Friday, July 30, 2010


2 Corinthians 4:6-9

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness", made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

When chaos surrounds us, we are not crushed or destroyed.  We have the power of God in us.  I pray today that we will let His light shine so brightly that others will take note of the difference in our lives from the world surrounding them, persecuting them, making every effort to destroy their lives.

Thankful, Sheryl

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Project Pillowcase Update

So many people have chosen to be involved in Project Pillowcase!  Thanks to everyone who is willing to help!  I believe we can't have too many things to use to clothe naked children!  Just think of how you feel when you get a new set of clothes that you love!  Some of these children have NEVER been clothed!

In an effort to be a bit more informative I am including a helpful link in this post.  Please remember to sew as you please, all I ask is that the clothing is modest and light weight.

A helpful tutorial:
Pillowcase Dress Instructions

Thanks to Toni Jill for inspiring me to do this project, for ladies across the country - Amy, Tanya and Meredith and for the special someone that I adore!  Happiness is contagious!

Thankful, Sheryl

**Deadline is September 1**

Monday, July 26, 2010

Living in Fear

My nearly 11 year old daughter is afraid of heights.  Genuinely afraid.  She has convinced herself (along with negative nay-sayers) that she can't get on an airplane because of this fear.  When you consider that we are planning to move our family to The Philippines, this could be a problem.

Recently I have been talking with her about living in fear.  I want her to know God in a way that she trusts Him even in her greatest fear.  We can be encouraged through God's word.

Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 34:4
I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 46:1-3
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Do you live in fear of something?  Failure, what someone will think of you, rejection?  Some people may be afraid to even voice their fears because they believe others may not take them seriously or think their fears are silly and small.  Most of us have genuine fears, but when we arrange our lives around these fears could we miss a blessing?

Isaiah 41:9-11, 13
I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
I pray that today this will find you joyful, peaceful and not fearful.  God gives scripture to guide us through this scary, confusing world.  Claim it!
The response for "Project Pillowcase" so far is awesome!  Keep your ideas and excitement coming.  If you have any ideas for boys that would be super!
Thankful, Sheryl

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Project Pillowcase

After a lull in support this summer, we are heading into a month of raising funds and sponsorships with The Rescue Ministries.  As we get back into the groove of routines and schedules in August maybe you are considering or praying about ways that you can become involved.  How about......

"Project Pillowcase"

I have started sewing pillowcase dresses to send with the September Mission Team.  So many children in the dumpsite and on the streets do not have clothing and daily needs.  So let's make them something!  These dresses are simple to make and are very inexpensive.  Wanna join me?

Maybe you don't have time to sew or don't know how -- then you can support this project by providing supplies to people who can make these dresses.  Here is a list of items needed for each dress.

1 pillowcase - standard, queen or king
bias tape (wide, double fold)
grosgrain ribbon - 1-1/2 in or 2 in wide, any color

If you have sewing talents maybe you could come up with your own pattern.  Great!  I am open to any type dress as long as it is modest in length and light weight (suitable for high temperatures).  I am also looking for an idea for the boys if anyone knows of something simple.

Please contact me by email - if you are interested in participating in Project Pillowcase or want more information.

I hope you will join me or send a link to this blog to someone else who may be interested.

Thankful, Sheryl

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


The Rescue Ministries has just received approval of our non-profit status from the IRS!  This is a wonderful blessing to our ministry as it will possibly open new doors.

Isn't it amazing that in our world we need approval for nearly everything?  We fill out applications to drive, to get insurance, to go on mission trips, o give people our own money, even to visit people in jail.  Our society is so bound by approvals. 

I am thankful that I don't need anyone's approval to be a Christian!  God already knows I am a wretched sinner and He knows all the darkness in my past -- He accepts me anyway, just as I am, just where I am.  We have an amazing Saviour.  I hope we will be less judging of others and more forgiving, just as we have been forgiven by the one true and living God.

Thankful, Sheryl

Monday, July 19, 2010

Home....and onward

Hello Friends!

After some complications from the typhoon our Summer Missionaries, Jonathan, Pam and Michelle are back home in Tennessee.  Colleen is back at her home in San Antonio, Texas.  Thanks to each of you for giving of your time and talents and following God to The Philippines.  I am blessed by each of you.  It was precious to see your changed faces at church yesterday.

The ministry continues to stay busy.  We are now preparing for a Sponsorship/Donation Drive during the month of August and sending out our next mission team in September. If you would like to have Dustin or one of our team members speak at your church, to your small group or Sunday School class please contact us.  Thanks for continuing to spread the word.  It truly amazes me daily how much God has done in the past year!  Thank you for supporting us financially and prayerfully.

Thankful, Sheryl

Monday, July 12, 2010

You're Invited!

You've been invited. This invitation is not to a party but to a person. Jesus wants to open his heart to you, so he has said, "Come to me." This invitation is addressed to all who are weary and carry heavy burdens. This invitation is for you. Jesus wants you to come to him so he can give you the gift of rest. He knows that what you need is real rest--not just for your body, but also for your soul. And only Jesus can give you soul rest. He wants you to rest from trying to be good enough and from doing too much. He wants you to fully rest in his finished work on the cross, his provision of salvation. This is rest that begins now and continues into eternity. Jesus knows that if we don't rest in him, we'll sacrifice the important for the urgent, the personal for the public. If we don't rest in him, we'll end up empty on the inside, moving through life in a fog of meaningless religious ritual.

So how do you RSVP to Christ's invitation? He said, "Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you." At first this may sound like just another burden. But the yoke of Jesus is the burden that makes all other burdens bearable. This yoke is what connects us to Jesus so that he can share our load. He wants to bear the weight of your burdens with his strong shoulders.

So when you find yourself searching for something to soothe the pain in your life, will you listen for the voice of Jesus whispering his invitation into your ear, "Come to me"? When you feel your frustration building and your strength fading, hear Jesus saying, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens." When you find yourself weighed down by unrealistic expectations or unbearable emotions, Jesus says, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:30, NIV).

Jesus stands with his arms outstretched saying, Come away from what is insignificant and empty so you can enter into what is eternal, essential, restful. Come to me. Let me love you. Who could resist such an invitation?

Nancy Guthrie, The One Year Book of HOPE

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 12

Today was my last Sunday here in the Philippines. We attended church at Zion Prayer Garden. The church has an amazing vision to make disciples and plant churches throughout the Philippines. The kids from WHY and I sang 3 worship songs as part of service – “Shout to the Lord”, “Enough”, and “No Sweeter Name”. The kids really love singing and worshiping. Then the church gave the four of us from the U.S. an opportunity to speak. I didn’t know they were going to do that, so I just had to wing it and listen to the Holy Spirit on what to say. That’s always fun! ☺
After church, we made one last trip to Jollibee for lunch. Jollibee is the Filipino equivalent to our McDonalds. You can get fried chicken with rice there, so that’s what I had. Just about every meal in the Philippines comes with rice. I should have rice coming out my ears by now with all of it that I’ve eaten these past couple of weeks. Before we left for lunch, we got to meet Jeraluz’s mother, Lucy. She is the one for whom I have been asking you to pray. She is pregnant, and she is scheduled to deliver a baby girl next week. The doctors say that the baby is in the breech position, and that she will have to have a C-section, which the family cannot afford to pay for. We had an opportunity to lay hands on Lucy and pray for her and this baby girl. I still believe that she will turn. I could actually feel the baby kicking quite a bit against my hand as we were praying.

After lunch, we took some of the kids to the neighborhood Karaoke place. It’s not what you would typically see in the U.S. This is just a little stand set up outdoors. It has a huge TV and speakers. You put in a 5-peso coin, and that buys you 2 songs. That’s a pretty great deal. It would be like 20 cents per song in the States. Next to the karaoke stand was a field with goats, so they got to enjoy our singing. Filipinos love singing, but then so do I. Needless to say, we were there for almost 3 hours. So much fun! This one Filipino man came towards the end of our time there, and he had an amazing voice. He started singing the song “Faithfully” by Journey, and asked if anyone knew the song…. so he and I wound up singing it as a duet. I found out later that he gives voice lessons at a local music store. Yeah, he pretty much showed me up. It was still a blast, though.

Tonight was our “despidida” (our farewell party). We had an awesome meal of rice, chicken, bbq pork, lumpia, and Dunkin Donut’s doughnut holes for dessert. ☺ After dinner we gave the kids some gift bags with toiletry items and some pictures we had taken of them with their parents or guardians. Then they gave us gifts. This is when I lost it. I’ve been teaching the kids a lot of worship songs and guitar stuff while I’ve been here, so they made me a homemade booklet in the shape of a guitar. They had each taken the time to write a personal message for me. I think the fact that they took so much time to do that combined with the fact that I’m leaving tomorrow caused the tears to come. These children are so amazing. They have really welcomed us into, not only their home, but into their hearts. I can’t wait to see all of the wonderful things God is going to do in and through these kids. Please pray that they would continue to grow in the knowledge of Him and have a true understanding of His love and grace in their lives.

Tomorrow I will head to Manila for a few days. It all feels bittersweet. I’m looking forward to seeing friends there, but saying goodbye to these kids is going to be difficult.


From Jonathan:

Tomorrow we will get up early and have breakfast with the kids, then we are hoping to do our last load of laundry before we all depart. After lunch we are planning to take Colleen to the airport and then Mom is going to see the doctor she saw a few weeks ago about her leg at 2:30 that afternoon. Michelle, Mom and I are leaving Cebu at 8:15 on Tuesday evening, and then we leave Manila at 6:30 Wednesday morning. I have really enjoyed my time here and I wish I could stay longer. Unfortunately my plane ticket is a round trip ticket and was very expensive, so I suppose it is almost time to come home. I feel like there have been a lot of frustrations and last minute changes in plans, but I truly feel like God has done some incredible things while we have been here. I would love to tell you that I have done a lot of great things here, but that is simply not true. A lot of incredible things happened while we have been here, but they are too incredible for our team to have done on our own. It is very obvious to me that God has been working here in Cebu and at WHY. We will have two more kids come to live at WHY before the end of the month, another child will be sponsored by someone, we have developed a very good relationship with ZPG and the people there, Pastora Salve Cuizon will start coming to WHY every Saturday starting next Saturday for a few hours to have a Bible study with the kids, and we starting having a daily devotional/worship time here at WHY and we are very confident that the kids will continue to do that after we leave. We also have a chance to visit the homes of almost all of the kids already living here (we did not get to visit Jeraluz's home or John Lloyd's…but Michelle and I visited John Lloyd's home last January), and we visited with the principal of the elementary school and the high school in Liloan where our kids at WHY attend school. I feel like we have faced a lot of opposition while we have been here, but through prayer we stuck together and God still did incredible work in the midst of it all. Praise be to God!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 11, from Colleen

Today we got up early for our outing with the all the kids from WHY. We drove across the causeway to Lapu Lapu City on Mactan Island. From there we rented a boat for the day to take us island hopping. Neither pictures nor words do the beautiful scenery here justice.

We basically would just stop at different locations and get out to swim. The first stop was pretty great. We had a blast collecting seashells, starfish, and sand dollars. We also taught the kids how to have “chicken fights”.

The next place was not as great. The bottom was a bit slimy. Plus, there were a lot of sea urchins there, which you do not want to come into contact with. Michelle from our team got one little splinter in her foot from one, and it hurt her pretty much the rest of the day.

Then we stopped at another island to pick up some lunch. Jocelyn, Boboy, and I got off the boat to carry the food back to the kids. Well, the tide got low as we were waiting, so our boat drivers said they needed to take the boat further out. Once we had the food, then we had to find a way to get it and ourselves back to the boat. This man had a small boat, so he offered to take us. He only had 1 small paddle and some bamboo poles for maneuvering. It was quite humorous watching us attempt to steer this boat. At one point, the boat was pointed the wrong direction completely. All the Filipinos on the other boats near the place we were trying to reach were staring at us. We were giving them quite a show. We made it though, and the kids from WHY said we could be on “Survivor – Philippines”. Ha! We got to eat our lunch, and we discovered if we threw a little bit of rice in the water, some beautiful tropical fish would swarm around our boat to come eat it.

Then we went to the island of Olongo to go to a Bird Sanctuary. We fit as many people from our group as we could into two tricycles (motorcycle with a side car). We had to pay about $10 for the ride there and back, and then it was about $10 to get in. What they don’t tell you until you get there is that the birds all migrate to Japan during this time of year and don’t come back until around September. That might have been nice to know before we paid our money to see birds. Our tour guide showed us about 3 birds through a telescope, and that was about it. So now we call it the “Birdless Sanctuary”.

We were riding on the tricycles back from the “Birdless Sanctuary” when I saw something that made me about spit my sides from laughing. We passed a school named “Poo Elementary”. I don’t know if “Poo” is an acronym for something else, but I’m really wondering what people were thinking when they selected that name. I tried to get a picture, but we were speeding by too fast.
We went back to Lapu Lapu to return the boat. Again, the tides were too low for the boat to take us all the way to the shore. This time, though, we had to wade to the shore. This was a challenge because the strong pull of the water kept making my flip flops come apart.
Everyone was pretty wiped out from our day of fun, and the kids all fell asleep on the ride home. We did still manage, though, to have our devotional and worship time before bed. We had thought about taking the night off since everyone was so tired, but all the girls had gone to their room to get their Bibles that we gave them. It’s so awesome to see them motivated and excited about reading God’s Word and singing His praises!
Tomorrow we will sing some songs at church. The kids are really excited, and I think they are a bit nervous too. Pray that their worship will make an impact on the people there.
Please pray for Jonathan, one of our team members, as he speaks tomorrow at church as well.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 10, from Colleen

Well, this morning I finished putting together the folder & CD’s with worship songs for the kids here at WHY. I truly believe that our worship has the power to change the atmosphere and help us enjoy the presence of the Lord, and I pray that the kids will learn how to use their worship in this way. We tried contacting someone from a local ministry today to see if they knew of anyone who could come once a week to give guitar lessons, but we kept experiencing technical difficulties – a.k.a cell phone problems. Either their phone was out of the area or turned off completely. Really frustrating! Pray that we will get to speak to someone on Sunday.

The afternoon and most of the evening was spent shopping –uugh! I’m not the type of person who likes spending hours at the mall, especially when I don’t know where things are. You have to understand that the malls here are gianormous! The mall we were at has 4 levels, so sometimes finding the store or place your looking for is a pain in the patootie. The only thing that kept me motivated was knowing that we were shopping for the kids. Our mission was to get some casual outfits and shoes for the kids who will be coming to WHY (Wesley Home for Youth) soon. The tricky part was that we didn’t know any of their sizes, and we had to use the guessing method. I hope their clothes fit.

I am really looking forward to tomorrow. We are taking the kids on an outing to go “island hopping” We stocked up on food tonight for the trip, and we are set to get up bright and early in the morning. I am definitely ready to get in the water and get some relief from the heat. Can’t wait!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 9, from Colleen

Last night we had a heavy rain here. I love getting to sleep with the sound of the rain hitting the roof. It must have had a great affect on me because I slept in until 9 a.m. this morning. I’ve usually been up by 6:30 when the roosters start crowing and the sun is shining into our room. Maybe all the heat and humidity finally caught up with me.

Today we had special guests for lunch: Judy Ann, Mary Ann, and Nino along with their mothers. Judy Ann and Nino will soon be coming to stay at WHY. Mary Ann will receive assistance with her education and other needs, but she will stay at home with her mom. After lunch, we spent time playing basketball and frisbee with the kids.

After all the games, Michelle, one of our team members, and I wanted to wash our bedding, towels, and a few clothing items. Marit, who is Mary Ann’s mother, offered to help us. Marit washes other people’s clothes by hand in order to earn a living and support her kids. When she washes clothes, it is done so quickly. I watched her technique, and she uses the inside of her forearm as a “washboard”. She had all of our laundry finished in about 20 minutes. It probably would have taken me an hour. She put my laundry skills to shame. ☺

The kids here really love music. I have a lot of music and dance songs that I use at school on my itunes. We had a blast this afternoon. I taught them the Chicken Dance, The Cha Cha Slide, The Cotton Eyed Joe, and the Cupid Shuffle. We were really enjoying ourselves. I worked up probably about a gallon of sweat!

Speaking of music, please continue to pray that we find someone who would volunteer their time to teach guitar lessons on a weekly basis here at WHY. We will continue to ask around tomorrow and see if we can find someone, preferably someone with a heart to worship and not musical skill only.

Each night we have been having our daily worship and devotional time. The kids are learning lots of worship songs and are starting to share a little more. They will sing one of the songs they have learned this Sunday at church. Pray that the worship will really make an impact.
Please continue to pray for Jeraluz’s mother, Lucy. We are agreeing that her baby, who is currently in the breach position, will turn before it is time for her to deliver because the family cannot afford to pay for a C-section. We will continue to believe for a miracle!

Day 8, from Colleen

Today I got up around 6:40, so I could spend some time with the girls before they left for school at 7:00 a.m. Then it was laundry time. I had about 6 days worth of clothes to wash. After all the scrubbing, rinsing, wringing out, and hanging, it took me about 2 hours total. Then later I went to check on the clothes hanging out, and a bird had come and “blessed” a few articles of my clothing. I miss my washing machine!

After laundry time, I worked on putting together a worship folder for WHY (Wesley Home for Youth). I hope to have a collection of songs for them with the guitar chords, so they can continue having worship time every evening. While I was typing up the songs, I had a little visitor. I look up, and there is a mouse sitting on top of the love seat looking at me. He would occasionally peek out and see if I was still there. Who needs to go to Disneyworld and pay a bunch of money to see a mouse? Fortunately, he made his exit after we opened the front door, and I was very thankful for that.

We went to visit the families of the children who will become part of WHY. They will join our family here very soon. Two of the children, Judy Ann and Nino, will actually come to live here, and the other, Mary Ann, will receive assistance for her education and other needs. I mentioned Judy Ann the other day in my note. Her father passed away recently. She is 13 and is helping to support her family by scavenging at the garbage dumpsite. She is behind in school because many times she will stay with her mom to earn money. Today she and her mom went fishing to have something to sell at the market because they were out of money. Nino lives with his grandmother and uncle. His mom passed away at a very early age, so they are raising him. Nino was at school, but we got to visit with his grandmother. She told us that he really enjoys singing and dancing. Maybe he will be a singer for our worship team here at WHY. ☺

We had our second night of evening worship and devotional times. It went very well. Emily, the oldest girl here at WHY, led the devotional time, so we are already seeing leadership skills developing in her. I spoke with John Michael about developing his guitar skills to someday lead worship. He shared with me that he is more interested in learning drums, so I may have to go to Plan B for a worship leader here. He told me that Jeraluz, a high school girl here, is very interested in learning guitar. I know it will all come together eventually. Pray that we will have wisdom in helping the kids here develop and use their skills and passions in various areas for God. Pray also for someone from a local church or ministry to come and teach guitar and/or singing.

The girls are still somewhat reluctant to share prayer requests or struggles in our group time, so please pray that they would begin to open up and share. We could tell tonight that Jeraluz, one of our high school girls, really had something on her mind, but she would not share with us. We found out later that her mom is pregnant, and the baby is in the breech position. The doctors are saying her mom needs a C-section, but her family cannot afford to pay for one. Please pray for a miracle. If God can stop the sun and part the seas, surely he can turn a baby in the womb!

Here are some pics of our kids at WHY





John Loyd

John Michael


Judy Ann, soon to be part of WHY


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A beautiful picture....

While checking blogs and updates I ran across a beautiful picture I wanted to share....our kids leaving for their day at school.  It is precious to see how their outer appearance has been transformed.  Please pray for their souls to be transformed as well.  God is at work in their hearts!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 7, from Colleen

Today didn’t feel very productive, but I have to remind myself that our spiritual race is a marathon, not a sprint. We did not yet get to meet with the families of the children who will become part of WHY later this week, so that got pushed to tomorrow’s agenda.

I also have to remind myself that we are not in America. Filipino people do not live with overpacked schedules. It’s probably for a very good reason. One might be that traffic here is so crazy. It takes us an hour to get somewhere that is just 15 km down the road. It takes us half the day to accomplish something that I could do in about 30 min. to 1 hour back at home. A choleric person might not survive here.

Our main focus today was to get Bibles and supplies for all of the children here at WHY. So we hopped in our shiny, red jeepney and headed to Ayala Mall. Then it was on to the Philippine Christian Bookstore. Our third stop was SM Mall for a guitar strap and some picks. In all, we were able to get Bibles in Cebuano for all the kids, a strap for the one guitar we have here, daily devotional books, and a binder to hold worship sheet music.

So tonight we were able to have a time of worship, Bible reading, and prayer. We met together for worship, and then split into groups with the boys and girls for the remainder of the time. The girls were a bit shy when it came to sharing, so please pray that they will begin to open up with us more before the week is finished. We bought two devotional books – one for the girls and one for the guys. We are hoping that this will help them to continue on their own when we have gone back to the U.S. We spoke to Emily and Glenn, the two oldest kids about leading this time on a daily basis every evening before the kids go to bed. They seem to be on board with the idea, but I think they just need a little more confidence in this area. Pray that Emily & Glenn will be able to take on these leadership roles and really set a great example for the younger kids.

I’m in the process of putting together a worship folder for the kids. I bought a book with guitar chords in it with the hopes that John Michael will begin to develop his guitar skills. I really see him as a potential worship leader. Many of the kids here get homesick from time to time, which is understandable, and I truly believe that worship will bring breakthrough in that area as they experience the nearness of Jesus and His presence.

Tomorrow we will get to meet with three families at the squatter area that is near the garbage dumpsite. These are the three families of the children we selected to be added to our family here at WHY (Wesley Home for Youth). Pray that we have a good connection with the parents of these children. Pray that we have discernment on how best to reach out to these families and see them come to know Jesus.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 5,6 in the Philippines from Colleen

Updates from Colleen, please be mindful that they are 12 hrs ahead of our time. 

Day 5 (Sunday, July 4)

For church today, we attended Zion Prayer Garden, which is a local non-denominational church. The time of worship here was great. You could really feel God’s presence and anointing. This church has amazing vision for reaching their community, the Philippines, and the world. They have already started several satellite churches here in the islands close to Cebu.

One of the girls, Julie, on the worship team has a beautiful voice. I got to visit with her after service, and she told me she was part of an international children’s choir when she was younger. She got to travel the world as a singer, and she actually sings professionally at a local hotel and a Korean restaurant here.

After church, we just had to take care of some practical things such as exchanging money and grocery shopping. This took the majority of our time in the evening. Things here take much longer than at home due to traffic and crowded stores.

Day 6 (Monday, July 6)

Today we had to get up very early in order to leave by 6:30 a.m. Bayon, a woman in ministry here near WHY (Wesley Home for Youth) invited us to come speak at Project Mercy, which is a high school and vocational training school. The students attending this school have been rescued from bad situations. Many of the female students who attend were previously being exploited. It’s amazing to see the things God is doing to restore the lives of these young people, and how He is using kingdom-minded people to do that.

After their worship time, Jonathan & I shared a little for their morning devotional time at 7:30 before the students went to classes. Then Bayon and her husband showed us the improvements they have made to the property. They also served us a Filipino breakfast of rice, mango, and their local hot chocolate. I got to visit with the one of the teachers for a while.

After our time at Project Mercy, we went with Pastora Salvi. She is the pastor’s wife from Zion Prayer Garden. She took us to a retreat that she and her family have built called Prayer Mountain. It was nice to get away from the traffic, pollution, and crowds in the city and just enjoy the beautiful scenery. They prepared a wonderful lunch for us of pancit (rice noodles), native chicken, rice, mango, salad, and coconut. After eating, we just got to relax for a bit.

In the evening we met with Arnell, the man here in Cebu who helps oversee WHY. We reviewed the list of children who have applied to come to WHY. Out of the seven candidates, we were able to chose three at this time. Tomorrow we will go to meet with the families of those children.

After the meeting, Arnell took us to a place that is well-known for their barbeque. The barbeque chicken here is great. They also had bbq chicken intestines, but I opted out on that item. ☺ For dessert, we went to Mr. A’s, which is on the top of a hill overlooking the entire city, for pineapple and mango shakes.

Needless to say, I feel a bit spoiled today and very full of great Filipino food!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

God Bless America

Ok, so I'm not really a patriotic person.  Although I know the words to America the Beautiful that doesn't really count it just means I can remember lyrics pretty well.  I don't purposely disrespect veterans or the American flag, but I don't worship them either.  Don't get me wrong I love the freedoms of this country, I love that God allowed me to be born into a free family that attended a Christian church and am very thankful for the men and women who fought for those freedoms. 

But I am more thankful for the God who created this country.  The leaders of our country change and the values of our country continue to degrade and erode but God remains the same.  He is the one I worship and am most thankful for the freedom HE provides.  The soil I put my feet on may change, but my God will never change. 

So today I say God bless America, and may God bless the Philippines, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Malta, Africa, Sri Lanka, China, India, and all other nations.  He loves us all the same!

Thankful, Sheryl

Saturday, July 3, 2010

From Colleen: Day 4 in the Philippines

Today was a great day. In the morning, all the kids & I practiced the worship songs that we would be singing in the afternoon at the dumpsite. Before we began practice, I gave a brief teaching on why we worship and how our worship can change an atmosphere. The kids here at WHY (Wesley Home for Youth) are very drawn to music, as most Filipinos are, so I am hoping to provide a means for them to continue learning worship songs once I get back to the U.S. One boy at WHY, John Michael, has a great singing voice and is quickly picking up guitar skills. Not only that, but he seems to really enjoy worship. I’m hoping he can really develop his gift in this area and lead the kids in the area of worship.

After lunch, we crammed about 14 people into our jeepney & headed to Arnell’s office to load up the truck with supplies. From there we went on to the garbage dumpsite. Many people live either in or near the dumpsite in order to scavenge for items that they can sell. This is their means of survival and the way they provide for their families.

First we stopped at an area right outside the dumpsite. There we handed out school supplies, snacks, and juice, and had a time of worship. We also gave out Bibles in their language, which is Cebuano.

Then we walked over to do the same for the families living in the dumpsite. One girl, Maricel, is wheelchair bound. Her legs looked completely crooked. I assumed she was born this way, but after talking with her older sister, I discovered that she fell in a deep hole and was injured. My guess is that she broke her legs, they were never treated, and the bones grew back together crooked. I had the opportunity to lay hands on her and pray for healing in her legs.

After the dumpsite, we went to a nearby squatters’ area. Many of the families here also scavenge for items at the dumpsite as well. We met one 13 yr. old girl who is the sole provider for her family because her father died last year. She heads to the dumpsite after school to scavenge for items. We got to give out supplies and Bibles here and have a time of worship as well.

During today’s ministry, we also got to meet the children who have applied to come to live at WHY.

Out of the seven we met, we can select only 2 children because that is all the space we currently have.

After dinner we celebrated Jolly’s 12th birthday. He is one of the boys here at WHY, and I must admit he’s one of my favorites. When he smiles, his whole face lights up. I’ve been helping him learn some chords on the guitar, and he is a fast learner. He’s already learned about 5 different chords in about 2 days time. We celebrated with him by having cake and Ube (which is a fruit here) & cookies and cream ice cream.

Since WHY is still in it’s beginning stages, we are really praying about what we can establish here to bring more structure and spiritual growth for the kids living here. Please pray that we find a way to meet these needs. This next week we would really like to focus on identify the kids’ biggest needs both here and at the local school, finding ways to meet those needs, and finding people from local churches or ministries here who can continue to invest in the kids once we have gone back to the U.S.

Thanks so much for your prayers and for taking the time to read about my time here. I will try and keep giving updates as much as I can.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The past, present and future

We have several Bibles in our home, how blessed we are!  So when I chose one this morning I opened it up to find the schedule of our celebration service from our June 09 mission.  It reminded me of how I was feeling one year ago.

The Past:
I wanted to go on the June 09 mission trip to the Philippines for selfish reasons.  Dustin had been telling me of his experiences, of the people, of the beauty, of the horrid living conditions, etc for 8 years.  In my mind, I deserved to go.  But coming up with the money for two of us...well maybe I would be left behind.  But God started working, he provided the means for me to go through a wonderful lady in our church.  As time got closer and through preparations with the team, I began studying and praying about what God would do.  My prayer was, "God, if just one life can be changed the mission will be successful."  I wanted to touch more people with God's love and kindness, but I hoped for just one.

God answered my prayer.  One life was changed....mine.  During those 12 days, God created me anew.  He brought me to the realization of how selfish I had been, of how loving and giving He is - always.  He opened my eyes to how He loves the least of these, this includes us, and gives us that love through His son. 

The Present: Update from Colleen

Last night we celebrated Pam’s 50th birthday. All the kids at WHY (Wesley Home for Youth) made her cards and brought her freshly picked flowers. We had a great time eating cake and visiting with the kids. I got to spend some time with some of the girls. I got to teach Jeraluz, a teenage girl here, a few chords on the guitar and a plucking pattern that I use for slower worship songs.

We finished sorting toiletry items, clothing, and Bibles this morning to take to the children at the garbage dumpsite tomorrow. We will get to visit with a lot of the families there tomorrow. There are five children we will be “interviewing” tomorrow. From those five, we will select one boy and one girl to come live at WHY.

Pray that we can help bring healing to the kids here at WHY. Many of the children who live here now have come from difficult circumstances. One boy told Jonathan, one of our team members, he would probably be a criminal now if he had not come to live at WHY. The teenage boys in the neighborhood where he previously lived would severely beat him up until he agreed to take drugs. He knows that these same boys have murdered people in their barangay (neighborhood), and he feared that he would be forced to follow that same lifestyle. Some of the girls here were exploited merely as a means to bring income in for their families. It is wonderful that these kids have been removed from that environment, but there is obviously a deep healing process that needs to take place.

As soon as the kids get out of school this afternoon, we are going to practice some worship songs for them to sing at tomorrow’s outreach. The girls here, especially Michelle, really love to sing, so that has been a great way for me to really connect with them. Declare with me that our worship songs will really touch the people and change the atmosphere tomorrow.
The Future:
One year later, our June 09 mission continues through others. The mission has reached from Michigan to Texas, from Tennessee to Florida. What a tremendous blessing to watch God's hand create, provide and open a home that is a means to getting abandoned, abused, forgotten children off the streets. I am certain that things won't be easy, the devil attacks often! But God is completely in control and His will will continue being done as long as we follow Him and don't start trying to make things work on our own.

"But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, but a new creation." Gal 6:14-15

Thankful, Sheryl

Thursday, July 1, 2010

From the Philippines

Colleen, our 4th missionary has arrived safely.  Here are some updates from Colleen.

Day 1

Well, I arrived in Cebu at 5:45 a.m. The day I arrived was actually a national holiday, Inauguration Day. So now the Philippines has a new president and many other government and city officials. We actually had the privilege of attending one of these ceremonies. Our friend Arnell, who helps out quite a bit at the Wesley Home for Youth, is friends with the man who was being sworn in as the Mayor of a city on Camotes Island. We took a 2 hour ferry across to the island and attended the ceremony and a lunch for the mayor. Then we actually got to stay at a resort there on Camotes Island free of charge because Arnell knows the owner of the resort. Very nice! We cooled off with a swim in the ocean. This really helped keep me awake too since I was jet lagged. It also helped the swelling in my feet. I guess all that time on the plane did not do wonders for my circulation because my ankles were about 3 times their normal size. I managed to stay awake until 8:30, but that was perfect because we had to be up a little before 5 a.m. the next morning to catch the ferry back to Cebu. It was a wonderful, relaxing day after being so long on an airplane.

Day 2

Today we made it back to Cebu by 8 a.m. Around 9 a.m. we went to the local high school because Michelle, one of the children from WHY (Wesley Home for Youth) was performing a special song for her music class. We got to visit with some of the students there. I got to talk to the music teacher for a little bit since we have that profession in common. I feel very blessed. She has about 70 students at once crammed into a very small classroom. I can't imagine.

We spent part of the afternoon doing laundry - the old school way - with a bucket and a bar of laundry soap. Scrub, rinse, wring it out, and hang to dry.

This afternoon we will get to spend time with the kids at WHY. One of the girls is wanting to learn guitar, so I am going to see if I can teach her a few chords and maybe some worship songs.

We will also be putting gift bags together for the children who we will visit on Saturday at the garbage dumpsite. We will be going there to visit the children who rummage through the garbage to find things they can sell. This is their means of survival. We will be selecting 2 more children from this area to come to WHY to live. Please be praying that we will have discernment during this selection process. There has been communication with the local barangay (neighborhood) captain to see which kids have the greatest need and would benefit the most from being part of WHY, so that will help a great deal.

Please also check out Michelle's blog.  They are hungry for guidance from God.  Michelle expresses her sincere desire for our prayers.  Please pray for the group and for each individual to be guided by the Holy Spirit alone.

Thankful, Sheryl