with an extended realitive. He is 9. His dad was killed several years ago and his mother could not provide for him. Jolley has been living on the streets and begging for years. Exposed to all of the elements that we have discussed; drugs, prostitution, hunger and abuse. Jolley came with his backpack; eager to never go back to the world as he has known it. With a big smile he ate and ate and ate; he played with different team members. As the team was finishing the day we took several hours to plan our week. As we were discussing friday and working with the street kids at the dumpsite; there laid Jolley. Silent, taking pictures of team members, playing on Kim's phone, in a home... a home... something that he has never truly known in his life. As we talked about getting shoes and supplies for street kids; there was Jolley, experiencing his first clean couch, a new bed, a new life; As we talked about giving to kids that we have never met; to families that we will never see again; there laid our newest and first member of our family. A boy who we will help form spiritually, mentally, emotionally and intellectually. There laid a boy who has been victimized in everyway possible that through the grace of God may be able to attend college. We will joyfully give our band-aids on Friday; but we were sitting in a building, next to a boy that we would have visited on Friday who we will love and get to know for the rest of his life. We were sitting in the solution that God provided looking right into the eyes of the question feeling humbled that HE allowed us to be part of the answer. I can't wait to see all that God will do through him. I cannot wait to see what God will do through the orphanage. All that we have been working for ... all that I had been dreaming of for over 9 years... sat across from me silent; with a huge smile on his face; feeling loved and safe for the first time in his life. All of our sacrifices, all of the worry, all of the time spent in preparation...was all worth Friday there will be at least 12 more Jolley's sitting there; playing there.....what an amazing God we serve. God has used so many people in so many ways to make this happen. From prayer, financial support, to coming to see the kids; and God from the beginning had it all planned; He knew how He was going to use each one of us for that moment to happen. To Him be all the glory and praise.



Tuesday, January 5, 2010


This will be briefer than most. As I am typing my foot is pounding; not sure what is wrong with it and I will be headed to the doctor soon. Also, I have lost my passport it appears so will be making plans to get a new one issued soon. Please pray for this.

Yesterday was another amazing, fantastic day. The majority of the team spent it at the orphanage. Chuck and Chris installed the air conditioner; put plastic up over the open windows, and worked on electrical wiring for lights. Kim and Kristine spent the day painting...towards the end of the day you could tell, they must have really breathed in alot of those fumes :-D Jonathan and Michelle completed the railing/fence made out of bamboo...that was a monster project to tackle. Gail went to the department of health to gather information and learn about protocols and expectations for the orphanage regarding medical care. She then worked on forms that should be completed on each child. Arnell and I went and got supplies that were needed, ordered items, helped paint some, helped with the plastic over the windows some; we basically went where needed. The team seems to have really bonded and are working great together. In order to be more time efficent they spent the night at the orphanage. Some will spend the night there almost every night, but as we get more kids in; the beds and showers will soon run out and perhaps half the team will need to stay in a room.

Today is the big day when all of the potential kids come to see the orphanage and alot of families and community leaders will come to tour the home. We are excited that there will be at least 2 children who will be staying with us tonight. We are so blessed and it is exciting to see the completion of the preparations for the children and now we get to enjoy the children. O Happy Day!!



Monday, January 4, 2010

Luke 14 26 - 35

This is a passage that I feel describes where our entire team is right now. All of us are discerning where we are in this journey with Christ, how much we have given, and how much we are still holding onto. There have been multiple opportunities for the team to say, "I am too tired", or "we don't have enough money" or "shouldn't we be dong x, y, or z instead of a, b, or c"...but they have not. The team this past morning got to experience one of the most frustrating aspects of short term missions known to man...waiting. It seemed that one thing came up after another that delayed us getting to the orphanage. Arnell and I were running behind (I know imagine that right?) but eventually picked up the team from where they were staying around 10:40. Gail Shipp had successfully made it in earlier that morning and we headed off to check into the new hotel that they will be staying for just one night. Since there is SO much to do before Wednesday; the team decided that they will stay all night in the orphanage tonight (Tuesday) and then look at how they want to break up their night stays.

After checking in we finally got to the orphanage around 12pm. Jonathan and Michelle was introduced to sawing bamboo with a dull saw and how to chop the bamboo with a machette. They pretty much did that ALL day!! We will use that wood to build our dining room table and some of it for the gazeebo. Chuck and Chris left shortly after getting there to get supplies to do the electrical work that they needed to do and then returned to trouble shoot all of the unique wiring that our Filipino brothers had left for them. After alot of prayer and discernment Chris and Chuck were able to get some lights put up and have a few more to complete today. Gail was busy getting things set up to do health screenings for the children who come for the intake process. She will be going to the health department today (Tuesday) to complete her preparation for the big day on Wednesday. The rest of us Kim, Kristine and myself with to Ayala which is a huge mall in Cebu. We purchased flooring that will placed today; we purchased 14 mattresses; 12 blankets (we will not let 2 go cold, we anticipate starting off with 12); paint for the beds, railing and several walls, brushes; Kim and Kristine got into the kids toy section...bad idea.... and walked away with basketballs, soccer balls, hoops, and all kinds of crazy stuff for our kids to enjoy while at the orphanage. As we returned back to the orphanage we purchased chicked lechon for the team to eat for dinner, some mangoes, and 2 phones for the team to call each other back and forth on that we will give to orphanage staff to use while we are gone and for mission teams to use when they return.

After dinner we had a great time of sharing and prayer. I was thankful that Arnell participated and we were able to pray for his mother who is slowly dying of cancer and kidney failure. It was a great time of bonding for the team.

Today, (Tuesday) will be more of the same. There are just a few items we still need and then ALOT of manual labor to get everything ready. I believe I shared in an earlier post that tomorrow (Wednesday) is when the kids (all of them) and their families will be coming to the orphanage to visit and then some of the key supporters will be there as well. We will feed all of them American food (spaghetti.don't laugh), give them a tour, and may have a brief time to speak and sing songs with the visitors...who will soon be residents. After they leave; our team will discuss each family and their situation to get a clear understanding of who will qualify and who may not. Many of the kids that we anticipated to be placed there did not come to our Sunday meeting and many that we did not identify showed up. So God is bringing to us who He has chosen. Please pray for us during this process. It is easy when looking at the cost and time and sacrifice to get discouraged; but we know this is of the enemy. What a blessed time to be in service for our God. As we build and go into war (above Scripture reference) may we be found to be a true disciple of Christ.

Pray for strength for the team today. Working outside in the heat is difficult. Pray that we are a witness to some of the laborers that are there working alongside of this constructing and completing what needs to be done.



Sunday, January 3, 2010

and then there was Sunday!

You may be wondering why there are no pictures on the blog. I must confess, there are alot of pictures that have been taken, and I remembered the cord from the camera to the computer...yet in my wisdom and discernment I neglected to bring the software that allows the downloads on the computer. So, pictures will be posted when we return.

May I begin by reminding you of God's greatness and goodness. We sing of it, we pray to Him about it, we talk about it, but for some reason; I often walk away surprised acknowledging His goodness, faithfullness and greatness. It is as if I say I believe but half way expect (so I won't get disappointed) that God will not give us more than we hope or imagine...yet He does it over and over again; and each time there is a part of me that is surprised. My faith is weak....anyways, you did not check this post to hear about my faith.

The team had a great breakfast at Tambului ...which makes me smile, again to get personal, this is the place where my friend Arnell got married :-) a great start to a busy day. Everyone was up and ready to go by 8am. Some got 13 hours of sleep... I was envious. We headed off to Zion church for a worship service. No one at the church knew we were coming; no one knew to expect us. It was great! We got there as soon as it started. The morning heat seemed to symbolize that there were fires within the hearts of the people there as we were worshipping. The church is not enclosed; to the side the children were dancing to the music and the team was able to freely worship God. There was a new pastor at Zion church named Nick. He preached on prayer and it was great! After the service we were fellowshipping with everyone and there were two boys who were really alot of fun. They were doing flips, hitting each other, playing, jumping, and the team fell in love with them. After a few minutes of interaction we realized that one boy could not hear and he could not speak. He loved to hit the drums and make noises/sounds. The other boy the same age (they both appear to be about the age of my son, 4) interpreted for him; they seemed to have their own language. The pastor shared that the boys were missing for 3 weeks, that they go out playing in the streets, eatting trash, begging, and using drugs. The mute boy's parents will tie a chain around his leg to keep him from leaving the home. The boy had several cigarette burns where people burned him; he had a place under his mouth that was an open sore where he had been huffing glue. The pastor did not have a resource in the community to offer....until there came Sunday and a group of white folks from East TN happened to come to his worship service unannounced and unknown to pastor Nick. Members of the church talked with the parents and they are willing to allow the 2 boys to stay at the orphanage. At 10pm that night the team in the dark, went through small alley ways, climbed over some rocks, dodged power lines that were haphazardly drooping from roof tops as we wound our way back to where the family lived. We were with the pastor and another church member who have committed to help serve and support the orphanage. As we spoke to the parents we discovered that there are 8 children total and they all appeared to struggle in their circumstances. Arnell, the pastor and others talked with the family and invited them to join us on Wednesday for our meal. There was a 8 month old boy with knots on his head, a clift (sp?) pallet who was being held by the mother. The team got to experience first hand the living conditions of the two boys and their family. The family plans to attend on Wednesday and our prayers is that this family will not only get their belly's filled but that the encounter Christ and know of the hope and peace that He has to offer. Please take a moment to pray for this family and this home as we plan to minister and provide for them.

After the worship service, the pastor offered the team to introduce themselves next Sunday. We shared that Jonathan may be coming to spend his summer in the Philippines in order to evangelize and perhaps start a church if possible. The pastor is giving Jonathan Madden an opportunity to share his heart and preach next Sunday please be in prayer.

After church the team had AWESOME chicken BBQ which is one of my personal favorites. We then left to go to the dumpsite. We started by going where we went before and we were able to fellowship with 3-4 kids that we recognized from our prior trip. We walked back through the small alleyway into where they made their homes out of trash and scrap metal. As we walked there was naked children running around, people doing their laundry by hand, the smell of trash was all aroud; and they all had the happiest faces so excited to see us. Chris Brock had brought some candy and the children enjoyed eatting the candy and posing as we took the pictures. The full magnitude of their living environment was not complete until we drove to where the dumpsite caught on fire. There was mounds and mounds of trash piled up, the smell was more intense that I can ever remember it; there were only a few living in this area, scavenging for anything to sell or eat...most are now living on the streets; with nothing to eat...and nothing to sell...simply eroding away on the streets like the trash with no one to help...and seemingly no one to care. It was explained that the dumpsite was an actual good place for these people to be b/c the trash offered hope whereas the heard concrete of the streets offer nothing but pain.

The team then went to the metro to do the shopping. They purchased food for the children to eat on Wednesday; items for their rooms, supplies to work with to build a gazeebo, shelves and a table, and other necessary items for the orphanage to be fully operational. It was a time for the team to bond and dream of how the orphanage may look and be for the children as they get ready to come.

Arnell and I went to a very large orphanage on the other side of the city. They provide a school, a church, and food to over 400 chldren. There Arnell and I interviewed all of the potential families for the orphanage. 14 in total. As we sat there, it was overwhelming to hear the stories of how parents were dead, in jail, unable to work.... simply unable to provide for their children and were asking total strangers to take their child in for a better future. It was in a hot room with no fan, just the heat of the day with families at their breaking point. We were looking these people in their face knowing that many would not be able to come to the orphanage due to the fact that the need is simply greater than the resources. During the meeting a 10 year old girl came in who had been begging on the streets and doing what she can to survive. She was a true orphan....and she made the 3rd for that day that God had brought to us that we know we will be providing care for in our home. She arguably is the most cutest, sweetest child that I have ever seen.

It was late, so the team used a drive thru at Jollibee, got some garlic burgers, and then back to the orphanage to unpack. It was past 9 once we got everything loaded and ready for us to work on today. That was when we got the phone call and the pastor came over to visit the orphanage and we went to the boys homes. I personally got in bed at 1am. The team may have been able to have gotten in bed a little earlier. What a great and glorious day. As God brings His children to us...and we are allowed to love on them and share His grace and good news. We certainly don't deserve all of God's goodness. We had no idea what He had planned for us. What a great day our Sunday turned out to be.

Please continue to pray for us as we will be doing manual labor. It is easy in the heat to overdo it. Please pray for these families that we meet and that God will make it clear as to who will call the orphanage home. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I will try this again. I have posted someting new 2 times and it has not worked....

We left Knoxville on 12/31/09 at 12:30pm. We flew to Detroit, Nagoya Japan, Manila, Philippines and finally at 6am on 1/2/10 we arrived in Cebu, Philippines. Though we stunk and were tired; our team was filled with excitement and anticipation. You would think after such a long flight we would head to the hotel for at least a shower or some rest; but instead we went straight to the orphanage. We rode for 30 minutes out of the large city and into a very small town called Liloan. We turned at a side street next to the local market, and drove down a small side road where two cars could barely pass. After only 2-3 minutes we stopped and turned left onto a bumpy side road with barely a distinguishable path, it would give any East TN road a challenge; after a little over a minute we arrived at the gate.

The orphanage was in the country, just a 5 minute walk from the school and a ten minute walk to the market. Perfect for youth. The house was small; at first I thought, maybe this is too small. As I toured, my mind wandered, envisioning children playing, laughing and spending time together; if this house was big, for a filipino family they would be uncomfortable, they may even feel alone....the house was PERFECT! There is a small living area as you walk in; Arnell had already purchased 2 couches for visitors to use. There was a small area with a refrigerator and where kitchen supplies had already been stocked and stored. As I walked up the stairs I saw a large open space. Exactly what would be needed to put tables and desks for youth to study their lessons, do crafts and play. As I walked through the wall with the team we saw where the yaya (nanny/cook) would sleep and then we saw the room where 6 bunk beds were. Currently no sheets, not painted, just the beds; we then walked down the stairs to see a similar room where the boys will sleep. Outside there is a large covered area next to the home. A great place for a table that the team will build out of bamboo that is growing on the property. Beyond that is a sink with an area for the stove to go that the team was able to purchase later that day. The home is in a big lot where there are many trees with fruit and an area where the children can farm. There is a large area next to the wall that is covered that would be perfect for a church, a fellowship area and playing. The team talked and dreamed what God could have in store for the place. The area is an empty canvas and we get to be a part of painting what God has in store for these children.

I am writing this on Sunday morning before church. We plan to go to a church that is near the orphanage. From there we will head to the dumpsite to visit with some of the victimized children. We will then meet with some of the parents of some of the children. We will end our day at Tops which is a place that overlooks the city. We will end the day much like we began it; in prayer and worship of our God who has this World embraced. It is truly humbling for our team to see the majesty and glory of God on our trip and realize that God out of His kindness and mercy are allowing us to be a part of the great things that He is doing.

We are all healthy; we are all safe. Please continue to pray for us. There will be many tough decisions made this week; there will be many long days. We miss our families but we love being obedent to God's calling.

God Bless and may you experience His grace today,